Posts Tagged ‘Kit Campbell’

A Landsquid-y September

There’s been a distinct lack of landsquid on the blog lately, so here’s a landsquid on a laptop.

 

 

I am very pleased to see the end of September here. It’s been a pretty draining month, aside from Iceland at the very beginning. But it’s almost over! Hooray!

Here’s what’s ahead for October:

  • I’m doing a Christmas concert/play thing. It’s called “Christmas on Broadway” and is a collection of Christmas-related songs from Broadway musicals. I botched my audition again so I don’t need to do anything hard.
  • I’m also taking a drawing class! I’m super excited even though it is not cheap. Hopefully it is fun and I learn neat things.
  • I took a writing break for September to re-evaluate my goals and what I want to be working on, which I think has been beneficial. I’m going to go back to my rewrite, but I’m going to intersperse it with other things so I don’t feel like I’m trapped by it. Plus taking a break on it has made me excited to get back to work on it.
  • Here on the blog, we’ll start sticking in some nonfiction posts, topic to be determined.

That’s the general plan. As always, if you’d like more of a certain blog feature (library book reviews, landsquid stories or drawings, nonfiction post, genre musings) let me know!

Also I watched the first episode of the new Star Trek series, and I have Feelings, so maybe we’ll talk about that as well.

See you in October, squiders!

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The Short of It is Out!

Good morning, Squiders! The Short of It: Speculative Short Stories is now live and available to buy on Kindle. In celebration, I’ve also got Hidden Worlds, Shards, and City of Hope and Ruin on sale for a dollar!

Short of It cover

You can pick it up here! (Just a reminder that I’m trying KDP Select out on it, so for the moment, it’s only available on Amazon.)

The Short of It includes five short stories:

  • “Time Management” (science fiction)
  • “Doomsday” (science fiction)
  • “The Knight in the Lobby” (fantasy)
  • “The Door in the Attic” (horror)
  • “To the Waters and the Wild” (magical realism)

And if you want to grab the rest of my books at 20-33% of their normal price:

  • Hidden Worlds (YA fantasy adventure) – Margery Phillips finds a magic door and then manages to screw everything up.
  • Shards (Urban fantasy) – Eva Martinez just wants to figure out what to do with her life. Instead she gets embroiled in a millennia-old conflict.
  • City of Hope and Ruin (High fantasy) – Theo’s City is infested with monsters, with nowhere to ruin. Briony’s home is threatened by the mutilated Scarred from the North. Their only salvation may be each other.

The sale on the novels is only for today, so grab ’em while you can!

Cover Reveal: The Short of It

Today, Squiders, I am pleased to reveal the cover for my short story collection The Short of It: Speculative Short Stories which will be released on February 8th.

Short of It cover

(Let me tell you how many times I have typoed that as “Shirt of It.” It is a lot.)

The collection includes four previously published short stories from 2011-2013, as well as one new one. As I previously mentioned, I’m going to release the collection on Kindle exclusively, at least at the beginning, to see if there’s any merit to that particular brand of madness. The collection will be $0.99.

Stories included:

  • Time Management, science fiction, 2011
  • Doomsday, science fiction, 2012
  • The Knight in the Lobby, fantasy, 2017
  • The Door in the Attic, horror, 2012
  • To the Waters and the Wild, magical realism, 2013*

(*To the Waters and the Wild is also included in The Best of Turtleduck Press, Vol. I.)

So, tada! I’ll let you guys know next Wednesday when it goes live.

Thursday we’ll go back to the nonfic posts and jump on the madness that is self-publishing novels.

Out Today: To Rule the Stars

Happy Tuesday, Squiders! It’s my pleasure today to announce the release of To Rule the Stars, an anthology of space princess stories.

To Rule the Stars cover

Who says fantasy should get all the princesses? Here’s the blurb:

Meet the princesses.

A trained diplomat, kidnapped by an alien race desperate for justice, and its dashing leader…

A political pawn, on her way to meet her betrothed, who stops in the asteroid belt to answer a call for help, and finds a princess both beautiful and brave…

A captive raised to believe that the greatest evil is magic, when it—and the handsome ship’s engineer who wields it—are the one thing that might save her…

Here are their stories.

I just got to say, I’m super pleased with my story in this one. (Mine’s the one with the trained diplomat up above.) AND we have it on special release price in ebook form for now, at $0.99, before it goes up to its normal price. There will also be a print version (which will be $7.99, I believe) but it hasn’t gone live yet.

For now, you can get it here: ( Amazon | Smashwords )

The Turtleduck Press page will get additional buy links as they go live.

So go check it out while it’s cheap! You get three awesome novelette/novella-sized stories for less than a dollar. Besides mine, which I am understandably biased about, I’m also super jazzed about Siri’s Ship of Thorns, which has a very cool tone to it that I won’t spoil for you. (You may remember Siri as my co-author for City of Hope and Ruin.) Erin’s story, which wraps up the collection, is also an interesting look at evaluating your beliefs and what’s acceptable (but don’t worry, it’s not preachy). You also get a preview for TDP’s next release, which is Erin’s Ever Touched, the third book in her science fantasy Fey Touched series.

So what are you waiting for?

Otherwise, I hope things are going relatively well for you, Squiders. Let me know if you’ve got anything awesome going in your corner!

Long Tour Aftermath (and a shark)

Happy October, Squiders! Though the leaves have not turned and today is the first real autumn-y day of the year. Get on it, autumn.

Anyway. Siri’s and my long blog tour for City of Hope and Ruin has come to an end, and now I can comment on it and whether or not I felt like it was worth the time and money. Just to recap, we bought a multi-month tour, which ran from July 14 to Sept 29, and each week we’d provide a guest post, interview, or something along those lines for that week’s blog, depending on what they wanted. (Some weeks we had two blogs scheduled.) On the day the blog post went live, we’d stop by the post a few times to answer questions and thank the hosts, etc.

We used GoddessFish promotions, which, coincidentally, is also where I get some of the promos I post here, such as The Ever Fiend from Monday.

So, results. I feel like we got a lot of great comments on the stops, and people seemed generally excited about the book.

Now, sales? They haven’t been amazing, and I don’t know that they can directly correspond to any of the tour stops. Actually, a fourth of the sales we’ve made since the start of the tour to today have been since the end of the tour, whatever sense that makes.

There is a definite bump of adds to people’s “To Read” lists on Goodreads with each tour stop. Whether that will translate into ongoing sales in the long run, I can’t say. We’re still sitting at a 4.15 score on Goodreads, which is pretty good.

We did get some reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon from the tour, which is very nice. (We’re sitting at a 4.5 score on Amazon, but there are less ratings there since Amazon doesn’t let you leave a rating without a text review anymore. Unless I’m crazy.) You guys know how crazy it is to get reviews, so it’s almost worth it just for that, especially since everyone liked the book.

(If you don’t know how crazy it is to get reviews, it’s like pulling teeth. Leave reviews. Authors will appreciate it, even if you didn’t like the book. I mean, as long as you’re not mean about it. Mean reviews are the worst.)

Would I do it again? Hmmm, not sure. In the direct work to sales ratio, the results weren’t great. But the reviews are nice, and it was a good way to reach a ton of people I never would have otherwise.

(The last three stops, if you want to see them:

Blurbs, bios, excerpts and links at all stops, as usual.)

Now that that’s over with, who wants to see the shark I sketched this morning?

shaaaark

Now that I’m doing sketchtober, I remember that shading has always eluded me. I also tried to draw my youngest, but she kept moving.

You’ll also be pleased to know that I continue to take my revision planning seriously.

nerd

(Next to market it says “things to buy, rumors to overhear” in case that’s unreadable.)

How are you, Squiders? Other authors, any marketing things that have worked well for you? Non-authors, what are your feelings on sharks?

The Evolution of a Book Description

We talked in May and June about an older novel of mine, Shardswhich came out in December of 2013, and how I suspected my book description for it was doing a terrible job of selling it due to a mismatch between the description and the actual contents of the book.

And then we talked about how long it was actually taking me to re-write the description. But I am pleased to say that I am done, I have the go-ahead from the lovely people helping me re-write it, and that it has gone live on Amazon and Smashwords, and I assume will trickle out to the other distributors in the near future.

(I also have changed the keywords on everything, and some of my categories. We’ll see how that goes.)

