Which Book Promotion Services Work?

Andrew Updegrove: Tales of Adversego

FBT 110About a month ago I posted a piece on trying out the various book sale promotion sites that are available, and promised to report back on progress. Here are some preliminary findings, as well as an example of one I have running today at Free Kindle Books and Tips so that you can get an idea of what one looks like (perhaps you might want to invest $0.99 while you’re at it).

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A Review of Salby Damned by Ian D. Moore.


This would make a great introduction to the zombie genre.

It has been a while since I’d read a zombie book, largely because the stories and situations became quite repetitive. That was not the case with Salby Damned by Ian D. Moore. I was pleasantly surprised at the fresh concepts from the start and how they carried through until the end. The story was believable and, together with the depth of character development, kept me interested and wanting to see what happened.

This was a story that had its own version of zombies that I liked and for me, made it more real. The background was explained well. In addition to very well described undead action-scenes, there were interpersonal subplots, a number of gripping relationship building scenes that had me wanting more. The book involved adults as well as kids which added to the appeal.

For those fearing graphic violence, I didn’t find it bad or over-the-top. All in all, this was a fun, pleasure ride with all the elements of a good story. If you aren’t familiar with the zombie genre, I would suggest you start with this one. It is a well written story that also happens to have zombies in it.

You can find it on Amazon.com here:

And in the UK here:

It is also available on all Amazon sites.

My review of Felipe Adan Lerma’s An Unforeseen Conventional Afternoon, a Codename: Chandler Kindle Worlds Novella.

A well written story, nicely introducing Samantha Lacroix

This was my second short written by this Felipe Adan Lerma, the first being, An Unforeseen Conventional Morning, in the Jack Daniels Kindle World. I’ve read almost all the original Jack Daniels thrillers and Codename: Chandler thrillers and in my opinion, the author knows these characters well. This book continues on where An Unconventional Morning leaves off, introducing Samantha Lacroix to Chandler.

There is a good story which allows these characters to interact and get to know one another. The personalities of both main characters come out well and this involves some very good banter between them. As the story resolves there is a guest appearance by Jack Daniels tying the two books in quite well. There are kids involved in both books which adds an element that neither Chandler or Jack Daniels are used to, but blends well with the author’s character, Samantha Lacriox.

I found this to be a well written novella introducing Konrath fans to Samantha Lacriox that will leave the reader wanting to read more about her. For readers who are unfamiliar with these Kindle Worlds, these two books would make a good introduction to these characters.

Unfortunately, Kindle Worlds books are only available on Amazon.com at this time. Hopefully they change that soon. You can find it here. http://www.amazon.com/Codename-Chandler-Unforseen-Afternoon-Samantha-ebook/dp/B00X4WX27O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439764121&sr=1-1&keywords=felipe+adan+lerma

A Review of Nico Laesser’s Skin Cage


A creative and unpredictable story, extremely well told.

Occasionally I come across a book that really grabs me…one that surpasses my expectations and takes me for a ride beyond the enjoyment of reading it. I found this with Skin Cage. The description of the book intrigued me but once I started reading, I was taken for a ride. The writing was descriptive yet not over-the-top. Many times I stopped and re-read a line simply because I was so impressed at the choice of wording.

The story was an emotional roller coaster evoking sadness, anger, frustration, but most impressive was love. It explored many different topics that I won’t get into so I don’t give anything away, and each person reading it may take away something different, but for me, it was an expression of the immense power of love and kindness.

I read this book much faster than most which for me is an indication of how much I was pulled into the story created by the author. It’s a story that will leave you with a lot to think about long after you reach the end. This was my first book by Nico Laeser but I have a feeling I’ll be reading every word he ever puts out.

You can find it on all the Amazon sites. Here’s the .com

A Review of Joshua’s Island by Patrick Hodges


My review of Patrick Hodges’ Joshua’s Island. I was a little nervous this could just be a preachy anti-bullying platform – not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just do t like to be preached to. This book was not that at all. I started reading this the night before heading out on a family trip last weekend. It was gripping from the start and so well written, I couldn’t help but talk about it. It served as a launch point to a number of great discussions about group dynamics, fitting in, abuse, and bullying.

