The Oz Chronicles passes a milestone

101 reviews and counting

So, we indie authors count victories in smaller increments than the big boys.  For instance, the Oz Chronicles books just passed a tiny milestone.  The five books just went over the 100 reviews mark on Amazon.  Collectively, they have a total of 101 reviews to be exact.  Even cooler, only one review is a one star review, but I count that one as a badge of honor because it was a mother who made her boys stop reading the books because – well, why don’t I just post the review so there’s no chance I misquote the woman.

Terrible………My teen boys love to read so I am always looking for a good series. I typed in teen fiction and this series popped so I bought all of them. After they were almost done with the series, I asked them what it was about. By the time their description was over I felt like I wanted to throw up. What had I subjected them to? I couldn’t believe the gore details they described. Sure that I had not subjected my Sons to this type of disgusting reading, I had them read aloud. I made them stop and took the books away. I cannot believe that these were in the teen section. Gross, Gore, Evil, Blood, Guts……….I’m so full of regret that I had ever bought these. The series should not be listed anywhere near teens. In fact, it should be labeled with a parental advisory. I think I’ll burn the books. I will use much more discretion with my selections from now on!

Thanks to all who are among the 101 reviewers (even the mother who wants to burn them).  You’ve helped me sell books over the years, and I can’t ask for more than that.

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!

This fan video for Hunger Games is infinitely better than Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Okay, admittedly it’s not saying much that this fan video for Hunger Games is better than Rise of the Planet of the Apes because… well, Apes is just a bad movie. I am an Apes fanatic, so it pains me to say such a thing, but the movie just isn’t that good. I enjoyed it because of my affinity for all things Apes, but the hype about this movie is so not deserved. The entire audience laughed at some key dramatic moments in my local theater. It wasn’t pretty.

Back to this fan video – If you haven’t read any of the three books in Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series, you should. In my opinion, they are the best young adult books on the market today, better than Harry Potter, and… do I have to say it? Okay, the Hunger Games books could take a crap that is a better series than the Twilight books.
This fan video is by a production company called Mainstay Productions. They are a professional outfit out of Utah, so it’s a bit of a stretch to call this a “fan” video, but they weren’t paid for their efforts, and they’ve paid a wonderful homage to the books so technically it is a fan video. If only I could get them to do a video for The Takers… but I digress. Here’s the video that is based on the second book.

Enjoy this Bigfoot Art While I Await Edits

I’m waiting on edits, so I’m in a holding pattern on The Land of the Dead at the moment.  So, enjoy this somewhat abstract image of Bigfoot I put together in Photoshop Elements.

Peek-a-boo!

BTW – I created the above image from this frame of video.  I see  someone something trying to hide its face.  Other people see shadows and light forming what looks like a face.

Peek-a-boo fo' reals!

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Free Copies of The Land of the Dead, Book Four of the Oz Chronicles

Free Copies of The Land of the Dead

Just a quick note because I’m winding down on the rewrites for Book Four of the Oz Chronicles.  It will be out soon.  I’m going to give out five signed copies before they are available for sale.  Haven’t worked out the details yet, but I let you know how you can get one soon.

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Book 4 of the Oz Chronicles Update – (Land of) the Dead

The title will most likely just be "The Dead."

UPDATE: IT’S HERE!!! It’s coming. Cross my heart.  Stick a needle in my eye.  This one is a mixture of total fiction, and fictionalized fact.  The Destroyer in this one is a creep’s creep.  I intensely don’t like him, and he’s based on a real guy, Albert Fish.  Fish was a real boogeyman who ate children from about 1910 to the mid 1930’s. He bragged that he got kids in every state.He’s nasty and vile and the scariest bad guy Oz has come up against.  The more I read about him the more I wish I could go back in time and throw the guy off the Empire State building. He’s an evil, evil man.   Hope Oz can take him out. 🙂

I thought we’d be ready to go with Book 4 by March, but that didn’t happen, so I pushed it to April/May.  I’ll hit May definitely.

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Author to Give Away Free Laptop – Skull-boy byline

Skull-boy Ace Reporter

Skull-boy Ace Reporter

Dateline Chucktown:  R.W. Ridley is  giving away a free laptop to promote the release of his new book, Lost Days!  Watch the video below and then join the Lost Days Facebook group!

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