Thursday, December 18, 2014

Writing, Marketing, and Introversion

All my life I kept calling myself shy, but I recently read this great book (see cover below) all about introverts and it made me realize that I'm not actually very shy, I'm just a serious introvert.

I can enjoy interaction with people, but it drains me of energy and I need alone time to recharge. So as a new author having to suddenly market my book, it struck me as funny how the majority of us have to fight against our very natures.

Many of us writers are introverts. One characteristic of many introverts is a dislike of 'small talk'. Yet this is precisely what we are told to do in marketing. We are not to bombard our followers with posts about our books! No, we must instead post most often about various interesting topics. To me what that means, especially on sites like Twitter, is small talk. It's the same on forums as well. We're not to pitch our books; rather we must make small talk with the other denizens and if we do so well enough some of them may decide we are likable enough and perhaps take a glance at our books.

In other words, almost all aspects of marketing today involve doing the very thing we introverts despise. No wonder I feel exhausted every day now!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Publishing Stats--Three Weeks In

It has been a little more than three weeks since I published my first novel, and I thought it would be interesting to compare different sites to see how they have fared with sales. This assumes that all of these sites have properly updated the data as of yesterday. I figure this can give a rough idea of just how difficult it is for a new, unknown author to gain any attention. I believe the book is of high quality, and it has been drawing very good reviews so far.

Amazon trade paperback edition - 20 units sold

Amazon Kindle ebook edition - 69 sold

Kobo ebook - 1 sold

GooglePlay - No data (or it may mean nothing has been sold)

B&N Nook - 5 sold

Apple iTunes - 2 sold

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Meet My Character Blog Hop

I joined this blog hop from a post on the KindleBoards that seemed interesting to me, since I had done a similar character post for my fantasy novel but have never done one for my published novel The Immortality Game. The hop goes to one site each week, so my post was preceded last week by Rachel Medhursts' post here.

Since there are two primary characters in the book, I figured I'd tell a little about each of them.

1) What is the name of your character? Is he or she fictional or a historic person?
Zoya Vladimirovna Drozdova is the first of the two main characters in the book. Her precise age is never determined in the story, but she's in her mid-twenties. She lives with her mother and brother in a poor part of Moscow in the year 2138, not far from the refugee park at Kolomenskoe. She works in a morgue preparing corpses for funerals before their cremation (burial is no longer legal). Life is hard, so she has only vague dreams of one day being able to have a child. Her brother has a good heart but has fallen in with a mafia gang.
Zoya, artwork by Stephan Martiniere
2) When and where is the story set?
The story takes place in 2138 Moscow, Russia in about a 24 hour period.
3) What should we know about him or her?
Her passion is for ancient rock music, such as Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, and so many more great bands. It's her one true escape from the general misery of her life.
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his or her life?
Her brother is tasked by his mob bosses with stealing some secret military tech from a compound on the outskirts of Moscow. He blackmails a guard who steals two data chips for him. However, he is upset at being passed over for promotion, so he decides he is going to take the chips, leave Moscow, and sell them himself. He can't have the chips on his person for some of his escape preparations, so he forces Zoya to hold on to the package for him and bring it to him at a safe house the next morning. When she goes to meet her brother, Zoya witnesses his murder and find herself being chased by the mobsters, who will do anything to get the package, including killing anyone she loves.
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
At first she just wants to survive and try to help her family and friends. Later, as things become more and more horrific, she decides she has no choice but to seek revenge on her pursuers.
6) What is the title of the book(s), and where can find out more?
The Immortality Game was published by Breakwater Harbor Books on November 24, 2014. I have lots of information here on my blog or on my Facebook page, and you can check out the book on Amazon, Goodreads, iTunes, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and GooglePlay. Links to all of these and more are on the right-hand sidebar of my blog.


