Monday, February 24, 2014

Oops, my book is free, or involuntary free promotion

I recently wrote a post about making my book free on Smashwords for a few days. I knew that Amazon matches the prices, but I also knew that significant amount of reporting is necessary. Well, I thought, I will have it free for a day or two, Amazon will not receive so many reports to make my book free.
Boy, was I wrong. Now my book on Smashwords is not free anymore, but it has become free on Amazon!!!
I don't know to laugh or to cry. 1200+ downloads in less than a day. Without any promotion. Without any email or tweet. I immediately contacted Amazon customer service and asked them to raise my price to the good old $0.99, but haven't received any email from them yet :(
I have heard lots of stories how free promotions boost the sales. I have also heard lots of stories about how free promotion doesn't change anything, and the people who would pay for the book, have it now for free. Does this mean I just lost some $1000?

Ok, now I will take a deep breath and will try to see pros and cons of a free promotion.

1. My book is now
When you think of it, it's not bad. Actually, it's pretty good, when I take into consideration that I haven't spent a cent to promote my free book.

2. My book will become visible in "also bought" lists, which is always helpful.

3. Right now there are 1200 potential readers, who might purchase the sequels.

4. I might receive some reviews (good or bad).

Now cons:

1. I lost money. Taking into account my poor financial state, this point is rather discouraging.

After thinking over a 2nd point for good 5 minutes I came to a realization that 1200 free downloads is not the end of the world. There's more good than bad. Yay! :) Of course, the downloads will not stop unless Amazon steps in and raises my price back to $0.99. I hope it happens soon.

One more reason that my unplanned free promotion is not that bad: I have 2 sequels, and the third one is on its way.

I know free promotions and their results interest lots of authors. I will keep my fellow writers informed on how the things are.

p.s. While I was writing this, my book was downloaded for another hundred times o.O

If JK Rowling Cares About Writing...

If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It 

You can read the controversial article here.

You can also engage into the discussion on Amazon, which I started in an attempt to ask people stop 1-starring Lynn Shepherd's books on Amazon.

People were criticizing Lynn Shepherd for talking about the books she hadn't read, but they're doing that same thing now. My original post was longer, where I was explaining why this whole story might become a recurring habit of attacking the authors whenever someone, for any reason, might disagree with them. After an unsuccessful edit the most of my post is gone (thank you, IE), but I'll try to say it again: our books are our Achilles heels. It's easy to hurt the authors by 1-starring their books. I have seen it happen on GoodReads. Even if you think you are fairly punishing someone, it is wrong to rate a book you have not read.
I know how hard we, the authors, struggle to put our books out there, how many sleepless nights we spend working on our manuscripts, how much our eyes hurt (I have missed my deadline because my eyes have been aching badly recently). I know how much we treasure every single review unless we make the name for ourselves. I know how devastated we feel sometimes, but nevertheless, continue writing, because writing is the best thing in the world!

Please, be kinder. Remember, an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.

p.s. something is wrong with my blog; why are the letters in different sizes? And why are words missing even after I put them back and save the doc? Oh, damn...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Witch Hollow free!

I am experimenting a bit with the websites and book retailers, soooo, for a couple of days "WHWS" will be free on Smashwords.

Download it for free right HERE

And don't forget to review it either on Smashwords, or on Amazon, or on Goodreads... the choice is yours ;)

Happy reading!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

What do you call someone who watches The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in a theater at least 3 times? A nerd? I always knew I was a Tolkien nerd. Ever since I watched the cartoon from 1977, then fell in love with LoTR, then devoured Silmarillion, then learned Quenya and a bit of Sindarin.

Mae govannen, mellon! ;)

Soooo, lots of people complain about The Hobbit. Too long. Too much CGI. Unnecessary fillers. Unnecessary characters. Crude humor. An abused version of Tolkien's fairy-tale. And yet, with all those flaws I still managed to watch it thrice in the theater. Was going for a fourth time, but alas, it was over already.

I loved The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I loved almost every bit of it, although I absolutely agree with all the complaints. But for 3 hours (ok, 3 * 3 hours) I had lost myself in the Middle Earth. Hey, I got to see elves! Everyone seems to be in love with King Thranduil. Am I the only one not smitten away by him? :) Alright, I admit, this face on the big screen is indeed gorgeous. I couldn't help snapping a photo. But my favorite elf is always Legolas. Why they'd change his character like that and make him say something so rude to Gimli's dad is beyond me?! <sigh> 

At least he shoots as good as in LoTR. I couldn't help taking a photo of him, too. But those acrobatic tricks during the barrel chase scene were hilarious. A bit overdone... ok, actually, badly overdone.

