Photography: Thundery sunrise at Clovelly

The last week of daylight saving is one of the darkest weeks of the year. I was going to go to Long Reef, but I had to drop my daughter in Bondi, so I went to Clovelly instead.

Clovelly Mar 2015-1

When the sun came up, this awesome cloud revealed itself.

Clovelly Mar 2015-3

Looking back towards Coogee.

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Clovelly Mar 2015-6

There was thunder in this cloud and I managed to capture a (very small) lightning flash.

Clovelly Mar 2015-9

Clovelly Mar 2015-11

Clovelly Mar 2015-12

Photography: Thundery sunrise at Clovelly was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

Read my books for free: April review drive

I tend not to interfere with my reviews. I don’t beg for them, I don’t write to book bloggers asking for them, and most of the time I barely read them. Reviews are for readers and I don’t want to be that silly author who argued with reviewers.

There is, however, one area where reviews are important: often advertising sites will require a certain number of reviews before you can advertise with them, and others give priority to books with more reviews.

The catch: the reviews have to be on Amazon US.

Stupid. I know. Drives me nuts.

Much as I dislike interfering with reviews, I’m going to do it anyway, because I want to advertise some books, but the reviews are just not happening on Amazon US without my prodding.

So here is the rundown.

Your part of the deal:

1. Have you read a book of mine and posted a review only on Goodreads, your blog or elsewhere? Easy! Copy it to Amazon US. This is possible without having bought the book there.
2. Alternatively, grab one of my free books and post a review on Amazon US
3. Or if there is a book you like, let me know (here or in the contact form on my site, or on Facebook or Twitter) and I’ll send you a file of your choice. Post a review on Amazon US.

My part of the deal:

1. Once the review is up I’m happy to send you another free book of your choice.
2. You can repeat this as often as you want. The offer lasts until at least the end of April.

I would be very happy to add reviews for Shifting Reality (which will get a sequel soon), Trader’s Honour, Soldier’s Duty and Heir’s Revenge, books 2 and 3 of the Icefire Trilogy, the For Queen And Country books and the Ambassador books.

Here is a link to the page where the reviews are needed

Read my books for free: April review drive was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

First in Series Free: The Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

Many are called… She alone can save the world and become Death’s bride.

COBWEB BRIDE (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book One) by two-time Nebula Award Nominee Vera Nazarian is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world.

Author website

Book 2 in the series


Get it for free here

koboAmazonsmashwordsnook

First in Series Free: The Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

First in Series Free: Shadowborn by Moira Katson

The Duke of Voltur has schemed for years to become the power behind the throne of Heddred, using his niece Miriel as a pawn to secure the King’s heart. To this end, he has chosen Catwin, an orphan girl, to become Miriel’s Shadow: spy, assassin, and bodyguard. Thrown together by the ambitions of a ruthless man, Catwin and Miriel must learn quickly to survive in a Court that wants them both dead…

Author website

Book 2 in the series


Get it for free here

koboAmazonsmashwordsnook

First in Series Free: Shadowborn by Moira Katson was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

First in Series Free: Deception by Stacy Claflin

What if your whole life was a lie?

Alexis Ferguson thinks she has everything figured out, but has no idea how wrong she is. Set up on a blind date, she meets a gorgeous stranger and feels that she’s known him her entire life, but she has never seen him before.

He awakens in her long-forgotten dark memories, and now she must face the one who ordered her death years ago. Will she learn to use her strange new powers in time to save herself? Will she let him help her? Should she trust him?

Author website

Book 2 in the series


Get it for free here

koboAmazongoogle play buttonnook

First in Series Free: Deception by Stacy Claflin was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

First in Series Free: The Enemy of an Enemy by Vincent Trigili

Vydor is riding a wave of success, but now his ship, the Dragon Claw, is being sent to investigate a mysterious event deep within the Empire’s space. A secret research colony has fallen silent and the forces sent to investigate were never heard from again.

A new enemy has come to the Empire bringing with it dark powers that were abandoned long before the Empire was born. Powers that were thought to be legends and myths.It’s up to Vydor to keep this force at bay and protect the Empire, but it may come at the cost of his faith and shake the foundations of the Empire itself.

Author website

Book 2 in the series


Get it for free here

koboAmazongoogle play buttonsmashwordsnook

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First in Series Free: The Enemy of an Enemy by Vincent Trigili was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

First in Series Free: The Black Parade by Kyoko M

Jordan Amador. 21. New Yorker. Waitress. Mild alcoholic. Murderer.

