AETI: Free Kindle Book Promotion (#3)

Hi there. It’s May, which means it’s been around three months since I did my last free Kindle book giveaway. The last one went over super well — flatteringly so even — that I decided I wanted to do another one. I’m not expecting downloads anywhere close to what happened last time, however I figured I’d get my book out there for free.

So…if you haven’t picked up An Epilogue to Innocence on Kindle yet, you can get it for free from Monday, May 8th at midnight Eastern until Friday, May 12th at 11:59pm Eastern. For those of you who have already picked up the book and read it, thank you so much. If you would consider reviewing it on Goodreads or Amazon, that would be lovely. Better yet, if you could consider encouraging others to download the book (and spread the word about the event), that would be lovely too.

Oh…and if you’d like to financially support me and my writing, pick up a paperback copy of An Epilogue to Innocence while you’re at it. That’s your call though, of course.

Thanks so much for your time and attention.

AETI: Free Kindle Book Promotion (#2)

Oh hi. From February 20th through February 24th, 2017, you can pick up my debut book, An Epilogue to Innocence, for free on Kindle. For a more detailed explanation as to why I’m doing what I’m doing with this event, keep reading.

If you got An Epilogue to Innocence from this event, please consider writing a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Also, regardless of if you picked up the book during the event, please share this post with your friends and encourage them to get the book for themselves.

Around six months ago, I did a free Kindle book promotion for my book, An Epilogue to Innocence. Seeing as it had been almost a half of a year since the last one I did, I figured now was a great time to do another giveaway. I’d been wanting to do one for a while, however a recent piece of polling[1] that came out made me feel like now was as good of time as any.

A Pew Research study released in November 2016 found that about a quarter (26%) of Americans haven’t read a book in the last twelve months. That number goes up if you’re specifically looking at black Americans (29%), rural Americans (32%), Hispanic Americans (40%), and Americans with a high school diploma or lower (40%).

I’m not saying my book is the best book for people to read. There are amazing authors out there that write great, inclusive, thoughtful fiction that everyone should read. Hell, I need to do a better job of representing people of color, those with disabilities, the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups in my work going forward. While I made an effort with An Epilogue to Innocence, there’s definitely a long way I have to go.

That said, it’s hard to continue a career in writing if I cannot fund it. While the free book event will not provide me any profit, my hope is that it can help drive paying customers who want to buy my book to the places where they can buy it. I’ll keep writing — and keep working to both improve my writing and make my writing more inclusive — regardless of the outcome of this event. I’ll do the same regardless of my book sales prior to now or going forward. But any help that you, or others, could give me, would be greatly appreciated.

What I Learned Self-Publishing

Hi — Here to find links to buy An Epilogue to Innocence? Click below to buy.

Physical Book: CreateSpace | Amazon
Kindle Book: Amazon

It’s been a little under a month since An Epilogue to Innocence published via CreateSpace/Amazon. It’s been quite a whirlwind of a month. Though admittedly much of what caused that month to go by had nothing to do with my book, there’s still been a lot of excitement and craziness I’ve had to deal with in that regard. I felt like now is as good of time as any to compile some of the thoughts that have gone through my mind since publishing.

I’ve put this post together in a Q&A format. We’ll see if it helps readability (not to mention my own organization of thoughts. Some of the items below are things I’ve learned myself, while others are interesting questions I’ve had people ask me. Those that have been asked to me are denoted with an asterisk (*) at the beginning of the question.

Was the publishing process as hard as you thought it’d be?

Yes and no. I was pleasantly surprised when Eat Your Serial Press originally picked up AETI for publishing. However, with them going out of business earlier this year, it threw quite a wrench into things. Kat Argo was extremely helpful in helping me get up to speed on what I needed to do in order to self-publish.

The majority of the leg work I ended up needing to do prior to publishing was formatting the book for CreateSpace/Kindle. That said, I feel like I’ve had to be a non-stop shill in order to sell the books I have so far. I’m pretty sure most of my Twitter followers hate me about now.

You said once that you want to break even on editing costs from your book. How many more copies do you need to sell?

It depends. I make different amounts of profit depending on if the book is sold via Kindle, via Amazon, or via CreateSpace. On top of that, it make different profit amounts if my books are sold internationally versus in the USA and Canada. As of August 6, 2016, here’s approximately the number of books I need to sell to break even.

  • All copies sold through Kindle (US): 17 copies
  • All copies sold through Amazon (US – Physical copies): 16 copies
  • All copies sold through CreateSpace (US – Physical copies): 9 copies

That number goes up if the books are bought internationally or are bought on a discount, such as the Kindle Countdown deal I ran on July 27th.

*When is the next Kindle Countdown deal you’ll be doing?

I had planned to do one every month to give away the Kindle version of my book for free. The one I did in July netted 11 copies given away for free. Unfortunately, until I get to my break even point, I don’t know if I can do the giveaway deals once per month. I will likely do the next one in either late August or early September though, as I said I would.

*Will you sign a copy of my book?

This has come up FAR more than I expected it ever would. I had two people total ask me prior to the release — one of those was in person. Since then, I’ve had 15-20 people as for signed copies. I’m going to work on getting a PayPal button up on the blog (probably at least…more on that in a coming post) if you want to purchase a signed copy. Price and what not to be determined.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned throughout this process?

I’ve been very surprised to see how many people are willing to help me and share news about my book out of the kindness of their hearts. There have been wonderful reviews written about the books, tons of shares of Facebook and Twitter posts…it’s been great. I don’t even know where to begin with thanking people. It’s just been amazing.

What’s the weirdest reaction you’ve gotten to someone reading your book/founding out you wrote a book?

I had a co-worker who was stunned and flabbergasted that I wrote a book with sexual content in it. They were fine with it, just unsuspecting of it coming from someone they viewed as “professional”.

*Do you have a story in AETI you like most/least?

This is a simplified version of the actual question that was posed to me recently. The original question asked me to rank the stories in my book 1-10 from favorite to least. That generated a 500-750 word response about why I liked each story in the ranking I listed. That said, my favorite story from the AETI is either “Use As Directed” or “Tia”, while my least favorite is “Elk Ridge”.

What’s the piece of feedback you’ve received about AETI that you appreciated the most?

I had a reader send me a message saying how much she loved “Use As Directed” because it felt like she had finally found a story that accurately depicted what she had gone through with mental illness. I teared up a bit reading that message.

While not a piece of feedback, I did have a close friend send me an engraved pen with my name on it as a congratulations for publishing my book. That’s been the only time I’ve actually cried throughout this entire process. It made me so happy.

Book Update #2

It’s been a couple of months now since I gave my last update on the progress of my book. As such, I feel now is as good of time as any to share more about my book. Truth be told, I’m getting pretty excited. While there’s still a ways to go in the process, things feel like they’re starting to come together a bit, which is always a positive.

First and foremost, let’s lead off with follow up on some of the bullet points I shared in my last update.

  • When I wrote the post in March, the book was in the hands of an editor with my publisher. Two rounds of edits between the editor and myself later…and editing is officially done. As someone whose primary point of freaking out about the book process was worrying that an editor would tell me that my book either sucked or was poorly-written((neither of which happened)), the fact that this part of the process is over is huge news.
  • Once the book releases, it will be available via Amazon both as an ebook and as a print book. I had shared the first part of that last time, however I was completely unsure what could be done in a print format. The fact that there will be a print version of the book means that something I was told back in 2011((A fellow blogger told me then that as she was reading my story, she couldn’t help but feel that she was bound to see my name as the author on a printed book one day. It’s admittedly a bit of a surreal thought.)) when I was making my first attempt at NaNoWriMo very well may be coming true.
  • Serialization of the book prior to its release is tentatively scheduled to begin in early fall of this year. More information to come on that as I know more.
  • As for where the book is at now, it’s with my publisher. Cover art is currently being worked on. I pitched an idea on the cover art to my publisher, however those of you who know me in real life are very aware that I have the artistic skills of a duck riding a washing machine((And now that image is going to be stuck in your head all day. You’re welcome.)). I’m very curious to see what the final result is. I’m 98% certain it won’t relate to my original idea at all, which may well be for the better. I could be wrong though.

So. What does this all mean?

It means a couple of things…

  • If you are interested in reviewing the book, keep an eye out on this space for more information about how to do that. I know I will need some people to do some reviews prior to the book’s release, so any help here would be wonderful.
  • If you would be willing to let me guest post on your site publicizing the book, that would be pretty awesome. Again, nothing needs to be done quite yet on this. That said, if you’re interested, drop me a note just so I know it’s a possibility.
  • Finally, and probably most importantly, I’m absolute shit at advertising and promoting myself. If there is anyone who could provide me help in promoting my book — be that word of mouth, Twitter, Facebook, whatever it may be — I would be eternally grateful to you. Self-promotion is by far my biggest weakness as a blogger, so it’s with great humility that I ask people who suck less than me at this to teach me how to be less sucky and be more awesome.

That’s all I have for now. Hopefully this was an interesting update?

Book Update

Remember that I’m writing a book? Well, some of you remember at least. Those of you who are a bit newer…hey! I’m writing a book.

Hey, I'm as surprised it's still happening as you are. Image credit: memegenerator.net
Hey, I’m as surprised it’s still happening as you are. Image credit: memegenerator.net

Let’s rewind for a moment.

In 2013, I wrote a pair of short stories for my old blog. The first was a standalone short story called Soma which dealt the loss of a loved one. The second was a dark series of short stories based off of Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions originally titled Ode to Tori. Both tales were very well received by readers of the blog. I’d like to believe that the strength of writing displayed in Soma helped me make it to the semifinals of Twenty Something Bloggers’ Bootleg Awards.

Around the time I finished up the Plutchik series (whose name had changed at least once by this point), a couple of my readers became very vocal in encouraging me to publish my short stories in a book. I’d considered it previously, however I wasn’t sure that my work was good enough. I had a couple of people try to encourage me to do the same thing with the NaNoWriMo story in 2012, but I didn’t feel like it was time for a myriad of reasons.

In late 2013, a pair of ebook related items helped to motivate me towards making my decision to publish. First, a fellow blogger, Amanda Osborn, published her first ebook, One Word Says it All: Stories From My Year Abroad in ChinaNot too long after, Jen Glantz of The Things I Learned From wrote a guest post for my old blog talking about how she wrote an ebook. After both of those items came to fruition, I decided to put together stories and self-publish a book.

I had this grand plan of being able to edit and self-publish the book before the start of spring of 2014. Work got in the way — frequently. I spent quite a bit of time planning out other things. Not to mention I got engaged((Which actually was pretty heavily related to that whole planning out other things item)). Needless to say it was a busy time. But mid-summer of last year, I had a book file ready to edit.

I got the bright idea to do editing through a peer review process. My original batch of people I sent the book was seven people strong, including a published author of dark fiction((Considering the content of my book, this is right up my alley)). A few people (I’ll save most of the thank yous to the end of this post) provided wonderful feedback on my work. That said, I ran into a bit of a problem of some of those who had offered to peer review my book not doing so. Everyone was reviewing out of their own free will, it was to be a bit expected. With that said, it was still pretty depressing. Combine that with feedback from one reviewer that completely contradicting everything else I was hearing, and the process became fairly depressing.

Over the course of the next three months or so (bringing us to November of 2014), additional reviewers took a look at my book and gave me their feedback. One of those individuals was Kat Argo of A Red Rover. She provided me wonderful feedback on the book, which would have been fantastic on its own. That said, when she said she enjoyed the book enough that she’d make her publisher aware of the book and see what they thought, I was ecstatic.

A couple of months later and here we are. I have great news. My book is going to be published by an actual publisher.

Visual approximation of my reaction when I got the email back letting me know the publisher was interested. Image credit: giphy.com

I don’t have a ton of information to share at this point. More of that will be coming over the next few months. Here’s what I’m comfortable telling at this point.

  • Said book is going to be published in either late 2015 or early 2016. As soon as I know more about dates, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.
  • My book is currently in the hands of an editor with the publisher, so I wait a bit more at the moment…but with good reason.
  • The book is a collection of short stories and short stories series including the two that I mentioned above.
  • There will be 10 short stories in the book, 5 of which are completely new across the board. 4 of the remaining stories were published in part on my old site, but have been pretty heavily edited from their original versions as I worked to improve them. The tenth story, Soma, is (currently) nearly identical to its original form due to the near universal love for that story.
  • When I was originally considering self-publishing, there were two people who won free copies of the book via various methods. This will still be the case even though it’s being published by someone other than me (I’ll even pay for the books myself if I have to).

That’s all the more I have at the moment. I do want to give a thank you to the following people for all their help at various points in the process.

  • Erin V. from Coma Diary, Samantha from Jill of All Trades, Kat from A Red Rover, Stephanie of Music School Dropout, Erin M., Anna, Mike, and my fiancee for all their feedback and assistance at various points in the editing process. I’d also like to thank another editor who shall remain unnamed for showing me that not all feedback should be taken seriously.
  • Thank you again to Kat for giving me the opportunity to work with a real publisher.
  • Erin M. and Samantha are owed an additional thank you for their assistance in rewriting parts of my book (particularly dialogue).
  • As mentioned above, thanks again to Amanda of Musical Poem, Jen of The Things I Learned From, and Tim for their (likely unintentional) inspiration towards me actually writing a book, as well as Erin M.’s very intentional motivating me to do so.
  • There were a few people instrumental in planting ideas in my head that later became stories in this book. To which I’d like to thank Erin M., Krista, Karolina, and my fiancee. I’m sure there are a handful of people who gave me ideas for lines/characters, however I’ll thank them in the book itself.
  • Finally, a quick thank you to everyone else who has been reading my blog, whether that be for 4 days or 4 years. Your support, commentary, and visiting has helped keep my motivation going.

So…woo! Yes. I used an exclamation point non-sarcastically((Really.)).