Short Stories and The Experimental Notebook II – A Visit from C.S. Boyack

Craig BoyackToday I’m delighted to welcome Craig Boyack, author, blogging friend and mastermind behind Lisa Burton (I hope Lisa won’t mind me saying that). Craig is a tireless promoter of bloggers and writers across the blogosphere, plus posts plenty of entertaining content, so hop on over to his blog and check it out.

Today Craig is visiting to talk about his latest release, The Experimental Notebook of C.S.Boyack II, now available on Amazon. It’s a collection of short stories, and a follow up to his successful Experimental Notebook I. Here, Craig talks a little bit about the reasoning behind releasing a collection of short stories, and makes some excellent points. In fact, I’m feeling a little inspired myself… Take it away, Craig!

Thanks for inviting me over today. I’m touring around with my new book, The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. This is a collection of fifteen short stories and micro-fiction of a speculative nature. You will find some science fiction, some paranormal, and one that might pass as fantasy. This is the second collection of short form stories, as you might guess from the title. Since they are stand alone tales, there is no requirement to read the previous one first. They are both priced at 99¢, so you might want to anyway. (I hope.)

My Muse sends me ideas all the time. They always have some interest, but I used to discard them if they wouldn’t carry a novel. On rare occasion, I might weave something into a novel, but it felt incorrect somehow.

I created yet another living document, and started keeping the ideas. Now, whenever I get stuck on a larger plot point, or I simply don’t have time to work on the novel, I hammer away at short stories.

This poses the question of what to do with them. At first I thought maybe I should use them as blog posts, but there were a lot of them. Then I noticed some people marketing them on Amazon. Some of the early examples were one short story for 99¢. This seemed a little off to me, so I kept observing.

Some authors were writing a short story to drive sales of a novel they’d published. That seemed like a really good idea. I read a few of these and the various prequels felt like they were on to something.

I’m not willing to write out backstory and sell it separately from my novels. Then I had the idea of bundling my short fiction together and offering a volume for 99¢. This felt like a better deal to me, and I occasionally buy a short story magazine, so it was familiar too. This is where the first Experimental Notebook came from.

The first one sold so well, that it was worth doing again. I will always write short form, but there is a certain effort that goes into publishing and promoting. As long as people keep reading them, I’ll keep releasing them.

I decided these volumes needed a theme so they seemed familiar somehow. The first cover had an alchemy wheel, and I decided to repeat that by using two on the new release. If I ever release a third one, it will have three wheels, and so on.

Ex NB Cover IIThis time you get fifteen stories, an excerpt from my newest novel The Playground, and a revisit with an old friend for those of you who enjoyed Will O’ the Wisp. I like writing the characters from my novels into short stories after the fact. This way it isn’t backstory, it’s more of a where-are-they-now kind of visit.

I’d appreciate you checking it out, and it’s free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

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Craig Boyack
I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.
I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.
I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

New Release – Charles Yallowitz Legends of Windermere – Tribe of the Snow Tiger

Now Available on Amazon for Pre-Order!
Coming to your Kindle on June 1st!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Timoran Wrath has a shameful secret that is about to see the light of day.

The noble barbarian has always been a constant source of strength and wisdom for his beloved friends. His loyalty has been unwavering and they know that he would never hesitate to lay down his life for them. Even in their darkest hour, the champions know that Timoran will come through and fight to the bitter end. Now they must return the favor as he reunites with his tribe and willingly faces the executioner’s blade.

Is it possible that the honorable Timoran was nothing more than an illusion?

Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List too!

Excerpt: The Snow Tiger

“The snow is too bright and level for me to see anything clearly,” the barbarian growls. The sound of shuffling and mild cursing draws his attention to Nyx who has sunk up to her nose in snow. “What are you doing, fire sprite?”

Nyx shivers while squinting into the distance, her eyes coated in bronze energy. “The reason you can’t see anything might be because you’re too tall. I’m trying to see if there’s anything that breaks the level ground. My eyes are enhanced right now, but I don’t . . . wait a second . . . I think there’s something buried out there. A beast of some kind? It’s a very subtle up and down motion that reminds me of something breathing. It just stopped moving, but I don’t know what that means. I’ll lead the way.”

Not waiting for a response, Nyx pushes through the thick snow and uses wind magic to gradually shift the powder out of her path. She does her best to move quietly and avoid disturbing whatever they are approaching, but the crunch of frozen grass beneath her boots makes the half-elf cringe with every step. A violent sneeze threatens to erupt from her nose, stifled quickly by a silence spell around her nostrils. Rubbing at her cold legs, Nyx is thankful when Timoran puts a vest made of black fur over her. The Ifrit hair warms her body and drives away the looming cold that has been brewing in her chest for the last few minutes. With renewed energy, the channeler walks a little faster and adds a simple heat spell to the wind that is steadily clearing the path.

“Wow. Such a beautiful creature,” she whispers when she steps into a circular clearing that surrounds the dead beast.

The enormous snow tiger’s blue and black fur is thick, the hairs sparkling when touched by direct sunlight. It has long incisors of glistening white that jut out of its mouth due to their size and sharpness. A slender tail lies limp in the exposed grass and still twitches as the muscles continue to lose their tension. Powerful legs and massive paws are splayed on the ground, giving the body the appearance of having peacefully died in its sleep. The gaping wound in the gorgeous snow tiger’s side is the only sign of an attack, the surrounding fur matted with aromatic blood.

Timoran’s rage boils when he spots the three cubs that are mewling and pushing against their dead mother. Judging from their size and faint, black stripes, he assumes they are no older than three months. Rusty manacles are attached to their back legs, the chains running to a stake that has been driven into the muddy earth. Restraining his anger, the barbarian moves within reach of the animals and gently breaks the metal bindings that are bruising their ankles. Scared and confused, the cubs cower against the still warm corpse and hiss whenever one of the adventurers comes close. One of the snow tigers bravely charges at Timoran and bites his boot, proudly returning to the others when the towering figure moves away.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning?  Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

 

Also Available:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Interested in a new adventure?  Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere!  Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

On The Path Once More

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It’s Monday, and the gorgeous child is back at school. Half term is over – this year is flying by already – and I’m now back to my regular schedule.

A Thousand Rooms is now starting to go out to agents and publishers. I have a carefully crafted cover letter, a sweated-over synopsis, and have had the first three chapters professionally critiqued (thanks, Esther!). I’m also getting very strong feedback on the finished manuscript from my lovely, lovely beta readers – thank you to each and every one of you for your time and honest words.

I managed to get it out the door to three agents last week. One has already got back to me, with a rejection. Ouch. But that is the game I am in, the ring I have now entered, and so I must duck and weave and armour myself against the slings and arrows of rejection, for I doubt it will be the last. I read somewhere that if you get rejected more than ten times, it’s your manuscript that’s the problem. Honestly, I think ten is far too low a number – The Help was rejected something like sixty times, to cite just one example. I think Harry Potter was knocked back at least a dozen times, to cite another. So I have a list of agents and publishers to approach before I decide to go it alone. I believe in the story and, with the feedback I’m getting, hope that it will get somewhere.

Hills and Valleys remains in the editing stage, but I’m still hoping to publish next month. There is a cover design to finalise, then the whole formatting thing to go through again.

And finally, I’ve decided to take advantage of my free KDP Days and am offering Oak and Mist free to download until February 25th. I’ve offered it for free once before with positive results and, while I’m not a fan of giving work away, I do believe these short promotions have their benefits. In fact, I blogged about it here and here.

Wishing you all a Happy Monday x

Oak and Mist – Download Free For a Limited Time!

Oak And Mist final cover

Oak and Mist, the first book in my Ambeth series, is free on Amazon from now until February 25th (e-book version only).

‘The end of everything? Great, no pressure then.’

Alma Bevan didn’t mean to go on a quest. But when she disappears between two trees at her local park and reappears in Ambeth, she finds they’ve been expecting her.

