If you have an Amazon.co.uk account, this is the time to acquire your copy of NETHERWORLD!
If you choose to review NETHERWORLD, buying a copy allows you to be listed as a ‘verified purchase,’ which carries a higher weight in the algorithms than just leaving a review after reading an ARC. Win/win.
If you have been waiting, now’s the time, and Oct. 24 is the first and least expensive day. The price goes up daily until it’s back at its permanent price, £8.87.
Or you can still join Booksprout – and get an ARC to review.
Can’t wait to hear what you have to say. That’s the part I’m really looking forward to.
Will try to take a shorter time to give you the final volume of the story. I’ve already started writing.
If you have an Amazon.com account, this is the time to acquire your copy of NETHERWORLD!
If you choose to review NETHERWORLD, buying a copy allows you to be listed as a ‘verified purchase,’ which carries a higher weight in the algorithms than just leaving a review after reading an ARC. Win/win.
If you have been waiting, now’s the time, and Oct. 19 is the first and least expensive day. The price goes up daily until it’s back at its permanent price, $9.99.
[It will be Oct. 24 for the Amazon UK site. I’ll send out a reminder, too.]
Can’t wait to hear what you have to say. That’s the part I’m really looking forward to.
Will try to take a shorter time to give you the rest of the story. I’ve already started writing.
IT IS MUCH EASIER TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE NOMINATE YOU
Modesty and lack of bragging were bred into my generation by our parents.
But if you write indie, you’re going to be in charge of your own publicity and marketing, and that means doing everything a publisher does for one of their favored authors – up to and including suggesting their authors’ work to the various prize committees who choose the award winners.
Bit of an incestuous circle process, but some competitions that are meant for traditionally published authors actually don’t bar indies from applying.
Whether or not said indies are truly given a blind reading, so there is no bias – assuming the judges MIGHT be biased against SPAs – you’ll just have to trust them if you want your book considered.
If you don’t submit your book for an award
there is very little chance, astronomically small, that you might win that prize.
There is usually an entry fee, often substantial, always non-trivial, and indies have tight budgets: it takes a lot of sales at, say, $2.99 on Amazon and with the 70% royalties option, to cover a $75 entry fee – about 36 sales.
Plus you have to be very sure that your book, considered fairly, is the kind of book which might win that award – or you’re just throwing money down a hole.
And that’s where an honest look at your own work, by yourself or via the reviews people have left, and where you have to decide who is astounded at your writing ability and who is being nice or supportive.
The types of books which have won the award in question in previous years
may help to decide if yours is worth the investment.
You must be prepared to lose.
I’ve just applied for an award I think Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD could conceivably win. It would be a real coup for an indie. And no, unless I win or even get long-listed, I’m not going to name the award – because it’s exactly that reach the Browning quote talks about.
And I’m not that brave.
Things change as you go along
Having PURGATORY named 2021 Best Contemporary novel by Indies Today has emboldened me to seek other awards, because, after how tough on me physically this year has been, I could use a win.
My writing matured between the time I started writing a mystery (1995), and the time I had the idea for Pride’s Children, and acquired polish from then to when I published PURGATORY in 2015.
There were many nice words in the reviews the first book received, and some of those reviews were embarrassingly good.
I hope NETHERWORLD is as good as or better than PURGATORY; I think it goes places the first novel in the trilogy wasn’t ready for, and has a powerful ending, but that’s me. It hasn’t received enough reviews yet for me to tell if only my beta reader and I like that ending, or if it’s going to be a game changer.
But then I remind myself that I bought myself an Airwheel S8 as my own 70th birthday present (as my mobility device), because I told myself I would regret it the rest of my life if I didn’t even try – and I’ve had the pleasure of being bionic (and showing off at all occasions – I’m such a ham) for over three years now, and I was right about being able to use a bicycle on a hoverboard to get around.
If you would like an ebook ARC, I would appreciate if you would trundle over to Booksprout, create a free reader/reviewer account, search for Netherworld, and download the ARC. You then read, post the review at Amazon, and tell Booksprout (a new UK company which I’m trying out for this book) you’ve done so. Fast and easy – and a big help to me because I don’t have to supervise the process while I’m recovering from some stuff.
Anyone can join Booksprout.
Wait for the October 19 DEAL
If you have followed this blog, you get informed of sales. My first Kindle Countdown Deal starts October 19, 2022, and allows you to buy the book starting at a mere $2.99. Go to the US site on that date and until the countdown is over a week later.
I’m sorry that the Countdown is only available in the US, but that is all Amazon allows.
Over the course of a week, the price will slowly rise to the list price, $9.99, so the earlier you buy, the lower the price you pay.
Buy the book NOW because you can’t wait and don’t want to fuss with the review site
Go to your own Amazon site (the US site is here), and pay full price in your country (I believe going to the US site from a different country will redirect you to you country’s site instead).
Wait a while until I’m better and fully functional again
which is going to take a while. Then contact me at abehrhardt at gmail, and request an electronic ARC.
You should mention in your review that the review is voluntary and not in exchange for anything.
Posting your review
To finish this process you need to be able to post reviews at Amazon, and that usually requires that you have bought things on Amazon, a minimum of $50 worth over the previous year. We buy so much stuff there that it isn’t a problem, but some people don’t, and won’t be able to post.
If you can’t post on Amazon, post somewhere – on your blog, on Goodreads, etc. – and just send me a link so I know where it is. Thanks!
Don’t worry about royalties
I price my books so a full price sale in any format pays me about $6. This is the 70% royalty Amazon offers self-published authors.
What format you prefer – and how much more it costs – depends on Amazon’s costs – and is fixed; paperbacks cost more because of the physical costs of printing and mailing; ebooks are relatively inexpensive because they’re easily delivered to you in bits via the internet.
But my royalty is the same.
Ditto Kindle Unlimited
where I earn about the same royalty if you download the book AND read the whole thing. You have to have the paid KU subscription, and it counts pages.
So there you have it – how to read Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD and leave a review – in several different forms.
Especially because it will be a while before I can do much actual marketing.
Availability. It takes up to 3 days for Amazon.com and up to 5 days for other marketplaces to show as in stock. [IT IS SHOWING AS AVAILABLE]
Linking. The detail pages of your print book and eBook should link within 48 hours, but it can take up to 5 days. See requirements for linking. [THE PRINT AND EBOOK VERSIONS ARE ALREADY LINKED ON THE PRODUCT PAGE]
Product description. It can take 24-48 hours to appear on the detail page. [SHOWING]
Look Inside the Book. This feature will be available in 9-10 business days. [CURRENTLY SHOWING A SAMPLE FROM THE EBOOK; NOT YET THE PRINT VERSION – WHICH HAS MY PREFERRED FORMATTING]
Book Details. Changes to contributor, series name, series number, page count, description, keywords, and browse categories take up to 72 hours to appear. [ORIGINAL DETAILS ENTERED]
Next for me: waiting
So I still have some waiting to do, but the paperback version has been accepted, and will be available after a few wait periods.
I just ordered a couple of author copies – to arrive Oct. 5-7. Woo hoo!
NOTE: I price the print volumes so that I get about the same royalty whichever version a reader purchases (around $6.50) – the rest of the cost of a print version is paper, printing, and shipping – which is why ebooks are so much cheaper. But there’s nothing quite like the heft of your own heavy book, so I always get a few paper copies.
It has been a bit of an odyssey, as the book was finished in March – but cover and formatting were only finalized late last night, and Amazon accepted it in about an hour – record time!
I’ve set up a Kindle Countdown Deal for NETHERWORLD on Oct 19-26, starting at $2.99 and going back to $9.99 by the end, and it is in Kindle Unlimited for those with the KU service. They require that the book’s price not be changed for 30 days before a Countdown – so we have to wait until it’s been published that long.
Meanwhile, it is already available for the hard-core reader. I also set up a Countdown for PURGATORY, to start Sep 21-28, if you haven’t read it.
Good for Christmas presents.
The print version had an unacceptable flaw: on ONE page, the text touched the gutter margin; it is being corrected. ONE page. Picky, picky, Amazon. I like that bots and algorithms can maintain quality – a human would be bored to tears examining every one of 540 pages for minute errors; a computer does it quickly and without errors caused by ennui.
