Archive for the ‘fantasy’ Tag

Books as Business   3 comments

What’s your opinion on authors giving their books away for free?

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TP Cover Montage

Well, there’s that word “feel”. And while I feel a lot, I try not to base what I think on it because feelings are as changeable as the wind in April (er, March, for Lower 48ers) and books are a business and business requires a strategy, not a lot of emotion.

So, what do I think of authors giving their books away for “free”?

I think giving books away with no cost to the reader is a good short-term way to generate interest in a series or an author who has more than one book, but it’s not without cost, so you really can’t call it “free.”

There’s all the time and effort the author put into the book. That’s a cost to the author. Yes, authors have a right to give away whatever they want. I would never argue that someone doesn’t have a right to give away their stuff. But I hope authors would pause and think about this.

You get what you pay for. A boss of mine way back in college used to say that to people who wanted her to give them a lower price on what she was selling. She gave a great service for a fair price … the price the market would bear. Her business was finally ended by the government getting into competition against her and giving her service away for “free”. Well, not exactly. What she sold for about $15 a night cost the taxpayers of the City of Fairbanks $130 a day. It didn’t kill the business outright, but every year it siphoned off enough business that eventually she closed because she wasn’t making a profit any longer and, so you see the cost of “free”. Draw your own conclusions about what I mean by that story.

The Daermad Cycle (2 Book Series) by  Lela Markham

When I first published The Willow Branch I didn’t sell a lot of copies. I played around with the cost and I still didn’t sell a lot of copies. I had The Willow Branch on Amazon and Smashwords and it just wasn’t selling. A friend suggested I make it “free” on Smashwords, which eventually causes Amazon to drop it to free. But then another friend posted a blog article about how long it took the New Testament to become the best seller it is, suggesting authors really need to be more patient. I prayed about it and decided to put the book on Amazon Select for six months.

That was a hard decision because I don’t believe in monopolies and Amazon Select is a monopoly. I would prefer to be spread across a lot of channels, but I did it as an experiment. I still didn’t sell many books that first six months, but I hadn’t been idle. I published Life As We Knew It. It’s not the same series. It’s an apocalyptic set the day after tomorrow rather than a high fantasy. I put it on Select at the get-go as another experiment. And it slowly began selling, easily overtaking sales for The Willow Branch.

Meanwhile, I wrote the next book Mirklin Wood and got a surprise — two books in a series sell better than one book by itself. I’ve since published Objects in View and A Threatening Fragility in Transformation Project and seen the same phenomenon.

Now, I’m not completely against price manipulation to attract attention. I offer The Willow Branch at no charge to the reader from time to time, usually putting other books on sale that day. It does get attention, though it gets more attention when I place Life As We Knew It at no-cost for a day. That’s the difference between genres. Thriller/apocalyptics sell better than fantasies.

Hullabaloo on Main Street: A Satirical Look at America's Bubble Battles by [Markham, Lela, Sliney, Laurel]Ah, but there’s something else to consider. Kindle Unlimited is available to anyone who is willing to pay for Amazon Prime. You get two books per month included-in-the-price with AP, which means that pricing your book appropriately is important if you want to attract readers through KU.  I keep experimenting with pricing and seeing what works and what doesn’t. According to Mark Coker of Smashwords, the sweet spot for pricing an ebook is $3.99. But I’m hearing from others that we might want to boost the price of our books because you want KU readers to feel they’re getting their value’s worth So, if you get two included-in-the-price books for about $10 a month, maybe your book needs to be $4.99 or even $5.99. I haven’t gotten that daring yet, but it’s a thought. And, since Christmas, I’ve made a fair amount of change off Unlimited.

I also have a book that isn’t sellling at all. Hullabaloo on Main Street is a slim novelette and political satire that’s been on Select for a year and it’s just not doing what I wanted. So, free, right?

No. Instead I’m going to put it on Barnes & Noble and a few other sites to see if my instincts about spreading a wider net are correct. I’ll play around with the price and see what happens. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll put it on Kindle Select at 99 cents and just stop worrying about it. I put time into every book I write and I hope lots of people read them, but I also know that I’ve earned some coin for doing the work. Maybe people will find it by accident while checking out my other books. Since it happens to be about our current stupid political climate, maybe I’ll be hailed as a prophet at some future time.

