Today I’m happy to introduce a newly published book – a travel adventure that I’m sure will be of interest to lots of would be travellers and those who haven’t been able to get away this year due to covid-19.
First, here’s a few words from debut author Dawn East about what inspired her to write and publish Heading East (great title btw).
‘Before I went on a one year sabbatical around Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe, I thought I’d write a blog about my travels to let my family and friends know what I was up to. However, it soon turned into something much bigger and I found myself writing for hours about each place I visited. My friends loved it so I kept writing.
This book is all of my blog posts combined into one and covers the honest ups and downs of solo travel as an older female traveller. From sad histories to funny anecdotes, there is something for everyone. If you’re tempted to follow in my footsteps then I’ve included a helpful Q&A at the end. I hope you enjoy following my adventures.‘
The very thought of home ownership and settling down was enough to send Dawn East running for the hills – otherwise known as the Trans-Mongolian Train, where her adventures across Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe would begin. But how would a self-confessed fussy eater, who worries about everything from bag-snatchers to parasitic skin infections, cope with a year of strange foods, noisy dorms and leaving behind a blossoming relationship?
Join Dawn, a forty-year-old primary school teacher, on her one year sabbatical as she navigates her way through twenty-six different countries.
Thanks for stopping by. If you do pick up a copy of Heading East, please consider leaving a review to help out a debut indie author. (Dawn is not on social media, but if you have any comments for her I can pass them on.)
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy
It’s September and we’re into the last 4 months of the year – that’s scary! Like most people I think I’ll be glad for 2020 to be over.
To help me through I’ve decided to plan my writing projects for the rest of the year. I’m not setting huge goals, so hopefully I can stick to them.
First it’s always nice to look back and see what I have achieved this year (and gloss over the fact I had originally planned to have published two books by this time in 2020)!
Achieved in 2020
I finally set up my mailing list with Mailchimp. This is a task I’ve been putting off for years. I haven’t started advertising it yet, but if you want to join please follow the link here. I’m working on some free and exclusive stories for my mailing list subscribers set in the worlds of my novels, so there’s a great reason to join me.
My big news for 2020 is that the audiobook for The Lost Sentinel is coming very soon! We’re just waiting for approval from ACX and then it will be on sale through Amazon, Audible and iTunes. Watch this space for more info.
Last month The Lost Sentinel hit number 1 bestseller in several free categories in the US, UK and Canada. It was a pretty big deal for me and I shared a post about how it happened here.
What’s to come
I’ve been writing a romance novella that I hope to publish in 2020. It’s a departure from my preferred fantasy genre but it’s been keeping me sane during lockdown and I’m really excited about it. I have yet to have beta readers feedback so I’m not even sure how good the story is, but I do have my editor booked in very soon so I need to get on with it!
Those short stories for my mailing list subscribers need to be a priority after the novella has gone to beta readers.
I’m writing a spy story with a friend. We’re not sure how long it will be, but I’ve already suggested we publish it at some point. This will be my friend’s first self published book and it’ll be great to share a joint project with the world. Again, testing out a new genre is exciting as well.
I have other romance novella ideas that I hope to start drafting over the coming months, but I really must get back to my first love – Fantasy! Which leads me to…
My planned trilogy. If I can just get on with it I might be able to publish the complete trilogy in 2021. That is a big ask, but book 1 is almost complete (if I don’t end up planning any major rewrites) and book 2 only has about a 1/4 to go. Book 3 is another matter, but I’ll worry about that later.
There are always more projects in the back of my mind including the book of short stories I’ve been itching to put together and a non-fiction book on writing and self publishing that keeps rearing up and forcing my attention away from other things. These are ideas I’ll sort out one day, I’m just not sure when.
Silent Sea Chronicles has a blog tour running from 6th to 12th September. Run by Storytellers on Tour, there will be some fun Q&A’s and lots of reviews and promo posts hitting over the week.
I’m also planning an Audiobook 1 day event for The Lost Sentinel in the next few months with the help of Rachel’s Random Resources.
