News about book 5

I’m super excited to report that the first draft of LEGEND (The Arinthian Line, book 5) has been completed this morning. It clocks in around 234,000 words (about 15% longer than CLASH).

The next stage is editing, followed by prep and launch. If all goes well, you should have the final installment in The Arinthian Line by Christmas.

It’s been an emotional ride with this book. Years of work came to a head, and somehow, it all resolved in a way that made me feel personally content as someone living in that world five days a week (could you imagine?). Yet in many ways I feel like one of the luckiest people alive; I get to adventure alongside Augum, Bridget and Leera for a living.

If you want to receive an email notice when LEGEND launches, simply click here. I don’t email often, as my subscribers can attest. I’ll still keep you posted though.

Email / msg me anytime, I love hearing from readers. All my best,

Sever

VALOR (The Arinthian Line, Book 3) released!

Fantasy book cover valor arinthian line high young adult best selling series epic warlock witch wizard augum bridget leera book 3 three third magic, adventure, quest, castles, wizards, coming of age, saga series story about like apprentice sword and sorcery warlocks witches action knights kingdom legend myth thriller tale hero mystery love youth dragon teen teenage villain lord kids telekinesis fun twelve thirteen fourteen year old fifteen childrens boys aged ages novel paperback genre kingdom third three aged ages to 11 12 13 14 15 16 Fantasy book cover valor arinthian line high young adult best selling series epic warlock witch wizard augum bridget leera book 3 three third magic, adventure, quest, castles, wizards, coming of age, saga series story about like apprentice sword and sorcery warlocks witches action knights kingdom legend myth thriller tale hero mystery love youth dragon teen teenage villain lord kids telekinesis fun twelve thirteen fourteen year old fifteen childrens boys aged ages novel paperback genre kingdom third three aged ages to 11 12 13 14 15 16 Fantasy book cover valor arinthian line high young adult best selling series epic warlock witch wizard augum bridget leera book 3 three third magic, adventure, quest, castles, wizards, coming of age, saga series story about like apprentice sword and sorcery warlocks witches action knights kingdom legend myth thriller tale hero mystery love youth dragon teen teenage villain lord kids telekinesis fun twelve thirteen fourteen year old fifteen childrens boys aged ages novel paperback genre kingdom third three aged ages to 11 12 13 14 15 16 Fantasy book cover valor arinthian line high young adult best selling series epic warlock witch wizard augum bridget leera book 3 three third magic, adventure, quest, castles, wizards, coming of age, saga series story about like apprentice sword and sorcery warlocks witches action knights kingdom legend myth thriller tale hero mystery love youth dragon teen teenage villain lord kids telekinesis fun twelve thirteen fourteen year old fifteen childrens boys aged ages novel paperback genre kingdom third three aged ages to 11 12 13 14 15 16

Apprentice warlocks Augum, Bridget and Leera have reunited with their legendary mentor, Anna Atticus Stone. But her epic battle with the diabolical Lord of the Legion has taken a toll, and now she suffers from a deadly arcane fever. To revive her, Augum will have to earn the respect of a warrior people … by facing his childhood tormentors.

Meanwhile, Augum and Leera’s feelings for each other are complicated by the upcoming Star Feast, a magical midnight dance to mark Endyear. Their revelry will have to be short-lived, however, for a perilous quest beckons—the trio must infiltrate an ancient castle that will pit them against enemies old and new, while testing every ounce of their skill and courage

KINDLE    |   PAPERBACK

Thank you all so much for your patience and support. If you’re a fan of the series, consider sharing this post on Facebook / Twitter / other social media. Thank you so much :)

All my best,

Sever

Sneak peek ;)

Coming soon …

orb3_500x500

The Arinthian Line Book 3 (title TBA)

Title: To be announced, (The Arinthian Line, Book 3)
Cover and blurb reveal date: To be announced (subscribe to get a notice of release as well as a 24 hour window to purchase book 3 at a steep discount)
Release date: To be announced

Arcane (The Arinthian Line, Book 1)
Riven (The Arinthian Line, Book 2)

Author’s thoughts: Who releases a book with a winter cover in the middle of summer? I know, crazy, but I figure you’d want it sooner than later. This one is packed with adventure; Augum, Bridget and Leera are tested unlike ever before. I’m ultra excited, and I really can’t wait to get it to you. Not long to wait now!

