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Topics - Salvador Mercer

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Yay, it's my birthday. Ok, got that out of the way.  ;D

I've decided to post my most recent promo thread since I've posted three already but then performed softer releases and new promos on older books. This one felt significant enough because past experience showed me some interesting data that I wanted to share as well as the fact that these can be fun to write and watch. Before I do any specifics, here is my lineup for the release today of my fourth book in my first series that was up for preorder for six weeks and tallied up 328 sales during that time, which may, or may not, be a good thing.

Overview: The White Dragon (Book 4), The Black Dragon (Book 1)
July 16, The White Dragon 99 cents
July 17-21, The Black Dragon FREE Promo
July 17-31, The White Dragon 99 cents
July 21, Black-FREE, White-99 cents, Ranger-FREE, DD-$1.99 KCD (more on this later)
Aug 1: The White Dragon $2.99

Preorders 328
Starting rank: 20,366

Release day 1: July 16: No promo, mailing list of 152 and a single post on my Facebook page.

RD 2: July 17: Book Barbarian, $55 (Double Feature FREE & 99 cents), Reading Deals, $15 (FREE), Booksends, $50 (FREE)
Free DL: 835
Sales: 93
Rank: BD=160 Free / WD=2,233

RD 3: July 18: Freebooksy,$100 (FREE)
FREE DL: 955
Sales: 38
Rank: BD=113 Free / WD=2,379

RD 4: July 19: OHFB, $75 (FREE), Bknights, $11 (FREE)
FREE DL: 481
Sales: 17
Rank: BD=106 Free / WD=3,324

RD 5: July 20: Booksbutterfly Day 1, $75 (FREE), Booksbutterfly, $67 (99 cents)
FREE DL: 296
Sales: 28
Rank: BD=147 Free / WD=4,345

RD 6: July 21: Booksbutterfly Day 2, $0 (99 cents), BookScream, $20 (Featured Author)
FREE DL: 306
FREE DL 2: 96
Sales: 29
Rank: BD=207 Free / WD=3,519

*** End FREE promotion of Book 1***

RD 7: July 22: Ebookhounds, $10, Sweetfreebooks, $7, JustKindleBooks, $35
Sales: 32
Rank: 3,576

RD 8: July 23: Bargainbooksy, $40, FKBT, $25, Manybooks, $25, Manybooks author of the day, $49
Sales: 67
Rank: 2,416

RD 9: July 24: BettyBookFreak, $18
Sales: 22
Rank: 2,622

RD 10: July 25: GenrePulse, $30
Sales: 19
Rank: 3,622

RD 11: July 26: Ebooksoda, $15
Sales: 19
Rank: 4,053

RD 12: July 27: Fussy Librarian, $12
Sales: 16
Rank: 5,516

RD 13: July 28: Choosybookworm, $25
Sales: 15
Rank: 6,005

RD 14: July 29: Awesomegang, $10
Sales: 13
Rank: 5,488

RD 15: July 30: Discount Book Man, $15
Sales: 9
Rank: 5,583

RD 16: July 31: ENT, $30
Sales: 60
Rank: 4,214

RD 17: Aug 1: Promo ends

I'll save the next post for my commentary, thoughts, tactics and strategies and update this post as the promo progresses.

Writers' Cafe / The $616 "WTH" am I doing, BOOK 4 Promo Thread (Sort of)
« on: November 10, 2015, 05:52:02 PM »

Yeah, that is the correct number or my spreadsheet isn't working right.  Book 4.  What the hell am I doing?  I have three books, all of which are literally book one types in series, though one series can be read in any order and that is the book I'm promoting... sort of.  Let me try to explain first.

Book 1, Black Dragon, Dragon Series (Standalone novels, interconnected in same world, one main chronicler).
Book 2, Ranger Rising, Ranger Series (Definitely a series, same characters, one long story arc).
Book 3, Lunar Discovery, Sci-Fi & Technothriller Series (Not named yet, was a standalone, left the ending open to a continuation and book is doing well, so there will be a series).
Book 4, Blue Dragon, Dragon Series.  Finally a second book in a series that... well... isn't really a series.  Independent story that can be read in any order.

So book 4 is the "new release" so to speak.  Didn't really have my ARC reviews, so hard to set up a promo right out of the gate.  Then I read this on Bookbub: http://insights.bookbub.com/which-book-in-your-series-should-you-discount/

I'm not preaching any BB doctrine, I just didn't know how best to promote this latest release.  Add something of a perfect storm in my Select promo opportunities which are running out at the end of the November (use them or lose them) and I'm going to promote ALL three of my Claire-Agon fantasy books.  The promo looks like this:

Ranger Rising, KCD from Nov 11-17. (Starting Rank=50,237k)
Black Dragon, FREE from Nov 14-16. (Starting Rank=42,068k)
Blue Dragon, 99 cents anytime I can get a promo slot for the book. (Starting Rank=31,561k)

Promo currently is running from around Nov 11-20th with one ENT day on December 4th.

Objective: EYES on the product, REVIEWS for each book, NAME/BRANDING recognition.  Tails and ROI are optional.

