Catherine Dale

Author of YA Fiction

More Book Stalking – Free Books are FUN!!!

In celebration of the release of the print copy (the gradual release, apparently, but it’s a start), I used up two of my Amazon free days, June 23 and 24. Now I’m watching as the book climbs the ranks! No, I’m not getting any money for it, and, yeah, I know that lots of people will download the book and never read it, but it’s still fun. Don’t rain on my parade!

Anyway, as of 7:20pm Eastern time on June 23… it’s at #60 for free action/adventure books on Amazon.com. Not bad, but that’s only #3 445 for free books overall. The more fun numbers? It’s those wacky Germans! My little baby is at #664 free overall at Amazon.de, and #3 for free English-language YA SciFi-Fantasy. At least I think Jugendbucher is YA…

Well, that’s curious. I just tried Jugendbucher in Google Translate. They’re translating the full word as ‘adult books’, but agree with me that ‘jugend’ means ‘youth’. I think Google Translate may need a reboot?

But, really, the important thing is that the book is #3 on some list, even if it’s a list that earns me no money and that I can’t really figure out. Go Book! Go Book! Go Book!

ETA: 10am on June 24th, and it’s at #1 075 free on Amazon.com. Still not great. But it’s at #10 for free Science Fiction Adventure! Top Ten! Maybe that will help…

Woo-Hoo! Amazon Top Ten!!!

For Books>Science Fiction/Fantasy>Peak Oil. There are seventeen books in this category. Still… I’m ahead of seven of them!

But, yeah, overall – a slow start. Which is what I expected. I’m not marketing this to family or friends (don’t ask me why I’m such a loser about that, but I’ve apparently decided to make writing my secret hobby), so every sale is ‘real’, someone who’s buying the book on its own merits, not because they know the author. And I’m getting some great responses from people willing to review the book. But only one actual review so far.

It’s good that I’m busy with other stuff, because if I had nothing to do other than sit around and book-watch, I’d be going insane! As it is, everything’s good. This is an experiment. There are more books where this one came from. I need time to develop a name… all that stuff. Now, back to work!

Four days in, and I’ve abandoned the plan already…

But I’m not really sure it was a good plan, so who cares, right?

I’d originally planned to have just the e-book available for a few months, until I had that under control, and then I’d work on getting the print copy out. I’m not sure why I chose that approach – I’ve been reading so many self-publishing strategies lately that they’re starting to blur together in my brain. But, that was the plan.

Except I promised myself I wouldn’t start a new writing project until tomorrow, at the earliest. That was to keep me from blasting on to the fun part and neglecting the promo that I should be doing for this book. But it was a rainy weekend, so I got a LOT of promo done, and I didn’t want to do anymore, so… Createspace! I just spent most of the afternoon fussing around with the layout and the cover and this and that, and I’m still not really sure I’ve got it right. But I think I must be pretty close. So I’ve submitted it, and now I have to wait for some sort of approval, and then there’s a proof to look at (e-proof or print? I don’t know) and THEN there’s a print copy available! Yay!

Review Requests – Fun, at the beginning

There are a lot of great YA Book Blogs out there. A lot of excellent review sites. I would like any/all of them to mention Dark Houses, preferably favourably.  It seems unlikely that they’re going to stumble over the book without a little help, so I’ve been sending review requests. A lot of review requests.

It’s hard to find something new and original to say for each blog. A few of them I’ve actually read in the past, so that’s helpful – I can honestly say I’m a reader of their work. But otherwise, I’m just finding a list of review sites, hitting links, reading their review policies to see if they’re interested in my genre (and to see if they take e-books – I will have print books of this story available eventually, I hope, but right now it’s e-book only), customizing the request as much as I can, hitting send, noting that I sent to them so I don’t duplicate (hopefully!) and then going back to the list. It’s pretty tedious.

Oh well. I wish I was writing, but… this will have to do for now.

Wow – it’s out there!

It’s here! It’s there! It’s everywhere!!!

The Old Ones had built wonderful cities, flown through the air and maybe even into space, and left behind fascinating relics. But that civilization was long gone, lost in the Dark Times, and Caylen feels no regret. She’s a nomad, and while the Wildlands between the cities can be dangerous, they’re also her home. She can’t imagine living any other way.

When her band of nomads rescues a young nobleman from the city, Caylen’s mother wants to deliver him to the nearest waypost, collect her reward, and move on. But Caylen is intrigued by Logan, and worried that his predictions of trouble for the nomads may be accurate. In order to protect the Wildlands she loves, Caylen may have to leave them behind and go to the city. It’s a whole new world, where Caylen’s nomad skills mean nothing. She’ll have to learn a whole new way of fighting, if she wants to live long enough to find her way back home.

It’s only available through Amazon for the first three months (I know, I know… but I want to give it a try.)

If you want to give the first chapter a look, it’s available here.

Thanks for your interest!

Huh… not too upset, really!

I didn’t make it to the next round of the ABNA contest. I’m still pleased with how far the story got – one of the final 250 out of 5 000, so, not bad! 

I am a bit bummed that the ‘reviewer’ clearly didn’t read much more than the first little bit of the book. I wasn’t really expecting to win the contest, but I WAS expecting to get a valuable critique, and I didn’t. Well, I guess there’s a bit of it I can use, and it’s always good to know the point at which someone stopped reading, but obviously I was hoping to hear a reaction to the entire book, not the first few chapters.

But, onward and upward… I’m actually really excited about getting to pick my own cover artist, because I love Nathie’s work (check it out at http://nathie.deviantart.com/) and had actually contacted him about doing a cover before I started with the ABNA thing. So now I get to go ahead with that! Very exciting. I’m working on the detail sheet now, and I think it could be really gorgeous.

So, yay! Cover art and a faster publication date! Excellent…

Time to Commit!

Let this blog entry serve as my declaration, to all those interested (yeah, I know…) that one way or the other, I will be publishing Dark Houses, the first book in the Nomads’ Land series.

The book is still in the running over at the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award – but there are 249 other books still competing in the YA category.  This is after people have read our blurbs and our first chapters, so it seems unlikely that there are any total messes still being considered. So, realistically, the odds are against my book making the cut. Not that I wouldn’t love to keep going with the contest – it’s fun! But I shouldn’t count on winning it as my ‘ticket to big-time publishing’.

Which is fine. I was getting kind of excited about the self-publishing options anyway. I found a great artist who does covers (http://nathie.deviantart.com/gallery/4243933) and I can pretty-well picture the way I’d like my cover to look… one of his lush forest scenes, with almost-ghostly nomads melting in and out of the trees, and a walled city in the background, and Caylen in the front, looking like she’s torn in two directions.

And I’ve got some time set aside for giving the MS another run through – I’m still not totally enamored of the resolution to the story, but I haven’t been able to come up with a more satisfying ending – and I have a good editor lined up. So, really, I’m ready to go.

But I would be happy to drop all that if Penguin came calling! Or even a strong smaller publisher, one who could get the book in front of the right people. Because other than Hunger Games hysteria, which I’ve probably mostly missed due to spending time waiting on this contest, I don’t have a whole lot of marketing ideas. I mean, the standard stuff – blog (!), submit for reviews, make sure it’s properly tagged on Amazon, etc… but nothing that compares with having it in the Penguin catalog. So, entering the contest seemed like a chance I should take, even though it slowed down the process.

Hopefully it will pay off. But even if it doesn’t — look out, world. The Nomads are coming!