I wanted to announce that, barring any major objections from readers, I will be pulling The Sword of Dragons off of the Nook so that I may enroll in the Kindle Select program.
This decision does not come lightly, as I myself own a Nook device and not a Kindle. However, there are many reasons for this, and believe it or not, it is not about money. It is about sales, but only so far as numbers sold, not royalties made.
To compare, I have sold only 2 copies on the Nook (and the person who purchased them is someone I know personally.) Kindle, on the other hand, I have sold 14 copies. That is a huge difference right there.
I recently spoke to Alan Black, a fellow self-published author that I used to work with way back when I worked at a local movie theater. His first book, A Storm of Illusion, has been out since July 18th 2014, plus he has a 2nd book out now. So he has had some experience with createspace.com for his print edition as well as Kindle and Nook.
I was shocked to learn that when he enrolled his book in the Kindle Select program, his sales went from maybe 1 a week to 1 or 2 per day! Now that is a heck of a difference!
Again, my motivation is not money: it is readership. I am a brand new author with his first novel out, I do not yet have a base of readership, and in fact I am relatively unknown. So I feel it is necessary to attempt to expand my readership beyond the 20 readers who have bought print or ebook editions.
I want to share my novel with the world, but if few people know it exists, that will never truly happen.
What Is Kindle Select?
Kindle Select is a program that I can enroll my book in for free, but it requires that I make the book exclusive to Kindle for the duration of my enrollment. What do I get with it?
Most importantly, The Sword of Dragons becomes available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, and it becomes available to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.
In a sense, this means subscribers get to read my book without any additional cost beyond their subscription fee. And I believe that is a big driving factor behind Alan Black’s significant increase in copies purchased.
This makes the book far more accessible. Plus I can enroll The Sword of Dragons in one of a couple of promotions via Kindle Select. This means deals for you, the reader :)
Loyalty to the Readers
While I do intend to go through with this, I meant what I said at the beginning of the blog: if I receive multiple objections here, I will not make this move. I know that not everyone has Kindle. However, if there are no objections, then beginning June 1st, the eBook of The Sword of Dragons will become exclusive to the Kindle (for now :) ).
Thank you so much to all of you for reading, and keep an eye here, I have more exciting news to announce later on. Including an upcoming interview on a live podcast! :D
So today is the official day, May 12th, 2015: the Sword of Dragons is available everywhere! Including one unexpected channel: the print edition is available to order from Barnes and Noble’s website!! :D
This has been such an incredibly long journey getting to this point, but I’m really glad I can share this long story with everyone. Which reminds me: I was going to put this up on the website when it is ready to launch (which, shame on me…should have been ready today.) The Sword of Dragons has a very long history, and I don’t believe I’ve told that story yet.
Unexpected Beginnings – Star Dragon Legion
It began with a sci-fi story…wait, what?! This purely fantasy novel began as a Sci Fi?
Yep. Or rather, the story that eventually morphed into began that way. I believe I was still in Junior High school (they call it Middle School these days) when I came up with the story idea called Star Dragon Legion.
In the universe of Star Dragon Legion, exceptionally talented people from all over the universe, those with a strong connection to magic, would be found and recruited by the Star Dragon Legion. At the height of their training, they would inherit the powers of the dragons, and be able to transform into an actual dragon.
The Legion was all that stood between the peaceful worlds of the universe and an evil Empire. And this story focused on one man in particular, a young newly-minted Legionnaire named Chris Ector.
Yep, Chris Ector, not Cardin Kataar. That name change came a loooong time after this original story. Once I had the universe physicals, the ‘sci fi rules’ so to speak, figured out, I started on the first story.
Then disaster struck. 12 chapters into the novel, a virus hit my computer and wiped everything out. And this was before I knew to make backups. I had a couple of false starts again after that, but shortly after the virus issue, I started my fan fiction, Star Trek Dragon. (Yep, I appear to have a thing for dragons, heheh.)
This was when I tabled writing novels and started writing only short stories.
Sword of the Dragon
The idea of the weapon that would eventually become The Sword of Dragons started with one of those short stories. My senior year of high school, I had to do what was called Senior Project: a year-long project that ended with a report before a panel of judges. I of course decided to write a story and try to get it published.
By this point I’d written about a half dozen short stories in Star Dragon Legion. For my senior project, I wanted to write something special. I somehow came up with the idea of a weapon called Sword of the Dragon.
Chris Ector was still a trainee in this story, but finding and retrieving the Sword was his final test before graduating. He found it on a remote world, overcame great obstacles, and obtained the Sword.
The short story was rejected by all publishers I submitted it to, but I passed my panels. I had learned soooo much in my efforts, and that was the point of Senior Project.
My first year of college is when it hit me: change my sci fi story into a purely fantasy!! And I really liked the idea of the Sword of the Dragon. So began my very first completed novel. By 2004, Sword of the Dragon was ready. Thinking it was fantastic, I submitted it to Daw books as an unsolicited manuscript just days before I left to continue my education at a 4 year college (after 2 years at a community college.)