So now she has to find a lost sword or the consequences for humanity will be dire. With no idea where to look, despite help from her new friend Caleb, things become even more complicated when a handsome Prince of the Dark takes an interest in her.

All this plus homework too?

Well reviewed on both Goodreads and Amazon, Oak and Mist is the first book in The Ambeth Chronicles. So go on, download a copy today! myBook.to/oakandmist

 

 

 

Published! No Quarter

Front Cover Image

Yay!

I’ve made it through the formatting maze and have (deep breath), hit the ‘Publish’ button on both Kindle and Createspace, which means that No Quarter is now available on Amazon!

Amazon.co.uk    Amazon.com    Amazon.com.au

‘Alma, even I do not know what he is capable of…’

Things couldn’t be better for Alma. She’s returned the lost Sword to Ambeth and is finally with Deryck, Prince of the Dark. But what’s really going on? Deryck is struggling with his father, who wants to control Alma, while Alma is struggling with her best friend Caleb, who doesn’t trust Deryck one inch. Plus it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with her life in the human world. Falling in love shouldn’t be this difficult. But things are about to get much worse…

Quests and friendship all fall by the wayside when there’s romance to be had. Plus, spending time with handsome Deryck is much more appealing than with an increasingly angry Caleb. The Light are always on about making choices, so they shouldn’t have a problem with her choosing to be with Deryck. Besides, he’ll protect her from his father – won’t he?

Now I might take a couple of days off 🙂 See you next week!

xx Helen

A Marketing Experiment – Follow-up

Oak And Mist final cover

Last week, I wrote a post about a marketing experiment I was doing, the main objective being to increase my readership and, hopefully, generate some interest in my upcoming new release, No Quarter. I decided to offer Oak and Mist, the first book in the series, free on Amazon for a limited time, hoping to capitalise on some positive reviews.

Front Cover Image

I took advantage of the free five day promotion from Amazon, part of being enrolled in KDP Select. You get five days out of every ninety to list your book as free – you can either run the days all together, or break them into separate promotions. I chose to run the five days together, hoping to maximise my exposure. I also ran three paid advertisements during the promotion – one with Booksends, one with E Reader News Today, and one with Robin Reads.

So how did it go?

I ended up having 4415 people download Oak and Mist for free. Even if only twenty per cent of those people actually read the book, I’ve still substantially increased my readership, and potentially will be able to sell subsequent instalments in the series. I also noticed a large increase in my KENP pages, for which I get paid royalties, and sold several paperbacks as well. I received a new 5 star rating on GoodReads, and several more people on GoodReads marked Oak and Mist as ‘currently reading.’

Screen Grab #8 on Amazon

In terms of the paid advertising, I ran ads on the first, fourth and fifth day of the promotion, and on each of those days my downloads increased dramatically to over a thousand per day, propelling me into the top ten Amazon free books (I reached number 8). The days on which I did not advertise averaged at about three hundred downloads. I supported the promotion with a couple of tweets per day – most of which were picked up and retweeted. I was also fortunate to receive some wonderful support from fellow bloggers (you know who you are, and thank you once again!). Chris The Story Reading Ape was kind enough to post a promotion on his site, which was then reposted by several other bloggers.

In conclusion, this was a successful marketing exercise for me. I’ve increased the audience for my books and, hopefully generated some momentum for No Quarter, the second novel in my Ambeth series. The KENP and paperback royalties I received as a result of the increased exposure have already covered much of my advertising costs, and it was wonderful to get another five-star rating. I believe the complete results of this promotion are yet to be seen, and will be keeping an eye on reviews and reader stats over the coming weeks.

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I write books because I want people to read them. I love Ambeth and the characters who live there, and it gives me great pleasure when other people enjoy the books. I had no problem in offering my work free for a limited time, and will definitely be employing a similar promotional strategy when I release Hills and Valleys, the third book in the series.

I’d love to hear about your own marketing experiences, and whether they were successful or not. I think our blogging community is such a great and generous resource for self-published authors – I know I’ve learnt so much already.

Thanks for reading 🙂