The Sundered Crown Saga Now on Google Play

The first two books of the Sundered Crown Saga, Heir and War are now live on the Google Play store!

Google Play Store

For a long time, I had kept the Saga solely on Amazon Kindle to take advantage of Kindle Unlimited. At the time I had spoken with many authors who said that it was KU that brought in the bulk of their income and for a time I did receive a fair amount from it.

Then, Amazon changed and began to focus on making authors pay for advertising in order to get their books in front of readers.

Prior to this organic reach had been great and then as they sought even more money and introduced ads that organic reach dried up overnight and so did the KU reads.

The difficulties of marketing

Marketing an indie book has never been harder nor been so expensive. The flooding of the market also hasn’t helped and authors themselves have a lot to be blamed for when it comes to the lack of profitability available these days.

Kindle Unlimited Exclusivity is over

The KU model may appear a good thing for authors but when you look at it closer the income from KU is a pittance.

Prior to its introduction an eBook could easily sell for 4.99 or more and in large numbers. Now, however, thanks to KU many readers now get titles for free via subscription with the author often receiving pennies for every book read.

Going Wide

Going wide and taking my books away from Amazon exclusivity is a big risk and challenge but it’s one I’m prepared to take (at least for a few months). I’ve opted to put Heir and War on Google Play just as an experiment for now and if they begin to sell well, I will put the rest of the saga books on there.

Get Heir to the Sundered Crown on Google Play here

Get War for the Sundered Crown on Google Play here

For other retailers click here

What’s your preferred eBook retailer? Let me know in the comments below.

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A Sneak Peek at The Temple of Arrival (Empowered Ones Book Two)

Hi everyone, I thought I’d share some of book two in the Empowered Ones series; The Temple of Arrival. I hope you enjoy it and if you haven’t already please sign up to the newsletter.


 

The Asylum

The monotonous tapping of water striking stone was comforting to Skit. So too, was the constant flickering of the torch ensconced into the slimy stone wall of the cell that had been his home for the past two decades. He gazed through half-open eyes at the iron grate acting as the door to his cell. The howls, yelps and whimpers of his fellow inmates, now that was something that still scared him. It was the sound of madness and insanity; it was the sound made by the Broken. It was constant, and in those first months sleeping had been difficult, but the saying that a man can get used to anything over time had proven true.

He clenched his jaw as he breathed in the damp acrid air. His back was moist with sweat, and his lice filled tunic covered his emaciated body. The cell was small, containing a pile of straw that acted as his bed, the flickering torch that was his only source of heat as well as light and a small dripping pipe that provided him with water.

The sound of iron grating on stone caused him to sit a little straighter. It was very rare that anything different happened to break the tedium of his self-inflicted imprisonment. He only ever saw the caretakers once every few months when they came through and dropped off food. The yelling and cries of the other inmates grew louder and louder until it grew to an almost deafening pitch. Approaching footsteps came from the darkness of the corridor outside the cell until a shadowy figure appeared in front of Skit’s cell door.

Skit’s ruined eyes could just make out a silhouette standing in the flicker of his torch.

“Who’s there?” he asked, his voice barely louder than a strained whisper. When was the last time he had spoken out loud? He couldn’t recall.

“An old friend,” came the reply. Skit’s eyes widened at the voice. Fear twisted in his belly.

“No. Not you. You’re no friend of mine. You’re the reason I’m in here.”

The figure stepped closer revealing himself.

It was who he had feared most. Vavius.

“Now don’t be like that Skit. We were friends back in the day. Fighting side by side against the Supreme and the Imperium. We were good at it too.”

Skit waved a skinny arm dismissively.

“We were fighting the good fight until I learnt the truth about you and what you did. I wonder if during all this time the others ever figured it out?”

Vavius crossed his arms, his blue cloak looking black in the dimness of the Asylum.

“To answer your question, they never did. Although I’m sure, they know some of the truth now. And it doesn’t matter. I’m this close to it Skit; I have the map.”

Skit looked away and spat in disgust.

“Congratulations,’ he replied his tone dripping with sarcasm. ‘Who did you betray for it? Tarv? Yin? Or perhaps Cleo?”

Vavius chuckled humourlessly.

“Two of those three are dead. I won’t tell you which. I’ll let it haunt your dreams while you cower in this hell. Why choose to hide here? Of all places.”

Skit shook his head in despair at the words. How many more would die for this man’s lust for power?

“I hide here because I know it disgusts you. It represents the worst of us. I’m just surprised it took you this long to find me.”

Vavius gripped one of the cell doors iron bars and placed his face to the cool metal.

“You know why I’m here. I need your help. I need you to read the map. I tried to make sense of it myself, but it’s written in ancient Aeranyth. There’s only one man I know who could read such a language, and that’s you Skit,” Vavius explained taking a scroll from the pocket sewn into his cloak. He pulled the string, unfurled it and pressed the parchment to the bars.

Skit squinted at it for a few moments and chuckled.

“I cannot read it,’ he said shaking his head. “You’ve wasted your time coming here.”

“You’re lying. I know you can read ancient Aeranyth,” Vavius snapped.

He  channeled his Anger. His limbs grew, as the emotion acted as a conduit to the Power. With ease, he ripped the iron door from its hinges and tossed it casually down the corridor. The crash of its impact set off the Asylum’s inmates, their howls of madness rising until that was all that could be heard. He stepped into the cell and forcefully placed a gloved hand to Skit’s forehead. He closed his eyes.

Skit screamed, but the agonized sound was lost in the howls of the damned.

“So, you need a cypher to read it,” Vavius muttered as he tore his way through Skit’s mind. His eyes snapped open as he learned where to obtain one.

“The Venerable Chamber archives,” he said, before lifting the now unconscious Skit over his shoulder and departing the Asylum.

 

***

*The above is a rough draft and is subject to change.


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Books header

May Update – Sundered Crown Saga now wide

Hi, everyone, it’s a been a few weeks since my last post on the website so I thought I’d just post a bit of an update on what’s been occurring.

Mostly I’ve been revising and polishing The First Fear ahead of its release on June 22nd as well as working on Book 4 of the Sundered Crown Saga.

You asked I delivered…(finally)

Since the release of Heir to the Sundered Crown back in 2014, I’ve had a few of you contacting me asking when it and the other books in the series would become available on E-readers other than Amazon Kindle. Well, after much thought I decided to pull them out of Kindle Unlimited which forces them to be Amazon exclusives and have made them available to buy on Apple, Nook, Kobo and other outlets!

Here are the links –

Heir to the Sundered Crown –  https://www.books2read.com/u/boYR6V

War for the Sundered Crown – https://www.books2read.com/u/md00Gw

Quest for the Sundered Crown – https://www.books2read.com/u/m2vvrj

The First Fear

 So, my new book is coming out in June and as an incentive to get you lovely people to buy a copy you can pre-order for the special low price of just 99p/c. Once it’s out the price will rise so you’d be silly not to take advantage of this great offer.

For a preview, you can read the first five chapters by clicking – https://dl.bookfunnel.com/g83m14x1gn

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a #free copy of the Nightblade. Just click the link – https://dl.bookfunnel.com/fmx4pna31i

In Need of Assistance?

Also, I’ve started offering my services and the skills I’ve attained being an Indy author to those who need assistance with their books. If you’re in need of formatting, cover design/resizing and editing services then please check me out or Fiverr or my services website.

Get in touch via Facebook and Twitter and please sign up to the newsletter

 

What I’ve learnt about self-publishing – Book Promotion is Changing

Often when indy authors are asked; ‘What is the thing you need the most help with?’ the answer is most often ‘marketing’. And it’s because of this answer that there are now hundreds of different services offering to promote your books.

