The Sentinel is nearing completion!  As I get the editing and proofreading process complete I'll probably tease a little more on here.  Maybe a couple of chapters here and a couple of chapters there.  We'll see.  I'm also mulling around the possibility of a pre-sale on hardback versions.  Since they are the most expensive and time consuming portion of the whole process I'm contemplating a pre-sale where you get an instant download of The Sentinel to read, and an instant download of Ma'iitso Rises.  Then after 150 downloads the project is funded and you'll get a hardback version of The Sentinel as well as an as yet to be announced other project.  It's kind of like a Kickstarter sort of thing, and I'm thinking I would have to charge around $60 to make the 150 number work.  Obviously I would sign everything and include letters of authentication and all that jazz.  I could bump the number up to 200 and drop the cost to $50 and include a Ma'iitso Rises hardback as well, but 200 hardbacks is honestly a lot to sell.  I haven't sold that many physical hardbacks of Ma'iitso.

The main problem with all of this is that I'll need to do it primarily here in the digital realm through my website, and that is where my marketing skills kind of struggle.  I actually am not sure if it's my marketing skills so much as my lack of, or willingness to waste, my internet marketing budget.  I've tried lots of different ideas and read pretty much every article about internet marketing on Google.  Yeah, that's right, EVERY article.  I read pretty fast though.  It's all these articles that I've read which have me putting more pictures and linking videos and stuff in my blog.  According to the interwebs you people need STIMULATED!


AND THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do those have to do with anything?  Nothing.  I just like people falling down.  

Anyway, since I can't actually reach through the computer and stimulate you myself...  Wait a minute. Never mind.   So, I've done all the reading, and sank some $ in here and there, but I've yet to find a promotion that I've paid for that made its money back.  If I could even pay someone $1000 and then sell just enough books to cover that, I'd be completely fine with it.  I have no problem breaking even on a campaign.  I feel like Ma'iitso Rises is good enough that it will be able to generate on its own once it gets some traction in the paying world of books, which is not to be mistaken for the non-paying world of books.  They are completely different animals.  I've found the people in the paying world of books to be more likely to review/constructively criticize/recommend to others.  The world of non-paying books is more likely to download the book for free and...  never think about it again.  That's just the way it is and for those who've figured out how to play both sides of that fence I give kudos.  

Anyway I've Google marketed and Facebook marketed and Goodreads marketed etc. etc. and I've gotten really good at giving books away.  Shoot, I've given away thousands, but the problem is, is that it never seems to lead to an avalanche of sales.  I'll have a few trickle in here and there as people tell their friends or people get tricked into buying one after the free promotion is over.  Yeah, you heard that right, I've refunded six books because people thought they were getting them for free, and then accidentally agreed to pay $5.  Did I get my ebook back?  Nope.  Did they give me a review?  Nope.  Does Amazon even allow free giveaways to generate reviews anymore?  Nope.  

Wait a minute.  Amazon makes you sign an exclusive agreement with them via the KDP select program which allows you to promote your books, mainly through free giveaways, but they recently decided that those who download the books via the free giveaways can't leave you a review?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, not only did they stop allowing free giveaways to generate reviews, they took away the reviews that I had built up through the free giveaways.  Ma'iitso Rises now has eleven reviews, after I gave away thousands of free books just to generate the other 20 or so reviews that got taken away.  Another awesome thing is that after multiple emails asking why they took down so many of my verified reviews I found out through an author's chat room that it was because they were from free book giveaways.  Another guy in the same chat room says that he still has all of his free reviews, but it was about thirty to one against him.  Maybe he was an Amazon troll trying to keep up the good name of the company.  Who knows?  Anyway, Amazon still hasn't officially responded to my inquiries, at all, not even an automatically generated response.  I'd honestly prefer to drop them completely, but they own something like 84% of the marketplace.  I'm thinking that probably has at least 14 or 15 of the other 16 percent.  At least.  Shoot, I'd settle for 1/100th of 1%.  

So, I'm going to put forth a plea right now.

I've lost a lot of reviews on Amazon because of this free thing, and I think it is stupid, but that's the way it is.  What they haven't done, though, is take down the reviews of people who purchased the book elsewhere.  So, if you have an Amazon account and you haven't already left me a review, and even if you've downloaded it from there for free already.  Click on the link above and leave me one.  I say even if you've already downloaded it for free, because maybe, just maybe they'll change their minds, or the computer won't catch it or something and it'll post.  I've got to get those numbers up a bit so that when I release The Sentinel I have a little better track record.  I know that my 34 reviews looked A LOT better than my current 11.  Hey, wanna do me an even bigger favor?  Ask your mom who has an Amazon account to leave me a review.  What's that you say?  You are the mom?  Excellent.  Have your kids leave me reviews!  What's that?  You're not a mom or a dad and are a test tube baby with no friends?  In that case, shoot me a line.  We'll hang out.  I don't even particularly care how many stars you give me, although I'd prefer 5, but if you don't think it deserves that many, then that's fine.  Reviews don't have to be long either.  One or two lines will do the job.

"I liked this book a lot.  The characters were fun.  The action was good.  I'd recommend!"

Bam!  I wrote that in about 10 seconds and would be totally fine seeing it as a five or four star review.  P.S.  Only one person can use that as their review.  

"I've read a lot of books and Ma'iitso Rises was enjoyable if not ground-breaking.  A nice entertaining read."

Bam!  Another ten seconds and I've kicked out a 3 star review.

"This book sucks.  Tim Wheat sucks.  The world sucks.  Kittens suck.  Rainbows suck.  Flowers suck.  I didn't think it was possible, but I hate life even more now because of Tim Wheat and Ma'iitso Rises."

Bam!  I spent maybe twenty seconds on that 1 star review.  Hey, I'm bound to get a few of those eventually right?  

Remember, if you like the blog you can hit the subscribe via email button which is right above the comment box if you click on comment.  Then you'll always know when I've posted!  Also, I appreciate it when you share on facebook/twitter and the like.  It only takes a second using the share button or icons above.  Wanna help fund the printing of The Sentinel?  Hit the donate button below!  Wanna fund it by buying a signed paperback or hardback?  Those are linked right here too!  Thanks!

Posted on May 14, 2014 .