BOSWORT is a finalist for the Colorado Author’s League (CAL) Writing Award in the Young Adult Category.
CAL is a membership organization for professional writers who live in Colorado, and is dedicated to improving writing skills.
BOSWORTH is a paranormal coming of age story set in the fictional town of Bosworth in Orange County NY, and the story takes place in the fall of 2015.
Over the course of the past 4 or 5 years I’ve tried all sorts of different approaches to increase readership. Virtually nothing has worked.
I’ve given books away using both read and review programs, as well as pure giveaways. One of my books was downloaded from Amazon over 12 thousand times, but I suspect that it was only read by a relative handful of folks, and the giveaway added zero sales.
Facebook and Twitter have been fairly useless as advertising media. Not only do they NOT add sales, they don’t really even generate website clicks.
Google AdWords will generate web clicks, and even sales, but the best I’ve ever done was $1 in royalties for $2 spent on ads, and that’s only around Christmas.
I’ve hired marketing firms twice (including a highly recommended one)——results: zero sales.
The read and review programs have been among the worst. On one program, people were cashing in the Amazon coupon I sent potential readers to buy other stuff.
There is no magic key. People don’t buy books because of ads or because someone writes a nice review (or even a bad review). I decided to limit what I do when it comes to book marketing, cutting my marketing budget by 90%, and basically saw no change.
My suggestion: just write your books, as you normally would. Make sure you offer a quality product, use a good editor, designer, and proof reader and don’t worry about selling books.
For those who think they’ll make a lot of money writing . . . well, you could win the lottery—it’s got about the same probability.
I do think competitions help, but you need to carefully select which competitions you enter. If you’re a small publisher, generally librarians won’t bother to even read your books—good or bad, since they didn’t come from one of the big 5 they are ignored, so you won’t be considered for the mainstream awards. In the mainstream publishing world (at least for now) editors use agents as filters and publishers use agents and librarians use publishers. Competitions offer an alternative filtering system, but the industry has not yet settled on a new model.
On formats: I’ve put books out in paperback, hardcover, Kindle, and epub formats, as well as an audible book. The epub book, which I offered through both Smashwords and KOBO was a mistake. As soon as I uploaded the book, one copy was bought and then was immediately pirated. The pirates made money on it—I didn’t. I no longer offer an epub format for my books.
I have heard that spending all day on social media pages can add sales. I haven’t seen evidence of this, but then I’m not really a social media butterfly, so take my opinion on this with a grain of salt.
One channel that (at least) offered a way to put your books into the hands of enthusiastic readers used to be GoodReads, but they decided to monetize their giveaway program to suck even more money from the pockets of writers, so I stopped using that channel. That’s really a symptom of the big industry now, which is exploiting people who decide to try writing. There are tons of folks out there telling you how they’ll “help” you. They don’t.
Just write. But if you’re writing poor quality books then you’re just making matters worse—poor quality books are why people don’t take small publishers seriously. Use an established professional editor . . . please.
I’m running Amazon Kindle Countdown Specials on the following books, from Nov 26 to Dec 3——
United States, Amazon.com:
The Balance, Kindle Edition, is discounted from 2.99 to 99 cents
I AM Kindle Edition is discounted from 2.99 to 99 cents
United Kingdom, Amazon.co.UK:
The Balance Kindle Edition is discounted to 0.99 pounds
Bosworth Kindle Edition is discounted to 0.99 pounds
The Boy Who Ran Kindle Edition is discounted to 0.99 pounds
In the past, I experimented with a giveaway, but found that many, many copies were downloaded but never read. For me, this isn’t a money-making effort as much as an effort to get more people to read at least one of my books, as a sample. Keeping a minimum price (this is the least non-zero price I can charge at Amazon) at least ensures that those downloading the book may actually be interested in reading it.
All discounts Begin Nov 26 (Sunday) and end Dec 3 .
My author page at amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Selden/e/B00GSEBBDC/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1Pre-Christmas Kindle Edition Discount—Nov 26 to
In Panama City FL, I remember roaming the neighborhood and by the lake when I was probably still in diapers, and later—from age 3 (in 1961)—roaming the streets of post war (and the newly-divided) Berlin, with its bombed-out buildings. The kids there all spoke only German, but we still managed to play together, as we tried to learn each other’s language. “Wie heißt du?” were the first German words I learned. I remember seeing a young German man with long hair and asking him “Bist du ein Beatle?” Since I thought that any guy with long hair MUST have been one of the fab four.
I think exposure to a constantly-changing set of diverse worlds—cities, countries, states—and being thrown into new cultures as an only child helped me develop I also think it sharpened my memory. When you’re in a group of people and you’re 4 or 5 and translating for a gathering of adults, it forces you to concentrate, especially when your German isn’t all that good to begin with. I think I was blessed to be an Air Force brat, and an only child. Otherwise I would have had something comfortable and familiar on which to lean, and that might have made me complacent. In ever-changing circumstances you’re always either doing your best to swim in unfamiliar waters, or you’re left alone . . . . waiting . . . This later gives rise to spurring imagination. Imagine, as a fairly young kid, sitting on an airplane for 18 hours—quietly. It forces you to create adventures and stories in your head. It’s both good and bad being an “only”. You’re alone and yet you’re not, because as an only child your parents take you everywhere and you experience everything.
In the book I AM, I was deliberately vague about details at the end of the story—much more so than normal. I wanted to challenge readers to think through what had happened and to apply their own interpretation of events in the story, but I’ve seen that my intent wasn’t well communicated. I wanted to correct this a bit, and so updated the epilog of the book to help readers understand what happened.
In a few days (or hours), the updated epilog will automatically appear in your copy the next time your kindle library is synchronized. Unfortunately, paperbacks are not updated this way, but with I AM, most copies in circulation are Kindle editions—about 12 thousand copies. For me, this is one of the great things about ebooks—correcting errors and updating books in circulation is easy to do.
As I write the second volume of The Balance, I though I might offer a gift to those who’ve supported me and have read The Balance
The Purge is a short story set 18 years, or so, before the story of The Balance picks up. It is best read by those who have read The Balance, since having an understanding of the characters and of the Land help you to to make sense of the story and you’ll enjoy it much more
I am posting the entire story as a pdf file on my web site:
Dear Beloved Readers (although you may be few, you are certainly valued)
I’m not sure exactly what’s happening on Amazon with respect to reviews. I used to get more reviews after releasing a book, but I’ve only seen one pop up for Bosworth, which was released in mid March. In the meantime, GoodReads has seen 4 ratings and 3 reviews over that same period. It used to be that Amazon reviews outnumbered the GoodReads reviews.
I did get an email from a reader who was trying to post a review. She said that the process changed and that she needed to answer questions first. Unfortunately, I think this put her off adding a review.
In the meantime, I’ve seen the review count for I AM change. First it was 38 then it was 37 then it was 38 again and now it’s 37. Not sure why, not sure what’s happening. There is a review for I AM that was a 1-star because the software handshake between Amazon and that person’s device had an issue and the book didn’t download properly (It downloaded fine for the other 12 thousand free copies, I suppose). THAT review stays in place, even though it has nothing to do with the actual book.
I read that some authors are finding ways to “game” the reviews—not me, I don’t see it as being a worthy and honest undertaking. I guess I’ll wait for the dust to settle. In the meantime, I hope people who review on GoodReads are not put off by the updated Amazon process—funny, Amazon owns GoodReads, yet they don’t bother combining the reviews.
Update on current projects:
I’ve been slow to start the second volume of The Balance, although I still expect it to come out next year—I’ve been doing this for 4 years now and have published 4 books. I am writing a short story, a kind of prequel for The Balance, set 18 years before the story that takes place in Volume 1. The short story is called The Purge, and it recounts some of the experiences that Rebecca and Daniel had just before Phoebe’s birth. Chip Cheek has agreed to read through the short story, to provide editing and feedback, and I anticipate sending him the draft by July 10 of this year. The whole short story will be posted online, on my web site and on Wattpad for free. I’ll see if I can post it on GoodReads, too.
Well, today, I’m supposed to take my G 650 GS motorcycle down to Colorado Springs to get a new chain and sprockets and I’ll be getting back to the rebuild of my lower front deck for the rest of this week, but it won’t interfere with the writing, since I do that late at night—sitting in front of my Dell 30 inch monitor, hooked to my Mac Air notebook computer, with music playing in the background.
Have a great week and weekend!
#fiction #reviews #TheBalance #ThePurge #IAM
The Amazon Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 50 copies of the Bosworth Kindle Edition ends May 22
AMAZON is running a giveaway sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 50 copies of the kindle edition I am making available.
For details, click on this link:
Bosworth is a Coming of Age Paranormal Drama written for a young adult and older audience. The story is set in the fictional town of Bosworth in Orange County NY.
Jim and his imaginary friend, Bo the dog, have recently moved to Bosworth after his father was killed in an automobile accident. He’s still recovering from his own injuries and dealing with the psychological issues that plagued him as a young child. He soon learns that the town has a history of having children disappear, usually in the fall, and he has to struggle with a sense of isolation in the town while he deals with the loss of his father, and the town’s terror of the “Bosworth Monster”.
The contest will run from May 5 to May 22 and AMAZON will choose the winners from among the entrants when the sweepstakes is over.
Bosworth Was Published and Released for Sale 3/15/2017 from Ingram’s LightningSource
The Kindle and paperback editions should be available on Amazon soon, perhaps as early as this Saturday—March 18
From the back cover of BOSWORTH:
Jim and his mom moved into town and away from the city after his father was killed in an automobile accident. He struggles to deal with the loss of his dad and is still recovering from his own injuries. Bo the beagle, a long-time imaginary childhood companion, returned to Jim during his stay in the hospital—a fact his mother reluctantly accepts. Bosworth is an old town filled with Victorian era homes, but there’s more in store for him than just old houses and imaginary friends. A dark, hidden fear has been with the town for longer than most can remember.
People don’t speak about it, but Jim and his friends will soon learn that they can’t avoid it.
Bosworth is a coming of age story, a dark paranormal drama set in the small fictional town of Bosworth, in Orange County New York. The story takes place between Sept and Nov 2015.
This book is not recommended for people under the age of 15.
Bosworth is the fourth novel written by Michael Selden. His first npvel, a middle grade parable, called “The Boy Who Ran”, won the 2014 IPPY Gold Medal for juvenile fiction. His second novel, “The Balance”, was a story set in a dystopian post-apacalyptic future, and his third novel a science fiction story, called “I AM”, which revolves around a dark comet on a collision course with the Earth.
Michael worked as a research physicist and program manager for almost thirty years before he moved to a small mountain town in Colorado to write novels.
His planned fifth book will be a continuation of the story started in “The Balance”, with the subtitle: “The Wastelands and the Wilderness”. It is planned to be ready fror release sometime in 2018.
Excerpts form all of Michael’s books can be found on his web site:
For those contemplating retirement with some trepidation:
There is work and there is life and as long as your work isn’t work, then it’s not really oppressive but just another part of a happy life, but when it stops being that way then it’s time for a change. I firmly believe that you have only yourself to blame for staying in a situation where you’re unhappy. For myself, I’ve had several lifetimes of doing different things squeezed into my years of work, so—when I decided to “retire” radical change wasn’t daunting for me; it was a familiar friend. I’ve never been afraid of jumping off the beaten path and into the unknown. Retirement isn’t the end of work, it’s the beginning of another stage of life and work, one where you choose what to do and toil only for yourself.
I remember sending an email to some of my long-time colleagues the day I decided NOT to take another job at my company (although I had offers), and not to seriously consider that job in California, and not to agree to work on the NASA project, or any other job.
The email expressed how I felt and the poem I included was drawn from memory—from the books collectively called “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever”. In that series, people trained and worked to become a part of the leadership, a nobel undertaking, but some took a different path. They took a decision to break off and push forward into some new and unique direction. They were unconcerned about the normal ambitions most people have. These quirky pioneers were called the “unfettered ones”, free spirits released from service to go off on their own, often to study narrow and arcane subjects. In the end they worked harder than those who served, because this was a passion for them. There was a ceremony involved, called the ‘rite of unfettering’, and the rite stuck in my head:
Rite of Unfettering (quoted from the books):
Dream that what is dreamed will be:
Old eyes clasped shut until they see,
And sing the silent prophecy –
And be –
(From the books by Stephen R. Donaldson)
I would hazard to guess that this attitude might serve well us well when it’s finally time to cast aside that mortal part of ourselves we inhabit during our brief stay here, as well.
Bosworth is a Coming of Age Paranormal Drama set in Orange County NY in 2015
I’ve included a sample from the book on my web site, a PDF document that can be read here:
I hope you read the sample (Prologue and Chapter 1). Please let me know what you think.
Copyright, Michael Selden 2017
Draft Cover Reveal for the book BOSWORTH—my 4th book.
The book should be out in both paperback and Kindle editions by March 21. I’ll be posting a couple of sections from the book on my web site as the book is released.
While I’m waiting for the proof of BOSWORTH, I thought I’d start working on The Balance Part 2—The Wastelands and the Wilderness.
For those who haven’t read The Balance:
“The Land” escaped targeting during the war, and was protected from the worst of the destruction and much of the aftermath by the Western Mountains, a tall range of mountains that runs along the western border. Prior to the war, two organizations prepared for the war and positioned underground facilities in The Land, as well as other strategically selected places globally.
One of these was ‘The Council of God’, an ecumenical group formed by the different Christian faiths, which also welcomed Islamic and Jewish groups into its membership. Together the member of this organization was determined to save and many lives as possible and then to lead people to a lead them to a more faith-based society, rooted in an agrarian economy and which turned its back on most technologies.
The second organization was The Order, a group rooted in science and technology, and which had survived as a secret society for centuries. They were committed to creating human and technology time capsules globally, so that the survivors of the war wouldn’t have to start from scratch and could cut centuries from continuing the progress made before the war. But this group was also concerned about the spread of dangerous technologies and knowledge. They intended to provide education, the benefits of technology, but to closely hold core knowledge that might lead to the creation of more destructive weapons.
The Order had a second purpose, as well. They were intent on advancing human evolution, too, and wanted to control how that evolution proceeded. To that end they created the Future Man Project, a set of genetic engineering programs intent on improving empathy, foresight, and the health of humans. These were the Healer program, the Sensitives Program, and the Prescient Program. Each program sought out and amplified key characteristics of the people involved and developed. The intent was to push these characteristics as far as possible and then to fold them back into the general population through planned breeding. The programs were all started about 50 years before the war and by the time the story begins (200 years after the war) they’d created beings with abilities that seemed almost supernatural.
Following the war, the Council and the Order, realizing that they needed to work together to accomplish their missions, formed an agreement, called The Balance. It was a measure to retain control of technologies and dangerous knowledge while nurturing the faith based civilization and yet allowing The Order to provide access to technologies, including a monopoly on their control. In exchange, the Order agreed not to challenge the Council’s teachings and to assume a junior role in leadership.
Suspicion and acrimony grew in the relationship from time to time, but the two organizations managed to keep the agreement for around 170 years. At that point the secret of the Future Man Project came out and a natural catastrophe was used as an excuse to purge The Land of The Order and of technology in general. Order members, and particularly the products of the genetics programs were rounded up and executed. A few members escaped and some lived on in the Council-controlled society, hiding who they were. One of these was Phoebe, the main character in the first book The Balance. Phoebe was from the Sensitives Program and she managed to hide in plain sight, living in the port town of New Bright Sea Harbor.
Besides The Order, other people decided they didn’t want to live under the rule of The Council, and following The Purge, which drove the Order out, they escaped to the west, beyond the Western Mountains. People in the Land are told that the Wastelands are still hot with radiation and unlivable, but these escapees discovered that they could live there and formed villages and small towns along the coast of an inland sea. Far to the north, lay the Northern Wilderness, an area that had never been developed. Rugged and harsh, the Wilderness is also split by a chain of mountains and contains an active volcano that often produces fog-like conditions and makes portions of the north a dangerous place to visit.
Part 2 of The Balance continues to follow the machinations of The Council and The Order. The Council wants to stamp out any remaining members of The Order. Meanwhile, The Order has been trying to find a way to assume their role in society and to reestablish The Balance. The story begins in The Land, where the Council is trying to find and destroy the active Order Cell that has been operating in The Land since the Purge.
All characters and content copyrighted and registered through the US copyright office to Michael Selden
Map from the book:
After you’ve gone through editing, and you’re happy with your manuscript, it’s time to go to book design. This includes interior layout and font selection as well as cover design. To make it easier for me to get through the entire process, I chose to stick with a tried and true design house. I know the quality will be there and that the designer will work with me to help make the book as good as possible.
I’ve been using Belle Etoile Studio This is a two-person book organization, Michael Trudeau is an editor with experience in both non-fiction and fiction and Jamie Kerry, who works the design side of the house.
Michael supported me with The Boy Who Ran and Jamie has done the design work for all of my books.
While working with Jamie, I’ll usually also be working with a proof reading editor. The proof reader is a second layer of editing and he or she also looks for design errors. I like to do two rounds with the proof reader to minimize the number of errors, although I know all too well that perfection is virtually impossible.
The BOSWORTH Manuscript is back from editing, and the editorial suggestions have all been reviewed and adopted. The final script is just shy of 71 thousand words—it shed a couple thousand words in editing.
I’ll be reading through it one more time by myself, “listening” for awkward phrasing or cadence before I send it to the designer. Jamie will select a font for the print edition and layout the interior, making sure the words wrap well in my selected book size. I’ll be using an 8-inch by 5-inch format, perfect bound, with a gloss color cover. Meanwhile, I’ll put together the front matter and back matter pages—these are things like the title page, the copyright warnings, acknowledgements, and so forth.
Once that’s done, I’ll work with a second editor, acting as a proof reader, to look for residual errors in both typos and the print layout. As we do that Jamie will use the image I provide to make the cover design.
Should be out in March
Cover image by Paola Sbriccoli The image uses a combination of drawings and adapts and extends (through drawing) the photo of a beagle by Claude Valroff, openly shared for use and adaptation on Wikipedia. The photo was of a female dog, but I don’t think Bo (the dog in the book) minds so much. Bo was named after one of my mother’s dogs.
Bosworth is a Coming of Age Paranormal Drama.
The last group of chapters is with the editor, John Hudspith. I anticipate working through all of his suggestions this coming week—the first full week of February—and then I’ll take a last pass at the document before sending it to Jamie at Belle Etoile for design. Paola (the person who drew the cover image for The Boy Who Ran) is drawing the cover for this book, too. And Chip is lined up to do proofreading. He did the proof reading / final editing of The Balance, which had remarkably few remaining errors for a book its size.
Writing Bosworth has been a real pleasure, and I hope readers will like it, too.