Dear Readers:

We appreciate the fact the current political environment is highly charged, but we want to keep Spacefreighters Lounge a stress-free place for everyone to visit and exchange ideas about SFR.

Therefore, we ask that you please refrain from making political references that may antagonize those with differing viewpoints. Thank you for your consideration.

Friday, May 29, 2015

TOMORROWLAND: BACK WHEN THE FUTURE WAS BRIGHT



“When I was a kid,” says George Clooney’s character Frank in TOMORROWLAND, “the future was different.”

Think about that statement for a minute and see if you don’t agree. Frank was eleven years old in 1964, (just my age, as it happens) a hopeful child genius crashing a contest for amateur inventors at the World’s Fair in New York. In those days we believed science and good old American ingenuity could solve any problem. The future was bright. There was nowhere to go but up—and out, into space, into the oceans and every hiding place of scientific mystery, chasing a vision of a better world.

We accomplished some of the goals of that hopeful time. We landed on the moon. We signed the Civil Rights Act and the Environmental Protection Act. We invented personal computers and cellphones and medical imaging and all manner of toys. 

But even as we did this, our hearts were cut out. We lost our leaders to assassination, our sons and brothers and fathers to war, our prosperity to economic instability. And somewhere along the way we lost our hope. The future changed.

TOMORROWLAND’s villain, Mayor Nix of the much-reduced city of the future, played to the outrageous hilt by Hugh Laurie, says eloquently that our culture has embraced dystopia. We wallow in our misery, rather than seeking a way out of it, because it’s easier, he says. Wallowing requires nothing of us.

On one level, TOMORROWLAND, directed by Brad Bird (THE INCREDIBLES) with a screenplay by Bird and Damon Lindelof of LOST fame, is a fast-paced SF adventure film with a teen protagonist and a pretty high fun quotient. Britt Robertson plays Casey, the teenager with a social conscience and enough scientific curiosity to kill ten cats who is “recruited” to join the wonder-filled futuristic community of Tomorrowland in another dimension. 

Too bad the community that once existed is now only a distant memory, allowed to run down under the glowering leadership of Mayor Nix. Problem is, Nix was overwhelmed by the prophecy of Earth’s doom, a prophecy revealed in a calculation made by the grown-up boy genius, Frank. 

Frank was exiled for his trouble and now monitors things from his farm/fortress in upstate New York. A grizzled curmudgeon, he doesn’t work well with others, especially perky teens seeking entrance to the hallowed Tomorrowland. The chemistry is great between the man who has lost hope and the girl who can’t help but spread sunshine, and even Frank must take notice when Casey causes a minute change toward the positive in his doomsday calculation.

The second half of the film has Frank, Casey and the android who recruited Casey with her last Tomorrowland “pin” finding a way into the next dimension to save Tomorrowland from Nix and the world from doomsday. Action ensues, all of which is entertaining, if not entirely credible. I have to say my favorite scene was one in a “collectible” shop with two bad guy owners who try to kill Casey, but not before we learn one thug’s name is Hugo Gernsback, and we get glimpses of a model of the LOST IN SPACE robot, Robby the Robot from FORBIDDEN PLANET and various spaceships and aliens.

But the central point of this film is deeper than one would guess from either the previews or the mediocre reviews that seem to miss it entirely.  And that is the one I started with. The film references an old Native American proverb which was adapted for this story. Every person has two wolves inside that are constantly fighting. One is hope, the other despair. Which one wins?

The one you feed.

The future holds any number of challenges—global warming, economic disparity, the possibility of world pandemic, environmental destruction, geologic instability—and we can choose to face them with fear, doing nothing. Or we can choose to take them on in a spirit of unity and strength, of positivity and hope. And do something.

Some part of that eleven-year-old still lives in me. I choose hope. How about you?

Cheers, Donna




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Will humans populate the exo-planets?

Picture of MarsThe more I read about the strangeness of our universe, the more I wonder if humanity will ever colonize other planets. There's not much chance we'll settle on a diamond planet and I have to wonder how we'd go on many of the 'earthlike' planets already pinpointed. We are such fragile entities, we humans.

Like all other animals we are closely attuned to our environment, more so than many of us realize anymore. In these days of electricity we can heat or cool our homes, spend half the night watching TV or reading books, source food from all over the world so nothing is ever out of season, cross distances that took years in days. Yet we cannot escape the environment which shaped us.

I think there are five vital factors we will not easily overcome.

Time

Time is relative. When it's 8am on a Thursday where I live, it's 6pm the previous day in New York. Yet it's the same 'time'. However, the elements that we use to measure time have a profound impact on our bodies. By that I mean the rotation of our planet, and its orbit around the sun. Whether we think the sun is rising where we are, or setting, our bodies are built to expect a 'day' of twenty-four hours or so, because that's how long it takes the Earth to revolve on its axis. What's more, if we are suddenly wrenched from one time of day to another, as happens with long distance air travel, it takes time for our bodies to adjust. (It's called jet lag.)

Gravity

We have evolved to suit the amount of force the planet exerts upon is. The advent of space travel and weightlessness has proved how important gravity is to our ability to function. Without gravity our bones lose density and muscles atrophy. Returning astronauts struggle to rebuild their bodies. In science fiction space ships have ways of providing gravity, either by centrifugal force, like the rotating space station in 2001: a Space Odyssey, or via an unspecified means of creating artificial gravity, found in Star Wars, Star Trek and the like. Long periods on a planet with low gravity is sure to have similar effects. Mars and the Moon are obvious examples. Sure, you can bounce around. But what happens if you come back to Earth? Or move on to another planet with much stronger gravity than Earth?

Atmosphere

Most of our atmosphere is nitrogen, with twenty-three percent oxygen and a bunch of other gases in smaller quantities, including carbon dioxide. It also has a level of density. There's more of it at lower altitude (see gravity). See what happens to mountain climbers if they climb before becoming acclimatised. Their bodies can't cope. And if that mixture of gases changes past a certain level of tolerance, then what? Sure, we can wear space suits. But that's not ideal if you're colonizing a new planet.

Temperature

Humans exist in an apparently wide range of climates, providing they can find protection from the elements. But the range is actually not that wide in the scheme of things. This article in New Scientist speculates that global warming of only about 11° would render many places on our own planet 'unlivable'.

Light

Earth orbits a G class star which emits light towards the red end of the spectrum. We're used to seeing colors in that light. If we lived on a world orbiting a cooler star with redder light, or a brighter star with more bluish light, we'd see colors differently. For example, with light from a red star, blues and greens would be brighter, and reds and oranges more subdued.

Humans are adaptable. That's why the species has been so successful. But even so, we've only ever had to adapt to the extremes of one planet. If humans are to venture to other planets I believe we will have two choices; terraform the planet into another Earth or modify the settlers to cope with the conditions. That would mean physically very different races of humanity occupying different planets.

And here again, SF can offer plenty of examples. Elizabeth Moon's Serrano series has terraformed planets, as does Jack McDevitt's universe in Slow Lightning. A different approach is taken in Moon and McCaffrey's joint effort, Sassinak, where members of the Star Fleet have different body characteristics, depending on which planet they come from.

I admit I don't take that route in my own writing. Like the Star Treks and Star Wars of this world, I simply assume all planets are earthlike, with only small variations in light, heat, time and gravity. I reckon I'm in pretty good company. Come on SF fans and writers, what do you do, what do you prefer? Can you think of other limiting factors? Or do you think I'm pessimistic?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cover Reveal! with Rafflecopter Giveaway! Debut Author Laurel Wanrow



Welcome to the cover reveal for The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads by Laurel Wanrow! This is a steampunk fantasy romance with new adult-aged characters and themes. The Unraveling ebook is on preorder for a special preorder price of only .99 cents from Amazon! A print paperback edition also features this beautiful cover artwork by the talented Craig Shields, www.craigshields.co.uk.

The Unraveling releases June 23, 2015.

About the Book:

In 1868 England, the competition to control agriculture is fierce…

…and nobody says no to Derby’s industrial magnate.

Except Annmar Masterson. The nineteen-year-old rejects his improper advances and instead takes an advertising position on a farm. She discovers the isolated valley is home to gifted species—including animal and plant shifters—who hide their lives from the rest of England. The blue threads only she sees on their clockwork machinery prove her heritage is rooted with theirs, but their world is so different that Annmar doesn't know if she'll ever belong.

