My ‘failed’ wide experiment: update on Royal Scales series

Hey all! So it’s a bummer–it is what it is–and I’m ultimately happy with having tried the ‘wide experiment.’ Why? Because if nothing else, we garnered a couple new reviews (favorable which is nice, but we like getting any and all reviews even if they might hurt) my favorite one coming from a lovely blogger, Greta Cribbs, who featured Once Lost Lords Royal Scales Book 1 as her Indie Book of the Month for June! How awesome is that? Here’s a little snippet from her post:

This time it was an urban fantasy with…gulp…vampires and werewolves. I almost rejected it outright just from reading the blurb, but my submission policy clearly states that I will at least read the sample chapters before making a decision. I wasn’t expecting much. So many people have come along, in the aftermath of Twilight, trying to write the vampire/werewolf story, that I was sure nothing original could come out of the genre, but I was wrong. This month’s book proved me wrong.

I submitted the book on her blog and there were quite a few others who submitted their books in the comments, so to have been selected and then to have surprised her with how much she enjoyed it, well… it makes me even more proud of Stephan.

That aside, as far as the ‘fail’ part of my wide experiment, this is for those of you who like numbers:

Permafree since Feb. 2017

  • Amazon total free books:  5,643
  • Kobo total free books: To be fair, we went direct with them as of March. Their free book counter never worked while with them the only number I have from them is 95, I’m sure it’s more but we’ll never know the true total.
  • Pronoun (GooglePlay) total free books: 65
  • D2D (Draft2Digital vendors Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc…) total free books: 687
  • Smashwords total free books: 32

So a little over 6,000 free books, which yay?! I’m going to attribute all reviews from Feb. 2017 to the permafree experiment – we started with 5 reviews on Amazon and it went up 7 reviews! While that doesn’t seem so great, consider the last review before this all started was Nov 2016 *gasp*. We got our first new review in March and 6 more trickled in, it was nice!

Okay great, so what does this mean? I’m not sure, but here’s more numbers:

  • Amazon: Lady’s First Knight (Book 2) Feb-May = 109 sales
  • Amazon: Trials of the Chief (Book 3) Released end of April-May = 95 sales (a good portion of the total was from the $0.99 preorder price THANK YOU all you awesome people who preordered!)
  • Kobo: Lady’s First Knight (Book 2) Feb-May = 19 sales
  • Kobo: Trials of the Chief (Book 3) Released end of April-May = 5 sales
  • Pronoun (GooglePlay) Lady’s First Knight (Book 2) = 1 sale
  • Pronoun (GooglePlay) Trials of the Chief (Book 3) = 1 sale
  • D2D: Lady’s First Knight (Book 2) Feb-May = 9 sales
  • D2D: Trials of the Chief (Book 3) April-May = 9 sales
  • Smashwords: 0 for both since I did not list book 2 or 3 there… honestly I’d pretty much forgotten about them >.>

Total of 248 sales… hmmm compared to 6,000 free books that seems underwhelming, doesn’t it? Maybe I’m wrong, but Stephan basically said if it’s not making traction wide then it needs to return to KDP Select. And that’s what I did, so –shameless plug here– the entire Royal Scales series is now free to read with Kindle Unlimited. I do wish I hadn’t pulled them from wide so quick, as some of you may have noticed the books got brand-spankin’ new covers that better depict the genre (Urban Fantasy) and I noticed with each passing month as wide–even though it was only 1 or 2 sales–there were more copies being sold with each month. Oh well… maybe I’ll get to try again with another series.

*Edited to add – I just re-read my prior post about going wide and permafree with book 1 in the series and wanted to mention we still never got the elusive Bookbub even with the new covers and being widely available!

What do you awesome readers think? Was it a ‘fail’? Do you love/like/hate the new covers? Feel free to comment below!

Continue Online Part 1… an audiobook is complete! Do you want to listen?

Hi all, hope you’re having a great weekend so far, I know we are because April has been a wonderful month for us and 2 awesome things happened just yesterday.

First: I mentioned a while back we had plans to pursue an audiobook for the Continue Online series… perhaps Stephan will write a ramble about the process, but it was a long one, much longer than we had anticipated, but we took away a lot of lessons and next time should be smoother! But it’s here, Continue Online Part 1, Memories officially has an audiobook, you can click the picture or caption to take you to Audible. OR if you are one of the first 5 people to email frustratedwriting AT gmail DOT com you will receive a FREE code for a credit to download Continue Online!*ETA these are US Audible codes* This is a thank you to those who still follow Stephan’s blog, have supported us by commenting here on his drafts/rambles/etc… buying his books and just being an awesome audience. Thank you!!!

Second: We received the first round of edits back for The Fiasco In News from our amazing editor – she cleaned house for sure, and there’s a bunch of feedback/comments for Stephan to fix now (yes, he just groaned lol). 100% worth it to produce the best possible book for all you superhero novel fans!!! Once he’s done with his side of the edits, we’ll send it back for a final round of proofreading and then if there’s interest, we will be offering up ARC copies of a fully polished/edited book! I’ll announce that sometime closer to release (we’re thinking late July). Oh and the cover…. oh yes, our FIRST(won’t be our last) illustrated cover, it’s fan-frickin’-tastic… just wait 😉

As always, feel free to leave comments/questions/concerns below!

 

Going “wide”, permafree experiment, and ARC reader request (again)

3BK_promo

Hi all, Samantha here!

As you may (or may not) have noticed, the Royal Scales series went “wide” a few months back, what does “wide” mean? Well, it means the series is no longer available through the Kindle Unlimited program where it is required to be exclusively offered through Amazon. It is available at almost every book retailer except Google Play.

Why did we go wide? Because the series didn’t gain the same traction as Continue and I wanted to experiment with being more widely available plus having the option to make book 1 ‘permafree’ as a lead in to the other books in the series. While there are currently only two books out as of this posting, with book 3 releasing in April, I thought it would be a good time to go forward with the permafree book 1 and as such it is now available free! The link can be found here on the blog, or on the sidebar by clicking the cover for Once Lost Lords.

The following stats are from 2/20/2017-Today:

980 free books  – Amazon ~~ 12 free books – Smashwords ~~ 31 free books – Draft2Digital

So 3 weeks and 1,000+ books with minimal advertising/free advertising avenues.

New reviews? 0

I was hoping, more than anything, reviews would come from the free copies – maybe that’s naive or now an outdated strategy, perhaps it needs more time, but I promised Stephan if nothing came from being “wide” and permafree I would end the experiment. I’ll likely give it another month, maybe two… anyway, I thought sharing the current stats would be an interesting read.

We are still looking for some ARC readers for Trials of the Chief Royal Scales Book 3 with the intent of leaving an honest review, if you’re interested please email frustratedwriting AT gmail DOT com and I will happily provide an ePub or Mobi version. Also due to my mess up, Trials of the Chief is available in paperback format on Amazon, ARC readers can either wait until the eBook releases on April 25th or feel free to leave the review on the paperback version since they will eventually link.

PB

I also wanted to update about The Fiasco – I completed the ‘edits’ of book 1 (there’s 4 more chapters I think he’ll be posting to his WordPress soon?) the next step is for him to review/make changes to the comments I’ve left and then it’ll be shipped over to our editor in early April. We’re on track for a July release at this point, and if you missed it, Jeff Hays of Soundbooth Theater Live on Twitch.com read part of the first chapter of The Fiasco on 3/5/17 starts around 22:00 – Jeff then finishes the chapter on 3/12/17 – it reads very well and we are seriously considering getting the audio book done to release with the eBook/Print versions.

Oh, one last request, I promise! I need to know how readers feel about pre-ordering books, do you feel as though a discount is required if you’re pre-ordering in advance? A lot of books I see available for a special $0.99 pre-order and then they increase the price of the book to it’s normal price a few days after release. Does this work for you? Are you more likely to pre-order for  $.99 vs. $3.99?

As always, thank you for reading this far if you did! I hope to hear from you, please feel free to leave comments below 🙂

 

 

Gifts from Authors – Happy Friday!

Hi, Samantha here! Stephan returned to work today after another few weeks off (see previous post about 4 herniated discs!) His current plans involve posting the last few chapters of The Fiasco – In News to close out the book, I’ve reached chapter Part XX – Does This Shit Ever Make Sense? in my ‘editing’ pass, and I have to say this has definitely been a crazy ride compared to Continue Online and Royal Scales.

Anywho, in the meantime I wanted to share two gifts from two authors we’ve had the pleasure of meeting and talking to through the process of him writing and then doing reviews.

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The above pictures are of the Christmas gift we received from E.H. Nolan(I know, we’re so late in sharing this!), a signed copy of her book Like a Closed Fist. You remember Stephan reviewed this book back in December, and it was also the FIRST book outside of the Fantasy genre to receive a score of 5/5! This is huge to me because Stephan typically prefers the Fantasy/Science Fiction genre, that he could enjoy a smart, well-written book outside his comfort zone was a happy surprise. The second happy surprise? (while we knew she wanted to use a blurb of his review for her webpage, we didn’t expect it to be in the paperback book!) His review is featured inside and outside the book. When I realized this, I immediately got the warm fuzzies, what a humbling experience to be featured in another author’s book. I know Stephan feels the same. Thank you, Edie! Please check out her book on Amazon and learn more about this amazing author on her website.

***

The next set of pictures is a thoughtful and completely unexpected gift basket from author of LitRPG novel – Ascend Online – Luke Chmilenko. As mentioned earlier, Stephan shared his back trouble woes and a little over two weeks ago this arrived from Canada! (we are in Washington State). This assortment was so amazing, I’ve never tried anything from Canada, that I’m aware of, and I have to say the ‘Dorians’ cutes / crackers were surprisingly tasty! It also included maple syrup, maple tree filtered water(o_O), and my personal favorite COFFEE! lol Thank you, Luke, for being a good friend to Stephan!

