Posted by Sabine on July 29, 2013
Through Goodreads, I got the opportunity to interview Swedish author Erik Martin Willen, who wrote and published NASTRAGULL (Pirates). It’s the first book in a planned series.
Q. Tell us a bit about your book NASTRAGULL (Pirates)?
It took me many years to finally complete my first book, and the reason for this was because I held back whenever I wrote something. The result was the typical “writers-block.” Eventually I finally let go and I just started to write, and I held back nothing. NASTRAGULL: Pirates combines the non-stop high-tech adventure of Star Wars with the awe-inspiring, complex cultural backdrop of Dune–with quite a bit of Quentin Tarantino thrown in for good measure. This action-packed novel includes elements of military SF, traditional space opera, dystopian SF, and the sociological explorations of writers such as Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. LeGuin. At heart, though, it’s a love story–the tale of two literally star-crossed lovers, and their Herculean efforts to move Heaven and Earth (sometimes literally) to find each other again and again as circumstances rip them apart.
Q. Why have you chosen Star Wars as the setting of this book?
The main reason I choose space opera as my setting is because I have always liked science fiction. It has been part of my entire life. I love to write, read and watch all the different creative elements involving science fiction. There are no limits holding back a great science fiction adventure. Life in general is filled with challenges and surprises; good as well as bad ones. It’s nice being able to “leave” reality or rather take a pause from it while reading a great science fiction book or watch a film.
Q. Do you plan to release more stories set in the same world?
Yes, this is a series and part two Nastragull: Hunted will probably be released in august this year. I have planned to write ten parts and several of them have been written.
Q. Why did you decide to self-publish the books?
The answer to this question is as old as publishing… After having spent countless hours writing and sending out hundreds of letters/e-mails and only received rejection letters (if that) I finally got bored and wanted to take action. I love my story as much as I do writing it down and I believe in it because it’s original and unique.
Q. Who is the most unusual character in your book?
Tota! You have to read about him to understand and I rather not give away any spoilers. He is a bit off…
Q. Is it difficult to live in Sweden and pursue self-publishing, or do you believe publishing is far more global than it was ever before?
No, I wouldn’t call it difficult to self publish in Sweden. Thanks’ to creativespace and amazon, almost anyone can publish. Sweden has freedom of speech, expression, and writing etc, unlike many other nations around the world where it’s almost impossible to self publish or download a book legally from the internet. Instead they are forced to use pirate-sites. So I guess sometimes these pirate sites are filling a hole in the market.
Publishing is more global now than it has been before and I think it’s good. For far too long did the major publishers and author houses etc. more or less held a monopoly in the market but now a “nobody” like myself can become a best seller and that’s exactly what happened to my book in May of this year it hit No 1 on the Amazon Bestsellers list for the category of Space Opera, No 10 on the overall Amazon Bestsellers Science Fiction and Fantasy List, and made Amazon’s Top 100 Free list for all book in the Kindle Store, peaking at No 85.
Q. What has been your best experience of being a writer?
Whenever someone read my book and liked it. I think it’s the best reward I as an author can ever get. It makes me feel appreciated for my work. Another thing is all the different people I have come across online from marketing my book; readers and authors alike. It’s a great community that has a serious impact on earth’s globalization.
Books in general unite people in one way or the other. “We” the Homo sapiens are entering a new era and eventually there will be no more discrimination, segregation and censorship controlled by a very few power-hungry little bastards.
If you want to know more about Erik or his series of book, you can follow him on twitter and goodreads. Here is a review of his book on Ask David. The books are available for sale on all Amazon sites, including Amazon USA and UK.
And it’s your lucky day as NASTRUGALL is available for a free download on July 29th and 30th, 2013 on Amazon. So grab your copy now.
Posted by Sabine on July 29, 2013
So I just realized that I lost all old posts related to my fantasy ebook The Demon Mages, book 1 in The Power of Three Series. In case you missed seeing the amazing cover on the sidebar, here is it:
The cover was designed by LFD Designs.
Here is the blurb of the book. You can buy it on Amazon UK and Amazon USA. It’s only available on kindle right now. I have got some fantastic reviews of the book on Amazon kindle USA.