Shapeshifter Daeryn Darkcoat blames himself for the death of his mate and swears he won't be responsible for another pack. But when the farm he loves falls victim to an endless run of strange pests eating the crops, he joins the hunt, taking charge of an unruly team of predator shifters. In the midst of the battle, Annmar stirs feelings he can’t resist.

As Annmar becomes entangled in the fight against the pests, and with Daeryn, she discovers her magic might help…if she can learn to use it properly. If not, she’ll be forced to leave the people she has come to care for and become what she fears most: nothing more than another cog in the magnate’s gears.

THE UNRAVELING is a full-length novel, approximately 350 pages, for readers 18+ (new adult and older).

Please note: This is volume 1 of a three-part serialized novel. Volumes 2 & 3 will be published in 2015 to complete THE LUMINATED THREADS, a steampunk fantasy romance. To be notified of these releases, sign up for Laurel's Newsletter.

Preorder from Amazon for the special price of only .99 cents! 

---------------------------------------------

Laurel WanrowAbout the Author:
Laurel Wanrow loves misty mornings, the smell of freshly dug earth, petting long-haired guinea pigs and staring at the stars. She sees magic in nature and loves to photograph it.
Before kids, she studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower and other nature walks. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.
When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.
Visit her online at  www.laurelwanrow.com.
To be notified of new releases: Laurel's Newsletter

--------------------------
Giveaway:

One (1) winner gets a $10 Amazon gift card, and two (2) winners get paperbacks of The Unraveling by Laurel Wanrow (US/CA/UK)
Ends June 10, 2015
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Books Are Back! Pippa's Journal

Hi, my name is Pippa Jay, and I like trying to achieve the seemingly impossible... >.<

Update

So, my main publisher closed on the 1st of May, taking down five of my newest titles with it, while I'd had the rights back to my debut novel Keir since January 2014. After deciding not to re-release the final book I had with Breathless/Lycaon (Zombie Girl) and having already scheduled Keir for re-release in May AND with three of the titles in contests that required them being available to buy, I set myself the challenge of re-releasing five books in the space of one month. That's less than five weeks, or more than one book a week. *insert maniacally laughter here* I was also setting up the six week SFR Brigade Summer Cafe event at the same time, trying to coordinate over forty authors in different categories, each with their own inlinkz and rafflecopter codes.


But I love a challenge. And so, here we are almost at the end of May, and I have achieved my goal! It wasn't all plain sailing. Between copyright issues with Amazon, the slowness of Kobo, the often mindboggling difficulties of Smashwords, formatting issues at D2D and the PITA that is ARe (one day I will get an upload right on the first attempt), there were days I wanted to reconsider the whole going indie thing.

Have I mentioned how stubborn I am, though? Yeah. I am not a quitter. Right now I'm still waiting for a few retailers to finish publishing my scifi romance adventure Tethered after the new cover reveal Friday and when I started uploading it as well, but otherwise all the books I've had the rights returned to me for are now available again at some, if not all online book sites. And as a bonus, they're all at a lower price than previously. Yay!

Better still, the print proof for Keir arrived on Friday...and it's perfect! Well, I wouldn't expect anything less after Danielle Fine's work on it. ^_^ And you can now buy it from the CreateSpace estore HERE, or it will be coming to Amazon shortly, then further retailers over the next 6-8 weeks.


















Add to that all seven weeks worth of posts for the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe are also written and scheduled to go live, which leaves me clear to help with any technical issues for participants, checking links, pimping it, and picking winners at the end of each week. Yahoo! Once again total chaos has been tamed into organized calm. Well, mostly. :P

So what's next? As well as running the Summer Cafe over June/July in collaboration with the SFR Station, Keir's Fall - the sequel to Keir - will be off to my editor. I'm hoping for a November release for that, but after putting myself under a tad too much pressure to get Keir out on the date I set, I'm not making an official release date until we get close to the end of the edits.
For July I'll be finishing off a superhero short during Camp NaNoWriMo for a proposed anthology to promote the female superhero in response to Marvel's continuing campaign to cut its female heroes from the merchandising. Grr!
August is my proposed holiday - I'd love to catch up on my reading, and I have some awesome books waiting that I've neglected for far too long - and summer holidays for my three monsters.
In September I have BristolCon, where I hope to have three or four of my titles in print (Tethered and Restless are definites, though with their old covers, and I have Keir. I'm currently debating whether to add my superhero romance When Dark Falls to my print options) and I've volunteered for my first ever panel. Public speaking? Eeeep!
Come October and I hope to have Keir's Fall close to release, and will be starting edits on a novella set between the two Keir novels to release early 2016. I haven't decided what to do for the November NaNoWriMo yet, though the options are overhauling book three for Keir, or a sequel to either When Dark Falls or Tethered. Decisions, decisions...
And December? Well, I have a winter solstice SFR short I'd love to release in time for Christmas, or there's another Venus Ascendant novella to go with Terms & Conditions Apply. With my current sales for Keir, financing either of those shouldn't be a problem for a change, but instead time constraints are now the issue...
So I'm probably looking at those two last projects as 2016 releases, along with book three for Keir, and a secret project I'm starting on in January for a June release. That should keep me out of mischief, right? ;)

Happenings

This week is half term holidays for my three little monsters, plus my hubs has booked the week off and it was a Bank Holiday Monday. So I'm mostly off the internet this week. Next week I officially begin the edits for Keir's sequel - Keir's Fall - and on Monday the SFR Brigade's Summer Cafe begins! Check out the SFR Brigade blog HERE for more details of the sumptuous feast of scifi romance we're preparing for you!

Monday, May 25, 2015

RT Booklovers Convention: Lightning Review

Hi All! It's Memorial Day and we're busy enjoying the holiday weekend, but I wanted to write this super quick lightning review about the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas last week.

SFR Highlights

WEDNESDAY, MAY 13, 2015

Sci-Fi Cooties in Space -- How to Keep the Romance Without Loosing the Rocketships!
Panel: CAPTAIN Linnea Sinclair, Donna S. Frelick, Rachel Bach/Rachel Aaron, Sabine Priestley, Monette Michaels/Rae Morgan, M. D. Waters.

Very well attended, high energy panel that discussed some of the unique elements of SFR. Note that Spacefreighters' own Donna was included in the panel.


THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2015

The Strangeness Budget: Overloading on Weird
Panel: CAPTAIN Linnea Sinclair, PJ Schnyder/Piper J. Drake, K. M. Fawcett, Pauline Baird Jones, Lydia Kang

Not quite as well attended, but very lively and fun discussion about what makes SFR different, fun and fascinating!

Wild, Wild West Steampunk Party
An evening costume party with music, drinks, dancing and a big crowd of Steampunk partiers! The party lasted from 9PM to Midnight and featured a mechanical bull with various cowboys and cover models in attendance.



FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2015

Linnea Sinclair's Intergalactic Bar & Grille Event


Captained by Linnea, with co-MC PJ Schnyder/Piper J. Drake, and Table Lieutenants K. M. Fawcett, Sabine Priestley, Pauline Baird Jones, Stacey Kade, Janet Miller/Cricket Starr, Monette Michaels/Rae Morgan, M. D. Waters with Spacefreighters "Ensigns" Donna S. Frelick and Laurie A. Green pitching in on assisting with games.



A huge, high-energy gathering featuring games, giveaways, activities and featuring a massive prize table of SFR goodness. A super event!

SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2015 

Giant Book Fair
A monster gathering of authors doing signings, photos and chatting with fans. Featuring several SFR authors--including Rachel Bach,
Barbara Elsborg and K.M. Fawcett (who SOLD OUT! during the event).

This was my first RT Convention and I especially enjoyed getting to meet and chat with other SFR Brigaders, authors and readers. It was also a recon mission for me to learn more about the event and how we might present a larger SFR presence in the future.

The next RT will be in LAS VEGAS in April 2016. You might want to mark your calendars. :D

Check out Donna's post for more about RT.

(left to right) Donna S. Frelick, Sharon Lynn Fisher and Laurie A. Green of Spacefreighters Lounge

Friday, May 22, 2015

MAD MAX RIDES AGAIN



You gotta love Max. Mad Max, that is—one of the great, enduring antiheroes of SF film, first introduced to the world in George Miller’s iconic film MAD MAX by a very young Mel Gibson back in 1979. Tormented by guilt, incoherent with grief, he fought for revenge, and ultimately survival, in a world as bleak and empty as his soul. The images of that solitary human lost in a sea of sand and blood, pursued by the hounds of hell, are burned into our brains.

