The morning after

After weeks of prepping for the launch of my latest book, I have to admit to always having a bit of a launch hangover the day after. After watching for sales all day yesterday, I feel a little let down. I had high hopes but, as usual, they were a bit too high for the first day. Of course, we all want our babies to go out into the world and be received with open arms. I was very pleased that one of the blog visitors who had asked for a review copy was able to post a very kind review. However, day 1 sales were… mediocre to say the least; 3 copies sold. :-/ It’s times like these I have to remember the advice I give to others: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Time to shake off the post-launch excitement hangover and move on to the next book.

So, what did I learn this time around? Pre-orders aren’t for me. At least not yet. I used the pre-order feature this time and got none. This could be attributed to the fact that this is my first official YA book. I don’t exactly have a lot of readers under my belt as far as that goes. No one was waiting with bated breath for this book. 😉 Maybe I’ll use it again, but I saw no benefit this time around.

On an up note, someone (meaning, some blog or freebie notification service) must’ve picked up my suspense/thriller (Multiples of Six by Andy Rane) yesterday because I’ve given away over 450 copies already and today is my BookBub ad! Woot!

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Now, if only that said “Paid” instead of “Free.” 😀

Happy Book Birthday!

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It’s been a long time coming, but Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon is now live and available for purchase through Amazon. It’s a fun story that I’ve really been excited to work on and refine for publication. If you’ve been following along this summer, I’m sure you’ve heard me ramble on about it. I hope it’s the first of many good books I want to produce in the YA for boys vein (though I think girls will enjoy this story as well). I look forward to getting it out into the wild and continuing my work on its sequel… the next book you get to hear me ramble on about… Danny Dirks and the Heir of Mordred. Thanks for all of your past and continued support.

P.S. Sharing this news with your friends and colleagues would be the greatest gift you could give my book on its birthday. Thanks! 😉

Some Thoughts on Goodreads Giveaways

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At the moment, I’ve got two giveaways going on over at Goodreads. One for my suspense/thriller, Divisible by Six. the other for my recently released YA fantasy, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon. I’ve run giveaways in the past, but never two at the same time. The results are interesting so far.

Now, it might not be fair to compare these two giveaways as they are vastly different books, but the information might be useful for someone planning to do one in the near future. If you read the information that Goodreads provides, they suggeest focusing your target audience, running the giveaway for as long as possible, and giving away as many books as you can. So, when I set up the giveaway for Divisible, I followed these rules. That giveaway runs from July 24th to October 7th; almost 2.5 months. I’m giving away 10 signed copies. Almost five weeks into the giveaway, as of this writing, ~70 people have added the book to their “to-read” list and 178 have entered to win a copy.

Recently, I read a very interesting article over at Catherine, Caffeinated that tossed all of the ideas of what was right and what was wrong on its head. Essentially, she says to do the exact opposite of what Goodreads tells you. Make the giveaway short, give away a few copies, and make it available to readers across the globe. I was intrigued by the ideas and the timing couldn’t have been better. I wanted to give away some copies of Danny Dirks to get the name out there.

So, the giveaway for Danny Dirks began on August 24th and runs until September 7; two weeks. I made the book available to all members of Goodreads, no matter the country. I’m giving away 5 signed copies. Five days in, as of this writing, 169 people have added the book and 356 people have requested a copy.

What does this prove? Well, it could be nothing, really. To compare a YA fantasy to adult suspense/thriller isn’t even like apples to oranges. More like rutabagas and kumquats… 😀 Anyway, I think the point is that, by shortening your window and widening your audience, you might have a better chance at getting exposure. The two most popular times for a book to be added during a Goodreads giveaway are when it’s on the “Recently Listed” list and the “Ending Soon” list. So, the closer you can get those two dates together, the better off you might be. Not sure if there’s a magic number, but 14 days seems to be working out quite well.

If the point of the giveaway is to get your book’s name in front of the most people, this method might be the way to go. Now the true test might be the reviews gained per book given away, but that’s for another day. Hope this little bit of data is helpful.

Have you run a giveaway recently? Any advice to share? Leave comment and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

I’m giving away more books!

To celebrate the launch of my upcoming YA fantasy novel, I’m giving away 5 signed copies of Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon over at Goodreads. This is a short-term giveaway that wraps up on September 7th, so head on over and sign up. Danny Dirks releases in ebook form on September 1st!

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I need a hug

With a new book about to launch, I should be riding pretty high right now. But I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this low in my writing career.

So, you know how, when you’re writing your book, you get super paranoid that someone else has or will do it better than you? Yeah, we all get that. I’ve brushed it off in the past. I’ve seen similar books to mine, with similar plot points. Nothing enough to shake me. That is, until last night. It’s official. I’m shaken. Almost to a point of nausea, and I’m not normally that kind of guy.

For those of you who know, my upcoming YA fantasy, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon, is about dragons living among us. There is an ancient pact between man and dragons threatened by rebel dragons. There is also a love interest between the main character and the girl who lives next door, who turns out to be a dragon. It’s also a twist on the Arthurian legend. Don’t worry, I’m not revealing anything I haven’t revealed in the blurb. It’s not an original concept, but I thought it had enough to separate it from a lot of the YA fantasy that was currently out there. Silly me.

