Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Book Birthday! Bone Flower Goddess Out Today!

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The wait is finally over! The Bone Flower Goddess, the final book in the Bone Flower Trilogy, is out today.

Death is her gift.

BoneFlowerGoddess2Discovering the truth about her forgotten past sets Quetzalpetlatl—former Queen of Tollan and High Priestess of Quetzalcoatl—on a new journey, to rebuild her life from the ashes of the Feathered Serpent’s deception. Her top priority is to rescue her son from the underworld, but the Lord of the Dead will only resurrect him in exchange for the most powerful of the gods: Quetzalcoatl himself.

For such a dangerous mission, Quetzalpetlatl needs help. She finds allies among the gods, but the only one willing—and powerful enough—to take on the Feathered Serpent is the one god who’s responsible for so much of her personal pain these last thirty-five years. The Smoking Mirror holds the key to everything she’s ever longed for…if she’s willing to give him the one thing he’s sought for countless bundles of year.

But with Tollan’s throne and the future of the Tolteca empire at stake, is the price one that humanity can afford to pay?

Visit the book page for links to buy from your favorite vendor!

And, with the trilogy now complete, an omnibus edition is also available, at a discount to buying all three books separately.

Who is Quetzalpetlatl?

OmnibusIn Mesoamerican lore, she is mentioned only as the woman the gods used to bring down the legendary priest-king Topiltzin-Quetzalcoatl—Mexico’s King Arthur.

But now her story is told at last.

Born the only legitimate daughter of the king of Culhuacan in the Valley of Mexico, Quetzalpetlatl was destined to be the obedient wife of the future king. But when her mother becomes pregnant with the god Quetzalcoatl’s son, Topiltzin, she’s thrust into the middle of a war among the gods, played out on earth through the humans who worship them.

Faith leads her to become the High Priestess of Quetzalcoatl, but ambition wins back her stolen throne, and, together with Topiltzin, she founds the legendary city of Tollan and ends human sacrifice.

But that is only the beginning of her journey—one that started eons ago in a walled garden guarded by dark magic, and was set in motion by the mysterious beckoning whisper of a stranger from beyond the stone walls….

Visit the book page for links to your favorite vendors!

And, as if that wasn’t enough, The Bone Flower Throne is now free, free, free!

Gods, Blood, Magic

Bone Flower redo 3A darkness has taken control of Culhuacan, one of the Toltec’s most powerful kingdoms. The bloodthirsty sorcerer god Smoking Mirror has sent her patron god—the benevolent Feathered Serpent–into exile, but the Feathered Serpent is determined not only to regain his sacred city, but also to end human sacrifice all together.

Princess Quetzalpetlatl barely escaped Culhuacan with her life, but when the Feathered Serpent tasks her with helping his mortal son Topiltzin fulfill his divine mandate, she eagerly embraces her destiny. Finally she can avenge her father’s murder at the hands of the Smoking Mirror’s high priest, and return home.

Yet the price for involving herself in a war among the gods is high, paid in blood and loss. But for Topiltzin—who’s more than just a brother to her—she’s willing to do anything. Even sacrifice her own heart.

Visit the book page for links to buy. (Note: I’m still trying to figure out how to get Amazon to price match beyond the US store, so it’s still at regular price in all the other AMZ stores.)

Bone Flower Goddess – Cover Reveal

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I’m pleased to announce that the final book in my Aztec epic fantasy series, The Bone Flower Goddess, is at the editor for the final proofread and will be out for sale early in March. I’m not setting a firm release date, because I want to put it on sale as soon as I have it finished, but it will be out by March 15th, in both ebook and paperback. Read more about the book below.

BoneFlowerGoddess2Death is her gift.

Discovering the truth about her forgotten past sets Quetzalpetlatl—former Queen of Tollan and High Priestess of Quetzalcoatl—on a new journey, to rebuild her life from the ashes of the Feathered Serpent’s deception. Her top priority is to rescue her son from the underworld, but the Lord of the Dead will only resurrect him in exchange for the most powerful of the gods: Quetzalcoatl himself.

For such a dangerous mission, Quetzalpetlatl needs help. She finds allies among the gods, but the only one willing—and powerful enough—to take on the Feathered Serpent is the one god who’s responsible for so much of her personal pain these last thirty-five years. The Smoking Mirror holds the key to everything she’s ever longed for…if she’s willing to give him the one thing he’s sought for countless bundles of year.

But with Tollan’s throne and the future of the Tolteca empire at stake, is the price one that humanity can afford to pay?

OmnibusWith the trilogy complete, I’m also collecting all three books into an unabridged omnibus edition. The ebook edition will go live at the same time that Goddess goes up, and it will be sold at a discount over buying all three of the books in digital. I am making a paperback version as well, but at this point am only planning to sell it at conventions because of pricing issues  related to the sheer size of the book. You can read the blurb for it here.

Also, going forward, I’m planning on investigating options for an audio book version of the trilogy.

 

Join the Street Team and Get Free Books!

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With some new projects coming down the pipeline, I wanted to open up the doors on my street team and invite all readers to join. What does a street team do? Well, they read an author’s newest works and post reviews of them at places like Amazon and Goodreads, or even on their personal blogs. The purpose is to help the author get the word out about their newest works, so if you enjoy a particular author’s work and want to encourage them to produce more of that work you love, one way you can help is by joining their street team. You get free books, often before they’re available to the general public, so that’s awesome, right?

Different authors have different requirements and expectations of street team members, but I’m going the no-commitment route at this point. You can chose what ARCs to receive based on your personal tastes and time availability, and whether or not you wish to review. I hope you will, but I won’t require it.

If you’re interested in joining, mosey on over here and join the mailing list.

New Bone Flower Queen Cover

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bfqprelim7I’ve finally finished the revamp of the cover for The Bone Flower Queen, and I’m also almost done with the cover for The Bone Flower Goddess, but will hold off on revealing that one until it’s closer to release date. Right now the new covers are only on the ebook versions, but I’m getting ready to update the paperback covers on both books, so if you’re wanting to snag up copies with the old covers, now’s the time to do it.

It took me a really long time to come to the final concept for this particular book. It went through numerous iterations, and one of my early attempts will actually be the cover for The Bone Flower Goddess. I originally had an idea to do masks on the cover–seemingly easy to do and thematically relevant–but only one of the masks actually turned out looking good. Eventually I abandoned that concept and went back to the drawing board. I also messed around repeatedly with the cover for The Bone Flower Throne, until I had an overall look I really liked (I ended up really not liking the one I posted in the earlier blog post and decided to go even simpler.).

Bone Flower redo 3I still wasn’t sure about what my central object would be, but after several hours of false starts, I finally came up with the idea of the obsidian mirror. I was still wrangling with the jaguar issue though; everything I’d done so far looked a little too realistic and not necessarily “Aztec” or “Toltec”. Eventually I did a line drawing of an actual Aztec jaguar statue, and am pretty pleased with how it turned out. Aside from the smoke, all of the art on the cover is original, drawn in Gimp. I like getting to stretch my creative muscles like this. Self publishing has been very good for my internal artist, which I’d put away for so long….

I’d hoped to revamp the paperback’s sizing, convert it down to 5.25X8, but having discovered that it would require an entirely new ISBN for both books, I’ve decided I’m going to stick with the 6X9 format and just update the covers. I also have plans for a paperback omnibus edition that I’ll sell only at conventions, but CreateSpace’s page limits might make that impractical. We’ll see. At the very least, there will be an omnibus ebook version, which means a fourth cover (Yay!).

 

On the Importance of Reviews for Authors

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You’ve probably seen writers asking their readers to leave reviews of their work at places like Amazon or Goodreads; if you read any self-published stuff, you’ve undoubtedly seen the call-to-action that is almost always at the end of any ebook: “Please take the time to leave a review of this book wherever you bought it.” It might seem annoying, all of this begging for extra attention from the reader, particularly if you’re not one to do reviews. It might even seem crass to ask at all.

But the brutal truth is that reviews are an absolutely necessary part of the business. Writing is a business, and as such, authors have to treat it as one. Reviews are especially important to new writers, who don’t have selling-power connected to their name yet, and thus can easily find themselves languishing in obscurity not because they’ve written a bad book but because few people take a chance on them because their book has few to zero reviews at the vendor. I know that I, for example, am much more likely to turn away from a book if it has zero or only one or two reviews, even if it’s free (and I’m particularly suspicious if all of the reviews are 5 star ones). A book that never gets read never gets reviewed, and so in turn continues to not get read; a vicious circle.

But this circle is even more never-ending. One of the best ways to reach a larger audience that just doesn’t yet know a specific book exists is for author to get a promotional ad with places like Bookbub. Some of you may be familiar with BB, but for those who aren’t, it’s a daily advertising burst, telling its tens of thousands of subscribers about books that are deeply discounted or free. Bookbub gets an author’s book in front of that many people each day, and while I’ve seen some authors who say their ad only got them to the break-even point of sales, I’ve never heard of anyone taking a substantial financial loss on an ad (the ads have to be paid for, and they aren’t cheap by any means). In fact most folks I’ve seen report profits on their ads, which means literally thousands of downloads in a single day. That’s a newer author’s dream-come-true (and even for some of us less-newer authors who are quite obscure). But here’s the deal: while BB will look at practically any book for consideration, they have limited space in their daily emails, and so the number of reviews a title has plays a really big part in whether or not they will seriously consider a given book. A title with only a dozen reviews stands practically no chance when it’s going up against a title with hundreds of reviews, or even fifty. BB’s audience is looking for good books, and BB relies on reviews and average rating at retailers to determine what will appeal to their audience. And competition is fierce (only 20% of submissions get accepted for promotion.). So those who could really benefit from a BB ad aren’t able to get it because of the lack of reviews, because of the lack of exposure. The circle continues.

So authors aren’t just asking you to leave reviews for ego reasons; there’s solid business reasons for asking for those reviews. As much as we’d all like to think that books are all about the art, they are also about the business; they cost not just time to produce, but money as well; cover artists and editors must be paid. And so does the author, regardless of whether they’re traditionally published or they are publishing themselves. Bills must be paid in order for the stories to be produced. The two things reader can do to help authors continue producing quality work is to first buy their work, and then also leave honest feedback (either positive or negative) at the point-of-sale. Even a negative review has its place and usefulness; personally, the first thing I look at on any product I haven’t already committed to buying is to look at the lowest ratings, to determine if there’s an actual problem (like poor editing or quality issues). Sometimes the low ranking are written by idiots who blame a completely unrelated issue on the product itself (“the seller sent me a copy with the cover bent, so one star!”), but sometimes low ratings have actually convinced me to buy a book, because the things that reader was ranting about are thinks I really like.

Help out the literary ecosystem by leaving reviews of the books you read. It can be as simple as a one or two sentence review stating why you liked or didn’t like a book, or it can be a long, detailed gush or rant. Just let folks know what you think. And always be honest. Authors and your fellow readers will thank you for it!