Thank you to each and every single one of you for your amazing support. It means so much to me :)

All my best to you and those you love,

– Sever
Want to get involved? Join my Advance Review team

I interview the gun-toting, root’n & toot’n, bestselling action and adventure author Wayne Stinnett

Thought I’d switch it up. Was intending on interviewing only sci-fi fantasy authors, but instead (insert pointless reasons). It’s my blog, and I do what I want to, dooo what I want to, you would do it too if it happened toooo yoooouuuu.

Ok, enough nonsense. At attention, folks, because we have a bona fide marine in the house, and he’s brought his guns along, making the crew nervous (my cat). Wayne Stinnett is the author of the bestselling action & adventure Jesse McDermitt series, and he’s about to undertake the toughest assignment given to man—answering my stupid questions.

Thanks for being here, Wayne. Have a seat on the, uh, vinyl cushion there. Sorry for the rips and stains. I promise I don’t have bed bugs. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how commanding is your presence when you walk into a room? Do you make people nervous with a thousand yard stare?

Thanks, Sever. Though I write action/adventure for a living, I’m a long time sci-fi fan. Was really saddened to hear about Leonard Nimoy yesterday. Know how you can tell which one in the Enterprise landing party is gonna get killed? It’s the guy in the red shirt. First off it’s Marine, not marine. One is a title, that once earned can never be taken away. The other is anything in sea water, which a lot of times can be Marines. I’m not a very big guy, so my physical presence is often ignored. If I need to get their attention, though, I have my ways.

If I were to trespass onto your property, how quickly would I get gunned down? Describe the encounter.

The perimeter is booby trapped, you won’t get on the property. If, however, you manage to slip past the claymores, punji pits and bouncing Bettys, you’d be silently greeted by a 110 pound wolf/chow hybrid. My scope is zeroed at two hundred meters and the bang stick under it is accurate to eight hundred. Trust me, there’s nothing here worth the effort.

*Takes careful notes.* All right, cancelling operation free-the-chicken-coop. You hunt rabbit and deer. Explain yourself to the tree-huggers in the crowd.

Rabbits are a waste of ammo, not enough meat and ammo is expensive. Imagine the deer population if there weren’t any hunters. They’d thrive and reproduce like crazy right? Until they reach the tipping point, when the food supply can’t support the population. Then only the strongest would survive, while the weaker ones die a slow death of starvation. Not very pretty. Hunters are our first line of conservationists. We have bag limits which are governed by current population and strictly enforced. Now, if I really want to piss off the tree-huggers, I’ll show up at their rallies in my gas guzzling pickup with a 460 cubic inch engine that gets 9 miles per gallon. Hey, if their Prius breaks down, I can put it in the bed. I’d just have to put the deer carcass in their trunk though.
 
Ever surreptitiously slip your kill into them pesky vegetarian dinners?

That would necessitate my dining with them. I’ve met one or two, pasty skinned, weak vegetarians, smelling of patchouli. No room at my table.
 
What’s your favorite weapon? Is it under your pillow?

Hmmm, that’s difficult to answer. Each has its own place. For long range shooting, I like the Remington 700, it’s a real nail driver. Under my shirt is a Sig Sauer P226 semi-auto for personal protection. For home protection, you can’t do better than a pump action shotgun. The sound of a shell being chambered will usually clear the house of home invaders. When the zombie apocalypse (that’s what I call a government takeover) happens, my AR15 with multiple 30 round magazines will always be close by. By far, the most deadly weapon in my arsenal rests on TOP of my pillow.
 
Let’s get serious for a moment. What are you proud of?

All kidding aside? Okay. Gotcha. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. I’m proud of a lot of things, but my family ranks at the very top. My wife and I have four great kids and four of the cutest grand-kids. Without their support, I never would have published my first book, let alone six. I’m also very proud of having served in the greatest military the world has ever known. The camaraderie shared between warriors isn’t akin to anything else. When a man says, “I got your back” it really means something. He’s saying he’ll lay down his life if need be.
 
Is there anything in life you’d like to do over again?

Everyone has regrets. I often catch myself wishing I’d stayed in the Corps for a full thirty year ride. But if I had, odds are I wouldn’t have my kids today. One thing for certain, if I could change just one thing, I’d go back to ’88 and tell the younger me, “Don’t you dare quit writing!” It took me twenty-five years to try again and now I’m living what I call a dream. For 13 years, I was gone most of the time, hauling freight all over the country and talking to my family over the phone. Now, I can kneel by my daughter’s bed and pray with her, take her to school and pick her up every day, and sleep in my own bed with my wife.
 