The Demon Mages
Magic born from the elements, a reluctant heroine, mages, demons, prophecies, a political plot to murder a king and the world at the brink of a major upheaval. And in the midst of all this, a sister’s quest to save her brother’s life.Living on the peaceful island Iram, Zo knows little of the troubles brewing on the mainland. But when her brother Seve is poisoned, and her twin sister Alicia halts his slow but fateful progress towards death with an ancient binding spell, thereby subjecting herself to the same horrific death, Zo has no choice but to travel to the mainland to procure the flower of rosem, a crucial ingredient in the antidote for the poison.
What she doesn’t know is that king Vindha on the mainland has threatened the fabric of earth’s magic by offering the bodies of dead mages to the demons, thus creating fearsome demon mages. These demon mages have the ability to withstand any magical attack. As she struggles to journey through the treacherous mainland, and return home in time to save her siblings, Zo is unaware that Vindha has sent a demon mage to kill her – and thereby condemn her siblings to an inevitable death.
Sabine’s Note: Here is a short excerpt from one of the review. “Sabine Reed has written a very exciting fantasy novel which contains a noble quest, an evil power-hungry king, powerful tribal peoples, a boy prophet named Leo, and myriad adventures.”
A big thank you to all those who have read the book, and reviewed it. And if you haven’t read it, download a sample now.
Posted by Sabine on July 27, 2013
So as I announced a few days ago, all of my posts after February 2013 got lost after the hacking attempt on my website (curse you, hackers), I am now slowly putting up some of the more popular posts back. This is an interview I did with fantasy author Martin F. Hengst in April 2013. Currently his first fantasy book The Last Sword Mage is No. 10 in the Amazon Sword and Sorcery category, and his second book The Darkest Hour is No. 20 in the same category.
So here is the interview (republished):
Today I bring you another author interview. And I am really happy to introduce to you Martin F. Hengst. Sure, many of you may not have heard of him now, but mark my words, all those fantasy readers would have heard of him in a few months’ time. His books are amazing. His fantasy book, The Last Swordmage, first in his Swordmage trilogy was released in December 2012, and is already at #32 rank in Amazon’s fantasy category. The second book, The Darkest Hour, was released in March 2013 and is ranked at number 30.
What an amazing accomplishment by a new, self-published writer!
So here is an unedited version of his interview.
Q. Tell us a bit about your fantasy The Swordmage trilogy?
The Swordmage Trilogy follows Tiadaria, a young woman sold into slavery by her father, on her travels as she becomes, all unwitting, the last swordmage. In The Last Swordmage we meet Tiadaria and follow her adventures as she’s rescued from execution by a retired soldier and taught to be a fighter. Tiadaria’s adventures continue in The Darkest Hour where she must use all she has learned to continue the battle against the Xarundi and their hunger for domination. In The Pegasus’s Lament, the final installment of the trilogy, due out later this year, Tiadaria must face some of the most challenging personal decisions she’s ever had to make in her quest to ensure the safety of Solendrea and its people.
Q. How did you come up with the world of Solendrea where your stories are set?
The people, places, and things in the world of Solendrea have been with me for more than twenty years. I began the imagining when I was in high school and over the years I’ve gotten to know the people well enough to finally start putting down their stories on paper. Solendrea is a wild and magical place and I’m glad that others get to come along with me on my journey of discovery.
Q. Do you plan to release more stories set in the same world?
Absolutely. I currently have plans for at least six more novels and an anthology of short stories, all set in Solendrea and sharing threads to form a common tapestry.
Q. Why did you decide to self-publish the books?
I primarily write for my own self-enjoyment. That others seem to enjoy the places and characters I’ve created has been a wonderful and pleasant surprise. I chose to self-publish because it gives me complete creative control over what I release and when. I’m not limited by having to pitch new ideas, wait for them to be accepted (or rejected!), then go through publishing, marketing, etc. Self-publishing has also been a wonderful experience in learning to do things like copy editing (of which I still have much to learn) and formatting, and so on.
Q. Currently your books are only available on kindle. When do you plan to release the books on other formats?
Part of my marketing strategy was to utilize the Kindle Select program early on to generate interest and reviews for the books. My participation in the Kindle Select program comes to an end in the middle of June, so it is likely that you could see different formats available as early as late June/early July. Additionally, that is around the time that The Pegasus’s Lament should be ready for publication. Additionally, for those who would like to get their feet wet with the world of Solendrea, but are unable to utilize the Kindle store for whatever reason, my short story, Volinette’s Song, which is based on a young girl’s quest to enter the Acadamy of Arcane Arts and Sciences in Solendrea, is available on Smashwords.
