Monday, August 10, 2015

Price War, Plus 7 Free Books, and Three New Ones!!!

I guess it was almost two months ago that Cindy Borgne turned me on to this Reader Magnets book about how to (supposedly) get more sales and stuff.  Why it mainly intrigued me was the idea of not just getting sales so much as actually creating fans you could connect with.  What Eric Filler is really lacking is a real audience.  I mean the closest he has is this one jerk who keeps buying books and giving them bad reviews.  So it'd be nice if I could actually maybe get people to stop being so faceless and then maybe they'd write some reviews that would hopefully not be terrible.

The thing is, the strategy he employs requires a lot of setting up.  First you have to have a website, which Eric Filler did not really have, so I went and really quick set one up on Wordpress, which is what he recommended, though he doesn't really say how you can set up the flipbook thingy on there; Wix would have been a lot easier on that score.  I mean that's what I pretty much have as the opening on my Planet 99 Publishing site.  Unfortunately I'd already bought the domain from Wordpress before I realized that, so I guess I'll just make do.

Then as you can see if you go to those sites you need a carrot to offer people in the way of a free book if they sign up for your email newsletter.  Since I had just finished Transformed Into a Whore Too, I figured that would be my carrot because it was something new that loyal (or disloyal) readers hadn't already read.  I did what I could to make my graphic look sort of like the one the author used for his.

To get the word out then I didn't want to just rely on the websites, so I put pretty much that same picture in all my Eric Filler gender swap books.  Do you have any idea how annoying it is to go put that in like 40 books and then upload them to Amazon?  Argh, it took a couple of days to do all that.  But I did also take the chance to update some of the back material like the list of books and stuff.

The next step then is that besides the carrot (to mix metaphors) you need some free books to bait your hook with.  Therein lay a problem.  The first six Transformed books were all up for renewal on KDP Select in July so I went in and cancelled the auto renewal on them.  Then gradually I transferred them to Draft2Digital.  Except I ran into a problem with an uptight bitch named "Tara."  For some reason Apple had one of my books locked in "Needs Review" so I asked Draft2Digital's support how I could fix that and got this response instead:

Hello,

After reviewing the book in question, I found the content to include prohibited and objectionable content that we believe has the potential to lead to customer and vendor complaints. Content that includes bestiality, rape, incest, pseudo-incest, and books that include excessively objectionable or crude content are not permitted according to our vendors content guidelines. I have delisted Transformed into a Whore 3 and Transformed Collection from the vendors that prohibit this type of content. Please review all of your listings and if any of your other material contains bestiality, rape (for erotic purposes), incest, pseudo-incest, or material that could be classified as excessively objectionable or crude content, delist it immediately. I will be performing a more thorough review of your titles over the next few weeks and delisting anything that falls into this category.

If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please get in touch with me at support@draft2digital.com.

Regards,

Tara
Draft2Digital

I don't know what crawled into her panties that day, but good Lord.  I mean just read all that "I" crap.  "I found content" and "I will be performing a more thorough review."  Who died and made her the freaking queen of Sheba?  Fortunately Tara's censoring did not extend to Barnes & Noble and Page Foundry, so the books are still free there.

So now in early August I had all the six books on B&N and decided to do what the Reader Magnets guy said and email Amazon directly instead of trying the price match link on the book's page that rarely ever works.  He said in 24-48 hours they'd change it.  No problem, right?  Yeah, not so much.  Instead I got this snotty response from "Roshan":
Hello,

Thanks for the pricing information. While we retain discretion over our retail prices, I've passed your feedback on for consideration.

We'll contact you with more information by the end of the day on August 6, 2015.

Thanks for using Amazon KDP.

Regards,

Roshan K
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com

Besides the six Transformed books I sent the other books I have free on Smashwords/Draft2Digital like Chance of a Lifetime, Girl Power, A Hero's Journey, First Contact, and Forever Young.  A couple days later they made only one of those 11 books free:  Chance of a Lifetime, which was like midway on my list, so I don't know why they picked that one except maybe they had already matched it once.

