Sometimes the people I know find their way into my stories. I usually will honor a friend by naming a character after them but that character never looks or acts anything like the person they are named after. Such was the case for a friend who works with me at my day job. He has always been one of my best fans and has read many of my books. When I was writing Devon’s Blade I decided to honor him by creating a character named after him. That character was called Hank in the novel. For those of you who haven not read the novel, Hank dies in the end. But my friend always insisted that his death was never confirmed and that Hank lived!
This week is my friend’s last week with my work group. He’s moving on to bigger and better things and we’re all going to miss him around the office. To honor him, I wrote him a short story about Hank and what happened after Devon’s Blade finished. I hope you enjoy it as much as my friend did. Maybe someday I’ll include it in a new version of the ebook. But for now, you can read it right here, on the blog.
Library Journal’s 2016 Indie Ebook Awards have awarded Devon’s Blade with an Honorable Mention for Science Fiction. You can read what they said about it here. This little novella is my most awarded book, but I still can’t seem to get many customer reviews for it on Amazon. It doesn’t matter how awesome your book is, if you don’t have reviews, you can’t advertise and you don’t get sales. Please, if you’ve read this book, leave a review for it.
Tuesday, 26th of July is the release date for COUNTERATTACK, the third book of the Star Saga. This is the final chapter of the Starforgers Trilogy.
Starships led by Captain Ardel are blasting the Votainions out of space in a relentless show of force.
Their success on the battlefront is too easy for Ardel and her fellow captains. They all know the enemy is pulling back not being driven out by force. However, the President of the Alliance is convinced that the Empress is seeking a truce and he’s made Ardel’s ship the official envoy. If that wasn’t bad enough she’s also burdened with a half human half Votainion child interpreter created by a top secret program to help with the negotiations.
Empress Nykostra lingers just out of reach, marshaling her forces to take back the legendary home world of her people. Her eroding mental health has the Chief Strategist contemplating her murder in order to ensure their victory over the Alliance Fleet. Can Captain Ardel and the Alliance Fleet ward off the largest counterattack in the history of the war or will a mad Empress fulfill her destiny and bring down the fledgling Alliance?
A pleasantly surprised review from Sci-Fi and Scary for my novella, Devon’s Blade earning it 4 out of 5 stars. The book was noted for having a mostly female cast in a story that is usually dominated by men. I didn’t set out to do that, but when you take away the love story angle between characters and you’re only concerned with the story, it’s easier if all your main characters are one sex and hetero. So while I didn’t set out to have a mostly female cast, it just came out that way. This happens all the time in stories with male dominated casts so fair is fair. Read the review here.
“Devon’s Blade is a solid sci-fi novella with an old school air combat appeal. It kept me interested from start to finish.” Readers’ Favorite
This little novella is starting to garner some praise out in the world. Reader’s Favorite is the latest, giving it a Five Star review!
Previous reviews include this one from Self-Publishing Review -“If you’re a fan of war fiction, especially with aerial fighting, and like your science fiction to have a large dose of recognizable realism, Devon’s Blade is action-packed, well-researched, and a fun read.” Self-Publishing Review
My novella, Devon’s Blade will be only .99 cents this Friday and Saturday. A Kindle Countdown sale will earn you a 67% savings on one of my most popular ebooks. Spread the word and as always, please leave a review on Amazon.
Getting the word out about your novels is pretty important and its been a weakness of mine for a long time now. So in an effort to increase my exposure I purchased a review for Devon’s Blade from the Self-Publishing Review website. So far it has not resulted in any sales, but there is no way to gauge how many people actually saw the review. It was a very positive review and you can read it on their site. They also supplied a quote for my Amazon page.
I’ll be venturing into many new advertising avenues in the weeks and months to come. Hopefully something will result in sales. In the mean time I’m slugging away on yet another Military SF novel.
I entered my accounts into BookTrakr and this is what came back for my all time sales numbers. Not completely sure when I started selling my first book on Amazon, but I think it was about eight or nine years ago. My first book, Starstrikers was hit by lightning and sold really well for about three months. Nothing has ever taken off that well again. I have seven books on Amazon and combined they have made about as much as that fist book.
