Tag Archives: indie author

Novel sales stats for 2012

First off, Happy New Year 2013 to everyone and a big thank you to all those out there who bought/downloaded a copy of one of my novels. I thought I’d blog again this year about how many sales/free downloads my novels had this year. My marketing/promoting consisted mostly of using Twitter, Facebook groups/pages, joining up with a couple Christian author groups to Tweet, and going to message boards. I did some giveaways for ebooks, like on Librarything, and sent some personal acquaintances/relatives paperback copies of Times of Trouble (which actually did help some with visibility), along with a little more than a handful of review copies to a couple of book bloggers, two of which actually gave me a review. I also tried blog interviews early in the year, along with the occasional paid post about my books, but overall, I’d say 99% of my sales would probably be from word-of-mouth. My sales on Barnes and Noble increased by a lot this year, up to 40-50 ebooks sold a month compared to 2 or 3 a month in 2011.  My number one seller is the United States, followed by the UK, Canada, Australia, and then everyone else, mostly Western/Northern Europe, but I did manage to get an Amazon Kindle sale from Japan, which was a borrow for Beyond the New Frontier, and 2 sales on Diesel from South Africa. This is without the updated numbers from Smashwords concerning Apple, Sony, or Diesel from December.

Here’s the numbers for each book in order of publication:

Out of Time
Kindle(ASIN B006GDO3BC): 1107
Barnes & Noble Nook: 37
Kobo, which includes WH Smith, Angus & Robertson, and Chapters Indigo: 42
Apple: 51
Sony: 4
Smashwords: 2 paid, 64 free
Paperback (ISBN:1453896961) : 8

Don’t Mess With Earth
Kindle(ASIN B005OOKZJI): 52
Nook: 39
Kobo: 2
Apple: 5
Diesel: 1
Smashwords: 2 paid, 47 free
Paperback(ISBN 978-1602643413): 2

The Usurper
Kindle(ASIN B007K9WDA4): 92 paid, 518 Select downloads (January – March)
Nook: 47
Kobo: 4
Apple: 14
Smashwords: 1 paid, 18 free
Paperback (ISBN 1453702725): 12

Shattered Earth
Kindle(ASIN B006M2U3O8) – 8 sales, unpublished it, but will bring it back this year
Nook: 48
Kobo: 20
Apple: 52
Smashwords: 1 sale, 61 free
Paperback (probably only available on Amazon, since I retired it on Createspace): 3

Dust Storm (western short story) – plagued by Smashwords’ meatgrinder, so it wasn’t published to Apple or Sony until later in the year. Sold on Kobo once I uploaded there myself.
Kindle(ASIN B006KH7H4E): 9
Nook: 7
Kobo: 1
Apple: 1
Sony: 1
Smashwords: 2 paid, 12 free

Voyager and the Aliens (sci-fi short story)
Kindle(ASIN B005NK19MU): 14
Nook: 2
Kobo: 5
Apple: 9
Diesel: 1
Smashwords: 1 paid, 27 free

New Frontier
Kindle(ASIN B006ONBPVU): 99
Nook: 58
Kobo: 2
Apple: 7
Sony: 1
Smashwords: 5 paid, 62 free
Baker & Taylor Blio: 1
Paperback (ISBN 1468119540): 18

Times of Trouble
Kindle(ASIN B0075CNFFI): 309
Nook: 343
Kobo: 1
Apple: 0
Sony: 0
Smashwords: 128 free
Paperback (ISBN-10: 1469964791) 43

Times of Trial
Kindle(ASIN B00824G5UA): 99
Nook: 120
Kobo: 3
Apple: 0
Sony (for some reason, not available on Sony): 0
Smashwords: 31 free
Paperback(ISBN-10 147745327X): 5

Final Frontier – published in October
Kindle(ASIN B009ORP5U0): 26
Nook: 22
Kobo: 0
Apple: 0
Sony: 0
Smashwords: 0
Paperback (ISBN-10: 1481192191): 0

Beyond the New Frontier – combo of New & Final Frontier, available on Amazon to borrow for free or buy for $3.99
Kindle paid(ASIN B009NVH76M): 28, KDP Select: 724, Borrows: 2
Paperback (ISBN-10: 1480185590): 1

The total equals 1694 free and 2858 paid sales. My goal for 2013 is to double the paid sales without having to rely on free giveaways as much. I’m also working on a prequel to Times of Trouble, most likely called “Times of Turmoil.” I also re-designed a whole new author website on weebly. I was using webs.com, but it was way too clunky, but Weebly seems to be pretty user-friendly. Please check it out http://cliffball-indieauthor.weebly.com when you have time (waiting for domain name transfer, so it night re-direct back to webs.com). Now, I just have to figure out how to transfer my domain name over to it.