How would you describe the Jesse McDermitt series to a new reader in the genre?

I wish they’d break up action/adventure into two separate genres. The complaint I most often receive comes from action junkies, saying that my books don’t have enough action. I call my books Caribbean Adventure sea stories. True, there’s not cover to cover action. What I try to convey to the reader is the essence of living, working, laughing and loving in what most would call paradise, the Florida Keys. My books are full of every day stuff that folks in the Keys both suffer and enjoy. Plenty of water, a few laughs and some romance, but mostly it’s the Conch spirit I try to convey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Conch. That’s a birthright that only those born in Monroe County, Florida can claim. I’m a waterman and have lived and worked in the Keys, as well as Mexico, the Bahamas and the Lesser Antilles. I’ve earned a living from the sea. I spent a year in Jamaica one weekend, but that’s a whole different story.
 
What type of person is NOT going to enjoy your books? How do you stop them from reading? With a cattle prod?

The aforementioned action junkies, primarily. There’s a very laid back, island lifestyle in what I write, but in the end there will be guns and explosions. Oh, and in the case of the last two books, an exotically beautiful and hypersexual woman. Sorry, had to throw that in there. I’ve had romance fans read my books and like them. Same with mystery and thriller fans. One salty old retired Marine Sergeant Major wrote to me and said he finished Fallen Palm while sitting in a tree stand with a high powered rifle across his lap, but had to climb down because his eyes were sweating too much to see down the shooting lane. Marines don’t cry, our eyeballs sweat. Greatest compliment I ever had, right there.
 
Why did you start writing? Was it a dare?

Actually, it was boredom. In the late eighties I was working as an estimator for a construction company. I wrote a few computer programs to speed up the process and wound up with more time than work. Since I was salaried, I was required to stay the whole day, so I started making up stories and typing them up on the company computer, storing them on a floppy disk. I thought they were great, but judging from the 47 rejection letters from publishers and agents, I was in the minority. A few years ago, my wife found a hand written part of a manuscript and told me it was good. She encouraged me to take up that long dormant dream of being a writer and try again. So I dug out the floppies and searched the internet for an antique computer I could bring the stories up on. With her encouragement I started writing again. She’s been a wealth of inspiration and motivation. And quite a few ideas, as well.
 
You’ve been around the publishing block. Give us blundering noobs the top four mistakes new authors make.

Not everyone is going to like your work, you’re going to get some one stars. Accept it before you hit that publish button.
Your first book’s not going to be a million seller. Sure it’s happened, but the odds are so astronomical as to be zero. Don’t dwell on it, keep writing.
Don’t waste time, money and energy trying to get people to read that first book. Your friends and family will, but the reading public want more. See #2.
Creative minds don’t like numbers. They’re restricting. Learn how. Once you have a couple or three books published you’re going to have to market them. No way around it. Learn how to advertise and market your work, start a mailing list before the first one’s published. That’s the single best marketing tool you’ll have.
 
What do you think the next year in publishing will look like?

If I knew the answer to that one, it’s a sure bet that I wouldn’t share it. I really think more and more traditionally published authors will regain the rights to their books and self-publish. They’ll still be able to charge more, being household names, but they’ll keep a lot more themselves.
 
Name one publishing argument you’re sick of hearing.

Self-published books lack quality. I’m so sick of hearing that I could punch a wall. Sure, since anyone can upload their stuff and publish it, there are quite a lot of low quality works out there. It doesn’t mean that every indie’s books are crap. There are a lot of very fine writers who look at traditional publishing and then look at doing it themselves and they see that they can make just as much per book as the big guys, but keep the price so much lower for their readers. There’s a lot of traditionally published work out there that isn’t worth a crap too.
 
Punchable face. Name one. Explanation optional.

Michael Koslowski. I mean, have you seen this guys face? And the venomous spew that comes out of it? At first I was angry over some of the things he said. Sure I read his blog, so do you, I bet. But, you know what? That blog is his only claim to fame. I looked on Amazon for his work and he has written a few books. I think his highest ranked book is in the 200,000 range. He’s nothing more than a hack who couldn’t cut it as a traditional author and rather than get off his butt and do it himself, he ridicules those that do. Loser!
 