As soon as I have that tiny correction, up goes the paperback; hardcovers for both books will be available as soon as I can make the appropriate cover for PURGATORY (I already have the one for NETHERWORLD).
What can I tell you about NETHERWORLD I haven’t already?
It starts only hours after PURGATORY ends, back on Night Talk in New York City with our late night talk show hostess Dana Lewiston. Will she get some juicy revelations out of Andrew O’Connell, last minute guest?
And what was he doing in Boston that morning?
And what’s with the pigeons?
Dana has a secret, too.
And there is a waltz, and a festive treat. Why?
The fun process of getting editorial and customer reviews has begun
I will be out for some medical stuff for about two weeks – not much will happen until all that is over – we ME/CFS types have such a small amount of energy that appointments and such wipe us out, and we dare not push because the crash could make us permanently worse.
So the part I enjoy, after the book is finished, will be paused (the main reason for this post).
I can’t wait to get to Book 3 of the Trilogy
Life keeps interfering, but
I have a VERY rough draft (which I hope no one ever sees), and
Writing has begun (I couldn’t help myself)
I already have a good idea what I want for the cover!
You are up-to-date for now – and I’m excited to finally have something to offer readers.
Don’t rush – unless you can’t wait. Oct. 19 will have a Kindle Countdown Deal at a very good price for my doorstopper volume.
When an author writes genre fiction, savvy readers can tell almost immediately, from the cover, whether the author knows the genre, and some basic details about the type of book it graces.
I write MAINSTREAM CONTEMPORARY LITERARY fiction – indie.
Not that many of us self-published authors (SPAs) do – because it is a category (‘a novel’) that big publishers have claimed as their own area of expertise. Many of the practitioners hope to land a traditional publishing contract, and advance, and what distribution their publisher may give them, depending on the publisher’s expectations that the book will sell enough copies to be a positive influence on the publisher’s bottom line.
There isn’t even a category labeled ‘mainstream’ on Amazon.
Covers in these categories are up to the publisher
with an occasional sop to the author.
Covers are created by cover designers selected by the publisher.
After all, if you have a publisher, your expectation is that you write, they do everything else (including sending you on tour with your book to TV stations and bookstores).
The reality is much more nuanced (ask any author who managed to land a traditional publishing contract, did NOT sell as expected, and after a book or two more, was ‘not renewed’ (i.e., dropped).
The royalties associated with these deals are such that most money is made by the author in the advance, because it never ‘earns out’ – sells enough copies to account for the advance – and then goes into the period in which royalties will be paid by the publisher twice a year.
It’s the dream of many.
It’s the meme of many a movie about writers.
And it must be very frustrating to an author who KNOWS (i.e., is convinced) that if the publisher had made more of an effort, the book might have sold more copies, and their career might have taken off.
Sort of the same mental gymnastics that happen when one buys a lottery ticket.
Genre covers for SPAs
The author can either spend time and effort learning how to do covers, or expend up-front money buying one.
Indie genre fiction is often priced at a few dollars, which means the calculus of the cover cost – and the possibility that a professional cover will help sell more books – can be very off-putting, and many authors do their own (not toting up the cost of the hours of their time spent learning and creating).
So the quandary of the indie mainstream author is creating a cover which will sell
Or, as some of the more stubborn of us aim for, will give the author the control over and input to what is on the outside of the novel they probably spent a lot of time creating.
It’s no bigger a challenge for the SPA than choosing everything else.
But it IS important.
PURGATORY’s cover was completely my creation
J.M. Ney-Grimm, who creates gorgeous covers for her fantasy novels, was my kind mentor, and I learned so much from her I have no idea where I’d begin to credit her input.
The year was 2015, and I spent most of the summer cover-creating and formatting the first volume in the trilogy, and had a blast (and, boy, was it hard work!).
NETHERWORLD’s cover was stuck in my brain
I had planned to do that this time, seven years later, and ran into a long stretch of months of brain fog which had me unable to focus, relearn Pixelmator and all the cover specifications from KDP, and get going on it.
I won’t call it writer’s block; with the ME/CFS, it is physical, has to do with the totality of stress and time and pain and insomnia of the disease; and you think it will last forever. In any case, I was stalled.
