Tag Archives: Straight into Darkness

Twosies Sale?

NewCoversBkI&IIIn honor of the 2nd anniversary of the release of ALL IS SILENCE and the launch of the Deserted Lands series in February 2014, I am having a sale on all of my currently available works of fiction. In November I did an Elevensies Sale, so in February, I’m doing a Twosies Sale. In the 22 days around and leading up to 2/22/2016 readers can get every one of my e-book works for a total of under $10 on Amazon Kindle. Or both DESERTED LANDS novels on e-book for under $10 from Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. Or you can get either print novel signed and shipped for $11 each.  That’s $22 for 2!

TWOSIES SCHEDULE:

ALL IS SILENCE – Deserted Lands Book I. $2.99. Reg. $4.99. February 1-29Kindle. Kobo. Nook. Smashwords. Print $11.00 [including shipping and handling – regular price $15.]

STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS – Deserted Lands Book II. $5.99. Reg. $6.99. February 1-29Kindle. Kobo. Nook. Smashwords. Print $11.00 [including shipping and handling – regular price $16.]

TOILS AND SNARES – A short novel of the Deserted Lands. $0.99 Reg. $2.99. February 2-8. Kindle.

One Tin SoldierFREE. Reg. $0.99. February 6-8, 16-17. Kindle.

Just DesertFREE. Reg. $0.99. February 1-5Kindle.

Outward BoundFREE. Reg. $0.99. February 11-15Kindle.

I have only THREE copies left of the original pressing of my debut Singer/Songwriter CD – Some of the Parts.  I have several copies of the family poetry book, Blue Deer, that my mom released. I also have quite a few ALL IS SILENCE T-SHIRTS. Only in February you can get any two of the three: CD/Poetry Book/T-Shirt for only $11.

And the last TWOSIES deal. All Four of my ebooks as signed download Signed Download cardscards, available for all major ebook platforms. Also, only $11.00 including shipping. Regular price $23.96 See more info on download cards here.

2015: Waiting to get off the roller coaster…

2015 had its highs and lows. Unfortunately the low spots were way lower than the highs were high.

For the lows, I lost two students in June and had two more suffer significant injuries. Then this month I lost my new grandson, Nolan Luther. You can read my posts about these here. Scroll through the few personal blog posts that I wrote this year. The two most significant start with the word Sad.

It is through this haze of sadness that I write today. Because that’s what I do. Working through my grief, building shelves, cooking food for family and writing. I don’t have it in me to write fiction and I’ve wrote most of what I can for now. I’ll finish with some of the things that went right in 2015.

A stand-alone parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE.
A stand-alone parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE.

My birthday, February 15th, marked twenty years as an professional educator. I released the first o f two books: The short Deserted Lands novel, TOILS AND SNARES, on my oldest brother’s birthday, February 28th.

Following the sad end of the school year, Elena and I took my youngest son, Ian to Italy for his high school trip, a tradition started by my parents with all his older siblings and cousins. We saw great art, opera, a street cellist, and many wonderful places: Rome, Florence, Venice, Verona and the foothills of the Dolomites. Other than intense heat, some allergies for Ian and my phone left behind in Vancouver, B.C., the trip was splendid.

After sending Ian to England for some time with his mom, aunt and grandmother (and a lot more chilly weather) Elena and I headed to Torino to visit her cousin. We loved Torino, the museums, the lower heat and the food. Then we headed south through Genoa to Cinque Terra for a night and then back to Rome and home.

At home, I headed to the finish line to STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS, the sequel to my debut novel ALL IS SILENCE. I was pushing hard, but it was going hard. My deadline was a release party at Village Books on August 28th. I went to Worldcon, the Science Fiction and Fantasy convention, in Spokane. We arrived to an apocalyptic red sun from all the forest fires. I spent most of my time in the room trying to finish book II. But, alas, my computer died. The fan stopped working and I could not even get it to start for long enough to back up. My backups to the cloud had inexplicably stopped a few days before we left for Spokane. I took the last day to see people. Greg Bear remembering me was the highlight. He accepted a personally inscribed copy of my debut novel, and signed a copy of his new novel, WAR DOGS.

I came back to Bellingham, we managed to print 25 Advanced Reader Copies for the release party, which was well attended, and sold quite a few books, a shirt and some download cards for Village Books and me. I spent that next week before school started turning out a better copy and printed 25 more copies. After I printed the next 25 I realized there was no identifying that STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS was Book II. So if you have a copy of it that doesn’t say Book II, you have one of the first 75 printed! Hopefully, that will mean something someday.

Our school year started really well, despite a bunch of changes in staffing and less students than we had hoped–a building year in both senses. Part of my building has been working with another wonderful student teacher who has become a friend and a writing critique partner, Tegan Shelton. You can check out her first book here.

Having such a capable student teacher enabled me to begin building a school library. With two student book drives and a bunch of help from the last years worth of TAs, and Ro, a Windward parent and librarian at Whatcom Community College, it is coming together.

Then third quarter started at the end of November 30th, (a date that marks six years together with Elena! Yeah!) and I am teaching English 11/12, Drama AND Spanish I (for the third time in 20 years.) I have found myself challenged and overwhelmed, but exciting to be teaching again.

The year has ended not well, but with another outpouring of love. Please keep my family in your thoughts in the days ahead. Pay it forward with some Random Acts of Kindness, please.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and much peace and joy.

rob-sign-Trans-blue

 

December Smorgasblog – Keep Warm and Dry

12 mini-blog posts for the Holidays. If the weather gets too bad, curl up with a book or an e-book.

A stand-alone parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE.
A stand-alone parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE.

I’m re-submitting Toils and Snares for a FREE [Free for the reader, not for me! ;-)] promotion at BookBub today.  If you have read Toils and Snares, please leave an honest review here. In order to successfully submit a book to BookBub, they want enough reviews to be certain it is good enough for the people who subscribe to their service. If you are willing to read and review it, I will send you a FREE ebook copy of it to read. Just send me an e-mail or comment at the bottom of this post. Thanks.

My first novel,  ALL IS SILENCE, won a WATTYS 2015 Award for Collector’s Dream. Wattpadders can add books they want to read to their Collections and they made it one of the the most-added stories of 2015.  Today there are three easy ways to buy ALL IS SILENCE:

  1. KOBO 30% off ebook – $2.79 with this link and code DEC30
  2. Still waiting for Amazon to put the kindle version at the $3.99 price, so it’s $2.99 for now here.
  3. Want a print version? Go to Village Books and get SIGNED COPIES of one or both of my books in time for the holidays with only $0.99 shipping.

I’m having a great month on Kobo. STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS is being featured on their Science Fiction Next Picks lineup and ALL IS SILENCE is in their December 30 as mentioned above.

In December I will be making appearances at the following events and locations. Come see me there.

  • December 10, 2015. 5:00PM until 8:00PM. Holiday Book FestivalBellingham Cruise Terminal. 17 local authors. Signing, chatting and selling. I’ll have books, t-shirts & ebook download cards.
  • December 12, 2015: GIFTS FOR GEEKS II. 2:00pm – 9:00pm AFK Elixirs & Eatery. Signing, chatting and selling: books, t-shirts and ebook download cards.
  • I’ll be visiting the Whatcom County Juvenile Detention center to talk to the kids there and donate some books.

Join my ‘street team’ The Desert Club [Pronounced Dessert club so it’s a play on The Breakfast Club which Lizzie loves.] and help me promote my books to new readers.

On my personal blog I’ve a post about drivers, the inattentive and tentative, titled Drive South [a nod to one of my faves: John Hiatt…]

Pintado’s cover art for ALL IS SILENCE is up for another award at COVER WARS. You can vote everyday! Scroll to the bottom to vote.

And a partridge in a pear tree…

MY PATH TO INDIE PUBLICATION: PART XII—Promotions

Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart VII. Part VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIII.

Part XII—Promotion. What worked for me… [Gradually updating this post as more numbers come in.]

May not work for you. Mileage varies. Seriously.

WARNING LOTS OF NUMBERS THAT MAY BE MEANINGLESS.

My experiment this week? This is it. This blog post, okay probably two-three blog posts this week, but nothing else. I’m not doing any promoting as such. I’m simply letting my books sit at certain prices. ALL IS SILENCE is only $2.99. [Author’s note: I sold two copies during the week.] Ironically, TOILS AND SNARES, half the length is currently $3.99, because it has to stay at the original price for two weeks after a countdown promotion. Then I’ll move it to $2.99 and add STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS, now at the New Release price of $6.99, temporarily selling for $4.99 from 11/22 to 11/30. [Three copies AiS and one of SiD in three days between promos.] Thus closing out the ELEVENSIES sale with all three major ebooks available for under $11.

I started the month with a 7 day Kindle Countdown deal on TOILS AND SNARES at $0.99, marked down from $2.99. Mixed in giveaway days for all my short fiction and dropped the price of ALL IS SILENCE to $2.99 for the entire month. I earned almost the same exact amount of sales in August as I did in November, but there was a long tale of Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) reads in August that did not stretch as high or as far as in November. In fact, November’s KENP was more than triple the number of reads. Of course, as soon as I said I had a 13 day streak of KENP reads in a post, it disappeared. I had feared it would and even commented to that effect on my note. KENP which counts for almost half a cent per ‘kindle “page”‘ equated to 26 sales at the sale price, an average of 4+ sales of TOILS AND SNARES a day over two weeks. Not too shabby. My advertising expenses? $65. My net income $61 and change.

Now ALL IS SILENCE has been on sale for $2.99 all month, selling steadily, but not really jumping until the adverts kicked in on the 9th and six sales on the 10th. The promotions did not come close to covering costs if we only count likely residual sales of ALL IS SILENCE, but the sales have continued steadily. And I am within a few dollars of covering all the advertising costs accrued so far this month. Sales of STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS and KENP reads have made up for those sales. So this week with no paid promotion and no additional effort, it will be interesting to see if it continues to sell at that same pace.

Wattpad has gotten focused attention on other blog posts, but my final evaluation is that though I will sell few books through Wattpad, I will likely gain significant fans who do things like vote for my novel’s cover art, and hopefully, tell their friends, and hopefully, eventually become book buying adults who will grab future books in print or electronic form.

I’ve applied for three BookBubs, all for TOILS AND SNARES. I’ve not yet gotten one. I lowered it from a $0.99 a Free and feel that the number of reviews, holding steady at 15, is likely holding me back. I will continue to submit TOILS AND SNARES until it is either chosen or I am ready to submit ALL IS SILENCE at $0.99 price point which will probably be in February. So, if you have read TOILS AND SNARES or would like to in order to give it an honest review, please let me know.

Promotions Current Evaluation: What I’ve mostly learned is that a lot of the success is still random, but I’ve always come within a few dollars of breaking even on my grouped promos and that means that a lot more people are reading them, I’m really hoping for a few of those reads to turn into reviews. I’ll update my results the first week of December.

Semi-Final November: 48 copies of AiS ebook, 9 copies SiD ebook, 32 T&S. 17 full reads on KENP [about equivalent to selling 11 at $2.99] So, as of 11/29. I’ve sold between 100 and 106 ebooks in November. 111 would be better considering the Elevensies sale or even better 121! This does not count sales from slow reporters like BookBaby. Even later news: Ended November Elevnsies sale with 111 after some adjustments and 2 late posters from BookBaby came in. February Twosie Sale? Also 111 sales so far. 

 

Thanks for reading the Path to Indie Publishing.

SmorgasBlog – Free Fiction with Newsletter sign-up

Okay, ELEVEN short notes for NaNOvember…

  1. Free Fiction with Newsletter sign-up. Put your e-mail in the orange box to the left. I will send you a FREE e-book of Toils and Snares. If you’re already on my mailing list and haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?
  2. NewCoversBkI&IIHere’s the first view of the updated cover art with Book I and Book II! So cool.
  3. PLEASE, PLEASE leave me an honest Review if you have read any of my books. If you’ve decided not to leave a review because you thought the book was only okay, please say that. One of my best friends gave me Three Stars on Outward Bound and explained in Renewthe review why he thought it deserved them. A volume of reviews, especially some that tell people why they might not like it helps me reach those who will. I created this Review meme for those of you who have seen Logan’s Run [and actually remember it! ;-)]
  4. Join my ‘street team’ The Desert Club [Pronounced Dessert club so it’s a play on The Breakfast Club which Lizzie loves.] and help me promote my books to new readers.
  5. Elevensies Sale continues. ALL IS SILENCE is still on sale and Toils and Snares AND Straight Into Darkness will be on sale 11/22 until 11/30.
  6. On my personal blog I’ve started a series called Not to 50posts about approaching mid-life with humor and contemplation. This post is on losing things: hats, glasses, mind…
  7. As part of my ALL IS Science page, I wrote this guest post for my writer friends Richard Levesque on How the Power Stays On When The World Shuts Down.
  8. Pintado’s cover art for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS won one of five gold stars out of 110 covers for the October. Now ALL IS SILENCE is up for another award at COVER WARS. You can vote everyday! Scroll to the bottom to vote.
  9. Appearances:
    • November 28th, 2015. 12-4 pm. Local Author SigningsBarnes and Noble, Bellingham, WA.
    • December 10, 2015. 5:00PM until 8:00PM. Holiday Book FestivalBellingham Cruise Terminal. 17 local authors. Signing, chatting and selling. I’ll have books, t-shirts & ebook download cards.
    • December 12, 2015: GIFTS FOR GEEKS II. 2:00pm – 9:00pm AFK Elixirs & Eatery. Signing, chatting and selling: books, t-shirts and ebook download cards.
  10. Visit to Juvie! I’ll be visiting the Whatcom County Juvenile Detention center to talk to the kids there and donate some books.
  11. In terms of writing NaNoWriMo is more like NaNOOOOwrimo for me. I don’t want to start No Man’s Land until I have the plot solid in my head. So I have about 3000 words of plot that I am counting, but very few actual words of noveling. I’m sort of thinking like Field of Dreams. If I build the plot, the words will come!

Reader Response to Indie Publishing Prices.

Hey folks,
I just read this post on GoodReads on ‘gouging’ my readers. I was initially offended, but I took the time to write a thoughtful response, I think. Both the initial note and my response are below.

Any thoughts? Should I not have responded? Is $6.99 too high a price for a new release like STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS [Will be on sale for $4.99 November 22-30]? I released ALL IS SILENCE at $5.99 and dropped it to $4.99 [Currently on sale for $2.99 this month.] when it had been out a year. Both books are approximately 90,000 words. That’s nearly 300 pages in the Trade paperback 6×9 inch format. It would be close to 400 pages in a traditional 4.25×6.75 mass-market paperback format. That’s a thick book in my mind. Please, let me know your thoughts. If you buy e-books with any regularity, what are you willing/interested to pay? What price makes you think, “Ah, this is an amateur?” 😉

Anyway here are the note and my response.

“Well, I was planning on reading the sequel, but $6.99 for a kindle book is just crazy. The publisher is the authors company, so this is self published. Self published authors make almost 15 times more than a normal published author, which is why their books normally sell for more reasonable prices and why I buy them. As much as I read, I cannot afford published author prices and no need to with so many great and reasonably priced books out there. This author asking that much for his book is crazy and he will find his sales drastically reduced at those kinds of prices. I would have been a faithful reader and read everything he has out, but I got no use for an author that gouges his readers.”

My response:

“Dear Reader,
I’m sorry you feel that way. Thank you for letting me know that you think my prices are too high. I will take that into consideration.

Please consider the following before judging me so harshly. I gave away my first book for free. It’s also just come out and will be on sale at the end of the month for a short time. When book three comes out it will also drop in price permanently. Putting out a professional level book with cover art cost me about $2500 not counting my time to write it. It took me 2 years to cover those costs.

Gouging seems a particularly harsh word choice and I am sorry I have lost your readership. In the days when movies cost $10 and a cup of coffee is $3, I think $5-7 is a reasonable price for a work that will take several hours or more to read, hopefully taking the reader into a world other than this one.

Thank you for the positive comments on All Is Silence.

Sincerely,
Rob”

After getting caught up in this I did some checking around. Cool authors who are still relatively new like my Path to Publishing buddy, Marshall Ryan Maresca are selling ebooks for $7.99. Well-known in the genre writers like Seanan MacGuire are $7.99-9.99 and more famous folks like Jim Butcher are at $9.99. Though Andy Weir‘s The Martian $8.99, but he’s only got one book. 

So, tell me your thoughts. Thanks. If $6.99 is a gouge, please buy my books this month while they’re on SALE! 😉

~ Rob

P.S. After writing this I went to the Amazon Kindle bestsellers pages for the first time. John Grisham’s new one with a really crappy cover is selling as an ebook for $14.99! Now that feels like a gouge.

This Sale Goes to Elevensies…

BREAKING NEWS. ACT NOW AND GET BOTH DESERTED LANDS NOVELS FOR $5.98 on KOBO

U. S./Australia/New Zealand. Oct 27th–30th. Promo Code: GET50SALE

Canada. October 28th–31st. Promo Code: CA50SALE

United Kingdom. Oct 30th – Nov 2nd. Promo Code: UK50SALE.

What I really wanted to announce is my biggest promotion to date.

ELEVENSIES SALE – In honor of NANOWRIMO and the anniversary of the beginning of the Deserted Lands series in November 2012, I am having a sale on all of my currently available works of fiction. In the 11 days around 11/11 readers can get every one of my e-book works for under $11 on Amazon Kindle. Or both DESERTED LANDS novels on e-book for under $11 from Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. Or you can get either print novel signed and shipped for $11 each.  That’s $22 for 2!

 

“What about Elevensies?”

ELEVENSIES SCHEDULE:

ALL IS SILENCE – Deserted Lands Book I. $2.99. Reg. $4.99. November 1-30Kindle. Kobo. Nook. Smashwords. Print $11.00 [including shipping and handling – regular price $15.]

STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS – Deserted Lands Book II. $6.99. November 1-30Kindle. Kobo. Nook. Smashwords. Print $11.00 [including shipping and handling – regular price $16.]

TOILS AND SNARES – A short novel of the Deserted Lands. $0.99 Reg. $3.99. October 31 to November 7. Kindle.

One Tin SoldierFREE. Reg. $0.99. October 28-29, November9-11. Kindle.

Just DesertFREE. Reg. $0.99. October 29-31, November 8-9Kindle.

Outward BoundFREE. Reg. $0.99. November 12-16Kindle.

I have only THREE copies left of the original pressing of my debut Singer/Songwriter CD – Some of the Parts.  I have several copies of the family poetry book, Blue Deer, that my mom released. I also have quite a few ALL IS SILENCE T-SHIRTS. Only in November you can get any two of the three: CD/Poetry Book/T-Shirt for only $11.

And the last ELEVENSIES deal. All Four of my ebooks as signed download Signed Download cardscards, available for all major ebook platforms. Also, only $11.00 including shipping. Regular price $23.96 See more info on download cards here.

Depending on how November goes, I might also release a new story, but it won’t be until later in the month. And finally, something to keep you smiling even if you don’t take advantage of the sale! 😉

SmorgasBlog – Autumn Falls…

Please, excuse the random catch-all of paragraphs that make up this post. Not sure that any of them deserve a whole blog post at the moment.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: There’s a new interview of me up on YA site: Off The Shelf from Derek Murphy.

COVER ART WIN: Pintado’s cover art for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS won one of five gold stars for fiction in the September Book Cover Design Awards from The Book Designer. Top 6 out of 115 entries.  “Stunning imagery meets professionally crafted typography. A top-notch design.” Also a great resource to find designers you like and get a sense of what works and what does not and why. Our entry and comments are about  3/4 of the way down the page right past Richard Levesque’s nice new cover for The Girl at the End of the World.

GUEST-POST on Greenerside Digital. The First e-book download card I had ever seen.  Notes on how download cards work and how I hope to utilize them. If you’re an author check this out.

GUEST-POST on Cabin Goddess’ Fourth Wall Friday. Get your own Damn Coffee! A fun interaction between myself and my protagonist.

NEW APPEARANCES:

  • November 28th, 2015. 12-4 pm. Local Author SigningsBarnes and Noble, Bellingham, WA.
  • December 10, 2015. 5:00PM until 8:00PM. Holiday Book FestivalBellingham Cruise Terminal. 17 local authors. Signing, chatting and selling. I’ll have books, t-shirts & ebook download cards.
  • December 12, 2015: GIFTS FOR GEEKS II. 2:00pm – 9:00pm AFK Elixirs & Eatery. Signing, chatting and selling: books, t-shirts and ebook download cards.

ELEVENSIES SALE – Sale on all of my currently available works of fiction. In 11 days leading up to 11/11 readers can get every one of my ebook works for under $11. Outward Bound, Just Desert, One Tin Soldier will all be FREE on certain days, Toils and Snares, $0.99; All Is Silence, $2.99, Straight into Darkness, $6.99. More info as we get closer.

Thanks folks, for following me!

 

 

Help Me, Please – Part III-V

BookI&IIsmIf you have read the STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS, please tell me if you found errors, typos and/or missing words? I am getting ready to upload to Ingram, so that I can sell in bookstores around the country and so libraries will order the book. Now each time I upload interiors to Ingram it costs me $30, so I want this to be the best it possibly can be at this time.

This appears the week that I ask for help. Earlier in the week I asked for reviews from folks who had read TOILS AND SNARES. Then I asked for help making a potential Kindle Worlds blurb.

My next request is help creating playlists for the Lizzie novels. I want songs pre-2004, when Lizzie’s dad, Mannie, left. Sort of a Patsy Cline  Walking after Midnight to Melissa Etheridge’s Lucky. It’s fairly pop-centered with a class rock/singer songwriter bent.

And the last request for this Help Me week… Other authors have a street team! They’re the fans who spread the word. I even have a name–The Desert Club, pronounced like Dessert Club. Like Breakfast Club, eh? 😉 The Deserters, as they might like to be called, would help tell people about the Deserted Lands series. They might have special access to cool swag like T-Shirts, special first editions, etc. So, if you’re interested send me an e-mail or sign up for the newsletter. Or tell someone who is into the apocalyptic genre about it!

That’ll do for now. I literally have three more blog posts ready to go, but keep having important immediate needs upsetting the apple cart.

Help Me: Submit to Kindle Worlds

Just got this response from the KindleWorlds team:

Hello Robert,

Thanks for taking the time to contact the Kindle Worlds Support team. I hope this email finds you well!

We would love take your world into consideration in case we open negotiations for new worlds. To proceed, please reply to this email with a brief description of your world (in general terms let us know what it is about), and we will forward it to department in charge of the Kindle Worlds program. The way worlds are selected is internal information we cannot disclose, but if your idea is selected, then we will get in contact with you.

Here’s my first stab at a brief description.

What if death forgot you?

The DesertedLands Universe is a realistic post-pandemic apocalypse. In 2019 a bat flu pandemic kills 95-98% of humanity fast enough to leave behind a small population with enough food and resources to survive. Millions of people spread around the world need to cling together in communities to survive. Some have power, solar and hydroelectric, some have major food production resources, others are stranded in less hospitable places surrounded by deserts.

The stories so far are set in the first year, but as time goes on and communities form, it will become a sort of new feudal age. Some of these city states will set-up trade to thrive. Some will turn inward forming dystopian societies where women are value only for their ability to breed. One community will form as modern-day monks, trying to save the knowledge of the present for the future. They go out and collect computer technology, trying to storehouse the data.

How would our lives change if most of the people we knew have died? 

And my first stab at a combo logo: KindleWorlds-DesertedLands

What have I missed or forgotten? At this point this feels too long. Any thoughts are appreciated.