Perma-free on Amazon, 2015 version


Perma-free is a controversial method of getting your work out there, but it still works as a promo tool for some, especially if you have a series of books. I will not be discussing here whether it’s a good or bad thing to do; but if you do decide to do it, here’s how. I just did these steps, so I know they work.

Step one, of course, is to ensure your book is free elsewhere. This one remains the same as always, and has been described countless times. Just to refresh your memory: use Smashwords. Even if you have publisher accounts on Nook or iTunes already, these won’t let you set up a price of zero. Only Smashwords can do that for all channels – as far as I know (still not sure about Draft2Digital). Kobo is the only publisher that lets you set up a perma-free book directly, and that will come useful later, but Amazon doesn’t see Kobo as as much of a competitor as Nook or iTunes in US, so that alone may not always work.

All your other books, you can sell directly through retailers, if you so wish. But the book you want perma-free, has to be distributed through Smashwords (or equivalent).

Once you’re sure your book is free on as many other stores as possible, you have to inform Amazon. The old way was to simply get your friends to report the price match from the book page, through the “tell us about lower price” link. But this no longer works as well as it used to. In fact, it didn’t work for me at all. I waited and waited, and the price remained stubbornly as it was – until I’ve discovered the truth. So here’s what’s changed: right now, the best and most reliable way to ensure your book is price-matched to other retailers, is to write Amazon a letter.

Log in to your KDP account, click Help, then Contact Us. From the list of topics, choose Price Matching. Fill out the form with the following information: your book’s Amazon info (title, link, ASIN), and all the channels where your book is currently free that need matching to.

The Shadow Third Cover 250The turn-around on this is almost immediate – for the main Amazon regions at least (see below) – as opposed to the “Tell Us” button. A day or so later, your book will be price-matched – plus, you get an e-mail confirmation, which is always nice. But there’s a trick to it. Amazon now wants you to inform it of EVERY COUNTRY your book is free in, to match it to its own regional stores. Linking only to .com versions of the retailers will only match your book on Amazon.com.

This isn’t easy, since some stores don’t have regional versions, so I had to do some digging. I used the following list of links to make sure I covered all possible regions for “The Shadow of Black Wings”:

(The only one I’m missing so far is India, but I never had any success selling books there, so it’s something I will have to live with for now.)

Just search for your own book at each of these links, and you will have the contents for the letter ready. Click send, wait no more than a few days for a reply, check if the books are really free everywhere you wanted them (you may need to clear cache or view in incognito mode to see the change) – and start promoting! 🙂

Note: it may still take a few weeks for the effect to trickle down to the more obscure Amazons, like NL and BR – and they might revert to full price at any moment without notice. Just another down-side of the silly way in which KDP manages regional websites.
Thanks to the good folks at Alliance of Independent Authors, who first taught me this trick!
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October News: NaNoWriMo, Smashwords… and BOOK 6 incoming (eventually)!


It’s been a while since I wrote something about my books – over a month, in fact; and even longer since I mentioned “The Year of the Dragon” series. But, here it comes:

The sixth book of “The Year of the Dragon” series will be called “The Withering Flame”. We have a new cover artist once again this time – Anndr Kusuriuri. The cover is awesome, if I do say so myself (and a bit spoilerish, if you can figure out what’s going on in the picture!).The Withering Flame

Now, there’s a bit of a setback with the book. It really should have been ready for this Christmas, but I’m afraid that won’t happen – and there’s nobody to blame but myself. I’m just recovering from a bout of severe writer’s block, which lasted far longer than these things should for a professional author. It’s been over a month since I last put the finger to the keyboard; I’m finally back on track, though, and roughly half-way through the first draft.


Participant-2014-Square-ButtonWhich brings me to another piece of news – I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo again this year, hoping to finish the first draft by the end of November. You can keep up with my progress – and cheer me up! – here. I’ll be counting words from whatever I have written by Nov 1st, so I may “lose” if I assume the book is big enough, but having a deadline may keep me from falling back into the writer’s block’s sweet embrace.smashwords

Final bit of news – there’s yet another distribution channel for the first five books: Smashwords. Like on Kobo, you can get the “Shadow…” for free there, and the rest of the books are priced the same as elsewhere.

NEW RELEASE! CHRYSANTHEMUM SEAL IS OUT!


The files are uploaded, verified and approved. The Chrysanthemum Seal is out now!

It’s the middle of summer in the Year of the Dragon. The hunt for the Crimson Robe may be over, but the adventure continues…

With Bran seemingly gone from Yamato forever, his friends settle in their new lives, their common adventures a distant memory. Sato enrolls in Lord Nariakira’s school of wizardry, while Nagomi joins her father’s medical practice in far-away Nagoya.

But the revolution, once started, cannot be stopped. The foreign threat finally comes to Yamato’s doorstep. A Varyagan submarine drops anchor in Kiyo harbour. A Bataavian warship arrives at Kagoshima, carrying Dylan ab Ifor, Gwen and Wulfhere. In Shimoda, the Black Wings supply fleet brings with it a curious, unwanted guest…

Kindle Edition:
Amazon US |Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Amazon ES |Amazon JP | Amazon CA | Amazon BR | Amazon AU
Kobo Edition:
Kobo | Kobo 楽天
Nook:
Nook

If you haven’t yet read any of the books in “The Year of the Dragon” cycle, you should start from The Shadow of Black Wings:

NEW_SHADO_ 1000 It is the Sixteenth Year of Queen Victoria. In the powerful empire of Dracaland, Bran, a young dragon rider, joins his father on a military expedition to the mysterious lands of the Orient. In the reclusive Yamato, Sato, a tomboy samurai girl, strives to prove her right to inherit her father’s school of western magic. Nagomi, a timid shrine apprentice, is haunted by the visions of dark future she must keep secret even from her best friend.

They don’t know it yet, but their paths will cross… And when they do, nothing will ever be the same again.

Welcome to The Shadow of Black Wings, a steam-powered romp across the land of dragons, wizards and samurai. It’s big, it’s fast, it’s been compared to Tolkien in terms of world-building, it has strong female characters and lots of carefully researched detail. You will meet the Royal Marines sailing mighty ironclads and Chinese walking machines; mysterious warlords and crazy inventors; you will discover dark prophecies, family secrets and blood-thirsty demons. And all that in just the first volume!

Kindle Edition:
Amazon US |Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Amazon ES |Amazon JP | Amazon CA | Amazon BR | Amazon AU
Kobo Edition:
Kobo | Kobo 楽天
Also:
iBooks | XinXii | Nook
Paperback:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CN | Junglee.com | Barnes&Noble | Book Depository

Or if you don’t want to read the books piece-meal, dive straight in and splash out on the bundle of the first four volumes – this will bring you right up to date with the events leading up to the Chrysanthemum Seal!

 NEW_BUNDLE_250
 This is a bundle edition of the first four books of the best-selling historical fantasy saga, containing the entire Crimson Robe arc:

 

  • Book 1: The Shadow of Black Wings
  • Book 2: The Warrior’s Soul
  • Book 3: The Islands in the Mist
  • Book 4: The Rising Tide
The deluxe edition contains also a short story “Birkenhead Drill”, a full glossary of foreign words, list of characters, the map of the land of Gwynedd and a chronology of the world.
Kindle Edition:
Amazon US | Amazon UK  | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Amazon ES |Amazon JP | Amazon CA | Amazon BR | Amazon AU
Kobo Edition:
Kobo | Kobo 楽天
Nook:

kyotoOh, and here’s a little something to while away the time when the books download to your respective e-readers:
2048: The Year of the Dragon Edition!

Wattpad, iTunes and more


Seal CoverI have a bundle of publishing news for you.

First, a little celebration – over 13,000 sales 🙂 Last time I tallied up the sold copies it was eight thousand – it’s slowed down a bit since then, but it’s still a steady trickle, so I’m happy. The fifth volume of “The Year of the Dragon” is coming up nicely. The first draft is all but done – a mere month’s delay from schedule, which is not that bad, all things considered. Now comes the hard part – editing 🙂

In publishing news: I’ve been expanding my distribution channels somewhat:

First of all, I’ve been putting “The Shadow of Black Wings” on Wattpad, in weekly installments. If you have an account there, and you haven’t yet read my books, you can read the chapters for free as they appear, week by week.

Secondly, I managed to get my e-books on Apple iBookstore. You can buy and download them all from here, or by searching for “James Calbraith” on iTunes. Don’t forget, you will also find the audiobook of “The Shadow of Black Wings” while you’re there, to download for free.

Thirdly, if you’re based in Germany, you can now download my books from Thalia, Weltbild and der Club bookstores (as well as Amazon.de).

e-sentralThe books are now appearing in online shops all over the world. In Malaysia, you can find them at e-Sentral, in Spain at Casa del Libro, and in India at Flipkart.

barnes-noble-logoAnd lastly, my paperbacks are now all available at Barnes&Noble online bookstore, and the e-books should appear on the Nook within a few weeks.

That’s all for now – stay tuned! 🙂

Kindle MatchBook


matchbookSo Amazon.com has just announced the launch of its Kindle MatchBook program. We’ve known about it for some time in the publishing world, and as soon as the opportunity came, I decided to enroll all my books (those with paperbacks, at least) into the program.

What does the MatchBook program mean for you? It means that you can buy a paper copy of a book, and get the e-book version at a discount or sometimes even free! It’s the literary equivalent of Amazon’s AutoRip program, which gives you MP3 to go with your CDs or Vinyls.

There were some grumblings and rumblings coming from the old-school publishing industry about it (what initiative of Amazon’s was ever welcomed by those guys?) but frankly, I see no downsides. The readers get what they’ve always wanted – choice; the publishers gain additional incentive and promotional tool for selling more of their precious paperbacks – and to possibly earn twice on the same book. It’s a win for all.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t sell many paperbacks – it’s not where my marketing efforts go – so for me enrolling in the KindleMatch is more of a gesture towards those of my readers who like my books enough to shell out for a hardcopy. So, if you’re one of those special fans, here’s the deal from now on:

If you buy a paperback version of “Shadow of Black Wings“, “Warrior’s Soul“, “Islands in the Mist” or “Rising Tide“, you’ll get the e-copy ABSOLUTELY FREE.

If you buy a paperback version of “The Year of the Dragon, 1-4“, you’ll be able to buy the e-copy for a mere $2.99 instead of its listed price of $9.99.

Deal?

*) disclaimer: KindleMatch is an Amazon program. I take no responsibility for any technical problems involved. If you’re unable to get your discount for some reason, please contact Amazon Support.

PS: the Bundle paperback may not be available for the next few days as we need to iron out some formatting issues, but that’s only a temporary problem.

Back to Kobo, this time for good? (and for free :)


kobo With the last period of Amazon’s KDP Select finally expiring, I am now able to put “The Shadow of Black Wings” back on to Kobo Books. So now you can finally buy all four of The Year of the Dragon books (with more coming 🙂 from there.

To celebrate the return to the other online store, the “Shadow…” is now FREE to download for all Kobo users!

Also, for the first time, the entire bundle, “The Year of the Dragon 1-4” is also available on Kobo.

The platform is right now experiencing huge growth. Hopefully having all my books finally available will help some way towards using this potential.

Here are all my currently available books on Kobo in clickable form 🙂

The Shadow Third Cover 250The Warrior Third Cover_250 2The Islands in the MistTide Cover_250TheYearBUNDLE_250px-3Dragonbone_v2_small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS: Don’t forget, if you’re an author who wants to advertise their Kobo book, or a reader looking for some good reading, head over to kobobookhub.com for a once-every-few-days update on what’s new in the world of indie Kobo.

The end of the long road… the start of another.


A few bullet points to start with:

  
It’s been nearly three years since I first put fingers to keyboard and started writing what was to be the first volume of “The Year of the Dragon”. It’s been nearly a year since I uploaded it to Amazon’s KDP and published.

Tide Cover_250I have now at last finished and published volume four: “The Rising Tide”. This is not the end of the saga, by far – but it is the end of one story and beginning of another. The threads unraveled by the end of “The Shadow…” tie up here – leaving space for new ones. Indeed, in typical fantasy doorstopper terms, you might say I have just finished the first volume, at some 300,000 words altogether.

Over this not-quite-a-year, I have reached a few landmarks: I’ve sold over 3800 copies of all my books put together. I’ve given away nearly ten times as much through KDP Select. I’ve reached the top 5 on Alternative History list, and top 60 on Epic Fantasy. I have gained 51 reviews on Amazon and 81 ratings on Goodreads for “The Shadow…”. I have almost paid off what it took to create all the books professionally, and am now at last starting to be in the black, which is a landmark and an achievement on its own.


The Shadow Third Cover 250“The Rising Tide” is not the only “new” book of mine available on Amazon this week. There is a new edition of “The Shadow of Black Wings”, with extra revisions and edits and a longer preview of “The Warrior’s Soul” to further entice you to buy the next book – and soften the edge of the cliff-hanger ending 🙂 You can pick it up for free today and tomorrow, and it will be sold at reduced price after that. If you have bought or downloaded it before from Amazon, you should get an updated “pushed” your way within a few weeks.

  


TheYearBUNDLE_250px-3

Finally, if you want the full doorstopper treatment, all four volumes are now available in a 300k words-bundle, priced at just $9.99. The bundle is a deluxe edition, which includes four appendices, a short story and additional graphics. 

As usual, expect all those books in paperback in a few weeks.

  


What now? Finishing the four books does not mean I have time to rest. If anything, things will get even busier from now on. Now I have to write more! And this time I have to start from complete blank: volume five is only a rough idea in my head, not even a sketch. I know what needs to happen, but I haven’t yet written a single word of it. I haven’t been in this situation since August 2010. Exciting – and scary!

I will probably write something shorter in the meantime, as an interlude. What it will be, I haven’t decided yet, although I have a few decent ideas to choose from.

I will still try to keep this blog updated as often as I can. There is a big thing coming up this summer that doesn’t involve writing – at least, not yet – but will keep me just as busy. I’ll let you know next month.

That’s all from me for now. Peace and out 🙂

February News


First: “The Shadow of Black Wings” is FREE until February 6th. If you know somebody who still didn’t get a copy, now is the time!

The epic fantasy novella “Dragonbone Chest” is now available on KOBO, as well as AMAZON, and now has not only a new EPIC cover, but also contains a short story set in the same fantasy universe, “The Crown of Abyss”.
In other news, my short story collection “Transmission” (new edition, three more stories) is available on a number of devices:
That’s about it from the publishing front. “The Rising Tide”, volume 4 of The Year of the Dragon, is still being edited, and I hope to have it out in April!
In yet other news, in February I will be working hard on getting the audiobook of “The Shadow of Black Wings” ready. It will be FREE for download from Podiobooks.com!
One of my posts was recently chosen as the best self-publishing advice of January by Jane Friedman!
That’s all the news for February, cheers all 🙂

In other news…


Advent Calendar notwithstanding, there are some news I have to share with you. I’m having the best week ever on Amazon, and here are some bragging screenshots 🙂

Breaking through to the Epic Fantasy Top 100
Breaking through to the Epic Fantasy Top 100
Top 5 Alternate History
Top 5 Alternate History
Author #109 in Science Fiction. So close to getting the number by my name!
Author #109 in Science Fiction. So close to getting the number by my name!

Not bad, not bad at all 🙂

Update:
US AH4 EF61

Update 2:

#97 Science-Fiction Author on Kindle
#97 Science-Fiction Author on Kindle

Yaldā Advent Calendar 2012 – Day 14 – Shadow of Black Wings FREE


XIV

Today, last Friday before Yalda, I have the most straight-forward gift to give so far:

A free copy of “The Shadow of Black Wings” – FOR EVERYONE!

That’s right, I’m on the KDP Select bandwagon again. For a while. And there are so many new market opportunities! You can now get my books on Kindle if you’re in Canada, or Brazil, or Japan, or – soon – China. Amazon is almost everywhere these days.

So click on any of the links below, to get the free copy, if you haven’t read it yet – or gift it to someone you know who’d like it 🙂

The Shadow of Black Wings
(The Year of the Dragon #1)

Top 10 Bestseller in Alternate History Amazon US

ebook ISBN: 978-83-935529-0-0 ASIN: B008FS5RPC
Published: June 2012 by Flying Squid
paperback ISBN-13: 978-83-935529-1-7
ISBN-10: 8393552915
Published: July 2012 by Flying Squid

It is the sixteenth year of Queen Victoria’s enlightened rule and the world trembles before the might of her ironclad navy and the dreaded Dragon Corps. The largest ship ever built sails from the Brigstow Harbour on a journey to the mysterious lands of Orient. Its load – a regiment of the Royal Marines and one Bran ap Dylan – freshly graduate in Dracology at the Llambed Academy of Mystic Arts.

In the empire of Yamato, sealed from the rest of the world for the last two centuries, a wizard’s daughter Sato witnesses her father joining an anti-government conspiracy. Her friend Nagomi, training to be a priestess, is haunted by dark visions that she must keep secret. Neither of them is aware that a change is coming to Yamato… on the wings of a dragon.

A detailed and fast-paced historical fantasy based around the turbulent opening of Japan to the West in the middle of the 19th century, “The Shadow of the Black Wings” is the first volume in “The Year of the Dragon” saga.

Kindle Edition:
Amazon US |Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Amazon ES | Amazon JP | Amazon CA | Amazon BR
Paperback:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | ペーパーバック | Barnes&Nnoble Junglee.com