I’ve signed up for an online social media course to help me understand some of the platforms I’ve been ignoring, so hopefully I can learn a few tips to reach a wider audience.
I think that’s about all I should consider for now before I dig myself an even bigger writing hole to get lost in.
Tomorrow I have a book post from a debut author to share and then I’ll be blogging about my reading plans for the rest of 2020. Thanks for stopping by.
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy
I’ve been looking into advertising my audiobook (soon to be audiobooks!) but I’m struggling to find ways to do it.
Then I realised I haven’t posted about the book for a while, so I’d like to share it with you now and offer my readers the chance to listen for free. All I ask as that you consider leaving a review on Audible, Amazon, Goodreads, wherever you feel comfortable posting.
To tempt you here’s a sample performed by the very talented Guy Barnes.
Two wizards, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past?
An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria. Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate. Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer. The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions and save the Paltrian people before the dark menace of Zarua’s past is unleashed?
You can also buy the audiobook on itunes or audible where it’s free to listen to with your monthly credit.
If you don’t have a audible account, you can follow these links to set up an account and receive a free months trial
Last week I did something I said to myself at the start of my indie career that I would never do, I gave away a book for free.
I’ve done a fair amount of 99p deals and sales drops, but to set it to free and then pay to advertise it didn’t make sense to me.
But being the start of a trilogy it can be good business to give away book 1 for a limited period. If people enjoy book 1, they will hopefully go on to buy and read books 2 and 3. And, all going well I’ve gained a new, avid reader for future books. Still it is a risk and can be an expensive one too.
I set book 1 to free for the full 5 days allowed in my KDP Select 3 month period. Then I set book 2 and 3 to 99p each for the 7 days allowed starting on the same day as the free 5 day promotion.
I stacked ads for each day to maximise the reach of my free book offer. This was great for achieving downloads but it has meant I’ve no idea what ads were any good. (List of ad companies further down in this post).
I did use the tactic of using the biggest hitter for my genre (Book Barbarian) in the middle of the promo period, which helped me reach no.1 in the US. See more on this below.
Downloads of The Lost Sentinel over the 5 free days 10th to 14th August = 3862
Purchases of books 2 and 3 over the 7 day KDP free days = 143
KENP – pages read through Kindle Unlimited since 10th August to date = Over 5K
Reviews and Ratings. So far I’ve received a 4 and 5 star review, and a 5 star rating. I’m hoping to see more popping over over the coming weeks. I’ve also gained a few new followers on BookBub which is always good.
Amazon 5 Stars. Captivating… ‘I’ve been reading fantasy and SF for over fifty years. I recognize a born story teller when I read one. Suzanne Rogerson held me spellbound. The author is destined to become a legend.’
Goodreads 4 star – ‘Very interesting premise… The world building was amazing. The lands of Kalaya and Tei’s powers of astral projection were so vividly described that it was beautiful to read about it. Tei’s journey and the twist in the end added to the enjoyment of the story. Liked it.’
I spend a few hundred pounds setting this up and have so far earnt back nearly half of what I laid out in advertising costs. That’s not bad, especially if it continues to help people discover my books and they keep reading them through Kindle Unlimited. Who knows maybe in time it will have broken even.
This experiment wasn’t so much about the money, but about reaching readers. I’m happy to have been able to reach 3862 new ones across the world!
The BIG BIG Benefit
The Lost Sentinel reached No.1 in three countries and in some cases held the spot for two/three consecutive days.
No. 1 best seller in US – Categories = Romantic fantasy, Woman’s fantasy fiction, Action and Adventure Fantasy, New Adult and college fantasy. At various times The Lost Sentinel held spots 2 and 3 in Epic fantasy, Sword and Sorcery and Coming of Age Fantasy.
The top sales rank it reached across all free kindle books in the US was 83 and it reached no. 4 in the top free fantasy books. That really made my day.
No. 1 best seller in UK – Categories = Low Fantasy, Fantasy Adventure Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy and Action and Adventure Fiction. It also reached no.2 in Coming of Age fantasy and Epic Fantasy, and 3 in Sword and Sorcery.