Q. Do you see any advantages of releasing books on KDP select?
I think there are definite advantages to utilizing KDP Select. Especially when you are starting out. Being able to offer a book for free for a day or two as a promotional item to generate buzz and increase interest can be invaluable. That’s predominately how I got my foothold in the market, by generating social media interest and coupling it with a free promotion early in the marketing life cycle. Additionally, what many people don’t know about KDP Select is that Amazon Prime members are able to borrow your books enrolled in KDP Select for free, and you are compensated for those “borrows” out of a Kindle Select fund, so though your royalties may not be as much as they would for a straight sale, you’re still receiving good value for your hard work.
Q. I haven’t seen any evidence of a marketing and promotional strategy and yet your books are in the top forty in the kindle bestsellers. Do you believe a writer can do well without any marketing strategy if his stories are good?
I wouldn’t say that I have no strategy, I would say that it is very much an organic strategy. My marketing comes from asking others to provide their honest reviews, answering every review I receive (positive or negative), and encouraging others to tell their friends and loved ones about the story if they enjoyed it. I like engaging people, and Solendrea is something I’m very passionate about, so I have that working in my favor. As far as a writer doing well without a marketing strategy, I think it helps if the stories are good, but I think its as valuable to have a network of people willing to put themselves out there on your behalf on social media sites to get the word out.
Q. Any advice for new writers?
I have lots of advice, but the most important advice I can offer anyone is this: don’t ever give up. No matter what you write, or how well you write it, there will be people who HATE what you’ve written, and that’s okay. None of us will be loved by all the people, all the time. Don’t let that criticism, no matter how harsh, stop you from creating. Always be creating. Live in your world, love it, and put that life and love into everything you write. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Some things will work, some won’t, but never give up.
And that’s the end of this interview…but certainly not the end of Solendrea, or Martin. I am sure we will be reading many great stories set in this fantastic world. Yes, you have guessed right; I am a fan of his writing already. So here’s a tip from one fantasy reader to another, go and grab your copy of The Last Swordmage at Amazon, or download his free short story.
You can also follow Martin at Twitter or join his facebook fan page. He can also be found on goodreads.
Sabine’s Note: I will putting up some of the older posts soon. Watch this space for more!
Posted by Sabine on October 12, 2012
So Serpentine Love has been up on kindle for a couple of weeks now, but unfortunately it still has not been made free, despite my reporting of the book. If you are interested to download a free copy of Serpentine Love for your kindle, you can download it from smashwords. If you are a reader, do me a favor and report it on Amazon so it can be free there as well.
So I have not been blogging much these days, but hopefully I should start posting regularly soon. In the meantime, I want to highlight another blog today, by author Dean Wesley Smith. There is tons of useful information on writing and publishing so if you are new writer, you should head over there right now.
For all those who are continuing their quest for achieving writing excellence, I wish you best of luck. Happy Writing!
Posted by Sabine on September 21, 2012
Finally, I have done something I planned a long time ago, that is to publish a free fantasy story at smashwords. Frankly, I don’t know why I delayed this publication for so long. The actual formatting and publishing process took little time and effort. I had to format the book according to smashwords specification and that took a mere three hours, or perhaps even less. The publication process took an hour. Now, Serpentine love, a fantasy romance, is available for download at smashwords.
Here is a look at the cover.
Serpentine Love Blurb:
Maya has the heredity gift of being able to shape-shift into a snake. She is an Inagimi. Arya is a wizard who has arrived on earth from an alternate magical world. Under contract with Archan, a powerful and greedy wizard, he seeks an Inagimi so that Archan may use it to seek immortality, a gift only an Inagimi can bestow on a human. If Arya doesn’t fulfill his contract, Archan will kill him. If Maya reveals her identity, Archan will sacrifice her in his quest for eternal life. For Maya and Arya, a future together is not possible. The Goddess has, however, other plans for them, for they fall in love and battle all odds to seek an existence together.
Serpentine love is available for a free download at Smashwords in all formats, such as epub, pdf, kindle (mobi) and all else.
If you are a fellow writer, I would love to hear from you. Join me on facebook, twitter or Goodreads so we can all support each other during our writing adventures.
Posted by Sabine on January 27, 2012
This post is for authors and unpublished aspiring writers who are trying to submit their manuscripts to a digital publisher. You can read part 1 and part 2 of how to choose a digital publisher and then, here are a few extra tips:
1) Check the publisher website to see how they are pricing their books in comparison to other digital publishers. Everyone has a different system and publishers do not reveal their pricing strategy, but if you make a comparison according to word count, you will get an idea of which publishers are pricing their books the lowest. You don’t want too low… (not 0.99$ for a 60,000 word novel) because then you will be better off self-publishing (due to a higher royalty rate)… but you don’t want too high also. Highly priced books by new authors don’t sell.
2) See the kind of promotion the publisher is doing on their website. Do they have an active blog? Twitter account?
3) Click on one book and see if their recommendation page pops up. Ideally, they should direct the customer who buys one book towards other similar authors to increase sales. This is similar to Amazon’s “people who bought this also bought” bar.
4) Notice their book covers. Do you like them? Are they attractive? Do they represent the book well?
5) Lastly, buy at least one book in your genre and read it to check the editing.
Byline: Sabine A. Reed is the author of The Black Orb, a fantasy novella published by Uncial Press (a digital publisher). It’s high fantasy and the protagonist is a cunning and beautiful thief who will do anything to make a buck. You can read the first chapter for free.
Posted by Sabine on January 20, 2012
I believe I mentioned in the last post that Terry Brooks is my writing hero. Lately, I have been reading his Sometimes the Magic Works, a book on the writing and publishing process. He is a prolific writer, and his Sword of Shannara is one of my favorite fantasy epics. Usually fantasy lovers compare each epic story to Lord of the Rings, but for me, The Sword of Shannara is the benchmark against which I judge my own books.
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were my introduction to the world of fantasy but it was The Sword of Shannara that made me wish I could write epic fantasy stories.
Here are some lessons I have learnt from his writing career.
1) Write from the heart, regardless of whether the genre is popular at the moment. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of writing a story simply because you think, and people say, there is no market for it. Writing should always be done with passion and commitment, regardless of the marketing aspects.
2) Within your genre, don’t hesitate to experiment with different sub-genres. He wrote high fantasy, dark fantasy and also urban fantasy.
3) Do write in other genres. Terry Brooks has done two movie adaptations; one of them was Star Wars, a science fiction story.
4) Don’t take your writing career for granted. Be on the lookout for opportunities that will give you greater exposure and new readers. Even if you are successful writer, you will always have the potential to become more successful.
5) Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with new writers. Although it’s an imposition on your writing time, it will help you clarify your own thought process and it’s important to give back to the writing community.
If you have not read his Sometimes the Magic works, you should. It’s a great resource for writers, new and old.
Sometimes the Magic Works – by Terry Brooks
Posted by Sabine on January 19, 2012
I have a cardinal rule, and that’s to write my blog posts on Wednesday and Friday. But here I am…one day late. This will have to be a Thursday post. And I blame this delay on Terry Brooks. Yes, Terry Brooks, the famous and successful fantasy writer, my writing hero…who wrote Sometimes the Magic Works, a non-fiction book on writing and publishing.
Let me tell you, I debated whether to buy the book on not for a week. The e-book price was 11.99 dollars. I mean, that’s not a small amount for a 282 page book. Finally, I gave in to the temptation and bought it. The book is amazing, and well worth the price. People rave about Stephen King’s On Writing but I tell you…Sometimes the Magic Works is a better book to read if you want to learn about the writing and publishing process.
Forget all the writing and publishing blogs (but not mine, please) and get this book. Although fantasy writers might relate to it a bit, the book’s written for a new writer of any genre. Terry has given practical advice on a lot of aspects of writing such as having a good beginning and end, outlines, show versus tell, and so much more. You may be thinking, what’s new about that? Well, the way he has explained it all is so simple and easy to understand that it’s worth your time to read it if you are serious about writing as a career.
