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When Indie Publishing Sings The Blues

Book Plug Friday and the week's digital publishing tips!

by
Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin

Bio

September 27, 2013 - 5:00 pm

shutterstock_112647311

(Send email to book.plug.friday@gmail.com for guidelines. Deadline is Tuesday the week before publication, that is, this weeks plugs came in before September 17. We reserve the right to adjust when things are plugged; this week we had 27 books, next week we have only 5, so some of them got pushed into next week. Money cheerfully refunded if unsatisfied.)

I’ll confess that round about the middle of August looking at my numbers on the publishing platforms made me want to cry or drink heavily. (Slitting my wrists is out of the question for religious reasons and also because it leaves unsightly rings around the tub.)

I posted about it on my blog and suddenly realized that I wasn’t alone.  Everyone’s sales always dip in the summer — no, we don’t know why, they just do — but this year was exceptionally bad.  Perhaps this “recovery” we are in just left everyone too flat broke to buy books — e or otherwise. Later, I heard the same thing from my friends, including my best-selling friends.  The summer was just blah.

What do writers do when their sales suck? They write about it!

This link has some great jokes on the theme of “My sales are so bad that…”

My favorite:

It’s not me, but I know a guy…  
Whose sales are so bad…
-   Panhandlers give him money
-   When you click on the link to his book, your computer locks up
-   His books don’t get reviews, they get warnings
-   His Pen Name ran out of ink
-   His buy button on Amazon qualifies as a charitable contribution
-   He had to give up coffee and cigarettes to buy more Kleenex

The numbers seems to be recovering somewhat now, though still not up to full sales strength.  Perhaps things just have got depressing enough that people are reading to forget.  Or perhaps there is a little more money to buy books, who knows?  It doesn’t seem to be a permanent trend, though, just a temporary, if steep, dip.  I can’t tell you how relieved I am by that.

I do wonder if the downturn also affected traditionally published books — who are less able to weather it — but I have no way of knowing.

At any rate, help an indie writer come back in off the ledge.  Download a sample from this week’s offerings, and consider buying your favorites.


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The Warrior of God
By George Milonas MD 

A religious epic about the ultimate battle between good and evil. At turns techno-thriller, horror novel, heroic fantasy and Old Testament tome, the central novelty is The Warrior of God’s clever conversion of biblical entities into modern superheroes and villains. Recasting these familiar canonical angels and demons, the novel serves up a Special Forces version of Gabriel and a pitiless advocate of the apocalypse in Baal. The novel’s entire political backdrop is unapologetically topical. Walter, the brilliant, Twinkie-loving, reluctant scientist hero, succeeds wonderfully as counterpoint and light comic relief throughout the novel. He, as much of humanity, is an endless exasperation for Gabriel. Expletives abound in this Torah-sized tome, and though it relies a bit too heavily upon these lexical choices for eliciting emotion, the book’s depth, imaginative revisions and engaging characters will move readers. The pulsing plot spans the globe and solidly incorporates the threat of nuclear annihilation into the broader cosmic struggle between good and evil. It’s eschatology on all fronts–metaphysical and political. As with most novels of tremendous breadth, there are some characters who are easily forgotten and some subplots less than germane. However, there is little room for a reader’s lamentation after the brutal endgame played by Gabriel and Baal in the novel’s denouement, and Walter’s final metamorphosis is an ironic image that satisfies in the best, unexpected way. A book for insatiate lovers of heavy, religious, action-packed fiction. –Kirkus Discoveries Review


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My Last Testament
By George Milonas MD 

Dr. John Miller has a very happy life. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and children and works as a very successful surgeon. Then the Zombie Apocalypse comes to his door full force. Fighting for his life and that of his family, Dr. Miller has to use all the cunning and skill he has accumulated his entire life to ensure their survival. Facing overwhelming odds, the end is very uncertain for all those he loves and protects.

My Last Testament is the first book in this blockbusting new series from the author of The Warrior of God.

Dr. George Milonas lives with his wife and children in Wisconsin where he is a specialist in Pediatrics and Child Abuse.


