Category Archives: Empress of Storms
I’m happy to say that the first week of 2016 has been enjoyable around Casa Cameron. Ramón is still looking for work, which is a bit of a fly in the ointment, but he’s ridiculously talented and I have faith he’ll have a job toot sweet. He’s keeping busy with various electronics stuff in his Fortress of Solitude, and we’ve received shipments of arcane computing gear that have had him grinning in anticipation. I can’t tell if he’s building a quantum computer, a transporter, or a new machine for dispensing kitty kibble, but he’s busy and that’s all that matters.
In personal news, my buds Karl and Colby came to town on Monday and we wound up having beer and hard cider at Whole Foods (we were supposed to have lunch at Tallywackers but it’s closed on Mondays and the WF down the street had a mini bar area in their beer and wine section) with their friend and Colby’s traveling companion Oliver. Two hours of listening to details of Colby and Oliver’s new religion, Karl talking about his plans to make a documentary about women who like gay porn, M/M romance, and the like, and laughing like drains was wonderful.
On the writing front Empress of Storms continues to sell well, I’m back at work on Cross Current and Behind the Iron Cross, and I’m mulling over the plot for an Empress sequel. I have also purchased an absolutely ridiculous amount of yarn and have four projects going in the living room alone. Expect pictures of socks, shawls, and fingerless gloves in the very near future.
And to those fellow Eastern Orthodox folks who celebrate, Merry Christmas!
Empress of Storms is officially in the black. As of today I’ve made $297.55, which pays off the production and promotion costs (which were $297.56, but I just made another sale according to Amazon so I figure that penny is covered).
And sales have been really picking up since December 5, as well — don’t know if that’s due to advertising, word of mouth, or what, but I’m damn grateful for it. According to Amazon, All Romance eBooks and Smashwords I’ve sold 204 units so far (won’t get reports from Smashwords’s associates for another quarter). The only way this could get any better would be if people left reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. but that’s out of my hands (and it’s been a really busy month for a lot of people, too. Hopefully they’ll have more time in January).
Although I did get that five star review and top pick from Night Owl Reviews, bless them.
So yeah, 2015 is going out on a high note. Let’s see what 2016 has.
As of tonight, Breaker Zone is in the lead for Book of the Year at The TBR Pile (if you haven’t voted yet, there’s still time). For it to win 2015 Book of the Year would be utterly awesome, and I want to send a HUGE thank you to everyone who voted for it — you people rock so hard, you make AC/DC look like a garage band.
Now, switching gears: according to the three online vendors to which I have reporting access, Empress of Storms has earned back 100% of production costs and 95% of promotion costs (in less than two months, to boot). If I sell three copies tomorrow, it’s in the clear and everything after that goes into savings for RT in April.
So another thank you goes out to EVERYONE who’s bought a copy, left reviews, or asked me when the sequel is coming out (right now, that looks like summer 2016. I’m still noodling about the title, but remember that clever and dangerous prince from Illium that Flavia was pushing as a possible husband? He’s going to show up in Hellas with his sarcastic manservant and throw himself on Danaë’s mercy after one of his older brothers drops dead. Meanwhile, the Pauwels are continuing to make life difficult for Matthias, mainly by trying to get him to declare Luna as his heir since Danaë isn’t pregnant yet. And hijinks ensue!).
And of course I need to work on Cross Current (Olympic Cove 4), and there’s the Trickster sequel to finish, and I really want to do another story with Rory and Dmitri, and I wouldn’t mind doing a Bully Boys novel either.
But all that will happen in 2016. For now, you are all in the will, and I adore you to bitty pieces. MWAH!
The Good: The Evernight Readers’ Choice Awards were held on Saturday and Deep Water was first runner up in Best Menage category, while Breaker Zone was first runner up in the Best Erotic category. Thanks so much to everyone who voted for me — I truly appreciate each and every one of you!
The Bad: I seem to be in a moderately bad mood today and I don’t know why. It could just be that I have a metric buttload of cleaning to do around here before I can put up the Christmas decorations and for reasons that I don’t understand a family member is stating on FB that I won’t have anything up this week. Whatever.
