Saturday, December 24, 2016

How to Leverage Kindle Unlimited for Marketing Your Books

How to Leverage Kindle Unlimited for Marketing Your Books

How to Leverage Kindle Unlimited for Marketing Your Books
By Amy Harrop

Whether you're an experienced author already racking up sales and new readership, or you're just dipping your toes into the vast waters of the self-publishing industry, the thought of making your books available through Kindle Unlimited (KU) has no doubt crossed your mind.

The real questions is, should you or shouldn't you?

Is there a clear advantage for you, the author, in using this service? Because let's be honest, your main goals are to gain exposure for your work and make a living while doing it.

With this in mind, let's discuss how you can market your books effectively by leveraging the Kindle Unlimited platform, along with the pros and cons of using KU vs a wider distribution strategy.

What is Kindle Unlimited?

If you don't already know, Kindle Unlimited is a subscription-based service offered by Amazon that allows readers (Prime and otherwise) to access their entire inventory of KU books for one low monthly fee.

At under $10 a month, it's easy to see why Kindle Unlimited has gained a reputation as the "Netflix" of books!

But, wait a minute... $10 a month for unlimited access to all of their books!? If you're wondering who makes money with this arrangement other than Amazon, you'd be in good company.

Authors the world over have been scratching their heads and tip-toeing around signing up for Kindle Unlimited because they're not sure about its long-term benefits or potential drawbacks.

The Pros and Cons of Using KU vs. Using Wider Distribution

There are several pros and cons that go along with using KU vs. wider distribution options, or doing the exact opposite.


  • It enhances the reach of your books - Amazon has at least fifty percent market share in the US and UK when it comes to digital book sales. That's VERY significant. Their best-selling Kindle e-readers, tablets and apps, as well as Amazon's amazing ecommerce platform and knack for turning browsers into buyers are what drive this phenomenon. And it's increasing every year.

The bottom line? Having your books featured on Amazon increases the likelihood that they will be found and read by a lot of people.

  • You gain access to Amazon's ecommerce tools - Amazon's team is masterful at getting consumers to buy, and it's no different when they market digital books.

Through their KU program, you gain access to unique promotional tools like their Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotion, which both help to boost your readership and launch your new titles to success.

  • You earn royalties for ever page read - Unlike traditional books sales where a customer buys your book and you get a one-off payment, with KU authors are paid a small royalty for every page read from each book.

Yes, you probably won't make millions, but every penny does add up.


  • Exclusivity of your book title with KU - You read right. If you decide to promote a book using Kindle Unlimited, you cannot promote that title anywhere else.

You're title is bound to Amazon's KU for 90 day spans, after which, you have the option to renew your contract.

  • Potentially low earnings - Unless you're in the top percentile of book publishers in the Kindle Unlimited program, you shouldn't expect to get hefty royalty checks.

The vast majority of self-published authors find that the potential for earnings per book are much higher on other platforms when compared to KU.

There seems to be more to love about the program than there is to hate it.

But is it wise to put all of your eggs in one basket and have titles exclusive to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited? Is there a point to even signing up if the chance of earning significant royalties are slim?

The Answer: Yes and No, depending on your marketing strategy.

How to Use KU to Sell More Books

We already mentioned that Amazon has the lion's share of the digital book market, but something that you may not know is that their KY customers are no ordinary readers.

The average person who signs up for a subscription service like Kindle Unlimited is best described using one word: Voracious!

Think about it.

Who else would sign up for an unlimited supply of books each and every month? Someone who can't get enough of the written word and who has the potential to turn into a very loyal reader, if given a good reason!

Marketing experts the world over have used the "free offer" angle to hook new users into their products and services for decades. Some examples are, free samples given away at wholesale clubs, free trials of software and free content given away to get new subscribers for email lists.

It's so surprise that this strategy works amazingly well for selling eBooks too, especially if you're newer to the game and haven't made a name for yourself among readers.

If you view Kindle Unlimited as a springboard for launching your self-publishing career it can be a real asset. The key is not to make all of your books available there, but only a few of your absolute best.

And why your best work?

Because, if a reader comes across one of your books you want them to be so excited, spellbound and addicted that they have no choice but to go out and buy additional titles if they want more. How's that for encouragement?

Even a single exceptionally written and presented book offered on the KU platform has the ability to move you from completely unknown to prominent among your target audience, literally overnight.

But what if you're an established self-publisher who already has a significant following?

If you're already well-known and enjoying lucrative digital books sales, Kindle Unlimited may not be an essential aspect to growing your readership (although it can't hurt).

On the other hand, by not publishing at least one title on the platform, you may be missing out on significant marketing potential (don't worry, you can always use a pen name).

Lindsay Buroker, one author earning a full-time income for her work, attributes anywhere from 85-90% of her income to utilizing the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Kindle Unlimited platforms. In contrast, her other book titles spread across seven alternative platforms collectively bring in the remaining 10-15%.

In her case, the math is undeniable.

But the only way to know how it would work for you is to choose some titles, register for your own Amazon KU account and see what happens.

The Perils of Avoiding Wider Distribution

No matter how you feel about Amazon, the fact is that they are one of the major book distributors worldwide. While it may be a grave mistake to leave them out of your plans for marketing and distributing self-published titles, total exclusivity could be equally troublesome.

While it can be very effective, as with most things, there is one caveat to using Kindle Unlimited exclusively for marketing your brand.

While Amazon does have the majority of readers, you are missing out on the millions of readers on other platforms such as Apple's iBookstore, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and more.

For that reason alone, it is never recommended to use any single distribution and promotion strategy. Instead, focus on using KU to promote some of your best books to gain the exposure and new readership that only Amazon can offer and put the rest of your books up for sale on any platform and in any format that will produce sales and profits for your work.

While Kindle Unlimited isn't a good fit for every author, it is worth investigating as part of a multi-strategy book marketing plan.

Check out my blog for more publishing tips. Amy Harrop Blog

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Michael Eves Shaffer - The IAN Interview

Michael Eves Shaffer was born on April 1st at one in the morning. Whether the birthday shaped him or he chose that date to represent his life, only the divine really knows. His tastes have always been extremely eclectic as well as his career paths. From his first job as a dishwasher, he went into the Army to become a turbine engine mechanic. After four years, he got out and joined the Army Reserve Military Police. Which immediately deployed for Desert Storm. Returning home, he worked as a bookkeeper for an accounting firm. But adventure still interested him, so rejoined the Army to become a Calvary Scout. Which meant his job was to go behind enemy lines to observe what they were doing. While stationed in Baumholder, Germany, as part of the 4/12 Infantry Brigade, he was deployed to Bosnia. After his time there, he moved fully into civilian life, doing a number of different things before he settled into software engineering.

Currently lives in Youngstown, Ohio, with three cats (Scooter, Tanjay, and Isbit) and an Anatolian Shephard (Fafhrd). He had always been into fantasy and science fiction, a very avid reader since before he got into school. In October of 2014 he finally decided to put together the pieces and parts that had been running through his head. In April of 2015, he published his first book, Firing of the Crucible. His second book followed in June of the 2016, Forging of the Blade. Part of the delay was he had decided that he wanted to add illustrations. After going through a number of artists who said they wanted to be part of the project, he tried his hand at art. Forging shows his first attempts and a month after the released Forging, he re-released Firing with added artwork. 

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

M. Shaffer: My latest book is Forging of the Blade.  It’s the second book of the Phoenix Empire series.  In the first book Firing of the Crucible, Earth was seeded with the Awakening Spores and the first 13 Omegas were retrieved.  In Forging of the Blade, they begin their training with their new Aether abilities and work on bringing up as many Sigmas and Omegas as they can.  Not to mention figuring out what place the Terran’s will have in the Dvane Empire once the war is won.

In the book, the reader will be exposed to more of the Dvane language, and not just some of the curse words.  The Dvane language is actually based on a real language:  Enochian. 

IAN: Is Forging of the Blade published in print, e-book or both?

M. Shaffer: It is available in both and also Kindle Unlimited.

IAN: Where can we go to buy Forging of the Blade?

M. Shaffer: Available at Amazon

IAN: What inspired you to write Forging of the Blade?

M. Shaffer: The two most powerful words in any language:  What if.  What if almost all the religions and scientists had been right?  What if there was a common thread between all the stories dating back to before we started recording them?  And what if that thread was alien influence?  What sort of influence would it be?  We are an extremely war-like race.  Even among the different species of animals on earth.  Why are we so different than them?  One would think with intelligence we would be more peaceful.  What if the alien race that created us didn’t want us to be?  And what would drive them back to pick us up?

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

M. Shaffer: The idea was that Terrans were created to be a weapon to be wielded by the Dvane Empire.  Terrans were the iron ore.  The Awakening and Call was the Dvane firing the crucible to draw out the steel.  In the second book, Forging of the Blade, the steel is being turned into the weapon needed.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Forging of the Blade?

M. Shaffer: A sense of questioning everything they’ve been told so far.  We, as a society, have gotten into the habit of believing what the talking heads in Washington and on the university “elites” tell us.  We need to break that habit.  I presented a logical and scientifically sound alternative to a lot of the things we take for granted.  Not saying they are right.  Just that they are possible and can’t, at this time, be proven wrong. 

IAN: How is Forging of the Blade different from others in your genre?

M. Shaffer: There are a lot of ways this series is different.  But I think the biggest one that will attract the most people is while I put in some Archetypes in as the initial Omegas, they aren’t the only heroes.  Just like in the real world, a war isn’t won by a single person or even a single band of heroes.  So, while almost all of the action will take place around the first 13 Omegas and 15 Roh, the actions of those around them will have as much or more importance as theirs.  One of the biggest draws for Star Wars was the thought that almost anyone could be a Jedi.  I want to take that a step further and bring focus to the people who not just support the Terrans, but who play their own, separate role in trying to defeat the Easlank.

IAN: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

M. Shaffer: Robert Heinlein.  If you haven’t read him, you definitely should.  He was primarily science fiction, but any of his stories could have been put at almost any time, past or present.  He wrote everything from children’s books to things that were very adult oriented.  While his books were great adventures unto themselves, they also had life lessons and, most importantly, hard questions you had to ask yourself.  Made you challenge what you’ve been told and taught. 

IAN: Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?

M. Shaffer: David Webber and John Ringo.  David’s Honor Harrington had a big impact on what I should expect in descriptions of realistic space combat and so heavily influenced how I handle it.  John in how much fun can be had if your main characters have realistic handicaps, mental and emotional, to flesh out characters and make them easier to relate to.

IAN: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

M. Shaffer: That would definitely be Kristyna Burkel.  She has helped with reading over and many other aspects of the books themselves.  Inspiration, reality checks, and the like.  Also has been a great friend and supporter.

IAN: Who designed the covers?

M. Shaffer: On the second one, me.  I really wanted to go with local artists.  You know, support the artist community.  But when the third one flaked out on me, and pretty much at the last minute, I gave up and taught myself drawing.  The cover isn’t the greatest, but it beats the hell out of most of the “pro” covers out there because it is from a scene in the book.  All my covers are and will be.  One of the thing a hate about new books.  Their covers have nothing to do with the book.  Hell, you’re lucky if they get the genre right!

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing your books? 

M. Shaffer: Deciding where and how to end each book.  There is the urge to end it at the end of an epic battle like most movies do it.  But that is wrong in storytelling.  Obviously, movies have a run-time issue.  You want all the eye-candy you can stick in it with the shortest runtime you can get away with.  Because you want to get it run as many times as you can in the theater.  However, in a book you have an obligation to go over the repercussions of said battle.  And if it’s a series like mine, you really need to set things up for the next book.  And if it’s an epic story like mine, you need to do some set up for the tenth book down the line.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

M. Shaffer: Yeah.  Don’t.  Leaves more room for me!  Just kidding.  Seriously, though, I can’t think of anything that hasn’t already been said.  Write what you know.  If it doesn’t flow smoothly, then it’s probably not what you should be writing.  Writing should be a passion.  Not something you do just to make money.  It’s an art form.  This isn’t to say you should give your work away or that you should look to get rich off it.  As I said, it’s art, and someone should be willing to pay to enjoy it.  Just that if it’s your primary motivation, you won’t care about the writing.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

M. Shaffer: Yes!  Don’t assume you know where my thoughts are going or what my personal views are.  I’m trying to create specific and distinct characters.  They should be relatable but different.  There will be characters who are “heroes” but are generally distasteful people.  They will have character traits that some consider flaws.  But they are just traits.  It goes to the old adage:  Action speaks louder than words.

