Shadow of an Empire Wallpapers!

Hey readers! Got a pretty awesome treat for you all today!

You’ve seen the cover for Shadow of an Empire, right? That awesome, western vista done by Michal Kváč. Well, those close followers of the site may remember how I teased that it was wallpaper-sized. And those who were Patreon Supporters? They got the wallpaper sizes.

Well, as of today, you can too. That’s right, in beautiful 4451×2560 Widescreen, you can have the full cover image of Shadow of an Empire for your desktop or digital device background, available in both textless and text versions.

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Shadow of an Empire Brings the Praise

Well readers, Shadow of an Empire has been out now for just over a month, so I thought that, in light of yet another excellent review it picked up last night from Frigid Reviews, it would be timely to go ahead and look at some of the responses to the book thus far from readers! If you have not read Shadow of an Empire yet, this may be the post that hints that you should!

So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at some reader feedback for Shadow of an Empire. We’ll be looking at excerpts, but you’ll be able to click the title of each review to get a look at the full text yourself.

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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.

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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.

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The Cycle Begins Anew

This one might be a little … scattered. Why? Well, I just got back from the dentist.

hate going to the dentist. Nothing against dentists, actually; they’re some of the kinder doctors I know. And it’s not because I’ve had a traumatic experience in my past or have horrible dental problems (I take meticulous care of my teeth because I don’t like the dentist). I just have a weird, paranoid, irrational fear of people messing with my teeth.

Weird, right? Go figure. I know it’s irrational, but that doesn’t stop my body from flooding me with enough adrenaline that my hands shake during a checkup. Those poor dentists. I put on some tunes and zone out as best I can, but even then they can tell I don’t want to be there.

Point being, I’m coming off an adrenaline rush right now. Which is fitting. Because coming off of a book launch feels a little similar in a lot of ways. Just … more spread out.

So then, how is Shadow of an Empire doing? Well … it’s doing pretty well.

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The Official Spoiler-Filled Shadow of an Empire Discussion Thread

This post is not for those of you who have not read Shadow of an Empire yet. Why? Because it’s full of spoilers. Or will be. I’m not going to be the one posting them.

Yeah, this is a bit experimental, but it’s my site, so I try what I like. This post is for all those readers of Shadow of an Empire who want somewhere to talk about it, open for spoilers. You can geek out about the ending, discuss your favorite characters, whatever!

Obviously, I recommend not reading these comments unless you’ve already read the book, or you really desire to have one of the best books you’ll read this year spoiled for you. Because these comments? There will be spoilers.

That’s all there is to it. Read the book? Looking for someplace to chat about it with others that have finished it and unable to find anything on TV Tropes? This is the place to be! Hit comments and go!

Shadow of an Empire Reward Copy Woes

Got some rough news before today’s Being a Better Writer folks. Friday, June 1st, Shadow of an Empire launched (it is doing pretty well, by the way; have you read it yet?). Which meant Thursday night at midnight I was doing what I do when a new book comes out: sending out thank-you and reward copies.

This is pretty standard. I send a free thank-you copy to everyone who helped edit the book, plus all Patreon Supporters who are above the basic tier. Except some of them may be wondering right now why their links aren’t working.

KDP policy change. If I may be frank, stupid KDP policy change. See, KDP has decided that you can no longer gift to countries outside the US.

Wait what? Come again? No, you didn’t misread that. Even if the title is available in their country. Even if the value is the same. You cannot gift ebooks to someone outside of the US now.

Worse, despite claims to the contrary on the gifting page that the recipient can trade their gift for a credit to their account and simply buy said item, this is also not possible. I have been informed via e-mail with a quote from one of them that such a credit would only apply to a US-based account.

Wait, it gets better. Attempts to contact KDP (Amazon’s Kindle division) to get this figured out? Met with canned e-mails with no return information and no explanations. They’re not interesting in talking about it.

And as I said, this is a stupid policy change, especially for a global company like Amazon. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. It’s just “tough.”

So I did the smart thing. I filed a complaint with Amazon Kindle support (different from KDP support, who you can’t even call) and then e-mailed Jeff Bezos with a polite explanation of the problem.

This new policy is ridiculous and ultimately, bad for business. I’ve used Amazon to gift rewards for giveaways and contests to readers all over the world. Crud, looking at my sales records, I have readers all over the globe.

So, those on the editing team, I apologize for the delay. New e-mails will be coming out shortly with new links for those of you in the US. Those of you outside the US … I’m still trying to find a solution.

In the meantime, however, if this policy sounds bad to you, make your displeasure known. Contact Amazon and let them know that this decision is a foolish one. Given how many gifts I’ve sent to readers and fans outside the US, this decision really hurts my reader interaction. And it hurts anyone else who may have a friend on the global scene.