A few ideas were coming out – picking a scene representative of NETHERWORLD and then refining it into the second part of a trilogy concept (which has also left me with most of the ideas I need for the third cover). I was able to locate and then license a couple of necessary images from Dreamstime.
I tried finding formatters AND cover creators who would do things as close to MY way as possible – and ran into economics: those who do these tasks for hire, at least the ten or so I communicated with, have to do things quickly and generically with their own software. They were not interested even in finding out what MY way might be.
Until I had the idea of asking a friend, Bill Peschel of Peschel Press. He and his wife Teresa write, publish, and sell their own books over a wide range of fiction and non-fiction topics (I’m currently reading his annotated Dorothy L. Sayers mystery novel, Whose Body). I dared ask, he said he’d try tackling the task, and he’s been wonderful (i.e., able to put up with nitpicking me and MY way), and, among other miracles, essentially got me unstuck from my muddy mental rut – because giving him what he needed to work with gave me a series of small discreet tasks, a great way to tackle an overwhelming problem. My previous post about the cover was one of those small tasks (What did you have in mind?). Bill has been VERY patient and laid back.
Putting the pieces of NETHERWORLD together
Bill has just sent me the final proofed and formatted interior for the paperback version of the new book. Boy, is proofing – and fixing the quirks – NOT fun. But we did it.
I will produce the epub of the interior – I’ve already done it once with Scrivener, and the results were readable. Bill will send me the cover for NETHERWORLD’s ebook, and work on the cover for the hardcover version (which may take a bit more time, since I want to launch a hardcover version of PURGATORY at the same time, which also means relearning my graphics and doing some editing – now that my new Mac is on the way, it will be easier to handle the huge graphics files. I THINK I’ve located the input files – from the 2015 publication – I need.
Hoping to get something out this week; if not, in the latter part of next week.
I’ll try the uploading – cover and print – when the brain is on tomorrow. Hope there aren’t any bugs to fix!
While the cover is being created piecemeal, and the formatting goes apace, tasks which I have thankfully uploaded to the friend who is doing the actual work – after which I’m asked to nitpick – I’m doing the remaining pieces only the author can do on Amazon:
Request an ISBN – done.
Fill in the sections for name and title and price and… – working on them.
Getting the files created for ebook and print cover and interior – he’s doing that for me.
Choose paper and distribution and… – working on them.
It moves toward publication – slowly because I’m slow, even with help.
And I don’t worry about it, because working with my friend has given the brain fog a routing – probably because he needs a piece here, a piece there – and reducing the tasks to small bites is one of the strategies for Overwhelming tasks which I’ve use for years.
I thought I had set up Pride’s Children as a series when I published PURGATORY
So I could add the remaining books in the trilogy as they were written and published, and any prequel stories or related stories, but apparently not.
I thought I had done that at the Library of Congress, too, but apparently not.
I think people will be able to figure it out, but I somehow didn’t. No biggie. I’ll give Amazon a call or and email and see if there’s anything I can do – when I have a moment – but it shouldn’t stand in the way of getting NETHERWORLD out there, in an ideal world. Oh, well.
I read the posts I’ve saved, and ran through the blurb books
and wrote a rough draft of the description above.
Thought about it for a while.
Thought about what I’ve been taught – the goal is to have enough ‘above the fold’ (what the reader sees on the book’s page WITHOUT scrolling or clicking) so that the reader will click ‘more’ (or Buy), and read the rest.
I used italics and BOLD to make certain elements stand out.
I moved bits around.
I added the first three lines of dialogue of the first Chapter as a sample.
Moved MORE bits around which gave me two short pointed lines after the blurb title.
And have declared myself satisfied – for now.
What’s there will also be on the back of the printed books
And probably won’t get changed on the back cover, even if I make changes to the book description text on Amazon for marketing reasons. That will be the same as PURGATORY – where you can see my original description.
Because changes to graphics files are never trivial, and I am reluctant to mess with what most readers won’t even notice – the back of the print version.
I also thought about Book 3
which I can’t wait to get back to, and which starts only a few hours after the end of NETHERWORLD.
And I already know almost exactly how that goes. Have even started writing.
But readers will, unfortunately – as I am the proverbial snail – have to wait a while more for.
Oh, to be Kary’s age again – but no one gets that privilege from where I am now in the ‘venerable’ age category. (I refuse to use the other designations.)