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Renegades: Deserter’s Redemption
By Kal Spriggs 

Mike doesn’t want to be anyone’s friend. He doesn’t want to be a
leader. He sure doesn’t want to be a hero. He’s tried all of that
before; it didn’t work out then and he knows it wouldn’t work out now.

He doesn’t have a choice.

Caught by an invading alien race and shipped off to a prison station
as (expendable) labor, Mike will have to become all of those things in
order to escape. More, he’ll have to turn a band of misfits into a
group that can not only survive… but escape from a place where
survival is measured in hours. In the doing, he may have to do the one
thing he knows will get him killed: learn how to trust.

“Spriggs knows engineering and he knows combat, and it shows hard in
his writing. Fast-paced, believable action SF that doesn’t let go.”

-Leo Champion, author of Legion and Her Majesty’s Western Service.


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Mind and Madness of a Modern Magus
By Pendark 

Pendark is the alter ego of Richard Bateman; magician, mentalist, make up artist, and a mentor. In this collection of his thoughts on life, love, relationships, sex, fetishes, culture, religion, and social issues; You’ll find many things that make you mad, make you chuckle, and make you think.


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Now That We Have Established That We Are Mad… (Mind and Madness)
By Pendark 

Pendark is the alter-ego of Richard M. Bateman. He is a mad, eccentric magician, story-teller, fortune-teller, character actor, and special effects makeup artist.

He is also a father, a husband, a brother, a son, lover, and friend. He has begun to become known as an adviser and advice giver.

This is a collection of his strange, humorous, insightful, and sometimes maddening ideas on life, love, sex, politics, social issues, magic, and philosophy.

This is a followup to the book “Mind and Madness of a Modern Magus.” The idea behind this collection of thoughts is not to get you to think like he does, but to get you to think for yourself. This book can stand alone as an introduction to the madness of Pendark, or be a good followup to the first book.


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Chaos Quarter
By David Welch 

In the future mankind has spread itself across the stars…and promptly divided itself into dozens of competing nations. The worst of it all can be found in the Chaos Quarter, a hive of failed states, petty tyrants, pirates, and religious extremists. Into this mess comes Rex Vahl. Formerly a pilot for the democratic Free Terran Commonwealth, Rex was scape-goated for the death of a power commander’s son. As a result he is basically given a suicide mission: cross the Chaos Quarter and investigate the mysterious space beyond. Problem is that nobody who has entered that space has ever returned. Rumors abound of a reclusive super-power, so addicted to genetic engineering that they can no longer really be considered human.

When Rex discovers that all the rumors are true he finds himself being chased across the galaxy by two overpowering warships. What does he have on his side? His co-pilot is a former prostitute with tiger-striped skin. His gunner is a traitorous ex-nobleman wanted by his former countrymen. His engineer is a laid-back cyborg exiled for asking one too many questions about God. Armed with only a souped-up freighter, Rex and his motley band must out-fight, out-fox, and out-run their enemies if they are to reveal the terrible truth of what lies beyond the CHAOS QUARTER.


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The Cenacle Scroll
By Anthony F. Lewis 

Jennifer Goodwyn, a Cornell University graduate student, inadvertently returns home to sleepy Ithaca, N.Y. from an archaeological dig at the Cenacle—the purported site of the Last Supper—with an ancient bone box. The ossuary is found to contain several pieces of early first century stoneware, and a mysterious, tiny scroll. When the Aramaic glyphs on the slip of crumbling papyrus are translated, they identify the humble dinner setting as the one used by a rabblerousing Nazarene rabbi at his Seder meal, on the evening he’d been arrested by the Romans.

One ill-considered impulse—asking a local parish priest to say Mass with the cup—sweeps Jennifer away to churches, cathedrals, sports stadiums, and to a powerful Cardinal’s basilica to celebrate Mass with the vessel and to exhibit it before ever-growing crowds of believers.

But soon, all hell breaks loose. While the State Department is aggressively seeking its return to Israel, a nationwide political movement starts rising up around the relic. And Jennifer soon discovers that the storied artifact is causing sickness and even death among those who remain too long in its presence.

In an effort to stem the political mayhem and insure the safety of the faithful, Jennifer hits the road, trying to stay one step ahead of the feds until she can find a way to quell the growing public chaos unleashed by the revelations of The Cenacle Scroll.


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Aqua Vitae
By Anthony F. Lewis 

Wildlife biologist Jackie Bannon may have found just the job to jump-start her stalled career. A potential client with seemingly bottomless pockets and plans for an unorthodox business venture has invited her to his private Caribbean island to discuss her coming on board.

At first glance, the place seems a textbook tropical paradise: glistening white sand beaches, lush highland forests, every inch teeming with exotic flowers and wildlife. But a closer look reveals widespread abnormal behavior among the native animal species; behavior that Jackie recognizes as deeply problematic.

Despite her misgivings, she wasn’t about to turn down a high-paying job on a luxurious private island, especially one that could remake her career, and she relished the independence she would be allowed. But with that independence would come responsibility, and she could already see that there was much more to this island than meets the eye…


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What a Piece of Work is Man
By David F. Clark 

If you could rebuild your body and mind, become stronger, smarter–even immortal–would you? Should you?

By joining the grafters, Joaquin has become an outcast, part of a group distrusted and hated by the people of Laurim, the last vestige of humankind after the Days of Desolation. But the cybernetically-enhanced grafters have long been a necessary evil that bring stability to the fragile colony. Laurim is thrown into turmoil when news leaks that the recently-landed alien, the only other known life, has died under the care of the grafters. When Joaquin uncovers a conspiracy that would destroy the delicate balance of power, he must make a choice: Will he sacrifice his new identity among the non-grafters for the good of Laurim or will he remain silent? The stakes grow higher when a distress signal from Earth breaks over a century of silence. Are there really other humans left or is it a trick? As part of an envoy to Earth, Joaquin discovers nothing is as it seems, and the fate of not only Laurim, but of all of humanity rests on him forsaking his own humanness…


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Mysterious Albion (Vatican Vampire Hunters)
By Paul Leone 

Lucy Manning just wanted an ordinary life. But surviving a vicious vampire attack has put the young American in the middle of a holy war between a secret society of vampire hunters loyal to the Catholic Church—and an ancient and powerful vampire queen who has awakened from a long slumber with dreams of blood and conquest in her demonic mind.

Lucy may not want to do battle with a ruthless, eternal evil, but evil has other ideas….


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Bubbe, Mimi & Gigi: The Best Grandmother Name Book Ever
By Cathy Livingstone 

Congratulations! You are going to be a Grandmother! Now you need a name. This book is the ultimate resource to assist you in choosing the best grandmother name for you. Inside you will find over 300 grandmother names with fun definitions, celebrity grandmother names, an entertaining naming quiz and grandmother names by country and personality. Grandfathers can participate too by selecting a name from over 100 fabulous grandfather names and enjoy fun grandfather stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*****

shutterstock images via  Julien Tromeur / Julien Tromeur

Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin write and blog on science, science fiction, self-improvement, culture, and politics for PJ Lifestyle. Send an email to book.plug.friday@gmail.com for submission guidelines for Book Plug Friday, a weekly listing of independently published e-books.

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"(Slitting my wrists is out of the question for religious reasons and also because it leaves unsightly rings around the tub.)"

Well! The religious reasons are compelling, but those unsightly rings...yuck! Clearly, if you're going to commit suicide by exsanguination, better to do it in the back yard, on a nice warm day -- and time it so you can be sure the sprinklers won't come on and interrupt you as you drift off. (Besides, no one likes a damp corpse.)

Seriously, there are peaks and troughs in book sales, to be sure, but one consideration particularly relevant to indie publishing is "the beach book." They typical reader is highly reluctant to bring his Kindle or NOOK to the beach; there are too many ways to get it damaged. So a beach book is more likely than not to be a paperback rather than an eBook, which might just bear on the summer sales trough. Not that it makes those low numbers look any better, mind you.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Although at .99, I'm *Still* a picky bastage.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Picked up Chaos Quarter and Deserter's Redemption. Seemed my cup of tea and at .99, what's not to like?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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