The Croggling: I was looking for Empress of Storms reviews today and found one that, to be honest, had me o_0 at first, then laughing, then absurdly flattered. The reviewer, who is also a noted writer of SF and fantasy, had this to say about EoS:
“This book was so good-hearted I forgave it the things that bothered me, #1 of which was that I couldn’t tell if it was set in our world or a second world; all the names were definitely Greek and so were the cities, but the mythology was wrong and there was magic? But a political intrigue story with several twists in it, about a young queen affianced to an older king of another nation, and their relationship and how it affects their countries and their enemies. Definitely a fantasy novel, but the romance elements were strong; particularly, all the erotic scenes were explicit, and other than the first one (which establishes some important groundwork for the partnership) there’s no real plot reason for the rest of them. People who dislike explicit sex scenes for the point of explicit sex scenes will probably be annoyed.”
She then went on to review a MM contemporary romance, concluding with “Also explicit, but more pertinent to the plot (oddly enough) than the previous book, which wasn’t a romance.”
*goes back to check book notes*
*checks categories on Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Smashwords*
*confirms that yup, I wrote a fantasy erotic romance*
I just read this to Ramón. He replied, “So let me get this straight. A member of SFWA read your book, which was an erotic romance with fantasy elements, and thought it was a fantasy novel with gratuitous sex. So essentially you wrote a romantic pastiche of high fantasy that worked so well it passes for actual high fantasy.”
Then he paused. “You realize this means it’s eligible for a Hugo.”
I think we scared the cats with our cackling.
*takes deep breath, lets it out through nose*
So yesterday I launched a rant about a certain site that was promoting illegal downloads of Empress of Storms. Pretty much everyone who read it and left a comment on social media sympathized with me, reassured me that a lot of pirate sites exist to get credit card information and thus karma would visit those who didn’t know how to use a library, and generally tried to make me feel better.
I appreciate them all. And I should admit that part of my rage was brought on by the fact that Ramón was laid off on October 31 and we are both scrambling for work and trying to figure out how we’ll be paying the December mortgage (Christmas isn’t even an option this year. Paying bills comes first). But the karma bit stuck in my head. See, I used to have a blog waaaaay back in 2001, long before WordPress or Blogger or even LiveJournal were on the scene. Had to hand-code each entry, change the previous entry so that it linked to the new one, and create/update the archive pages. You kids don’t know how lucky you are, with your social media crosslinking and your SEO tags. Now get off my lawn.
Anyhoo, since I knew that big block of uninterrupted text tended to turn readers off I had a habit of trolling the net for appropriate images, downloading them, and using them in my blog entries. I did not buy these. Back then, you didn’t even think twice about it. You found a picture on the net and you just used it. There was no question about reimbursing the artist who took the photograph or created the artwork. If it was on the net, it was free for use, QED.
So, if I am brutally honest with myself this may be karma doing a little bitchslapping of its own for using creative material that I didn’t pay for. And now that my blood pressure has settled, I do have to admit that having 612 downloads and 41 four- and five-star reviews is actually kind of flattering. At least 612 people liked my story enough to grab it from a torrent site and read it. 41 of them liked it enough to leave good reviews.
(I still wish they’d left those reviews on Amazon, but whatever.)
Seriously, though, if you can’t afford a copy and will frigging explode if you can’t read about Matthias and Danaë, don’t go through a torrent site. Email me and I will send you a copy for free. All I ask is that you leave a honest review somewhere, ideally Amazon but I’ll take Goodreads/B&N/iBooks/whatever. That way, karma blesses us both.
(ATTENTION: There will be a great deal of profanity in this post. You have been warned.)
Well, fuck me. I did my usual check for reviews this morning and stumbled across a pirate site called readpremiumbooks dot com that has Empress of Storms.
612 downloads. Allow me to repeat that — SIX HUNDRED AND TWELVE DOWNLOADS. And that’s just from this one site. That’s $1,709.32 that I lost, assuming that people would have bought it through Amazon. That would’ve been enough to pay our bills this month and have cash left over for Christmas presents (and things are really goddamned tight around Castle Cameron right now).