So the question is, why would Miller remake his own film thirty years later in the new MAD MAX: FURY ROAD? The short answer is that the new film is not really a reboot of the original film at all. The storyline is different, though it is clear Max is the same character, plagued by the same demons from his past. Miller has said that this film is a “revisiting” of the MAD MAX universe, updating Max’s character and putting him in new circumstances.

But astute fans of the old Max will notice details—his leg brace still supports a knee that was shattered by a gunshot in ROAD WARRIOR, his “uniform” is still missing one sleeve ripped away by paramedics to treat a wound in the first film. And Tom Hardy shows all of the pain, grit and survival instinct of Mel Gibson’s Max. With even less talking, if that’s possible.

The real answer to why Miller would consider doing this is that modern film technology and a bigger budget allowed him to take this MAX to, well, the max. From the opening scene to the last this film is a jaw-dropping, pulse-pounding, gear-grinding, flame-spitting, bodies-flying, screaming, unrelenting thrill ride. The variety of vehicles and weaponry is astounding. The sheer volume and inventiveness of mayhem is mind-boggling. The desert is dryer and vaster. The heat more inescapable.

 Is there a plot? Uh, barely.  Dialogue? Minimal. But who cares? Bring on the pole boys! (If you’ve seen the previews, you’ve seen these crazed characters who cling to long poles at the front of trucks for the purpose of leaping onto enemy vehicles—at ninety miles an hour, mind you.)

Okay, so that’s not really fair. The film does have Charlize Theron, who is a pleasure to watch anytime and even more so here. She does a great job as an action heroine—every bit as tough and wordless as Hardy’s Max. But when the story calls for her to let go—once and only once—she makes us believe it.  Nicely done.  I think I’m in love.

There is some symbolic stuff about bodily fluids/waters of life, etc.—the essential liquid in this MAX is not gasoline, but water—and there is a decent little subplot that explores the idea of redemption, something that Max might be in need of, of course. But it’s best not to think too deeply when approaching this film. Go in with your bucket of popcorn, buckle up and enjoy the ride. It’s well worth the price of admission.

YIPPEE-KI-AY AT RT IN DALLAS!

Laurie’s going to give you the complete lowdown on our adventures at the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas last week, but I thought I’d give you a few of my observations here. This was my first RT and I noticed a few things:

--RT is a lot less “formal” than the Romance Writers of America National Conference. Except for the Awards Ceremony, there are no luncheons and speeches. Instead there are parties—the first night barbecue, a Steampunk bash, a supernatural night and, of course, the awards night gala. Whew!  That’s a lot of partying, even for me! I did miss the opportunity to sit down at lunch with complete strangers and make new friends, which RWA allows us to do. Fortunately, I had my Spacefreighters crewmates and bunch of SFR Brigaders I hadn’t met face-to-face before to spend time with and get to know.

--RT is geared toward readers, with a lot of activities—like Karaoke with the Cover Models—just for them. I think that’s fun, but for a newbie author, I found them a little less useful as an opportunity for readers to get to know me.  Linnea Sinclair’s Intergalactic Bar and Grille Party has filled that gap for SFR lovers, bringing readers and writers together for a good time at RT for a number of years. It was a blast again this year!  We need more events like that to attract readers to SFR.

--Finally, the highlight of RT for me was getting to meet my wonderful agent Michelle Johnson face-to-face for the first time. We spent a lot of time together and found out we have a lot in common outside “the office.” What a terrific confirmation of something I suspected all along!

Oh, and, uh, cowboys. It was Texas, after all.  

Cheers, Donna



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Subscriber Lists - are they worth your hard-earned dollars?


Ask your average Indie author what the hardest part of the job is, and I suspect most will tell you 'marketing'. Do you see my hand up? Quite early in the self-publishing rush some entrepreneurial types recognised that money was to be made by providing services for independent authors. People hung up their shingles as editors, cover designers, reviewers, formatters, organisers of blog tours and purveyors of advertising opportunities.

I could come up with a list. I'm sure we all could. But for this post I just want to talk about sites which advertise promotion for free or discounted books. I've come across a few. The idea is to offer a free book or heavily discounted book – the first in a series is good – with the intention of appearing on some of Amazon's top 100 lists. That way, you get visibility and people hopefully buy your later books, based on the one you gave away for free. It's a well-known technique in marketing, referred to as a “loss leader”.

