Details on The Takers free promotional period

9200 copies downloaded

The Takers’ free promotional period is over.  In three days, with your help spreading the word, The Takers was downloaded 9200 times.  I’m very pleased and excited by that number.  For an indie guy like me, you get excited when a couple of hundred people download your book.  This whole process brought up some interesting questions, and I’d like to take this opportunity to answer those (this is the part where I mix real questions with made up questions people have asked me).

Q: Why are you excited about giving a book away for free?  Aren’t you losing money?

A: In the short run, yes I am losing money, but not that much. The cost of The Takers is currently $0.99.  I make 35% off each sale.  So according to my math (which is incorrect 98% of the time) I lost out  on about $3100.  But I’ve never come close to selling 9200 books in three days or three months, for that matter.  Giving the book away for free exposes The Oz Chronicles to a much larger audience, which will hopefully lead to increased sales on my other books.  A lot of people who downloaded the book won’t get around to reading it.  Some will start it and never finish it.  Others will finish it and forget all about it.  And a few will dislike it.  Some will hate it and let me know via email.  There will be a group that likes it, but for whatever reason won’t rush out to read the other books in the series, and then there will be my favorite of the free downloaders.  The ones who read it, love it, tell their friends about it, write a review, and send me emails telling me how much they love it.  They’re the reason I do the free promotional periods. I need those readers more than sales at this point in my journey.

Q: Why do you think this free promotional period was more succesful than the others you’ve done?

A: The simple answer is because I did those other free promotional periods.  Every time I do a giveaway, I pick up a handful of readers that become invaluable advocates for The Oz Chronicles. They help me spread the word about all things Oz.  I’ve been fortunate enough to build a lasting readership.  Some of the people have been Oz “fans” (The quotes indicate I’m so not comfortable with that word because I view them as more than fans.  They feel more like friends of Oz.) for years, and I’ve been fortunate enough to come to know them through this blog, social media, and email exchanges.

Q: Why are you still promoting The Takers?  You published that book in 2005.

A: Because it’s the first book in a series.  The lore of Oz builds from book to book, and each book ends on a cliffhanger.  When it’s all said and done, and I’ve published the seventh and final book in the series, the result will essentially be one long very long book: approximately 1600 pages containing about 450,000 words.  Granted, Stephen King and the late Robert Jordan could crank out a book that long in one sleepless weekend, but that’s what makes/made them King and Jordan.  I’m doing my epic apocalyptic novel in seven parts.  Each is dependent on the other, and they should be read from first to last.    When I promote The Takers, I’m promoting the entire series.

Comment: (This one is an actual comment I got from a reader recently).  I just wanted to write you to let you know I got a free copy of The Takers on my Kindle and read it in a day.  I’ve already purchased Book two and can’t wait to start it.  I posted a review on Amazon.  I really hope it helps!

A: Reviews on Amazon do help tremendously with sales and giveaways.  If a book doesn’t have a lot of reviews, people won’t bother to download it.  I’m not one to ask for reviews because it just feels weird, so I’ll cop-out here and just encourage you to write reviews for any book or author you like.  While you’re at it, tell five friends about the book.  Write the president of movies and demand they make a movie out of the book.  Rush to the offices of any of the big six publishers, find any acquisitions editor, grab him or her by the collar and just say “Really?”  They’ll know what you’re talking about.

On a final note, I’d like to thank the friends of Oz for helping me spread the word about this giveaway, and anything having to do with the series.  If I didn’t have your help in all this, I wouldn’t be doing this in the first place.   Writing is fun, but writing for an audience is a friggin’ blast!

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Lou’s Diary – Entry 3 (text version)

This morning I woke up and there was another pack of crackers lying on the ground next to me.   I would have thought it nothing more than an incredible stroke of luck or some intervention by the Storytellers if it hadn’t been resting on top of a note that read, “You are being watched.  F.T.”

I ate my crackers with a knot in my stomach.  I’m guessing this F.T. person… I hope it’s a person… thought they were doing me a favor by giving me a heads up on being watched, but frankly, I’d rather not know. What good does it do me?  I don’t have any weapons.  I’m weak from hunger.  I’m pretty sure my insides are frozen solid.  Worrying about being watched is just one more layer of crap I’ve got to deal with.

And what’s with this F.T.?  Why don’t they just show themselves?  It’s creepy and rude to sneak up on me at night, even if you’re leaving me food.  So, help me God… if I catch up to this F.T. and they’ve got something better to eat than stale, frozen crackers, I’m going to punch them in the face.  I guess I should be thankful, but screw that.