And you wonder why I despise pirates. Not all of us are bestselling authors who can blow off piracy as a left-handed form of promotion. For some of us that income means paying the bills, or the mortgage, or picking up necessary medicine. But apparently people think I don’t need that money — hey, I’m a writer, I must be rolling in it, I won’t notice one pirated copy.
Surprise, motherfucker. I notice. So do my creditors. And I can’t even send these RPE fuckers a DMCA takedown because they advertise themselves as an “external affiliate” who cannot guarantee the presence of a particular file because they draw from third-party sites.
But losing income actually isn’t the most irritating thing about this. Want to know what’s really chapping my ‘nads? EoS has 41 fucking reviews on this site, all of which appear to be five stars. I can’t get people to leave me reviews on Amazon, but pirate sites? No problem. Goddamn it, I offered the book FOR FREE if people would just leave an honest review in return. Not one nibble did I get. But they’ll go to a pirate site that could be loading their ereaders with Cthulhu knows what sort of malware to get reading material AND LEAVE REVIEWS THERE.
And people wonder why I drink.
So I’ve been checking my Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard, as you do when you’re a nervous self-pubbing author. While I was there I noticed an upwards swing in sales for Empress of Storms today, which is awesome because money around the holidays is always a good thing.
And then I dug into the stats a bit deeper. It seems that the bulk of the recent sales have come from amazon.co.uk. This pleases me as Ramón is in fact an Englishman and it’s nice to know that some of his countrymen (or women, as the case may be) are digging my work. So if any of you lovely British bookbuyers are reading this, thank you and please spread the word to your friends. I wouldn’t mind becoming a smash hit in the UK at all, especially if I could whomp up the funding for a book tour.
Keep all sharp objects away from my reality bubble. I’m allowed to dream.
Meanwhile, NovelRank is reporting that I have sold absolutely nothing in December and my only sales have been within the US. So bugger to you and your bizarre sales determining algorithm, NovelRank.
I’m still running that 25% off sale on Empress of Storms at All Romance eBooks, so if you haven’t picked up a copy yet you should go and do it now! For everyone who has already purchased a copy, thank you SO much. Your interest in my first foray into high fantasy erotic romance is truly appreciated.
Now that the holidays are winding down, however, could I ask you a huge favor? I really, really, REALLY need reviews for the book, ideally on Amazon but I won’t say no to Goodreads, B&N, or any other online retailers. I’ve reached the point where my social media self-promo is getting a little redundant and I don’t want to annoy people with repeated ads. I’ve purchased advertising on various sites, but right now reviews are desperately needed to promote the book, bump it up in Amazon rankings and pull in new sales.
Also, as I’ve mentioned before if you’re stony broke and just can’t afford an ebook right now, contact me with your preferred ebook format and I’ll send you a copy. All I ask is that you leave an honest review for me — and yeah, if you read it and absolutely hate it, then go ahead and say that. I know Empress isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’d rather have someone saying, “Yeah, sorry, this bites” than someone blowing smoke up my ass.
Okay, back to work!
Now that I’m back from my vacation and am tanned, rested, and ready, it is time to get serious about reviews for Empress of Storms. If you bought a copy, I adore you to pieces and ask you to pretty please leave a review somewhere — Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, whatever. It’s all good.
If you can’t buy a copy, man, I totally understand. Times are tight, the holidays are coming up, and your money needs to go elsewhere. So here’s the deal — email me at nicolacameronwrites.com and tell me what your preferred ebook format is, and I will send you a copy of Empress of Storms.
In return, I ask that you leave a review for me at one of the places listed above. If you’re a blogger, I ask that you post the review on your site. Empress is getting some really good reviews, but I need more to promote the book. The more copies I sell, the more likely I am to write a sequel. Or heck, start a new series. There’s always room for a new series, right?
(I can hear my Muse cackling into her mojito in the background.)
So if you’re willing to get a free ebook in exchange for reviews, let me know. And as Bartles and Jaymes were wont to say, I thank you for your support.