I felt the author captured the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness very well, portraying the point of view of the victim as well as those around him. It helped explain why people around victims don’t help. Although this story covered some dark material, it did it in a very creative and entertaining way.

This was a well woven story that had me gripped from the beginning and I couldn’t wait to finish it. The characters, as well as the story, were believable and engaging. When I had to take breaks from reading, I found myself thinking about it and wondering how it would play out.

This book also stirred up a number of emotions and memories as I was bullied in grade three. I’ve always been a more quiet, reserved type and there are those who thrive on that. As chance would have it, I ran into my bully many years later at University and confronted him. He apologized. I didn’t feel any better. What does make me feel better, is to know that things are changing, and books like this are part of the solution.

This is a great read, by a great author. This book won’t be forgotten and I was very excited to hear he has another book out about one of this books characters. Well done Patrick Hodges. As I shed a tear for those who are bullied, I urge you to pick up this book. You’ll enjoy it.

You can find it on your local Amazon site. Here’s the .com location.

An Interview with Nico Laeser, Author of Skin Cage and Infinity

Reblogged from the website of Andrew Updegrove: an interview with friend of mine Nico Laeser. Please enjoy.

Andrew Updegrove: Tales of Adversego

Nico Laeser 120A month ago, I posted a review of Nico Laeser’s excellent novel, Skin Cage, a novel written in the first person from a most unusual perspective. The choice of that viewpoint, as well as the degree to which the author succeeded in accomplishing what can only be described as a challenging task, left me more than usually interested in conducting an interview. Happily, Nico said yes.

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Guest Post by author Rhoda D’Ettore


Buy Rhoda D’Ettore books on Amazon

Coming this Summer…..


No One Is Safe While…


A Novel by Rhoda D’Ettore

After surviving a car accident that killed her father, three-year-old Jennifer begins having nightmares. It’s soon obvious she suffers from something more dreadful than the accident when she provides clues to a murder committed 3,000 miles away—and two decades before she was born.

Jennifer’s nightmares set off a chain reaction that prompts the infamous Zodiac Killer to emerge from dormancy and terrorize San Francisco for a second time.

Visit Rhoda D’Ettore’s Website


Goin’ Postal & The Creek

Rhoda D’Ettore began her writing career by publishing humorous tales about working at the United States Postal Service. Fifteen years of dealing with bombs, anthrax, and human body parts in the mail made for an interesting read. Her co-workers laughed so hard at the nostalgia, they encouraged her to publish the writings. Since then, D’Ettore has fascinated readers with plot twists mixed with sarcastic humor.

D’Ettore knew postal workers would buy her story, yet she also wanted to show them she could write interesting, serious work with shocking twists. In Goin’ Postal & The Creek, the reader gets two very different stories in one book. The first containing the hysterical tales of postal worker life. The second story is a historical fiction that spans 200 years with a slightly supernatural twist. Topics include war, love, romance, death, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and how families survive such events.

Newborn Nazi

Newborn Nazi tackles the issues of right and wrong as well as self sacrifice when fourteen-year-old Edmund is forced into the Hitler Youth in 1935. His older siblings vow to destroy Nazi Germany, and the family gets swept up in espionage and the Underground Movement. When Edmund becomes an adult and joins the feared SS, his sister’s secret endeavors to save Jews in her home endangers lives—including her own. This suspense thriller is sure to keep you guessing.

Newborn Nazi is based on Rhoda D’Ettore true family history. There was an Edmund who was forced into the Hitler Youth, and his sister did help Jews escape. D’Ettore found the story so riveting, she took the plot of the story and added murder and espionage to create this intense thriller.

Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series 1

In Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series, we find Jane traveling to America from Ireland with her three-year-old son. Expecting to find a better way of life, Jane finds nothing but intimidation, betrayal, violence, and heartache. This family saga includes blackmail, murder, mystery, and a touch of romance.

While writing Tower of Tears, D’Ettore gave her mother one chapter at a time for feedback. D’Ettore was undecided who the murderer in the book would eventually be, so she wrote the story with five characters hating and threatening the murder victim. Halfway through the book, D’Ettore’s mother shouted, “I know who killed him…. it was ####”. D’Ettore then finished the book with a different character as the murderer. When her mother read the final draft of the book, she replied, “That’s not who the murder is. I told you who is was.” D’Ettore then said, “I wrote the book, so I know who the murderer should be. Thanks.”