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Sales for 2011

Now that I’m pretty sure I have all the sales numbers in for all platforms, I’d like to share how many novels I sold or had downloaded last year as an independent author, to give encouragement to those that aren’t sure they can do it. I’ve been doing this for about 4 years, 1 1/2 of which I’ve actually put any effort at trying to promote my novels, since I’ve written three in that time span. Last year, I sold or had D/L’s of 24,151, in 2010 – 520, 2009 – 68, and in 2008 – 37.  Here are the numbers for 2011 for each book and where, from first book or short story published in order to latest:

Amazon (which combines US & UK sales, link to US though)
Out of Time – 2238 (free and paid)
Don’t Mess With Earth – 692
The Usurper - 13,310 (free and paid) (currently free to borrow in Lending Library)
Shattered Earth – 6637 (free and paid)
Voyager & The Aliens – 9
Dust Storm – 0
New Frontier (published December 20, 2011) – 4

Apple
Out of Time – 77
Don’t Mess With Earth – 10
The Usurper – 3
Shattered Earth – 55
Voyager & The Aliens – 2

Barnes & Noble
Out of Time – 51
Don’t Mess With Earth – 175
The Usurper – 180 (currently exclusive to amazon ’til March 7)
Shattered Earth – 81
Voyager & The Aliens -
Dust Storm -
New Frontier – 1

Createspace paperback (which were sold on Amazon or other bookstore sites)
Out of Time – 9
The Usurper – 48
Shattered Earth – 21
New Frontier -

iUniverse (original publisher of Out of Time paperback)
Out of Time – 5

Kobo
Out of Time – 30
Don’t Mess With Earth – 1
The Usurper – 4
Shattered Earth – 7
Voyager & The Aliens
New Frontier

Smashwords (free and paid)
Out of Time – 25
Don’t Mess With Earth – 27
The Usurper – 176
Shattered Earth – 239
Voyager & The Aliens – 151
Dust Storm – 2
New Frontier – 1

Sony
Out of Time – 8
Don’t Mess With Earth – 1
The Usurper – 5
Shattered Earth – 16
Voyager & The Aliens – 18

Virtualbookworm.com (original publisher of Don’t Mess With Earth paperback)
Don’t Mess With Earth – 7

So, with a lot of hard work and determination, this is what I sold. I know, not the #’s of some of the bigger names in indie publishing, but I feel like I’m accomplishing something.

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The Same Six Questions Interview

The Same Six Questions – Cliff Ball from http://andyrane.blogspot.com/2011/11/same-six-questions-cliff-ball.html
Welcome to the last interview of November 2011! Where has the year gone?! Today’s guest on The Same Six Questions is author Cliff Ball.

Cliff Ball is 37, lives in Texas, has a BA in English, possibly going for an MA in Technical Communications, but is currently pursuing Certification in Technical Writing. He has independently published 4 novels and won 3rd in a contest for a short story that was written in high school.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet? Yes. I have 4, but here is one of them: The Usurper is a political thriller.

Gary Jackson is raised to hate. Hate the United States, its people, and everything they have ever stood for. His mission is to destroy the country from within, allying himself with the worst of America’s enemies, and one very powerful and malevolent billionaire, to accomplish the deed. Once elected to the highest position in the land, Gary puts his lifelong goals to work, and puts the USA onto the path of ultimate destruction. He stops at nothing to rid the USA of his political and spiritual enemies, until a small group decide they’ve had enough, and they want to stop him. Will they succeed or will the United States be relegated to the dustbin of history? Also available at B&N and Smashwords

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I remember wanting to become a writer when I was about 8 years old.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

My first piece was a science fiction story that I wrote in jr. high (around 1988 or so). It was some inane story about the US and the Soviets 150 years from now fighting over a planet in Alpha Centauri, and discovering humans who already lived there. I do still have it, somewhere in a big Rubbermaid box.

4. When was your first indication, “I can do this (write)”?

I took a Creative Writing class in my senior year of high school, and we sent short stories to magazines. I wrote one that ended up winning 3rd in a contest for a religious magazine for youth. I made $35! (a lot for an 18-year-old in 1992). I decided that someday I would publish something, and I always wanted to be self-published. Luckily, technology has evolved where its easy now.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

I have a character from my novella, Out of Time, who is a clone of Dr Hawking a couple hundred years from now. He figures out the means to time travel, which I think would be cool to do.

6. It’s a dark and stormy night…you’re alone in the house…there’s a knock at the door…you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What’s on the doorstep?

The Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes people who have a million $$$$ for me!

____________________________________

Thanks so much for sharing, Cliff!

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My #Marketing Ideas

I have been an independently published author now for nearly four years, and not until 2010 did I really do any kind of promoting/marketing for my novels, mostly because I had no idea where to start. Since about late 2009, there have been all sorts of assorted experts in the field all over the internet who have popped up with a book on the subject, and if you buy their book, they’ll tell you what the secret is to selling thousands, or millions even, of books. I think what works for one author doesn’t necessarily work for another, so if you’re willing to waste $2.99 or $4.99 or $6.99 for someone to make money off of your naïveté, then go right ahead, since I was one of those people who has done that more often than I’d like to admit.