I’m laughing at my lack of gratitude.  It’s really all I have the strength to do right now.  This F.T. probably expects a big hug and kiss from me if we were ever to meet, but instead he’ll get a good dressing down from a bratty little made-up girl for failing to recognize that I needed a good sight more than crackers and a warning.

I need someone to end my misery.

Is it bad for me to talk like that?  I don’t think so because no one is around to care… except for F.T., and they only care enough to spare some barely edible crackers.

I hear something.  And this time I know it’s not the wind.  It’s a grunt… almost a growl.  I want to shut my eyes and pretend none of this real.  I just want it all to go away… The growl again.  It sounds big.

It’s a funny thing about being scared.  I’ve completely forgotten about being cold and hungry.  I don’t know who F.T. is, but they were right.  I am being watched.

Lou’s Diary – Entry 2 (text version)

I don’t know where I am.  I’m still in the mountains.  I’ve been following a path, and I’m pretty sure I’m heading north… pretty sure.  I may not be real, but I’m hungry.  That doesn’t seem fair. There should be some advantages to being a fictional character.  I shouldn’t have to eat or sleep or… other stuff.

I slept under something that looked like a park bench made out of sticks and logs off the side of the trail last night.  I must be in some kind of national forest or something.  There are mile markers all up and down the trail.  This morning when I woke up there was a pack of crackers under the bench.  I couldn’t believe it.  I don’t know how old they were or how they got there, but I have never tasted something so delicious in my life.  They were stale, frozen, and insanely good.

The only problem is they just made me hungrier.  I haven’t seen a store or house or…. Anything at all in days. If I had my crossbow, I could hunt, but I don’t even know if there’s anything to hunt.   I hear noises, especially at night, but I’m pretty sure it’s the wind.  That’s that I tell myself, anyway.

Why didn’t I keep the crossbow?

I know why.  I thought I’d be dead by now… no, not dead.  That’s the wrong word.  I thought I’d stop existing.  What’s the point without the others… without him?  I miss oz…

No.  I can’t go there.  I won’t be able to breathe if I do.  If I have to live for another second without him, I have to forget about him.  That’s the way it has to be.   I am not real.  I can’t be a part of his world.  It will cost him his life.  It will cost the others their lives. I know it.  From this moment on, I have not past.

Banshee Worm King – Early Feedback

"Screw you for killing ______ I get it, but still, screw you…" – Brian

Okay, I wanted to wait until I heard from all the readers who received the first shipment of ARCs of the Banshee Worm King: Book Five of the Oz Chronicles before I posted any comments they sent my way because I didn’t want them to influence each other’s opinions of the book.   I thought it would be weeks before I heard back from all of them.  I’m happy to report that in just a little over a week, I’ve heard from all of them.  Here is what they had to say (minus any spoilers):

Got it yesterday. Finished it this morning. YOU’RE HEARTLESS. But this is the best one yet.  – Kinser 

…. I instantly started reading it. Several hours later I had finished the book. I enjoyed every page and every sentence of it. The book was by far the best you have written in my opinion. It was amusing, suspenseful, and exciting all at once. – Jacob 

Great job on book 5… I’m always a fan of your action scenes and this one didn’t disappoint… Screw you for killing ______ I get it, but still, screw you… – Brian 

Logan Has Finished ‘Banshee Worm King, Book 5 Of The Oz Chronicles’ And Has Now Allowed Me To Read It. He Won’t Say A Word, Per Your Inscription, Other Than “That Was The BEST One Yet!” I Am Only Halfway Through It And So Far I Completely Agree! KUDOS! – Christina 

I swore them all to secrecy in regards to who dies in the book, but as you can see, a couple of them were a little upset with me.  I learned from Charlotte’s Web as a kid that no one is safe in the world of fiction.   I’ve got more feedback from other readers, but I’m waiting on their permission to post their comments.  I am, to say the least, pleased with the feedback so far.

Updates on Kindle versions of my books

Kindle Version is Live

The Pure is now available for you Kindle readers.  I priced it at $2.99. In other words, it’s cheap.  The Kindle version of Land of the Dead will be available very soon.  I know this has taken a painfully long time.  I appreciate your patience and you persistently asking me when it will be available (That wasn’t sarcastic – I swear I really do appreciate it).