So, there you have it — what I think on the subject of “free” books. I treat my books like they’re a business and, yes, I have an emotional attachment to them, but I don’t lose sight of the bottom line. Giving away my books devalues my efforts and talents and is unnecessary because they do sell … mostly … when I exercise some patience toward that goal. And my next book Thanatosis should be coming out this fall. And because this is the fourth book in a series that is selling, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to be free.

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Daermad Cycle #99-cent #sale   Leave a comment

Willow Branch Ad Dec 2017Both books in my epic #fantasy #series are on 99-cent sale this week.

Does Any One Want to Review My Books?   Leave a comment

 

Two Cover Montage

I’m especially interested in getting reviews for my more recent books. I find it’s harder to get a review on latter books because of the need to commit to the earlier books in the series.

I will happily gift anyone with the desire with freebies of an entire series, although Daermad Cycle will be on 99-cent sale this coming week. Reviews by Verified Purchasers are always welcome.

Do you like high fantasy or apocalyptic? Or there’s a thin novelette of political satire?

Leave a comment here or send me an email at lelamarkham@gmail.com

Willow Branch Ad Dec 2017

Last Sale Day   Leave a comment

mirklinwoodToday is the last day Mirklin Wood will be on 99-cent sale.

Get a great #fantasy at an awesome price. And since this is the second book in a #series, pick up The Willow Branch too. Amazon has 2-book sets.

And, by the way, I just had an awesome weekend in book sales. Thanks for all who have made that possible.

Posted January 8, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion, Uncategorized

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Multi-Author #Sale of #Clean #Dragon #Books   Leave a comment

Murklin Wood is on 99-cent sale this week along with several other authors’ books feature clear dragon reads.

https://emilymarthasorensen.com/cleanfantasydragonreads.html

 

Posted January 4, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion, Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

Unbound #fantasy #book   Leave a comment

Unbound (The Clarion Call Book 3) by [Workshop, Agorist Writers']Agorist Writers Workshop, of which I am a contributor, launched its latest anthology yesterday – Unbound (Clarion Call 3)

#agorist #libertarian #anthology

Parallel Realities   Leave a comment

December 11, 2017 – Writing parallels – parallels between events and your writing, topic or genre.

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Willow Branch Blue White Recreation CoverI’m sure there probably are some parallels between Daermad Cycle and real life, but it’s very much hidden in the fantasy genre. Unless you want to be really preachy, it’s best to keep theme connections to the real world pretty light. For the record, really preachy tends to put off some people. By some, I mean a lot. You can certainly comment on historical events in fantasy, but you hurt yourself a lot and the book as well if you try to comment on modern society.

So, Daermad Cycle (The Willow Branch, Mirklin Wood and the upcoming Fount of Wraiths) draws parallels from feudal society and the discussion of racism and slavery, but it holds back from more modern topics simply because fantasy readers aren’t generally looking to be preached at.

There is a hiking scene in Mirklin Wood that is based upon a trail Brad and I take to get our salmon every summer. If you want a gander at what my world looks like, it’s a pretty good rendition of it.

But parallels do exist in Transformation Project because it’s an apocalyptic and that sort of preachiness is acceptable in that genre. My character live in a time that could be tomorrow. They’ve lived through the presidencies and events most of us remember. Their history is our history … except theirs took a sharp turn the day after tomorrow and they’re living in the aftermath.

Two Cover Montage

Transformation Project was born of Barack and Michelle Obama’s promise to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” For the record, while I think they dealt a major blow to the culture of liberty in America, I don’t think they accomplished their goal. Of course, they’ve not been out of the White House for a year, so it’s hard to be sure. I suspect the current upheaval in the political realm is a rejection reaction to the transformation they tried to start … or really accelerate. Maybe the people who voted for Donald Trump are T-cells attacking a virus. Sometimes perfectly normal immune responses go too far. Maybe the Trump presidency is the psoriasis that develops after the body attacks some life-threatening plague before it can kill us. The good news is that psoriasis can get better when you remove what set it off in the first place.