I decided not to take this lying down and so I emailed them a second time with just the six Transformed books.  Someone named "Clifford" gave me the same spiel but a couple days later, finally all six books were free!  So now I've got my hooks or carrots or whatever.

I only have 10 subscribers to my newsletter, one of them being me.  At some point I have to actually send out a "campaign" with MailChimp but I was hoping to get a few more names first.  But anyway, things are finally starting to come together and you know I love it when a plan comes together.  Just couldn't it come together with less hassle?

Anyway, if you were ever curious about my pseudonym's gender swap books you can get the first six all free from Amazon, B&N, or Page Foundry--whatever that is.  Those are:





Plus Chance of a Lifetime is free on Amazon, B&N, and wherever all Smashwords publishes too because no Tara has come along to suspend it...yet.

When I put the Transformed ones on Draft2Digital it made a PDF to format it for CreateSpace, but you can't really load the book to CreateSpace from there unless you want to make the whole cover in PhotoShop, which I didn't feel like screwing with.  But I did save the PDFs and for the hell of it loaded them through CreateSpace's site.  So now you can buy those books in paperback.  Personally I think it'd be stupid since they're $5.99-$6.99 without shipping and most are less than 100 pages.  They're so small CreateSpace didn't even put text on the spines!  So it seems like a ripoff when they're free in digital format, but maybe you have money to burn.  Not that I make much profit off those even if I do sell any.

OK, so now the last part of the title:  Three New Books!  And not Eric Filler books either.  Early in the year I had ideas for three P.T. Dilloway books.  So in April I started to work on them when I had a few Eric Filler books saved up so as not to completely drain the money pool.  You might already know the first book:


It's a spin-off of Chance of a Lifetime where a con man is injected by a shady government agency with the same stuff Steve took to become Stacey--and just like Steve it's obviously not by choice.  The shady government people want the con man to use his skills to get a very special (and lucrative) medical research project from a scientist.

Unlike Chance of a Lifetime, I decided to actually let the guy who becomes a girl fall in love with a dude so it wouldn't be so threatening to people.  Someone on B&N actually called Girl Power "gay porn" just because there are a couple of gay love scenes in it--and despite that there are straight love scenes too.  Anyway, plus it might be a little more thriller-y than Chance of a Lifetime with chase scenes and gun play and stuff blowing up at the end.  I'm a sell-out, so what?

The second book I started writing in mid-May on a trip to Louisville with my brother and sister-in-law.  It basically takes a character I created at the end of the third Girl Power book and creates a new story that doesn't involve gender swapping or age regression or any trippy weird bullshit because again I don't want to threaten people with weird stuff.

And actually that became kind of the theme-like substance of the book.  A teenage girl's police captain father is murdered right in front of her by a mobster (indirectly), so the girl spends the next year training to take revenge.  Except she ends up nearly getting killed and so her sister and a cop friend give her a new identity and sneak her up to a Catholic boarding school in New Hampshire--an all girl's school too.

Again while I could easily have done it I resisted any lesbian stuff because, you know, the non-threatening thing.  Which when I decided it should be an all girl's school made that difficult because where the hell do I find a boy then?  But then I remembered that hey it's New Hampshire and it's winter, so I brought in a boy who helps his dad plow the snow and stuff and the girl falls madly in love with him.  But complicating things is that the mobster who killed her father has a daughter attending the school.  That girl is also a snobby bitch who picks on the main character even though she has no idea who she is.

Originally the story was supposed to be that the mobster's daughter was going to have a lab accident or something and develop wicked telekinesis or something and at first she and our hero would fight but then work together.  As I got into writing the book though I began to think:
A.  How do you have a lab experiment or whatever to develop telekinesis in a Catholic boarding school?  It's not like they have particle accelerators there.
B.  It really goes against the whole no powers, no magic, yadda yadda yadda
So I decided that instead our hero, who if you remember wants revenge on the mean girl's mobster mommy, has to decide to save the mean girl when some rival gangsters come to kidnap and/or kill her.  The title comes from that as our hero decides that justice should be for everyone, not just people we like.

Anyway, the first draft ended really short at like 70,000 words.  I decided to go back and write more about her transition from a sorta-nerdy, fairly normal kid to a sorta-Goth mopey kid who is going to go all Batgirl on some mobsters.  That boosted it up to 83,000 words though it made me think that maybe I should just rewrite the whole thing since I kind of changed the premise in midstream and stuff.  So I'm not sure I'll even get around to releasing that...yet.

But what do you think of the cover above?  I studied a few YA covers and thought that looked kinda YA-y.

Speaking of rewriting books, the third one was actually a rewrite of a 2013 project called Sky Ghost:  Army of the Damned.

This was a passion project for me.  Back in late 80s/early 90s I loved this series of books by "Mack Maloney" called the Wingman series.  It's kind of a Mad Max-type universe only with fighter planes instead of cars.  Since it started in the Reagan era there was a nuclear war and afterwards society is in ruins but this one awesome pilot starts bringing people together.

In the 2000s they tried a sci-fi reboot that I haven't read but which sounds really dumb.  I thought that space is just goofy and nuclear war is too 80s.  Instead of a nuclear war, why not go to that 21st Century staple:  zombies!?

So in 2013 I set out to do my reboot, only obviously not with the same characters.  Except for some reason I decided to write it from the POV of a teenage girl the hero pilot saves.  The story turned out OK but I never released it because it wasn't what I really wanted to do with it.

This time I decided to do it the right way by writing it 3rd person and focusing on the pilot.  The first part and half the second part I basically use the same story structure as the first Wingman book.  Not to say I'm copying it, but I just used the same basic structure for the events, wherein this hero pilot has been living like a hermit until his old commander lures him out of hiding to try to make a go of it in some little community.  But just as things are working out they run afoul of a bigger, nastier group that wipes them out, except obviously the hero pilot escapes.  He hooks up with some other people and eventually gets revenge on the big, nasty group that wiped his friends out.

In the Wingman book the bad guys were backed by the commies because again it was the Reagan era.  In my reboot it's a religious nutjob who wants to basically wipe the Earth clean and repopulate it with his followers.  He actually uses zombies as a weapon by airdropping cages of them on his enemies.  Because in this world there are settlements scattered around with planes being used to connect them for supplies and stuff.  Which also creates a cottage industry of "air pirates" who hijack the planes to steal their booty.

Anyway, this actually turned out to be the longest individual novel I've written since I think Second Chance in 2011.  And when I thought about it, I think it was my first book focusing mostly on a dude, not a dude who becomes a chick even, since Chet Finley vs. The Machines of Fate in 2010, so getting out of some ruts there.

The cover I displayed above is modeled after the Wingman book covers, like this one:



It's really hard though to find a background.  The one I used is actually a Battlefield 3 wallpaper I found on Google.  If I can I'd like to find something better but that's not really something a stock photo site carries.  I'd probably have to look on Deviant Art or something.

Now then, since I've written those 3 it's back to writing some Eric Filler books for a little while.  Whether I do sequels to any of those three books depends on sales.  I don't want to get stuck writing 8 books and then no one buys them like a certain other series.  I don't have time to waste like that these days.  So yeah, we'll let the consumer decide!  Adam Smith would be proud.

4 comments:

  1. All of that sounds like so much damn work. Hope people starting biting on your carrots (metaphorically).

    Sky Ghost looks kick ass, by the way. That cover rocks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are such a hard worker, Pat. I hope your sales rise a ton.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Man those covers are awesome! I'm really impressed by your artistic skills Pat. Those covers would definitely pull me in. As for the books, they're not my cup of tea, but that's just me. Since I haven't read them I don't know why they'd be banned.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Distributors such as Smashwords and D2D are under pressure from the retailers. Something happened about two years regarding erotica titles. I'm not sure of all the details because I never really followed it that closely. It may have started from customer complaints because with self-publishing there has been a lot more erotica type books published. Anyway I dug up a link for you that may help with more information.

    http://the-digital-reader.com/2013/10/13/amazon-bn-whsmith-now/

    And in general self-publishing is always going to be a lot of work because we have to do everything ourselves. There is no getting around it.

    ReplyDelete

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