10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink

10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink is a collection of naughty fantasies of ordinary women. Teachers, mothers, and professionals submitted their wants and desires for kinky fun. All the tales are told as if the women are speaking directly to their partners. The audiobook of this has been called “Two hours of phone sex for $7”.

Rhoda D’Ettore works are available as ebook, paperback, and audiobooks

Follow Rhoda D’Ettore on Facebook

Follow Rhoda D’Ettore on Twitter

Why do a Free Giveaway of Your Book

Why do a Free Giveaway of Your Book.

I’m in the midst of running a promotion on my book Going Under (free June 25-29). There is some debate on whether or not authors should give their work away for free. I’ve analyzed both sides of the argument and in the end, decided to go ahead. I don’t know if it’s the best way to go, but this is an experiment. In fact, marketing of any kind is an experiment.

There’s enough work that goes into writing a book, I can see why some might not think it’s a good idea. We devote financial resources as well as hours and hours of our time into writing, editing, cover design, formatting and publishing. It’s quite understandable that some authors would say I’m crazy to give it away. Here’s some background going into my decision.

I’ve been keenly watching the self-publishing revolution since 2010 when I was given my first eReader. I embraced Ebooks and once I saw the benefits of digital books, I watched with fascination as the paper book industry started decline while Ebook distributors such as Amazon, Apple, Kobo and the Nook(B&N) took off. I devoured books like I’d never done before and was thrilled that I could find new, interesting authors, whose books were cheaper than traditionally published authors.

It wasn’t long until I found Smashwords and Amazon, and started seeing books listed for free. At this point they had to be permanently free to be on Amazon, which meant they were usually short stories or somewhat unpolished books, although I did find a number of great reads. Then, in 2011, Amazon started KDP Select, a program whereby, if you signed on to be exclusive, you could run a free giveaway for five days, every three months while in the program. I could be argue that this was the single biggest pivotal point in the EBook revolution. Once KDP Select launched, we started seeing higher quality books being offered for free, because it was only for a short time. This was a boost for writers and a financial break for readers.

Authors in Select quickly realized a huge benefit to running giveaways, which became known as “the bounce.” To step back a bit, Amazon has many Best Seller lists based on different categories. Each category has both a paid and free list. There are many people who peruse these lists often, looking for deals, new authors, and good books, with the idea that the cream will rise to the top. What authors found was that if they could get onto one of these lists while free, the book would “bounce” over to the paid Best Sellers list once their giveaway was done, hence the newly sought after “good bounce.” There are many reports of paid sales jumping once a book hits one of these lists. Of course, none of this is guaranteed. It’s a strategic gamble.

I’ve watched many new authors who have moved from being relatively unheard of, to doing quite well, if not amazing, using this technique. Brett Battles, J.A. Konrath, Joanna Penn, Jude Hardin, Russell Blake, Iain Rob Wright and Tracy Sharp are just a few that come to mind. Here are a couple articles from Joanna Penn and J.A. Konrath, on their experiences. There has been some talk that this bounce isn’t quite what it was in the beginning, but it still occurs. Amazon explains that a book will drop in ranking because of sales that occur while it is being switched over. Only Amazon knows what goes into redistributing the lists, but it may be an effective way to gain sales. Here’s a more recent article as well.

Even if there is no significant bounce and no increase in paid sales, there are a number of other reasons to consider giving your book away. The biggest is getting your name out there…name recognition. Marketing is about getting people thinking about you and your books. With a giveaway, this may happen as people see your book, as they click on it to download, as a book cover sitting on their device, from reading your book, or even from interacting with you during the giveaway itself. I’m convinced there are many people who are more than willing to connect and to pass your name along. These are all people who may recognize your name and be just a little more likely to click on something with your name on it, whether it be a blog post, another promo, or a new book announcement. I’ve connected with countless this weekend in the process of the giveaway and have no doubt I’ll stay connected with some if not many of them.

Giveaways may help increase sales of your other books. If you have any other books, a fan of your giveaway book might purchase one of those. There are many authors I’ve seen on the free lists that I’ve followed and watched, purchasing future books. One of my first ebooks was a permafree by J.A. Konrath and Blake Crouch. I’ve since read roughly 31 of Konrath’s and 16 of Crouch’s, purchasing most of them.

Another reason to giveaway a book is to increase reviews. All authors want reviews. Reviews help drive sales, at least in theory. In addition, some marketing sites require a minimum number of reviews, before you can use them. It’s a slow tedious process waiting for reviews and your hands are tied waiting. Why not speed up the process by getting more people reading your work.

As arguments against giveaways, I’ve heard a number. The most common usually has something to do the work involved and the idea that the author should get compensated for it. Although I agree there is a tremendous amount of work involved, nothing has financial value (to anyone else) if nobody is willing to pay for it. Obscurity is a writer’s enemy. Do what ever you can to get you work in front of eyes. A short term giveaway is like paying for advertising, only in a different way. Marketing is an investment. A giveaway is no different.

Another argument is that free books lower the playing field for everyone. This might be true but free books are here to stay. I don’t think we’ll ever see a day where people aren’t willing to pay for books they want to read. If someone likes your books, they will pay for them, even if they can get more free books than they could ever read in their lifetime. How do I know this? Because it’s happening right now. I’m a prime example. After years of watching the free Best Sellers lists, I’ve accumulated hundreds of books, but if there’s an author I want to read, I keep buying.

I don’t know whether you should do a giveaway or not. I don’t even know if I should have…but, I’m currently on day four of a five day giveaway. So far, the giving part has been far more successful than I thought it would be. Only time will tell if it pays off, but for now, I’m calling it a success. I’ll be doing a follow up post on the results.

Silas Payton

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at my Thriller Going Under (available FREE June 25-29)

Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at my Thriller Going Under (available FREE June 25-29)

To coincide with the Free Giveaway of my thriller Going Under, which runs June 25-29, 2015, I thought I’d put down a few points about the book that nobody knows. Think of this as an extra, or author’s behind-the-scenes look at how this story came about. There are no spoilers.

Going Under is a thriller about a Police Inspector in Toronto named Bill Roberts. It is the first of three Bill Roberts books I’ve written, although the other two are in the Jack Daniels and Associates Kindle World of J.A. Konrath and can be found on my author page. They are all thrillers laced with humour and a light hearted edge.

I’ve been asked before if the character Bill was written about myself. Although, Bill was not written as a vision of me, I think we all have some traits in common with our main characters. In particular, Bill’s sarcasm and dry humour come from me. I also know a number of police officers, and have heard a lot about the joking and behind-the-scenes humour that goes on as a way of coping with stressful situations. I tried to bring this out in the book, in a tasteful, and realistic way.

I’ve heard it said that you have to be careful what you do and say around writers, as it may end up in a book. There is a scene in this book, about Bill working out in a gym that was so unbelievable and funny, readers may find to a little far fetched. I can’t possibly take credit for making this scene up. It is taken directly from a close friend who did this very thing. I almost died choking when I heard the story. You have to read it to believe it.

I originally wrote this book in the midst of the media frenzy surrounding the Mayor of Toronto at the time. Unfortunately for him, his real life story went from bad to much worse with a diagnosis of cancer. Although I never mentioned him by name, I sure poked fun at him in the book. Out of respect to him and his family, I took a lot out and toned it down during the editing process. Regardless of his politic mistakes, my heart goes out to him as he goes through this battle.

It’s funny how books come about. Although Going Under was my first book published and time-wise, happens before the other two, it was actually my second to write. My original book idea was to write a Young Adult story involving Bill’s kids. I got about six chapters in when J.A. Konrath put out an offer to collaborate. To see the writing quality and style, he wanted a short story involving a mix of his characters and ours and I didn’t quite feel my YA characters would work with his thriller stories. Instead, I took the small supporting role of their father and created Bill Roberts, the main character for my three books, with more to come. The short story was accepted, and although other projects have gotten in the way, I put it into Konrath’s Kindle Worlds. I still hope to collaborate with him someday down the road. Unfortunately, Kindle Worlds books are only available on amazon.com at present. My two YA characters, Sam and Patrick, do make a small appearance in the book. I hope to revisit their YA stories soon.

The ending is my favourite part of this book. I don’t want to give anything away, but I put a lot of thought into how I wanted this story to end. In fact, I didn’t know how it would end until I was almost done. In the book writing world, we have what’s been called Plotters, those who plan and outline everything, and Pantsers, those who freestyle it. I’m somewhere in the middle. I like to plan ahead a little, to help flow and organization, but I don’t plan the ending until I’m almost through. Once I get to know the characters, the story, and get a feel of the emotions of a story, the ending comes together. You will love the ending of Going Under. There is a small hint somewhere early in the book.

If you’ve downloaded this book because of the giveaway, I hope you crack it open (digitally, anyway) and enjoy the read. I’d love to hear from you with any feedback, and if you’d be so kind as to post a review, I’d appreciate it greatly.

Silas Payton

I would appreciate any sharing.

What Reader Feedback Means to Self-Published Authors


What Reader Feedback Means to Self-Published Authors

Authors have always enjoyed hearing from their fans, but now, they appreciate feedback more than readers may realize. I regularly encounter both readers and new writers who haven’t heard of self-publishing. In the last six years there has been a massive shift in the publishing world. Modern technology, the easy availability of knowledge, and the platforms to sell directly to customers, have allowed an alternative for people who want to write a book but are overwhelmed by the hurdles of traditional publishing. This alternative is self-publishing. There are many advantages to self-publishing, but one that is seldom mentioned has totally changed the author’s appreciation of reader feedback. This advantage is the ability of an author to almost instantly make changes to their book.

Publishing your own work has a number of perks, the biggest being that the author retains all rights to the work. In addition, the author calls all the shots. Cover design, picking a title, back cover, editing, marketing, promotion and price are all under the control of the author. The price, in fact, is one of the easiest ways to tell if the author is self-published. Most self-published fiction ebooks are under $5.00, whereas, most traditionally published ebooks are over $8.00. With the pay structure for self-publishing, the royalties can be much better, paying the author more per book, even selling it at a lower cost…a win-win for both readers and authors.

One of the best advantages of self-publishing is the ease of fixing mistakes. We all make mistakes, whether traditional or self-published. It happens. Even with editors, beta readers and professional proofreaders, the occasional mistake can still make it through to the final copy. With the traditional publishing route, once a book has been sent to printing, it’s too late. The same mistake will appear in every copy printed (unless there is a future reprinting).

Most self-published authors who sell in paper, do so using a service called print-on-demand or POD. With this technology, when an order is placed, the book is printed, bound, and shipped, arriving within days, looking just like a store-bought book. The beauty of POD is an author using it, can easily fix an error. Once the book is corrected and uploaded, any future purchases, either paperback or Ebook, will have the updated version. To make the situation even better, if the author felt strongly enough, they could request that previous Ebook purchasers be notified that a free updated copy is available.

Self-published authors, especially enjoy feedback

I think it’s fair to say, most authors enjoy getting feedback, particularly in the way of good reviews. They also like hearing from fans directly. Because of the ease of making changes, self-published authors now enjoy reader feedback even more. Words of encouragement from readers, listing what was liked, and asking when the next book is due out, are all great, but if there is a mistake, whether it is a typo, a misused word, a double word, or something worse, most writers would want to know about it. All the reader has to do is copy or type out the line, or any distinguishing part of the error, and email it to the author. Most self-published authors have a contact me tab on their website. Once the email is received, the author can easily use their word processor to search for the sentence or phrase, finding it in minutes or less, and make the correction.

As you’re reading your next book, keep in mind, the author would likely really appreciate hearing from you, even if it is to point out a mistake…especially, if they are a self-published author. If you are an author and you get feedback from a reader, be sure to thank them for their time and effort. We should all strive for perfection…any mistakes that are found just bring our work closer.

I once had one of my favourite authors offer to send me a bunch of his books for pointing out a few errors before he did a big giveaway-promo of it. Do you have any stories of helping an author or being helped as an author?

Silas Payton

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