Two years ago, Jordan accidentally shot and killed a Seer: a person who can see, hear, and talk to ghosts with unfinished business. Her crime came with a hefty price, too. She has two years to help a hundred souls cross over to the afterlife or her soul is bound for hell. Tough break.

As if that weren’t bad enough, two days before her deadline a handsome pain-in-the-ass poltergeist named Michael strolls into her life. His soul is the key to her salvation, but the cost just might be more than she can handle. Solving his death puts her right in the crosshairs of Belial: a vain, bloodthirsty archdemon who won’t rest until she’s his slave. Can she rescue Michael and save her own soul, or will they both be dragged down into the clutches of the eternal black parade?

Author website

Book 2 in the series


Get it for free here

koboAmazonsmashwordsnook

First in Series Free: The Black Parade by Kyoko M was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

First in Series Free: The Devil’s Concubine by Jill Braden

QuiTai, ruthless concubine of Levapur’s mysterious crime lord, the Devil, receives an unexpected invitation to cocktails with disgraced Thampurian Kyam Zul. She doesn’t trust Kyam enough to drink anything he pours, and won’t help him no matter how hard he begs – or threatens. But when QuiTai’s ex-lover is murdered, Kyam is the only one who knows the name of the killer, and he won’t tell QuiTai unless she helps him first.

The torpid back alleyways of Levapur’s tropical colony hide more than lovers. There are things with claws, beings with venomous fangs, and spies lurking in the jungle.

Most of them want to keep their secrets.

One of them wants QuiTai dead.

Author website

Book 2 in the series


Get it for free here

koboAmazonsmashwordsnook

First in Series Free: The Devil’s Concubine by Jill Braden was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

How to sell on non-Amazon platforms

People are constantly surprised to hear that Amazon doesn’t take up the lion’s share of my sales. They often ask how to get sales on those other platforms. Of course I do not have the definitive answers, but here are some thoughts about selling on other platforms.

It’s a big world out there

Amazon is very US-centric. When you sell at other platforms, you’re selling to the entire world. There are more people reading English outside the US than inside it, so there is great potential, if you can get it.

When you go wide, actually go wide

List your books everywhere, and if a new platform opens, list early. I was one of the first writers to register at Kobo. The month after I registered my book was pulled from the then small pool of self-published writers and put on display. I’m still reaping the benefits of that today. If you’re going to jump, jump early. You want to be a new fish in an almost empty pond.

When you go wide, advertise wide

I often see people complain about the lack of non-Amazon sales, yet when they link to their books (Twitter, Facebook, forums, website), they’ll only list Amazon links. If you want to sell books on other platforms, you have to be willing to advertise them there and to mention links to those books on other sites. As for formal advertising, there is an increasing number of sites that will include links other than Amazon.

Genre and reading preferences outside the US

Every country is different. Some types of works are not as attractive to non-US readers. For example people in Europe and Australia are less squeamish about sex but have more trouble with violence. They may like different subgenres and different types of covers. Study reading preferences in various regions to see what sort of book does well in which country.

Study the sites where you want to sell

The talk is all about Amazon algorithms, well, these sites have algorithms, too. Learn about them by studying the movement of books through their listings. You’ll find that there is less churn. This means books have a harder time breaking in, but once they are in, they will have an easier time staying there. How does each retailer site list their books? What sort of books are in the top 100 of your genre? How much do they cost? Look up some books like yours. Do you notice anything special about the listing?

Pricing

Amazon is a bargain bin; other sites, in particular Kobo and B&N, do better with premium pricing. Just look at the top 100 in your genre. What are the prices like?

Write series, make the first book free

It’s not a sales gimmick and doesn’t work wonders. But it does allow readers to sample your work. If they like it, they will go on to buy the rest of the series, as well as your other work. This tactic has worked for as along as humans have bought and sold things and is not going to go anywhere soon.

Patience

This is the most important ingredient. It can take months of building up before you see anything like regular sales on some sites. You can use some advertising to help it along, especially if you have a free book. If sales disappoint, don’t forget to check your listings on those sites. Does everything work? Is your book in the right categories? Does the cover show properly?

A month, or three months, isn’t enough to build your sales. I appreciate that some people can’t afford to lose money on their Amazon borrows. It’s up for everyone to decide if that is worth it. The thoughts in this post are for those who have already made the decision that going wide is a good long-term strategy.

But once sales start rolling, they’ll keep rolling with fairly little help from the author.

How to sell on non-Amazon platforms was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants