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Dave Dobson

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Category: Flames Over Frosthelm (page 1 of 2)

NaNoWriMo

In order to get the sequel to Flames Over Frosthelm going in a big way, I’ve been doing the National Novel Writing Month challenge this November. I started the month just under 21,000 words, and now I’m up to about 41,500, so it’s going pretty well. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in a month, and I’m ahead of that pace by a little bit, as the graph below shows.

I’m obviously more concerned that the words be good than that they be plentiful. I’m pretty happy with how it’s going so far – I think the story is fun, and I’m having fun with it. For the sequel, I decided to keep the storytelling in first person but to shift the narrator, so that’s been a bit of a challenge writing with a new voice.

A full novel in fantasy is usually between 80,000 and 120,000 words, and I should be near the lower end of that range by the end of November if all keeps going well. The first book came in at about 122,000, so it was a little long. We’ll see how this one does. I’m not ready to share it with anybody yet, but if you’d like to be a beta reader, let me know! Write to dave@davedobsonbooks.com.

Progress on Kindle Unlimited

In the nineteen days since I ran my free promo for Flames Over Frosthelm, I’ve had over twice as many Kindle Unlimited page reads as in the nineteen days before. That seems to have been the biggest lasting effect, as people indicated it might be, although I’ve also gotten some new reviews from the book.

Yesterday, I also had a milestone – a new record number of page reads:

That’s more than two whole books! Of course, it could be two people reading the whole thing, or it could be 1195 people reading one page, or anywhere in between, but it’s still pretty neat. At a half-cent per page read or so, that’s a little under $6, so definitely not guaranteeing my retirement, but still some progress. Here it is in context:

Good week for reviews

I’ve seen some increased activity in reviews on the major review sites since my free book promotion Sept. 4-9, where 3,725 people downloaded my book. Since then, I’m at +7 ratings/+3 reviews on GoodReads, +6 reviews on Amazon, and I got my first BookBub review. So, pretty happy about that. They’ve been good reviews, too, so I’m glad people are enjoying the book. Here are the last five from Amazon:

Free promotion

I’m in the middle of a free promotion for Flames Over Frosthelm, running September 5th to 9th. It’s been a success so far, if giving away thousands of copies of your book free is successful. I ran a number of announcements on free book sites on Thursday when it started, and I ran a Freebooksy announcement today. Both of those seemed to produce a bigger response than Friday, when I had no announcements. Here’s how it looked:

That’s a total of 3172 copies downloaded so far. This was enough to get me well up into the rankings on Amazon for free books:

I actually hit #1 in Sword and Sorcery on Thursday. I’m sure this is completely ephemeral, and it will fade as soon as the free promotion ends, so it doesn’t really have any meaning, although it’s fun to ride this roller coaster for a while. What I’ve read is that

  • this kind of thing doesn’t do much for sales after it’s done
  • many of the free downloaders never read the book
  • you don’t see many new reviews after one of these
  • you do have the potential to see more Kindle Unlimited activity after this kind of promotion

One other immediate effect is that I had 13 people add the book as “reading” or “to read” on Goodreads in the past three days, so there’s a chance that I’ll get some more ratings from people there.

One of my goals since the release has been to increase my exposure and introduce the book to a bunch of new folks, and this seems to be working as a route toward that end. I’ll see if it has any lasting effects after another couple of weeks, but it’s been interesting and fun.

Review from M Dressler

I am so honored to have had my book reviewed by the award winning author Mylène Dressler. She’s a friend and colleague at Guilford College, and she’s achieved much, much more in the world of fiction than I have, but she was still willing and excited to help me with my writing and encourage me to persevere. Such a wonderful person.

I highly recommend her most recent book, The Last to See Me, a haunting tale of spirits, anger, and loss set on the rocky coast of northern California. I’ve loved everything of hers I’ve read, but this one is definitely something special. I reviewed it when it came out on Goodreads here.

Her review of Flames Over Frosthelm is here.

Amazonian praise

The book has received two new Amazon reviews – one from a user who doesn’t post too many reviews:

And another from a user who posts a lot:

I’m starting to get reviews like these organically, from people I’ve never met who’ve found the book in other ways. Some I’m guessing are from recommendations, others from my advertising, maybe others just from searches or random discovery. It’s still a slow process getting press (seven reviews on Amazon, ten ratings on GoodReads, one review on BookBub), but it’s moving along. These are very encouraging – I’ve been happy all day.

First sale from Amazon ads

So, I’ve been playing around with advertising on several platforms. I’ve figured I probably need some more reviews and buzz before this will work, but I figured it was fine to experiment. Although I’m reported to be generating clicks on Facebook, Google, and Amazon, I have not yet generated a confirmed sale.

Until today!

Yes, as of today I have officially paid $25 to Amazon to sell $5 worth of books, for which I’ll receive $3 and they’ll receive $2. Clearly, this business model is not yet working, but this is the first inkling that it might work eventually. Pretty cool.

The Binge

This showed up on my Kindle Unlimited feed today. The Unlimited version of the book has exactly 587 pages, so it looks like somebody just destroyed the book in one sitting. Even funnier, this showed up a little after noon, so it must have been an all-morning kind of thing.

Unlimited readers

The past two days were the first tim in the month or so since the release of Flames Over Frosthelm that I’ve had Kindle Unlimited readers read more pages than the book is long. They report 746 pages on Friday and 718 on Thursday, both more than the 587 length of the book in Kindle’s page equivalents, which are a little smaller than regular book pages.

That’s really neat! It’s possible somebody read it all in one day, but it’s more likely that a few people read parts of it. I suppose it’s even technically possible that 746 people read one page each, but that would be silly.

Readers in the past two days were from Canada, the U.K., and the United States, but I had some pages read in India earlier this week, nearly enough for the whole book. I feel a little weird spying on the reading habits of others, but it’s pretty fascinating.

Inquisitors Guild Headquarters

As I’ve been working on the sequel to Flames Over Frosthelm, I’ve realized I really need a better idea of how the guild headquaters is laid out. I made up the attached maps of the Guild Hall to contain the parts referenced in the books.

Obviously, though, it doesn’t have to be this way – it can be however you imagined it.  
Enjoy.

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