What’s next for you?

One of my favorite south Florida writers is about to release his 22nd novel in a very successful traditionally published series and not long ago he released his first book in a spinoff series. It’s a great story and he’s now followed it up with two more equally awesome books. I want to do that. My dad always told me, “Look at what successful people do and do that.” So, in writing my last book, I set the stage for one of four characters to be the main character in a new series. I finally decided on which one last week. While I’m writing the 7th book in the Jesse McDermitt Caribbean Adventure Series, I’m slowly developing the first book in the Charity Styles series. Charity is a minor character in four of my six books and in this new series she will become a covert assassin, responsible only to her own moral convictions and controlled (somewhat) by a very highly placed American government official. I’ve actually finished the first chapter. While I’m putting all my efforts into the new McDermitt book, as you well know, you can get burnt out pretty easy. So, I switch over and write a couple hundred words to the other book, in essence writing two at the same time. I figure that by the time “Fallen Honor” comes out in June, I’ll be more than halfway through “Merciless Charity”. How’s that for a juxtapositional title? I hope to finish Merciless Charity in July. Then I’ll be taking a couple of months off to move and start building a new house near the ocean. The old man is returning to the sea.

Semper Fi,

Wayne Stinnett
Author of the Jesse McDermitt series
www.waynestinnett.com

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Three quick notes regarding Riven (The Arinthian Line, book 2)

1) First off, thank you to everyone who bought Arcane (The Arinthian Line, book 1), it’s done extremely well, better than I ever hoped, and continues to be a top 10 Amazon bestseller in its fantasy genre.

2) I’m accepting applications to my Advance Review Team, details here. Spots are limited, but if you get in, there’s some cool bonuses (read the new releases before everyone else does, get them for free, even score some limited edition, personalized swag).

3) Riven (The Arinthian Line, book 2) is scheduled to be released sometime at the end of this month, but only subscribers to my mailing list will get the 24 hour “soft launch” window, when the book will be 99 cents. You can subscribe here.

An interview with the accomplished Chris Fox, author of the amazon kindle besteller No Such Thing As Werewolves

All right, Chris, the mic is in your face, the camera lights are on, and you have one sentence to introduce yourself to an audience of gazillions. What’s the quick version of your story, man?

I ended up on the back of a milk carton at age 8. A year ago I developed an iPhone application that was used to scope Stephen Colbert’s ear. I’ve also published a novel called No Such Thing As Werewolves. You’re probably expecting me to say ‘one of these things is a lie’. Nope, all true. I’ve led a very interesting life.

If you became very rich, what would a typical day look like for you?

Very similar to what it looks like today. I wake up, work out and then write. When I’m finished I go to work at a startup called CellScope, developing the aforementioned app. Eventually CellScope will get acquired, after which my day will look largely the same. The locale might change though. There’s a lot of travel I want to do, from Cairo to Lima. I’m fortunate that both my passions can be done from anywhere in the world.

What’s been your greatest challenge in life?

Limiting beliefs. When I was a kid I decided I wasn’t a good athlete, and that I’d never be a good dancer. So I didn’t even try. A few years back I picked up a book called Talent is Overrated, which reversed my outlook overnight. I enrolled in a dance class and am a pretty good dancer now. I also became a power lifter, which never would have crossed my mind before. I was a self-avowed geek and just assumed I could never be good at those things. Imagine my surprise when I found out practice really does make perfect.

In 2010 I joined Toastmasters and became an accomplished speaker. I set the bar a little higher and taught myself iPhone development. At the time I was working in a dead end collections job, so that was quite a step up. Especially since I’m a JC dropout. My next challenge is writing and *crosses fingers* so far so good.

I just finished reading No Such Thing As Werewolves and was struck by how much of a fun cross it is between Tomb Raider, Stargate, and Predator. What was the inspiration behind it?

I’m totally going to cheat. I wrote this blog post  about the inspiration. For those who want a shorter answer I wanted to re-invent werewolves. To do that I took a Sci-Fi approach, which is unusual as most werewolves are fantasy. It required me to explain things like how it’s possible genetically for them to change, why moonlight affects them and how the disease spreads.

Anthropology and Egyptology are also huge passions of mine, and I’ve long wondered if there were cultures that predated recorded history. What if they were far more advanced than we are? No Such Thing As Werewolves answers that question. It’s my attempt to make werewolves not just scary, but also logical and understandable.

How would you describe your book to a new reader in the genre?

It’s like Indiana Jones went through the Stargate and ended up in Aliens Versus Predator.

What type of person is NOT going to enjoy your book?

People who don’t enjoy intricate plots with multiple points of view. There are a fair number of characters, and more science than you’ll find in your average fantasy novel.

How much of you is in Ahiga, that bad-ass werewolf?

You might call him a reflection of me. He’s sacrificed everything to secure the future of our species, only to see it all wasted when he makes a single mistake. His name is from the Navajo language, and I spent a little time on a reservation as a child. I drew on those experiences as well.

What do you hate most about the publishing process?

Editing. I love the writing and sometimes the re-writing is fun, but the endless editing and proofing really wears on you after you’ve been working on a book for five months.

What do you love about indie publishing?

I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was six. My mother still has the first short story I wrote on that very day. As an adult I went the traditional publishing route and it took years to get my first short story out there. Once it was published I never even knew if anyone read it, much less liked it. With Indie publishing I put my own novel up with no gatekeeper to stop me. I’m able to see fan reviews, and even get the occasional fan mail. It’s surreal. So I guess the short answer is I love that indie publishing made it possible for anyone to become a novelist.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of publishing their book independently?

Read. Write. Publish. Repeat. Then sign up for the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast. Lastly, sign up for Kboards. Those three resources will give you a solid foundation in indie publishing, and you’ll be miles ahead of someone just tossing their book up and wondering why it isn’t selling.

What are you going to to do after you’ve won your second pulitzer?

Take Lisa on a cruise to Alaska while we still have glaciers.

Punchable face. Name one. Explanation optional.

Justin Bieber. No explanation needed.

As a Canadian, sorry. Our petitions to have him extradited failed. No one wanted him.
So What’s next for you?

I’ll be publishing Deathless Book 2: No Mere Zombie in late April. I still cannot believe I’ll have two novels and a novella out.

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By day Chris Fox is an iPhone developer architecting the app used to scope Stephen Colbert’s ear. By night he is Batman. Ok maybe not. He can dream though, right? Chris has been writing since he was six years old and started inflicting his work on others at age 18. By age 24 people stopped running away when he approached them with a new story and shortly thereafter he published my first one in the Rifter.  Check out his fiction at Chris Fox Writes.

No Such Thing As Werewolves on Amazon

No Such Thing As Werewolves on Goodreads

Fair and Honest Marketing Strategies for Indie Authors

Last updated March, 2015

I first posted this in Goodreads (twice actually, expanding it the second time). Some of it I posted on kboards too. All in all, I spent way too much time on it, so I might as well post it here–revised and updated–to benefit some of my author friends, especially those starting out.

To begin with, I firmly believe that in the world of self-publishing, we are each other’s mentors, and paying it forward is how we give back. The knowledge below, besides being earned through trial and error and sweat and tears, was also gathered whilst standing on the shoulders of gentle giants (you know who you are).

Book promotion is a tricky thing, and not all of book promotion is actually promoting. You need a strong foundation.

– First, the pillars of a strong release:

  1. A killer book. Goes without saying, right? Superbly edited, superbly written. The kind you can’t put down after starting. The kind strangers say they can’t put down. Exposition, passive voice, character depth, all that is well and truly behind you. If it isn’t, don’t read on. Fix this first. Without it, the rest is a complete waste of your time, and your time as a writer is precious. Your book is the foundation for your career. Start it right.
  2. A killer cover. People judge books by the cover. Thy just do and always will. Make sure it screams your genre. Make sure it’s professional and can compete with the big dogs. Make sure it has your target audience exactly in mind. A killer cover that misses its target audience usually fails. Best thing to test this is post it publicly without hinting genre, and ask who target audience is, age group, genre, etc.
  3. A killer blurb. This one is tough. My advice is to throw it up on a forum for public critique. Keep weaning it down until it’s a sculpted beauty.
  4. An optimized, strong set of keywords. Read Evenstar’s forum post to start.
  5. A killer first line and first chapter. Has to have a hook. Has to draw you in. Has to be snappy. No exposition. No passive voice. Throw it up for public critique in the appropriate forum and see what people say. When you get a “wow”, you’re ready.
  6. Flawless editing.
  7. Flawless formatting.

Now on to some basic marketing. Too many authors end up spamming people and (rightly) getting everyone annoyed, not to mention putting self-published authors in a bad light. Hence this list–thought it might help a little. Here are the methods that have worked for some writers, including myself (though mind you I have not tried all of them yet):

– Stagger your promotions/ announcements Goal is to have at least one sale a day after launch. Mailing list mailout day 1. Facebook post a few days later. Then Twitter, etc.

– Bookbub ad (you have to apply to get in, and it can be pricey, but has been known to work–I just got my second rejection from them actually, and expect more.)

– Netgalley review services (very pricey, and it’s just to garner industry reviews, but it too has been known to work for certain authors). Note that review services tend to be harsher than natural reviews (as reported by other authors).

– Google Adwords You’ll need the help of a pro to set it up. Make sure whoever does it though, only uses keywords that have to do with people looking for exactly your type of book. Can’t stress that enough. And have multiple ADs and keywords competing against each other. Set 5 bucks a day or more if you can afford it for those two weeks. Hint: just because a keyword is giving you clicks, doesn’t mean it’s translating into sales. You have to find keywords that have a low CPC, high CTR, but also are the likeliest to actually translate into sales (for example, “buy latest YA paranormal” is a keyword phrase someone used when looking to actually purchase a book. You get the point). Turn off extended networks too. Only pay per click, not impressions. I started a forum post on the subject here that I update now and then.

-Facebook advertising Specify by country, target carefully, and make sure you set you google multiple sources. Study it like an exam you need to pass to graduate.

– Goodreads advertising I just started this with no results yet, but as soon as I figure it out, I’ll post on it. RESULTS: A massive fail. Pulled my money out. I do not recommend until they update their architecture.

– Advance Review Team Build buzz by sending advance review copies to fans (if applicable)..

– Blog interview tour If you have a lot to say, this works very well. Always better to get to know the blogs and people behind those blogs first.

– In-person events (book signings, forums, etc.)

– ACX Audiobook (pricey but has been known to give consistent returns)

– Post on your blog consistently (I still struggle with this one) and with quality content

– Do a Goodreads book giveaway

– Setup social media accounts. If you haven’t already, create a public facebook author page, start a Twitter account, start a Pinterest visual inspiration account for your book (mine looks like this, for example: http://www.pinterest.com/sbronny/ ), and especially, make an author profile both on Amazon and Goodreads (as opposed to a regular user account). There are a slew of other social networks. Use as many as you like, but try to have them synched so you don’t post on each one, but rather from one source that posts to all of them (use Hootsuite to do just that).

– Twitter: Use Hootsuite to load up on Tweets for the day ahead (only regarding your book). Try to keep it to 2 robo tweets a day, else you’ll get muted by your friends. And retweet your friend’s important tweets (the tweets that you know are important to them), and don’t forget to have fun and interact. I started this thread looking for other twitter hints.

– Rafflecopter promo (you have to be clever with these, but they’re amazing for getting author signups and stuff).

– For the love of all that is sacred, create a mailchimp account and put the shortlink at the end of your book. Mailchimp allows your readers to receive emails from your newsletter, so you can inform them of your next release. It’s SOOO simple. For example, mine looks like this: http://eepurl.com/HIxzX And also make sure to give impetus to join the list by offering them either a free book, or a discount on the next one, or something like that. This is critical to making it work.

UPDATE: And regarding the newsletter, author Wayne Stinnett chimed in to me with the following: “Without doubt, a strong mailing list–with highly interactive readers–can take a release and launch it straight into the top 3000 within 24 hours. By interactive, I mean readers who write back after every monthly newsletter. I usually get a hundred return emails and answer every one of them. Visibility is key and those on your mailing list are already waiting to buy the next book. If they all do so at about the same time, it could be a couple of hundred sales on launch day. I do a soft launch at $0.99 that lasts only 24 hours. This is my way of thanking my loyal readers; but truth be told, I want that high debut rank. Fallen Mangrove debuted at just above #17K and broke the #2000 barrier within 12 hours of release. And the only ones that knew about it were my mailing list.”

UPDATE: Many of the successful self-published authors use paid advertising and loss-leaders to chart. Once the book charts high enough, Amazon’s internal marketing engines help boost it even higher. Don’t be afraid to experiment and lose a couple bucks to see what works. Simply publishing a book and hoping for the best is a recipe for disappointment. Combine your paid advertising with blogging, a mailing list, and the many other marketing strategies posted in the forum, and you stand a much higher chance of success. And if I recall correctly, Amazon’s algorithm penalizes zero sale days by halving the next days’ sales’ impact against ranking. I know, I worded that terribly, sorry. Essentially, for every day you get zero sales, the algorithm penalizes you by making it twice as hard to chart the next day. So four days in a row of zero sales makes it like sixteen times as difficult to chart when you make a sale.

This is why marketing is so crucial, and what makes a release so damn nail-biting. The point is to avoid zero sale days like the plague. The more time you spend planning your marketing, the better chance you have of avoiding this. A lot of authors push for writing more books and less marketing, and that’s a very fair point too, so you have to make up your own mind as to what to do.

– Setup a Call to Action button on your facebook page. It’s the one beside the “like” button. Have it point to your Amazon page, or to your mailing list, or even website. Here’s what mine looks like.

Gather reviews. The going rate is for every 100 people that read your book, one will review it. You can pay for reviews, but from my observations, they tend to be harsher. Try approaching select reviewers on Amazon / Twitter / Goodreads / blogs and offering them a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, following these Dos and Don’ts guidelines.

– Have your own author webpage with all your social media links at the top (examine mine here at severbronny.com for an example – notice the social media buttons and how easy it is to connect?) People are fundamentally lazy, so make it as easy as possible for them to connect with you on their favored platform.

– Kindle KDP Select adverts (you get your choice of one of two different kinds of promotional tools per three month signup. These are the best possible promos you can do, from what I hear). One is the FREE version and one is the countdown.

– Print cool business cards or bookmarks advertizing your book and give them out like candy. (Wait till you see my bookmark! *Swells with pride*)

– Throw a release party in your house or a pub. Invite the public and all your friends. Make it a fun thing, not just about selling books. Make it about CONNECTING to people. Those connections are key. Take photos. Blog about it.

– Hone your craft. Assume you’re a terrible writer. Read as many how-to-write books as you can, from trusted sources. I can’t recommend Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story enough, for example, or Elizabeth Lyon’s A Writer’s Guide to Fiction, or even Renni Browne’s Self-editing for Fiction Writers. There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. Quality is paramount, especially for your first book. It is the foundation of your brand and empire–woe be to your career and soul for presenting a weak product. I’m not saying I’m any good as a writer (that’s for the public to decide), but I am saying I damn well did my best to be prepared!

– Whatever you do, DO NOT PAY FOR FACEBOOK LIKES (or twitter followers for that matter). There’s already plenty of evidence out there indicating the likes come from places like India or other click-farms, and they actually reduce your exposure to your true followers because those fake likes do not pay attention to your page post-liking it.

– If you’re self-publishing, make DAMN sure your formatting is spotless. Use Guido Henckel’s guide

– Have a physical copy available.
It makes your book and brand look professional, and also makes the digital ebook price look like a bargain. It’s not as hard as I thought to format the thing for print, though you’ll have to do a little bit of research on how to do it right. I used createspace.

– If you have large page counts, for the love of all that is holy, check the template restriction page count on your print-on-demand printhouse! Turns out, at 5 x 8 inch format, max page count with createspace is 700 pages. Luckily I caught this in time and shrank my font size to 10 for book 1, so that it can stay uniform with book 2, which is twice as large. I have my wife to thank for spotting that one actually.

– Run one last spell check on the final product POST FORMATTING. Formatting can bungle a few words here and there, so it’s critical you do one last run-through before publishing. And for the love of all that is good, order a physical copy proof!

– If you can do formatting, you can avoid the mass distributors too (Smashwords, Draft2Digital, etc). Why give away 10% of your hard-earned income to a middle-man? From what I’ve been hearing from fellow kboarders, it’s not too hard at all to upload to Kobo, Apple, etc. It’s not for everyone, but it’s closer to the DIY route. Then again, it takes a lot of time, so …

– FRONTMATTER Have your copyright, Library Archives (CIP data in Canada), ISBN etc sorted out at least two months ahead of publishing. Do the same with your cover and proof copy (that last one I’ve failed at–MISERABLY).

– BACKMATTER Make sure there’s a call to action for that mailing list of yours. Give them a reason to sign up (free book, discount for next book, etc). I’m getting a 14% signup ratio versus sales for mine. I bought some of the bestselling author’s works and learned from their backmatter.