Here's the line up:

Wed, November 11th
Ranger Rising, KCD 99 cents Sales: 29, Best Rank=8,520k
BargainBooksy ($40)
BookScream ($3)
ChoosyBookWorm ($48 Note: This is for their premium 7 day promo package, all week long)
Bknights ($5)
Reading Deals ($0, Two for one deal, paid $15 for the first one)

Thu, November 12th Sales: 15, Best Rank=7,122k
Ranger Rising, KCD 99 cents
Just Kindle Books ($15)

Fri, November 13th Sales, 13, Best Rank=8,592k
Ranger Rising, KCD 99 cents
Riffle ($40)

Sat, November 14th
Black Dragon, FREE KDP Day 3/5 Sales, 0, Free, 3,572k, Best Rank=48 in free store
ENT ($25)
Reading Deals ($15)
OHFB ($75)
FreeBooksy ($100)
Bknights ($5)
EbookSoda ($15)
EbookHounds ($10)

Ranger Rising, Rank=9,321k
Black Dragon, Rank=46 overall free store
Blue Dragon, Rank=2,740k

Sun, November 15th
Ranger Rising, KCD 99 cents, Sales, 31, Best Rank=7,781k
Black Dragon, FREE KDP Day 4/5, Sales 0, Free, 1,317, Best Rank=46 in free store
Blue Dragon, 99 cent manual Sales 76, Best Rank=2,472k
BooksButterfly Combo ($80)

Mon, November 16th
Ranger Rising, KCD 99 cents Sales 42, Best Rank=5,380k
Booksends ($25)
SweetFreeBooks ($5)

Black Dragon, FREE KDP Day 5/5 Sales 0, Free, 1,120k, Best Rank=69 in free store
Riffle ($40)
Awesomegang.com, Pretty-hot.com, Bookreadermagazine.com, and DiscountBookMan.com (Last minute adds, THANKS Vinnie!)

Blue Dragon, NO Promo, Sales, 57, Best Rank=1,959k

Tue, November 17th
Blue Dragon, 99 cent manual Sales 27, Best Rank=2,219k
Bknights ($5)

Ranger Rising, 99 cent, KCD Sales 21, Best Rank=4,013k
Awesomegang.com, Pretty-hot.com, Bookreadermagazine.com, and DiscountBookMan.com (Last minute adds, THANKS Vinnie!)

The Black Dragon, No Promo (Regular Price), Sales 18, Free, 12, Best Rank=7,700k

Wed, November 18th
The Blue Dragon, 99 cent, manual Sales 19, Best Rank=2,706k
Awesomegang.com, Pretty-hot.com, Bookreadermagazine.com, and DiscountBookMan.com (Last minute adds, THANKS Vinnie!)

Ranger Rising: Sales 1, Best Rank=4,457k
Black Dragon: Sales 7, Best Rank=5,830k

Thu, November 19th
NO Promotions

Ranger Rising: Sales 1, Best Rank=6,505k
Black Dragon: Sales 12, Best Rank=6,134k
Blue Dragon: Sales 17, Best Rank=3,364

Fri, November 20th
Blue Dragon, 99 cent manual Sales 19, Best Rank=3,564k
Riffle ($40)

No space in calendar: BookBarbarian, Fussy Librarian
Rejected by: RobinReads, FKBT
Pending: BookHippo, Ranger Rising, 11/12, Read Cheaply & Read Free.ly, Black Dragon, 11/14

Total Spend: $616

I'll try to add a few more this week, but I'm exhausted with my day job and my boys at home. I'm pretty sure we'll learn something out of this, either how to blow over half a grand and not even use a Bookbub, how NOT to promote a second book in a sort of series or, my wishful thinking, optimistic side is hoping for how to revive interest in your brand with a new release.

Let me know if any one has any questions or any words of support.  I'll post later on the method behind the madness, but I'm too tired right now and I wanted to just get the line up and basics out there for your entertainment  :D

Hi everyone!

Alright, the former Plankton promo, upgraded to Prawn promo is now for book three, courtesy of Dawn Lee, the Mantis Shrimp promo!  :P  Some quick background for our newer members...

Book one was published at the end of February (2015) and flat lined flatter than a pancake.  Insert plankton promo and post and we got some very small traction.  There was a faint heartbeat after all.  Book two came out at the end of May and with nothing more than a prawny email subscriber list, managed to rank (not that hard to do) on the HNR lists in several categories and has done fairly well until it ran off the 90 day cliff.  That prawny promo utilized a KCD just after the 30 day window when it was eligible.  Book three is an experiment.  Instead of fantasy, it is a Contemporary Sci-Fi & Techno-Thriller that I used to submit to the Kindle Scout program.  The editors over there promptly stamped the book, sub plankton material and sent it back, return to sender.  However there is a neat "notify nominees" button that I intend to use and I plan to promote this bad boy right out of the gate.  This is the Mantis Shrimp promo as Dawn so kindly knighted me as I had some small success with my second book and can no longer use plankton or prawn anymore.

There you go.  So let's get right to the promo then some more commentary from the peanut gallery (me again) :)


New Release, September 24th, up for preorder one month prior.
Ranking in preorder status: 100k-400k

Promo Details

Preorder: No promo, 13 sales, N/A pages read.  (Thank you Bates for buying book 1 and starting my ranking clock ticking LOL!)

