Musical Countdown Wednesday – The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition

More Pink Floyd today. It’s David Gilmour doing an acoustic version of Wish You Were Here. This is Oz’s song. The Takers; The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition will be available for download on Halloween, but you can trick-or-treat worry-free by pre-ordering today.  I’m so running out of clever ways to make this announcement.  Oy!

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!

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).

1,000 blog posts and counting!

Where the hell have I been?  I have never let the blog go this long without a post, but I promise I have a somewhat legitimate excuse.  My trusty laptop died, kicked the bucket, called on the big motherboard in the sky.  It’s gone, see, and it ain’t coming back.  I have a non-interwebby computer that I will never hook up to the three w’s.  Call me over-protective, but there’s just too much bad stuff that can leak into its computer innards from evil and nefarious types stalking the webs, so I want to have one computer that is free from the intercrap.  If not for the internet free computer, I wouldn’t be getting any work done. 

I’m loading today’s post from my beautiful wife’s computer, and I have a new (refurbished) laptop currently in transit from Costco.  So, all is well on that front.

Onto the important stuff.  This is my 1,000th post on the blog.  That’s gotta be some kind of record.  Surely no one has posted that many useless posts for the world to see… okay, maybe a few others have… okay, maybe 98% of bloggers have, but you’ve got to admire my complete lack of shame and self-awareness. 

On the writing front, I am currently working on two non-Oz books.  I really, really like one, and I’m confused by the other one.  I can’t decide if it’s good or not.  I must like it on some level because I’m about 70,000 words into and still going.  We’ll see where it takes me.  The one I really like is what I’ve been spending most my time on these days.  I’ll tell you more when I feel it’s the right time.

As far as Oz, I have the last two books outlined. I’ve outlined them before, but I had an epiphany recently that moved me to completely rewrite the outlines.  I couldn’t be more excited.  I want to deliver a satisfying ending to all the readers, and I think this new outline does it much better than the old one.  BTW – thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read one or all four books so far.   

That’s it for now.  Happy 1000th post to me, and happy… just be happy, damnit!