~And if you haven’t checked it out already, his LitRPG novel has over 200 reviews and a rating of 4.8 on Amazon!

Well, that’s all for now! I hope to have a recommendation/review post on my newest video game I’ve been playing – Story of Seasons Trio of Towns – spoiler: it’s super fun!

Until next time.

Free Fantasy and Sci Fi eBooks! Plus News and Updates

happy girl reading book by the window in winter

Hi everyone, Samantha here! I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but with Stephan’s back issues I had a lot more on my plate, he has since improved but still feels shaky at times walking around. We’re moving forward on projects nevertheless and I have some exciting news to share.

As you can see from the clickable banner above, free eBooks are being offered from now until the 28th of this month, specifically fantasy/sci fi. Among the 18 books is Once Lost Lords Royal Scales book 1, if you haven’t had a chance to read it you can do so now, for FREE! Please check it out and feel free to share the page with others, they are even hosting a giveaway for an awesome coffee mug-seriously, I want it! Click HERE to visit the page.

i-am-a-book-dragon-mug

All right, news:

As promised last month, the cover reveal for Trials of the Chief Royal Scales Book 3!

webrsb3

I am very pleased with how this came out! Do you guys like it? ALSO – we are looking for some ARC readers – 20 or so, if you’re interested in reading Trials of the Chief (fully edited version – different from the draft version on the website) with the intention of leaving an honest review – please send an email to frustratedwriting AT gmail DOT com. Haven’t read books 1 and 2 yet? Please let us know in the email and we’ll happily send you a copy of each book, .epub and .mobi format available. The official release date of the book is April 25th, 2017 and is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Kobo, and iTunes.

And the last bit of news for today, Stephan finally dipped his toe into the ACX audio book route and we’re happy to announce that Continue Online Memories (Book 1) will begin recording as of March 1st with hopefully a release by the end of March!

audio

What’s new? Continue Online and Royal Scales – plus a ramble/reflection

Hey, all!

Samantha here, whew it’s been a heck of a new year already I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

So the ‘new’ – I recently tackled the mystery that was CreateSpace and ordered a proof of Once Lost Lords Royal Scales Book 1. We received it about mid-December and something magical happened when I held the book in my hands. I know it sounds weird as this book has been published for a year already in eBook format… but I don’t know there’s just something special about holding a physical copy in your hands, it cinched it for me that I wanted to work on formatting the rest of the currently published eBooks for CreateSpace publishing. I don’t know why we waited so long to go this route as we just jumped into eBook publishing no problem (and made a lot of mistakes on the way) I guess I was afraid of doing the same with a print version. Long story short – Once Lost Lords is now available in print! I also finished up Continue Online Book 1 and am waiting on the proof to arrive and will be working toward getting all 5 books in the series to print.

Speaking of Continue Online, book 5 is scheduled to be released on January 24th(print version will be in a month or two), even better? It’s fully and professionally edited (as mentioned before, we made a lot of mistakes in publishing the first book, no longer will we send out a book that hasn’t been professionally edited first). I am both proud and sad, this will be a complete published series and thus the end of Continue Online, but that also means Stephan and I can move onto his other works.

Royal Scales Trials of the Chief Book 3 is  due to be released in March… and I may be a little biased(only a little) but the cover is gorgeous… and I’ll be teasing/revealing that in February.

There’s a new ramble up about Continue Online Book 4 that was written before his ‘writing problems explained’ ramble so if it looks off – that’s why – I was distracted with other projects and didn’t get a chance until today to look at it and prep it for posting on his blog. You can check it out here!

In non-book related news, our daughter is almost 5 months old and already starting to teethe…just when you thought the sleepless nights were over(I know I’m delusional LOL)!

Take care and hope to hear from you!

 

Black Friday Sales & Give Aways

***UPDATE BY SAMANTHA***

Hey guys, I’m truly sorry, I had no idea I could set up a Kindle countdown deal in both the U.S. Amazon and Amazon.co.uk markets, I genuinely thought once I had used a countdown on one it would restrict the other, but thanks to a comment from one of our readers I checked and it allowed me to set up the countdown for books 1-3 in the Amazon.co.uk market as of 11/27 12:00 am GMT and will run through 12/01 12:00 am GMT. For some reason it won’t allow me to start book 4’s deal until December 11th (Amazon’s rules, I guess?) so that one will run from 12/11 12:00 am GMT – 12/14 12:00 am GMT.

Once again I apologize for my error, at least I know better for future deals 😦

~~~~~

Continue Online as a series is going on sale this weekend for Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

Here’s the page my wife whipped together if you’re interested in catching my LitRPG books for sale at $0.99 each.

Take a gander and support an author!

If you’ve already purchased the books and read through them, please consider leaving a review. Every single review helps.

Continue Online Books 1-4 on sale for $0.99 each!

Stay tuned for give aways as well.

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