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Posts Tagged ‘Shatterwing’

Back in this post I said I’d give an update after my Bookbub in October, which was for Shatterwing, Free, USA only. See previous Indie publishing post here.

I think my earnings for September were higher than I first anticipated because iBooks mixes up the currencies and it isn’t until you get the invoice notice that you know what you are being paid. I think I estimated $76 from iBooks and it was more like $126. Also, I didn’t twig that Amazon hadn’t paid me any US earnings…I guess I wasn’t too vigilant or whatever. The deal is that for all payments except for Australian sales I have to wait until I hit the $100 or equivalent. In October, I was paid out my USA earnings from April 2016 until August 2017. This is what I mean when I say notional earnings. There are timing differences and minimum amount requirements before you actually see any money.

In October, I bought Patty Jansen’s Indie publishing book called, Self Publishing Unboxed, The Three-year, No-bestseller Plan for Making a Sustainable Living From Your Fiction and read it. (link to the book is here)

I bought the second book which is focussed on Newsletters etc. The second book is a bit advanced for me but I’ll get there.

I’ve been receiving Patty’s advice for a while. She’s probably the reason I am where I am now. She has some very practically and insightful advice no matter where you are in the process. Her book gave me a few gems. Such as I opened up a dedicated bank account as per the book and I’m so pleased with that. I have changed over all the payments to that account and linked it to Paypal and have a debit card. This means that my Instafreebie dues come out of that account instead of my personal credit card. It means when I look at my accounts I can see my book earnings. You can’t imagine how exciting that is. Instead of them being swallowed up by bills or spending them. May aim is to be able to pay for my edit of Skyfire with my earnings. I think I’ve reached that goal, or I will when all the money comes through. I may even have enough for the proofreading costs too. In that I have reached my first goal, to support my creative life with my earnings.

The other thing that Patty has put me onto recently is Mark Dawson’s podcast ‘Self Publishing Formula’. I have found them to be useful and inspiring. When I get more time I’m going to implement a lot of that advice. Mark Dawson runs courses etc but I’m probably not there yet in terms of earnings and output.

So the Bookbub result. In all over 27000 copies of Shatterwing were downloaded. I had immediate sell through, though conversion wise iBooks was higher. I made the cost of the Bookbub back in a couple of days. Amazon reporting is the quickest, others I have to wait for like iBooks, Draft2Digital (which is just Barnes and Noble sales I think) and Streetlib for Googleplay.

Estimates of downloads per vendor

Amazon 20,000

ibooks 2,400

Google Play 2,800

Barnes and Noble 2000

Kobo 500 (note the free download counter isn’t working properly).

Sell through is still occurring. For example, including the November sales so far, I have half a per cent on Amazon. It’s not much but considering level of sales before it’s good. I expect that to increase by the end of the month. Whereas iBooks was 1.5 per cent straight off and will rise by the end of the month.

By conversion I mean people who get book one who go on to buy book two. The conversion after that is really good. For example, if they buy book two they pretty much by the rest of the series.

The good news for readers is that I’m writing Book Five, Skyfire at the moment for NaNoWriMo. I was going to write them during next year but as I was fishing around for a project for NaNoWriMo I figured I owe it to my readers. One reader left me a message of Goodreads asking what the timetable was for the rest of the series. And some lovely readers left messages on my Facebook page leaving lovely comments. They all helped me to decide on that. I was going to write a contemporary romance. Another time perhaps.

Other things that happened as a result of the Bookbub. I went from one follower on Bookbub to 88 and it is still rising. People who follow you on Bookbub get an email when you have a new release and also when you have a Bookbub deal. That’s awesome.

I’m still small bickies but I’m growing my readership which is what I want. I just have to finish the PhD and then there will be no stopping me. I have two series that I’m thinking of publishing and I have another novel that needs polishing with a possible series after that. Then there are the ideas for prequels and sequels to the Silverlands and Dragon Wine. I just hope I hold up physically.

Earnings for October I estimate at over $1500.

I will also get paid out accrued British Pounds as well as USD because I made more than 100 in each currency. So cash wish a bit more than that.

This is enough to fund my edit!