1) What is the name of your character? Is he or she fictional or a historic person?
Marcus is the second main character. He's 26 years old and earns his doctorate in nanotechnology on the very day his life changes. He is a former Mesh addict, which means he was addicted to 'living' within the virtual reality of the Web. His dead father got him out. Yes, his father is dead, but 'lives' on as the world's first true artificial intelligence.
2) When and where is the story set?
Marcus lives in Phoenix, Arizona in America West, the US having been divided during the Dark Times of the late 21st century. After the death of his father, Marcus's mother became a Mesh addict as well, so Marcus essentially lives alone with just his AI father for company.
3) What should we know about him or her?
He is depressed and aimless when the story starts, beat down by the extreme fame and genius of his father, who is known the world over for having made the Web safe by creating the sentry code that wiped out viruses. He has no plans except to follow what his father demands of him.
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his or her life?
When Zoya's brother inserts one of the stolen chips into a Web port, Marcus's father is alerted to a fabulous new technology that could potentially help restore him to a human body cloned from his own DNA. Marcus's father sends Marcus to Moscow to track down the chip in order to learn who developed the technology.
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
At first it is simply to follow his father's orders, but once he meets Zoya he begins to have feelings for her. When she seems to become ever more intent on getting herself killed, Marcus becomes determined to save her from herself.

So, for this story I really wanted to take two fairly average people and throw them into the fires of hell to see if they could find a way to survive. I hope you might check out the book to see if I succeeded!

Now, since this is a blog hop, I'm supposed to tell you a bit about the next blogger in line for the hop, which appears to be one post per week. That would be Amelia Smith!

Amelia Smith takes an odd-jobs-and-adventures approach to writing. She is currently working on a multi-volume epic fantasy about four friends making their way in a land animated by dragon gods. She has also written a stand-alone Regency romance, a historical fantasy novella, and a screenplay, along with dozens of magazine and newspaper articles. She lives in a small house on Martha's Vineyard with her husband, two children, and an overweight cat. 

Link to website:  www.ameliasmith.net 
Link to blog: http://ameliasmith.net/blog/

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting Reviews for Novels

Getting people to read a book isn't so hard once they know a book exists (getting them to notice the book exists is a whole other story!), but my experiences so far match up with what other authors have written, which is that the vast majority of readers simply won't post reviews. My debut novel has been 'live' for about two weeks now, and it's sold around 100 copies (thank you to everyone who has bought it!). I know some people buy books and don't read them for quite some time. I certainly do that, buying books often several years before I get time to read them. There are probably three hundred books on my shelves that I still need to get to! But reviews are like gold for new, unknown authors, because buyers often won't spend their money if they don't see enough reviews. So it is awesome to find someone who not only posted a review, but even blogged it!

And now on the same day there is another post, which includes a short excerpt.

It's been a good day today! Another writer mentioned my book here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Best Christmas Songs - Part 3

To wrap up my three part series of best Christmas music, I'm going to show you my favorite individual songs (the first two parts talked about the best albums). Songs like these are all about individual taste, of course, but are also often about nostalgia over what music we grew up with. Association is a powerful thing, so having heard certain music during our childhood Christmases creates a strong power of association.
Now this following one isn't a song I listen to generally when I'm in a Christmas mood, but I do appreciate it for being different from the run of the mill Xmas music. Well, that was odd. I actually couldn't find any more of my favorite songs on YouTube. I have a couple from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, though none of these really great versions are on YouTube, along with some others. Sad not to be able to present them to you.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Best Christmas Songs - Part 2

Following up from yesterday's post, today I'll give you some of my favorite Christmas songs from the other of the two albums I consider to be the best two Christmas albums of all time. Yesterday I told you about the brilliant John Denver and the Muppets album. Today the album is the Carpenter's A Christmas Portrait. Honestly, I'm not a Carpenters fan, but their sound works brilliantly for Christmas music. This is another wonderful album to put on in December and listen to all the way through, though naturally I have my favorites, shown below.





When I next post in this series, it won't be about albums but about individual great Christmas songs. Please chime in with your favorites!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Best Christmas Songs - Part 1

In the past I have often put up some of my favorite music, but I have never done so for the holidays, so I figured it might be a good time to do so. I'll start with what I consider to be one of the two very best Christmas albums ever made--A Christmas Together, performed by John Denver and the Muppets. It may sound silly, but this is a fantastic album of Christmas music. Every song on it is great, but I'll post my favorites here. Denver's voice is perfect for Christmas music, and he does some unusual songs, which I think is great.



I'll put up some more next time, including letting you know what the second greatest Christmas album is! What are your favorite Christmas albums?