I've let you know before when my total sales reached 100,000 and 200,000 respectively. Well, I've just learned that I'm at 292k right now!
Which means that soon...soon, my pretties...the 300k milestone will be upon us.
Just so you know, here's my methodology for counting sales: if someone reads an entire book of mine, and it makes me as much money as buying it outright, that's a sale.
So...obviously when someone buys a book, that's one sale. But when someone reads an entire book of mine in Kindle Unlimited, I make just as much money and they've read just as much book, so that's one sale. The Traveler's Gate Trilogy, if someone reads the entire collection in Kindle Unlimited, counts as three sales (although I make as much money as for five sales, I only count it for three, because it's three books. So uh...go re-read that in Kindle Unlimited if you want to make me very happy). If someone buys the collection outright, that's also three sales, because they're buying three books and I'm making $6, which is roughly what I'd get for selling them separately anyway.
That's just as a point of full disclosure. I don't count a $6 profit from the Trilogy the same as a $2 profit from House of Blades; I spread it all around so every "sale" is more or less equally weighted. It's the only way I've found to count sales equitably.
And obviously free promotions don't count as sales at all. They're just good for spreading word-of-mouth awareness.
I'd like to do something sort of special for 300k, since it's not every day you cross another 100,000 sales, but I'm not sure what. I'm already trying to release Blackflame ASAP. Maybe that counts.
Is there something relatively easy I could do on the blog to celebrate? Like a video or a poll or an AMA or something?
The Crimson Queen is a Kindle book by Alec Hutson. It is his first book, it came out about six weeks ago, and it has 24 reviews so far.
It deserves many more. Go read it.
Seriously, it's the best epic fantasy novel I've read in years. I can't recommend it more highly.
Last week, I had to offer the caveat that I normally don't enjoy LitRPG, so I couldn't comment on the genre as a whole. That is not the case for epic fantasy: I'm extremely familiar with the genre, and this is excellent. The last Kindle-exclusive epic fantasy novel I read that I could recommend without reservation was Anthony Ryan's original Blood Song.
This book was recommended to me by a fan in the comments of last week's blog (thanks, John!) who said it was one of the best stories he'd read in years. I can only agree. I'd never heard of it before then, I've never spoken to the author, and I don't know anything else about it. But it's a great story.
I don't have anything truly negative to say about it, but if I had to scrape the bottom of the barrel:
--The story is familiar. The main character starts off in a fishing village, his mother was a stranger with a mysterious background who is now dead, he's bullied by the local children, and so on and so forth. There's a holy empire that hates magic, assassins who move through shadows, and ancient immortal wizards pulling strings from behind the scenes.
Those are all elements we've seen before, but they're also all awesome, so who cares?
--There are a few typos clearly missed in editing: one character is referred to by the wrong POV name once, some commas are missed, sometimes dialogue is on the same line, and so on. But the rest of the editing is squeaky clean and incredibly smooth, so even the pickiest reader should read right past these minor blemishes.
--Some of the scenes feel rushed. The author spends much more time on description than I do, so every scene is lovingly set, but a few times it feels as though he lingers on setting the scene and then rushes through the actual events. When the chapter comes to a close, I get the sense that it was chopped short.
...and that's pretty much all I can remember that wasn't pure gold.
Seriously, if you're never going to take another recommendation of mine, take this one and go read The Crimson Queen. If you like "epic" fantasy--with all the spider-filled dungeons, quick-witted thieves, sinister wizards, malevolent cosmic forces, holy paladins, and dueling gods--then you won't go wrong.
Go read it!
EDIT 1/18/17: According to the author, sales have remained steady for weeks, but since this post they've spiked higher than ever before! We're doing it! Now don't stop--go read the book, and when you like it (because you will, it's awesome), leave a review and tell a friend! Let's push this guy to the top!
For years now, I've been encouraged to be more active in promoting other independently published authors. And I haven't done it, largely because I don't even promote my own work very much, much less anybody else's. I've given people a shout-out here and there, but normally I don't even do that much.
I'm trying to get better at this, so I've been looking for some titles to promote. And after hearing enough suggestions about him online, I finally read Aleron Kong's first book, The Land: Founding.
(Which just so happens to be available on Kindle for only $0.99 even as we speak. You could pick it up for a dollar right now. WHAT A STRANGE COINCIDENCE.)
It's a LitRPG novel, which basically means it's about a guy getting transported inside of a world that works like a video game. He has to manage and explore his newfound RPG powers and abilities, including a village-building system that I found to be the most interesting part of the novel. But I could be weird.
I've read dozens of this sort of thing before, because it always seems like it would be right up my alley, but it never has been. Usually, I don't find the characters interesting and I get irritated by the amount of time they spend grinding and doing boring intro quests. I don't even enjoy that when I'm playing a video game, much less when I'm reading about one.
The Land: Founding, by contrast, kept me engaged from the beginning to the end. It keeps moving at a fluid pace, there's just enough of a plot to provide a sense of tension without taking away from the "guy freely exploring an RPG world" sensation, and the main character's quests are different enough from the usual that I stayed intrigued.
(There is literally a "Kill 5 Wolves" quest, but the context for it and the result of completing it are both somewhat unexpected. And funny, at least in my view.)
There are cons to every book, and in this case, there are really two that spring to mind. One broader than the other.
First, there's a segment in the middle with the main character battling skeletons that I found tedious. It takes place over about two chapters, whereas I probably would have wanted it summarized in a couple of pages. Not a big deal, but it stuck out, as most of the rest of the book progresses much more quickly.
Second, the book as a whole could have used a bit more time in the editing room. It's not bad, by any means--we've all read Kindle books that are much, much worse--but there are some typos, some choppy sentences, some incorrectly substituted homonyms ("where" for "wear," stuff like that). In other words, the same sort of mistakes you'd find in my own books, just...a few more of them.
I didn't find that any of that inhibited my enjoyment of the book. I liked it, I think it's a cool concept well-executed, and it made me want to try writing an overtly video-gamey book (although as I'm sure you've noticed, my books are about one balance patch short of video games already).
So if you like LitRPG as a genre and you haven't checked out Aleron Kong for some reason, give it a try. His book's on sale, I believe I mentioned. If you think you might be interested in reading a fantasy novel where the world works like a game, give it a try. And if this doesn't sound like your sort of thing but you're looking for something to read, give it a try.
It's a dollar!
This is a pretty minor point in Blackflame, but I've been having trouble coming to a decision on my own, so I thought I'd get your opinion: what do I call the level immediately above Underlord?
I'd originally intended to call them Overlords, as you'd expect, but I already have Overlords in Traveler's Gate. So in my notes I've been using the word "Highlord," but A) it doesn't sound quite as cool, and B) it looks very similar to Highgold.
So when I'm discussing a Highgold and a Highlord in the same sentence, it's easy to read those both as the same word and get confused.
What do you think? Should I go with Overlord and ignore the fact that I use the same term with a different meaning in Traveler's Gate? Should I go with Highlord and just try and write my way around the potential confusion? Or should I make up something else?
I can't promise I'll abide by the results of the poll, because I could always have a new idea, but I would like to hear your thoughts.
"...it slipped from the ship, splashing into the water below."
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