Category: Fantasy

IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS A HOLIDAY ADVENTURE ROMANCE AND PARANORMAL VISIONARY NOVEL!

In Love by Christmas – Not Your Ordinary Holiday Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, darn! My Christmas book, IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS, was free for two days. Before I could get this post out, I see they changed the price back. However, it’s deal at any price and I’ve got a special holiday surprise for you, besides.

How about three Sandy Nathan books for the price of one? Here’s the deal:

FIRST BOOK:  IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS is a Christmas love story of a perilous kind. Leroy Watches Jr. is a holy man and healer whose power is a bit quirky. Sometimes it makes things worse. You may have met Leroy in LEROY WATCHES JR. & THE BADASS BULL. Yes, it’s that Leroy, the one who ended up the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitive. This adventure offers more opportunity for misadventure.

Despite his flaw, Leroy has to save his soul mate from her addictions, her father, and Evil Incarnate or she’ll be damned forever.

Trying to unite with his true love, Leroy embarks on an adventure that takes him to the highest–and lowest–realms.

The book is currently $3.99  as an Amazon Kindle. Not free, but not super pricey, either.

 But here’s what I’m doing for my Readers: I got a new website! YAY! And many thanks to my “web guy”, Don Herion of The Sorcerer’s Workshop! Here’s my new website:

Isn't it pretty? It has all the info of my old site, in a pretty new WordPress package.

WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT MY NEW WEBSITE? “YOUR FREE BOOK” YES! If you go to new website and click on FIND OUT MORE or YOUR FREE BOOK, you’ll go to a page that will invite you to join my READERS’ GROUP.

What is my READERS’ GROUP? Well, it’s something new. Through the GROUP, I’m going to keep you in the loop about my doings–I have a bunch of new books planned for 2016. I’m also going to let you know about authors I’ve discovered and think are terrific.  If I find out about deals coming up or am having specials myself, READERS’ GROUP members will be the first to know.

You are not signing up to be spammed! I can hardly get out a blog post a few times a year; I’m not going flood your inbox with junk. Nor will I sell or give away your email address. I am techno impaired; even if I wanted to, I doubt I could find your email on my server. Plus, I got writing to do!

WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER FREE NEW BOOKS, SANDY?

If you read  IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS, you will come upon a character named Vanessa Schierman PhD. She’s a PhD with all her bonafides and the head of an ancient lineage. Vanessa figures large in  IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS and other Bloodsong Series books. In the first free eBook READERS’ GROUP members receive, you’ll find out lots more about our resident witch. 

Vanessa Schierman's estate. Never go there.

SECOND BOOK, THIS ONE FREE: Vanessa Schierman PhD WITCH At this point, Vanessa Schierman PhD WITCH is available ONLY to my Readers’ Group members. It consists on two longish short stories and an introduction by Vanessa herself, in which she blisters my hide. I’ll add more stories to the book as I write them. I’ll contact you when I’ve got a new story. If you’ve got IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS you really should join the Readers Group and get Vanessa. She appears in many more Bloodsong Series books.

Stepping off the Edge: A Roadmap for the Soul contains everything I learned, in school or out, that actually HELPED me in my life.

THIRD BOOK: THAT’S THE BONUS YOU GET FOR JOINING THE READERS’ GROUP. What is it? A goodie. STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: A ROADMAP FOR THE SOUL. STEPPING OFF THE EDGE  is a memoir that contains every insight, bit of wisdom, or academic theory I learned in school or anywhere else that actually helped me navigate the shoals of life.  STEPPING OFF THE EDGE is what I did to tame my demons so that I could sit here, writing to you.

Part guide-book, part memoir, part laugh-a-thon, STEPPING OFF THE EDGE won six national awards when it came out, including a couple from the largest and most prestigious contests. The interior is gorgeous, with a Native American theme. I illustrated it myself!  An intensely spiritual book, Stepping doesn’t favor any particular denomination, though I am true to my own. People who have read all my books have told me, “Sandy, I like your new stuff, but I like Stepping Off the Edge best of everything you’ve written.”

STEPPING is my gift to you: I hope that the book is as useful to you as it was to me.

I’ll be sending you STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: A ROADMAP FOR THE SOULhopefully the day after you join the Readers’ Group. (In addition to a new website, I’ve got a new email service. We’re working on this automatic delivery stuff. If need be, I’ll just email it to you!)
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ENJOY EVERYTHING! AND HERE ARE MY GIFTS TO YOU:

In Love by Christmas: sterling, romantic adventure. Vanessa Schierman PhD WITCH: short stories about a person you’d just as soon not know; Stepping off the Edge: A Roadmap for the Soul. And a toolkit, too.

All the best at the holidays,
Sandy Nathan
HEY! LET’S WATCH MOVIES! HERE ARE SOME VIDEOS ABOUT THE THREE BOOKS:
VANESSA SCHIERMAN PhD WITCH

 

STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: A ROADMAP FOR THE SOUL

The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy is an Amazon Bestseller and I’m an Amazon Ranked Author!

Here I am with Diana Gabaldon, my all time favorite author. I have read her Outlander series, all fifty million pages of it, THREE times. We're hanging out in cyberspace for a few moments of eternity, the 65th and 66th most popular authors in Action & Adventure Fiction. WAA-HOO!

Every once in awhile, life presents the opportunity to be outrageously out there, to the point of being obnoxious. This is one of those times.

I recently did a promotion of my eBook, The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy. It was free for a couple of days and then went back to being one you had to pay for. The results astonished me. Lots of people downloaded it, and then more bought it.

The book’s rankings dropped spectacularly (in book rankings, lower is better) and my AUTHOR RANKING, which I didn’t know existed (because it didn’t before then) put me in the company of some of the world’s most famous authors, and my favorite authors. [However briefly. These rankings change hourly. I am probably in the potato cellar of the Amazon world again. Or will be soon. This book-selling world is not for sissies, compadres.]

So, it’s my time and I’m gonna crow about it.

I’ve done promos by myself before, but this time I was assisted by folks who knew what SEO meant. Turns out, that’s very important in today’s marketing world. My partners in success in this venture were Genius Media, Inc. They are primarily publishers, but also do book promotion. It was a lucky day when I ran into Genius Media.

If you are planning on giving your book away on an Amazon KDP promotion, don’t think it will necessarily turn out the way my recent extravaganza did. Don’t think it won’t, either. You never know. I’ve done KDP free days in the past, running the campaign pretty much by my lonesome self. What was it like? Think days of non-stop, back breaking work, not knowing what I was doing, going down lists of what to do posted online by people I’d never heard of. Fingers aching, eyes watering. I did get results, but it was awful.

If you’re fortunate and have professionals who know what they’re doing to assist you, something like this may happen–and getting there won’t be a nightmare.

THE FREE PART ENDED UP LIKE THIS:

This is how my rankings showed up at their highest, which is measured by closest to #1, the top ranking. Amazon reports results in terms of all the free books on the site, as well as the book's categories. Yes, that's #20 out of all the books free that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Free results also ended up like this: 

Midway through this promo, without telling anyone they were doing it, Amazon changed its categories from these, to what's above. This makes people who know SEO really upset, because they're settings are now wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you end up in the Top 100 Free or Paid, Amazon does a nice little thing like this with your ranking and book cover:

Here's The Angel, flying to #1 Tree in Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction. This was a lovely sight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENOUGH OF THE FREE RESULTS. EVERYONE’S INTERESTED IN SALES:

When The Angel went off of free, what happened? This. Took a long night of screen-gazing to get this screenshot. Waa-hoo!

OK. THIS IS BLATANT GRANDSTANDING, BUT THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN TOO OFTEN, NOR DO I KNOW IF IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. I’M GOING TO PUT UP SOME PICS OF ME AND MY NEW FRIENDS, COURTESY OF AMAZON. (AND THANK YOU, AMAZON, FOR CREATING THE VENUE FOR THIS TO HAPPEN.)

Years ago, I gave a talk on “Celebrate Your Victories.” I think I’ll post the text of that talk on this blog. Mitigating/explaining what I’m doing with this post, my talk said that we need to celebrate our wins! We need to toot our horns and let the good times flow when something wonderful happens.

Why? Given the transitory nature of success and life’s high points, you’ll be slogging through the muck soon enough. You’ll forget the wonderful high and that life is a joyful process that includes UPS as well as downs. We tend to focus on the later.

SO, HERE I AM, WITH A BUNCH OF MY NEW FRIENDS:

For years, I was too snobby to read Stephen King. When I finally started, I didn't read everything he'd written–that's HUGE. But I sure gave it a try. So, hey, Stephen, hope to hang out a lot more, buddy!

OMG. The guy who brought Jungian writing and depth psychology to everyone, my old buddy, J. R. R. Tolkien! Here I am, rubbing rankings with the master.

Orson Scott Card, maybe the brainiest sci-fi writer ever. Here we are, lovingly stacked together. Thank you, Amazon! And my READERS! Yay!

Classic sci-fi from the master George Orwell, author of 1984, Animal Farm and so much more. Nice to hang out, George! My The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy has been compared to 1984. And our own contemporary pundit, Chuck Wendig. Glad to meet you, Chuck!

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN LIFE IS TRULY UNLIMITED. YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOUR NEW FRIENDS MIGHT BE:

MAY YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE AND YOUR COMPANY REFLECT YOUR TRUE NOBILITY AND GRACE!

FREE BOOKS!!!! $$FREE BOOKS$$ UNTIL OCT. 31, 2015, I’M GIVING FREE BOOKS IN RETURN FOR HONEST REVIEWS. WHICH BOOKS? THE WHOLE EARTH’S END TRILOGY BOXED SET EBOOK We have promotions planned for Lady Grace & the War for a New World, Earth’s End II, and The Headman & the Assassin, Earth’s End III. These three books represent a treasure of adventure and … well, pretty near everything else. Romance, time travel, aliens, guys from the past, monsters, you name it, Earth’s End has it. Unfortunately, unless we get more reviews for the last two books of the series. We can’t even BUY advertising for it. [Did I tell you the three books have won SEVEN NATIONAL AWARDS BETWEEN THEM?] BECAUSE OF THIS, I AM GIVING AWAY THE EARTH’S END TRILOGY BOXED SET EBOOK in return for an honest review.

If you’d like to get the three book set for $FREE$, contact me at vilasapress@gmail.com. I’ll get them to you pronto! OFFER GOOD THROUGH OCT. 31–THAT’S MY TREAT!

All the best from Sandy Nathan, who, in addition to being a new mule owner, is also a bestselling and award-winning author. Check out my Amazon Author Page.

Do the big book conventions help self-published authors or small presses?

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem (Bloodsong 2) It's been a long time and many words since I went to Book Expo America in 2009

A member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance, a group of authors, readers, and aficionados of visionary fiction, asked if the big book conventions or fantasy conventions help indie authors and small presses. I shared the following story on the Visionary Fiction Facebook page.

Or shared most of it. My post must have been too long for FB; the ending got cut off. I’m posting what I said on FB here, so readers can get the whole thing.

This is the complete story of my one time attendance at the BEA–Book Expo America back in 2009. Does it answer the question? As a statistician, I only can say that  a sample of one case does not a valid conclusion make.

In 2009, I attended the Expo, a very green author with two books in print. In 2015, I’ve got ten books out and two more in production, with stack of manuscripts on my hard drive. My books have also won thirty national awards and I’ve been a bestselling author, often for days at a time. (Sales are the trickiest part.) Now, things might be different.

Would I go to BEA or any big fantasy or other convention? Probably not, as will be explained below, but if I did, it would be after great deliberation and analysis. I’d want it to be in LA or some California city: the event has been held in NYC in recent years and will be this year. These conventions are huge. To get an idea of the scale of the exhibit, look at this floorplan of the BEA main hall in 2015.  Purple squares are rented space; turquoise is available. Hover the cursor over the space to see who rented it. Notice the huge Chinese presence: this event’s attendance is worldwide.

One new development might change my conclusions. In 2015, Book Expo America will be combined with the debut of BookCon, a new consumer event featuring the big name authors in popular writing. The new event will be a combined trade show, BEA, followed by the consumer event.  BEA-BookCon 2015 runs from May 27 to 31 for the combined events.  The addition of BookCon to BEA may tip the scales for a smaller author or publishing house. Wholesale orders could be placed at BEA, but books were not sold to  customers. Joining a retail event like ComiCon, which drew 130,000 attendees in 2013, to BEA with retail sales possible could totally upend everything I say.

Or not. Depends upon what they require of people showing at the event. Will indie authors and micro presses be allowed? Participants will have to have stock on hand to sell. Hundreds of print books? Thousands? A way to download eBooks on the spot? With BookCon, the big, big time will become even bigger.

Should I wait until BEA comes back to LA? It used to travel around the country, heading West from time to time. BEA–BookCon 2016 will be in Chicago, I understand. After that?

BookExpo America event director Steven Rosato notes in his blog“BEA Orlando, BEA Dallas, BEA Atlanta—well, I will start looking at prison camps first.” 

He’d rather look at prison camps than Dallas? I’m glad I got to got to BEA in 2009. It’s a world-class event, and getting worldlier.

Here’s my tale of entering the big time:

* * *

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money (Bloodsong 1) my second book and ticket to the BEA.

I went to the BEA–Book Expo America–when my book Numenon came out in 2009. BEA is the largest book fair/convention in the country, then and now. The year we went, it was in LA at Staples Center. Check out the images on their website, keeping in mind that Barry and I are country mice. We went into instant culture shock in the multi-story parking lot.

Seeing that LA is only 2.5 hours from our ranch, as opposed to being on the other side of the continent. We went.

Getting in cost $150. I can’t remember that was just for me or $150 each for my husband and I. We were hosted at a booth taken by the IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association. They’re the biggest and oldest organization representing indie authors and presses. The organization was known as the PMA back then. The IBPA hosts the Benjamin Franklin Awards, which may be the most prestigious contest for indie books. They READ every word of a book they’re judging. It’s very tough. The IBPA does great things for Indies and is worth joining.

Anyway, the IBPA maintained a booth at the BEA and allowed us micropress members exhibition space. I don’t remember if there was a charge for that or not. Probably.

Book Expo America DID have little cost in addition to the $150 entry fee: any author exhibiting there had to do a book signing and GIVE AWAY fifty copies of his/her book(s). We originally published Numenon as a hardback, to that cost was not inconsiderable.

My signing was scheduled at the IBPA booth. I don’t know why I was there as opposed to the “signing room” with all the major authors. Probably because we decided to go at the last minute and the main room was full. The “signing room” was a very large, corridor-like room with long tables running down both sides. Each author had about two feet of the table’s pristine, white-clothed real estate within which to sign books.

Carrie Fisher was there with a new book. A line of people wanting an autographed copy stacked up in front of her, moving from her perch, out the door, disappearing into the massive main hall beyond.

Here’s a funny story: we used a book consultant in producing my first two books. She’s the one who told us about the BEA and got us to go. One of her other clients, an adorable and ancient MD, had written his memoir. He had a colorful life as a Hollywood doc and I believe was a Holocaust survivor on top of that. He was signing his book at the same time as Carrie Fisher. She was swamped. He sat in front of a pile of his books, all alone.

Carrie looked over at him and shrieked, “Dr. Whatever! OMG! It’s Dr. Whatever! I love him! He’s my favorite person in the world.” He was her doctor. She jumped up and ran to the beaming physician. They embraced.

She went back to signing her book, but sent her line of I-want-your-autograph people to him after she signed her book. He was flooded with loving new fans and had a wonderful BEA experience.

I was sure that my signing would be a bust, even though BEA hires people with big signs to roam the aisles and point the crowds to authors having signings. I didn’t think they would help me. I was a two-book nobody and–Staples Center is HUGE, HUGE, HUGE! They had the main floor, a bridge over to another floor where the cafeteria was, more floors. Nooks and crannies full of authors and books.

I was in culture shock just parking the car. Where we live, cattle in the streets are the biggest traffic problem.

The big publishers, Random House and all the rest, monopolized the main floor with magnificent, specially-designed structures displaying their books. BEA is for booksellers–book stores, etc.–so the reps of the big 6 (or 5 or 3, now) publishers were all over taking orders from stores. Their presence was very professional and took up lots of very expensive floor space.

Smaller publishers, not the majors but substantial publishing houses, and I mean every friggin’ one of them, had smaller displays and booths arranged in rows radiating from the central core/temple area. The IBPA’s booth wasn’t too far back, but it was small and down an aisle. I would be forgotten.

On the other hand, the atmosphere was electric!  I leapt into the crowds and didn’t look back. The bigger booths offered wine, appetizers, seating areas, famous authors on call, and FREE BOOKS. Everyone had to give away fifty, remember. MANY famous authors were there. OK, maybe not so famous, but I remember Carrie Fisher and I got meet Mark Victor Hanson and his entourage.

Crowds filled the space like circling flocks of birds or schools of fish, ignited by a celebrity sighting. Before my signing, I joined a stampede, unable to resist the gang mentality or my own excitement! Captain Kirk was there! With a new book! I didn’t even know William Shatner could write, but I always liked the fact that he rode horses.

I cruised the aisles myself, ending up with several shopping bags of books that looked interesting. All free–giveaways of new books and galleys is good business. All the publishers offered their bounty freely. The only catch was, due to union rules that no one but union members could use wheeled carts to move books or anything else, I had to heft my gleanings in bags that ended up weighing about fifty pounds each. But it was fun!

The seek-and-find mission distracted my attention from my feeling of impending disaster at my booksigning. I expected my signing to be about the same as that older doctor’s without Carrie Fisher’s intervention. I was way back in the aisles, in a small booth with an unknown book about the richest man in the world and a Native American holy man. I would be unable to even GIVE fifty books away. I’d have to take them home. (That mind-set is a residue of my social standing in third grade.)

IT WAS A DELUGE!  Smiling people swamped the little booth, demanding that I sign my precious Numenon before giving it to them. Never in my life have I felt so popular! Being an author was wonderful! WONDERFUL! We were so smart to come to BEA! This was wonderful. The sales this exposure would generate would finance our retirement.

Only one thing marred it: Wandering around the aisles, I met a veteran of the Marines who had written his life story. He was published by a military press. Most regrettably, he’d been hit in the head by a missile as he was driving his tank in Iraq. He lived but was almost blinded, lost most of his hearing, and suffered terrible injury, from which he was rehabilitated as much as possible, which was what his book was about.

Nick Popaditch was an heroic and impressive figure in his dress uniform. His beautiful wife, a Native American woman, accompanied him. We chatted for a while and I invited him down the aisle a bit later, offering him a copy of Numenon.

I’d forgotten all about the couple when they appeared at my signing. He held her arm and walked slowly, more magnificent standing than he’d been sitting in his booth. Also grievously injured.

I’d forgotten to put a book away for him. In the melee, all of them had been given out, every single one! I gave them a copy of Stepping Off the Edge, my previous book, but the couple was visibly disappointed. I mailed a copy to the address he gave me, for Wounded Warriors. Never heard anything. They left, disappearing from my life.

I will plug his book; I found it very moving and inspiring. Nick Popaditch, Once a Marine.

Well, the Popaditch‘s didn’t get my book, but the rest had been a triumph. I had a blast with the holiday/cocktail party/star-struck/as-many-free-books-as-you-could-carry-away atmosphere. My book signing had been a great success! The books would go out into the world, and come back as sales and fame for me and my writing. What could be more fun?

My husband is very quiet and reclusive. He hated every minute of BEA.

* * *

When we got home, I looked at Numenon’s sale page on Amazon. Multiple copies of Numenon “signed by the author” were up for sale by many sellers. Also on eBay. Those excited people who came to my book signing were penny-ante booksellers grabbing free stuff to sell. They didn’t care about my book; they were trying to earn back the $150 it cost them to get in. I felt really ripped off.

OK. Much processing later. So I gave away a bunch of books. A well-known consultant to the book business once told me that books fail because there aren’t enough of them out there. “The book has to be visible. Give them away to get them into people’s hands. Give away LOTS.”

When it all shook out, I don’t know that I got a single review from those books or got anything at all.

Would I do it again? I would if I was Carrie Fisher and already had a following. Or if I was really rich and just wanted to go to a party about books and snag a couple of bags full for free. (Aside from Nick Popaditch‘s book, I don’t think I read any of those I picked up.)

That’s my experience at BEA. I did have a great time. I might have had a better time had I gone to some of the award presentations, starting the year before and in future years, when my books began to win prizes. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you win an award: pump it for all it’s worth. Get your face in front of cameras. Announce it everywhere. Scream it for the yarboards, or halboards. Rooftops. That’s called marketing. I’ve never gone to any of the ceremonies, wasting opportunities.

The  IBPA puts on a great award ceremony for the Benjamin Franklin Award. Be sure and go, if you win. I was a finalist for that with my first book, Stepping Off the Edge in 2006 (or 7).  Looks like the ceremony is separate from BEA now, but it used to be held in a location near the BEA at the same time.  Also, the Independent Publisher has a great ceremony for winners in the IPPYs, its book award. Here’s a blog article by Lisa Shea, who won two awards in the IPPYs. She went to the ceremony and give a rundown of what it was like. I’ve won three IPPYs awards over the years, but didn’t go to their  award ceremonies. Looks like I missed something.

Why didn’t I go to the award ceremonies? I’m not a “goer”: I didn’t attend any of my graduations after high school. The only reunion I’ve gone to was for the employees of the Santa Clara County Planning Department, where I worked for a long time. Loved those folks.

Would I go again if a fairy godmother gifted me? Sure, especially if I had an award to pick up. Otherwise, I’d want to build up my brand and visibility with every tool I had before venturing forth. Which is what Indie authors should be doing anyway.

I hope this tale is illuminating. I don’t know if conferences devoted specifically to fantasy or genres would be any different. I’d say: build your brand, your sales, your visibility, then evaluate going.

 

Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan, who’s got a lot of cool books for you to check out. Click the link.

 

The article's over: the fat lady's singing.

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