Posts tagged: Earth’s End

Is Book Marketing like Snorkeling in a Septic Tank?

Sewage Treatment Plant in England

I have been wrestling with this issue for years. Do I defile myself by immersing my soul (and body) into the odoriferous swamp of  book peddling? Is bookselling the sleazy activity inappropriate for decent people that I think it is? Why is it so off-putting?

Look at my email inbox. As a good, modern Internet marketer, I belong to a multitude of Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter  writers’, readers’, and marketing  groups, as well as subscribing to individuals’ and groups’ blogs. And sites like Pixel of Ink, ENT, and BookBub. I get around three or four hundred emails a day. That’s after scrubbing my list of non-essentials. This is what the emails are like, except most aren’t intentionally funny:

I had to share the latest 5 star review from my new book entitled, POOPSIE SPANKS A POODLE: ‘Wow. This is a really good book. Great character development. You just feel for that poodle! You’re getting to be a better writer, Sandy. I’ll read everything you write!!’ Mom

“WOO-HOO! I JUST GOT MY 10,000,000th TWITTER FOLLOW! I broke their counter! Next, I’ll take over the world!”

“Here’s a foolproof system to sell your book on Amazon. Only requires $99 up front and lifetime celibacy.”  God

“God may promise you a good deal, but I deliver. Want all 5 star reviews? That can be arranged.” Satan

“Hi everyone! Please check out my Facebook  author page and give me a Like. When you’re done with that, could you go to my Amazon author page and Like it, too? And on Google +, there’s a  . . .  And on Twitter . . .  I’m also in a contest. Could you drop by GoodReads and vote? Pretty, pretty please? Plus, it’s my birthday. Could you send a cake?” Mona I’ve-Never-Heard-of-You-in-my-Life

“5 stars! Wow! Was this book hot! My Kindle ignited. Also the house.”

They go on like that, hundreds a day, many from the same person, “Buy my book! Buy my book!” “Me! Me! Me!” “My Book!” “Nothing else matters in the universe, so buy my book.” “Gimme! Gimme!” “He is HOT! She is HOT! Their dog is HOT!” Day after day. Vile communications pitched at . . . whom? Who would buy anything with this type of selling technique? It absolutely grosses me out. Because of this spewing of egotism, I haven’t promoted my stuff for maybe six months. My sales show it, too. This stream of verbiage must do something, but at what personal cost to those sending and receiving it?

Your better marketing articles say this behavior is marketing suicide. But the emails keep pouring in.

How to market a book? I dunno. I’ve been doing it for years and haven’t a clue. I’ve had friends say, “But your marketing is so good!” Meaning whatever I send out is beautiful and tasteful. But it doesn’t ignite my bottom line the way I want.

This is an example of the tasteful and elegant graphics that have my friends thinking I'm a great marketer. This actually happened: I couldn't get my sale to go away. Even Amazon couldn't help.

The good old days really were the good old days. My first book came out in 2006. Marketing was much easier in those early days. You didn’t have to do much more than have a great cover, a bunch of killer reviews, and a few national awards. Bingo! Selling success.

My first novel, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, rose to the number 1 position in three categories of Mysticism and cruised around the 1,500 level in the Kindle store for a year. I did no promoting and didn’t think there was anything unusual about the book’s performance.

Hah! I wish I’d known how to take screenshots then. I’d have a record of those fabulous numbers. (The screenshot is the modern author’s best friend. After your mammoth promotional campaign lands you in the #1 Bestseller spot for fifteen minutes, you can stare at the screen shot afterward to remember the glory. You can only do that if you took it, of course.)

Now, it’s not so easy. The problem is the number of books coming out. How does an excellent, well-edited book, with a killer cover and award-winning author get noticed?
Seems like it should rise automatically. Forget that.

I’ve read three books recently that offer a defense against the tsunami of eBooks flooding Amazon. I recommend them heartily. They are:

After reading these books, I felt hope that I could get this marketing thing down. I had a definite direction. In Let’s Get Visible, Gaughran talks about Amazon algorithms and how to use them to your benefit. Reading this was like finding the Holy Grail. Both of his books above are worth memorizing.

Joanna Penn handles the “marketing is sleazy and degrading” issue and shows you how to approach the activity in a civilized fashion. Joanna says she’s introverted. (I doubt she could be as introverted as me and be in international speaking sensation.) But she’s accomplished great things including writing careers in fiction and nonfiction, blogging, and international speaking.

My initial reaction to the three books was relief and joy at having found concrete advice and a path to follow. By the time I got to the end of each, I was more like, “Whoa. This is a lot. This means serious work . . . When do these people sleep?” When I knew what success required, I felt depressed.

But the feelings didn’t last. I have a pressing need to practice the stuff in those books. Starting now. If you’re interested, links to my web page and Amazon Author Page are down below, as is a link to In Love by Christmas: A Paranomal Romance, which blasted it’s way to the top of the charts in a bunch of categories, ending up ranked in eleven Amazon categories just this week. Woo-ha!

In Love by Christmas is a paranormal romance according to the industry definitions of those terms. It’s a romance, in that the relationship drives the story and is its most important element. It’s paranormal in that a few of the characters have supernatural abilities. The hero, Leroy Watches Jr., is a shaman who can do all sorts of things, often with disastrous results. It’s not your paranormal romance with naked men  and dragons on the cover. (My cover artist gave me that description of the genre based on her experience designing covers.)

Oh, let’s go all the way. Here’s a video about In Love by Christmas. If there’s anything I like to do more than write, it’s make videos. This is my masterpiece and my Happy Holidays 2014 greeting to you:


IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS: A PARANORMAL ROMANCE – Noel – Montreal Version +
from Sandy Nathan on Vimeo.
Leroy Watches Jr. is a shaman whose Power sometimes makes things worse. Despite his flaw, he must 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 a pilgrimage that takes him to the highest levels of European society. As he travels, his shamanic Power grows. So does the Dark Lord’s hatred of him.
His prospective father-in-law demands that Leroy and Cass be in love by Christmas. Can they be?

All the best in your publishing endeavors. Remember, if facing the public is too much, hide under your bed. You’ll find me right beside you.

So long for now,

In Love by Christmas (Bloodsong 3)

In Love by Christmas (Bloodsong 3). My new book, and Amazon #1 Bestseller in Metaphysical Fantasy.

SANDY NATHAN, award-winning and #1 bestselling author of In Love by Christmas, and a bunch more. You can find them on my Amazon Author Page. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, United States of America! Happy Birthday, David Oddstad!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GOOD OL' USA!

OUR NATION CELEBRATES ITS 237TH BIRTHDAY TODAY! I wonder if the founding fathers (and mothers) had any idea we’d last this long. I wonder how far into the future we’ll last, given the state of dysfunction in Congress. I have a feeling that we’ll muddle through as we always have, pulling it out of the fire to chug along another 237 years.

This is an emotional day for me. I have such deep and tender feelings for my country that just looking for stars and stripes type images for the banner above made me cry. The photo service I use had hundreds of pages of US flags flying, flags out flat, flags with fireworks. Flags with eagles superimposed on them. With eagles, fireworks and the Statue of Liberty. Stylized flags. Country style flags. Grunge flags. If I’d looked at too many more patriotic pages, I’d be flat on my back boo-hooing.

I’ll spare you that and just say, “It’s a grand old flag and I’m glad I was born under it. Whatever faults our  country has, it has virtues twice as strong.”

This is an emotional day for me for another reason. My brother’s birthday was July 5th. When I was growing up, my family had the biggest honkin’ birthday party for him every Fourth of July. It started about 10 AM with a six hour water polo game. This was followed by the mother of all barbeques. EVERYONE came––all my aunties and uncles, cousins, my grand parents, and dear family friends. That party was the heart and soul of my life. Everyone I cared about was there.

David and Sandy Oddstad hugging at Christmas. He must be in his late 20s. I'm in my 30s.

The gigantic feast, weighted far too heavily with protein, took up a couple of hours in the late afternoon. That was followed by dancing, for those who could still stand. And finally! The grand finale: fireworks. Enough to burn up the entire town. Those remaining trickled away in the late hours with another birthday bash for our country and my brother under our belts. Good days that seem magical in retrospect.

For years, my brother didn’t know that all the Fourth of July hoopla wasn’t for him. That’s a nice, innocent way to be; the outside world didn’t intrude on his personal reality much.

My brother died tragically and unexpectedly in 2007. To me, he was always the adorable, glowing healthy young boy that these photos show. Please join me in greeting David Oddstad:

David Oddstad - Junior Muscle Man

Andy Oddstad, our dad, was a wrestler, body builder, water-skier and all round athlete. He encouraged all  the boys in our social circle (and family) to work out, wrestle, and water ski. David was no different, caught here a pose my dad loved. Isn’t he adorable?

David Loved His Go Cart

One of the happiest days in my brother’s life was the day our dad brought home his go cart. An empty lot was next door to our house. David roared around it from dawn ’til dusk. Or until someone called the cops. The thing was noisy. My brother’s answer to a dream drove the neighbors crazy.

The police were different in back then.  I remember one really nice officer coming by on a complaint. “A lot of doctors live around here. You have to be quiet. They need their sleep.”

My brother will always be that eager, blue eyed kid. I loved him very much.

David and my grandmother, Stephanie Ingeborg Oddstad. David had the bluest eyes. He's suffering from "red eye" here, but trust me, you've never seen a more gorgeous blue. My grandmother was the heart of the family and a real lady. I never saw her without jewelry, gloves and a hat. I never heard her say a negative word about anyone. She and all the Oddstads were of 100% Icelandic stock.

I took my brother’s death hard, as you can probably tell reading this.

David didn’t die completely. I’m a writer. My grief became a book. It’s sci-fi, about a dying United States (and earth) two hundred or so years from now. Themes and elements of his life are woven throughout the book. It won a lot of awards, including the Gold Medal for Visionary Fiction in the IPPYs, the oldest and largest competition for independent publishers.

I’d like to introduce you to my brother, David Oddstad, and the book my love for him created:

The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy - Dedicated to David Oddstad - We're changing the cover to this one. It may not be up yet. The book is the same regardless of cover.

Here’s a press release about it. More information is available here.

CALIFORNIA  – The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy is Sandy Nathan’s new science fiction/fantasy novel. Of the special genre of books and films that include 1984, A Brave New World, Brazil, and The Prisoner Series, The Angel takes the reader to a dark future world that’s not so different from our own. In the late 22nd century, people are continually watched, disappearing off the streets and from their homes. A shadowy but all-powerful government calls the shots; war rages while the authorities proclaim the Great Peace.

All is not bad in this fictional realm, for the angelic extraterrestrial, Eliana, appears on the streets on New York City on a mission to save her planet.  As radiant and pure as the world around her is tarnished, Eliana must find the Golden Boy. He turns out to be Jeremy Edgarton, a tech genius in a world where technology is outlawed, a revolutionary, and the FBIs most wanted. They find themselves caught up in an explosive adventure when Jeremy decodes new transmissions and discovers that a nuclear holocaust will take place the next morning.

The themes of The Angel read like pure sci-fi, but author Sandy Nathan explains, “I’m a former economist. While the love story between Jeremy and Eliana enchants, the back-story–the hideous world around them–is the product of my economist’s mind interacting with current events. We’re in the worst economic melt-down since the 1930′s, with no end in sight. Some seemingly far-fetched events in The Angel are based upon history. Germany’s economic distress during the Great Depression allowed the rise of Adolf Hitler. In the book, a similar totalitarian state arises when we fail to recover from the Great Recession of the early 2000′s. Our recession. The Angel’s world is just a heartbeat from our own. I want to challenge my readers to discover solutions so that the fictitious situations in The Angel don’t become real.”

Happy Fourth and best wishes the rest of the year!

Sandy Nathan

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