Mind you, I don’t advertise in any real way. Occasionally I’ll hit social media with a mention but that’s about it. So, things could probably be better if I actually tried to sell them. But for now, I’m not interested in that. I’m more interested in getting my first trilogy finished and that means publishing two more novels. After those two books release, I’ll take a more proactive course when it comes to advertising.
The reason I’m waiting is because of what happened to that first book. If I had had a couple more books in the series available back then, I’d be making far more money than what you see above. So back lists are important. Very important.
These are the numbers for Starstrikers. Now this book is available nearly everywhere. I don’t do Apple or Google markets at this time. But you can get it in ebook and print form just about anywhere.
Now let’s look at two novellas in the Amazon exclusive only market. The one above is not really doing to well at all. It’s a great yarn and both of my true fans love it. But new people don’t care about it. It has a villain as a hero and she’s a woman. That combination must be horrible for sales. This book has no reviews. Not even the people who got it for free bothered to read it or review it. What a pity. It’s a good story.
This novella did pretty well despite having a nearly all female cast. It was about starfighter pilots and I was able to draw in my followers on Google+ who like fighters, Sci-Fi and model building to check it out. They loved it, but that’s as far as my social media footprint went. Not even a hundred customers. What’s really interesting are the numbers of lent units for each of these novellas. This one has over 16 thousand lends in like two months. So lots of people are reading it, but they are not talking about it and they are not coming back for more. Because the lead character of this novella is also in Starforgers and the Tales From Ocherva anthology and those books are not selling. It has seven reviews of 4 stars or better.
The lead character of The Blood Empress is in Starforgers, but I’m not seeing any movement between the two. So I’m failing to convert customers into fans with these books. Which is why it’s so important to release book 2 and book 3 before I advertise. Eventually, people will start to realize that the Star Saga’s Starforgers trilogy is about a bad ass woman named Devon Ardel who started as a Stellar Ranger and then became an awesome starfighter pilot in a career that eventually had her becoming an awesome starship captain.
I’ll come back and show you the money after I release the next two novels and we’ll compare numbers. Hopefully things will be better by July.
Here is an update on novella sales for November. Devon’s Blade sold 73 copies over a two month period. Thirty of those were pre-sales and the rest after it was released. In just one day of being free on Kindle it “sold” 80 copies. That sure says something about how popular free is, especially on Black Friday. It was good enough to get me to 18th in the free books ranking. So I guess that’s cool.
My screenshot program captured itself above, but you can still read the 18 spot.
I may run another day or two sale on the novella, but I’ll lower the price to .99 cents instead of free. Unless of course I get more than six reviews from those who got it for free. That would make it more worth my while to lose the sales and gain the reviews. Again, reviews on Amazon are golden for writers. Nobody cares so much about reviews of toasters, but book reviews matter. I can’t even get a BookBub ad with only six reviews. So please leave reviews for your favorite author’s books.
Sales of my second novella, The Blood Empress are next to nothing in comparison. Clearly there is no connection to the Devon’s Blade novella in the reader’s minds. That novella has sold 6 copies and the read through rate is about that of two people reading it on KNEP. These are copies that people on Prime get to read for free.
Both of these novellas are in-between stories for the first three books of my Star Saga. Books 2 and 3 won’t be out until late December and January. So I’m not the least bit concerned about sales at this point. The novella’s are completely different, back stories to the two main characters of the series. I think after all five books are available, I’ll see proper read through for the series.
My focus now is to get Book 2, The Rising out before Christmas. Wish me luck!
My first novella, is now available on Kindle. It’s a short read, maybe take you a couple of hours. It’s a good introduction to Devon Ardel, my all purpose Sci-Fi hero who happens to be a bad-ass in a starfighter. You know what women pilots call a fighter’s cockpit? A box office.
If you like stories about fighter pilots who fly starfighters instead of jets, you’ll love this one. It’s a classic war story about a veteran squadron commander who’s sent to a remote unit to help turn it around. There’s lots of combat, lots of character development and you might learn something about the fighter pilot culture. I had a blast writing it and those who have read it seem to like it too.
If you have read this novella, let me know what you thought of it. There are two more planned starfighter-type novellas and I’m writing the second one right now. As always, any reviews you can leave or mentions you can make about the book on your social media sights will go a long way in helping the book take off.
Thanks for being a reader!