So that’s it for today – another little teasing appetizer – so that at least you get SOMETHING here periodically from me to know I’m not reading books on a beach and eating bon bons.
AND IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO REREAD PURGATORY to be ready for NETHERWORLD – soon is a good time.
I’ll do my best to help with names and storylines from Book 1 – hope to publish something here with some details for reference – but it is lower on the To Do list than I’d like.
This test comes from Ford Maddox Ford, again via the Campaign for the American Reader blog, but is a different way of assessing a book, and may well be apocryphal, as mentioned in his Page 99 Test post on Aug. 6, 2014, by R. John Williams, Yale professor and author of The Buddha in the Machine.*
In THIS test, Marshal Zeringue asks authors, ‘whether Page 99 reveals “the quality of the whole” about their books.’
That’s a little harder, and the authors who speak about their P. 99 implications have wide and varying opinions about it.
Why is it harder?
Because authors have somehow picked up the notion that they are supposed to let other people – interviewers, reviewers, readers – comment about their work, not themselves, or at least not themselves praising the book.
It means putting my opinions of my own work on record.
Specifically, whether this one page – 99 – is a good way to display the ‘quality’ of the whole.
Funny how that makes my stomach unhappy.
I much prefer the nice comments from reviewers (and usually have no trouble ignoring the less-nice ones).
I’m going to do it anyway
Never waste a good prompt is my motto.
Parental rules to my generation from our parents were meant to keep us from turning into the loud-mouthed, self-centered kid we could have become, because it would mean our parents hadn’t reared us correctly. ‘Children are meant to be seen, not heard,‘ is part and parcel of the same.
I don’t think these rules are followed quite as much any more, but, for example, I never knew my mother thought I had turned out okay until, as a grownup with three children back on a visit to Mexico, I happened to tell her I never felt I had met her exacting standards, and she replied something like, “That’s ridiculous! I brag about you to my friends all the time.”
That was the key. She never told us. And the eldest child does have the tendency to try to please, especially if she’s a girl. I think my four younger sisters figured it out, but they didn’t really leave home (Mexico City) and not come back, as I did.
We had no brothers; I suspect it would have been different, possibly worse, if we had.
I don’t think they meant anything bad by rearing us to enter polite society modestly, when it was our turn, but I was already the odd daughter, the one who wanted to be a scientist, and the nerve endings were exaggeratedly exposed.
Self-promotion is an absolute requirement for indie authors
Many of us aren’t so happy with that part of self-publishing, or maybe it’s only those of use who were older when we started writing.
Or even possibly I missed a lot of changes because, as a Person with ME/CFS, there was little energy left for me and my own concerns after the family got what I wanted them to have from me.
So, do I think that page 99 of PURGATORY reveals the quality of the whole book?
It reveals a lot of the main relationship: Andrew has come to visit for the first time, taking Kary up on a casual offer to drop in if he was in her neighborhood (rural New Hampshire vs. where they met in New York City on Night Talk). The only reason she got a bit of advance warning – less than a minute – was that, due to an overly-aggressive fan, she has had a gate installed at the bottom of her drive, and he had to speak into the CCTV and ask permission to ride his motorcycle up her mountain retreat; otherwise, he would have knocked at her door!
This scene is in Andrew’s point of view (pov), and we haven’t heard from him until this chapter after they said goodbye in NY at the end of Chapter 3.
In the intervening time, Kary was moved to take in the movie Roland, based on the medieval epic poem The Song of Roland, which was the reason he was on the talk show, and was blown away, whereas, being basically a recluse, she’d had no idea who he was when she met him. So their entire relationship is being torn down and replaced though neither of them know it.
The novel has many such accidentally-fraught encounters, each one showing the characters’ behavior under unexpected stressors. And how each character’s inner and outer lives complement each other.
Does this page 99 show off the whole?
It shows Kary’s self-control under extraordinary circumstances – a result of her medical training as a former physician: ‘Never let them see you uncertain.’
I know what is going to happen in scenes – I’m an extreme plotter – but not how, and it’s been fun to essentially listen to the characters to see what they do with my stage directions.
I love that this page has a good example of working characters – so many novel characters don’t seem to do much, but work takes a huge portion of most real people’s lives. They discuss their work – but expectations and reality are at odds.
And it lets a changing inanimate object, the fire in her fireplace, take one of its many mood-setting opportunities. I didn’t grow up with a working fireplace, but after I left home, my parents moved, and the new house’s massive fireplace was used in so many warm gatherings they were almost not complete without a fire (houses in Mexico City usually have neither heating nor air-conditioning, and can be chilly, especially in winter months).
It gives a nod to the relationship between writers and actors which is fundamental to the novels: each asks about the other’s work. She’s been writing earlier, he (and his feet) came from a morning of filming locally. Each is cagey, neither takes the bait to speak at length about themself.
In the whole, I think it does
represent the whole: two of the three main characters, a developing relationship, the settled homestead of the rooted character, the peripatetic nature of a working actor, and something of me as the author.
Not bad for one page!
If I am allowed to say so myself.
*I still recommend the test and the blog, but am sad to say SPAs are not welcome to apply, though it took some doing to find that out, as it isn’t mentioned.
If you’ve read Pride’s Children: PURGATORY, was there enough memorable about Andrew’s first visit that you remembered it?
Had you noticed the recurring fires?
Does this scene make you smile?
What do you think of books where no one seems to be employed?
Did you ever think anyone could make a movie out of The Song of Roland? Did it remind you at all of El Cantar del Mío Cid?
Due to the extra challenges I seem to be facing lately, and because I’m getting very antsy about launching Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD, whose text has been finished for longer than I expected, I have explored various publishing assistance options – to uniformly fail in finding people who would do it MY WAY.
I have a book out, PURGATORY, for which I had plenty of time, learned graphics (Pixelmator), acquired a cover mentor (thanks, J.M. Ney-Grimm), learned how to format from Scrivener through Word to the final pdf files to upload, etc., etc., in 2015.
It seems quite reasonable to ask someone whom I’m paying to produce the same thing – so they look like a set. Right?
Well, even though the concept seems simple, and I don’t blame them, many ‘professional’ publishing services (all the ones I’ve approached ~ ten of them so far) must make their money by using their preferred software quickly and efficiently, because I had no takers once I explained I’d already made my own design decisions, and wished to keep them.
I don’t have the bandwidth to work with someone learning, or to spend a lot of time going back and forth explaining things, unfortunately, so that avenue didn’t pan out either.
The solution is probably at hand
as I had the inspiration and the sense to ask a friend who has published plenty of his and his wife’s books whether that was something he could see doing – and, if so, what his rates might be.
And got a ‘Yes – let’s try’ back.
I’m still in shock, because I sent him a few emails, and all the images I had accumulated, and a few questions – and the next thing I see (which you won’t, yet – that would be a proper cover reveal) was a cover (he modestly said it was his fourth attempt) that I could have used exactly as it was if I had needed it that fast.
Either they get you, or they don’t
seems to be my fate, and I admit, not to being difficult (every author is picky about their baby), but to being niche (indies don’t often write mainstream – mainstream authors usually want traditional publishers).
He understood everything I said – just as I was starting to think it was me (no, of course not, Alicia).
‘Niche’ means no precedents, no cover tropes to announce the content, and a wide variety of possibilities.
‘Mainstream’ means – for a traditional publisher – giving the cover designer a lot of freedom and latitude and little input from the author. There are some amazing (and probably quite expensive) covers out there that win design prizes. Okay, almost NO input from the author.
And we indies are stubborn.
When do we see it?
Very soon – he is working blazing fast, from what he sent me in a day.
I have a few more things to send him to do a bit of tweaking because we can.
Plus a thing or two about the fonts I should also have sent (but that brain fog has been heavy and dark) from the beginning, and which I will dig out and send today – quibbles.
So what on Earth did he start from?
I put it up there for you as the header image, probably against all reason.
But I thought you’d enjoy the improvement when it comes – though I’m not ready to reveal even that first example he sent yet.
Just see that I actually know what I want, but couldn’t make my brain do the work.
But I’ll get it anyway.
And that makes me happy.
From what he’s already said about formatting, that will be making me happy, too, as soon as I send him the raw materials.
As I’ve always believed – you just need the right person.