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Blog: Blog2
  • PM Johnson

A Fine and Pleasant Muddle

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Hello dedicated friends. Welcome to the Apollo Stone universe where just when you think you know what's going on, you realize not only that you're wrong but there's also a good chance someone's trying to blow up your planet.

As you may know, I just finished, The Conqueror, the fourth and final installment in the series then went on a promotion blitz. The first promotion consisted of five email promotion sites. I'd recently made book 1, The Navigator, free and moved out of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program (which has an exclusivity requirement) and "went wide" to other platforms, including Kobo, Apple, Google, and B&N. I did that for a few reasons. First, even though many people were reading The Navigator on Kindle Unlimited, because you technically don't own the book under the Kindle Unlimited program, you cannot rate it or leave a review. That makes it harder to market the book because Amazon stars and reviews help drive interest in the the book. Second, I just don't like the idea of Amazon dominating the eBook market. They're all smiles and sunshine now, but if they completely squash the competition, we'll all be saying "One book market, One Amazon" before you know it. Third, because Amazon has so many indie authors on their Kindle Unlimited program, there's less competition for little fish like me on those other platforms.

So, I rolled the dice and "went wide". I navigated through the byzantine world of converting perfectly good Word documents to "epub" format. Let's just say that my first effort was a disaster, not just because I couldn't find a decent program to do the job but also because some of these other platforms do not allow you to preview what the book looks like when published. Result: about a week of desperate converting, uploading, downloading copies, freaking out, rinse and repeat. It wasn't sorted out until I realized that one of the platforms actually has a function for converting Word to epub that could then be downloaded and uploaded to other platforms. Simple. Wish someone would have told me that...

It was fortunate that I was able to figure this epub conversion thing out because I had applied for a Bookbub promotion and they actually said yes. This is like finding a four-leaf-clover stuck on a unicorn's ass. Bookbub is the biggest email promoter of books by far. After slapping myself repeatedly to make sure I wasn't dreaming, I immediately paid the fee and got to work planning other promotions around the Bookbub date in order to leverage it (and Amazon's ranking system) to the fullest. The promotion ran on October 13 and the results had my toes tapping. Not only did I reach number 1 in all my Amazon sub-genres (apocalyptic SciFi, alien contact, dystopian SciFi) I also reached number 1 in SciFi and number 3 on the overall free list. That's a really good result. The other platforms performed very well, too.

So, with that big promotion in my rear view mirror, I can turn once again to my current writing project, a stand alone novel that picks up about ten years after the conclusion of book 4, The Conqueror. It takes place on the planet Xur in the megacity of Toska Brey. The main character is new to the Apollo Stone universe, Nick Barnes. He's a Humani trying to make it as a uhuku (bar / nightclub) owner, but an old acquaintance pulls him into something he's really not ready for. There's a beautiful woman, layers of intrigue, and plenty of action. There's also the interesting angle of an outsider's view of the events chronicled in the Apollo Stone series and its characters. The Apollo Stone series is written in the third person but this book (working title "No Good Deed") is written in the first person. Not everyone thinks the heroes from the series are, in fact, heroes. Some people might even think they're a bunch of jerks. It's fun to play with these different perspectives.

The Soaring Spires of Toska Brey

Most of the action, at least as far as I've written, takes place in Toska Brey, a mercantile city unaligned to any of the other sentient species. Because of the massive wealth it generates, Toska Brey draws many to its ports in pursuit of their fortunes, including Nick Barnes. Some succeed, but most fail. Those the city consumes end up in the "underdark", the sun-deprived and long-forgotten street level of the city far below the soaring spires and multi-tiered levels above where the rest of the city resides. Will Nick succeed and make his mark or will he be pulled down into the underdark? Follow me and find out!

PS: I'm about 30% done with the first draft of No Good Deed and hope to have it ready for publication in the late spring.

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