Tag Archives: kindle

Free Sci-Fi Ebook This Weekend

This weekend ‘Lament for the Living’, the post-apocalyptic zombie survivor book is released.  It’s also the one year anniversary of the publication of ‘The Deluge of Elias’ the dystopian sci-fi short story.  To celebrate both events I’m making ‘The Deluge of Elias’ a Free Sci-Fi Ebook for the duration of the weekend.

That’s the 10th, 11th, and 12th of May 2013, The Deluge of Elias will be FREE!  To mark the anniversary it’s been extensively re-edited and contains the first three chapters of ‘Lament for the Living’.

If you didn’t get a chance to read it before, now’s your chance.  And if you did read it before, then give it another whirl.

The Deluge of Elias:
(UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Deluge-of-Elias-ebook/dp/B0082FRKNU
(Rest of the World): http://www.amazon.com/The-Deluge-of-Elias-ebook/dp/B0082FRKNU

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

‘Lament for the Living’ is Now Available:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lament-Living-UK-Edition-ebook/dp/B00CNAPUAU
(UK)

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lament-for-the-Living-ebook/dp/B00CNDEK6W
(Rest of the World)

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/313539

Lament for the Living by David Nicol

Click here to visit the official page for Lament for the Living on facebook.

Add Lament for the Living to your Goodreads list: Lament for the Living on Goodreads.com
Like Lament for the Living on facebook for updates:  Lament for the Living on facebook

Visit David Nicol on Facebook: David Nicol – Author
Follow David Nicol on twitter: @davidxnicol
David Nicol on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
Join David Nicol on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

I Rarely Buy What I’m Sold

David NicolIn this article I discuss the “marketing” tactics that some indie and self-published authors embark on and why they may be doing more harm than good.

I don’t like being sold to.  When I go in to a shop, I’m there because I know what I want.  If they don’t have it, I’ll find it somewhere else.  What won’t happen is this: a ‘sales assistant’ will saunter up and ask me if they can help, they then listen to what I’m after, ignore the specificity of my request and instead offer me what they have in stock, regardless of comparability.  Here’s the thing: I’m very specific.  I do my research before setting foot in a shop so I’ve already disregarded any alternatives.

Sometimes the sales assistant will offer to order in the item.  That type of sales person is getting rarer and rarer each day, and unless they can sell me the product cheaper than I can order it online myself it’s going to be a No Sale.  I’ve worked in sales myself, or retail as it was called many moons ago.  I didn’t enjoy it, but it was a job and my sales/commission were good because I employed a mysterious and occult talent that many of the other sales people lacked:  I listened to the customer.  I never told a customer what THEY wanted.  They know what they want and building rapport and trust with them wasn’t going to happen if I railroaded them in to buying the item that I made the most commission on, especially if it wasn’t what they were actually looking for.

Building trust enabled me to provide my customers with what they actually wanted, and when I recommended other items to compliment their purchase they would have more confidence in my suggestion.  It also meant that I had more repeat business (although at the time I didn’t realise any of this!).

So let’s fast forward to now, and social media, and online marketing, and self promotion….

I read with interest this article by Kristen Lamb entitled ‘How Can We Brag Without it KILLING Our On-Line Credibility?‘ which discussed the issue of Obnoxious Ollies and Super Secret Susans.  Obnoxious Ollie being the continual self plugger, while Super Secret Susan told no-one what she did and the importance of finding a balance between the two.

The reason for my interest is that recently I got fed up with the Obnoxious Ollies (and Olliettas) whose incessant self promotion was swamping my twitter feed.  I have already started pruning my twitter following list and already I’ve noticed a difference.   I can now see posts from people who have something to say, not just posts saying how wonderful their book is and why I should buy it.

What does this have to do with sales?  I think what’s happening in the independent author world is that people are finding their feet in unknown areas.  The issue I believe stems from all the “how to market” type sites and books out there, and in particular one gem of (mis)information.  According to marketing “law”, it takes eight impressions before someone will take action.  It’s possible that that information is from a very credible source, but like many quotes without the original context it can easily be misconstrued.

For many they seem to think that if someone sees their blurb eight times then they will buy their book, so they keep spouting it out.  Sooner or later their message will scroll through your feed, you’ll see it eight times and be powerless but to click on that link.  Except for one glaring problem.  Is what they’re selling actually what you want?  It could be that their book turns out to be finest thing you’ve ever read, completely life changing and you find a new muse for life.  But what if it’s not.  What if it doesn’t live up to the self produced hype?

I actually find it quite offensive to be constantly sold to, the use of social media becoming a one way hosepipe.  It’s meant to be social, to allow interaction.  But as more authors turn to auto-tweeting platforms they slowly destroy the platform.  Now that I’m weeding out the one-way tweeters I’m spending more time on twitter rather than facebook and enjoying the interaction.