The trick is telling the world the deal is available “for a short time only”, or as perma-free. Amazon's five free days in Kindle Select is one technique. But you're locked into Amazon, and you still have to tell the world your book's up there, available for FREE.

So what options are out there, and (more importantly) do they work? Let's look at a few subscriber services – sites that produce targeted neswletters telling readers about new 'deals'.

Bookbub is one of the best known. It's also very expensive. A listing for a free offer on Bookbub in the science fiction category is $200. Bookbub is very fussy about the books it takes, going to some trouble to match the books they offer to their clientele. I've not been able to get any of my books into Bookbub, but anecdotal evidence from my circle of friends indicates results can be anywhere from okay to phenomenal. It seems to me that Bookbub works very well if you're already doing very well. In my case, I'd have to sell a LOT of the subsequent books in a series to get a return on investment on $200.

EreaderNewsToday (ENT) The site does try to select for quality, but not to the Bookbub extent. And at $15 for an SF book the price is much more manageable. I've used ENT for my own book, and also for a box set, "Sing a Song of the Stars". More on ENT below.

The Fussy Librarian offers places in its newsletter based on number of reviews and overall rating (see the link for the details). At present, cost for a science fiction book is $6. I suppose it's as good a way as any of judging quality, and I can't offer a better alternative, but it means writers of great books who haven't been able to attract reviews can't advertise on this service. I've run ads a few times on Fussy, and saw no change to my sales graph.

BookScream is still in Beta and currently offers free spots in its lists. I paid $5 for the featured author spot, where I could list up to six books. One was my perma-free, The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy. After the time, I received a long 'analysis' of results, clearly produced from a boilerplate template. However impressive the 'analysis' was, (and in my opinion it simply produced some dubious statistics and a few platitudes) my promotion at Book Scream produced no visible change to my sales.

BookGorilla This service requires books to have at least 5 reviews with an overall rating of 4+, although exceptions can be made as explained in the site's T&C. Price for an SF book is $50. We used this site for the boxed set Sing a Song of the Stars. As a result the collection appeared in several top 100 lists.

Free Book Service has been around for about 18 months and offers money back guarantees for positions on Amazon's top 100 lists by guaranteeing number of downloads on your promotion. The cost? The gold package is $189 (5,000 downloads), the platinum package $299 (10,000 downloads) and the executive $379 (15,000 downloads). Each is for a 24-48 hr period.

The cynical part of me (it's quite large) says the downloads can be done using fake accounts. Which means only a fraction of the downloads you get will actually be real readers who read the book. But going on the results I got with eReader News Today (see below), the book might well make it onto Amazon's top 100, and that's a powerful place to be.

Let me show you what happened when I made The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy perma-free.
I have found that I make more sales on Amazon US than anywhere else, by a very long way – well over 90%. So what I’m showing here is only Amazon US, although the book is available at most large sites.

I made the book free at all outlets except Amazon (where you can’t offer a free book – I set it to $0.99) on 18 January 2015. I did not advertise, beyond one Twitter post. The graph below shows what happened after Amazon price matched.

The first peak was simply from being in Amazon’s free books section. Then the initial excitement died away. The second peak is as a result of buying a US$15 ad on eReader News Today. The book raced up the Amazon lists and was soon #1 free in store for Galactic Empires and #1 Space Opera and #1 Romance Science Fiction. The big goal is top 100 free in store. It didn’t quite get there, but it reached 110 which is pretty good for a novel in a niche market like SF romance. To date, there have been over 4,000 downloads, and the number of units moved has tailed off over time.

Of course, we all know free downloads don’t necessarily mean readers, let alone fans. Many a free book languishes on a reading device, ignored and forgotten. But some people certainly did read the book. I’ve seen a substantial (in relative terms) increase in sales of the second Iron Admiral book – in fact all three titles in the series.

I can see value in having a perma-free first of series. And I can see value in advertising. BUT – consider return on investment. In my experience (and I can only speak for myself) the only program I've done which really worked for me was eReader News Today.