Rejection and Revamp
About 4 weeks into college, I was super depressed. I was lonely, living on my own, none of my friends or family around, and classes weren’t going well. I was learning a lot in creative writing, but the professor had some deep-seated hatred for ‘genre’ fiction and I was not allowed to write sci fi or fantasy.
And then I got the rejection letter for Sword of the Dragon. It couldn’t have come at a worse time.
After weeks of wallowing in self pity, I decided to re-read the manuscript before I sent it to the next publisher. About 2 chapters in, I realized my horrible mistake: it was poorly written. What I had learned from my creative writing class at that point was enough to make me realize it was unpublishable. It was unreadable. Horrible!!!
So I put it on pause for another couple of years, and focused on honing my craft with creative writing classes and by finishing out my fan fiction.
Come 2006, I started the first chapter of the final product now available today. Yep, that’s right, it is that old!! And it was still called Sword of the Dragon. This was also when I changed Chris Ector’s name to Cardin Kataar.
It’s all in the Name
Why Cardin Kataar? Well Chris Ector to me just didn’t sound original or fantasy-ish. I wanted a more original name. Kataar was a name I had come up with in Junior High for another fan fic I had started back then, and I liked it. It’s been my internet handle ever since. And Cardin?
There once was an awesome game called Star Wars Galaxies. And in it, I created a character named Talir Kataar. Some time later, I ended up buying a 2nd account and created Talir’s father, whom I named Cardin. The name has no origin or link to anything, it was simply pulled out of my head, like most character names I use.
I liked the name so much that I decided to use it for the protagonist of Sword of the Dragon.
But then the worst thing imaginable for an author happened. 12 chapters into Sword of the Dragon…writer’s block hit.
For 4 years.
To Be Continued…
This has turned into a really long blog, so I think I’ll split it into 2 parts for you all. Stay tuned for the rest of the history another night!! :) And spread the word: the adventure has begun! Get your copy today :) (I’m still not used to marketing myself or my own product…)
Yes, you read the title correctly! And no, I’m not going to make you read a long tirade: without further ado, here is the final cover of The Sword of Dragons!!
I am so incredibly excited! I have waited 20 years to be able to finally hold a physical novel that I wrote, and that day has finally arrived!!! Woohoo!
What’s more, the day is almost here! May 12th!
…except that it may be sooner.
Why? Well, it turns out that Createspace.com doesn’t allow me to set a specific release date. Instead, what I do is I click “approve” for the final version, and then within “3 to 5 days” the novel will be available to order. I asked their customer service if I can set a date, and they said they do not currently offer that feature.
So what I intend to do is approve it far enough in advance that it will be available no later than May 12th. Yes, you read right: the paperback version will be available early!
Actually, it turns out Nook Press has a similar issue, but it specifies “up to 72 hours.” It seems this is the downside to self-publishing. But then again, this can be an upside, cause it means it’ll be out to the readers sooner than expected. Yay!
I still have work to do: now that the novel is the way I like it, I need to format it for Nook and Kindle. That won’t take too long, so I will definitely be ready in time :) I also want to have content ready for the website in time for the release date, so lots and lots of work ahead of me, heheh.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned: I still have many things I wish to share with you all!
….and just cause I can’t help it, here’s the actual cover in it’s full glory for you all to see :D
I am so, so excited to announce that the cover for The Sword of Dragons is complete!!! :D
At least, it is for the hard copy edition. Christian Michael will be creating versions of it for the eBook release and for business cards. The cover came out incredibly well, and I can’t wait to be able to show you all!! But that’ll come later, when I have a physical, proof copy in my hand and I’m sure the cover will work as well as I think it will, heheh.
In the mean time, I do believe I promised everyone the abstract for the back cover. I hope you all like it! :)
For over 3,000 years, the Sword of Dragons has remained hidden in the remote realm of Halarite. Forged to end the catastrophic civil war of the dragons, it was feared by its creators and was buried and forgotten.
When the rogue Mage Kailar learns of the Sword and begins to search for it, only the fledgling Wizard Dalin recognizes the threat that she poses. When his plea for help is turned away by the Prince of Tal, Dalin’s only hope is to recruit the outcast Warrior Cardin Kataar.
Cardin and Dalin scramble to find the Sword and its guardian dragon before Kailar, but she already has a head start. If they fail, a new age of darkness will begin.
Very shortly I’ll be uploading the finished product, both the cover and the novel, to createspace, after which I’ll be able to order a proof copy. I can’t wait to hold a physical copy of my first (soon-to-be) published novel!!! :D
Thank you to everyone who has followed me and stuck with me this far. I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you as I continue forward! For next time, I would like to post a few paragraphs from the novel itself. I did that for Chronicles of the Sentinels many months ago and had a lot of positive feedback from everyone here :) So stay tuned!