I forgot to mention that I had an iBooks promo early in the month in Australia. I had around 1700 to 2000 downloads, with follow on sales. I don’t know the conversion rates. Last time I looked it was around 2 per cent but I haven’t updated the figures.

 

On the day my Bookbub results were coming through I was in absolute agony with sciatica. I’ve never experienced anything like that. It should have been an awesome day. I’m really grateful for the chance to promote the books to new readers via Bookbub. It was totally worth it. I have submitted Argenterra for a Bookbub and been rejected. I’ll just have to keep on trying. Perhaps next year when the rest of Dragon Wine is out I’ll get another Bookbub. You have to wait 90 days between promotions.

 

 

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In the lead up to Christmas and the end of year, it’s crazy season. There are farewell lunches, end of year parties, and things that need to be done.

I’ve not got serious about my Christmas present shopping yet and gee not even a morsel of food for Christmas dinner. I was going to bake a pudding and cake. Oh dear. Life seems out of control.

I’m sure it will all come together. It’s Matthew’s birthday on Saturday. We are going to the theatre tomorrow night and then to Star Wars on Saturday night. It seems a perfectly dweebish thing to do. Then the countdown begins.

My son is coming back from China on Christmas eve and that’s when we celebrate. In the meantime there are medical appointments to fit in, a blog tour to organise and the house to get ready. Not much time in there for writing (or much else)

However, I do have the bulk of my blog content sorted so the next post will be the schedule. It’s an exciting array of blogs and content. There are a couple of interviews, one really in depth and deep and then there are some articles by me on topics requested by my hosts. Hopefully there will be something for everybody and also enough temptation for people to want to download a free copy of Shatterwing and also enter the draw for a print copy.

So check back soon.

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I’m in between interviews so nothing new to post for you guys today.

My RSI appears to be on the improve, but no writing as such. But I’m reading and thinking up heaps of ideas. I’m going to go mad because I can’t write them all down.

A lovely review spotted on Facebook, but it originates on WordPress so I’ll link it here. I met AJ at Supanova so it’s great to see she got to reading Shatterwing. Review blog post here.

I also had a spot on the Galaxy Express with a bunch of other SF romance writers. I’m hoping to interview Heather Massey later on in August. Here is a link to that spot here.

I’m going to be signing books at RWA in Melbourne. I’ll be there as me and Dani Kristoff so do come along and say hi if you are around. After that Conflux in Canberra is fast approaching and I haven’t organised myself at all for that. Darn!

Meanwhile on the home front, I have randomly bought a new car and we’ve had the deck commenced and new sliding doors put in upstairs. Now we have bright open rooms and even more amazing views. We are still processing it all. I’ve organised new blinds (panel glides) and I’ll be chasing the builder for the railings and the roof etc, because it should be done by now. Below is a shot from my office which shows part of the aspect.

deck in progress

I also baby sat the grandchildren and I’m feeling a little knackered. I also made a most excellent Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake. I think a soak in the tub is in order and then a good book. Cheers.

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I’ve been given a fantastic opportunity to be one of the guests at Supanova Pop culture expo in Sydney and in Perth. (Many thanks to Alex Adsett and Supanova). If you are interested in pop culture, cosplay, games, comics or in any of the amazing guests you should come along and enjoy yourself. If you see me then come and say hi to me too.

The Sydney Supanova starts on Friday 19 June at Sydney Showground, Olympic Park-an easy trip on the train.

Guess who is the major guest? Nathan Fillion.Remember Firefly?

There are stacks more of course, writers, actors, comic artists etc. I’m also quite keen to meet/see Graham McTavish (The Hobbit movies, Outlander). I am a big fan of Gabaldon’s books. Actually watching the series I believe Diana Gabaldon is quite dark-lots of brutality and attempted rapes etc so I don’t know why people are complaining about the Dragon Wine series being so grim. Gabaldon was being dark more than 20 years ago.

I’m going to Supanova! Be prepared for geek girl freakout by the Dweebette (me!).

Outlander_Cast_Dougal_420x560_v2

Photo borrowed from http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2014/08/outlander-twitter-qa-with-graham-mctavish/

I’ll be hanging with my mates, Karen Miller and Keri Arthur and also meeting KA Bedford in Perth. I haven’t seen Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta (international author guests) for some time so it will be great to catch up them too as well as meeting all the people I don’t know.

The dates for Perth are the following weekend 26 to 28 June at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

To celebrate the Supanova appearances, where I’ll be signing books and a limited number of print books will be available for purchase from the bookseller, Momentum Books have put Shatterwing and Skywatcher ebooks on special. So if you already grabbed Shatterwing when it was a freebie, now is the time to grab the second book, Skywatcher, for $2.99. Shatterwing is $1 so you can grab the set for under $4.

Hang on a minute. All my hard work writing this book and you can read it for less than the cost of a cup of coffee! How can this be? There are no steak knives, just grim dark fantasy, with a sci fi setting and dragons.

The special for the Dragon Wine series is currently on the Momentum website and iBooks (today) but it will filter through to other platforms. So it would be great for you to have a read and then come see me and say hello.

Dragonwine

My Supanova appearance will also allow me to put on my retro 50s dresses and petticoats and maybe even a hat or two. I’m so excited.

Me in my dress and shoes

Me in my dress and shoes

I love seeing the cosplayers, who create the most amazing costumes and some stay in character the whole day. All power to them.

I will also be handing out postcards of my other books, which are available as ebooks.

New RayessaSee you there!

Links

Supanova home page

My Supanova guest page

BTW Momentum are having a sale so there are lots of books on special right now. Momentum Books home page.

Momentum Books Shatterwing

Momentum Books Skywatcher

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Now that Shatterwing and Skywatcher are out there, I was thinking that there are things that I’ve written in the Margra setting that will never see the light of day. Maybe they were never meant to, but  I thought I’d share with you a scene from Salinda’s past. This was how she found Plu, the dragon as a hatching. You will also meet Mez, who had already passed on by the time of Shatterwing. It’s unedited and I wrote it about 2009, so six years ago.

Deleted scene, Salida finds Plu

Salinda ran, her bare feet throwing up dust as she left the curved perimeter of the prison vineyard. The lure of freedom beyond the dragon hatcheries compelled her forward. No guard would dare to follow her, fearing death on the plains or in the treacherous geothermal wastelands. Salinda knew that there was a way through for her. Had to be.

Glancing over her shoulder, she saw Mez, her elderly helpmate, dart out of a vine row and begin loping after her. Salinda groaned and increased her pace. Why did the old man follow her? What business was it of his whether she went or stayed?

Ahead rose the pockmarked ridge where the dragons laid their eggs in crevices, seeking the warm, sulphurous mineral deposits to nurture their young. If she made it past that, then there was a chance.

Putting her head down, she strove for a burst of speed, until the shadow of the ridge fell on her. Then she lifted her head to assess the rock face, choosing the best way to ascend. Veering to the left, she leapt onto a large boulder, gripping it with her toes. She made it up over the top and then scrambled up a section of red-brown dirt, grasping at protruding roots and clumps of vegetation to assist her climb. Dirt rained down on her head and shoulders, with some landing in her mouth. She spat out the grit and continued upwards, using a rock as a foothold to push her up to another level.

Mez called out. Looking down she saw that he had stumbled at the base of the boulder, his chest heaving. Maybe now he would cease dogging her steps but she doubted he would. Concentrating on each hand and foot hold, she continued to climb. Above her head, she felt a long flat stone. Hopefully it was a ledge where she could take a breather.

Then Salinda felt it, a disturbance in the air behind her. She stilled. Over her raspy breathing, she heard the sound of wing beat.

Her gaze slid to the right and then to the left. She was careful not to make any sudden movements. In her peripheral vision, she caught sight of the dragon. Exposed on the ridge face, Salinda assessed her options. To escape she could drop to the ground, risking possible death and certain disablement as the fall would snap bones and crush internal organs. The dragon was likely to devour her in one swallow but there was a chance she could avoid the encounter. A very slim one.

