News Blast: Shadow of an Empire, Colony, and Milestones

Welcome to Monday, readers! I know the culture, at least here in the US with it’s workaholic pastimes, is to despise Mondays, but maybe I can make things a little shinier for you at the start of this week. After all, I’ve got a nice news post here for you to read (and then we’re getting Being a Better Writer), with lots of good news about the upcoming weeks that’s sure to excite a good number of you!

The first and most important bit of news? Shadow of an Empire is available for pre-order and releasing June 1st! That’s right, the Fantasy-Western Epic is sweeping onto e-readers and devices everywhere in just under three weeks! Swing by the Amazon page and pre-order your copy now so it arrives ASAP! And share that link; the more people know about Shadow, the better. Redditor? Facebook user? Fanfic socializer? Let people know. Word of mouth is majorly helpful! Also, if you’re an Alpha or Beta Reader, feel free to talk about the book now and tell people all about it! I’d advise not dropping too many spoilers, but I’ve seen your enjoyment for months now, so go share it with others!

Second bit of news? Well, it’s related to that first one. In the coming weeks (date not officially set), I will be doing a Reddit AMA to promote Shadow of an Empire. Yup. For several hours I’ll be answering any and all (within reason) questions there, both to help spread writing knowledge and to talk about—of course—my newest release, as well as what else to expect from me in the coming year and whatever else people bring up. If you have a Reddit account, please come and participate. The more people show, the better off the AMA will be, and the more traction it’ll gather! Check back here for more details as I narrow the date down with Reddit mods!

Third bit of news: Shadow of an Empire‘s preview chapter will be getting updated to the final version tomorrow. There will be a notification of it, the cover art will be included, etc, etc. Following this, chapter two will go up the following Tuesday, and the Tuesday after that, chapter three. The final book, by the way, is thirty-one chapters, so you’re only getting the first little bit as a preview.

Okay, last bit of news (I promise!): Colony is getting its first price-drop. As well as a text update. Okay, don’t go wild, it’s the standard “This book is now X months old” drop I’ve done for my other works. Colony will soon be $5.99 instead of $7.99. In addition, the text will be updated with a number of small corrections and error fixes to promote a smoother reading experience. Those of you who already own Colony should see the update the next time you connect to the web, and those already connected will just, well, have it!

And, last but not least … I didn’t even realize it, but I’ve passed a review milestone! Specifically, an Amazon review milestone: 50 Five-Star reviews! To be more specific, 52 of them! Out of—get this—82 reviews total. That’s right, well over half of the reviews I’ve ever gathered are Five-Star reviews! Huzzah! Now just to keep getting those reviews out in front of readers! Oh, and to keep collecting them. The more reviews a product has, the more people trust what they say.

In any case, that’s the news update! Lots coming in the next few weeks as we move closer to the release of Shadow of an Empire. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy!

Psst! Over Here!

Pssst! You! Hey, you! That’s right, over here! Looking for some good book deals? Sure you are! Well, don’t look around or make it super obvious—I said don’t look around!—but there’s like, a secret sale or something going right now. Limited time only.

Yeah, I don’t know why either. Something about the date. And it probably won’t last because, well, that clock keeps ticking. Time’s moving forward.

Anyway, now you know. The secret sale is live! Pass it along and move along, quick, before someone spots us. Go see what you can find!

Amazonian Advertising Practices

So, for the last month, I’ve been experimenting with Amazons Marketing Services. Or, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, what amounts to paying Amazon in exchange for Amazon running ads for your product based on keywords and the like. So if someone searches for, say, The Expanse on Amazon right now in the books section, Colony comes up, because the two are similar Science-Fiction.

After a month, I’m starting to see a few of the things I’ve been told about AMS confirmed. One of the reasons I’d avoided it until now was because my research into other authors trying it out came to the conclusion that it was basically a way to get advertising for your books … but to in turn make almost no money off of them, if not none. This because of the strange way Amazon runs its ads, and the system by which they do it.

See, how it works is you set a book to be advertised, followed by a per-keyword ad cost and a daily limit to how much you want to spend. So the keyword may be “action adventure.” You set a cost of 25 cents, and then a daily limit (say, a dollar).

Now what happens is that whenever someone searches for books with the keyword “action adventure” Amazon performs a “bid” for the highest paying ads for that keyword. The ones paying the most go up, and then if the viewer clicks them, it pays one cent more than what that bid beat—so, for instance if the 25 cent bid beat out a 22 cent bid, then it would pay Amazon 23 cents—and the viewer looks at the book, and that 23 cents is counted towards the daily limit.

A little convoluted, but not bad, right? Well … there’s a catch. There’s obviously a catch. See, as was pointed out to me long before I ever tried Amazon Ads, and one of the big criticisms leveled against them is that Amazon has more data on who buys what than the Ad service uses. It simply acts off of keywords, rather than Amazon’s own “We know you’ll like this” system. And so you may end up with clicks that lead to nothing at all quite frequently, because the person who search “Science Fiction” reads Foundation and Hyperion, not Colony. Amazon knows this, but they let the clicks go through anyway.

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Medical Delays!

Sorry guys, but Being a Better Writer is going to be a little late this week. Wednesday, to be precise. Unless I get a score of luck later, but …

Normally, even if I had a work shift on Monday and Tuesday (which I do) I’d still have Monday night to get the next BaBW post done … or at least Saturday. But this last weekend I was really crunched for time (and will be this weekend as well), and tonight? Well, tonight … I’m getting an MRI.

Yeah, remember that knee injury? Yup, it’s still being an issue. So I’m going in for an MRI tonight prior to getting a knee surgery that should put things back on the right track at last.

So yes … slightly delays. Sorry about that. But with luck it will be worth it!

In the meantime, I do have some good news and a link to a classic post. First bit of good news? Colony is being advertised now! That’s right, if you’re kicking around anywhere with an Amazon ad (I believe) or on Amazon itself, you can see a nice, shiny ad for Colony! And there will be more news coming on Colony soon (yet another project while getting Shadow of an Empire edited).

And that classic post? Here you go—

Being a Better Writer: I, Villain.

See you in a few days!

2017 in Review—The State of Unusual Things

Before you start, there’s a Christmas Sale on! Colony and Dead Silver both are reduced prices through Christmas! Perfect for last minute gifts!

This year … was rough. I’m not going to lie.

To be fair, that wasn’t the writing’s fault. More it was other circumstances. Like the knee injury I acquired in June (which is still healing) and every thing that it brought with it. Okay, mostly it was the knee injury. Pretty much just that. With the knee injury came medical debts, which brought extra work shifts, and that then led to less writing time, and …

Well, let’s just say it’s not been the best year. Which is kind of a lousy lead-in to a year in review article, but it was bound to happen sometime, right? I mean, no matter what, one of the years writing had to be a rough one.

Anyway, 2017 marks the third year of Unusual Things being up and open. Which means that despite how rough this year was, it’s time for another look back at the year in review to see how I did compared to years prior, and make plans for what’s coming.

You ready? Let’s take a look.

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The November Patreon Supporter Reward is Here …

… and it is a big one!

How big? Well, let’s just say that as thanks for their support this month, Patreon-goers are getting an early look at … drumroll please … The first chapter of Jungle.

Yup. Which, by the way, I’m in the last few chapters of. At last. This book has swollen far past what I expected. Editing it will be a nightmare. But at the same time … Well, I’m not going to say anymore.

Anyway, if you’re a Patreon supporter and read Colony, what are you hanging around here for? Don’t you want to know what happens next to Jake, Anna, and Sweets? Sure you do. And given what happens in this opening chapter, I— Well, I’m not going to get ahead of myself. But I expect you’ll have questions for me.

So quit hanging around here and hop on over to November’s Patreon Reward on Patreon! And if you’re not a Patreon Supporter yet, it’s pretty easy to do. In return for helping support Being a Better Writer, you’ll get access to monthly supporter rewards, which range from early looks at chapters and stories, to behind the scenes stuff … to even some exclusive stuff long before anyone else, such as a look at a short story for More Unusual Events!

Cool, right? All that’s yours to look at for supporting! So get on over there!

The Halloween Sale

In case you missed it, this Halloween weekend is home to all kinds of spooky sales on my work. Through October 31st, you’ll be able to pick up One Drink and Dead Silver for free, as well as find Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection for half-price and the stellar Colony for 25% off!

You can head on over to my Books page to preview each one, read a free sample, and then score a copy for yourself!