These are my kind of addicts

This should be fun.

My novel, A Housefly in Autumn, is the Selection of the Month for August at the YA Addicted Book Club on Goodreads.

I’ve never participated in an online book club event before, so it should be an interesting learning experience. I will be responding to comments and questions about the book as well as receiving some valuable feedback. I’m looking forward to the interaction.

For anyone interested, the YA Addicted Book Club is an open group on Goodreads, which means any member of Goodreads can join. It’s a relatively small group right now, which is great for fostering meaningful discussions among members.

For the Book Club discussion, you can get a free Kindle copy of the book from the moderator. (Instructions here)

Many thanks to Heather and the rest of the group for inviting me to participate.

I hope to see you there.

A Housefly in Autumn blurb:

Anders sacrificed his own promising future to save the life of child. Now he must decide whether to cling to the unlikely hope of regaining his old status, or spend his time making the most of the life fate dealt him. Though difficult to let go of rewards once promised, perhaps the greatest rewards are those earned by building new hope from the bits and pieces of wrecked dreams. A Housefly in Autumn is a historical novel intended for Young Adults and up.

 

 

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Selling it by giving it away

The book has been published. All the hard work of editing, proofing, and layout is done. It’s time to take a break, sit back, and relax for a while.

Not.

Anyway, I can take a break from the completed book and turn my attention to my work in progress. Well . . . actually . . . I can’t do that either. The work in progress may have to stay on hold for a while longer.

A Housefly in Autumn may be published, but I’m hardly done with it. There’s promoting to be done.

Promoting can be a hard pill to swallow for someone who revels in the introverted nature of writing. Fortunately, this is not my first trip through the cycle, so I am somewhat prepared to face it. I’m never wholly prepared for promotion, but somewhat prepared is better than not prepared at all.

Promotion can be a slap in the face to the first-time author. It is tempting to think that once a book is released, people will naturally buy it. After three books, I am fully cured of this temptation.

I know how difficult it is to sell a book. That’s why I’m working so hard to give them away.

It may sound counter-productive to give books away, and maybe it is. There’s no guarantee it will result in eventual sales, but the idea is that people who might not have bought the book will be attracted to the giveaway. If they enjoy it, they may review it or tell their friends, or otherwise increase visibility, eventually making the book attractive enough to be worth actual money to the reading public.

Book giveaway

If not for the Internet, I’d be handing them out to passersby down at the docks.

The giveaways I’m working on right now are at Goodreads, for the print copy, and Amazon, for the Kindle version.

The Goodreads giveaway is running now. I am giving away six print copies of A Housefly in Autumn. The giveaway is open to US readers and runs through July 26, 2015, when six winners will be chosen.

The Kindle giveaway will run July 15-17. This is an unlimited giveaway. The Kindle version will be free to all who wish to download during that time. Amazon is in charge of the logistics, but from my experience, I expect this to be open to international readers as well.

Setting up the giveaways is not difficult nor time-consuming. But if you’re giving away your book, you want somebody to take it (if only for self-esteem purposes). The more difficult piece is drawing attention to your giveaway. This involves researching and registering your giveaway on blogs and web sites that advertise such things. All have different rules and requirements. Figuring out where to post and filling in required fields eats up time. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to eat up a lot of money, because it’s hard enough to give so much of your toil away; it would be far worse to have to pay to give it away.

Please take a moment to explore these giveaways and/or mention them to other readers.

Book release: A Housefly in Autumn

Since I began this blog, last September, I’ve been talking about my forthcoming book, A Housefly in Autumn. Before I started this blog, I owned a traditional web site. There, I talked about my forthcoming novel for even longer. Altogether, I’ve spent a long time talking about something happening in the future. If you saw any of these mentions, you may have begun to wonder if the future would ever get here. I know there were times when I did.

It took its sweet time, but the future has arrived.

Available in Kindle and paper

If you buy the paperback at Amazon, you can download the Kindle version for free. Just in case you can’t decide which you like best.

Today is that day. I can finally hold a real live copy of A Housefly in Autumn in my hands. I can download the e-book to my Kindle. In fact, I have already done both of these things, and now so can you.

A Housefly in Autumn is available in paper and Kindle formats.

Where to buy:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Createspace
Paperback Paperback Paperback
Kindle

This book has taken longer to publish than my previous ones. The editing, the proofing, the cover art, it’s all been a longer trek. That’s why this day is sweeter to me than past release days. It’s the culmination of more investment, more sweat and toil.

That also may be part of the reason there’s more trepidation than before. There’s more toil at risk. But the toil can’t be undone so it might as well be pushed with all the other chips into the pot.

I’m all in. Now I get to see what kind of hand I’ve dealt myself.

Introducing:

A Housefly in Autumn

                Book Description

A Housefly in Autumn is intended for Young Adults and up. A historical novel, set in 19th century Europe, it follows the life of a young man whose dreams have crumbled down around him. In an act of heroism, he sacrifices his own promising future to save the life of another. Now he must decide whether to cling to the unlikely hope of regaining his old life, or aim his efforts toward making the most of the life fate has dealt him. Though it is difficult to let go of the rewards that life once promised, perhaps the greatest rewards are the ones earned by building new hope from the bits and pieces of wrecked dreams.

                Synopsis

At 17, Anders Christiansen was a young man overflowing with potential. All his teachers believed he was destined to blossom into a leading man of letters, enjoying a life of rich rewards.

That was before the accident.

Now, Anders’s great talent lies fallow. He can’t produce the complex ideas he once did. His thoughts are slow and his words simple. The world holds little promise for him anymore.

Struggling to build a meaningful life out of the wreckage of his dreams, Anders learns the value of simple treasures. Loyalty, devotion, and even sacrifice hold rewards of their own to renew hope after tragedy. Love can cause hurt, but he who gives love when he hurts the most will reap a joy outweighing the pain.

Anders gives meaning to his life in the way he spends it. He will face grave danger to spare those he loves, and though his gifts be diminished, he will share them freely with even the humblest of children. Though never sought, Anders’s reward is immense and enduring, showing the millions of reasons to go on sharing even the simplest of gifts.

 

So now I guess I have to find some new future event to start talking about. Fortunately, my future is full of things that probably will happen but might take longer than I expect. There will be plenty to talk about.

Kindle publishing: the mostly good, the little bad, and the none too ugly

Kindle publishing is amazing. The idea that you or I, or anyone, can upload a manuscript at no cost and have people all over the world be able to buy and read it in a matter of hours is truly a mind-blowing concept. That’s the thing to keep in mind as I regale you with my Kindle publishing frustrations.

After all the hard work putting a print version of a new novel together, I yearned for a moment to sit back and enjoy a sense of accomplishment. Resting on my laurels would have been a fine thing, if I had any laurels, and if I weren’t concerned about exposing the other half of the reading public to my book.

So, after four years of forgetting everything I had once learned about Kindle publishing, it was time to dive back in.

It’s incredibly easy to get 95% of the presentation of a book right on Kindle. If you’re fine with 95%, you can likely publish to Kindle in your sleep. If 95% isn’t good enough, the other 5% can make you lose a good deal of that sleep.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned from my recent bout with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

The online previewer doesn’t preview for older Kindles

I uploaded a file that looked great on the previewer. It looked fine on the Fire, but when I downloaded the file to my old Kindle reader, some spaces had disappeared from between special characters. You don’t really know what it looks like until you read it on an actual Kindle.

Special fonts may not convert

I have a few instances in which I use special fonts. It seems like Kindle used to be able to handle these, but now they are changed to a common font.

Functionality may not be the same on different Kindle devices

I wanted to have a Table of Contents location to help readers navigate. The TOC location is recognized beautifully on my old 2nd Generation Kindle Reader, but is a dead end on my kids’ Kindle Fire.

Kindle evolution

Both are Kindles, but they are very different devices.

Kindle books may not open where you want them to

When I downloaded the free sample and opened it, it began at the place where the Kindle gods guessed the story began: Chapter 1. Unfortunately there was text important to the story prior to Chapter 1. It got skipped, leaving the reader lacking context. Yes, it’s only the free sample, but how many people use free samples to decide what to buy? And would the full book open at the same spot? (I decided to get the sample right before I even bothered downloading the whole book.) I solved this problem by uploading a new file in which I bookmarked and labeled the text preceding Chapter 1 as ‘Prologue’ and linked to it in the Table of Contents. It still doesn’t open exactly where I’d like, but at least it opens before the story begins.

Email notifications that your updates are published sometimes jump the gun

I got an email that my new files were published. I then downloaded a new free sample. It was still the old file. A day later, I downloaded the free sample again. This time it was the new file. At the very bottom of the email it mentions something about 24-48 hours. This is an important note that should probably be more prominent.

Kindle publishing has changed in the past four years

Mostly, they’ve made it easier. But if you were expecting it to run like it used to, you could be in for some surprises. I updated the file for an old book only to discover I had uploaded an image link that was no longer necessary and had thus created a book with two covers. This was an easy fix, once I figured out what I’d done wrong.

Your experience could be completely different than mine

That’s just the nature of uploading files and having them automatically converted to a different format. It leaves room for a lot of trial and error. The good news is you only have to buy the book once. Then, if you want to see a later update live, you can email KDP and they will send the new file to your device. They are very responsive to emails and have answered all of mine with 24 hours.


 

Even having learned these lessons, I am far from a Kindle publishing expert. I’m working hard to conquer that last 5%, but I’m beginning to understand that 100% right, across all devices, might be a pipe dream.