(Also, apparently if you change the description on Smashwords, but not any of the actual content, it still reconverts everything, and you have to reapply to premium distribution. Which is ridiculous. I didn’t touch the book itself!)

Now to see if 1) this improves sales at all, and 2) if this improves review quality, since readers should go into the book with a better idea of what they’re getting.

But I thought you guys might like to see the change. So I present, without further ado, the original description, and then we’ll do the new description.

Original:

Eva Martinez isn’t sure why she’s pursuing a master’s degree in religious studies, except that something about the material resonates in the depths of her soul. But when her dreams start to be invaded by lost gardens, forbidden fruit, and a strangely familiar mystery man, even she has to wonder if she’s taking her schoolwork too seriously.

Then Eva starts to notice the strangeness seeping into everyday life. The man from her dreams is real and Eva feels a curious connection with him. Her classmate, someone she’s known for years, starts to act increasingly volatile. And it seems like everyone, including her bosses, is keeping secrets…secrets that have something to do with her. Eva’s determined to find out what’s going on, how it involves her, and why she’s transforming into someone buried deep in her memories.

The deeper in that Eva gets, the more she feels like she should understand what’s happening around her. The secrets conceal real dangers, and if she can’t untangle them and find the truth in time, she–and all those she’s come to care for–will face defeat at the hands of an ancient enemy, one who recognized Eva long before she learned to recognize herself.

New:

Every night, Eva Martinez dreams about the same man. During the day she tries to convince her mother she knows what she’s doing with her life—but it would help if Eva actually believed it.

It’s been centuries since Michael has had a real reason to live. After the loss of his love, nothing keeps his interest for very long—not even his friends, dabbling at being human.

When Eva and Michael meet, it awakens something in both of them. Eva’s dream-man-turned-real completes her in ways she’s never thought possible, and Michael feels his fire start to return.

But Michael’s kind—angels—are forbidden to join with humans. And Eva has attracted the attention of Michael’s ancient enemy—the one who took his first love from him. He couldn’t protect her, so he’s determined not to let the same fate befall Eva. But can their relationship survive all he’s not telling her?

Ta-da! Now we wait and watch, and see what comes of this all. Also, just a reminder that Shards is on sale for $1 at Smashwords through the 31st, and Hidden Worlds is free.

New Marketing–How’s It Going?

So, Squiders, at the end of April I told you about some new marketing techniques Siri and I were giving a try, since there’s two of us to share the costs and whatnot.

Since then, the book has launched and I now have feedback on some of the things we’ve done. I thought it might be useful for other indie authors to see how things have worked for us. If you are also an indie author and have some technique you’ve found beneficial, let us know! (Also, if you are a reader, let me know if you have a go-to way to find new books/authors.)

As a recap, here are the things Siri and I are trying/have tried out:

  • fancy-butt cover
  • 1-day book blitz (last week, June 9)
  • 12-week blog tour (not yet started, no data yet)
  • pre-orders
  • in-person launch party (Siri, in Toronto, on May 29)
  • FB launch party
  • Goodreads ad/giveaway combo

So, how have things gone? Let’s break it down. Actually, let me preface by saying that sales for City of Hope and Ruin have been over double what my previous releases have done, and, in general, I think a lot of that comes from there being two of us. But, moving on:

  • Fancy-butt cover. I don’t know that this has directly influenced sales, but we’ve gotten a lot of compliments, and the bookstore Siri did her launch at said they’d put the book front and center in the display because it looked so great. Also, I was super happy with the process and the results and will probably use our designer (Deranged Doctor Designs) again in the future.
  • 1-day book blitz. We ran this last Thursday, June 9. We had about 30 blogs pick up the book, all of which were lovely, though some have gone above and beyond and are still tweeting, etc. about the book over a week later. We discounted the ebook version to $.99 for the duration of the blitz, and I think it cost us ~$70. The blitz, not discounting. Very exhausting–I went through all the blogs four times to thank the hosts and answer questions from commenters. We also gave away a $50 Amazon gift card as part of the tour, so all-in-all we spent ~$120 on the book blitz.