I'd love to know where you might have found success – or not, as the case may be.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Aftermath - Pippa's Journal

A Science Fiction Romance Novel
Goodreads | Available from...
Amazon | All Romance eBooks
Kobo | iTunes | Scribd
B&N 
Google Play | Smashwords
Status Update

So Keir has been out nearly two weeks, and I couldn't be happier with the reception so far. Yes, I know with a re-release of what was my bestselling title for my first 18 months as an author I should have had some confidence in it. But I had certain expectations. I didn't expect a re-release to have many sales, since surely anyone who wanted it must have bought it previously. I was so wrong! Keir has already smashed any previous monthly sales record I had, and looks set to hit three figure sales numbers for the first time in my career as an author. Stunned? Yep. Happy? You betcha!


On the 13th May, Keir also very briefly hit the Amazon top 100 bestsellers for Time Travel - again, another first for me! It remained there for a heady six hours, reaching a high of 88 before falling back down and out. Then it hit the same list once more on the 17th, this time at number 83. Again, it was only there for a few hours, but in the top 100 twice in less than a week? *Muppet flails* You can bet I took screenshots to remind me of my fleeting moments of top 100 glory. ^_^

And while I had mostly positive reviews the first time around and even some awards, I was under no illusions that it meant the new extended version would be immune from negative ones. So far, I haven't had any. Unfortunately because I ran so close to the bone on re-releasing Keir my ARC reviewers didn't get much of a chance to read before release and post reviews, but hopefully those will trickle in over the coming weeks. The old reviews on Amazon haven't reappeared, so another job on my to-do list is approaching those who reviewed it previously and asking them to repost. I took the precaution of saving a copy of them all that I can send back to the owners to make life easier. :)

















No Angel and When Dark Falls also returned to Amazon with their adjusted cover art on Friday, and to other online retailers yesterday - well, Kobo is still processing them, but they're uploaded everywhere. Bizarrely, the old reviews for No Angel reappeared on Amazon, while those for When Dark Falls and Restless In Peaceville did not. Odder still when B&N even managed to restore them all and especially for Keir despite the slight title change. Le sigh. But a couple of emails to Amazon soon fixed that, and now all my old reviews are back, leaving my re-releases looking a little less naked, lol.

What have I learned from re-releasing all these titles? Well, one - formatting is key. Get that right and you'll (mostly) have no issues at any of the retailers. Two, a relaunch plan with tasks embedded into your calendar/smartphone really helps, although only if you stick to the dates you set. Three, don't upload books on a Friday. Four, I really, really don't want to be re-releasing five titles in a month ever again. One benefit of being self published now is that I shouldn't have to, plus I can easily update anything as and when needed. In the case of Restless, I ran into issues with Amazon twice rejecting it because they didn't accept that I had the rights to republish it. They didn't respond to two emails, but a third attempt to upload got Restless accepted. *shrug*

Meanwhile, Keir looks set to smash further records in my three year career as an author, I'm waiting on the print proof for approval for the paperback release, and I'm all set to begin edits on the sequel - Keir's Fall - next month. I'm finally going to be releasing book two!

Coming soon...

Happenings

Huge congrats to fellow Spacefreighters Lounge crew-member Greta van der Rol who will be on the Broad Universe board from the 1st June. Woot! Congrats also on being their first non-US board member.

On Saturday I learned When Dark Falls made it as a finalist in the RomCon Reader's Crown contest (Restless In Peaceville just missed out on qualifying for the YA category finals by a measly 0.1. Darn!).


The new cover for Restless In Peaceville was revealed on Friday to many compliments. ^_^ Kudos once again to Dani Fine for her stellar work! Unfortunately, Amazon decided to dispute my right to publish it on KDP for two days, although was available again at most other digital retailers. Le sigh. After a third attempt, Amazon finally accepted it, while it's still pending at Kobo.

A YA Zombie Novella
Goodreads | Available from...
Amazon | All Romance eBooks
Kobo | iTunes | Scribd | 
B&N 
Google Play | Smashwords
There will be an exclusive reveal for Tethered's shiny new cover at the SFR Station on the 22nd May.


And the 1st of June sees the start of a six week long Brigade event - the SFR Brigade's Summer Cafe! Each week featured a sub-genre of sizzling science fiction romance - Space Opera 1, Weird Science, Dystopia, Androids and Aliens, Supernova Hot, and Space Opera 2. Each week will see a group of Brigaders post about their books and some giving you a recipe connected to their works, plus there's a themed prize bundle each week. Stop by the Brigade blog for more details.


Ping Pong

Laurie, Donna, and Sharon - hope you had fun at RT! I am hideously jealous - envy is such an unattractive thing. :P