September 22: Personal Facebook Page, 3 sales, N/A pages read. (Cumulative sales: 16)
Best Rank: 248,116k

September 23: Newsletter, Organic list, 37 subscribers, 5 sales, N/A pages read (Cumulative sales 21)
Best Rank: 62,188k

September 24: Book goes LIVE! Newsletter, FKG Bronze (138 subscribers) and FKG Platinum (971 subscribers).  Kindle Scout Nominees via Amazon, social media blasts (Twitter, Facebook and Website/Blog).  Sales 6, 1,018 pages read. (Let's use the word total sales 27)
Best Rank: 23,534k

September 25: Bknights ($21), Genre Pulse ($32). Added free submissions today to GetBooksDaily, IndieBookLounge, EbookLister, and Armadillo eBooks. Sales 40, 4 pages read, (Total sales 67).
Best Rank: 7,287k

September 26: BargainBooksy ($35), Ebookhounds ($5), Ebookhunter ($15), Pixelscroll ($15). FKBT posted that they may run me today in their 'New Releases' section due to a drop. (Ran!) Sales 60, 707 pages read, (Total sales 127)
Best Rank: 2,984k

September 27: None (See comments below) Added Just Kindle Books ($15) as well as Ebooksaurus, BookHippo (UK Site), ReadFree.ly, and a Fiverr gig for 50 social media sites via 'bestgraphic201 ($5). Sales 20, 1,742 pages read, (Total sales 147)
Best Rank: 3,055k

September 28: BettyBookFreak ($8), Flurries of Words ($5), Bookbarbarian ($8), Ebooksoda ($10), Awesomegang ($10). Sales 45, 1,342 pages read, (Total sales 192)
Best Rank: 3,801k

September 29: ChoosyBookWorm ($18), SweetFreeBooks ($5), BookScream ($10-Featured Author with all three of my books) Sales 33, 1,792 pages read, (Total sales 225)
Best Rank: 3,278k

September 30: Booksbutterfly (pending approval)(Note the date change), Pretty Hot, Discountbookman & BookReaderMagazine (Thanks Vinny! Helping me on my last day in case BB doesn't approve.)  Added New Free Kindle Books ($5) Sales 12, 1,277 pages read, (Total sales 237)
Best Rank: 3,371k

October 1: Read Free.ly ($5) Sales 14, 3,291 pages read, (Total sales 251)
Best Rank: 5,768k

October 2: )BooksSends ($25 +$10 FB Boost), Riffle ($50) Sales 82, 1,885 pages read, (Total sales 319)
Best Rank: 2,254k

October 3: BooksButterfly ($15) Sales 44, 2,824 pages read, (Total sales 363)
Best Rank: 1,754k

October 4: BooksButterfly Day 2, Booktastik ($5, New Release) Sales 31, 5,131 pages read, (Total sales 394)
Best Rank: 2,165k

October 5: Priced at normal, $3.99, Sales 15, 3,593 pages read, (Total sales 409)
Best Rank: 3,133k

Total spend: $202 $327

Rejected by: (Bookbub, didn't apply LOL), ENT, Booksends, Robinreads & OHFB  :(
Pending:  ReadCheaply

Notes:  The big fat hole on the 27th was OHFB where I mistakenly took the payment ($100 Gold) as a successful submission.  Nope, they refunded my money.  I applied for ENT at the 30 day mark and was rejected just over a week later.  Booksends also rejected for lack of reviews as did Robinreads.  Booksbutterfly also won't run me without reviews, so I'm hoping my half dozen ARCs go live by the weekend as they need a 3 or 4 day lead time for this genre, ergo they are pending.

It wasn't pleasant trying to get a new release with no reviews promoted.  It will be in Select, but not eligible for the KCD till after 30 days.  I'm trying to get some traction from day one and see if I can't maximize the HNR lists better than I did on my second release.  My one potential ace in the hole is the Kindle Scout program.  The book had well over 600 views and who knows how many nominations (other than kind kboarders).  That wasn't very good for that program, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Amazon will notify the readers who nominated the book once it's published, unless they opt out.  Another pretty large variable and experiment is that I invested in the FKG Bronze and Platinum contests.  I have no idea how that will go, but I'm trying to pitch my first email to them as a second chance at a $25 rafflecopter as well as promoting future contests and trying to engage as many of them as I can.  This should be interesting.

I can't say too much other than this is in a different genre.  I wrote the book specifically for the Kindle Scout program and cause I wanted a quick change in pace from my fantasy writing.  I am hoping that a promo right out of the gate will help the book's visibility.  I have no idea what will happen, will it do well, fair or crater badly?  Will there be sales, if so how many, and will there be a tail.  I'll quote one of my favorite authors here: "Please, let there be a tail!" (Credit, Mrs. Ross)  ;D

Final thought: I am the epitome of an author with ADHD!  :'(  Do NOT write in the order that I am writing.  Three book one's in potentially three different series is not the way to success, at least not the easier way imho.  However, I got the urge to write and (to use a Russian phrase) I had to "scratch that itch".  Sometimes I just write what I want to write even though I know I should be more focused on my fantasy series.  Also, when I first published I didn't have any funds for my books/publishing.  I posted elsewhere that I ate soup for two months to save enough funds to properly edit my book and I received the help of several kboarders, Cagnes foremost amongst them.  Finally, I went from low two digit royalties to very low four digit royalties and finally the Amazon payment lag is over and I am receiving some funds.  I actually get enough back this month to put me way into the black.  It makes a big difference when your books are financing themselves as opposed to you financing them.  It makes it feel less like a hobby and more like a business.

So, having said all that, buckle up kiddies, time to ride!  8)

Writers' Cafe / Plankton's Prawny Promo Post, Book 2
« on: July 05, 2015, 08:00:56 PM »
Greetings fellow Planktons Prawns and yes, maybe even a few veteran Whales!

Ah the chance to get back to something semi normal after the great shock wave of KU2 that rolled through this board (and is still being felt).  I'm a big fan of promos and the data they provide almost weekly so here is my second promo for my second book.  First some background...

Ranger Rising is my first book written last year then unceremoniously left in a folder on my hard drive for over half a year.  I ended up writing another book after this one and published it first so the order of my written work is somewhat backwards.

I priced this one at $3.99, launched it on May 29th late at night and gave it an introductory price of 99 cents for the last two days in May before resuming it's normal price point.  I chose this point because my Dragon Book, is 77k words and I wanted that priced at $2.99 while this 115k word book seemed appropriate at a dollar more imho.  I fully expected the beast to drop into the six figure range rather quickly much as my first published book did back in February.  Here is the odd part, with only 2 opens on my 7 subscriber email notification, the book racked up only 11 sales and 5 borrows in its opening two days at 99 cents.  Somehow however, this was enough to get it to chart on the Hot New Releases for up to five sub-categories.  I had never heard of the HNR lists till another author mentioned them here (Thank you Pauline) so this was a surprise.

Now initially, being the noob (er prawn) that I am, I had this strategy that in order to gather a reader base I would enroll my works in Select, then use the FREE days option to promote the book and hopefully obtain some reviews for it and of course fans and maybe even some rank with a tail.  I did that with my first book and the tail lasted literally till today from mid April.  That was the strategy, but I didn't expect this particular book to maintain a rank between about 11k and 40k for well over a month.  I scheduled a paid KCD promo, which is what this thread is all about, when I saw it was actually selling and getting borrows (at a prawny rate, please).  So the strategy shifted from FREE promo, to this paid 99 cent KCD promo which comes a week after the book came off the 30 day HNR lists.  I would have timed it a week earlier, but I decided to avoid the holiday having had no experience with them in my personal publishing efforts.

The only other thing noteworthy I want to report is that I am purposely scheduling the KCD to go the full 7 days and I purposely tried to schedule three of the biggest heavy promo sites (yeah, no bookbub, I'll keep dreaming...) to run EARLY in the promo.  Why?  I am experimenting and wondering if the promo sites can get the KCD to rank up there and perhaps even rank within the pages of the other KCD's for more than a day or so.  This idea/strategy sort of compensates for NOT doing a FREE promo where the hope is to get as many eyes on it during those last few days when the KCD clock is getting closer to zero and thereby, hopefully, wishfully, obtaining organic traffic to the book after the promo sites run.  That's the plan and I'm sticking to it.

So here's the data, updated daily for this upcoming week:

Kindle Countdown Deal on Ranger Rising from July 6-July 12 from $3.99 to $0.99

Current Rank: #17,949 as of this post (Note, it just got there after 3 sales and a jump from like 38k, so I'm sure it will get worse before the promo starts)

July 6, Monday: BooksButterfly ($10) 64 Sales
July 7, Tuesday: BargainBooksy ($40) 37 Sales
July 8, Wednesday: Booksends ($25) 38 Sales
July 9, Thursday: ENT ($20) 65 Sales
July 10, Friday: None 18 Sales
July 11, Saturday: BettyBookFreak ($8) 16 Sales
July 12, Sunday: None 19 Sales

Total Sales = 257

Submitted to OHFB, SweetFreeBooks, ReadCheaply and BookScream but haven't heard from them yet.  Also sent an email to Bknights asking about any Kboards specials for promos and again, haven't heard from them either.  Note: the OHFB was the Bronze 'Free' option, so I doubt my book will run, but we'll see.

I'll probably update the day after as many times I see sales come in the next morning OR I'll post an evening, before I go to bed update then correct it the next day if necessary.  I'm not trying to break the bank or line up an uber promo like the ones we all saw last month (I'm thinking Mr. Ploof's here, no race for any bestseller's lists LOL), but I'm hoping to have some modest success and that would mean a nice tail.  I'm going to quote another favorite author of mine here: "Please, let there be a tail."

Last side note, I just finished my third book, contemporary sci-fi that was supposed to be 50k-60k in length and the [illegitimate person] took me three weeks over and had me hitting 85k and totally screwing up my schedule.  It was supposed to be a fun submission for the Kindle Scout program, but now I'll have to get cracking on my main fantasy genre books that are related to this promo so we'll have to see if this messed up my three month release timing for this genre/strategy.  I hope not.

SM  8)

Writers' Cafe / Specific search term question
« on: May 24, 2015, 08:11:29 AM »
Hi everyone.

I have a specific question I'm stumped on and wondered if anyone knew how the search terms worked on Amazon.  Here is the deal:

When I went looking for another authors book called "Dragon Killer" I noticed I was on page 1 on the third spot.  I don't have the word "killer" anywhere in my keywords, my title or my description.  I don't think I used it in my book (best if I do a search to be sure, but I don't think so).