Having a feed full of adverts, retweets and 5* review links was not my idea of fun.

 

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK

 

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

The Folly of “FREE”

David NicolI thought I was the only person seeing the folly in giving your work away for literally nothing.  But then this article was linked by Self Publishing Review on Facebook.  In his article, Derek Haines argues the point that free books do nothing but help boost the sales of ereaders.  That the ploy may once have worked, but is now ineffective with the glut of free ebooks flooding the market places every day.

I’d like to expand on the issue with my own reasons for not giving my work away.  I’m in total agreement with Derek.  But for me, there is more to it.

I have done the free thing.  Not because I think it’ll lead to more sales.  To boost sales you have to be clever about your freebies, for example giving away book one in a series.  I gave my work away for free (the last time was actually yesterday) just to get a bit of exposure.

Many people (myself historically included) think that if they give their work away, they’ll receive reviews.  Others will see those reviews, they’ll be favourable, and then others will buy their books.  The reality is that the majority of copies that are downloaded for free will never be read.

People Mostly Like Free Porn
People like free.  People will take anything if it’s free, even if it’s not something that they actually want.  It happens in supermarkets and it’s happening in the ebook world.  The problem with this is that people who would not normally be your audience will be reading your work.  Sure, that can be a good thing.  In many cases it will back fire.  I write sci-fi and horror.  They are my genres.  Look at the top 100 free on Amazon at the moment and the majority is erotica/porn.  That means that the majority of downloaders are not natural sci-fi/horror readers which is not going to translate to good reviews for me.  (*note to self: add buff men, breathless busty women, and tentacle sex to my stories for instant success….)

The Review Issue
When you look at the cold statistics it allows you to understand some of the low star reviews on Amazon for books that are really not that bad.  They usually have a statement similar to the following in them “I got this for free, and I didn’t like it, but it’s not the sort of thing I would normally read….”  It’s like being lactose intolerant, going to the supermarket and getting a load of yoghurt because they had free samples, then complaining because it made you ill.  The point I made first about most free downloads NOT being read probably works in most authors favour (unless you’re in the erotic genre, in which case you need to add more buff men, breathless busty women, and tentacle sex to your stories for instant success).

The Maths Issue.
If I sell 10 ebooks for $1 each, earning 35% royalties, how much will I earn?  Enough for a Big Mac.  If I don’t sell any, then I earn nothing.  If I “sell” 2,500 ebooks for free, how much will I earn?  The answer is also nothing (but I could laughingly call myself a “best-selling author”).  Once your book is written and uploaded it costs you nothing, only your time in publicising it.  The idea is that you make money from your passion, if you’re continually giving your work away and getting nowhere then you’re teetering on the abyss of the vanity press.

Try Before You Buy
And lastly.  If people want to check out your work before they buy, there’s the ‘Look Inside’ option on Amazon (or samples on your site).  It’s fantastic.  Before I download anything for free (because there are some good works out there that are remarkably free), I take a look inside to see if contents are worth reading.  Look Inside.  Like what you see?  Buy the book then.

As authors I think we need to be pimping that option more.  After all, we don’t go to the library or bookstore and just pick up a load of random books on the “Take Me I’m Free” shelf.  No, we read the blurb on the back and most of us also read the first couple of paragraphs.  Let’s encourage others to do more of that in the ebook world.

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK

 

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Visiting Hannibal House Country

The idea for Hannibal House was born out of seeing this particular house in New Quay, Ceridigion on the West Wales coast.

The Real Hannibal House
(c) David Nicol 2012

When I saw the house I had a similar reaction to it that Troy in the story had: “Now that’s a nice house”. The people I was with all agreed that the real house we were looking at was ‘nice’, but they didn’t seem to be as enthusiastic about it as I was. From there I got to thinking about the nature of why we find some spaces attractive, and others not. I thought of the tales of Sirens from mythology luring sailors to their doom, and via a fairly random set of processes to the Angler Fish (or Monkfish) Melanocetus johnsonii which lures prey to its mouth by the promise of a free meal.

Although the name ‘Hannibal House’ may conjure up images of a noble warrior, determined to battle against the odds (or a Carthaginian elephant abuser, depending on your perspective), the first name that came to me was ‘Cannibal House’. The concept that houses being human in origin, and this one wanting humans to consume in some way would make it technically a cannibal. But without literal cannibals, the title was a fanciful reach and so it became ‘Hannibal House’ (presenting an impressive edifice).