Oh, Tauriel. I don't hate her like many fans do. I have to say, I like her character. And I liked the way Evangeline Lily looked in the movie. In my
opinion, she was a better elf than Legolas :( She reminded me of Legolas from LoTR: heavenly, yet tough. My thoughts about Tauriel's faith: as sad as it may sound, but she'll die in the 3rd movie. I'm almost sure of it. A reason to show a devastated Legolas and a heartbroken Kili. Oh, btw: I didn't have any problem with Taurliel liking Kili. In my opinion she loves Kili in the same platonic way that Galadriel and Gimli loved each other. What? Gimli didn't love Galadriel? Of course he did! He carried a lock of her golden hair with him after the Fellowship left Lothlórien.

What else did I like in 2nd Hobbit... Oh, I loved the music when we arrived to the Lake Town. That theme was so splendid my heart leaped inside my chest from so much beauty. Here, judge by yourselves.

And Lake Town reminded me so much of the place I live now. We share the same type of corrupt politicians, greedy and ugly. I could totally relate to Bard. And the townsfolk behaved exactly like the people here: promise them a bit of gold (money, food crumbs), and they'll forget about anything else. <another sigh>

Smaug was great. At the end I felt so bad for him I hoped those mean dwarfs would leave him alone. And I seriously considered starting a campaign for the protection of the dragons. After all, they are rare species, almost extinct!

Oh, I almost forgot Bilbo! But this is his movie. 
So, here's Bilbo Baggins on the big screen:

Did you like Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug?
Why not?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


A bit late, but I was sick.

Remember the last chapter of Witch Hollow and the Wrong Spell, when our happy witches are celebrating Imbolc with their friends and family?
In the beginning of February, Hollow was celebrating Imbolc. Hundreds of candles were burning all over the town. The residents on the West Bank had put together the unburned Christmas logs, making great figures of giants which were to be burned that night. A thin layer of snow continued to cover the distant fields and meadows where the townspeople were passing with flaming torches, holding them over the snow and trampling its last remains. On this festive day, people treated each other with pancakes, goat cheese, and freshly baked bread. Elders drank mulled wine, the young had milk and herbal teas. The houses were decorated with brooms, yellow flowers, and colorful ribbons. Candles were burning on the windows; crosses, woven from straw, were hanging over the doors, and jugs of milk and small baskets of nuts and dried fruits, entwined with silk ribbons, lay at the thresholds.

So, in Celtic traditions, the 2nd of February is called "Imbolc" (or "Brigit" after the Gaelic Goddess) and represents the beginning of spring. 
There are many beautiful songs dedicated to this day. I will share the two songs that I love very much. Feel free to add your favorite ones.

Happy Imbolc to everyone!

Artist: Damh the Bard
There's a tree by the well in the wood,
That's covered in garlands,
Clooties and ribbons that drift,
In the cool morning air.
That's where I met an old woman,
Who came from a far land.
Holding a flame o'er the well,
And chanting a prayer.

Goddess of fire, Goddess of healing,
Goddess of Spring, welcome again.

The told me she'd been a prisoner,
Trapped in a mountain,
Taken by the Queen of Winter,
At Summer's end,
But in her prison, she heard the spell,
The people were chanting,
Three days of Summer,
And snowdrops are flowering again.

She spoke of the Cell of the Oak,
Where a fire is still burning,
Nineteen priestesses tend the Eternal Flame,
Oh but of you, my Lady,
We are still learning,
Brighid, Brigantia,
The Goddess of many names.

Then I saw her reflection in the mirrored well,
And I looked deep in her face,
The old woman gone, a maiden now knelt in her place,
And from my pocket I pulled a ribbon,
And in honour of her maidenhood,
I tied it there to the tree by the well in the wood

Artist: Lisa Thiel
Blessed Bridget comest thou in
Bless this house and all of our kin
Bless this house, and all of our kin
Protect this house and all within

Blessed Bridget come into thy bed
With a gem at thy heart and a crown on thy head
Awaken the fire within our souls
Awaken the fire that makes us whole

Blessed Bridget, queen of the fire
Help us to manifest our desire
May we bring forth all thats good and fine
May we give birth to our dreams in time

Blessed Bridget comest thou in
Bless this house and all of our kin
From the source of Infinite Light
Kindle the flame of our spirits tonight

Blessed Bridget come into thy bed
With a gem at thy heart and a crown on thy head
Awaken the fire within our souls
Awaken the fire that makes us whole

Blessed Bridget, queen of the fire
Help us to manifest our desire
May we bring forth all thats good and fine
May we give birth to our dreams in time

Blessed Bridget comest thou in
Bless this house and all of our kin
From the source of Infinite Light
Kindle the flame of our spirits tonight

Photos taken from the Net.