Sunday, June 10, 2012

This Time Next Year, We'll be Millionaires with Keira Telford

SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain)
by Keira Michelle Telford

Genre: Science fiction
Format: 40,000 word novella, available as an e-Book (Amazon Kindle) and in paperback.

Publisher: Venatic Press 
Release Date: Nov 14th 2011


Dishonorably discharged from the Hunter Division and banished for crimes she did not commit, Silver struggles to come to terms with her new prison-like surroundings: a segregated area of the city called the Fringe District, populated by murderers, thieves and rapists.

Starving, and desperate for money, she reluctantly accepts the Police Division's invitation to enroll in a covert Bounty Hunter program: an initiative devised to infiltrate the criminal underworld of the Fringers, and to force the very worst warrant dodging law-breakers to meet their fate—death.

Unfortunately, Silver doesn't realize that the Police Division is about to up the ante. They need more than little snippets of information and arrests—they need someone to pull the trigger.

They need an executioner.

This Time Next Year, We’ll Be Millionaires

Bonus points for anyone who can name the television character who had that catchphrase. For those who don’t know, Del Trotter (Only Fools & Horses) was cockney market trader with big dreams. He longed for a way out of the crummy tower-block flat he shared with his brother, Rodney, and their granddad. He thought of himself as an entrepreneur with world class ideas, and was desperately trying to show the world what he had to offer.

For me, the self-pressed eBook marketplace is becoming just like the jam-packed London market that was home to Trotter’s Independent Traders, and we’re all Del Boys. Each one of us with a book (or even two, or three) to flog has a spot in the virtual marketplace of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, or wherever else. We’ve pitched our tents, and now we’re standing on the street corners trying to drive people toward them. The only trouble is: there are so many others with tents just like ours, and customers have no hope of ever being able to pick us out of a crowd.

Struggling to compete, we lower our prices. If we undercut the competition, we’ll surely stand out. Right? Well, maybe. Three of my books are currently only 99c on Amazon, but I still don’t appear to be rubbing shoulders with Amanda Hocking quite yet. Besides, I can’t compete with free, and that’s just what KDP Select offers. For 5 days out of the 90 day enrollment, authors are allowed to give their book away for nothing.

Is that what we’re really worth? Is that what it’s come to? I’ll admit, I tried it. (Like Del Boy, I’ll try just about anything once). Out of the 1,000 or so free downloads I got on my promo days, I got one review and a handful of extra sales on my other titles. Was it worth it? Meh. I know people have had much greater successes than mine, but with the sudden prevalence of these free titles on Amazon, I expect that the numbers will slowly begin to decline across the board.

Will I try it again? Doubtful. If I have to constantly bare my all for free just to scrape in some tip money, I’m selling myself short. I think self-pressed authors need to be wary of the lure of high download figures and a temporary leap to the top of the listings in their category. I got to the top of the science fiction category on my promo days, but I dread to think where my ranking is now; I’ve stopped looking. I want to get there again, but I want to get there because people are actually reading my work, not just snatching it up because it’s free. And in the meantime, I’m far happier where I am, knowing that each and every download I get is someone who actually wants to give my work a shot. That’s much more rewarding.

Now, before you start to think this post is just a rag on KDP Select and the despair of self-pressing, I’ll lighten things up. While I don’t think that we should be yelling at the top of our lungs in the Amazon MOA forums, trying to get people to pay attention to us, I do agree that we need to be proactive.

Step one: get a website. If you don’t know how to build it yourself using HTML, that’s no big deal. You don’t have to be technically savvy to create a great looking site these days. You can use a host like Weebly, which offers everything from HTML to drag-and-drop templates.

Step two: start building a network. Get Twitter, and tweet every day if you can. Find other authors in your genre and follow them. Start a Facebook page for your books, and ‘like’ other pages that talk about your genre. Sign up to Goodreads, and put your books up there. Get a Shelfari account. Get your book(s) listed on web directories. Make yourself as visible as possible.

Step three: seek out legitimate reviewers. Find sites and blogs that specialize in your genre, and ask them if they’d like to read your book and post a review on their site, and wherever the book is listed for sale. This takes time, and you’ll have to be patient, but it’ll be worth it for the honest reviews of your work.

Step four: make a book trailer. Mine’s not a great example of this; it’s too long. I got carried away and it ended up looking more like a movie trailer. Try to keep it under a minute. Thirty seconds if you can. I made mine before I even knew that book trailers were something that people did, and I should’ve educated myself better first.

In any case, the aim here is to build up your web presence. The easier it is to find you on the web, the more trustworthy you appear to potential customers. You need to establish yourself as a writer, and promote yourself just as much as (if not more than) you promote your work. Don’t forget that YOU are the face of your brand. So don’t give yourself away for nothing: sell yourself.

And maybe this time next year, we’ll all be millionaires.


Born and raised in Britain, Keira moved to British Columbia, Canada in 2006. She now shares a townhouse on the west coast with her husband and 9 guinea pigs, yes 9 guinea pigs.

Author of the post-apocalyptic romance novels called Silver.

The world might end, but love endures.

Excerpt One

Second Reclamation Territory
Amaranthe, 2342 CE
One Month Ago
It’s her job to kill monsters.
Chimera are the abhorrent result of an Old World catastrophe, and Silver is a trained Hunter. In the final months of the Second Reclamation, she kicks down the door into a large, crumbling room in some lost building in a forgotten corner of the Out District. Having been recently—and abruptly—re-designated as part of the Second Reclamation Territory, this area of abandoned Old World land represents a significant chunk of the unreclaimed city. Once taken back into human control, it will become an add-on to the expansion of the cramped and over-populated Sentinel District.
Silver’s sweep of this building is part of a final push to wipe out any stragglers left hiding in the shadows of the city’s dereliction, so that the rebuild can commence. With no working power supply, the room she finds herself in is dark, and it reeks of putrefaction.
Stepping confidently inside, her steel-toed Hunter Division boots leave temporary imprints in the puddles left behind from the leaking roof. She readies her PP-2000, a powerful submachine gun designed for close quarters combat. It’s a standard issue, basic weapon of survival for the Hunter Division.
The sound of her entrance has stirred a pack of starving Chimera from sleep, and she doesn’t hesitate to expend an entire magazine of bullets into their mutated flesh.
And, then … she waits.
One more step, then two.
Her boots now leave imprints in Chimeran blood as she makes her way deeper into the room, a strange noise in the far corner quickly drawing her attention.
No chance to explore it.
Headset crackles.
Her heart rate leaps from a sedate eighty to an adrenalin fueled one-oh-five in less than a second. The voice on the other end of the static is fellow Hunter, Rachel ‘Red’ Jenkins.
“Silver, what’s your status?” Red’s sultry voice echoes in the hollow shell of the room.
Silver ignores her, and keeps her eyes focused on a shape moving in the shadows. She flicks on her pocket flashlight and spills the beam over a bundle of ivory skin crouched against the wall.
More crackles.
“Silver? Status report? I heard shots fired,” Red persists.
Silver crouches down, resting on her heels in front of the vulnerable bundle—a naked woman.


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