Friday, November 16, 2012

K. W. McCabe and her Angel of Death

Today's post features K. W. McCabe, author of the novella Angel of Death. It's a 99-cent ebook that belongs on the Kindle of any lover of fantasies. I asked her a few questions the other day:

What motivated you to write Angel of Death?

I actually wrote Angel of Death as an answer to a request a few readers made - they had read Thomas' earlier stories and wanted a contemporary, romantic twist on his dark tale. So, during a really dark period where I was experiencing a tough bout of writer's block, I thought of that request and it broke my block and inspired Thomas' and Sarah's story. 

Why does Sarah have to be pure? And does pure mean perfect? 

I think the meaning of what "purity" is, is something tough to think about. Purity always means different things to different people. Truthfully, I wouldn't want to live in Thomas' and Sarah's world - a world where children can be corrupted permanently by things that aren't their fault. Yet their world is very similar to ours. Children are hurt and corrupted, and in ways that damage forever. I think, in a world like that, purity is needed to combat corruption, and I've always felt that the true definition of purity was love. I think that Sarah represented that - the refusal to choose the selfish path - such as staying when someone else would die in her place. In Sarah's and Thomas' world, the Choice represented the chance to choose the purer meaning of love - or choose the selfish path. I don't think that being pure means being perfect. I think a purity of heart and purpose stems from the ability to see one's self truly - to see the warts and ugliness - and choose the right way in spite of that. 

What's on your bookshelf? Tell me about your favorite fantasy authors.

Oh, man. I rave about Michelle Sagara West all over the place! So she's number one on my shelf. I also like Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. My favorite are the first three books - the rest were good, but the first three were epic.

Why do you write?

I used to write because I loved the idea of living in a world that was different than the one I occupied. This is still true, but I also write because it's almost an addiction. There are times when I don't write, but I never stop thinking about it.

I encourage people to support indie writers like K. W. McCabe and suggest that fantasy readers buy her ebook at

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mysteries of marketing

Life is an accumulation of mysteries. Why does the universe exist? Why does gravity work? Does intelligent life exist outside terra firma? And why do my book sales chug along nicely for months and suddenly fall through the floor?

Okay, my marketing has not been a model of relentless consistency this year, but the monthly check from Amazon for my three self-published books has been nice to see. The payments have always been a couple hundred dollars or more, but halfway through this month my royalties are under fifty bucks. (I can hear you now: Oh, you poor baby. Whine, whine, whine.) Mainly, this post is meant to puzzle out the reason in public so more can benefit.

These are e-books only, selling on Amazon at $2.99 with a 70 percent commission. Using their KDP Select program, Amazon Prime members borrow copies and yield a nice return to me. My marketing effort has depended mostly on Twitter, where response is typically good. I have worked hard with TweetAdder to build up my number of followers, which now is over 7,000. Then--oops--Twitter told me I was using them too aggressively and suspended my account until I promised to behave. So I scaled way back on following and unfollowing. The result was immediate. My sales plummeted, because my tweets constantly need to appear before fresh, new eyeballs. Twitter says it's okay to follow people one by one, but that's a glacial pace. Meanwhile, giveaways help a little, but of course they mainly move product for free.

Obviously, depending on one vehicle, Twitter, is a real marketing weakness. But it really does seem far and away the best means of selling large numbers of low-priced ebooks. Blogs and Facebook are good, but tend to reach the same people. That means you can't constantly pitch to them without alienating them.

What has been other people's experience? I'm happy to share more details of my own.