Since publishing Heir to the Sundered Crown back in 2014 I’ve experimented with a wide variety of these services. Sites such as Booksends, Fussy Librarian etc are basically businesses that have large mailing lists that they send daily deals to their subscribers. An author pays them for a spot on one of their mailing lists (often sent out on a specific day) and these prices can vary from as little as a single Dollar to hundreds of Dollars.

Bookbub

The holy grail of these sites, however, must be Bookbub. With a mailing list of hundreds of thousands from across the world, landing a promotion with this site is incredibly difficult due to the sheer number of authors applying for promotions. This fact alone tells you just how highly regarded Bookbub is to many Indy authors.

Personally, I’ve only ever managed to get a UK Bookbub promotion and that was a good few years ago now, the results of which were by far the best I’ve ever had in comparison to other promoters. Now don’t go thinking Bookbub will propel your book to the top of the sales charts, the book still has to be good enough for people to want to buy it which means having a professional looking book cover and quality writing.

The market is changing

As I mentioned in my previous post I’m part of a small group of authors called Firebound Books. We regularly compare our promotional data and the main thing that we’ve all discovered is that the market is changing. Whereas a few years ago a promotion on the smaller sites would guarantee a decent amount of sales and a boost to the sales rankings. Today, the payoff from the same sites is a lot smaller for paid titles. Even 99p/c sales result in very few sales and often fail to cover the initial cost of the promotions. As I’ve discussed before (read here) it now seems that the only way to guarantee large numbers of downloads is to give your books away for free.

The main cause of this seems to be that the majority of the promotion sites are massively oversubscribed with authors. Some of their mailing lists have gone from advertising just three books per day to ten and if your book is put at the bottom of the list then you’ll likely see a poor return for the investment.

To overcome this decline in returns we must do things differently. The market is now swamped with books and only by improving the quality of indy books can we hope to continue to make a dent in the market. Good book covers and most importantly well-written books are key. Unfortunately, Indy authors are often given a bad name because of the countless poor-quality books produced. We need to up our game if we are to remain competitive in this ever-changing marketplace.

For a list of book promotion sites look here.

Leave a comment below or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter and please sign up to the newsletter

Big Announcement

Hi folks,

Today I am announcing that Heir to the Sundered Crown is getting the audio book treatment. I’m working with the very talented Joseph Tweedale to bring the Sundered Crown Saga to Audible. Listen to a sample below –

Keep your eyes peeled for more announcements via my social media channels over the coming weeks. The release date is scheduled for October.

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GIRL UNDER THE GUN

In this blog post my fellow Firebound author Rob May talks about his new novel; Girl Under the Gun. Check it out today!

*

When I wrote my epic fantasy trilogy, Reckoning of Dragons, I tried to bring the excitement, pace and plot twists of my favourite thrillers into the mix. So when I sat down to write an actual modern day thriller, I thought I’d flip my approach on its head, and supplement the car chases and gun fights with some classic fantasy elements.

So Girl Under the Gun has a lot of things you might recognise from your favourite fantasy trilogy: a young hero takes her first steps into a wider world; an experienced warrior finds his jaded worldview challenged; an old conflict is re-awakened; and a trail of secrets leads to a hidden treasure, while several factions with conflicting motives stalk and fight over dangerous new territories.

If this sounds like an odd mix, don’t forget that The Lord of the Rings could arguably be described as a chase thriller: everyman Frodo Baggins is pursued by sinister agents all through the book, from his home in the Shire right to the entrance of the Crack of Doom itself.

Before I started writing, I couldn’t decide if I wanted an old-school, tough protagonist, like James Bond or Jack Reacher, or whether to feature a resourceful fish out of water, like Robert Langdon or Christopher ‘Fluke’ Kelso (from Robert Harris’s Archangel, one of my favourite thrillers). In the end, I went for both options: LJ Hardwick is young literature student, who has never left England, while Mark Grant is a soldier-turned-spy, whose reckless, unconventional approach to missions has earned him the nickname the Game Breaker.

