Friday, June 29, 2012

Epublishing Week in Brief June 18-22nd 2012

ePublishing Week in Brief – June 18th to 22d, 2012 (via ePublish a Book)
ePublishing Week in Brief – June 18th to 22d, 2012 Fifty Shades’ proves sex sells, so publishers want more If 1967 was the summer of love, will 2012 be the summer of sex — at least on bookshelves? Readers are snapping up E.L. James’ Fifty Shades erotic trilogy faster than billionaire Christian…

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Google rolls in tablet market with Nexus 7 (via AFP)
Google unveiled its own branded Nexus 7 tablet computer Wednesday, challenging the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle Fire, and opening a window to its online shop for books, movies, TV shows and more. The new tablet will be priced at less than half the cost of the market-leading iPad and broadens Google…

No One Can Sell Your Book Like You Can, or How to Earn Real Money on Your Books

As the publisher of Sky Warrior Books and a bestselling author, I'm sometimes at a loss as to how authors think their books will do well without them lifting a finger to promote.  That somehow a press is going to publish their book and they're going to rocket right up the charts to bestseller.  Or that they'll publish the book themselves, and the book will skyrocket.

The reality is much grimmer.  Most books won't sell more than a couple hundred copies in their lifetime--including e-books--without the author's promotion.  When my e-book, Prophecy of Swords , hit the Amazon bestseller lists, the trade paperback had already sold close to 300 copies from the small press.  While that isn't a lot of sales, for a small press novel, it had beaten the odds considerably, since it held a hefty cover price of $18.  Even at the publisher's discount of $16, that's quite a bit to swallow for a first novel by a new-to-the-genre author.

How an Instant E-Book Bestseller was Born

When I put it up on Amazon by myself, after offering it to two other publishers, I decided to put it on sale at 99 cents.  Not a lucrative price, since I would only get 34 cents for each copy.  Still, I decided that I wanted to appeal to the widest audience possible who would buy a copy.  Three months later after I forgot about the book, I received a check for more than $100.  That meant that I had to have sold more than 350 copies.  I started paying attention.  I also started analyzing what I was doing to make money.  And I put my other two books on Amazon.  Within 6 months, I had sold more than 4500 copies.  Respectable for an experiment.

The Huckster, or No One Can Sell Your Book Like You Can
One of my friends and publishers calls me (affectionately) the huckster because I chat up everyone about my book.  The reality is no one can sell your book like you can.  Yes, I'm emphasizing this important point.  While your publisher loves your work, he or she can't possibly sell it like you can.  You can pay a publicist, but he or she has other clients too, and the publicist isn't as enthusiastic about your work as he or she is about your money.  You are more excited about your book than anyone else.  You know who your market is.  You can best describe your book.  You have the time, or should have the time to invest in promoting your wonderful novel.

Consider the book publishers.  Whether they're small, medium, or NY gigantic, they've all been hit with the economy.  The small and medium presses often have no publicity department, or the publisher or an editor is the publicity department.  This person is already swamped with work.  If the press has 10 to 20 authors, you're looking at vying for attention among 10 to 20 other authors vying for attention.  If the promotion budget is next to nothing (and many are), you're better off promoting the heck out of your book.  Even the big New York houses don't promote most authors.  If you get some promotion, congratulations!  You're a rarity.  Most big publishers throw the books to the proverbial wall to see what sticks.

Promote your book.  Let the publisher get your work looking professional and into the distribution channels; you need to promote.

Why Bother?

At this point, I can hear some authors grumble.  Why bother to promote when it should be the publisher's job?  Well, because if you don't promote, your book won't make any money. 

Let's take a look at Prophecy of Swords.  If it sold to a press like Sky Warrior Books and the publisher priced it at $5, Amazon gives 70% of retail as a general rule for ebooks, but sometimes the percentage drops to 35% for certain countries.  For simplicity sake, let's use the 70 percentage and say the ebook earns $3.50 a sale.  My contracts to authors are at 50%, so the author will make $1.75 a book.  For every hundred books, the author would make $175.  In six months, if the book sold 4500 copies, we're looking at the author making $7850!  I don't know about you, but most authors I know wouldn't turn down that cash.  New York numbers?  Maybe not, but you're making more than most authors published by New York presses in less time.  Even at my $2.99 price point, you'd be making close to $5000.

So, if you don't promote, you're saying "I don't want five to ten thousand in six months."  Yes, you can hope it will be "discovered" along the way--and some books do get discovered by accident--but with more self-published and even spam books, (aka "private label" books), what's the chance of that?

How to Promote on a Shoestring Budget

Promoting doesn't have to be expensive or consume most of your time.  You don't have to live in con central or in a major city (I live in the wilds of Montana).  The reality is you can promote well without spending too much or taking up all your writing time.

People like putting a face or voice or email with a book.  Unless you already have a fan base who pick up your book and buy more the moment they see your latest book, the reality is that you have to build a base.  That means establishing a presence on the Internet.  And that means social media.

Yep, I hear all the time about authors who complain that they hate Facebook or Twitter or can't be bothered to keep a blog or update their website.

Is it worth $5000 or more in six months?  How about another contract with your publisher?

Basic Promotional Tools for Authors

The following suggestions are free except for your time and will net quite a bit of sales.

1.  A Website.  Not a placeholder--a real, honest-to-god website with links to your books on Amazon, Smashwords, and your publisher.  Have stuff about your books, excepts, cute pictures of your pets, and links to your blog.  Don't know how to program a website?  There are several companies with precanned website builders.  Oh, and buy a domain name.  Nobody wants an odd link that doesn't roll off the tongue.  You need to have a domain name so you can print them onto business cards and link to it from other social media sites.

2.  A Blog.  Yes, really.  I don't care if you post about your rotten day writing or your failed cheese souffle.  Establishing a presence on the web and that you're human will gather a fan base.  Visit other people's blogs and friend and link to them.  Keep it updated at least once a week.  (I'm bad about this, so do as I say, not as I do...)

3.  Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, LinkedIn and other social network accounts.  I don't want to hear that you "don't get" Facebook or you "don't want to be a twit."  Get the Net, dude.  Your future fans are there and want to hear from you.  Post interesting articles you've read.  Comment about other people's posts.  Friend other peoples' friends.  Talk about your cat.  Don't know how these work?  There are plenty of books and free online articles to help get you started. 

4.  Email Lists.  Whether you set up a free list (recommended) or pay to have precanned content, you can ask folks to sign up for your email list.  Offer specials, giveaways, and other goodies like free sneak previews into books that your fans can't get anywhere else.

5.  Exchange Promotional Favors.  There's nothing wrong with helping out other authors in exchange for helping you out.  Ask other authors to click the Facebook Like button on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, your blog and your website.  Ask them to select keywords for your books and click on what is available.  Offer to review each others' books with the provision that your review is honest.  Run a blog tour where each author is a guest writer for each other.

6.  Try Something Different.  Try podcasting your novel (if you have the rights to do so) or getting onto some e-radio shows.   You know what's different about you and your book--don't expect your publisher to know esoteric things about you that would net you a radio spot.  You may not have a large number of followers, but the interviews and podcasts will remain up a very long time.

Will This Really Earn Me Lots of Money?

As I always say, your mileage may vary.   It's no guarantee that you'll do as well as I did, but you never know.  It won't make a bad book sell well -- no one can fix that.  If you're diligent and work at this, you can start seeing results.  If you don't, you run the risk of having your books lost in the proverbial shuffle.  The good news is that most writers aren't doing this, hence their books fall into mediocrity.  Many authors fail to build fan bases, and then expect the book to sell itself.  No one will buy it if they don't know about it.  Now, get out there, because no one can sell your book like you can.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is there a market for enhanced eBooks?

Is there a market for “enhanced” eBooks? – Guest post by Leonard Feldman (via ePublish a Book)
Guest post by Leonard Feldman Shortly before Christmas, The Huntington Post published an interview with David Prichard, the President and CEO of Ingram’s Content Group. Ingram is the largest book distributor in the U.S. and operates Lightning Source, which is one of the largest publishing-on-demand…

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Upcoming Releases!

Sky Warrior Books is proud to announce two upcoming books.  One is by John Dalmas and is the rerelease of The Second Coming.  What if Jesus returned to earth as someone less recognizable, and more controversial?  John Dalmas explores a black Jesus who is surrounded by computer experts and media promotions.

Pat MacEwen offers an alternative world of stark urban fantasy, in Rough Magic, where the world of Faerie has collided with our own world, leaving our world with strange creatures that walk the streets, forced to survive in a world of cold iron.  When prostitutes from both races end up dead, only a cop and the former Queen of Air and Darkness can hope to solve the mystery and end the murders...

Interview with the Duchess of Fantasy

Alma Alexander, author of the international bestselling novel, Embers of Heaven, poured a cup of tea and sat down to chat with us.

When did you start writing and what inspired you to become a writer? 

As soon as I could hold a crayon, and before that I just made up stories in my head... I don't think anything "inspired" me to become a writer. I think that was something that was written into my genetic code before I was born. It's not what I DO, it's who I AM.

Tell your audience about the most interesting character you've written. Why were you drawn to that character? 

In "Embers of Heaven", which takes place in an alternate-China in the throes of an alternate Cultural Revolution, I wrote a romance between my protagonist and a character who is based on on the historical Mao tse Tung. Making Mao into a character who is not only sympathetic (for otherwise how could my principled heroine fall for him?) but also still true to the impulses which lead his historical avatar into the kinds of actions that he was on record as doing was... challenging. Instead of making him a great and glorious leader I chose to show his path to where he ended up, at the top of his world - following his own dreams and convictions according to the circumstances which had shaped him, making him flesh and blood and not just a palimpsest or a pale imitation or an anti-hero. In some ways - in a LOT of ways - he is absolutely the antithesis to everything that my protagonist, Amais, wants or believes in - but there are things that he believes in just as strongly, and what she falls in love with is that passion of belief. I think that in the end this is one of the most poignant and powerful love stories that I have ever written, and it's in no small part due to the clay I had to work with. I am hardly ever drawn to characters which are wholly black or white - and Iloh, my "Embers of Heaven" character", offered me enough shades of gray for me to build a wonderful world in his shadow.

Do you ever include your life experiences in your novels? If so, which one stands out?

Not often, no - but there was one which I took from my own life, directly, in the pages of "Midnight at Spanish Gardens". The scene where Olivia stands there holding a laboratory rabbit in the palm of her hand and is helplessly unable to make herself inject it with poison so that its effects can be studied - that was a watershed moment in my own science education and career. It was the moment that I understood how mismatched I and a laboratory really were. After that, it was words, for me - words all the way - working as an editor, and as a writer. It was the only thing I could do, the only road I could take. And it took that rabbit to point the way. So he finally made it into one of my stories.

Why are you called the Duchess? 

Because I am one, literally. My father's family was rewarded with a medieval Dukedom back in the 1300s, for some ancestor's valued services in a war taking place at the time. The Dukedom, of course, is long since defunct - but the coat of arms still exists, and I am the lineal descendant of that original fourteenth-century Duke. So, hence, I claimed the "title" and a number of Science Fiction conventions took to this with glee - and I practically get curtseys in hotel corridors from con attendees in the know who really enjoy the game.

Tell us a little known fact about you. 

I am addicted to coffee...? No, everybody knows THAT. Well, how about the fact that I once got to march into a con opening ceremony to the strains of the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars, all decked out as a transgender Doctor Horrible (who found out that his freeze ray had, eh, unexpected side effects...) - with Alexander James Adams, the amazing music-maker, playing Benny, who used to be Penny - oh, it gets complicated from here...

Check out Alma's books  Embers of Heaven and  2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens on Kindle.  For other formats, check out our books on Smashwords.   2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens is also available in trade paperback.

Contact Alma:
facebook fan page:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Sky Warrior Books E-Newsletter!

Well, folks, we've taken the plunge and started an email newsletter that will have free giveaways, discounts, sneak peeks, author interviews, news and other useful content found nowhere else except in our newsletter.  What's more, it's free to sign up and we never sell our subscriber list. 

Check it out.  You can sign up in the right hand column of this blog. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Great Pre-Denver Comiccon Sale!

Everything is on sale at Sky Warrior Books.  Everything.  We're offering UNTIL JUNE 12th 2012 our print books for 25% off and our e-books are a flat $1.99 each.  Flat rate shipping in Continental US for $5!

Here's how to get your discounts:

1.  Tweet (Twitter) or Share (Facebook) on your timeline this page and include us (@skywarriorbooks or facebook SkyWarriorBooks).

2.  Choose your books from the list below or look at our website at  Email me with your list at skywarrior3 AT gmail DOT com and send me money via paypal to that same address.  Be sure to add $5 for shipping for trade paperbacks -- no limit to books.

3.  Those with international addresses, email me directly for a shipping rate.

4.  Those with e-books will receive special codes to download your books.


Our Trade Paperbacks:

Title                                                     SALE PRICE                           Regular Price

2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens   $12.71                                        $16.95
The Feathered Edge                             $11.21                                        $14.95
Firedancer                                            $13.46                                        $17.95
Modern Sorcery                                  $10.46                                        $13.95
Windrider                                             $13.46                                        $17.95

Our E-Books: $1.99 EACH ALL FORMATS

2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens, Ard Magister, Dragon's Tongue, Embers of Heaven, The Feathered Edge, Firedancer, Gears and Levers 1, The Hounds of Ardagh, Modern Sorcery, One-Way Ticket to Midnight, Prophecy of Swords, Quick Shots, Runestone of Teiwas, Serpent Singer, The Spiral Tattoo, Windrider, Zombiefied