Then, when I do a kindle store search for the word "Dragon", my book shows up on page 21 even though I have that word in my title and my subtitle (but not in keywords as I was told this was not needed IF it is already in the title).

My also-boughts has/had a lot of other 'dragon' books there.

So my question is, what gives?  How in the heck am I showing up for Dragon Killer but not Dragon?  My book was ranked around 17k this morning (probably lower by the time anyone reads this) so other books doing worse are on higher pages.  I'm just wondering how this Amazon thing works.  Seems counter to logic for me.

SM   8)

Writers' Cafe / Free, 99 Cents or Full Price for your Series?
« on: May 18, 2015, 04:19:44 PM »
Hi everyone,

Maybe someone's done this before, but I wanted to take a snapshot of what authors are doing right now with their current books and why.  I noticed that the power of free has changed/waned (?) over time and there seems to be some debate in many separate threads about what works best.

I understand that any one tactic may or may not work for any individual author, but if you're willing to share I'd like to see your vote and if possible leave a post on why you set your series up the way you did.

Some data I'm looking for specifically is exposure, visibility, reviews, increased sales (including the rest of the books in the series, such as click/buy through rates if you have an idea), promotion pros and cons with your choice and will you only promote a 99 cent (or other heavily discounted book) when you get the 70% royalty or is 35% acceptable to you.  (Assumes you're doing the Kindle Countdown Deal etc.)

Thanks in advance and sorry if this has been done already.  I'm trying to gather some data for the second quarter of 2015.  If you're like me and you only have one book out (or no books etc.) you can still vote and/or post if you know what you are going to do in the near future and of course the reasons why.


Writers' Cafe / Salvador Mercer Book 2, Cover and Blurb Critique
« on: May 09, 2015, 03:55:40 PM »
Hi Everyone,

Getting ready for book two, which was really my first book I wrote last year before I wrote The Black Dragon.  Back for a blurb critique and cover comments.  Here is the blurb:

A thousand years ago, on the world of Claire-Agon, a war raged between men and dragons, destroying the great creatures and all its civilizations.

When his family is taken as slaves, Targon Terrel, is caught in the conflict between the sinister Kesh wizards, and his fellow countrymen of Ulatha.

Seeking to free his family, Targon finds himself battling the Kesh while encountering a desperate group of Ulathan refugees. With the help of an unexpected Druid of the Arnen, he must not only save his family, but also protect his innocent countrymen from certain slavery and death.

Finding his destiny as a Ranger of the Arnen doesn't prepare Targon for a personal betrayal. and he soon discovers the terrible truth between dragons and wizards, threatening to plunge Agon into darkness forever.

I'm including the cover which Cagnes here did for me.  I thought she did a great job of branding to keep the books/world similar.  Here is the cover draft:

Some quick background.  The Ranger Series (Ranger Rising is Book 1) is a chronological series set 1,000 years after the great war between men and dragons.  I had planned on writing all five books in the story arc first, but after seeing the Kindle Scout program I decided to write a separate book for that called The Black Dragon, which happened during the great war between men and dragons, 1,000 years before the Ranger Rising setting.

Ranger Rising was very rough and I just sat on the book since I finished it last October.  I liked my Black Dragon book so much, and found Kboards around the same time, so that I ended up publishing it out of order so to speak.  I'll decide how best to release them, but for now this thread will just focus on comments for the Ranger Rising cover and blurb.  If it sounds a tad similar to my first book that is by design as I tried to use the Libby method of blurb writing (using the 5 key points for the story).  The blurb is a bit rough and clunky in places, but that is what a blurb posting on Kboards is all about, otherwise I could spend all night spinning my wheels and getting nowhere with it.

Thanks again for everyone's time and feedback.

SM   8)


I am using my month 1 post to give a run down of my month 2 promo that just started.  Lord have mercy!  Here we go...


April 17, Friday-KBoards Discovery  Sales 1, Borrows 2
April 18, Saturday-BooksButterfly  Free 475
April 19, Sunday-None Free 259
April 20, Monday-BettyBookFreak  Sales 6
April 21, Tuesday-Booktastik & eBookLister Sales 2
April 22, Wednesday-eBookLister & Bknights Sales 10, Borrows 2
April 23, Thursday-Genre Pulse Sales 4, Borrows 1 Note: App only promo and bitly link indicated 9 clicks, 1 on the 23rd, 5 on the 24th and 3 on the 25th.
April 24, Friday-ENT Sales 49
April 25, Saturday-None Sales 10, Borrows 2



Pending/No News:


Book is at 99 cents except the weekend I ran a Select Free Promo with Booksbutterfly.  I was severely hampered by no reviews but now have 4 of them.  I tried to use the Stinnet Slope where possible but it is what it is.  I'll try to update each day this week.

SM   8)


(Old Post)

Hi Everyone,

This post should either inform you, if a very new author, or entertain you if you're an established author.  I hope to track the performance (or lack thereof) of my debut launch as well as make some comments on lessons learned over the last few months and specifically over the month of March, my first full month for my first published book.  I'm hoping this is appropriate, I just thought I'd share with those newer authors who are getting ready to go.  Let's jump right in:

March, 2015
Paid: 19
Borrows: 10
Free: 120 (2 day promotion)
Reviews: 0
Avg Rating: N/A
Ranking (est.): 65k to 330k (paid)

Mailing List: Start 0, Finish 0 (Mailchimp)
Website: (done but no traffic/unique data)
Facebook: Start 0, Finish 22 (Likes, mainly family and friends.  No, all are family and/or friends, see mailchimp results for confirmation)
Twitter: Start 0, Finish 9 (Followers, mainly other authors and/or book promoters)
Goodreads: Start 0, Finish 0

Promos:  None.  Well, almost none.  I promoted to my friends and family on Facebook and perhaps some free books were either downloaded or borrowed here on Kboards.  All in all, I think they may account for a dozen or two at the most.

Strategy: Publish book one.  Ready book two for publishing.  Write book three, then market.

Objectives: Increase visibility as an author/brand.  Learn the craft of not only writing, but also of self-publishing.

Category Ranking: #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Epic Failure > Needle in Amazon's Haystack

Summary: Actually the book is doing better than I thought it would especially when I dropped the price from $2.99 to $0.99 after about 10 days and after the 2 day free promo of which I have 3 days left for the first 3 months that I am in KDP Select. (Commas are needed in this long sentence but I'm brain dead right now).  I think the wonderful cover by our own Cagnes as well as help on my blurb, especially from Cbaku, has made it inviting enough to find a few readers.

The negatives of my first month are that I wasn't really ready to have it go live, although I sure in hell thought I was.  The book needed some loving on the inside and it's finally done with some help from a few professionals and a good friend.  Hopefully, I don't pay the price in the form of a poor review for a lack of editing/proofing.  Also I had no promotions set for the book's first month and no program to obtain reviews/reviewers.  I am currently fixing that situation but I think those are the main weaknesses that I have for my first month.

Lessons Learned: Write and farm out whatever you can (afford).  Unfortunately for me, I am on a serious budget.  It's too embarrassing to say how seriously low the budget is and it's the first time in decades that I've found myself in this situation but I decided no more waiting.  I've waited for over 30 years so I just took the plunge.

My entire goal is to be able to have my books finance themselves so that I can outsource or pay to do the following: Book Cover, Editing/Proofing, Marketing, Request for Reviews and Formatting.

If I could do it all over again I'd work on having Beta Readers, ARC Reader's and maybe have developed a relationship with some Fantasy genre bloggers but I understand that to do all that requires time and energy and I think it's alright to do what I did and really start at zero.

Finally, and I say this sincerely, the best and luckiest part of my experience has been finding Kboards.  What a freaking gold mine!  Words are insufficient to express my feelings so I will say no more.

Moving Forward:

AKA month 2.  Well I have already started to submit to various marketing sites and book bub even approached me with a multi-year, multi-book deal, oh wait, that was one of my dreams.  Never mind, I did however land two small promotions with no reviews.  That is very difficult since most sites require something.  I'll list them as I get them in case any other debut authors read this.  If you see your site here and get embarrassed let me know and I'll delete it.

Kboards Discovery Promo, $15, set for April 17th
Bettybookfreak Promo, Free, set for April 20th

If you can do any business with these sites please do as they are very friendly to new/debut authors.  I'll actually update if anyone asks me to.

I want to mention the free days using KDP Select.  I will post what happens to my ranking when they hit the 30 day mark and 'drop off' the ranking system, assuming Amazon uses a 30 day algorithm.  My two days earlier were March 7th and 8th, a Saturday/Sunday.  For the record I received 76 free downloads on Saturday,  39 on Sunday and go figure, 5 on Monday.  I think I may plan a free day every 3 weeks if it helps in the rankings.

Best part of my Amazon page: Seeing all those 'also-boughts'. There are several Fantasy boxed sets that are #1 ranked for their sub category and recently a few other 99 cent books are now there too.  It appears that some 99 cent bargain hunters are finding my book somehow.

Worst part of my Amazon page:  Seeing the 'bought after viewing this item'.  Really?  Darn, lost that sale!  Come back please, LOL.  Ah well, live and learn.  Also my book is formatting at a 6x9 at 326 pages on CreateSpace and the book is 77k words but in my book description it says its like 222 pages.  That seems low to me and not sure how a reader would interpret that.  I'm just commenting that it isn't accurate in my opinion.

I'll close my rather long post by saying this is intended to be like a snap shot of what happens when a debut author just throws that book up there.  To really see how to properly self-publish see any one of several other authors here who have launched book 1 to incredible results.  Sever and Emily come to mind to name just two.  If you're a noob and want me to update let me know otherwise I'll leave it be.  I have no idea if any of this would be useful to anyone since I really didn't launch, promote and succeed with my book the way most authors do.  I just thought someone should post about their experience of throwing their book up there with little to no resources.

Stay thirsty my friends!   8)

Salvador Mercer

Greetings everyone,

Fantasy Genre, Debut Author with a new book out titled "The Black Dragon", A Claire-Agon Dragon Book.  Here is my blurb from my Amazon page:

A thousand years ago, on the world of Claire-Agon, a war raged between men and dragons.