But LJ is smart, fast and adaptable. The word of spies and secrets might just be the future that best fits her growing potential. And for Grant, finding solace in new friends and rightful causes might finally put the brakes on his untrammelled aggression.

Of course, since Girl Under the Gun has the same twists and subversion as Reckoning of Dragons, you won’t find the answers to any of those questions until the very last page …

 

Girl Under the Gun is out now, for the special price of 99c/99p for a limited time, or read it FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

http://amazon.com/dp/B06Y1F9CWP/?tag=robmay-20

Or get in touch via my website, and I’ll send you a free review copy.

http://robertwilliammay.com

Finally, for fans of Reckoning of Dragons, book one of the follow-up series, Empire of Dragons, will be out in August. Sign up to my mailing list for more info!

http://robertwilliammay.com/newsletter/

***

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As an extra incentive to sign up to my mailing list you will receive a free copy of my latest book: The Nightblade. Sign up today and claim your free book!
https://www.instafreebie.com/free/aDyLQ

 

 

 

 

The Importance of social media to Indy Authors : Facebook

There are countless guides on the internet about how Indy authors should use social media if they want to raise awareness of their books. In this series of posts, I am going to tell you why, for once, you can believe what you read online.

Facebook Pages

Let’s start with the world’s biggest social network; Facebook. With over a billion daily users you cannot ignore this network’s potential to help raise awareness of your work. The first step for any author is to create an author page. (Click here for a simple guide on how to do it. I’ll be going into more detail in another post soon so keep checking the site.)

You can find mine here

As you can see from the image above, Facebook gives you several options such as creating offers and getting sign ups. These tools are very useful when promoting book promotions and trying to grow your mailing list. You also get a choice of options for the layout of your page so you can set it up like an online store.

Grow Your Followers

An author page is a great place to get fans and followers. Invite all of your friends and family, make them aware of what you’re doing. You will find that some friends and family members are very supportive and will share and like your posts, others, unfortunately, will either like the page and do nothing further or simply ignore your request. If that happens… well, at least you know who your supporters are.

If you want to increase your likes and followers to people other than those you know you will need to become savvy at social media marketing. Have links to your Facebook page in your Ebooks (either at the very front or at the back it’s up to you).  Put links into your newsletters, blog posts, on your website and on any other social media that you’re using.

Sadly getting likes and clicks organically is now a lot harder after Facebook changed the way it does things. As with any business, it wants to make money and what better way to do that than to charge businesses and individuals to get their content seen. If you have a post that you feel is important then using the boost post option may be the best way to get it seen.

Facebook Groups a useful advertising tool

Having a Facebook page is great and everything but how do you use it to promote your books? You could post links to them on your Facebook page and leave it at that. However, there are some other methods to spreading the word about your books. Facebook Groups are an excellent place for you to advertise. Simply search for book groups and you will find hundreds, if not thousands.

In the build up to any of my book launches I post daily in every single one that I am a member of to try and generate awareness. The effectiveness of this method however is very hit and miss. To get the best results you need to post at the best times of day. In my experience posting at the times when the USA wakes up and in the evenings are the best times that generate reactions.

I have sold many books using this method. Persistence is key when using this very time intensive strategy. The best thing about posting in Facebook groups is that it’s free advertising (albeit very hit and miss).

Facebook Ads

I’ve covered this in a previous blog post (click here to read it) and their effectiveness depends greatly on how much money you are willing to put behind them. Some authors swear by them but in my experience they’ve been disappointing every time. Trying to generate likes and clicks for example often results in profiles from random countries like Pakistan or parts of Africa spamming the likes and clicks. In my experience the ads very rarely reach the people you want it to despite setting them up to target specific audiences and nations.

Do you have any other tips for getting the most out of your Facebook author page? Let me know in the comments or message me on social media.

Get in touch via Facebook and Twitter

As an extra incentive to sign up to my mailing list you will receive a free copy of my latest book: The Nightblade. Sign up today and claim your free book!
https://www.instafreebie.com/free/aDyLQ

 

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