Today’s Featured Authors: B.L.A. and G.B. Gabbler

Today I welcome the interesting writing duo of BLA and GB Gabbler. Please enjoy this excerpt from their book The Automation.

Book Excerpt

The Annotated Manuscript: The Automation: BOOK ONE

Vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series

By B.L.A., the Narrator, Storyteller, Omnipresent One 

And G.B. Gabbler, the Editor, Annotator, Reason This Is Seeing the Light of Day…

Stanza: The Yellow Brick Road is symbolic and will only lead to more metaphors.

Odissa remained silent as they drove to the river. She didn’t open her mouth. Words couldn’t help her.

She had remained silent when Dorian had come back from the bathroom. She had remained silent as the two men stuffed their faces with sweets in the stolen cop car. She had remained silent when they’d arrived at the river front.

“Might I see your purse, Odissa?” Dorian asked, putting out his hand.

“What? Why?” she stammered, thrown off. Her fingers fell from the strand of hair she had been twirling.

“Let me see your purse. Please.”

She scooted it to him. She watched as he dove into the bottomless thing. What did his fingers search for? He pulled out her cigarettes. “Here, you need one of these.” He retrieved one, as well as her lighter.

With trembling hands, she smoked.

“No need to fret, dear,” Dorian said. He turned his face to the window, as if he could see out of it. “We have to do this.”

“What—what exactly are we doing?” the smoke trailed from her lips brokenly, just like her shaky voice. “Why are you doing this to me?”

“We’re saving your life by killing you off.”

“Does Odys know about this?”

“By now? Probably,” he said, taking her wallet out. He’d pass it to Fletcher later, to plant at the “crime scene” they were about to half-ass.

The river was shallow, with little pebble island-patches. They’d been in want of a good rain. Fletcher had opened Dorian’s door for him, in case he needed out. The back cop-car doors don’t open from the inside, you see. There weren’t even handles to try.

Fletcher closed the trunk and walked into the wooded thicket, the body bag over his shoulder. A carton of the cop’s for-emergencies gasoline swung at his side. They’d filled it before leaving the gas station.

Dorian propped his foot upon the door’s bottom frame, resting his arm upon his knee. You shall not pass, Odissa. Don’t even think about it.

She finished her cigarette. “Can you toss this out, for me?” she asked. “It’s my cigarette.”

She placed it gently between his fingers.

She scolded herself after she passed it to him. She should have used it to burn him, distract him. Maybe she could have squeezed passed him. But she wasn’t that creative or courageous.

Not knowing what came over her (but perhaps wanting to distract herself from what Fletcher was doing to the corpse in the woods), “So, are you two, like, together?”

“Together?”

“You and—and Fletcher.”

“What makes you think so?”

“Well, I’m not so sure I think it at all, that’s why I’m asking,” there was a nervous quaver to her voice that tried to pass as wittiness. “Though it’s not every day a man sleeps on top of another naked if they’re not together.”

“Ah, that’s right. You did see that, didn’t you?” He nodded to himself, but said no more.

“Well?”

“Well what?”

“Are you?”

“Am I what?”

“With him?”

“What would it matter to you?”

She built up all the meanness she could, and stated, “He sure fancied that female cop, last night. Kept staring at her. And the fact that you would fool around on a job—”

“Any other discrepancies in our sexuality you’d like to address?” Dorian said through his undaunted smirk.

“Are you gay or not?” It wasn’t right for him to flirt with girls, if so—pick a side!

“I’ve sucked enough cocks to know it’s not a simple yes or no, dear.”

“Why’s it such a hard question?”

He shrugged. “For a kiss, you can find out.”

Her face turned paper-white. Perhaps she’d gone too far. “Excuse me?”

“Was it not a good enough offer? Well then, perhaps I’ll make it worth your while.” He scratched his chin, considering something outlandish. “How about a ten second head start, out the door? Real-time. For a kiss, we can see how far you get in this cop car when I step out to blindly chase you and you step back in to drive away. Notice, Fletcher left the keys.”

Her eyes saw them.

“Yes, this is a set-up. You don’t know what I’m planning when I give you this option. Will you even be safer in your own hands? Will we do something to your brother if you leave? What? I’ll outright admit it. Maybe I’ve started to feel sorry for you, Odissa. Maybe I want you to get away. But, like my sexuality, you won’t know until you kiss me, right?”

No response. Odissa was horrified, frozen like a rabbit.

“Ah, hard to make up your mind, is it? Well, like my head start, my offer also has a ten-second expiration. One. Two. Three…”

Odissa snatched up her purse, scooted closer to him, put a hand on the chain wall blocking the front from the back seat, and paused.

“…Six.”

He put his knee and arm higher, blocking her from the open door. She knew he was playing with her, but she was willing to let him believe she was stupid—maybe then they’d relax and slip up. Testing his rules, she began to climb over him.

He grabbed her arm and pulled her back down. He’d not simply let her go. PAY THE TROLL TOLL. He smiled, “Eight.”

Sucking in a bracing breath, she forced her face into his. He stopped counting. He lowered his leg as she continued crawl over him in his seat, but he wouldn’t release her. She tried to draw her mouth away from the bubble-gum flavored lips, but he dragged her back to him. He didn’t fight for dominance—only for her to stay put.

She had half her body out of the car, one foot touched the ground—

With his other hand, he grabbed her neck—she was pushing against him now. He stood up with her when she was finally out of the car, grabbing her other arm—he was doing the kissing now. She dropped her purse as she tried to pull away—she didn’t need it anyways.

He closed the car door with his foot gracelessly and led her backwards to the car. She pressed herself against it, to get away from him. He took the sides of her face, as if to kiss her again. But he didn’t. He merely held her face before releasing her.

He shrugged. “I’d say I’d let you fuck me.” Before he stepped back, she gave him a good slap, to go along with that kiss. It knocked his glasses off.

“Fucking weirdo!”

Holding his face, eyes closed, he started counting. “One! Two!”

She dashed away and went to the driver’s door, slamming it behind her. She started the car—cursing under her breath. She slammed on the gas to get away—but to where? She hadn’t planned on getting this far. She thought Dorian would have wrapped up this game by now. But no, she was winning.

The tires screeched as the dirt flew up behind her. She was just yards away from the main road before—WAH-WHAM.

Something hit her diagonally—something that had pushed the car’s nose into a nearby tree. And that something had been Fletcher.

Not sure if she believed her own eyes, the only thing she could reasonably assume was… She had hit Fletcher.

But how was he alive?!

She crawled out of the crumpled car, panting as heavily as Fletcher. He’d rushed from the woods just to stop her. In the blink of an eye, he had her wrist and was dragging her back to Dorian. Dorian was kicking rocks around with his foot, humming. Very pleased with himself.

Fletcher set the girl down on a camper’s log (the area was a favorite public outdoor site). Odissa obeyed, studying Fletcher. She shook from shock, not from the cold. Had she, or had she not, just hit him with a car?

“What the fuck were you thinking?” the Automaton confronted his Master. “You had me run all the goddamn way for this?” He pointed at Odissa.

“Ah! You know very well I was not thinking.”

“Obviously!”

“Yes, yes, Fletcher. It was certainly spur-of-the-moment, but how are they to find out? Do they even have to know that I slipped up accidentally?”

Accidentally?” Fletcher repeated, hands on his non-existent hips. “What’re we going to do? What if they ask how she found out about me?”

“Well, look on the bright side. Now she knows, and we don’t have to pretend anymore. At least, not as much. But please, continue to scold me. It’s helping us work out this scenario.”

(It really was, actually. That’s why Fletcher was doing it).

“Jesus Christ, Dorian, Mother’s going to be pissed. She’ll know you did it on purpose. She probably heard the whole thing on your phone!”

“Yes, yes—if she’s not busy right now with Mr. Messyhair. Pero, even so, you must admit it was pretty crafty.” He walked over to Odissa, still wide-eyed with shock.