A Threatening Fragility Front CoverBut let’s not chase that rabbit. The Obamas promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” and my daughter and I spent a long, Alaska car trip discussing how that might happen, creating a story that had elements of Transformation Project in it, but ultimately would have written itself into a corner had I pursued it.

Then I looked around our world and saw all sorts of economic and political woes. “Mirastan” in the books could be Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya … I combine elements of all of them because I didn’t want to have to research another country so that Shane’s statements about it would be correct, but also so I could say things about it that might be true of any of them. My readers can form their own conclusions.

Economically, I created a United States that is heavily in debt and beginning to face the consequences of that. I only really deal with the riots, rising prices and union difficulties  in Life As We Knew It because in subsequent books, I’ve blown up the cities and my small town is struggling to form its own disaster plan. You will find my characters in Emmaus still care about liberty — which they define as the ability to do what is necessary to survive. They will say what’s on their minds and do what they need to do. Not to let too many cats out of the bag, but the next book (Thanatosis) deals in part with what happens when the middle-sized cities begin to empty in search of resources that are no longer flowing in from the country side.

The characters who are outside of the town face the realities of martial law, because I’m aware of Executive Order 12919 (National Defense Resources Preparedness) which Obama signed in 2012.  This was by no means the first Executive Order signed by a president that could be used to grant him (or her) marital law in time of crisis, but that it exists at all in the form that it does created the premise for the third book of Transformation Project, A Threatening Fragility.

I hang out with people who pray for the end of government as we know it in the near-future because they believe it would give people the opportunity to fix a lot of what is wrong with American society, so naturally, I am drawn to exploring what would happen when/if the federal government collapses. I don’t think it will all be okay — that enough guns, faith and individualism would automatically result in functional local government to replace the overbearing federal government. As I move deeper into the series, I show local government struggling to adapt and sometimes failing miserably. The negligence of the City of Emmaus killed almost a hundred people in the second book, Objects in View.

Hullabaloo Tugawar Front CoverBy total contrast, the novelette Hullabaloo on Main Street is set in this world, November 9, 2016. In this political satire, libertarian Conor wakes up the day after the Presidential election to discover his small Midwestern town embroiled in controversy over the outcome of the election. The book was based on a Politico article “What If A Red State Moves to You?” which focused on a Wisconsin county that had voted Democratic for more than a half-century, but swung hard for President Trump in 2016. I added a twist to get away from the Politico writer’s clear bias in favor of Democrats. Conor is a libertarian anarchist who doesn’t vote. He doesn’t really care who won the election because he considers all elections just processes of picking our slavers for the next four years. That neutrality allows him to infiltrate both political bubbles during this highly charged times and hear what people have to say. It’s meant to make you laugh, but it’s also meant to wake you up and get you asking questions about why Donald Trump won and what is going on in our country that we have formed up in bubbles that have nothing to do with each other. Conor even muses that he sees a potential solution to the divide … not that anyone will listen because he’s not a member of any of the bubbles.

Conor is me on November 9, 2016, wondering why everybody is upset or ecstatic about a deeply flawed candidate winning an election when he was running against an equally deeply-flawed candidate when in reality, we the people were going to be stuck with whatever ludicrous policies either of these two dictators were going to put forward. I wanted to see liberty increase and more power flow to the people rather than government, but that’s not what I got. As I listened to my friends on both sides of the political spectrum freak out, Conor was born as a character who could explain my view of it. Laugh because it’s better than crying, but it’s still a crappy outcome for a great country that keeps, time and time again, selecting bad outcomes.

Parallels are all about finding that passion within ourselves to talk about what is important to us. As writers, we’re supposed to say what others cannot. The parallels in my fantasy are ones I discovered after I wrote them. The parallels in the apocalyptic are cautionary tales suggesting maybe we should try different things. Conor is my critique of the current political landscape. But I made him fun. He doesn’t hate anyone. He’s not angry. His wry (largely internal) comments are not meant to be hurtful. He just sees things from a different perspective because he’s outside of the bubbles … like I am.

 

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