The Embodied trilogy is complete!

If you’ve been waiting to find out what happens to Kari Marriner and the people she loves, wait no more! Diamond Splinters, book 3 of the Embodied trilogy, is out today. Available in paperback next month, you can buy the ebook right now for Kindle here, for Apple iOS devices here, for the Barnes & Noble Nook ereader here, and for Kobo here.

DIAMOND SPLINTERS Ebook cover lo-res

Please take a couple of minutes to leave a short review (I really want to hear readers’ thoughts!) on whichever site you purchased Diamond Splinters. Thanks!

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Diamond Splinters for Nook, Kobo and iPad (or iPhone, obvi…)

For most indie authors, all the focus is on Amazon. Kindle sales account for somewhere around 85% of all ebooks. Of course  by no stretch of the imagination can Apple possibly be considered “the little guy”, but people don’t only buy apps and songs from iTunes, they buy books too. In Canada, where I live, the Kobo ereader is a surprisingly popular device for the consumption of digital literature, and it’s pretty much the equivalent of Barnes & Noble’s Nook in the US.

So… with only three days to go until the release of Diamond Splinters, it’s time to give a shout-out to the other platforms.

Here’s a link to the book for iOS devices:

Diamond Splinters iTunes preorder screenshot

Fancy a Nook book full of Diamond Splinters? Here you go:

Diamond Splinters Barnes and Noble preorder screenshot

And last but by no means least, here’s where you can find the final book in the Embodied trilogy for Kobo:

Diamond Splinters Kobo preorder screenshot

If you like science fiction with a big dash of urban fantasy, or are a fan of Doctor Who’s blend of soft sci-fi, extra-terrestrial feels and savvy female characters, then I think there’s a good chance you’ll love all the books in the Embodied trilogy.

 

Readers are strange

I mean that in a good way. Although some of them may be strange in the sense that they dip fish fingers in custard or like to wear a fez and a bow tie, the vast majority of readers live relatively normal lives. What makes them strange to an author like me is how they behave when it comes to reading.

A recent study quoted here in The Telegraph shows that even the most downloaded ebooks of last year were not necessarily ever finished by readers:

The Goldfinch, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Donna Tartt, was completed by just 44 per cent of readers who downloaded it, according to bookseller Kobo.

While Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup, became the ninth most downloaded book of the year thanks to the film of the same name, it was finished by 28 per cent of those who started it. Indeed, the top ten bestsellers of 2014, according to Kobo, did not overlap with the top ten most-completed books.

It's a great book, but will she get to the end?

A great book being read.

What’s an author supposed to do? Readers are everything and yet it’s so hard to, a) reach them, and b) know what they’re likely to think about your book.

Goodreads is a great site for finding readers, but it can be a very tough crowd. Someone in India who just indicated that they’re reading Silent Symmetry, the first novel in my Embodied trilogy, has given Orwell’s 1984 only a 3-star rating! There’s always going to be a range of responses from literally the 1-star “I didn’t get this book at all” to the 5-star “This is the best book I’ve read all year” and yet when you go on Goodreads and see what people are saying about the books they’ve read, it becomes clear that – you guessed it – readers are strange.

For example, a reader can clearly like a book yet only give it 3 out of 5 stars. Others can write a critical review yet still give it 4 stars. And even more bizarrely, some will write a review saying they didn’t really enjoy a whole bunch of things in the book, then round it off by saying that they can’t wait for the sequel!

The only possible explanation I can come up with for this phenomenon is that momentum is key. Once a reader has started a series of books, they’re likely to plow on until the end, even if they’re dissatisfied with what they’re reading. On the other hand, this explanation is belied by the study quoted above!

Interestingly, for a writer of sci-fi fantasy like me, the article notes:

…little-known romances, crime novels and fantasy proved to be the page-turners, with more than six in every ten being finished. Michael Tamblyn, president and chief content officer of Kobo, said: “A book’s position on the bestseller list may indicate it’s bought, but that isn’t the same as it being read or finished. People may wait days, months, or even until the following year to finish certain titles. And many exercise that inalienable reader’s right to set down a book if it doesn’t hold their interest.”

So readers remain a mystery. And yet they are the reason I do what I do. There’s probably a book in there somewhere…

Photo credit: BrittneyBush / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Koboed Symmetry

Is “to Kobo” even a verb? Well, it is now because I’m a writer and I just wrote it. (It’s one of the perks of the job, you know!)

What this means is that my Young Adult novel Silent Symmetry is now available in the Kobo online store here: bit.ly/SilentSymmetryKB. Kobo is a very popular eReader in Canada and other countries, so I’m looking forward to seeing where sales originate. Speaking of which, I received this cutesy email from Kobo yesterday afternoon:

Kobo email

Of course it wasn’t my first book sale, but it was my first on Kobo, so I probably will remember it until I get super senile. And thanks to their beautiful, user-friendly dashboard I can even see that the sale came from… Canada! This isn’t exactly NSA Prism levels of tracking, but it’s a step beyond Amazon’s rather dry KDP reports.

So self-publishing on the Kobo platform has gone about as smoothly as it did on Amazon. I wish I could say the same for Apple. The only positive I took from yesterday’s teeth-grinding experience uploading my book to the iBookstore was the speedy email response to a support question I had. But… why, oh why does Apple insist that writers download Mac-only software to upload a book, while Amazon and Kobo (and I think Barnes & Noble) use a simple, intuitive browser interface? Not only did I have to co-opt my cover designer’s sleek and lovely Macbook Air for several hours, but the process itself was fraught with issues that didn’t seem to come up when I published for Kindle and Kobo. (Example 1: Instead of simply writing my own genres or keywords, I had to go through a series of incredibly long drop-down menus of pre-approved labels. Example 2: Specifying that the book is for sale worldwide was clunky at best. Example 3: Several other steps.)

The upside of my struggle to get Silent Symmetry into the iBookstore was that I started drinking wine at 5 pm. The downside was pretty much the entire experience, including the fact that I don’t really know whether my efforts were successful. Steve Jobs used to say when presenting a new iDevice: “It just works.” Honestly, that’s what I would say about self-publishing on Amazon and Kobo. As for Apple, “It just about worked. I think.”

Yesterday FREE, today free!

It’s a subtle, but important distinction. Yesterday was Silent Symmetry’s last FREE day on Amazon, and today the book is free to be downloaded in other formats on Smashwords here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/334979. So just to recap: it’s free, but you have to pay for it.

I’m putting the finishing touches to publishing for Kobo, and it will hopefully be available shortly through Apple and Nook (Barnes and Noble). I say “hopefully” because Apple makes content creators jump through several Apple-shaped hoops that the other vendors don’t, while B&N seems to not want me to enter my bank information because it’s in Canada. Worst case scenario, I use Smashwords to distribute there too.

SSSmashwords

Here’s what part of the Smashwords Silent Symmetry page looks like. The only drawback to buying through this site is that you have to register, which some people are wary of because Smashwords isn’t a humongous corporate behemoth like Amazon, Apple and B&N that they “trust”. But you have to register on those sites too to be able to download books, and the kicker is that I get a higher commission per book sold through Smashwords. So go ahead: Rage against the capitalist machine! Buy through an indie site! Make me rich!*

Seriously, it doesn’t really matter to me where you buy Silent Symmetry as long as you open the book and start reading it. I’ll keep you posted on the Apple and B&N shenanigans.

*I probably make about 25 cents more per book through Smashwords, but that could buy a starving author like me extra foam on his latte or something.

Silent Symmetry’s final Amazon KDP Select free promo

Tomorrow marks the 180th day since Silent Symmetry was published on Amazon. In that time I’ve used eight of the ten KDP Select free days allowed by Amazon to get the book into the hands of about 6,000 targeted readers. As I wrote somewhere else, for an unknown novel by an unknown author, this is the equivalent of major radio airplay. Is it translating into sales? Slowly but surely. And as the first book in the Embodied trilogy, I’m looking at the long-term picture in terms of building an audience.

summer-sound-large-view_l

Summer sounds of Silent Symmetry

I’m using the last two free days today and tomorrow, so we’ll see how many new readers will come on board. I’ve also taken the first steps towards publishing Silent Symmetry for Apple iPads and iPhones, and for the Nook, Sony and Kobo ereaders (I have to wait till at least Thursday to publish according to the KDP Select agreement) so I’m excited to be able to get the book into the hands of a bunch of people who might have been missed so far.

It’s all about the readers. And the ereaders…

Photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren / Foter / CC BY-NC