Within the story, Troy’s journey is documented across Wales and one section is particularly entrenched in reality. Troy sits and eats his lunch on Cefn Bryn, at a place called Arthur’s Stone. He sits on the flat portion of the ancient megalith. And here it is:

Arthur's Stone from Hannibal House by David Nicol
(c) David Nicol 1995

I took that photograph in 1995. It’s facing East. If you sat on the flat stone, like Troy in the story you look North over the Loughour Estuary towards Burry Port and Llanelli. At that point he meets a man called Ivor the Caravan…

Ivor James the Caravan from Hannibal House by David Nicol
(c) David Nicol 1995

I haven’t actually met Ivor James the Caravan. I’m sure that he is/was (it’s 17 years since I took the photo) a wonderful fellow, a well meaning character like his namesake in Hannibal House.

When I wrote the story I based the majority of the settings on places that I had actually been to, and that comes across in the story. However, as Donncha pointed out, it’s unlikely that the Welsh Tourist Board will be asking me to write a review for them any time soon.

Should you be in the mood to visit Hannibal House, or the places mentioned in the story then here is where you’ll find them by clicking here to view them via Google Maps (Opens link in a new window).

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

‘Hannibal House’ is now available

Today, ‘Hannibal House’ launched on Amazon. Before we launch in to the blurb that goes with it I’d like to thank those who have been involved in helping tweak the story to the finished version. I received some fantastic feedback from those involved in the beta so thank you to all involved.

Those who provided feedback will be receiving a personalised copy of ‘Hannibal House’ via email.

And now, on to the main event:

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, he comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Available on Amazon:

(UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hannibal-House-ebook/dp/B008LDK2PG

(US) http://www.amazon.com/Hannibal-House-ebook/dp/B008LDK2PG

 

And the futuristic dystopian short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is also available:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

(US) http://www.amazon.com/The-Deluge-of-Elias-ebook/dp/B0082FRKNU

(UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Deluge-of-Elias-ebook/dp/B0082FRKNU

Deluge of Elias – New Cover

I decided that ‘The Deluge of Elias’ needed a new and totally original cover. This cover needed to have three elements to it: a figure, moisture, and decay/rust. Those elements are prevalent in the story and so the image began forming in my head.

Stock images wouldn’t cut the mustard this time, although they’d make an appearance for the background. I needed a model for the face. Hmm, where can I get a model from at this time of night? I thought, looking in the mirror. OH! Hey there handsome. You’ve got the look of a man with the world on his shoulders.

The problem with me being the model is that I’m usually the one behind the camera. That’s what I trained as, and that’s where I’m comfortable. I also have no illusions about ever being a model (let’s get that straight right now). Enter stage right: the wife.

Imagine the conversation went like this: So honey… after covering me in vaseline you get to throw water in my face while taking photographs.

Sounds like something out of Fifty Shades of Suburbia, and it could have been, but it wasn’t. Anyway, my other half seemed keen on the idea of potentially waterboarding me for some twisted reason so we got to work.

I think that Wifey dearest enjoyed chucking water in my face as the photo shoot took a lot longer than seemed strictly necessary to get the image I was looking for. Some editing time later and here we have the new cover for ‘The Deluge of Elias’:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Hannibal House: Release Date 14th July

The beta reading event for ‘Hannibal House’ is under way. Feedback received so far has confirmed that the story holds up and has the desired effect. Other than a handful of minor edits ‘Hannibal House’ only requires formatting to ebook.

The release date for the final commercial version will be July 14th 2012.

Hannibal House is the tale of a young American who heads to Wales after the death of his father to get in touch with his heritage. He doesn’t quite find what he’s looking for until he heads off the beaten track and comes across Hannibal House, a place that attracts lost souls.

Look out for it on the Amazon Kindle Market.

Hannibal House by David Nicol

Sometimes you don’t choose the house,

the house chooses you

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

The Deluge of Elias – updated

I’ve just spent the best part of the day re-editing ‘The Deluge of Elias’ (the dystopian sci-fi short story in case you’re new here).  During the conversion from straight .doc format to HTML I was able to pick up and correct a number of errors, and expand on some sections to give it more depth.

It’s been a while since I worked in pure HTML so it was quite enjoyable to ‘get my hands dirty’ again.

Some additions to the original version are an encoded version of the cover, a note from me and then an introduction to ease the reader in to the world of Elias.  I did this as some readers felt the story was lacking some background information relating to The Dome.  Although I had intended to convey one of the main themes of the story (the control of information) by alluding to a total black out of everything that precedes the present; it was obvious that it didn’t come across as clearly as I hoped.

As I intend to continue write about The Dome I have deliberately avoided giving any details about how it came about, so hopefully the information presented in the new introduction will plug some of the holes, but leave the reader still wanting more.

At the conclusion of the story I’ve also included a teaser to the next short story that I’ll be producing.

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk

Sneaky Peeky

I’m in the processing of writing a full length book. It’s set three years after what can only be described as a zombie apocalypse. Although there are zombies in it, I wouldn’t classify it as the typical zombie story. It’s more about the societies that continue, and get destroyed. The people who live, and die. And how people develop.

Here is the opening scene:

The early evening light pierced through the pine forest. As the dark shadows edged away from the sun on the thick carpet of pine needles two sets of feet made their way through the half-light. One set, oblivious; the other, fixated. One pair of feet wearing tired and muddy shoes, the other wrapped in sack cloth. The shoes clumsy and slow, the sack clad feet swift and sure. At one time the shoes had obviously been expensive; the type worn by a banker, accountant or other office dwelling professional. The feet wrapped in sack cloth would, in the past, have indicated desperation; someone with no alternative way of protecting their feet from the elements. Today, the sack cloth was worn for another reason: stealth.

Shoes stumbled over the uneven ground, splashing in staggered steps through shallow puddles of rain water and rotting pine needles. He stopped, as if unsure which way to go. Sacks continued silently through the carpet of bracken and mud, halting when she saw that Shoes had stopped. Crouching down she pulled her hood back, her raven hair shorn on one side almost to the scalp so it wouldn’t impede her sight or the drawing of her bow. Shoes remained oblivious to her presence. She removed the bow from her back, its lightweight composite recurve design betraying its previous life as the choice of champions; a Rolls Royce in the world of target archery now pressed in to service against a different kind of target. Sacks narrowed her hazel eyes, gauging the distance to Shoes, looking for signs of any breeze that could affect her shot. She nocked an arrow. The carbon fibre shaft slid back noiselessly as Sacks drew the bow, taking aim at Shoes. The distance was about twenty metres, half the effective range of the bow, a straightforward shot. Sacks slowed her breathing, eyes concentrating on the distance from the end of the arrow to Shoes. She made minute adjustments as she finely tuned her aim. Centre mass? Vital organs, heart and lungs: a nice large target, but not good enough this time. The neck and spinal column? A good kill zone, but too tricky under these conditions. The head? Perfect.

Sacks breathed in, drawing back the bowstring to full extension. Finessed the aim and let the arrow fly. She felt the bowstring brush the short hair at the side of her head, the sensation sent a shiver of excitement down her spine. In the Before Times, before the outbreak, before life had changed, Sacks had never shot an arrow. Never killed anything. She had enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle in a comfortable suburban home, eating pre-packed foods that were as far removed from the animals from which they originated as you could get. Spending her time watching inane television shows that concentrated on the shallow existence of celebrities. Whenever the Before Times crossed Sacks’s mind it was like watching a film of someone else. That person was gone. She watched the arrow arc through the air, flashing as it crossed shafts of sunlight that broke through the gloom of the forest. The arrow hit its mark a little high and to the left of where Sacks was aiming, there must have been a breeze after all, but the outcome was not affected. The arrow smashed through the back of Shoes’s skull, destroying what was left of the brain with a mixture of steel tipped arrow and shards of cranium. The arrow partially exited below the right supraorbital foramen, the eyeball already partially decayed, popped from the socket like a horror mask. What remained of the life of Shoes was extinguished before his body splashed down on to the muddy ground. The noise of Shoes hitting the ground was louder than Sacks expected. She frantically looked around her to check that nothing else was coming to investigate the sound.

When all was clear Sacks retrieved the arrow before searching Shoes’s pockets. Before she reached his body the familiar odour of the infection almost overwhelmed her sense of smell, it was something she knew she would never get used to. His suit had been ‘off-the-peg’, he had probably been some sort of middle manager. There was an open packet of chewing gum, a wallet, a mobile phone with a broken screen, and a set of house keys. Sacks looked through the wallet, discarding the money and the credit cards. There was a photo folded in half. Sacks unfolded it carefully and looked at the family smiling back at her. A man who was probably Shoes at one time, a woman and a child. They stood smiling in the sun, the background showing some tourist destination near a beach. The woman smiling down at what must have been their daughter as Shoes grinned towards the camera. A happy family. In a side pocket was a driving license. The driving license named Shoes as “Anthony Redfern”. Sacks looked at both the family photo and the drivers licence for a while before pocketing them. “Sorry Tony” Sacks said quietly. As she got up she pulled the hood back over her head before moving off silently.

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk

First Sale of The Deluge of Elias

Today I discovered that ‘The Deluge of Elias’ had made a sale on Amazon.com. On the day of release I made the story free for 24 hours and the reports showed 123 downloads.

A number of the people who downloaded it then were known to me so this is the first “wild card” reader so it will be interesting to see what feedback, if any, they leave.

To the mystery purchaser: thank you, and please, let me know your thoughts.

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk