Flowers of the Sky: The Collection cover

A Reward and Thank You for My Readers

Flowers of the Sky: The Collection coverEarlier this week The Exile’s Violin was free on Amazon. It ended up hitting #3 in the Epic Fantasy subcategory under Free Science Fiction & Fantasy. That’s certainly a result that will give an author the warm and fuzzies.

So as a thank you and reward to all my readers, I have a special gift for all of you who downloaded The Exile’s Violin or purchased it in the past. You send me your Amazon confirmation email or a screen shot of your receipt, and I’ll send you an electronic copy of my mini-anthology Flowers of the Sky: The Collection. (ePub or Kindle format only for now)

That’s all you have to do! “Easy as eating pancakes” as my 8th grade math teacher used to say. And if you want to help me out, feel free to write reviews of any my works. Post ’em to Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, wherever you want. Any little bit helps and I appreciate it a ton.

Send your proofs of purchase to rshunter (at) rshunter-author (dot) com. Remember to tell me if you want an ePub copy or a Kindle copy of Flowers of the Sky.

Hydra Publications Summer Bash July 16-17

Hydra Summer Bash Gives You 30 eBooks for Free

Hydra Publications Summer Bash July 16-17

Hydra Publications has a special treat for you today and tomorrow. Every now and then a publisher will offer maybe one or two eBooks for free. It’s unheard of for them to give you thirty. Until now!

Hydra Publications is throwing a Summer Bash where you can download thirty of their titles for the low low price of nothing. Today July 16 and tomorrow July 17 only! It’s a great chance to get some amazing books for your Kindle.

I highly recommend picking up the two books in the Artifacts of Empire series, The Universal Mirror and The Jealousy Glass, by Gwen Perkins.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. The Exile’s Violin will also be part of this Summer Bash. Considering the fact that the sequel, Terraviathan, is coming out in December, you might as well read the first one now.  If you wouldn’t mind moseying on over to Amazon and pickin’ it up, why, I’d be just thrilled. Thanks ever so much. Go here for a complete list of Hydra’s titles at Amazon.

Dagan Books 3-for-2 eBook Bundle Sale

Dagan Books 3-for-2 eBook Sale

Dagan Books 3-for-2 eBook Bundle Sale

In order to celebrate the release of their new Bibliotheca Fantastica anthology tomorrow, Dagan Books is having a special 3-for-2 eBook sale! So why am I sharing this cool deal? A couple of reasons!

  1. Dagan Books is a great independent publisher of “weird, wicked, beautiful, and brilliant books.” I respect the hell out of what Carrie and the rest of the Dagan staff do. Why wouldn’t you want to support them? Yeah, that’s right. You couldn’t think of a reason either.
  2. And more selfishly, my story “Jewel of Tahn-Vinh” is included in their IN SITU anthology. It just so happens to be one of the eBooks included in this 3-for-2 sale.

There ya go. Two great reasons for why you should jump on this deal (and buy Bibliotheca Fantastica when it comes out)! You’d be supporting a great publisher as well as yours truly. It goes without saying that you’d be getting three great anthologies for the price of two. (Free stuff, yo.)

Dagan Books’ 3-for-2 eBook Sale includes:

FISH, edited by Carrie Cuinn & KV Taylor; Cover by Galen Dara.

Science fiction and fantasy. Retold fairy tales and brand new myth. 33 original stories by some of today’s best new writers, exploring a theme which is both simple, and impossible to understand, all at once. This anthology of slippery, flashy, delicate, dangerous, and beautiful tales features work by Camille Alexa, M. Bennardo, Corinne Duyvis, Cate Gardner, Sam Fleming, Andrew S. Fuller, Claude Lalumière, Ken Liu, Cat Rambo, Alex Shvartsman, and many more.

IN SITU, an anthology of science fiction tales about alien excavations, weird archeology, and the unearthing of mysteries. Edited by Carrie Cuinn, includes stories from Ken Liu, Paul A. Dixon, K. V. Taylor, Rebecca Lloyd, Bear Weiter, Mae Empson, and more.

Cthulhurotica, an anthology of seductive and scary horror tales inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Edited by Carrie Cuinn, published December 21, 2010. The revised edition contains more than 20 original works of art. Read more about our contributors here.

Don’t delay. Act now. Supplies are running out. (Apologies for the Smashmouth lyrics)

Statistics for The Exile's Violin

The Free Book Experiment

Statistics for The Exile's Violin

Statistics! Everyone loves statistics! Or maybe it’s just the RPG and baseball fan in me. Let’s move on to the actual numbers.

Back on May 10th, I chose 3 free promo days for my novel with my publisher. I decided I wanted to make The Exile’s Violin free starting on the 20th because it was my birthday. Knowing that I couldn’t just make the book free and expect the downloads to pour in, I scoured the web and read several great posts that talked about how to capitalize your Kindle free days. Many of these posts also had lists of places for authors to promote their books. Their advice seemed easy enough to follow, so I did what I could and submitted my book to places that promote free Kindle books.

Submissions

Total number of places submitted: 16

Average lead time required: 4.7 days

Number of sites that took free submissions: 14 out of 16

Number of sites I paid for submission: 2 ($5 for one and $10 for the other)

BookBub: BookBub didn’t accept my book (no idea why), but it would have cost me $90 to be part of their Fantasy Listing. From what I’ve heard, BookBub is worth the price. This is all anecdotal of course.

Alright, those are all the places I submitted my book to. Next up is social media. I love Twitter and am on it all the time, so I knew I’d use that. I also decided to share my book on Facebook once during this period. I’m not on Facebook that often, and my Author Page has limited reach.

Buuut, being stupid, I decided not to make a bit.ly account to keep track of how many clicks my links got. I just did their thing for free. I could see during that same day how many people followed my link to my book, but that was it. Let’s just say that I tweeted about my book at least 2 times a day during the promo period, with different messages each time, to my approximately 870 followers.

Your mileage with Twitter and other social media platforms may vary. The important thing is to not spam people and to make it look like you’re trying to have a conversation. Post a link with no accompanying text or context won’t entice people to follow it. The same goes for tweets that look like this: “Download my free ebook! *link to said ebook*. Those will get you nowhere.

All the above setup before the promo took me maybe a couple of hours spread out over the course of two/three days. In the big scheme of things it was relatively painless and only slightly repetitive to submit my book to various sites. Most of the time spent came from reading their guidelines and figuring out which ones required a “donation” before they’d even look at your listing.

However it was all worth it when you look at the results.

Results

Total number of downloads: 4,311

Highest Position on the Free Kindle Books Chart: 84

Highest Position on the Free Science Fiction & Fantasy Chart: 5 (I think)

Highest Position on the Free Epic Fantasy Chart: 2

Highest Amazon Author Rank: 70,851 (May 21, 2013)

Biggest Jump in Author Rank: 111,286

Side note: I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take screenshots of my book’s rank at its highest. Amazon’s Author Central doesn’t track those kinds of stats. (If it does I haven’t figured out how to access them yet)

I don’t have any other free promo periods to compare my numbers with. I especially don’t have any data from a similar promo period with no publicity and sharing done in advance, so take these results with a grain of salt. However, I like to think that based on the chart positions and the number of downloads, when compared to how little time it took me, doing the legwork in advance paid off.

I’d also like to add that the Author Rank on May 21st is not the highest I’ve been in the past month. On May 24th, I hit 19,183. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what Author Rank is or what it means, but it feels good to see a chart with an upward trend.

Breaking the top 100 for Free Kindle Books was a really big milestone for me. The same goes for getting into the top ten on the more focused SF and Epic Fantasy lists. I don’t know if I’d categorize The Exile’s Violin as epic fantasy, but I’m not complaining. Considering I’m a no-name author with only one novel out there, this feels like a big deal.

What’s Next?

I’m not quite sure what comes next. I’m going to go back to ignoring my books position on the Paid Kindle Store chart (83,783 when I wrote this post). I’m also going to ignore my Author Rank again too. I will watch Amazon and see if my number of reviews goes up based on this promo. Let’s say 1% of those 4,300 people who downloaded my book actually read it. And then pulling numbers out of my ass, let’s say 10% of that 1% write an Amazon review. That’s four new reviews! It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it would go a long way toward The Exile’s Violin breaking twenty reviews. (Another personal milestone I want to reach)

I’m also going to pay extra attention to my sales this quarter. I want to see if I experience any residual bump from the free promo. I’ve heard other authors (all anecdotal evidence) say that they saw an increase in sales after they ran a promo.

I’ll also keep writing, and I hope to have Terraviathan out before the end of the year. Again from anecdotal evidence, I’ve also heard that running a free promo for the second book in a series can lead to an increase in sales of the first book. Or was it the other way around? Either way, having more books out there is better.