With her hands over her head, she further assessed the lip of the ledge. The dragon screeched as she heaved her body onto it. Frozen for a moment, she dangled there. The dragon did not strike so she moved, leaping to her feet and swinging round to face the dragon in a crouch, in time to see the dragon pull up, exposing the smooth scales of its under belly. A small reprieve. The rock face narrowed above her forming a cleft, making it difficult for the dragon, a female, to snatch her easily. It was clear though that on the next pass she would gain footing and take her.

The dragon’s approach mesmerised her as it swooped back, dark green and purple head slanting towards her, grey claws outstretched to grasp the rock face. Salinda took a step back, hoping for the comfort of the wall behind her. Her feet dislodged fist-sized rocks, which she nudged out of the way. The beast came at her—pointed snout, lower jaw ratcheting wide, preparing to rend. Instinctively, Salinda raised her arms over her head and stepped back again. The hot, rank breath of the dragon made her recoil. She stepped into nothing—a hole and slipped down, loose scree and stones assisting her slide.

Salinda landed hard, the impact forcing the air out of her lungs and leaving her with arms and legs splayed. She had fallen into some sort of fissure or cave. The dragon’s frustrated cry vibrated the air around her as it clawed at the rocks and soil around the opening.

Salinda dragged in a painful breath, fearing she had broken a rib. Foul dragon’s breath poured from the snout hammering at the opening, as it moved closer and closer. Helpless, Salinda lay there watching the entrance enlarge, as chunks of rock tumbled to the ground and sand hissed into piles. Then she heard another sound, muffled and faint—a man’s voice calling out a chant of some kind. A wave of dizziness hit her and she lost consciousness.

When she came to it was silent in the cave and her hair was crusty with dust. After spitting blood, she realised that she had bitten her tongue and wiped her lips with the back of her hand. Her limbs were stiff and sore but the pain in her side had eased somewhat. She could move. Light pierced through various cracks overhead and she could see it was a short climb to the opening of the shallow cave. Wiping sweat and dust from her forehead, she froze. There was a sound in the cave—a scratching, pecking sound.

Crawling on all fours, Salinda scouted around the nooks and crannies, searching for the source. She found the shell first, broken bits of grey, speckled with green and purple. Tumbling about was a newly-hatched dragon, shell still sticking to its head. It was an ugly thing, thin wings adhering to its gooey hide, knobbly, dark-purple head, surrounding an over sized snout.

Her first thought was to find a rock and smash its brains out. It would save the world from another human-eating dragon. She watched as it fumbled about helplessly, then it gazed at her with black, glossy eyes and mewed. A dragon had almost taken her. Her life had been spared and, to repay in kind, she would spare this creature’s life. Instead of greeting it with violence, she stroked the hatchling, removing the fragment of shell at the same time. It made a sound in its throat plu, plu, plu. Salinda grinned.

A rock tumbled down to the cave floor. Salinda looked up to see Mez struggling through the opening. “Salinda?”

Salinda frowned, then let her anger melt away. She knew the old man cared for her in his odd way, but couldn’t help resenting his interference. “Down here. I’m safe.” Her voice carried a tone of resignation that she could not disguise.

Mez gathered his dirty robe around his skinny legs as he made his way to her. Sweat made his face shine amidst the patches of dirt. “Well, my girl. That was a close call. Ready to come back now?”

Salinda tried to stare him down, but after a moment, she looked away and nestled the hatchling in her dress. Sitting cross-legged on the ground, she rubbed a thumb over the scar on her ankle. The scar caused by a year in chains.

“I’m leaving this place. And before you begin lecturing me…I don’t care if I die trying.”

Mez looked around him and sat down on a rock, resting his arms on his knees he assumed his lecturing pose. “Then you will die for certain and sixteen years is too early to die for nothing.”

“It’s not for nothing and I said I don’t care. Anything is better than internment here. You may choose to end your days here fermenting wine, but I have better things to do.”

Mez looked around the cave. “Say you made it across the plains and back to Sartell or wherever you wish to go. Say you win your revolution. It means nothing.”

“Nothing?”

Mez chuckled in that horrible knowing way. “Your revolution is pointless and I’ll tell you why.”

Salinda continued to stroke the hatchling, which apparently Mez had not yet noticed.

His eyebrows cinched together. “I hope you know me well enough to hear the truth in what I say. We are a dying people, so it matters little which government is in power or which rebel group wins through.”

Salinda clenched her right hand. In her left hand, she held the hatchling, who chose that moment to mew. Mez lifted a fluffy white eyebrow, but did not comment on the noise. “You would say anything to keep me here.”

Mez chuckled. “Not anything.” Then he shrugged. “Well…perhaps everything and nothing.”

“You say we are dying?”

Mez’s brown eyes hinted at sadness. “Yes, all of us. We have always been dying. When Ruel moon split and fell to Margra, all should have perished. Yet some survived. Whether this is by accident or design I am not sure.”

Salinda did not like what she was hearing. “You speak in contradictions. I feel perfectly alive.”

Mez leaned closer. “Of course you do. What did I give you for breakfast this morning, mmm? The first of the new season’s Dragon Wine.”

Salinda rubbed her forehead, dislodging dust. “So I drank wine. So what, all the prisoners got some. Even the lowliest person in the poorest village receives some dregs of wine.”

“That’s it exactly. Everyone everywhere drinks Dragon Wine.”

Salinda’s head was pounding. All this talk of wine was making her thirsty. “You’re not going to tell me that by growing grapes we keep everyone alive are you?”

“Yes. I am. We live through the grace of dragons, through the medium of Dragon Wine. By tending these grapes and making wine you, me, we make a real difference. The wine keeps us alive by virtue of the power of the dragons. That I know.”

Salinda screwed up her face. “No. No. That’s not possible. That’s not even logical. Dragons kill humans. Humans kill dragons. Why would they help us survive? It makes no sense.”

Again Mez smiled. “I did not say they do it willingly. It is a by-product of their existence. A secret known to a few. A dangerous secret, too. For he who controls Dragon Wine has the power of life and death over everyone.”

The hatchling was growing restless. Salinda pulled it out, stroking its head softly.

“A hatchling?” Mez whistled softly as he leaned in for a closer inspection. “You are full of surprises today.”

“It must have fallen through one of the cracks.”

Mez chuckled. “Newly hatched I’d say. Risky keeping it alive, but it appears to have imprinted itself on you. Perhaps, you have found a friend for life, one that may come in handy in future. Mmm…I suppose we could tend it for a little while and then reintegrate it into the nest. Any longer than that and we could not conceal it.”

He felt in his pockets and pulled out some old bread. The hatchling caught it deftly and swallowed it in one bite. Salinda smiled at it. Holding it calmed her.

“So this is not a creature of death but of life?” she asked holding the hatching out as it squirmed in her hands.
Mez nodded. “You did right to let it live.”

Salinda let a breath out slowly and looked at the aftermath of the dragon’s attack on the cave opening.

“That was you I heard before, wasn’t it?”

Mez raised an eyebrow and feigned innocence. “Me? What do you mean?”

“You spoke to the dragon, made it go away.”

“Now you are being fanciful.” He stood up and turned around as if to make his way out of the cave, but there was something there in Mez’s eyes, something that made her breath catch.

“No, I’m not. It makes sense. That she dragon almost had me. One more moment and I was dead. It had almost breached the entrance.”

“Salinda.” With his back to her, he shrugged his shoulders.

“No. I want the truth, old man.”

“Yes, it was me.” He turned back to her. “I speak dragon tongue. Though they are not words as such, they are sounds that shape images the dragons understand.”

Salinda had been reasonably well-educated and had never heard of anyone speaking to dragons. With her gaze locked with Mez’s, she stroked the hatchling again and lifted it high. “I’m going to call him Plu.”

Mez hesitated. “Yes, why not? Te Pluan Nuresh, which equates to Plu that fell from the nest.”

Plu nuzzled her palm, seeking more food. She liked the sound the hatchling made when she stroked it.

“All right then,” she said. “What do baby dragons eat?”

Mez smiled. “Meat mostly. You’ll have to sacrifice your ration for a while. You are coming back with me?”

“Yes, for a little while. I’m not slaving here until I drop and I’m not giving up my ideas about revolution…but there is more to you than I thought, old man.”

Shatterwing and Dragon Wine available in ebook and print.

DragonwineLinks from the publisher’s website here.  Book depository have them both in print too.

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It’s been a month now since Skywatcher was released so I guess it’s time I calmed down and stopped looking at what people are saying about both Shatterwing and Skywatcher. It’s time to develop some composure, some sense of being a writer. What does that even mean?

You put to work out there in the world and people are going to like it, think it’s ‘meh’ or that it stinks. As a writer you are not meant to care, and you’re definitely not meant to engage, unless people actually ask questions, which they usually don’t. (BTW I’m happy to answer questions about the story. However, I won’t be giving out spoilers for future installments.)

It’s creates a big jumble of emotion and intellect seeing what people say about your work. There have been highs (amazing and exciting highs) and there have been cutting lows, especially negative comments from people who you know and respect. I was tempted to respond, to explain myself, but that’s not on. That’s not how it goes. I have to live with it. There comes a point where you have to step back from that. You have to develop as Zen sense of calm. (I’m searching around here for some incense and quiet space, bother there are none.)

It’s also very distracting getting excited, then upset. It could be hormones (they are a bit crazy at the moment) but I’m sure other writers struggle with the same thing. That initial roller coaster ride of being published.  Maybe it’s childish to think of my story as my baby. The novel is a form on entertainment. You write for people to read. If they love what you do that’s great. If not it’s tough luck-tough love!

Although I appear to be whinging don’t I? I’m not really whinging, I’m struggling to adjust, to reorganise my mindset. I’m so happy with the reception of the Dragonwine series. I love what Momentum Books have done, the covers, the promotion. I am amazed at the thoughtful, respectful reviews, even those that have taken issue with what I’ve done. I am inspired and awed by that. It must be a good thing if people get upset and angry about what happens to the characters or the twist in the plot. I know why things happen and I guess I know how it all ends up, although I’ve not written the ending yet.

I’m amazed people around the world are reading Shatterwing and Skywatcher and talking about it in another language, even though they read the book in English. I didn’t expect it to be like this. I didn’t really expect anything. I’m just starting out. I need all the help I can get to get noticed. I’m humbled. I’m grateful and I’m tantalised that people are reading about Salinda, Brill, Danton, Nils, Laidan and Garan and reacting. I have to say a big thank you to those reviewers and readers. THANK YOU!

And to give you something to look at, here is the Tower of London and the ww1 remembrance day installation. It was an amazing sight. So many people died. These poppies represent the British soldiers.

Tower of London, WW1 remembrance day installation

Tower of London, WW1 remembrance day installation

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The lovely guys at Dymocks Belconnen hosted an author event at their store on Friday night 31 October, Halloween.

I had a fab time with Craig Cormick, Jack Heath and Dan O’Malley, strutting our stuff and signing books.

I had copies of Shatterwing and Skywatcher. Dan O’Malley had copies of The Rook. Heads up, his new book Stiletto is coming out in 2015. Craig Cormick had two books going, Shadowmaster , published by Angry Robot Books and Time Vandals, a book for younger readers. Jack Heath had a stack of books to sell, his latest Enigma amongst them. Not only is he a very talented young man (his first book, The Lab, was published when he was 18)  he’s very tall.

WE HAD A FAB TIME. THANK YOU FOR COMING. WE HAD A FAB TIME. THANK YOU FOR COMING. WE HAD A FAB TIME. THANK YOU!
Too busy chatting to pose for a photo

Too busy chatting to pose for a photo

Jack, Craig, me and Dan

Jack, Craig, me and Dan

We had lots of fun in between signing books and chatting to people. Thank you to all of you who came along.

Sharon and me

Craig, Sharon,  me and Ian McHugh

.Dymocks poster Dymocks poster

And a lovely photo of me taken by Craig Cormick, close to the end of the night. I believe I’m holding a black balloon.

Donna Maree Hanson

Donna Maree Hanson

Shatterwing and Skywatcher are available in print either online http://www.momentumbooks.com.au or Amazon stores. You can also order them in through your bookstore. Remember ebooks are available from Amazon Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and other eretailers.

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