When I first published in 2008, it was suggested by iUniverse (now I go through Createspace, best money I have ever saved!) that authors create a website to promote and market themselves. So, I found Geocities, created a very basic site, posted the novel cover, the description, and the link to purchase, then forgot about it. When I finally remembered I had it, Yahoo apparently had shut down Geocities, so I searched for another server. Eventually, I came across Freewebs.com, now known as Webs.com, and that’s where I now have my website hosted, and trying to build my “brand,” whatever that really means. Since then, I’ve gone from idea to idea, gimmick to gimmick trying to promote and market my novels. Some have worked, and some haven’t, but here are my top 10 ideas. Your experience may vary.

1) Websites/blogs — With a website, you should know some html, or you can plug in whatever others have built for such a need, and then you can customize it to your heart’s content. You can add videos, pictures, links, etc. The suggestion from across the vast wasteland of the internet is to do SEO (search engine optimization), build back links, trade links with others, or pay for thousands of hits so that your Google Ranking will bring people to you. Let me tell you, that’s mostly nonsense, your site will be listed in Google, Yahoo, and Bing within a matter of days, but you can submit to directories, but I’ve never actually seen a hit from one of those. Only hard work on your part in promoting yourself will people begin searching your name, names of your novels, or similar sounding names before you notice hits to your site. As for a blog, if you want to keep it updated every day, you can submit it to RSS feed sites and link up with others who have sites. With some blogs, like Blogger, your feed will be seen on the side panel of the blog (if they’re on Blogger) that you’ve linked to. A website/blog is good for having a place for readers to come to find out what you’re up to, or if you have a new novel on the market. Plus, if you’re in the market for a job, it’s something potential employers will see, showing them that you have some skills and creativity (or, so I’ve been told).

2) Social Networking — What did we do before Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and all of those other social sites? To be honest, I don’t remember! ha ha. Anyway, I do know that if you join every forum involving writing, e-books, and marketing, you’ll never write, you’ll just be talking about writing, and getting to know other indie authors who are also talking about writing. Facebook is useful for authors in that they give us the ability to have a page for ourselves and our work. Thousands, and maybe even millions, of users can eventually come across your page, they can like it, and even share it with anyone in their social circle. Twitter used to be useful in my opinion, but there are way too many voices out there now, and one can get lost in the “noise.” My best advice for social networking is to do it in moderation, otherwise, you’ll never get that next book written.

3) Press releases — I use free sites like Prlog.org, which is good for visibility, but I really don’t know if it results in sales. Doesn’t hurt to try though, and it’s free. If you want to pay for high visibility, try PRWEB, but it’s really expensive if you’re on a tight budget.

4) Libraries — I used to work in a library, so I know something about this. A lot of indie books go almost directly to the Friends of the Library Bookstore, even though the Acquisitions Librarian “promised” that your books will get on the shelf, eventually. Although, it could’ve been just the one I worked with, because he wasn’t too particularly thrilled with putting my novels on the shelf. My suggestion is to get to know the library staff, usually the poor souls stuck at the Circulation Desk. Sometimes they get to sort through all the donations, so if you let them know that you really, really want your book in the library, they will mark your book for the acquisitions librarian, who will set it up for circulation. Be patient, books arrive at the library from B&T and Ingram every day, so it may take months for your book to show up in the catalog.

5) Book trailer — You can do it yourself by downloading Microsoft’s Live Movie Maker for free. It’s fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it. Of course, if you want something like the “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” trailer, then you’ll have to spend a lot of money for someone else to do it or have taken a video course in college yourself. Once you’re done with it, upload it to Youtube and a few other video sites. Very useful in the fact that the reader may get your book cover and the idea impressed into their heads, and then might eventually buy a copy of your novel.

6) Guerilla Marketing — Basically, this is putting bookmarks or business cards in books at stores like Walmart, B&N, and maybe Half Price Books (if you have one in your area), or even at the library. I have also put bookmarks in those envelopes that have the paid postage from the credit card companies and other spam mailers, and sent it back to them. You can do this for everything you mail out.

7) Bloggers — There are bloggers who will post your novel, review it, help with a blog tour, or give you an interview that will be posted on their site. Some require you to pay for the exposure, and some are free. Even if you get no returns on it as far as sales, it’ll be on Google and other search engines for as long as that post is available. So when someone does a search, that’s another impression you get, and it might even get you some sales out of it.

8 ) Paperback book giveaways — When you first finish your book, have it uploaded, and then available on Createspace, you can then contact some bloggers, or go to Goodreads and post your book giveaway. With bloggers, they can target specific readers who actually want to read your novel. I’ve received a couple of great reviews that way. With Goodreads, people will sign up for the giveaway just because it’s a freebie, not really caring about the genre. I had one person return a book because they thought it was something else, and others who reviewed, who didn’t like that genre, and thought Goodreads required a review. Remember to be choosy about doing paperback giveaways if you want specific readers that are looking for a specific genre.

9) Free e-books — One way to get your novels seen is to give away free copies of your e-books, usually with a coupon from Smashwords. If you want it free on Amazon, set the novel free on Smashwords, distribute it to B&N even if you’re using their publishing platform, and then wait for Amazon to price match. You’ll get a few thousand downloads for a week or two, copies into hands of people who normally wouldn’t have known about you and your work, and possibly some good reviews out of it. You may also get hit and run reviews that aren’t exactly glowing reviews of your work, mostly on Amazon. These are usually 1 star, they question your writing skills, and sometimes even your IQ. The advice to authors is never to respond, be above it all, and have a thick skin. There are instances of authors responding to their critics, and it developed into a clusterfark. Never ever a good thing.

10) Ads — Unless you have a lot of disposable income, creating ads on Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and other sites is a complete waste of your time and money. But, if you get a free coupon for one of those sites, then knock yourself out. I have also advertised on Craigslist and other classifieds all over the States from time to time, and I get the occasional hit to my website from those sites, but I don’t know if they actually result in sales. Mostly, it’s about being visible, and that’s not really a bad thing.

Finally, marketing your novels comes down to hard work, time, and sometimes spending money to make money. There are times you may want to give up, but being persistent will get you and your novels seen, and you’ll see success. These ideas are only some that indie authors may or may not try to promote their books, and it’s really an experience may vary kind of thing.

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Interview on 1st Author Interviews

Premium Interview with Cliff Ball Author of ‘The Usurper’

 
Brief summary:
Gary Jackson is raised to hate. Hate the United States, and everything it has ever stood for. His mission is to destroy the United States from within, allying himself with America’s enemies to accomplish the deed. He stops at nothing, and a small group of Americans decide they need to stop him. Will they succeed or will the US be relegated to the dustbin of history?

Excerpt:
“You know who is one of your enemies, Gary?” asked al Hussein.
“No, who?” the boy asked with a bewildered look on his face.
“One of your enemies is your mother. She doesn’t agree with the government controlling peoples’ lives, and she thinks terrorism to control the people is bad. What do you think we should do with her, Gary?” asked Putin.
“My mother is an enemy? But, she could be on our side,” Gary innocently protested.
“We’ve talked about this before, Gary, and you know what you must do,”
“But… but…. I don’t want to do this.”
“Yes, I know, but she will destroy all that we are working for, and all of your future hopes and dreams. Again, I ask you, what should we do to people like her?”
Gary sighed, gulped a couple of times, and said, “The enemy has to die as an example to others not to think for themselves to do what they want. If my mother is an enemy, she must die,”
“Correct response. We need to go visit your mother to see that she is no longer a threat. Let’s go, Gary.” ordered Putin.
A few minutes later, the trio arrived at the house Gary and his mother lived in. They went inside, where Ann was in the kitchen cooking dinner, she heard them come in, went to meet them, saw her son, and went to hug him, but, Gary didn’t hug her back, so she asked, “What’s wrong?”
“You are the enemy, you must be destroyed.” he said as coldly as possible.
Putin handed Gary a Russian made Tokarev TT-33 service pistol, and Gary aimed it at Ann, who was shocked, but knew that this day would come eventually, and thought about how her life had come to this in the brief moments she had left. Gary, who had no expression on his face, but did have hate in his eyes, aimed, and fired point blank at her forehead; giving his mother no time to react. Blood and brain matter spattered everywhere. Ann died instantly, her body falling to the floor with a thud. Gary handed the gun back to Putin, left the room, did his best to suppress any impulse he had to cry, and he was determined to leave this in his past, hopefully to never be dwelled on again.

THE INTERVIEW:
Why did you write this book?
I wanted to write a political thriller for a few years, and I’m into conspiracy theories, so I decided that around 2008 I would write a novel based on some of the conspiracy theories surrounding some of our politicians from about the mid-1960′s onwards. It includes such nutty conspiracies as truthers, birthers, and the idea that one all powerful man controls everything behind the scenes. I thought it would be interesting to see where the main character would go if given unlimited power to do what he wanted to the States.
How did you come up with the title?
I figured the main character pretty much usurps the idea of the American Constitutional Republic by becoming a petty dictator, so the title seemed to make sense.
How did you choose your genre?
Well, genre of Thriller makes sense for this particular novel.
What inspired you to be a writer?
When I was in elementary school, my parents bought me the whole Little House on the Prairie set (I guess because we watched the TV series), and I thought it was cool that Laura was a writer. So, when I was 10, I began writing.
Are you writing another book?
Yes, I am. It’s an alternate history, political thriller, science fiction novel. Basically, the US continues with the moon landings, and announces they’re going to Mars by the end of 1989. The Soviets decide to up the ante by building an interstellar starship of their own, but things go awry once they leave the solar system. In the meantime, terrorism against the US begins earlier than in our own timeline. Al Qaeda suicide bombs the State of the Union in early 80′s, and the new President sends an elite team of Green Berets to take out Osama bin Laden. That’s about as far as I’ve written, but I plan on having the US & Russians team up to launch a starship out of the solar system, where they find an anomaly, and find the long lost Soviet ship on a planet not previously known to humans. Unfortunately, the planet has some very dark secrets….. (vampires? zombies? ghosts? demons? dragons? I haven’t decided yet! lol)
Question usually asked from readers: Why should I read this? This sounds like what we’re going through now.
My answer: Sure there are similarities, but everyone only thinks they know this story. Sometimes, a book you normally wouldn’t read or are skeptical of, usually turns into something you enjoy a lot. Some of my reviews have reflected that. All I ask is that readers give it a chance.

Book Title: The Usurper
Publisher: CreateSpace
Author: Cliff Ball
Genre: Thriller
Amazon [Paperback]: The Usurper
Kindle: The Usurper
Smashwords: The Usurper
Author’s Website: http://cliffball.webs.com/
Author’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/cliff_ball

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Sales numbers for February and $.99 ebook sale

First off, I have reduced the prices to all 4 of my novels to $.99 on all ebook formats for the month of March, Smashwords, B&N Nook, and Amazon US, and Amazon UK. I’m also happy to report that I’m nearing the 1000 sold overall mark, which, as of right this minute, I’m one away. So, a big thank you to anyone who has bought any of my novels.

Here are the sales stats for each title and what platform:
THE USURPER
sold 3 paperbacks
Amazon US: 24
UK Kindle: 2
B&N Nook: 6
Smashwords: 45
Was also featured this month on: Daily Cheap Reads, No Trees Harmed, Karly Kirkpatrick’s Bookaday, and Kindle in the Wind

OUT OF TIME
Amazon US: 14
Amazon UK: 15
B&N Nook: 9

DON’T MESS WITH EARTH
Amazon US: 21
Amazon UK: 8
B&N Nook: 10

SHATTERED EARTH
Amazon US: 7
Amazon UK: 1
B&N Nook: 4
Smashwords: 1

For a grand total of (drum roll please)… 174!

Thanks again to anyone who buys a copy, and please share with all your social networking pals… lol

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#SampleSunday-Shattered Earth excerpt

For Sample Sunday, this is an excerpt from Shattered Earth, one of my science fiction novels. Once you read the excerpt, buy links are at the end, or click on the picture to take you to Smashwords for all e-book formats.

Chapter Five

Around this period, two very rich Terran adventurers had decided to hitch a ride to Mars, after bribing a starship captain. The two wanted to see what it was like on Earth, after hearing news reports about how utterly barbaric and primitive the planet was. They were visiting Britannia just as the Roman legions were recalled to defend the city of Rome. After seeing what was going on with the local Brit tribes, the two decided that it might be fun to organize them, so that the tribes could defend themselves against the Vikings, Normans, and others who had conducted raids on the island. The two named their kingdom Camelot, led by the Terran whose name was Arthur, and his cohort, who was named Merlin. Merlin was considered an eccentric inventor; other Terrans thought he was more than a little insane, while the primitive humans around him thought that Merlin was a great and mighty powerful magician. After all, he looked the part. Merlin had long, straight hair, a long white beard, and wore very colorful robes. Arthur was tall, lean, but muscular, dark hair, and looked like a mighty warrior might look.

Merlin cooked up a scheme to get these primitive humans to accept Arthur as their leader, so he told Arthur of an idea he had, “I have a brainstorm, Arthur; tell me if you like it. These Brits have a legend about a sword in a stone and if a man of great virtue pulls it out of the stone, he will become the undisputed leader of the people. I propose to use our advanced technology to convince these people to believe you’re destined to be the king. What do you think?”

“Sounds like a good plan, Merlin. How do you plan on making it work?”

“I think I’ll build a sword with computer components that will recognize only your handprint. I will then stick the sword in what will appear to be a stone, except this stone will keep the sword in place with an elaborate computer aided locking system. Once you take hold of the sword, the system will recognize your handprint, then it will unlock, and the sword will be yours. You’ll have the masses begging you to be the leader,”

“Sounds like a very good idea, Merlin. Nothing like a little technology turned into sorcery to make one a good leader. Get to work.” ordered Arthur, who was looking forward to this new scheme of Merlin’s.

A few weeks later, Merlin, with the help of an experimental Terran transportation device, suddenly, and without any warning at all, appeared in the town square with the sword in his hand, and a very convincing looking stone placed next to him. He called for the townsfolk to gather, and then, he said, “Good citizens of Camelot. I have created a test for those who wish to lead us. This sword, I will put in the stone, and it can only be pulled out by a virtuous, and good man,”

Merlin then slid the shiny, intimidating looking, sword into the stone, “The challenge has been laid, all men throughout Camelot are welcome to try to pull out the sword, which I have named Excalibur.” with that, Merlin vanished into thin air the same way he had appeared.

Merlin and Arthur watched for little over a month, as man after man attempted to pull Excalibur from the stone. Everyone had a different way of trying to pull the sword out of the stone, which served only to amuse the two Terrans, and tick off the human men who tried to pull out Excalibur. As Merlin expected, not a single man could pull the sword from the stone, so Merlin again reappeared in a flash of light, and said, “Is there no one here who is virtuous enough to take the sword? Who among you is left that is willing to try?”

Having not convinced the people up to this point that he would make a good leader, Arthur boldly, and with tremendous confidence, walked into the town square to pull the sword from the stone. Everyone was whispering, and a few were taking bets seeing if Arthur could pull Excalibur from the stone. Arthur confidently walked up to the stone, put his hands on the swords’ hilt, which activated the computer lock system, and he slowly pulled Excalibur from the stone. The people were shocked at first, but, then began cheering. Arthur wielded Excalibur for a few minutes, going through swinging, hacking, and thrusting motions with the sword, and then motioned for the townsfolk to calm down. Then he spoke, “People of Camelot. I have pulled Excalibur from the stone, so I am now your leader. What say you?”

The people chanted, “Arthur” and “Long live the King.” Arthur was now the undisputed leader of Camelot. Merlin spoke again, “A king needs knights that he can lead into glorious battle against the forces of evil. Who here among you is willing to be a Knight of the Round Table?”

Arthur had not heard this scheme from Merlin, but thought this Knights of the Round Table thing might be a really good idea. According to Merlin, the knights in good standing would gather around a round table, so that there would be no man who thought they were better than the others. Many men came forward to join the ranks of the knights, more than Merlin had expected. So Merlin did something unusual in the eyes of these humans in this time period, he interviewed each applicant, and tested their sword fighting skills. After doing the interviews, Merlin also worked on Excalibur to make it appear more magical to these primitive humans, and when he was done, he showed Arthur the sword, “I did some more work to Excalibur. Press the green button on the hilt, and see what happens,”

Arthur took hold of the sword, and pressed the small green button on the hilt. The sword lit up in an almost blinding, white glow, so Arthur asked, “What is this, some sort of glow saber kind of thing?”

“I would have to say yes, and no, Arthur. It’s supposed to strike fear in the hearts and minds of your enemies. I’ll later add a sound effect to increase the fierceness of the sword. Anyway, I thought it was a cool idea.”

“You do realize you ripped-off a wretchedly bad movie idea from a hundred years ago, don’t you? Next thing you’ll tell me, you’re some sort of ascended being with powers you’re not supposed to use. Come back to reality, Merlin, this is not science fiction.”

“Oh, I know that, but the townsfolk already think I have great powers, so acting like I have telekinesis, or the ability to appear, and disappear at will, isn’t going to do any harm. They won’t know about that movie, who is ever going to see it on Earth? I know what I’m doing, believe it or not. The next thing on your agenda though, is to meet your Knights of the Round Table.”

Arthur was introduced to his new knights the next day; his impression of them was that they all seemed like good, honorable men, and fierce warriors. Merlin was right about the more powerful looking Excalibur scaring enemies. In battle, some retreated rather than fight Arthur. The knights, and Arthur, fought Vikings and Danes; Arthur himself killed a lot of the invaders, increasing his legendary status among Saxons living near, and in Camelot. Merlin set up great adventures for the knights and Arthur to go on, giving the knights legendary status for themselves too. Sir Lancelot was considered the best of the Knights of the Round Table, and he always had the ear of Arthur whenever he had some pithy thought about another great adventure they should all go on, or how Camelot should be run.

Several years later, some strangers appeared in Camelot, who turned out to be a Terran military contingent. They were looking for Arthur and Merlin; when they were found in the castle, the Terran commander said, “Arthur and Merlin, you are hereby arrested for crimes against humanity. You are herby ordered to come back with us to Terra, to explain what you have done. Now, come with us.”

“Crimes against humanity? Seriously? What crimes have we done, exactly?” asked Merlin.

“Take a look around you. Setting up your own little kingdom, and using technology in battles against the Vikings, which we heard about because the rumors made it to Rome, which, naturally, ended up being heard by a scientist there. He contacted the Mars Outpost, and that’s why we’re here, because Terra’s government is not pleased. Now, come with us.”

“Wait! Can I address my subjects, and the Knights of the Round Table, one last time?” asked Arthur.

The commander sighed, and said, “Very well.”

Arthur called together Camelot, and everyone gathered together, to listen to what Arthur had to say, “People of Camelot, and Knights of the Round Table, hear me this day. These men are from my home country, and they are seeking the Holy Grail. They wish for me to go on a long journey with them to search for it, which will take many, many years. So, for my last official duty as king, I place Sir Lancelot as the new king of Camelot; follow him as you have followed me. Fare thee well Camelot, I wish all of you good and long lives.”

Arthur and Merlin left Camelot with the Terrans. They boarded a shuttle that was hidden a few miles away, which took them to a ship in orbit, and the ship headed for Terra. Once on Terra, the two men were brought before the Oversight for Earth Committee, who seemed like a bunch of stuffy old fools to Arthur and Merlin. The chairman of the committee, Senator Tyranous, began to talk the second both men sat down, “Arthur Pendragon, and Merlin Ambrosius, you have both been called here to explain yourselves, and why you decided to interfere in human affairs. Now, what say you?”

Merlin and Arthur looked at each other, Merlin shrugged his shoulders in a nonchalant kind of way, so Arthur said, “We didn’t see any harm in doing what we did. We didn’t give them any of our technology, and they’re still just as primitive as before we arrived.”

“While you may not think you did harm, you gave some ideas to some of those Brits, what were they called? The Knights of the Round Table? Those Knights could get it into their heads that they could invade Europe, on some misplaced idea of a grand adventure, and then plunge the whole continent into another series of wars. Also, we’ve had to go in, and clean up the technology you left when you were arrested. Do you realize that because of your so-called adventure, we’ve had problems with others who want to do the same thing?”

“Well, that really isn’t our problem, Senator.” Merlin sarcastically said.

“Oh, you don’t think so, huh? It has been decided, until further notice, that only our official representatives will be on Earth. All tourism to Earth is now hereby forbidden for the foreseeable future. Merlin Ambrosius, and Arthur Pendragon, you two are now hereby subject to house arrest. This means that you’ll never be able to leave Terra, and you will be watched for the rest of your natural lives, no matter how long that takes. This Committee will now recess for twenty minutes.”

Both men were escorted to their individual homes, injected in their arms with a tracking chip so that they would be tracked anywhere on the planet, and told that if they ever leave Terra, the punishment would be severe, especially if they tried to return to Earth.

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18 Ways to Help a Book Author You Love

Reposted from http://hipriestess.com/writers-resources/

18 Ways to Help a Book Author You Love

Eileen Flanagan, author of The Wisdom to Know the Difference, wrote a blog post about a year ago telling friends of book authors how they could help the author sell more books. You can read her blog post here: http://bit.ly/9v5TgA.

I thought I’d include some of the highlights of her help list, add my own comments, and provide a few more ways that friends can help book authors to sell more books.

If you have a friend who is a book author, please use these suggestions to help them out. If you are a book author, please share this page with your friends (so they can help you out).

1. Buy your friend’s book. Encourage other friends to buy the book. Go to your local library or bookstore and encourage them to buy the book. Buy books as gifts.

2. Don’t put off buying the book. Don’t wait for the holidays to buy the book as a gift. First, the sooner you buy, the more confidence you’ll inspire in your friend. Second, media and other decision makers pick up on a book based on the momentum the book inspires. The more sales at the beginning of the book’s life, the more attention it will get from key decision makers, the media, and consumers.

3. Where should you buy the book? First choice: the indie bookstore nearest you (that will help your friend get her book into that store on a regular basis). Second choice: a chain bookstore like Borders or Barnes & Noble (if they start selling the book locally, they might buy books for more stores in the chain). Third choice: the author’s website (the author makes the most money when selling direct). Fourth choice: buy direct from the author. Fifth choice: Buy from Amazon.com (preferably from the link on the author’s website).

4. Recommend your friend’s book. If you like the book, recommend it to friends. Blog about it. Tweet a review or mention. Share a note on Facebook. Recommend the book to your book group. Review her book on Amazon.com, BN.com, GoodReads, Library Thing, and other reader social networks.

5. Tell your friend what you like about the book. Provide your friend with support by telling him something you like about his book. Was it a good read? Did it move you to tears or laughter? Did you learn something new?

6. Help your friend get speaking engagements. If your friend is comfortable speaking, recommend your friend to your Rotary Club, Jaycees, church, Friends of the Library, bookseller, garden club, school, etc.

7. Recommend your friend’s website. Link to it from your website, blog, Facebook page, etc. Tweet about it. When your friend writes a blog post, link to it. If your friend tweets something great, retweet it. Feature a quote from your friend’s book on your website. Or tweet the quote.

8. Create a Wikipedia page for your friend. While authors can’t create their own Wikipedia page, other people can. Every book author deserves a Wikipedia page, since a published book grants the author at least a modicum of fame. On the Wikipedia page, feature a short bio, a bibliography, a link to the author’s website.

9. Help your friend with the media. If you know of any newspaper editors or reporters, magazine editors, radio producers or hosts, TV show hosts or producers, columnists, bloggers, etc., send them a copy of the book or a note about the author. Or tell your friend about your connection, and introduce her to your contact.

10. Pray. Prayer always helps. Pray for your friend and his book. If you’re not into prayer, ask your favorite tree to help.

11. Ask. Ask your friend how you can help her. You may have some talent, connection, specialized knowledge, etc. that might be just the thing she needs. Or they might just need some of your time to help pack and ship some books or make a few phone calls.

12. Do a video review of the book and post it on YouTube and other video sharing websites.

13. Help your friend make some videos for the book. Every author needs a cameraperson, a scriptwriter, a producer. Again, share on YouTube and other video sharing websites.

14. Look for specialty retailers. As you drive around your own hometown or a nearby larger city, keep on the lookout for specialty retailers that might be interested in selling your friend’s books. Cookbooks in gourmet shows, do-it-yourself books in hardware stores, children’s books in toy stores, art or history books at museum shops. Make the contacts yourself or pass them on to your friend to follow up.

15. Look for other sales venues. If your friend’s book is about retirement, check out accountants, tax lawyers, etc. who might be interested in buying copies to give to their clients. Health books, children’s books, and cookbooks might interest doctor and dentist offices. Health clubs might be interested in exercise or diet books. Again, make the contacts yourself or pass them on to your friend to follow up.

16. Suggest catalogs, associations, and other special sales opportunities. If you receive mail order catalogs that feature books like your friend’s book, tell her abour the catalog. The same with associations, groups, corporations, etc. that might be interested in buying bulk copies of your friend’s book.

17. Help them sell rights. If your friend’s novel would make a great movie and you have a connection to an A-list actor or producer who might be interested in making the movie, introduce your friend to your connection. The same with TV producers, audio publishers, agents, etc.

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DailyCheapReads.com » The Usurper – Political Thriller

DailyCheapReads.com » The Usurper – Political Thriller.

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Ever wonder what would happen if our worst fears were realized and we elected someone who was willing to destroy the USA, even if he was destroyed himself? The Usurper is that novel. It is a fictional account of what would happen if the Soviet Union and KGB were given the chance to take down the United States from within. They use the American political system, education system, terrorism, and commit environmental disasters to achieve these goals.

The Soviet Union and the KGB refuse to let the purging of communists in the United States as awhole by Senator Joe McCarthy, and the House Un-American Activities Committee, deter them. Soviet Premier Khrushchev authorizes the KGB to embark on an ambitious, decades long plan to destroy the United States from within through the corruption of American politicians, the American education system, terrorism, and environmental disasters. Gary Jackson, the main character, is the fulfillment of the KGB plan to destroy the United States from within. They raise him from birth to hate everything about the United States, indoctrinate him, and introduce him to terrorists across the world, where the KGB dictates all terrorist attacks. When Gary is a teenager, he is sent to the United States to assimilate and begin his mission. Nothing will deter his goals of completely and utterly destroying the United States.

When the Soviet Union dissolves, he is given a choice, and he decides to continue with the mission. A terrorist organization ends up filling in the gap left by the absent KGB, and they, together with Gary, conspire to destroy everyone in the United States who doesn’t agree with them

Accolade:
“A cold-blooded, Clancy-esque political thriller; The Usurper is sure to entertain.” ~Nurture Your Books

Reviews:
The Usurper currently has a customer review rating on Amazon of 4 stars. Read them here.
The Usurper currently has a customer review rating on Smashwords of 4.5 stars. Read them here.

An Excerpt from Chapter Four:
“Do you know who else is enemy of the people?” asked Putin.
“The enemy is anyone who questions the word of the government. They must be destroyed; nobody can be spared if they disagree,” answered Gary.
“You know who is one of your enemies, Gary?” asked al Hussein.
“No, who?”
“One of your enemies is your mother. She doesn’t agree with the government controlling peoples’ lives, and she thinks terrorism to control the people is bad. What do you think we should do with her, Gary?” asked Putin.
“My mother is an enemy? But, she could be on our side,” Gary innocently remarked.
“We’ve talked about this before, Gary, and you know what you must do,”
“But… but…. I don’t want to do this,”
“Yes, I know, but she will destroy all that we are working for, and all of your future hopes and dreams. Again, I ask you, what should we do to people like her?”
Gary sighed, gulped a couple of times, and said, “The enemy has to die as an example to others not to think for themselves and do what they want. If my mother is an enemy, she must die,”
“Correct response. We need to go visit your mother to see that she is no longer a threat. Let’s go, Gary.” ordered Putin.
A few minutes later, the trio arrived at the house Gary and his mother lived in. They went inside, where Ann was in the kitchen cooking dinner, she heard them come in, went to meet them, saw her son, and went to hug him, but, Gary didn’t hug her back, so she asked, “What’s wrong?”
“You are the enemy, you must be destroyed.”

Purchase The Usurper at:
Amazon for $2.99
Smashwords for $2.99

Learn more about Cliff through his websites:
Author Website
Author Blog
Amazon Author Page
Author facebook Page
Twitter Page

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