IAN: What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

M. Shaffer: One of the biggest challenges was the Dvane language.  It is directly derived from Enochian, an actual language.  It is intrinsic to the narrative.  Many believe that it was the original language all people spoke.  I was having trouble working with it.  Then I finally got one of the few experts on the language to start helping me.  Her name is Patricia Shaffer.  I call her Mom.  Because, well, she is my mom.  But she had a stroke a few years back and had been getting kind of blah about life.  But with these books, getting her involved, I was able to get her really interested in life again.  It was a challenge, but well worth it!

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

M. Shaffer: The third book in the Phoenix Empire series will be coming out the beginning of 2017.  It will be called Qwenching the Blade.  And yes, the spelling is correct.  The Vangart jumps out of the Terran system with a little over 500 Omegas and Sigmas.  And almost immediately into combat!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Joel Hirst-The IAN Interview

Joel D. Hirst is a writer and novelist. Author of the recently released “Lords of Misrule”, he has also written “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio” and its sequel “The Burning of San Porfirio”. He is currently working on “From the Camps”, the saga of a boy from a refugee camp in East Africa. Hirst has worked as an international aid worker for almost two decades, and has been a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Hirst is a graduate of Brandeis University. He lives in Gilbert, Arizona.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Joel D. Hirst: “Lords of Misrule” is the story of a young Tuareg boy who is brought into conflict and forced to flee his country of Mali. It is about his journey across the Sahara to become an Islamic Judge (Qadi) and jihadist, before he finds something that changes everything in the dusty libraries of Timbuktu. It is the tale of the making and unmaking of a jihadist.

IAN: Is Lords of Misrule published in print, e-book or both?

Joel D. Hirst: Both.

IAN: Where can we go to buy Lords of Misrule?

IAN: What inspired you to write the book?

Joel D. Hirst: We are in the midst of a dramatic international conversation on the issue of violent Islam, especially as terrorist attacks keep hitting the west and the Islamic State and their atrocities dominate the news cycle. There is a tendency to oversimplify issues and appeal to stereotypes or to simplistic arguments, without recognizing that Islam also has its own history and people their own motivations. Through this novel, I am telling the story of a young Tuareg boy who gets caught up in Jihad, and why. And how he finds his way out of it – and what the consequences are. The novel delves a lot into Islamic tradition, as well as Tuareg/Saharan history. Specifically, it looks at traditions of rational thought in Islam, Aristotelian philosophical traditions that were lost almost 1000 years ago and have not yet been re-discovered, and what would happen if they were. It is a hard story, but an honest one which adds my perspective to some of the ongoing debate.

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Joel D. Hirst: That’s an interesting conundrum. I try to make an outline, and I usually know where my protagonist ends up at the end of the story before I write it. But when I sit down and start to write, the travails and travels and circumstances for the protagonist sort of write themselves. So I have found that I don’t do too well with a formal outline, just milestones that I want to arrive at and let the story fill itself in as I go along.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Joel D. Hirst: I use lots of magical realism in my writing. My novels series of “San Porfirio” were Latin American magical realist novels written as dictator novels. “Lords of Misrule” also has magic, this taken from Islamic and pre-Islamic Saharan traditions, which I think you’ll find both interesting but also gives flavor and color to our understanding of different societies. Besides that, “Lords of Misrule” is written in third person limited point of view. It is sweeping, and epic – and holds closely to the flavors and sights and smells of the Sahara.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Joel D. Hirst: I hope the book allows readers to reflect on the real reasons why terrorism exists, what some of the motivations could be, and what are some ways that the power of the mind is used to combat violent ideology. The book is not meant to lecture, it is instead meant to give people a look into the mind of a young man who finds himself fighting on the ‘wrong’ side and what he feels about that, and what steps he tries to take to save his soul.

IAN: What books have most influenced your life most?

Joel D. