Today is the day. The ebook version of Lost Dogs #1: Last Fight of the Old Hound, is now available for purchase, here.
It’s a big deal for me, and it’s been a long time coming, so I’m quite excited now it’s finally here. Excited, and a little bit nervous.
I feel good about the book when I read it, and I have read it quite a few times. I just hope it’s good enough people will want to read the next part too, and the part after that, and so on. There will be a lot of parts.
My latest article for Mythic Scribes is now live. It’s about what I did to launch and promote my book Emma’s Story, and you can read it here.
It’s a fairly long piece that touches upon most of the various aspects of launching the book: selecting a date and setting up preorders, advertising and promotion, formatting for ebook and paperback. The article doesn’t go into great detail on any of it, but rather tries to give an overview of all the different things involved in self-publishing a book – and even then I had to leave some things out.
I’m always a little bit nervous when a new article is going to go live. There are expectations. Mythic Scribes isn’t some little personal blog for just me and my closest friends and family (hi mom). It’s a big site with an active community and tons of daily visitors. I don’t have any exact numbers to share, but the numbers are sky high compared to what I’m getting on this page. On a good day I get double-digit number visitors on this blog.
Regardless of the actual numbers, the point is that a lot of people will see my articles and read them. Hopefully they will find them useful, and usually I get good feedback, but I still worry. Mostly, my main concern is that I’ll get something significantly wrong, or that I’ll unknowingly express some really controversial viewpoint and cause an uproar.
So far that’s not happened, and it probably won’t. I’m a lot less nervous about it than I used to be, but that little nagging worry is still there. Ideally it won’t ever go away completely. If it does, it’ll mean I’ve lost the respect for what I’m doing, and then I shouldn’t be doing it anymore.
What I’m really going for here is that on Sundays when the articles go live I keep refreshing the site to see if it’s there yet or not. So too this time around, and when it finally happened I was met by a really nice and heartwarming surprise. Our site admin, BD, had found my Instagram account, dug out some of the pictures I’d taken of my book, and added them to the article.
Discovering this made me really happy. It’s that warm feeling of when someone goes that extra mile to do something nice for you even though they don’t have to and you don’t expect it. It’s amazing, and it was great way to start my weekend (I’m off Monday’s and Tuesdays).
Also, price hike
One comment I got on the article was that the price on the paperback version is too low. It’s cheap enough people might think there’s something wrong with the story. This obviously isn’t what I want, so I’ll be increasing the price to 6.99 in about a week.
If you’re in Cork, Ireland, I would recommend stepping into Alchemy Coffee & Books on Barrack Street to check out this fine offer:
Alchemy is the place where I wrote almost the entire first draft of Emma’s Story. I went there after work, and I went there during my weekends. I used to sit on one of the bar stools over by the window to the coal yard and write, with my laptop on the shelf and with a coffee and a brownie next to it.
It’s how the story got done.
Sure, I might have done some writing at home, and perhaps in a pub once in a while, but it’s writing in the window at Alchemy that I remember. They’ve moved the bar stools now, and put two small tables and chairs in their place. Better use of space like that. It gets crowded enough in here as it is anyway,
I’m very happy to have been able to work out this deal with the staff here. I consider them friends of mine, and they always seem happy to see me. Sometimes I get a free coffee.
I don’t know that I’ll make a killing selling books at the local coffee shop, but it’s a fun little gimmick, and it’s getting me some good attention. That’s the main thing for now I think. If I’d had sequels lined up to release I’d have put more effort into promoting the book and trying a little harder to sell it.
There’s no follow-up though, and my series I’m working on won’t launch until early July. For now, this is mainly just for fun, and to try and learn a bit about self-publishing. In that regard it’s working out great, and I believe I’ll feel a lot more confident once my new stories are due for release.
That said, if you want to have a closer look at the book, you’ll find it here. Also, since sales on the book have dropped off I’ll be raising the price to 2.99 tomorrow morning. I won’t be doing any more promotion for it in a while, and as such people will mainly only find it through word of mouth.
A while back I wrote a poem to go with my book Emma’s Story. As part of promoting the book I turned the poem into a slideshow and shared it on instagram (I even paid a few Euro to promote it). I’m quite happy with how it came out so I wanted to share it here too:
The poem tells of the events of the story from an outside perspective and from the angle we expect that kind of story to be told. Then, towards the end, it turns around and says that the story’s really told from a completely different point of view.
When I originally wrote the story, I didn’t want it to be a subversion of the traditional fairytale. I didn’t even think about it, and it wasn’t until after the second draft that I realised I had. That’s probably just as well. If I had actively tried to subvert the trope the story would have been very different. Most likely it would have been worse too.
Now it’s really just a story about a young woman facing a difficult decision, and not about a supporting character in someone else’s adventure.
However, from a certain point of view the story really is about the fair maiden that the hero wants to win the heart of. Only, it’s not really told as such, and if anyone tried to call Emma a fair maiden to her face she’d probably punch them…
In other news, I’m not getting rich, and I won’t be able to quit my day job anytime soon, but I have sold a few copies. It’s not enough to make back what I paid in advertising, but it’s more than enough to be encouraging.
I’m happy with how I’m doing, and I’ll do better next time.
No, I don’t have a link for where to buy it just yet, but it won’t be long – a few days at most. The reason for the delay is that before the book becomes available for purchase Amazon has to review and approve it, which can take up to 72 hours.
It’s on it’s way though. Soon…
So how did I publish my book by accident? Isn’t that something I should have put some thought into and planned carefully?
Yes, yes it is, and I have, mostly.
The eBook version of my book is currently up for pre-order and is still set to be released on the 2nd of February. I have a few promotions scheduled and they’re still going ahead as planned.
What I didn’t realise is that KDP (the publishing service) doesn’t provide any pre-order functionality for paperback versions.
Yesterday I got the final cover image for the book. I was really excited about it (I still am), and I spent the entire evening – and well into the night – setting up the book for print. This would be enough for a blog post on its own, as I made some interesting mistakes and learned a few things for the future.
The important thing is I got it done and at a little before two in the morning I had approved the preview of the print on demand version of the book. I sorted out the pricing for the various Amazon market places, and I clicked the Save & Publish button.
After that I just sat there staring at the screen.
It slowly dawned on me that I hadn’t set a date for the book to be available, and there hadn’t been anything about it being published at the same time as the eBook. A little bit of searching and a few questions to people in the know soon confirmed there really is no pre-order for paperbacks.
When I clicked that button it was the signal for Amazon to start the process of reviewing the book for publishing. Once they’ve checked that it fulfils all of their requirements the book will be available for purchase.
This wasn’t what I’d planned, but now that the ball is in motion I’ll roll with it (pun intended). Someone told me they release the paperback early and treat it as a soft-launch before their eBook goes live. They use it as a way to try and get some reviews in time for the main launch, and I think I’ll do the same.
Once the link to purchase the book is available I’ll tell my friends about it and badger them into reviewing it for me. Also, I’ll obviously share it here too.
But what about the cover image?
Yeah, it’s done. I’ve got it. It’s amazing. Even then, I’ll still wait until the paperback can be purchased to share it here. Just a little longer. A day or two. Until then, here’s a teaser image with a quote from the book using the back cover image as a background:
I’ve joined a group giveaway on instafreebie.com – you can download a free preview of Emma’s Story, and you can download other books for free as well. Some of the books in the giveaway are previews like mine, while others are complete stories (look for the “preview” keyword when claiming the book).
You can access the giveaway and browse all of the available titles here.
How does it work?
I tried it out earlier, and they way it works is you click on the book you want, fill out your e-mail and name and you get sent download instructions via mail. The mail contains a link to download the instafreebie app as well as your login and password.
Once you’ve installed the app on your phone/tablet you can log in and get the book sent straight to your device. Depending on what device you use you may have to download an app to read the story.
The book I got sent when I tried didn’t open in my phones default reader, but it was no hassle to find an app that could read ePub files.
Why give away free books?
The short answer is: promotion.
The somewhat longer answer is that it’s a good way for people to become aware of your stories. I’m giving away a preview of the first four chapters of my story, and at the end of the preview is a link to where the full book can be pre-ordered (hint, it’s here for US and here for UK).
Some people are giving away full books though. Why is that?
Most of these books are the first in a series, and the author hopes you’ll like it and buy the rest of them. I’d probably do the same if I had a series written and wanted to promote it.
In fact, once I get my series going I probably will.
It seems like a good way to get the story in front of readers who otherwise might not have found it. At the moment I’m almost completely unknown as an author. Only my friends and family and a few online acquaintances know I have a book coming out. This blog doesn’t have a huge following (but thank you for reading if you got this far), and while I have created a mailing list for a newsletter I don’t have any subscribers to it yet.
In this way though, by taking part in a group giveaway, I benefit from the promotional powers of the other authors taking part. It feels a little bit like freeloading on the effort of others, but hopefully I’ll be able to pay it back by helping other writers out in the same way in the future.