More interesting facts, and this time about sales. Since starting at the turn of the year with self-publishing I have had varying success with "sales". Publishing to Amazon seemed a huge step originally and so I first published via Smashwords. Hey, you got distributed to all those other channels so it had to be better, no? Well, guess what, the answer is NO. Right now, and only from my personal experience, the answer is that the potential market via Amazon is an order of magnitude better than anything else. Whether it's due to already ingrained purchasing habits, the kindle or ease of navegation, I don't know. All I do know is that the difference has been huge up until now.
That was Lesson One. The time it takes for some form of recognition is Lesson Two and I'm still working on that. Seven months on and I have just had my first Kobo Sales. In terms of ranking as a distribution channel I have the following list:
1. Amazon 2. Smashwords 3. Sony 4. Barnes and Noble 5. Apple (this is skewed as they do not show FREE sales and I had two books in the FREE top 100 this month). 6. Kobo 7. The rest ( and here I mean Diesel)
As I say interesting. The trend is still positive which I count as a good thing. Two more books to be published before year end is my target, and I am still on track...honest!
First Class State Room Prelate’s Light Unknown Location Fold Space
“You need to read this,” commented Shanna, throwing a rolled and partially chewed parchment in front of him, “there are things within in which concern you.”
“Cost-cutting?” grumbled Cornelius, as he put down his drink and indicated the high-tech machinery around him.
“This is a priceless relic ….” interrupted the young woman, but was angrily silenced by Shanna.
Butt grinned, feeling a little better at the effect his words had. Not malicious by nature, rather by training and at least partially vocation, Cornelius was apt to provoke instead of questioning. Unconscious responses could be extremely enlightening, but were always entertaining. Reaching for the scrap of paper, he unrolled it, using his brandy glass to weigh down one end, which again brought an outraged gasp. His little game was spoilt just a little, when he had to move the glass and turn the parchment the right way up. In order to drown out the tittering from Shanna, he began to read…
“…and then there will come to pass the birth of a mighty hero, steel-thewed and pure of heart, he will hearken to the call of the righteous. Tall, clean-limbed, of the greatest line of Taartun heroes, will he be. When the Egg, the Hero and the Blade are united, will our foes tremble.
Shattered earth and broken bones will litter the Tower. The Beast will be called forth at last, to do battle with the Taartun Hero and the …”
“Something missing?” asked Butt sarcastically, waving the parchment in the air.
“Yes!” snapped the young woman, “At least half the Mighty Hero!”
“Clari!” reprimanded Shanna, even whilst she hid her mirth, “He was rightfully chosen, there can be no doubt!”
“I meant,” stated Cornelius, as he reappropriated his drink and winked outrageously at Clari, “the other half of the parchment?”
“Ah...yes...” replied Shanna, patting her pockets, “I seem to have mislaid it, but I’m sure I’ll remember where I left it before you leave.”
“Leave?” queried Cornelius, “Not likely. I like it here.”
“Did I say anything about giving you a choice?” asked Shanna, as the muffled report of a pistol spat twice.
“No…” responded Cornelius, as the drink slipped out of his hand, in time with his hold on consciousness, “…actually…you didn’t…”
“Clari, put the weapon down!” snapped Shanna, as she spoke into her communications device, “he has been chosen.”
“As what?” asked Clari, her hostility apparent, “the favourite butt of everyone’s joke? Give me a break, learned one, which part of the prophecy does he actually fulfil? Steel-thewed, clean of limb, pure of heart, t…?”
“Of the Greatest Taartun line…”
“Do not interrupt me again, girl!” Shanna warned her, “You heard me, and that!”, she snarled, pointing at the enraged creature, which stood on Cornelius’ chest, its tail lashing from side to side. “There is not a single way to fake the choice, She cannot be mistaken!”
“But ...” protested Clari.
“Exactly ...” replied Shanna, waving the Guards,and the net slung between them, forward, “Although you, my dear, are the least of my problems. I’m worried about the Blade, the last I heard, he was in an even worse state than this one, if that’s at all possible.”
Muttering to herself, the old hag rose to her full height and swung the cane over her shoulder. Whistled notes floated back towards the still surprised Clari, as Shanna sauntered after her unconscious charge.
Prison Complex Alpha Luther
“It seems to be working, Sir,” the Inspector glanced at his assistant and the pile of papers in his hands.
“What would that be then?” he asked, “Have you some news?”
“I think I have,” replied the assistant , “true to his nature, our subject made the first contact. The Taartuns have him and things appear to be progressing nicely.”
“Speak plainly boy!” snapped the Inspector, “How many times must I remind you?”
“Our agent on board the liner indicates that Butt has disappeared, as have a number of influential passengers. The ship’s crew are not asking too many questions, they are in fact glad to see the back of him.
They dropped out of Fold Space temporarily to carry out an unexpected repair and the Taartuns demanded to leave the liner. Strangely enough one of their craft was nearby and they disembarked, taking all of their belongings with them.”
“And now?” queried the Inspector, “Where are they?”
“On their way, we believe to their final destination,” grinned the assistant.
“Oh, good,” smiled the Inspector, “send the pre-arranged message, then.”
The assistant nodded in agreement and left the Inspector alone. Time would tell whether Butt was the right person for the job or not. It did not do to have only one option though, and the call would bring just the right type of balance. He relaxed in his chair, folded his hands across his stomach and closed his eyes. He had time.
He was somewhere dark, stale and rancid. Apparently his sojourn as the Mighty Hero had been short-lived, as even he could not see anyone treating their chosen one this way. Movement by his face and the familiar rubbing of scales against his cheek reassured him that he was not alone. At least there was one thing loyal to him in this universe, and that for Cornelius Butt was a first.
Voices outside prompted his survival response and he tried to call out, but something had been pushed into his mouth, deadening any sound. All movement was practically impossible, as he was bound hand and foot and mentally he had demoted himself from Hero to Death Row occupant in one swift breath. He must be inside a crate, because he felt himself lifted, the screech of metal against metal, and the rasp of ropes indicative of such movement. With a thud, his prison was dropped and landed on something, a transporter no doubt, and the sensation of travel began again.
Twisting, he saw the twin red orbs of his favourite creature next to him, if only the thing could talk, or was endowed with some supernatural skill, then at least he could pass the time, or even escape. Instead, he resigned himself to whatever fate was to come, the comforting presence of at least some light, helping to calm him. Cornelius was not fatalistic, he knew that he always got one chance; he just had to be ready for when it smacked him right between the eyes.
As more people visit the site, join up on networked blogs or add themselves to the eMail list, analysis of verious blog statistics has some meaning. In fact the most interesting, for me anyway, is where various traffic comes from.
To give you all an idea, and if we talk about ALL visits since the blog was started, visitor country ranking is a follows:
1. United States 2. Spain 3. UK 4. Holland 5. Russia 6. Germany 7. Iran 8. Canada 9. Brazil 10. Poland
If we just look at this week then we have:
1. United States 2. Germany 3. Malaysia 4. Bielorussia 5. Spain 6. UK 7. India
These countries are those with significant visits, and it's good to see such a big spread geographically. Mind you, I must admit that I was surprised at some of the new entries in the charts. More to follow as I learn how to find the information.
With A Cold Dish, I intended to draw together three plot lines. Beginning with SALIGIA, carrying on through SDII, III and IV and ultimately jumping a couple of generations to link with Urion’s Belt. Unfortunately, one of the things I have realised as I finish ACD is that it provides a MAJOR spoiler for SDIV, and we just can’t have that now, can we?
Therefore, publication/release timing will have to be altered and I will just have to finish SDIV earlier. My apologies to those of you have had a taster of ACD and are waiting to see how it turns out. The good thing is that it is all but complete, just needing a tweak and a final edit. The bad thing is that it will be after the release of SDIV before you can see the new chapters.
I will try and get SDIV finished as soon as possible, and once it is near, begin posting a serialised sample version of ACD. In the meantime, I will continue posting up to Chapter Eight of SDIV on this blog in preparation of its publication.
Returning to his previous position, his hands now clean and dry, Cornelius stared as the old woman’s skin began to change colour, the wrinkles disappeared as her neck elongated, her mouth lengthening into a snout and the eyes no longer hiding their intense green colour. Her flesh throbbed, light and sound combining, as with each deepening of shade, the initial purring became a rumble and then a growl.
The creature was no longer slumbering, but had moved to Butt’s shoulder, its red orbs whirling in tandem with the primordial beat emanating from the once-hag. Squinting at the apparition, Cornelius staggered to the bar and poured himself another drink; this was all getting just a little over the top for him. Then, when the stentorian voice boomed forth, he perched himself on the table’s edge and peered defiantly into one blazing eye.
“Witness. Listen. Silence. Mission.”
Butt snorted his laughter at what he saw as the ridiculousness of the situation, yet the now reptilian creature, its clothes sloughing off it, like some dead skin, hissed in insistence, and Cornelius wiggled his fingers in some kind of acceptance, before resting his elbow on his crossed knees. His studious pose was less than convincing, as his joint slipped free, causing him to slop brandy on his clothes.
“Shanna talks, and fools listen,” gurgled the voice, “or at least would be wise to do so.”
Realising that he could not maintain his pretence of sobriety, Cornelius had retired to his comfortable chair, and fighting off the onset of sleep, tried to concentrate, as whatever the woman had become continued. Her voice took on a sing-song quality, as though reciting a hard-learned, yet well-worn story and as she wove her strange spell, Cornelius almost unknowingly listened.
“From beyond the pale, cold depths of space, the dark forbidding emptiness and the explosive collisions of stars, comes death. It has waited long, schemed its cruel and heartless revenge, and even now steps onto the edge of our conscious knowledge. All should tremble, none will be spared, and yet, there still is hope. This chance, this impossibility, has a name and, a purpose.”
Head nodding on his chest, consciousness ebbing, Cornelius drifted into a strange twilight world, the old woman’s words painting a picture, which gradually shaped itself to existence. By his side, the little winged creature watched him avidly.
…He was standing on a strangely undulating plain, the wind swirling and whorling the waist-high grass. Ahead, far in the distance he saw a tall, fluted tower which seemed to spear defiantly into the sky. It was black, not the grey, reflective black of silken cloth, but the dead black of obsidian, of a tomb, of death itself. Tearing his glance away, he plodded forward, unable to stop, an almost magnetic force drawing him onwards.
Then, the top part of the tower uncoiled, spread huge wings and smote the sun-kissed clouds. Each beat of those wings, tore through the white cotton-like formations, destroying them as they drove the beast onwards. A huge maw opened and green fire lanced forth, followed by an earth-shaking scream of anger. Deep inside, Cornelius cringed, he knew that it came for him.
Looking down, he saw his clothing, the strange checked patterns mirroring those of the Clansmen, a sword held in one hand, and a rounded shield in the other. His body tall and lithe, muscles thrilling to the impending battle. As the horrible apparition came closer, a weight pressed down on him, forcing him to his knees, filling him with terror. The heroic warrior that was he cowered in fear and waited to die.
Butt was angry; this was not him, this beautified representative of a warrior class. He ate these idiots for breakfast, he spat on their corpses and no over-grown lizard was going to spoil his party. Reality was the suite of a cruise liner, a glass of brandy, soft sheets and a leggy brunette. Most he had, but he was short one beauty and that just wouldn’t do. Cursing and spitting, Butt tore his way forth in a shower of blood and bone. He drew his knives, spat in derision and crouched ready to fight. A tail was wrapped round his neck, a small screaming voice rose in communion with his defiance and Cornelius laughed…
Shanna watched him struggle, saw his indomitable spirit and his sheer bloody-mindedness, and smiled. Cornelius would do, he was anything if conventional, but she had a feeling that he was everything they needed and more. Slowly, she relaxed, her features returning to that of the wizened hag. When he woke, she would tell him of the prophecy, the significance of his vision and what he must do. The only worry that she had, was how to convince him that he was the one who had to carry out this mission. After a moment’s pause, she giggled almost girlishly and shouting at the top of her voice, summoned her suited assistant. Shanna had the perfect solution, one that would have Cornelius falling over himself to comply and then nothing would stand in her way.
Clopping his tongue against the roof of his mouth, and running its fur-lined extremity over painfully sensitive teeth, Cornelius struggled awake. Glue seemed to coat his eyes, sticking recalcitrant lids together, and it took a supreme effort to open them even a crack. Spasmodic focussing brought light and shadow, which suddenly coalesced into a dream-like vision. An abundant cleavage lay but a small distance from his blinking eyes and unconsciously Cornelius’ groping hands reached out.
Reality arrived with a pleasant surprise and a tremendous blow, which rocked his head backwards just as his questing fingers touched bare flesh. Once again blackness enveloped him as a mocking laugh pealed out.
It took a little while for Butt to struggle forth into the light again, and this time the vision awaiting him was different, less welcomed. Gingerly he peeked forth and screamed in repugnance, a wrinkled, saliva flecked chin loomed into his vision, like a senile turtle poking forth.
Cackling with glee, Shanna watched the man wrench himself backwards, his constant passenger protesting shrilly. By her side, a well-endowed young woman smirked complacently.
“That,” spat Butt, regaining his composure and his chair, “was uncalled for...”
“Oh, I don’t know, “replied Shanna, “it gave me a kick”
“Those, “grumbled Cornelius, “are for free...”
Shanna sucked at her teeth, regarding Butt with a less than approving expression and then she shrugged, as though her feelings were unimportant.
“I would,” she said, “introduce you to my niece, but as you are already on intimate terms, I will gloss over the formalities.”
It took a moment for Butt’s foggy mind to place the good-looking young woman, but as his eyes lingered on the top of her bulging blouse, his jaw began to ache in sympathetic resonance. No words passed his lips, rather a grim smile and a respectful nod of his head; the moment deserved no comment, only a response. That would come in his own time.
“Would you like to know, what the fates have in store for you?” asked Shanna, with a strangely respectful inflection in her voice.
“Just get on with it!” muttered Cornelius, “Your niece and I need to reconcile our differences; this cruise won’t last forever!”
Shanna heard the curse by her side, watched the doubt and confusion form in the red-rimmed eyes before her and, not for the first time, questioned Cornelius’ involvement.
AS promised, here is the notice of SALIGIA's publication on Amazon. There will be a later publication run on Smashwords later this week.
Thanks once again to those who have helped, listened and read. Opinions are always good and help to mould the finished product. A special thanks to my friend Manolo Guerrero who kindly gave me copies of some of his work a couple of years ago in Huelva, and permission to use them in future cover art. Gracias Manolo otra vez.
First Class State Room Prelate’s Light Unknown Location Fold Space
Cornelius watched her as she swirled the alcohol round in the glass, sniffing at it, sticking her tongue in, sipping then spitting it back, before she suddenly gulped the liquid down. Her neck pulsed curiously, as the liquid disappeared, swelling and turning a strange shade of red, in a most disconcerting fashion. As she finished and moved to place her glass back on the table, she glanced briefly at him over the rim. A strange clear membrane flicked across her eyes, and for just a moment Cornelius would have sworn that they blazed, with an intense green light.
The brandy burned in his throat, causing coughs to wrack his body and tears to stream from his eyes. When he was composed again, he wiped his eyes and looked up. The old woman sat relaxed, a full glass in her hand.
“How ...?” began Cornelius, but she ignored him, hawking once deep in her throat and casting around for somewhere to spit. Not finding anywhere convenient, she grimaced, swallowed and then gulped down some more alcohol.
She laughed at the disgusted look on his face and leaned forward, staring intently at the creature wrapped around Cornelius’ neck, before speaking.
“So,” she crooned, “it has at last begun.”
“That’s nice to know,” quipped Butt, sipping at his drink and waiting for her reaction.
“Fool!” she hissed, “Even now, you have no idea what you have done, have you?” She did not wait for his answer, but continued on, “The Clans have been waiting generations for her birth, they’ve robbed and murdered solely to position themselves as the prophesised ones. A princess was groomed in all their foul skills and traditions, and what happens?”
Now she gave reign to her laughter, gasping for breath, “Cor...nelius Butt ...that’s ...what.”
He really did not see the reason for her seemingly incontrollable humour, after all his reputation preceded him; he had yet to totally fail a mission.
“No ... don’t ...speak,” she said, then gaining some semblance of control, “it’s just that sometimes the irony of it all is too much to bear. What do you know of the Taartuns?”
“The who?” asked Butt, answering her question in full.
“Your new comrades,” she said, indicating the door, “and the creature’s adoring followers.”
Grunting in response, Butt took another swig and the woman continued, “There is, as I have mentioned, a prophecy concerning the creature. A doom-laden tragedy waiting to happen for some and immortality for one other. Would you like to hear about it?”
“Not particularly,” replied Butt, rising from his seat and walking towards the bathroom in an attempt to annoy the hag. She had yet to introduce herself and Cornelius was getting a little bit tired of her. “I’ve got my little cruise to finish and then we’ll see what happens,” he said as he finished his pressing chore.