Bending down to her he said, “You won’t tell anyone I gave you the idea now, will you, girl? It was all your idea, right? You tried to get out when I offended you—nay, scared you, if anyone asks. And as I held you back, you assaulted me, you distracted me—with that kiss. That yummy kiss. That clear?”

Odissa didn’t know if she nodded or not. She certainly didn’t say anything aloud.

“By God, if you want to see your brother again, it should be. Now come here, you’re on lock down.” He presented his hand—so sweetly Odissa thought him bipolar.

She lurched back from it. “What the fuck are you people? Some type government experiments or something?” Is that why they’d been interested in her father’s work?

“Fletcher, go finish up the job and then see if the car will still run. If not, maybe you can fix it.” Dorian put his hands in his jacket pockets, chewing his gum.

“Are you—you some sort of mutant?” She felt so stupid asking it.

Mutant? Superhero? Alien?

Almost any answer would have satisfied, really—anything to make her feel less crazy.

“No,” Dorian snorted. “I’m just the love-struck girl who wants to have your children, apparently.”

“Stop playing with me. What does my brother have to do with you?”

“The better question is what do you—not your brother—have to do with me?” He let that sink in. “Perhaps I don’t give a fuck about your brother?”

Fletcher eventually pulled up the accordion-nosed car. Only one headlight worked. It blazed through the cloudy day.

Dorian opened the door for her. “I’m going to state it plainly. A god—Vulcan himself—has given you to me. You’re mine. That is who you are, Odissa. You read the signs yourself.”

…What, was she dealing with two demigods now?

“You’re mine and I have a mind to make you like it. We’re going to be happy together. Now, if you don’t mind,”—he gestured to the inside of the crumpled car—“Follow the yellow brick road, my Dorothy.”

Book Blurb

ebookAutoThe capital-A Automatons of Greco-Roman myth aren’t clockwork. Their design is much more divine. They’re more intricate than robots or androids or anything else mortal humans could invent. Their windup keys are their human Masters. They aren’t mindless; they have infinite storage space. And, because they have more than one form, they’re more versatile and portable than, say, your cell phone—and much more useful too. The only thing these god-forged beings share in common with those lowercase-A automatons is their pre-programmed existence. They have a function—a function their creator put into place—a function that was questionable from the start…

Odys (no, not short for Odysseus, thank you) finds his hermetic lifestyle falling apart after a stranger commits suicide to free his soul-attached Automaton slave. The humanoid Automaton uses Odys’s soul to “reactivate” herself. Odys must learn to accept that the female Automaton is an extension of his body—that they are the same person—and that her creator-god is forging a new purpose for all with Automatons…

The novel calls itself a “Prose Epic” because of its subject matter, but is otherwise a purposeful implosion of literary gimmicks: A Narrator and an Editor (named Gabbler) frame the novel. Gabbler’s pompous commentary (as footnotes) on the nameless Narrator’s story grounds the novel in reality. Gabbler is a stereotypical academic who likes the story only for its so-called “literary” qualities, but otherwise contradicts the Narrator’s claim that the story is true.

About the Authors

BLA and GB Gabbler [a pen name] are the Narrator and Editor of The Circo del Herrero series. Their debut novel is The Automation, Vol 1.

You can find out more about them at their website or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Automation, Vol. 1 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

 

 

 

Do you need to copyright your self-published novel?

This is often a question that new self-published authors ask. And the quick answer is no. As soon the words leave your mind and you put them on paper (or type them into your computer file), it is already protected under U.S. copyright law.

Now before I go on, let’s cover what copyrights do NOT cover. They do not cover words, names, symbols (though some symbols can be trademarked) and ideas. That last one is something that often confuses people. If you go around talking about an idea for a novel, it isn’t copyrighted and anyone can take that idea and write a story that is 100% theirs. But as soon as you put those words on the page, those words, your story, is yours and copyright protection is extended to you without having to apply or pay for it.

Now some people will tell you that you need to register your work to get copyright protection, but this isn’t true. As of March 1, 1989, you are automatically protected. You can still register with the U.S. Copyright office for a fee. I found a few websites that said you need to have it officially registered to have your copyright hold up in the court of law. This is FALSE.

So what does registering your copyright provide you?

  • It gives you a public record of when your book was created.
  • Registered works can be eligible for additional statutory damages and/or attorney’s fees if someone violates your copyright, and you take them to court.
  • Registration is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law (which roughly means that is considered a fact without needing further evidence.)

If you are interested in registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, here is how to do it.

Note: If you are submitting your work to a traditional publishing house, do not file an official copyright before you submit it. This is something the publishing house will do after they agree to publish your story.

Speaking of copyrights…you should have a copyright page as part of your front matter.

So what goes on your copyright page?

  1. The © symbol, or the word “Copyright”
  2. The year of first publication of the work; and
  3. an identification of the owner of the copyright—by name, abbreviation, or some other way that it’s generally known.

Together, it should look like this:

© 2015 Susan Leigh Noble

Your copyright page will also have your legal notices and any disclaimers you want to include.

Here is what appears on the copyright page of Summoned.

Note: Since I had submitted my first book, Summoned, to several publishing houses before going the self-publishing route, I listed the copyright date to reflect that.

*******************

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblances to persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.

 

Original Copyright © 1995 by Susan Leigh Noble

First Digital Publication: August 2011

 

Published by Susan Leigh Noble

Cover design by Donna Casey (www.digitaldonna.com)

Photos used to create the cover were obtained from dreamtime.com

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system — except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the web — without expressed written permission from Susan Leigh Noble.

*******************

So basically it is up to you to decide if you want to officially register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright office. I have not done so with any of my books – and that was with the advice from my husband who is an attorney.

 

#NewRelease – THE HEIR TO ALEXANDRIA by Susan Leigh Noble

Release day is finally here! Now available only on Amazon for just $2.99 is my latest novel The Heir to Alexandria.

Book Blurb

HeirAlexandria_ebookcoverBelieved the descendants of the Gods themselves,

The Alexandria line ensured peace,

Until they were brutally murdered.

But rumor spread a maid escaped with the youngest daughter.

Now as the world rushes toward a period of unrest, the nations’ Kings continue their 200-year-long-search for the Heir to Alexandria – the one person who can bring peace and stability through divine power.

Alista has her own search – for the parents who abandoned her as a baby years ago. When her only lead proves to be a dead end, she heads to the capital with a reluctant escort. Grayson is just following his aunt’s order, but he would rather be on one of his solitary scouting missions for the Landra Guard. However, when Alista unintentionally curses a guard in front of the King’s court, everything changes for both of them.

Now forced to travel to Covington for testing, danger lurks at every turn as a secret society strives to prevent the return of the Alexandria line. Are Alista’s visions of the future enough to save herself and those traveling with her?

Excerpt – Chapter One

The rough hand pressed down over her mouth. Alista’s eyes flew open. With the moonlight behind the large figure, she couldn’t make out any details of the man hunched above her. But his foul breath washed over her making her stomach flop. He rolled her onto her back, pinning one arm to the ground.

The vision hit as Alista struggled to reach her knife hidden under her bedroll. She saw the man’s sinister smile as he attacked a woman. The images of his past came fast. She felt the fear of his victims, the pain he bestowed on them and his pleasure at his actions. Her stomach turned. A wave of nausea swept over her as the vision ended.

The man climbed on top of her, pinning her to the ground. He moved his hand away from her mouth, caressing her jaw with his coarse fingers. Alista heard movement in the camp, but the man didn’t turn. The sound of someone rifling through her bag reached her as her fingers found the cool handle of her dagger.

A scream pierced the cool night air.

The man on top of her twisted around to look behind him. Alista took the moment of distraction to pull out the knife. She jabbed it forward, sinking it into the man’s belly. He turned to face her, a gasp escaping his lips. Shaking, Alista wiggled out from under him. The man clutched at the blood gushing from his stomach. Her own stomach lurched at what she had done. She scooted away as the man staggered to his feet.

She tore her eyes from him to the large wolf standing on the other side of the dying fire. Its jaws were still clenched on the throat of a second intruder. The wolf’s yellow eyes briefly met hers and then flickered to the man beside her. The wolf released its hold on the dead man’s neck. It leapt toward the wounded man, knocking him to the ground.

Crack!

Alista gasped as she heard the wood break. The man pushed at the wolf as the beast sunk its teeth into his neck. She barely heard the gurgling sound as she reached forward and pulled the broken basket from beneath him. She cradled it in her arms. Tears streamed down her face. What once had been a beautiful, handcrafted basket was now nothing but a heap of wood fragments.

She looked up to see the wolf watching her. In the moonlight, she could see the two lifeless bodies. An image from her vision flashed before her eyes, and she knew she was lucky to be alive. The men had no intention of only robbing her camp. She shuddered. The wolf had saved her again.

“Thank you,” she murmured as the wolf disappeared into the forest.

She sat the basket down and reached for her bedroll. She began to roll it. There was no way she could stay here tonight. Quickly, she put away her supplies that had been dumped on the ground. She glanced at the body lying next to them. She couldn’t bring herself to look at his torn throat. She kicked dirt onto the dying fire until the flames disappeared. In the moonlight, she surveyed the camp one more time before hefting the pack onto her back. With one last glance at the bodies, she began walking.

In the back of her mind, she could hear Raynor warning her that traveling at night was never a good idea. It wasn’t because she couldn’t see the roots and rocks on the trail. It was the Night Stalkers. Alista shuddered. She was fortunate to never have seen one. But she couldn’t forget Raynor’s brush with the huge bug-like creatures. He told the story many times.

Raynor had been foolish enough to be traveling at night, believing the extraordinary clear evening with its bright moonlight would keep the Night Stalkers away. He had not seen the two black creatures until they were almost upon him. Their heads would have come up to the middle of his chest if he had stopped to allow one near him. As it was, he ran as soon as he saw them but with their long, thin legs, the Night Stalkers covered the ground quickly. He swore he felt one of them touch his back as he ran into the meadow. At the top of the hill, he had thought he had lost them but one of them sprang through the air. He barely escaped.

Fire was the only thing the Night Stalkers feared. Alista recalled hanging on Raynor’s every word as he described running toward the forest. He fumbled for his fire rod in his waist pouch. When he entered the woods, he paused to throw down the special mix of fire starter he carried. Scraping his knife across the fire rod, he ignited a branch. He used his torch to drive the Night Stalkers back. Even now, she felt the knot in the pit of her stomach at his narrow escape.

Her mind was so preoccupied by the thought of Night Stalkers that she was to the middle of the meadow before she saw the tiny winged figures. She stopped, her mouth dropping open. She hadn’t believed fairies existed.

Daintily, the small-winged men and women danced around in a circle. The women wore flower petals as dresses and swung little lanterns as their wings beat softly. Some men played pipes or harps while others clapped in time to the music. Then one of the fairies saw her and motioned her forward.

Without a thought, Alista obeyed. The fairies surrounded her. She knelt in the soft grass as the fairies began their dance again. They circled around her. In turn, they bowed or curtsied. She nodded to each. Her eyes grew heavy. She wiggled the pack off her back. Using it for a pillow, she laid down. The fairies continued to dance around her, their music lulling her to sleep.

Click here to buy and read the rest…

Introducing Another World Cards – custom birthday invitations #etsy

This month I opened my own shop – Another World Cards – on Etsy, the online marketplace for people who make, sell and buy unique goods.

frozen1For the past four years, I have designed my kids’ birthday invitations. In November (and the previous November), I created an invitation for a Christmas party I was throwing. I love doing this type of design work. And that made me think that perhaps I could sell these invitations to others.

With that in mind, I began looking at Etsy. After reading many blogs about setting up your own Etsy business – including the pitfalls and tips on pricing – I decided I would give it a try.

GOTGI had six cards already designed so I decided to make 22 more. I ended up creating 14 girl-themed and 14 boy-themed invitations to start my shop. Since then I have added about a dozen more and have a few more in the works.

Now the invitations I make are designed to be printed on photo paper. It only costs about 18 cents per invitation at the one-hour photo processing center at Wal-Mart to print them.

Last year, I spent $3.50 for Lexie’s invitations. The last time we invited all of Jase’s class it cost $5.20. And the best thing is they are custom invitations featuring whatever character my kids are really into at the time.

MLP Equstria girlsSo if you are planning a kid’s birthday party, and you want your own custom-designed invitation, please take a look at my Etsy store.

Each invitation is $7.99. This includes type-setting and making any font or font color changes. On some of the invitations, the background color can also be changed to make the invitation uniquely yours. A proof will be sent to verify the invitation is perfect before sending the final jpg file. It is then up to the client to print the invitation at whatever photo lab they want or to print them at home.

Lego SpidermanAll invitations have been printed (at Wal-mart’s 1-hour photo lab) to ensure they look as awesome printed as they do on the screen. They do tend to print a little darker than they appear on the screen.

And if you are looking around and don’t see a character that you want, let me know. If I have the time, I may be able to design an invitation around that character.

So please, head on over to my store and check them out. Thanks!

Today’s Featured Author: Sue Parritt

Today I welcome Australian author Sue Parritt to my blog. Please enjoy her guest post about writing her book Sannah and the Pilgrim.

Guest Post

Set in twenty-fourth century apartheid Australia, ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim’ is a tale of courage defiance and deceit as a group of women risk their lives to undermine an oppressive regime. The women gain unexpected support for seditious exploits when Sannah, the village Storyteller, finds a stranger (Kaire, who insists he’s a pilgrim) on her domestep. But when Sannah turns ‘Truth-teller’ even Kaire’s white privilege and advanced technology cannot save her from subsequent retribution.

What inspired me to write my book?

Anger, abhorrence and disbelief motivated me to write ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim.’  I was and remain, appalled by past and present Australian governments’ policy on refugees and asylum seekers. News bulletins and current affairs programmes helped fuel my deep concerns about the direction our country is heading. From a country that welcomed scores of displaced people after the Second World War, we are becoming xenophobic, rejecting those that have fled what for most of us are inconceivable terrors. As a migrant myself, I tried to imagine how I would have felt, if instead of paying my ten pounds and travelling here on an ocean liner, I had been forced to flee my homeland, hand over my life’s savings to greedy people smugglers and risk my life by boarding a leaky overcrowded boat.

My thoughts then turned to a different category of refugees, those we can expect in the not so distant future. Low-lying Pacific islands are already under threat from accelerating climate change, about which wealthy first-world countries have so far failed to act. Soon there will be a flood of environmental refugees seeking a safe haven in our sparsely populated and prosperous nation. How will our government react then, turning back the boats won’t be an option?

I felt my option as a fiction writer was to draw on contemporary government policies regarding refugees and climate change to create a portrait of a future Australia that is, to my mind, entirely possible. The idea to divide the country into zones according to race of origin came from a thinly veiled proposal made by an ultra-conservative politician some years ago. Research into climate change led me to place my characters in the most inhospitable part of twenty-forth century Australia, the extremely hot, humid and disease-ridden north. Confined to the Brown Zone, the descendants of Pacific environmental refugees, are forced to cultivate the remaining fertile coastal strip to produce food for White Southerners, whose zone, although more suitable for human habitation being hot and dry, is too arid to support agriculture.

I was inspired to create the role of Storyteller for my protagonist, Sannah, by the manner in which information is often distorted by both the media and government in order to provoke certain reactions. For example: fears of being swamped by refugees are intensified by using terms such as ‘illegals’ and concerns over rising utility costs assuaged by promises to repeal the Carbon tax. Sannah’s people are kept in ignorance through a steady diet of Tales (a weird blend of historical fact and fiction) delivered by government-trained storytellers. In similar fashion, we are fed only what governments and multi-national companies want us to hear and it takes a great deal of effort to uncover the truth. Lies ensure compliance in both twenty-first and twenty-forth century Australia.