That being said, we sold four books during the duration of the blitz/giveaway (two days), which is not terribly encouraging. In the week since, we’ve sold an additional ebook (and had someone use Kindle’s matchbook program to get a free ebook after buying a paperback version). We’ve also sold two paperbacks. Are those additional sales related? Maybe? No real way to know. But $120 for four books is not a good return on investment.

Now, saying that, the book blitz did get us about 150 adds on Goodreads. That’s pretty decent. We’ll have to see how many of those convert to sales/reviews over the next few months. And, in general, the people commenting seemed genuinely excited about the book. Two of the blogs did include reviews, one who had finished the book and loved it, and one who was only part of the way in (and was loving it). Those reviews are only on the blogs (not cross-posted to Goodreads or Amazon), but they’re still something.

It certainly put the book out in front a bunch of new people, if nothing else. Now we watch and wait.

  • 12-week blog tour. Again, this starts mid-July. At some point I believe we get sent a list of guest post/interview requests and then have to fulfill it, so this one’s going to be a ton of work too. At least it’s one post per week, so less constant stalking to do.
  • Pre-orders. We ran pre-orders on all the ebook platforms, though the only ones we got a statistically relevant amount of sales on were Kindle and Kobo. And it did help our sales rankings–all those preorders counted as sales on launch day, which got us up in the Top 100 in a couple of categories. So in general, I recommend doing this. Why not?
  • In-person launch party. Siri threw an in-person launch party at her local SFF store in Toronto. You can read about her experience in more detail here. I was not there, since Siri and I live in different countries, but from what she’s told me it went well. Siri’s been inspired by its success to contact other independent bookstores in her area, and at least one more has also been persuaded to stock the book. I should…probably do that too. >_>
  • FB launch party. We did do a virtual launch party on the actual date of the book release, which went pretty well. (You can see it here.) We got a lot of great questions, and the whole thing seemed pretty high energy. We gained a number of new followers for our publisher, Turtleduck Press, and did “party favors” (I guess you’re not technically allowed to do giveaways on FB) of copies of the book and one $20 Amazon gift card. I’d do one again.

Though re: gift card giveaways in general–I’d be interested to see if lowering the amount of the gift card affected participation at all. I’d bet you it wouldn’t. With the FB party one, the girl who won it didn’t even know we were giving one away.

  • Goodreads giveaway/ad. I’ve done this for all my books, and typically it works really well. I feel like it’s not working as well this time around. I’ve been steadily increasing the price per click in an attempt to increase views, but nothing’s really worked. The ad(s) have been running for a month–the giveaway ends today–and the ads have only been shown 16,000 times. Comparatively, the ad campaigns for both Hidden Worlds and Shards have over 304,000 views each. Not sure what’s up–at first I thought it might be because I limited the target audience more for CoHaR, but I actually had a lot less categories selected for Shards, and it had the most views. (For clarification, “views” in this case is just Goodreads popping the ad up on someone’s page. There’s no guarantee that someone will actually see it, just that it is there to be seen. Goodreads also keeps track of how many times someone clicks, and charges you money per click. I use the ads to drive people to the giveaways while they’re live.)

(If we’re going off clicks, CoHaR has 16, while Shards got 133 and Hidden Worlds got 172. No doubt due to the massively lower views.)

Speaking of which, here’s the link to giveaway–it ends tonight. We’re giving away three paperback copies, and as of me writing this, there’s 684 people signed up.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

City of Hope and Ruin by Kit Campbell

City of Hope and Ruin

by Kit Campbell

Giveaway ends June 18, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Comparatively, Shards had ~750 people enter, and Hidden Worlds had ~950. You always get a ton of people last minute, so it will be interesting to see what the final count ends up being.

Now, I think a lot of the giveaway people are coming from Twitter/the book blitz, judging by the lousy numbers on the ad.

What’s up with this ad compared to previous ones? It has nothing to do your actual ad copy, so is the competition just more fierce now? More people using the ads, so you have to fight more to get yours seen? Raise your per click price to a couple of dollars? Maybe so. I’m going to have quite a bit of money left over after the giveaway ends, so I’ll experiment with changing prices/categories to see if anything helps. But it may be that my old go-to of giveaways/ads isn’t as viable as it used to be.

So, that’s me thus far! Anything else you’d recommend, squiders?