Another week another musical countdown – The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition

Last week was all about C. Hoyt Caldwell.  This week the focus turns to a familiar character in a familiar setting featuring a few new twists.  The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition will be available to read on Kindle this Friday. That’s right.  Oct. 31. Halloween. Take that JK Rowling!  Pink Floyd was and always will be the primary musical influence behind the Oz experience for me, but if you have any suggestions this week let me know, and I’ll include it in the countdown.

Today I give you Comfortably Numb by the aforementioned Pink Floyd.  And remember you can pre-order the book today!

The reason there’s an alternate version of The Takers

Release date will be on Halloween... of course.

Release date will be on Halloween… of course.

This is the author’s note for The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition

In 2004, I wrote a book called The Takers: Book One of the Oz Chronicles. It received a much better response from reviewers and readers than I could have hoped for. It won an award or two, and it even got the attention of some filmmakers. More importantly, a few of the bigger publishing companies expressed an interest in buying the rights to the book. I proceeded to take part in some preliminary talks with a couple of the houses. One editor in particular had a great deal of interest with one small caveat. He wanted some fairly extensive rewrites. I thought his suggestions were pretty solid so over the next couple of weeks I ripped apart The Takers and rewrote it with his suggestions in mind. He never gave me any specific direction, but he gave me a fairly clear overview of what he expected.

When I finished the rewrites, I handed it off to a few people I trust to see if I had ruined this book that so many people seemed to like. I was relieved when they insisted that it was actually better than the original. They were excited by the new direction. They insisted I hadn’t ruined the original. I had improved it.

My agent sent the rewritten manuscript to the editor, and we waited confidently for the announcement that this big publishing house was going to move forward with publication. In relatively short order, we did hear back, but it was devastating news. The editor hated the changes. He thought I made Oz a horrible person. He even went so far as to insist that I had created an unrealistic view of bullies. He did not believe anyone would treat Stevie so badly simply because he was different. It was at that point that I was glad he had decided to pass on The Takers.

The book you are about to read is the manuscript this editor hated. My agent continued to shop it around for two years after that episode. Other publishing companies showed interest, but ultimately opted not to publish the book. Thanks to the age of electronic publishing I can now make it available to you, dear readers, and you can decide if it’s better than original.

A note of caution: This version does not fit into the series. It contains about 40 new pages of story, and some characters and monsters have been altered just a bit. The biggest change is the ending. This is, if you will, an alternate universe version of The Takers.

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!

The final version of Banshee Worm King; Book Five of the Oz Chronicles?

Could it be? Should it be? Will it be?

Are you looking at the final version of Banshee Worm King; Book Five of the Oz Chronicles? I don’t know.  I have to do another read through.  I’m thinking there might be a few minor tweaks here and there, and then I’ll do a couple of rounds with advance readers.  But, one thing is certain.  We are getting much, much closer to the release date!