Book Blurb

Sannah-BC-frontWhen Sannah the Storyteller, a descendant of environmental refugees from drowned Pacific islands, finds a White stranger on her domestep, she presumes he’s a political prisoner on the run seeking safe passage to egalitarian Aotearoa. However, Kaire’s unusual appearance, bizarre behaviour, and insistence he’s a pilgrim suggest otherwise.

Appalled by apartheid Australia, Kaire uses his White privileges to procure vital information for Sannah and her group of activists regarding new desert prisons that are to be built to house all political prisoners. The group plans sabotage but needs help, and Kaire is a willing accomplice. But when Sannah turns Truthteller and threatens to reveal the country’s true history, even Kaire’s White privilege and advanced technology cannot save Sannah and her daughter from retribution.

Author Bio

Sue Parritt is an Australian writer, originally from England. Her poetry and short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies in Australia, Britain and the US. After graduating B.A. University of Queensland 1982 (majors: English Literature, Drama and French), Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to pursue her long-held dream of becoming a professional writer.  Since then she has written ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim,’ numerous short stories and poems and ‘Feed Thy Enemy’ a feature film script set in Naples in 1944 and 1974 based on a true story (Sue is currently seeking a producer). She recently completed a second novel ‘Safety Zone’ and is now writing a sequel to ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim’ – working title ‘Pia and the Skyman.’

You can find out more about Sue on her website.

Sannah and the Pilgrim is available from Amazon and Odyssey Books.

Pre-Orders: Are they worth it?

When I published my first three novels, setting up a pre-order was not available to self-published authors. Since then, both Amazon and Smashwords have begun offering pre-orders.

This means up to three months before your release, you can already start selling books. Now for established authors, this might be a big advantage. The success for small-scale authors is typically not as good.

Smashwords

Smashword offers you the pre-order option which means your pre-order will be on their affiliates – Kobo Store, iTunes and Barnes & Noble.

There are several benefits to this. Because you determine the pre-order time period and launch date in advance, you are certain your book will be available on the release date rather than waiting for your book to go up at the respective retailers whenever it filters through Smashwords’ approval process.

This will help you in marketing as you will already have your purchase links available for blogs featuring your new release or to post on your own website.

But one of the biggest benefits is that all pre-orders get credited all at once on your launch date. This can pop your novel into the bestseller list for those respective stores. This of course adds to your exposure to potential readers. You can read more about this on Smashwords’ blog.

Amazon

preorder amazonUnlike the method used by Smashwords, Amazon counts any pre-order sales immediately. This will affect your books ranking during the course of the pre-order and not have as big of an impact on launch day. For this reason, some authors feel it dilutes their sales during launch week and adversely affects chart position during what some consider a crucial period.

Another plus for doing pre-orders through either company is that reviewers can star leaving reviews (although not as verified purchases) before your book is released.

Now remember that if you are doing a pre-order, your book must be ready to upload to the respective sites. You can always upload a different version before launch day but remember that the first 10% to 20% of your book will be offered as a sample so you will want to make sure your work is well edited prior to uploading.

Are pre-orders worth it for new, unknown authors?

It makes sense that established authors would have the best possibility to sell their books as a pre-order. The Smashword blog suggests that with the appropriate marketing, a less established author can do well with pre-orders and see their book crack the top 10 or top 20 of their genre list if they can steadily collect some pre-orders.

While this may be true, I am not sure how many pre-orders (beyond friends and family) most newbie authors can accumulate. I know that I never pre-order a book, and if I did, it would probably be for an author in which I know what I am getting. (In other words, an established, popular author.)

So, The Heir to Alexandria, will be released next week. I did not offer it as a pre-order. I don’t feel I have the fan following needed to make pre-orders worth it with only three other full-length novels to my name. (I have read numerous places that authors need three to five books under their belts before they really begin to get traction.) Now perhaps after this, with the next book, I might give it a try.

If you want to read some more of the pros and cons of pre-orders, check out this blog.