The next time I do a free promo I’m going to try and submit my book to even more sites. I plan on utilizing Facebook more too. Also I hope BookBub picks up my book next time. They passed on it this time. Even though they can get pricey, I’ve heard that using them is money well spent.

I hope this helps any of you who are planning to run your own free days on Amazon!

The Exile's Violin 200x300

Updated Flowers of the Sky artwork

The other day I posted the awesome artwork done by Westly LaFleur. Today I get to do that again! Let me explain: after I posted the art, Wes contacted me, saying he wasn’t entirely happy with the level of detail in the illustration. He’d spent a few more hours tweaking it and wanted to give me an updated version. I couldn’t say no.

I liked the first image, but this newer version is even better. I have a designer working on the layout for the cover and the interior of the book right now. As soon as that’s done, I’ll put the collection up on Amazon. Stay tuned for more info. But for now, enjoy more of Wes’ artwork. If you’re looking to hire an artist, I highly recommend him.

Flowers of the Sky - Cover Art updated

Artwork for my upcoming short story collection

Daaaamn. That’s all I gotta say. I recently commissioned artist Westly LaFleur to illustrate the cover for my upcoming short story collection, Flowers of the Sky. Oh, that’s right. Guess I should mention that. Since I got the rights back to “Flowers of the Sky: Discoveries,” I decided to pair it with its sequel “Flowers of the Sky: Dreamer’s Gaze” in one ebook short story collection.

I knew if I was serious about self-publishing this mini-collection I’d need an awesome cover. Wes stepped up big time. I can’t be happier with it. I’ll let you know more about Flowers of the Sky as more developments come up. But for now, gaze upon Wes’ art! Gaze! If you’re in the market for some illustrations, especially of the fantasy variety, contact Wes. Here’s some more samples of his art.

Flowers of the Sky - Cover Art

Official Cover Art for Steampunk Novel “The Exile’s Violin”

I teased it and hinted at it over the past couple of days, but now it’s finally here. Here is the official final cover art for my debut steampunk fantasy novel, The Exile’s Violin. I’m incredibly happy with the cover. What do you guys think? Does it capture that steampunk feel?

I love how the cover art features a very steampunk airship/battleship. It’s actually based on one of my very, very rough sketches. I also love how Enggar was able to capture the “look” of main character, Jacquie Renairre. And now for a quick blurb about the novel itself:

Why hire mercenaries to kill an innocent family just to obtain one little key? That question haunts Jacquie Renairre for six years as she hunts down the people responsible for murdering her parents.

Not even accepting an assignment to investigate a conspiracy that aims to start a war can keep her from searching for the key. Armed with her father’s guns and socialite Clay Baneport, she continues her quest for answers abroad.

With the world edging closer to disaster, Jacquie is running out of time to figure out how the war, the key, and ancient legend are intertwined. The fate of the world hinges on her ability to unravel both mysteries before it’s too late.

Look for The Exile’s Violin on Amazon in ebook and trade paperback later next month. For now, check back here for more details and be sure to stop by Hydra Publications and check out all their great titles.

The Exile's Violin

Free eBooks from Hydra Publications This Wednesday & Thursday

Hey you! Yes, you! Do you like free ebooks? Of course you do! You’re in for a special treat because on Wednesday, May 2nd and Thursday, May 3rd, a number of titles from Hydra Publications will be free for you to download through Amazon.

Hydra is a small publisher of fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction and will be the home of my steampunk novel, The Exile’s Violin, this fall. But until then, why don’t you head on over there and check out some of the great free ebooks that are available. One of my favorites is The Universal Mirror by Gwen Perkins. Now stop wasting time and go pick up some great books!

Ten Silver Bullets Available Now!

So this is all rather sudden. Last week I found out my short story “Blood Moon” was accepted in the Ten Silver Bullets werewolf anthology by Adam Millard and Crowded Quarantine Publications! And now that same anthology is available online! Ten Silver Bullets is available for Kindle through Amazon, or you can find it on Smashwords.

“Blood Moon” tells the story of a private eye on the job in Prohibition-era New Orleans. Except he specializes in cases that aren’t quite…normal. You’ll have to read the story to find out more, but the werewolf theme should give you a hint of where the story might go.

Crowded Quarantine is a UK publisher, so this is doubly exciting for me. I’ve never been published across the pond so to speak. I also have an electronic copy available for review, so if you’re interested contact me.