Experimenting with Self-Publishing: 30 Days Later

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I have the rights back to three of my books so I decided, rather than let those manuscript files collect dust on my flash drive (one of two flash drives where I keep copies of everything I’ve written since 2006) I decided to experiment a little with this whole “hybrid author” thing. The good (or evil, depending on your writer’s politics) about Amazon is they have the super easy system to sell ebooks called Kindle Direct Publishing. You’ve heard of them, right? It’s where you can buy everything from steamy erotic fiction with brilliant or brilliantly terrible cover art to some pretty damned fine book by authors doing the same thing I’m doing, publishing their old stuff.

Anyway, I thought to give it a shot as an experiment – mostly to see if anyone was paying attention, but also to see sales of my stuff would stimulate the sales of my two books published by my now defunct publisher Strange Chemistry Books. (PSSTTTTT, If anyone from the aforementioned defunct publishing house is reading this … I want my rights back please so I can self-publish POLTERGEEKS & STUDENT BODIES. I suspect the rest of the authors do too. So, pretty please with whipped cream on top?)

Well, here’s what I’ve learned:

1) I’m selling a lot of my self-published book, MARSHALL CONRAD.

2) I don’t think its sales have done anything for my two Strange Chemistry titles as both are in the basement for Amazon Rankings.

Here’s the breakdown:

Basically I’ve sold like, 150 copies of MARSHALL CONRAD since June 26th and a handful on Kindle Unlimited.

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So … what does this all mean?

I have no idea, actually. I mean, I’m tickled to death the book seems to be selling but I suspect it has more to do with the 99¢ price point than how awesome the book is. I’m almost afraid to raise it to, say, $1.99 for fear of plummeting in the rankings. Yesterday, Sunday July 27th, it got as high as 11,525 for the Amazon Best Sellers rank. For the record, I have never, ever ever ever been that high in the rankings on Amazon as a professional author.

Fellow Strange Chemistry authors Larua Lam (who got a six figure book deal last week, and I can’t think of a more deserving author because she’s freaking awesome) has just self pubbed some stuff that looks to be doing well and Kim Curran just self pubbed a book called GLAZE which looks like it’s holding its own.

I’m still trying to figure this whole hybrid author thing out. I’ve got two completed projects that need to find a home in the traditional publishing world. I’d like to wrap up my POLTERGEEKS series with a third and final book, but the dismal sales right now for the two Strange Chemistry titles aren’t exactly inspiring me to start writing  the project, tentatively entitled END GAMES.  (The Kindle sales for both titles sold way better than the print ones, by the way)

Now that I’m selling some books (albeit for peanuts) I’m afraid of dropping in the Amazon rankings if I raise the prices even though I am now getting fan mail for a book I wrote in 2006 which first appeared in print four years ago. I’m even getting requests to write another Marshall Conrad book.

Interesting times. Even more interesting is that MARSHALL CONRAD was on Smashwords for three weeks and didn’t sell a single copy, so I decided that since nobody was buying it over there, I’d throw my lot in with Kindle Unlimited to see what happens.

Here’s what I know: I just want to write freaking books, that’s all. I don’t want to worry about formatting the damned things for Kindle Direct Publishing and I don’t want to worry about the rankings or what to price it at. I don’t want to worry, period. I just want to write and write and write because my head is swimming with ideas and every minute I’m wearing the publisher’s hat is a minute I’m distracted from what I love to do more than anything.  (Well, scratch that. I love to hang out with my wife more than anything, so writing comes in at a close second.)

I’ve also self-pubbed another book called SHADE FRIGHT. It ain’t selling  worth a damn which kind of sucks because I think the cover art I came up with kicks ass. Why isn’t it selling when it’s priced the same as MARSHALL CONRAD? Could be that it is competing with a jillion other paranormal fantasy novels with a strong female protagonist. Or maybe because I’m a dude, or maybe the book sucks or … DAMN IT! I JUST WANT TO WRITE BOOKS!!!

You see my dilemma. Well, onward, I guess. I hope I can find a home for my two completed projects and I wish there were two of me – one to write and one to deal with the publisher side of things because it’s a hell of a lot of work, I have a day job and I still need to deal with the other stuff that authors do.

Happy Monday.

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Superhero/Urban Fantasy Fusion for only 99¢

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Why yes, I’m conducting a book promotion experiment and I’m a little bit of a mad scientist right now because book marketing is serious voodoo science. Nevertheless I am undaunted because I have this crazy idea that book lovers, particularly urban fantasy book lovers might want to spend 99¢ ($1.07 CDN) on a self published little project I call MARSHALL CONRAD – A Superhero Tale. Behold the BIG GIANT COVER ART:

 

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Pretty cool cover, hey? So you can buy this lovely 80K word thriller for less than a cup of coffee at Tim Horton’s or Dunkin’ Donuts if you’re American. You can get the Kindle version here or you can get the epub version over at Smashwords.

Oh, you probably want to know what it’s about … well it’s a self-pubbed version of my 2011 novel UNSEEN WORLD. It’s no longer in print & I have my rights back to the work so instead of letting the manuscript collect dust on a flash drive, I decided to throw it out to the universe. Here’s the blurb:

Someone is murdering the good people of Greenfield, and there’s talk of a serial killer on the loose. Finding him should be an easy job for a guy with super-powers; too bad he keeps falling out of the sky. If Marshall Conrad has any hope of ending the killing spree, he’ll need a little help from a morbidly obese shop keeper (who just happens to be a witch) and a hard-drinking senior citizen with a penchant for lifting heavy objects… like auto- mobiles. Corrupt cops, ogres, thirty-six-year-old Siamese cats, and of course, the netherworld. All in a day’s work when you’re trying to save your city from a simmering evil that’s about to be unleashed.

So there you go! I hope you can part with 99¢ – a small amount to pay for a blast of a summer read featuring a cantankerous superhero, May-December romance, a granny with superhuman strength and a thirty six year old cat named Walter.

Enjoy!

 

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Merde!

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Dear Readers:

Well today sucks on an interplanetary scale. As you’ve probably heard by now, my publisher Strange Chemistry Books is closing its doors less than two years after its official launch. I heard the news about thirty minutes before the news release hit the wire. Lots of mixed feelings right now – from anger to despair to “@#$% it, move on”. I’ll classify this as a setback, one of many in my publishing journey. I’m grateful for my two book deal with them. I’m grateful for having traveled to England twice and to have connected with so many amazing authors, bloggers and friends. It’s been a hell of a ride.

But this is a business and I have my own thoughts as to why they’ve closed their doors, I’m not going to air them because negative crap sucks and today sucks big time. So, now what?

Will There Be A 3rd Poltergeeks Book?

Maybe. I’d like to wrap up the series but who knows? Kind of low on the priority list right now, sorry gang.

Will You Starve?

Nope. I have a day job

When Is Your Next Book Coming Out?

Nothing coming out yet. Submissions, and all. You’ll be the first to know, of course, as I will shout it from the rooftops when I have a new book deal.

Are You Okay?

Yes. I’m massively bummed out, but okay. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I’ve been seriously trying to make a go as an author since my soon-to-be 24 year old son was in training pants. I’m in it for the long haul.

Who Will Win The World Cup?

Germany.

 

I want to thank everyone who is a fan of my two books with Strange Chemistry. You guys are awesome. I want to thank all the fabulous authors and bloggers I met for all their support and cheering on. I want to thank Jenny Savill who got me the deal in the first place and I want to thank my wife Cheryl for having been such a massive, incredible support for me as I try to make a go of it.

Onward, yo.

Sean!

 

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For Mum

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Hey, Mum! How’s it going? Two weeks have passed since your big 80th birthday celebration. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and rather than send you a card, a book or some flowers, I thought you’d like to see the little video I shot for the surprise family reunion on April 26th. It’s great to see you smiling – hell, it’s great to see everyone smiling. We’re all much older now, a bit threadbare, some of us. We’re wrinkled, balding, a few pounds overweight. Your youngest is 42, your oldest is 58. There are three generations in this video – that’s pretty amazing.

We’ve all had our ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies and you know what? We’re all making it in life. I think you should know that we couldn’t have done it without you. I couldn’t have, for example, become a professional author without you telling me to stick my nose in a book time and time again as I grew up. And I think you should know that your love of reading rubbed off on all of us, I think. Or most of us, anyway.

80 years is a milestone for sure. You’re still reading books. You’re still cheering me on in all my endeavours. You’re a sounding board, a quiet listener and most importantly, you’re the wisest person I know. So enjoy the video and remember – we all love you very much. Got it?

 

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A Message To The Grade 9 Students at Trenton High School

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(Action shot of  obscure Canadian author talking to teens)

Hey Gang!

Thanks for inviting me to talk up books and publishing and my journey as an author. It was awesome to meet all of you and to answer your questions. Thanks for the HUGE card, the gift card to Timmies and the Werther’s Chocolate Toffee which every author on the planet knows can be life-sustaining fuel when you’re knee-deep in the act of book writin’!

I just wanted to leave you a note from a guy who actually spent time in Grade 9 back when Dinosaurs ruled the earth.

If you’re reading … read more. It’s all out there for you to discover. Everything that humanity ever said, ever thought of or might be thinking … it’s there in books. It doesn’t matter what you’re reading because the great thing about books is the odds are heavily in your favour that you’re gonna find a book or two or twenty or a hundred that will connect with you on a level that you’re going to carry with you all your life. And there are authors dying for you to read their stuff! We want to take you on a journey that will transport you through time and space … or will challenge you to consider your place in the world. The people you are right now … right this very minute … and the people you’re about to become.

If you’re writing … write more. Write every day. Write every chance you get. Your word processor, your pad of paper … whatever you choose to write a story, your thoughts, your hopes and dreams and ambitions … it’s a big blank canvas waiting for you to fill up with words that paint a picture. that speak to the heart, that have the ability to transform you and those who read what you’ve written. Writing … serious writing is a love affair. It’s a passion. It’s what’s constantly on your mind because you’re always generating ideas for stories yet to come. So just write. Just keep writing. Tell. Your. Story. Tell as many stories as you can. Create worlds, characters and events that will make a reader stand up and cheer, drop down on their knees and weep, inspire, dream … you name it.

Very simply … make your writing “un – put – downable”.  Just keep at it.

And if you’re not reading … give it a test drive. Kick the tires. Take it for a spin. Wander around a book store or the library. I guarantee … I ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE that if you do this … you’re gonna find something to read that will absolutely rock your world to the very core. And it might even make you want to read another book or possibly even inspire you to try your hand at writing.

Thanks again for having me. It was a fantastic visit. You guys asked awesome questions and hey … thanks for reading my book!

Take good care!!!

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