There is a lot more practical information about the business of publishing, such as, the job of the first time writer is to write the second book and how book signings are meant for making connections with the readers and not for selling books. So many of his own mistakes have been analyzed for public consumption.
I have always believed that it’s not possible to learn everything by making your own mistakes. In order to save time, we must be ready to learn from other people’s mistakes. It’s a rare writer who will lay bare his own disappointments for others to learn from – and Thank you Terry for that!
I could go on and on about Terry Brooks and Sometimes the Magic Works but it’s time to let you think about whether you want to buy it yourself. I still have fifty more pages to finish and am going to find a nice quiet corner in the house to do so.
Sabine A. Reed’s is the fantasy author of The Black Orb, which can be bought here.
Posted by Sabine on January 13, 2012
In my last post, I discussed some tips that would help a writer decide which digital publisher to choose for manuscript submission. Today, I want to discuss some other points that a writer should consider before signing with a digital publisher.
1) A digital publisher will take digital publishing rights only, and not print. That is, unless, they promise to take your book out in print also. If they are only taking the option to take the book out in print depending on sales, it should be clear as to how many months you can wait before you submit the print version elsewhere.
2) They should specify for how long they are taking the rights. Not for your lifetime, certainly. Five years, or two years since the date of publication is preferable and then you can all re-negotiate the contract.
3) They should send you few free digital copies of the book. They will also create many formats of the book for sale.
4) They should send you ARCs so you can get reviews.
5) The publisher should design the book cover at no cost to you and get ISBN also.
6) The publisher gets first right to look at any sequel to your work that they have, but not to any other work.
It is a writer’s duty to ensure that they are happy with the book contract before signing it. It’s always best to read the contract from start to finish and once again. If you don’t have a lawyer, get a friend to read it for you to get his/her feedback. Do you homework before selling your manuscript so you don’t have any regrets later on.
List of Digital Publishers
Work of a self-published author as compared to an author with a publishing house
The things your digital publisher would do for you
Posted by Sabine on January 11, 2012
If you are one of those writers like me who don’t want to delve in the deep sea of self-publishing, here are a few tips to help you choose the right digital publisher. First of all, here is a List of Digital Publishers for you to begin with. Before submitting your projects, do some basic research on the publisher:
1) How long have they been around? My publisher Uncial Press recently celebrated their fifth anniversary, and that’s quite a number of years in the fickle world of digital publishing.
2) How many titles do they publish in a month? Ideally, they should have a schedule for publishing because that shows they are organized. Whether they publish one title a month or twenty, it should be a reliable and steady number. Publishers who take out twenty books in one year and only two in the next have something not quite right going on.
3) What kind of marketing do they offer to their writers? Click on some of their titles, note down the author’s name and see the kind of web presence each author has. Digital publishers should at the very least insist on their authors having some kind of a website. Also, they should list the names of authors with a short bio, and a link to the author’s website, on their own site.
4) What is their reputation? You can easily find this out by googling the publisher and reading up about them.
5) How much time and effort is the publisher investing in their own brand name? If you are a new writer, your publisher is the one who is going to pull the initial sales and for this, they need to have a loyal customer base and a multi-pronged policy of gaining new followers. At the very least, they should have a twitter account, facebook and preferably a publisher blog also.
6) Where do they upload their titles? Ideally, you would want your publisher to put the book up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, as well online retailers such as fictionwise, diesel, etc. Check the ratings of their Amazon titles to see how well their authors are doing? Usually authors with more than one published book do better than authors with only one book up.
7) Check to see how many of their authors have published more than one book with them. This is a true test of the publisher because authors will only submit more than one book to them if they are happy with the sales of the first title and the general behavior of the publisher.
8) You can even write to some of their authors and ask them if they would recommend the publisher. This is a dicey question. Some authors may not honestly speak against their publisher even if they are not happy with their title’s performance—but there is no harm in trying.
On Friday, I am going to do another post on Choosing a Digital Publisher so don’t forget to drop in again. Also, an interview of Aria, my protagonist from The Black Orb, a fantasy novella, is up at Paradox- The Angels are Here (a blogs of author Patti Roberts, author of Paradox) and it’s truly an interesting question-answer session because Aria is a lively fiery character who came alive for me as I penned her. You can read the first chapter of The Black Orb for free here.