PUSH YOURSELF! My goal this year is to complete my series for 2015, and have at least four of the books published. That’s a substantial increase considering I’ve been working on them for three years without publishing a thing. And FYI: Goals only count as goals if there is a clear time frame and a clear outcome.

Respond to people! I learned this with my music, big time. When a reader sends you an email or a private message, it is CRITICAL for you to reply courteously. NEVER ANSWER REVIEWS. NEVER BE RUDE. From my experience, once you respond, you’ve increased the chances of winning them over for life by magnitudes.

– Don’t get too caught up with word count. This is a tough one, but I’ve discovered that writing for the joy of it is far more productive than trying to hit a daily word count (not to mention your output actually increases–just avoid looking at the actual total if you can). Find your joy and follow it. You make this all about performance and money and output, you’re going to be one miserable you-know-what. If you love what you do (which will be writing 75% of the time, barring release weeks), then it’s not a job at all, is it? It’s a passion.

Avoid browsing the internet while writing. Scientifically, your brain actually changes when surfing the net. Each link provides a small endorphin rush, and so you are rewarded for skipping around. This is not conducive to long bouts of steady concentration on one topic. This point requires discipline. And yes, I still battle with this one like an angry chihuahua.

– Read self-help books. Often the things that prevent us from succeeding have nothing to do with our craft or abilities. They’re subconscious self-defeating loops, or mannerisms passed down from our parents, or assumptions we made about ourselves, etc. This point is a lifetime study, but makes a huge difference. If it’s something you think you’re capable of, I highly recommend it. It’ll give you that edge over those incapable of bettering themselves. A transferable skill, so to speak.

BUT WHAT WORKS THE BEST?

Honestly, interacting with people works best, from my experience at least. Being interested in their lives and what they’re up to is key. You ever go to a party and there’s that one guy who just talks about himself? It gets tedious really quick. Communication is a two-way street, and the more you ask about the other person the better off you’ll be.

How do I know this? I used to have a music career, selling digital music all over the world. The fans that I interacted with honestly were the ones that were the most interested, and oddly enough, they were the ones that went out of their way to help me succeed. Some of them have now begun following my author career even.

Yes, it can be tiring sometimes, but people are actually interesting, if you take the time to listen to them. Too many authors (and especially musicians) make it about themselves, and it just gets in the way of their success.

Anyway, just my two cents. This list is by no means all-encompassing either. If you have a strategy that works, please feel comfortable to share :)

My results (post launch, first book):

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 10.03.27 PM_#1 HNR #1 US

2015_01_05_US_1687_rank_#1_#8_#9

Book 2 launch:
2015_02_27_Riven_rank_#3_#8_#10_1783
2015_02_21_Riven_hot_new_releases
My books:
Arcane (The Arinthian Line, Book 1) on Amazon
Riven (The Arinthian Line, Book 2) on Amazon

So what worked for you? Have any tips? :)

The Arinthian Line fantasy series book one cover reveal! #fantasy #rpg

At long last, after over three years of work, I can reveal the cover to Arcane: The Arinthian Line, book 1.

Arcane cover. The Arinthian Line series, book 1. Fantasy adventure.

Arcane print book cover. The Arinthian Line Series, book 1.

Warlocks before their time…

Fourteen-year-old Augum and friends Bridget and Leera dream of becoming warlocks. But with a kingdom in total chaos, it will take courage, sacrifice, and an iron will to make that dream come true.

The Lord of the Legion, a vicious tyrant, has overthrown the king in a relentless and murderous quest for seven mythic artifacts—and Augum’s mentor, the legendary Anna Atticus Stone, possesses one. While Augum struggles with demons from a painful childhood, a betrayal puts him, his friends, and his mentor through a harrowing ordeal that threatens to destroy them all … and change the course of history.

Arcane, the debut novel in the fantasy adventure series The Arinthian Line, follows three friends as they navigate an ancient abandoned castle, endure grueling training, challenge old mysteries, and learn that a bond forged in tragedy might just be the only thing to save them from a ruthless enemy.

97,000 words. Approximately 275  pages on electronic media, 409 on print.

The book will be released sometime this month. To receive an email of release and how to get yourself a copy, sign up here.

If you would like a free pre-release advanced copy in exchange for a fair review, email me at severbronny[insert at symbol here]gmail.com

Thank you kindly for your support, your advice, your friendship.

With warm regards,

Sever