When an expedition of elite warriors goes missing in the fetid Kero Swamp, Olivia Moross, Priestess of Astor and daughter of the regional prefect, is caught in the conflict between her divine holy order, the sinister Kesh wizards, and the nobles of the ruling class of Ulatha.

Seeking the fate of the lost expedition, and struggling to learn what might exist in the desolate Kero Swamp, Olivia finds herself battling forces both human and inhuman. With the help of her father's nobles and an unexpected Ranger of the Arnen, she must not only save her town, but also remain true to her beliefs in the pursuit of the truth.

Olivia soon discovers that in the world of Claire-Agon, when dealing with a Black Dragon, sometimes dead is better.

Author's Note:
The Dragon Book Series are five books highlighting each of the five chromatic dragons found in the world of Claire-Agon. Each book can be read independently of each other and in no particular order however they take place during the same time frame and involve many of the same characters and locations of the Claire-Agon world.


You can see the cover in my signature line.  I want to make a special shout out to Cagnes for stepping forward and helping this aspiring OLD author with my feeble attempt at a cover.  I think she did a fantastic job and really helped me to make this story happen so Cagnes, Thank you!  Finally I'd like to thank the many Kboard members, especially those in the Writer's Cafe, for taking the time to share their experiences, successes, failures and overall opinions on the matter of publishing and crafting an author's work.

Warmest regards,
Salvador Mercer

Writers' Cafe / Will Create Space know I have an Ebook on the Zon?
« on: March 03, 2015, 08:32:44 PM »
Hi everyone,

I have a dumb question moment now so bear with me.  I just finished uploading my book on Create Space and the only task that shows it being incomplete is publishing an ebook version via KDP.  I didn't see anywhere on that particular page where I could inform CS that I already have my book out in ebook format.  When the book is ready to be listed will CS know to attach it to my Amazon ebook page or what?

I would like to assume that the answer is yes, but the big fat red circle with the white dash inside is bothering me and I'm simply too big of a noob to know better.

Any feedback on what I'm missing (if anything) would help me sleep better.  The CS format is in the 24 hour 'review' process as of tonight and the ebook went live over the weekend.



I have several questions in trying to get my first book published and was hoping to get some KBoard assistance if anyone doesn't mind chiming in. 

First let me start with Section 3 of the KDP "Step 1, Your Book"

It asks me to select TWO (2) categories and gives me the following choices under the Fiction > Fantasy tab:

Collections & Anthologies
Dark Fantasy

HOWEVER, in the actual Amazon Store the following categories are listed:

Kindle Store
Kindle eBooks
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Alternative History
Anthologies & Short Stories
Christian Fantasy
Coming of Age
Dark Fantasy
Fairy Tales
Metaphysical & Visionary
Myths & Legends
New Adult & College
Paranormal & Urban
Sword & Sorcery
TV, Movie, Video Game Adaptations

I am interested in "Coming of Age" and "Sword and Sorcery" for my two categories so what gives?  The "Juvenile Fiction" section doesn't have what I am looking for either.  Any one have any ideas what I am doing wrong?

Second I tried to resurrect an older thread on the royalty option rate where on "Step 2, Rights and Pricing" it shows Amazon.com at 35% despite being enrolled in the Select Program and pricing the book at $2.99.  I think it may give 70% for US purchases but it's not intuitive for a first timer like me to be told my estimated royalty will be 35% while every other Amazon.whatever below it is showing my book at the 70% rate.  I just need to know if I can click on OK for this section.

* Update: I think Darcy answered this by saying there are two lines in the Amazon.com USA store and I was only seeing the 35% line.  Feel free to confirm this if it is indeed the case.

Thirdly I was looking for something on formatting for the actual interior using the following:

Text size
Font type
TOC (if any)
Line spacing

Mainly just for the body of the EBOOK as I am pretty sure I can change size and type on my own kindle.  The Createspace formatting is not an issue despite seeming to be somewhat harder.  I'm looking for what is the default that everyone uses to upload the ebook especially regarding the items I listed above.

I think I got everything else covered.  I'm just pulling some of my hair out trying to work out these smaller details and at the rate I'm pulling I'll look like Sever pretty soon  8)

Thanks in advance!

Writers' Cafe / What a weekend to write! (Snow-Photos!)
« on: February 14, 2015, 11:05:05 AM »
Hi Everyone!

Thought I would share.  I am in Ohio just south of Cleveland and took these pics from my balcony window.  What a weekend to get some writing done eh?  How is the weather where you are at?  Post your pics and share!

and the woods next door:

WARMEST Regards (Pun intended!)  :P

Greetings everyone,

I am about to take the plunge and after reading Sever Bunny's post on lesson's he's learned, I am putting my cover, blurb and about me out there for critique.  I guess we'll get right to it.

First the cover: 2nd ATTEMPT


2nd TRY.  This I think is even worse but at least I can buy the rights to this photo on deviant art for $30.  I guess my question(s) would be as follows:

1) Should a photo/illustration cover the entire cover?  It seems from feedback I've received that having a secondary (stone/marble) background doesn't look good.
2) I need to be clearer on the text, what it means and how it is positioned.  Hope I got that right.

Now the blurb: 2nd DRAFT

A thousand years ago on the planet of Clair Agon, a war raged between men and dragons...

When an expedition of Duke Uthor's heroes goes missing in the fetid Kero Swamp, Olivia Moross, the daughter of the Regional Prefect, is thrust into the middle of the mystery behind their disappearance.  Following in her deceased Mother's footsteps, as a Priestess of Astor, she is caught in the machinations between her divine holy Order, the sinister magocratic Kesh wizards, and the Nobles of the ruling class of Ulatha.

Seeking the fate of the lost expedition as well as what, if anything, resides in the desolate Kero Swamp, Olivia finds herself battling forces, both human and inhuman, far beyond her control.  With the help of her father's nobles and an unexpected Ranger of the Arnen, Olivia must save not only her own town, but also remain true to her beliefs in the pursuit of the truth.

Olivia soon finds that in the world of Claire Agon, when dealing with a Black Dragon, sometimes... dead is better.

Finally the "About the Author text for Amazon: 2nd DRAFT

Salvador Mercer loves Epic Fantasy.  A huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, Mercer remembers reading the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when he was a young teenager way back in the 70's, (The 1970's not the 1870's) long before they were presented to the world on a big screen.

A fellow linguist, Mercer is fluent in Spanish and Russian as well as English and the occasional Elvish and Dwarvish when he is in a good mood and his wife swears he is fluent in the Dark Speech of Mordor when his nerves are shot from the baby (elf), toddler (hobbit) and teenager (orc) that inhabit his humble abode.

In a quest to leave his offspring a lasting legacy Salvador Mercer presents his works for consideration to those who love a good fantasy tale.  No other legacy without love and devotion put into it will endure and be remembered.

To that end Salvador Mercer published his debut novel, The Black Dragon, which is actually the second novel he wrote because the first novel that he wrote was banned by the Uruk-Hai and forbidden to be read in Mordor due to the pain that it caused its readers.

Thoughts? Again, 2nd DRAFT

I can say that without a doubt all the publishing prep was much more difficult than actually writing the book.  The learning curve is one of the steepest I've ever found.  I can already see areas that I want to tweak but my brain is mush and has shut down after a solid week prepping/formatting and creating the cover.

Whew!  Please send your invoices for your time in reviewing this and posting (if you choose to do so) to Sever Bunny at the School of the Arcane for Love Struck Teenagers.   ;D

Thanks for your time everyone!

PS: I shouldn't make my pooh look better by comparing it to crap but here was my first attempt at a cover for this book:

OMG!  What was I drinking when I did that?!?

(Are many ! and ? ok when posting on a BB?  Obviously not in a book...)

Writers' Cafe / Debut Author Launch Strategy; What would you do?
« on: January 23, 2015, 12:02:04 PM »
Greetings everyone!

Here is the set up.  I am a soon to be debut author with my first book already written and finished last October but in the revision/editing process and a second book in a different series but the same world that should be completed by the end of January.  My stats then:

Genre: Fantasy
Books: 2 Book strategy
Experience:  Whatever lies lower on the 'newbie prawn' food chain classification.
Knowledge of Publishing: Ditto, fairly clueless but learning fast (I am da sponge!)
Finances:  Bankrupt (Not in the legal sense of the word but I bring a can of soup to work for lunch and ride da bus each day to save $)

Current Strategy (that I am seriously rethinking!):

Publish Book 1 of 5 in a five series long epic fantasy arc set in one specific world.  Publish on Amazon exclusively using KU for 90 days till I can get book 2 in the SAME series completed then publish book 2 in this series and/or reevaluate KU usage of both books.

Submit "Book Black" of my five book "Dragon Highlight" series that are five stand alone novels set in the SAME world 1,000 years earlier highlighting a different hero (My first is a heroine) and a specific dragon (5 main evil dragons for those in my genre, Black, White, Blue, Green and Red)  Books can be read in any order.

WHY?  I wanted to have something out there in KU for exposure while I "build my platform" (which a month ago I thought I had to take a trip to Home Depot and do some carpentry work outside)  Secondly I wanted to submit "A" book that could languish in the KINDLE SCOUT PROGRAM for up to six months that was part of my 'world' but not necessary to be read in any order.  I was going to use the KSP as sort of a sounding board to see what (if any) skills I may have with the KSP team but of course I didn't think it a good idea to have it be book 1 of any series after seeing how long their first picks (November and December) have languished on the "In Production Now" category and their TOS states they have up to six months to publish the submission!

So after reading so many posts here, and admittedly not understanding everything being discussed, I thought I'd throw myself out there for the wolves or healers of the world to either rip me apart or reinforce my ingenious though ignorant strategy.

IF YOU WERE ME... What would you do with these two books?  I am looking for a very specific strategy with regards to getting them out there and moving on to finish my total set of books/stories (3 sets of 5 each, 15 planned books over the next few years).

Try not to sever any major arteries  ;D


Hello everyone,

I have a writer's question from a newbie (prawn here I guess).  I often times use a dialog tag followed by an action. 

Example: "Good morning," Olivia said smiling."

My question is as writers are we supposed to put a comma between said and smiling to separate the dialog tag from the action?  I hate using so many commas but I read somewhere it was supposed to be used but I write without it and I've seen others not use it.  Is it a 'sin' to not use it, a breach of protocol or just a guideline?

Any help would be appreciated.

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