Today I came across a blog article by one of my favorite bloggers, Carly Watters, the article was called “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Querying as a Debut Author” First and foremost, if you are a debut author looking to find an agent, check out that article. She makes 5 very excellent points!
In fact, what she said in that article really helped give me some perspective on agents. First, and I think this is the most important part, agents are individuals with individual tastes that are as varied as readers’ tastes. Keeping that in mind, chances are good there is an agent out there somewhere who would love to see and represent your work (and mine :D heheh.)
Second, agents aren’t “creatures of the night” or scary monsters. They really are people. More to the point, they do what they do because they love to read. Which means agents, good agents, want to read debut authors. They are excited about finding new talent to bring to the world, not just for everyone else’s enjoyment, but for their own as well.
However, another thought occurred to me as I read through Ms. Watters’s article: relief.
Relief that my choice to self-publish The Sword of Dragons means I don’t have to worry about refining my query letter or synopsis. I don’t have to wade through the vast sea of agents to find one whose interests may coincide with my story. Relief that I don’t have to hit that dreaded ‘send’ button when I query. Relief that I don’t have to get any more rejection letters.
Well, no more rejection letters for The Sword of Dragons. I do still want to one day go down the path of traditional publication for one of my works. Why? Because I want to see my book on bookshelves at Barnes and Noble or The Tattered Cover (it’s a Denver thing :) ) Right now, print-on-demand doesn’t really allow for that, nor do eBooks.
So there will still be query letters in my future, and, I hope (crossing my fingers) an agent :)
But I just have this incredible sense of relief that I no longer have to query for The Sword of Dragons. My writing future, this novel’s future, it’s in my hands.
I kinda like that :)
I do know that I have a ton of work ahead of me. I also recognize that I probably don’t even know the half of it. I’ve already put in more work than I anticipated just formatting the novel for createspace.com.
But it’ll be worth it in the end. Of that I am certain :)
Oh and I know I promised the abstract last week, but I had to be sure it would fit in the cover’s back page. Well it didn’t, so I have pared it down. If it fits in with the cover, this will be the first place I post the abstract, I promise!
So I have a ton of exciting news about The Sword of Dragons! No, it isn’t the release date…not yet. That will be coming very soon :)
First and foremost, the cover for my first novel is in the works! I decided not to go the traditional fantasy artwork route. I don’t recall if I mentioned it before, but one day recently I stood in front of a large row of bookshelves full to the brim of Fantasy and Sci Fi novels, and I realized that all of those traditional, fantasy-style covers all blended in. Not a single one of them stood out amongst the others.
I don’t want that for The Sword of Dragons. I want mine to look unique, to stand out amongst the crowd. Having already been impressed by Graphic Design artist Christian Michael because of his work on my business card and his own novel covers, I decided to hire him. The first iteration of the cover he made for me is amazing!
Unfortunately I am not quite ready to show this off to you all, I intend to wait to reveal the cover until it is 100% finished. But it is looking pretty incredible already, Christian is an incredible designer!
Next, today I spent several hours working on the back-of-the-novel description of The Sword of Dragons (also known as the abstract.) Describing my stories in a succinct and interesting way has always been difficult for me, so this was a huge challenge. But I like what I have come up with, and so far so does everyone else.
Stay tuned over the next few days, because I intend to publicly post that abstract :)
I also rewrote the prologue. “What?? Again?!” yep, again. I was really unhappy with how it was, and I received some incredible feedback on it from a writer’s critique group a couple of months ago. But I decided it was un-salvageable, and wrote the prologue from scratch. That, too, has turned out very well :)
That leaves only two things left until I’m ready to prep the novel for publication: a finalized cover, and a rewritten or vastly improved chapter 1. I’m almost there!
Venues: Createspace, Amazon Kindle, and Nook Press
So far the big hitters I am going with for publication are Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Nook Press for the Barnes and Noble Nook, and createspace.com, which is Amazon’s print-on-demand publisher.
These venues will allow me to have the greatest distribution. Anyone with a Nook or Kindle, or the software for those eReaders on their PC’s or Macs, will be able to purchase and read The Sword of Dragons, plus anyone and everyone can order a hard copy from Amazon and their authorized distributors.
That in and of itself is potentially hundreds of thousands of fantasy readers!!! :D Of course, if there is enough demand for other venues (someone recently mentioned Apple’s iBook store. How many people here use that app?) I will happily release TSOD on those vendors.
I am sooo freaking excited about all of this! I’ve written for over 20 years, and now I am finally, finally making my dreams come true! Sure, you won’t be seeing The Sword of Dragons on bookstore shelves, not yet anyway….but this is a start. And I think it’ll be a good start.
Keep a close eye here, folks. Trust me, things are going to start moving fast, and The Sword of Dragons will be available for release before you know it :)
Trials and triumphs of writing, finding an agent, and publication.