Colony Keywords and Patreon Rewards

Hey readers! I’m making a quick news posts on two topics of interest before diving back into editing work on A Game of Stakes. Read through them both! I promise they’ll be short and one comes with cool feedback potential!

First, since it’s quickest, the October Patreon Reward is live on Patreon. If you’re a supporter of $1 a month or more, you’re getting a sneak peek at … the first two chapters of The Dusk Guard Saga: Hunter/Hunted! That’s in addition to the prologue teaser that went up two months ago. All you need to do to see either of them is be a supporter ($1 or more), so if you are, head on over and check the preview out!

Now, that other topic. Colony keywords? What am I talking about? Well, I’ve got a bit of a request of you readers of Colony.

Amazon Advertising works by lining up keywords with folks’ interests and searches. Things like “Sci-Fi” for example. Or names of similar authors. The more keywords a book has that are representative of it, the better and more focused your advertising is.

Now, I’ve gone through and given Colony‘s advertising a decent list of keywords. But I’m curious, what keywords would you readers choose to describe Colony? Post a comment and let me know what comes to mind. I’m curious to see what keywords you guys come up with that my own view missed!

And with that, it’s time to edit!

A News Post

Whoa! Things have really piled up lately. Between writing, my part-time job (with extra hours), running the end of a DnD campaign, keeping up with exercise, and well, life being what life tends to be, things have gotten crazy levels of tight lately! There’s a lot that’s been going on! Not all of it newsworthy, but some that is. Which means it’s time for … NEWS POST.


Patreon first! Never fear Patreon Supporters, I haven’t forgotten you. September’s post just ended up late because I spent the weekend a bit under the weather and decided to spend what brainpower and time I had trying to finish a chapter in Hunter/Hunted. Monday was another Being a Better Writer post and more work, Tuesday was  work all day, and then today … Well, finally today this month’s Patreon Supporter Reward went up! And this month, it’s a preview of A Game of Stakes, The first straight Romance (Fantasy Romance, to be specific) story I’ve ever written. Supporters get to see the first third of it. There will probably be a teaser for the rest of the site in the coming months, but for now, this is the only way to get an early look save being an Alpha Reader!


Okay, next bit of news? Sales have picked up a little again. They’re not quite back to “pre-cliff falling” levels, but they are still there, especially on the Kindle Unlimited service. So it looks like a burst sale worked. Oh, and all three titles on sale sold well during said sale. Colony again dominated everything else though. As many copies as that book has sold, Jungle I think will be the only book I release for a while capable of challenging it.

Thankfully, with sales also come more reviews. Or, at least, ratings on Goodreads, which seems to be a much bigger driver now that Amazon has restricted reviews to those who purchase more than $50 of goods through them per year. The sale saw a few new ones crop up, as have the last few weeks. If you’ve ever poked your head over to Goodreads, head on over and take a look! Maybe leave a rating of your own, or check out some reviews!


Last but not least, update news. Hunter/Hunted is still moving along. I’m nearing the end of part 2 of 3. If October goes well, it’ll be done by the end. Maybe mid-November if things run late. Which means I can then get started on the next book project (a submission for an established universe) and then get to work on Fireteam Freelance and editing for Jungle! The end of this year will be busy!

Okay, a little bit on Fireteam Freelance, since I’ve mentioned it before, and it’s listed on my current projects page as “upcoming.” Fireteam Freelance is going to be something unique: An episodic story that is posted here on this site, chapter by chapter as it’s written (and in time with the editing of Jungle). That’s right, the entire Alpha will go up for free here on the site. As an early Alpha. So anyone will be able to read it.

What’s it about? Well, all I’ll say at this point is that it’s set in the same universe as Colony and Jungle, but follows a different cast of characters. Oh, and it’s set on Earth. Directly and very clearly. Details are still being worked out, but if you were one of those readers who expressed disappointment that Colony left future-Earth for an alien world, this story is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

And since the Alpha will be going up chapter by chapter on this very site for all to read, you’ll be able to with ease.

Yes, the book will still get an editing run and for-purchase release. The Alpha chapters will stay up but be clearly marked as such. This is kind of an experiment, an idea I had a while ago that I think is worth playing with.


Granted, ALL of this might be delayed by a few months if that established-universe-thing-I’m-not-being-too-specific-about-yet gets picked up. I’ll have to swiftly flip some plans and push things back in that case, but it will be for a darn good reason. But … we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, that’s the news for today, unless you’re interesting in fanfic news (in which case, check that blog). With that, I need to get to work!

Weekend Book Sale!

Heads up! Got a trio of books on sale through this weekend, starting today! Including my newest, the Fantasy-Western Shadow of an Empire! The deal ends when the weekend does, so if you’ve been waiting for a sale, this is your chance!


Shadow of an Empire
Shadow of an Empire
$7.99 $3.99 (50% off!)
“… a delightful ride through a new western world …”


colony-final
Colony
$5.99 $2.99 (50% off!)
“… absolutely fantastic …”


Dead Silver Final
Dead Silver
$2.99 $0.99 (66% off!)
“… a must read …”

When Is a Sale Not a Sale?

When it doesn’t sell anything, clearly.

Okay, this needs a bit of explanation, but it’s an odd one. So things have been going pretty well sales-wise lately. Colony and Shadow of an Empire just keep ticking away copies, finally moving my book income from “Spare change” to “rent payment.” Or at least, they were, save for this last week.

What happened? Well, I went ahead and put Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection on a random sale for the week. Starting a 99 cents. Colony and Shadow were both doing well, so I figured that a nice discount on Unusual Events (Still, to date, my only book to not generate a profit and my lowest selling of all time) would maybe allow it to move a few copies alongside its stronger siblings.

Let me tell you, did that backfire. Instead of Events selling a few copies … all other sales stopped dead.

No, I’m not kidding. Fine one day and then wham! Down came the wall. All sales stopped dead. Even Kindle Unlimited reads dried up, going from a steady number of reads per day to almost nothing.

And then on Monday, the sale was over, and what happened? The numbers took a few days to go back up, but now they’re moving back to where they were.

Honestly? I’m as confused as anything about this one. The only theory I’ve got is that people who were looking at getting their hands on a copy of Colony or Shadow saw that Events was on sale and decided to wait until one of them was on sale, maybe?

That’s literally the only theory I have. As I watch the numbers slide back to normal post sale, that’s all I can offer. And even that doesn’t explain the KU numbers dropping into the abyss.

Is it coincidence? If so, it’s one of the strangest coincidences I’ve seen. And like I said, I have no explanation. Maybe Events is even less-appealing than I thought, so much so that it taints all other books based on its price?

I have no idea. Regardless, I thought it was interesting. Guess that’s one mistake I won’t be making the future. Unusual Events goes on sale with everything else, or not at all!

Pushing Forward

Sorry guys, there’s just not much in the way of news this week! I’ll fill you in on the generals, but there’s not much I can do other than that.

Life continues to assert it’s balance. My book royalties have gone up … so naturally, my job decided to lower hours almost in perfect concert. So I’m slightly better off than I was a few months ago … by only a matter of a few dozen dollars where my budget is concerned. Lovely, but at least I had the royalties to pick up slack.

Colony continues to be my largest seller by far, outselling Shadow of an Empire by a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio. Having them both at regular sales is nice, but it says to me that the market for Sci-Fi Epics is definitely a bit broader than for Fantasy-Western Epics. Granted, I knew that going in, but it’s still fun to compare the sales numbers. Shadow hasn’t matched Colony to a similar degree in numbers of reviews or ratings, sitting at 1-in-4, so it’ll be interesting to see if that levels out as Shadow continues to sell at the current rate, or if the review numbers will end up being different say … three years from now (Amazon’s changes to review policy may affect that as well).

Work on Hunter/Hunted is still paused while I work on this short story for the anthology request. Probably another day or two’s worth of writing to put into it, followed by some aggressive editing before submission. Still, it’s a unique little story. There certainly aren’t many like it. Once it’s done, though, back to Hunter/Hunted.

Outside of that? Life continues pretty much as usual. Working my way forward. It’s what I’ve got. Just have to keep hanging on and typing one word after another.

Being a Better Writer will, of course, be back on Monday.

And with that, I’ve got a story to finish!

Amazonian Advertising Practices: Part 2

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: There’s a lot going on this week. Hence some daily posts. Today’s topic of choice? More on Amazon’s Advertising System.

So some of you may remember my first post on this topic a few months ago. I’d taken the plunge, using my tax return to pay for Amazon Advertising Services to see exactly how it would shake out. I had to use the tax return for it, because Amazon is paid up front, but any earnings you make are, as expected, royalties. So while you may spend $50 to make $50, you will still have several months to go before that $50 rolls back into your bank account.

Anyway, I’m not going to spend time reiterating exactly how AMS functions, since I gave it a long-form explanation last time. The basic gist of it is that you set up advertising keywords that describe your product (for example, one of Colony‘s keywords is “Expanse” because of its similar genre to The Expanse) and then a bid for that advertising spot. Your bid wins while someone is looking at that product? That individual sees your product, and if they click on it, whether or not they purchase it, you pay the bid.

Anyway, after a month of using it, I’d come to some tentative conclusions, which at the time were that many people who found it balanced out pretty much neutral were right. I was earning back pretty much exactly what I put in, plus or minus a few bucks here and there. Which I found odd, as even if my numbers jumped around quite a bit, they still somehow wound up around 100% in and out.

I’m still not sure why that is. But I can report that with lots of careful fine tuning, several months in, the venture is a little less neutral.

Continue reading

Tighten the Belt

So, continuing the week-long run of “I’ve got news and stuff to say!” here we are at Wednesday. And, to no one’s surprise, there’s still stuff going on.

So, today’s post? A financial update. Effectively, I’m tightening my belt and going into drought mode.

Why? Simple. The part-time job I have has hit some dry spells in these summer months. Said part-time job already cut corners where it could, but now that we’re in the realm of little business for the next month, that means fewer hours for everyone. Fewer hours means less pay and, well … yeah, a tighter belt for the month. And odd gigs around town.

The interesting bit about this is that Shadow of an Empire launched just around the time everything started to slow down. And while Shadow of an Empire‘s launch wasn’t as strong as Colony‘s (the Sci-Fi Epic continues to wear the crown) it was strong, and as of right now has left a longer-lasting tail.

Continue reading