The Lost Sentinel also reached No. 4 in all free fantasy books and was no 5 in all sci-fi and fantasy free books in the UK.
No. 1 best seller in Canada – Categories = Coming of Age Fantasy. Placed 2nd in Epic and 3rd in Sword and Sorcery.
Top sales rank of all free books 29. No. 4 in top free fantasy books in Canada.
No.2 in Australia for Epic fantasy and 73 across the whole of free books in Australia.
As well as these four countries, The Lost Sentinel was also downloaded in Brazil, Germany, India, Netherlands, France, Spain, Japan, Italy and Mexico. I achieved high rankings in many of these countries too.
I’ve tried to do some research to understand the numbers but all I can find out is that there could be around 6 million ebooks available on kindle. I don’t know how many of those are free at any one time, but those are big numbers and I’m so proud to see my book reaching such heights.
Would I recommend running a free book promotion?
100% yes. But I would only do this for book 1 in a trilogy or the start of a series and I would wait until the rest of the books are available to hopefully encourage follow on sales and read throughs.
Watching the downloads come in and getting to No 1 is quite addictive, so don’t plan on doing much else whilst your promotion is running.
It’s a heady experience, which means the come down is hard. When it’s all over you’re left feeling deflated. And it is a shame to see the ranking disappear after the free promo is over. My advice is to take screenshots so you can look back and say it really did happen!
Would I change anything?
I wish I’d booked more ads for the last day of the promo period. After all the excitement midway through, the last day felt like a let down with dwindling sales. It would have been great to go out with a bang.
Ad companies I used in my free promo.
Note – I can’t say for sure where the downloads came from. I’m just providing you with a list of the ad companies I used. There are so many to choose from that you should do your research and learn from trial and error.
Day 1 – Just Kindle Books, Book Reader magazine, Pretty Hot books (119 free downloads, 8 sales)
Day 2 – FKBT, Awesome book promo, James H Mayfield VA services (551 free downloads, 15 sales)
Day 3 – Book Barbarian, BK Nights (1291 free downloads, 57 sales)
Day 4 – Book Runes, Awesome gang, eReader IQ, Book Cave (1426 free downloads, 31 sales)
Day 5 – Book Doggy (475 downloads, 24 sales)
Day 6 and 7 after the free promo ended. 8 sales.
A big thank you to Bklnk.com This is a great resource to check what categories your books are in and their rankings across Amazon in the US, UK and Canada.
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy
This has been a mad week with some strange happenings, not least the heatwave that’s gripped the UK. I’ve reached a huge goal seeing The Lost Sentinel hit best seller status in 3 countries – US, UK and Canada and in a number of categories.
You can grab your own free copy here. Plus the rest of the series is on sale for only 99p each.
I won’t go into more details about it now, I’ll save that for a follow up post next week where I’ll analyse my results, share the data, as well as my formula for reaching No. 1 in various Top 100 free ebook lists.
Right now this is just a quick reminder that the book will go back to full price at midnight tonight and I will lose my no.1 status (sad face!). But I can now call The Lost Sentinel a best seller, and I think that also means I can call myself a best selling author?! BEST SELLING AUTHOR!!! Cue happy dance!
Once this excitement has died down there will be more great things coming up. In September, starting on 6th, there will be a blog tour for Silent Sea Chronicles and for the first time The Lost Sentinel will be featured by bookstagrammers on Instagram.
I’m also hoping the audiobook will go live on Audible, iTunes and Amazon very soon. I can’t wait to see what people think of George Ellington’s brilliant narration of book 1.
This is my last chance to persuade people to pick up The Lost Sentinel for free so here goes…
Tei’s homeland, the magical island of Kalaya, is dying. Without a Sentinel to restore the magic soon all life will perish. Tei must join the exiles in their quest to find the missing Sentinel before mysterious masked riders catch up with them. The price of success threatens to destroy everything Tei loves; is she brave enough to make the sacrifice?
Thanks to everyone for their comments and shares over all social media platforms. I appreciate your help. Best selling author, Suzanne Rogerson, over and out!
I wanted to type that title in full caps to shout about how happy I am this morning. To see my book baby in a no.1 position in the US is amazing.
Finally I’ve worked out a way to share the screenshots.
First the big one – No.4 in the top 100 across all fantasy books in the US!
I’ve also hit No.1 best seller in 3 categories Actions and Adventure Fantasy, Romantic fantasy and New Adult fantasy as per below.
This more than makes up for the fact I only had 3 hours sleep, what with the heatwave, a puppy stealing the bed (she also manged to kick me straight in the eye!) and a cat meowing half the night for god only knows what reason.
I also reached No. 2 in Coming of Age Fantasy and Epic Fantasy, and it’s No. 3 in Sword and Sorcery.
Finally it’s wonderful to see that The Lost Sentinel is currently at position 83 in the Top 100 Free Kindle chart!
I know this is fleeting and within a few hours things will change, but for now I’m going to enjoy it! Hopefully this buzz will get me through the rest of the day on such little sleep.
Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of The Lost Sentinel if you haven’t done so already. It’s only free for 2 more days.
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy
The Lost Sentinel is currently on a 5 day free promo and I have stacked ads to help me reach readers.
This morning I was excited to wake up to see The Lost Sentinel had hit number 1,2 and 3 slots in Canada for Coming of Age fantasy, Epic fantasy and Sword and Sorcery! Here’s the proof.
I have screenshots of the lists but I’m still having trouble downloading them to WordPress. It’s frustrating as I’ve been looking forward to this moment and I want to shout about how happy I am about these results!
I have a big ad hitting soon and and I’m hoping it will help me reach the big spot in more countries. Fingers crossed!
I’ll keep you updated and share my results at the end of the experiment. In the meantime, if you haven’t picked up your free copy of The Lost Sentinel, why not do it now? You can help me achieve my goal of reaching no. 1 in the Amazon top 100 free charts.
I’d like to share the newest review that’s gone up for my Silent Sea Chronicles series – it’s actually the first for the box set on Amazon so I’m extra happy!
(Christopher) 5 STARS – Inspiring. A lovely story that warms the soul. Some action and battle scenes but not overly graphic so will appeal to most. There’s also a good deal of romance which, although not my thing, makes this saga a good read for all. I will deffo keep an eye out for more books to follow this and catch up on the characters and how their journey progresses.
Here’s some others…
(Norris) 5 STARS Loved it. A thoroughly enjoyable fantasy story with characters you can’t help rooting for and intriguing villains. The world building was fantastic and it was easy to lose yourself in. I can’t wait to see where this story goes. – The Lost Sentinel – Book 1.
(Teri) 4 STARS – Action and Chaos. I don’t know how I came about this story but I am glad I did. Prepare yourself for a rip roaring adventure over the seas and by ways as these stories intermix to bring you a rip roaring clean adventure. There is plenty of action and chaos as the standing Sentinel comes to the end of his reign. Finding the new sentinel will come to be emotional as the loss of life touches close to home. Taking daring actions against those that mean to do harm will keep you turning the pages for more. No the story doesn’t end here and that will give you reason to prepare for a long adventure with this new to me author. Her characters have much to lose and the battle wont be easy. New friends and old foes all come together in this wonderful fantasy story. I have not read this author before but I can’t wait to continue the adventure. – The Lost Sentinel Book 1
You can try out the series for yourself as Book 1 The Lost Sentinel is free for the next 4 days, while books 2 and 3 are on sale for only 99p each. The whole series will only set you back £1.98 if you act fast.
The sale is going well and I loved seeing The Lost Sentinel hit no 6 in the top 100 free chart for fantasy adventure. With your help I could hit no 1!
I’m having technical issues trying to share a screenshot of the top 100 list, hopefully that will resolve itself soon.
In the meantime, please share this and help The Lost Sentinel reach the top ranking in as many top 100 free charts as possible.