’ve watched my free downloads during a three-day KDP free-days promotion drop from totals as high as 20,000, to as few downloads as 9,000 in my most recent attempt last month. The first few times I used free days, I sold as many as 500 books post-free-days, and my latest promo sold almost none. And since I’ve been an advocate of paying for ads which promote these free days, this latest one not only sold no books, it cost me money!
See on marlamadison.blogspot.com
Pros: Great plot, Intriguing concepts about time, existentialism, and space on an epic quest, Cannot wait to read the next book in the series!
Cons: Book requires a little brain-juggling may present a small challenge
Just like some of the “Star Wars” movies and related books, Martin Whiteway’s “Conquered Shore” explores the backstory behind an all-encompassing world of unique and colorful creatures like the peaceful Chandara, , murghals, keltars, rimmers, and naals a human thrown into the mix. Through the tale, readers get to see the implications of an alien culture when it colonizes a new world. Along the way, heroes develop, opportunists make evil decisions, and a world becomes unbalanced.
As a reader of Whiteway’s other books, I would highly recommend that new readers go back and read the earlier books in this incredible epic series. The book can be read alone, but the context is that much greater if you have read the other books in the series. Readers will also have a better appreciation of the decisions that Zemira and Aevan take and how those decisions play out through the entire series.
Readers of Whiteway’s other books will recognize many of the features present in other books: strong, female leads, mysterious (but wise) Chandara, Kelanni, multiple storylines, Ash, and the rigid alien caste system that is central to Kelanni society. Some things that are little different in this book:
• Shorter chapters-which kept the rhythm steady (which you need in long epics like this) without getting boring. It has the pacing of a one hour TV show-not too much, but enough to give you a well-developed story
• Deeper ethics-“Conquered Shore”, in my opinion, goes into deeper ethical issues than the earlier books. With this book, this issue is not a simple “How do we get the bad guys” questions. It’s the “Are we doing the right thing and what impact will this have in the future?” In other words, the question is “Are we the bad guys in getting involved here?” There was also a greater depth of ethical issues ranging from environmental to social.
• More issues at stake- the characters in “Conquered Shore” while very similar to earlier books, have to deal with more issues that have far-reaching consequences, with species and societies at stake.
Whiteway is a master at creating and maintain an alien universe and a reader’s interest. Every chapter has a new creature, new adventure, or new nugget of information that will add to the overall whole. On top of this, he is able to masterfully juggle multiple storylines (as I mentioned earlier) in a way that slowly prods the character to dilemmas and ultimately a solution.
Because of all of this juggling and involvement, I would recommend this book more for hardcore sci-fi fans than casual ones. Whiteway introduces a slew of new characters which readers need to invest time in to make complete sense of the story. Once you provide that investment of time, though, you will be rewarded many times over.
The book ended on a cliffhanger and I cannot wait to see how the story continues!
@missrogue: “Jonah Berger’s Contagious,… makes the salient point that only 7% of word of mouth happens online…” http://ow.ly/r9p8q
Beside time, one of the most persistent problems I hear from authors is money.
Authors often ask “How can I compete with ”Dan Brown” and J.K. Rowling when my budget is so small?
While it literally costs nothing (or next to nothing) to be an author, it does cost money to market and advertise. (Please tell me you knew that!)
When it comes to marketing advice for indie authors, it usually comes in two flavors:
- Authors are advised to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- Authors are told they can market for free if they just focus on social media
These options may work for some authors, but not all. What about those authors in between? Those authors who don’t have thousands in the bank to market their book,but also realize they need more than a couple of Tweets to get exposure?
Are they supposed to just wait until their book sales justify a large marketing budget?
Just about 99.5% of the time, the answer is no. If your book is ready, you can market with any kind of budget..
The key is focus.
So, how do you get that focus?
First, get your mind right.
Many authors fall into the trap of believing that spending lots of money on advertising/marketing/promotion will bring in more sales. In some cases, it will. In other cases, it won’t. Yes, spending more on advertising can bring more potential exposure. Exposure does not lead to sales, though.Instead of focusing on the budget aspect of your marketing, focus on the action aspect. When you are getting ready to buy (for example Facebook advertising), ask yourself;
- What do you I realistically want to happen?
- How will this marketing/promotion strategy work?
- How can I measure what I am doing?
- How long do I expect to wait for this to happen?
Second, identify what you already have.
Before you even think about marketing a book, you need to take stock of the resources you have to market with. Take a moment to evaluate:
- Your budget: How much can you spend to launch your book? How much will you spend monthly to keep your book in the minds of prospective readers? Are there any special holidays or opportunities you want to take advantage of (like Valentine’s Day for a romance book)?
- Your connections: Before you get national attention, you need local awareness. Think about where your hard-earned money can get the most bang for its buck. Look within your personal connections (both online and offline) to see if you can find an ally or an opportunity for your book’s presence. Also, start locally first. Marketing to local and regional areas is often cheaper route than going national.
- Your tools: Before you try out a new marketing strategy or tool, look at what you are already using. Is there a way you can optimize or improve that tool to reach more people without significantly expanding your budget?
- Your message: What is your book about? Think about the central idea or concept behind your book. This is the what will sell your book more than anything else. Make sure that you have refined your message so that you can easily share what your book is about, who your book is for (Please don’t tell book your target audience is everyone!), and why they should buy it.
- Your strategies. Money cannot improve a bad strategy. Think about how you are marketing. Whatever strategy you pick has to reach readers. While thinking of your strategies, think about yourself. What compels you to buy a book? What influences you to click on an advertisement or interact with someone? That should get some ideas for you to start from.
Third, identify what you don’t have.
Once you have identified what you want to do and how much you have, start making some goals. Identify what you need to improve to reach the next reader. Do you want to get higher social media stats? Do you want more people to go to your website to preview your book? Do you have readers going to your Amazon page? Ask yourself where your readers are in the buying chain (see below)
1- Don’t know of your presence (Focus on advertising and promotions)
2-Visit your Amazon page or website (Focus on first conversion)
3-Return to your blog of website (Focus on retention)
4-Spread message of your book, or blog/website (Focus on recruitment)
Lastly, measure what you are doing.
This one thing you need to do, especially if you are watching your budget. Once you have identified what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it, establish regular checkpoints. Check in to see how your advertising is doing, if your social media is growing, and if people are going to your webpage. Is there a certain page or certain content that people gravitate towards? Use that information to guide future marketing efforts.
The first time you do any marketing you are establishing a baseline measure. For example, if you are advertising, your first month stats are your baseline. If you are doing social media, the first number of followers you get during the first week or month is your baseline. Once you have that baseline, your job is that number improve it each week or each month.
Photo 1: (PhotoPin/Flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/4744388119/
Photo 2: (PhotoPin/Flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/5653252809/
Photo 3: (MorgueFile) http://mrg.bz/POwP9o
Photo 4: (PhotoPin/Flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/krischall/2089466950/
Photo 5: (MorgueFile) http://mrg.bz/AVWn94
Photo 6: (PhotoPin/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/schmish/7440476236/
Photo 7 (MorgueFile) http://mrg.bz/G8SEOD
The waves thrash wildly against the feet of Gaia
in a violent battle
for new territory
a sea gull
walks the boundary between them both
unphased by it all
Photo: By Morrisayoder (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons