As a writer, I am constantly looking at the changing world of publishing.
The industry has changed remarkably since the days when I would hunt for the names of publishers and agents in a banged-up copy of Writer’s Market at the library, print out query letters, mail them with SASEs and wait months for a reply. If any.
In 2002, I self-published (if that was a word back then) my first book. I used Cafe Press to produce print-on-demand (POD) copies of my first novel. I sold 2 copies off the site and gave away 25. The paperback book’s price was astronomical, almost $14.99 retail, because of printing costs to be recouped by the printer.
In 2012, I returned to writing. After collecting a lot of rejections from publishers and agents for Zak Corbin: Master of Machines, I decided to self-publish again. This time it was with Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle. I took charge of my marketing, asked for reviews from bloggers and gave away copies to the wind. In all, I sold maybe a hundred titles and gave away dozens for free.
Speaking of giving away, I tried a new route with the social reading website Wattpad. I decided to release the book to see how it would fare. To this day, Zak Corbin: Master of Machines has a reader count (total number of persons who read a chapter) of 854,000. The sequel, Neptune’s Fury, also released for free on Wattpad, has a reader count of 170,000.
This past year, I signed a contract with Divertir Publishing to publish Darkest Hour, the first of my trilogy about The Battle of Britain during World War II. The book with be produced by POD and ebook, with major heavy lifting in the editing department by Jen Corkill Hunt. This is a standard publishing contract, although I will be mostly be responsible for marketing and publicizing the book (which I don’t mind).
The Last Empress on Kindle Scout
Now I’m going to try another method of publishing with my newest work, The Last Empress. First of all, let’s get you interested in the story:
On a July night in 1918, seventeen-year-old Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov was marched into a basement room, along with her royal family and loyal servants, and executed by soldiers of the new Soviet government. What happens next is a story of miracles and the madness of science. Aided by a most unusual British agent, young Ana flees from her pursuers across the heart of a Russia torn apart by civil war. The Soviets want to kill her and end the reign of the Tsars. Loyalist forces see her as a symbol that could reunite the country. Ana’s choice will change the course of history.
Intrigued? Read the first three chapters of The Last Empress for free on a site called Kindle Scout.
Here is the direct link to the book’s campaign web page: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/20W1Y9093QLDU
What is Kindle Scout?
For thirty days, Amazon will allow users to read and download the first three chapters of The Last Empress for free. If you love it (and who doesn’t love my writing?) then click the blue button and nominate that book. The more nominations, the better the book’s chance at being offered a publishing contract. Yes–a contract with Kindle Press. Here’s how they explain it:
There are interesting rules to this game. For starters, you will need an Amazon account to nominate books (can you feel them reeling you in yet?) A book’s “campaign” lasts for thirty days, then it’s either given a deal or dropped. Last and most important: once you nominate a book (clicking the blue button), the book has to stay nominated for it to count.
Oh and tell your friends how lovely it was, too!
I’m responsible for the marketing campaign and getting the word out. So you will be seeing me dropping anxious reminders from time to time. If the book is popular, it will appear on the Hot and Trendy portion of the site, keeping it on top and in newcomer’s minds.
If you nominate the book and it wins a contract, you get a free Kindle copy.
Unlike say a Kickstarter project, there is no cost to you. I won’t be giving away signed copies of my keyboard or laser-etched, foil-stamped versions of the book. This is the new face of publishing: crowdsourcing. The more people like my book, the more I get to pursue my writing. And … the better your chances to see if Anastasia sits on the throne or lingers on my hard drive. (Oh no! I think my hard drive’s failing! Quick, nominate the book and save Ana!)