Enter Talon, by New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa. Here is the blurb:


The series revolves around dragons with the ability to disguise themselves as humans and an order of warriors sworn to eradicate them. The dragons of TALON and the Order of St. George have been at war with each other for centuries. The fabled creatures, whose existence is unknown by the general public, are determined to rule the world. Their foes, a legendary society of dragon slayers, are equally bent on driving the fabled beasts into extinction. However, when a young dragon and a hardened slayer unknowingly befriend each other, it has severe repercussions for both organizations.

Yeah. It’s different, but damn it’s about as similar as I’d ever want to get to another book. Plus, she has a huge following, a 7-figure book deal, and to top it all off, THEY’RE ALREADY IN PRODUCTION ON THE MOVIE!

I know. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I can’t help but feel a bit sick. I sat on this book for four years before deciding to self publish. I wanted it to get the best treatment, which it has. And now, at the point I should feel most triumphant, I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. Maybe I have it completely wrong. Maybe my book will gain traction because of hers, especially if its theme is popular. Heck, maybe we’re setting a trend of dragons-among-us stories. I sure hope so. It’d make me feel a lot better than I do right now.

Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon releases September 1st. Talon, by Julie Kagawa, releases October 28th.

Cover reveal: Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon

I’ve been so excited about this cover for so long. I’m really happy I can finally reveal it to the world. Created by the extremely talented Jason Gurley, I think it really captures the essence I was going for.

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Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon is a full-length young adult fantasy novel set in the modern day #1 in a trilogy. The book has been beta read, professionally edited, and professionally formatted. It’s now available for pre-order over at Amazon for $2.99, two weeks prior to its official launch on September 1st. I hope you’ll do me the honor of reserving a copy. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. As mentioned previously, I’m still looking for reviewers, so let me know if you’re interested getting a freebie. Also, any help spreading the word would be greatly appreciated. 😀

Update: The paperback artwork can be seen here.

This is why I self publish

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I was having a conversation with writing colleague, Nisha Sharma, the other night. Nisha and I met through our writers group and I’m happy to say that, despite our publishing differences (traditional and self sometimes seems like Montague and Capulet, right?), we see writing and creativity in much the same light. It’s always fun to find a writer compatriot and I’m happy to call Nisha a friend. Her first novel, My So-Called Bollywood Life, will be published in 2016 (too far away!) and I’m positive more will follow. She’s got a lot of energy, a great way with language, and she’s writing in a vein that has the potential to explode. Be sure to check out her awesome website.

Now, where was I? So, we started discussing a YA fantasy project she’s been working on. A project, by the way, that’s made it into the top 10 finalists for Simon & Shuster’s SIMON451 imprint contest. Winners get an advance, a publishing contract, and a trip to Comic Con in NYC for the launch of the imprint (as well as a seat on the panel). Cool, right? So, most of us would just be thrilled to say we were a finalist, right? Not Nisha. She’s worried about not winning. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about a sense of entitlement. It’s about self doubt and not believing that her work can stand up to the other contestants.

“It’s not fantasy enough.”

So, we started talking about her plot. It’s very cool, and I can see it doing very well. Young adult, strong female main character (MC), and mythology most Westerners are unfamiliar with. Yeah, it could be a gold mine. There’s plenty of fantasy elements, without the reader being beaten over the head with them. And, like a lot of stories of this ilk, it takes some time for the MC to discover what exactly is going on. An element of storytelling that I’ve used in my own YA fantasy.

Me: “So, when does the reader get their first taste of fantasy in the novel?”

Nisha: “Page 80.”

Me: “There’s not even a hint before that?”

Nisha: “Well, the prologue has gods and goddesses…”

Me: “But you just said there was nothing until page 80!”

Nisha: “And that thing (that’s totally fantastical and pretty darn awesome that I can’t reveal or she’d kill me) starts happening in chapter 1.”

Me: “Who told you this story wasn’t fantasy enough?”

Nisha: “Well, my agent. This book hasn’t sold anywhere. No one wants it. They don’t know what to do with it.”

**sighs**

In the end, a friend and I were able to talk Nisha down from the ledge. Yes, she could add some fantasy elements to make the story richer, but only if that was part of her vision. Otherwise, we felt that there was plenty of fantasy for a YA fantasy novel. I said to her, “Honestly, if it doesn’t win, you should really consider self publishing it.” I’m not sure she took me seriously. She has, after all, already sold two of her books and has a steady relationship with her agent. And I’m sure that agent would try and quickly talk her down off of the self-publishing ledge.

In all, this reminded me of why I self publish. Yes, I may get good input from outside parties. Heck, it might be great input that totally shifts the story into high gear. But, in the end, it’s my decision whether or not to change the story and no one else’s. And, I can click publish and put it into the hands of readers without having a self-appointed gatekeeper tell me no one will read it. If the story is well written and error free, it will find an audience. Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for what folks in traditional publishing are trying to accomplish. I believe that they are working to bring the best books to market, but the fact remains that good books will be held back by a preconceived notion about whether or not that book will make money. And that’s just a darn shame.

I’m looking for reviewers!

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Do you review books on your blog? Do you read YA fantasy? If so, we should chat. I’m looking for a few good reviewers. I have a novel coming out soon (go figure!) and I’d like to have some reviews ready to publish when the book releases. While I plan on reaching out to some sites, I’m also open to anyone who swings by the blog on a regular basis. I can provide you a free copy of my 63,000 word novel, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon, in exchange for an honest review that you’d be willing to post on Amazon when the time comes (in addition to whatever blog article you might want to publish). If this interests you, drop me a line at scott.mulraney (et) gmail.com. If you think this might interest someone else, I hope you’ll help me spread the word. Thanks!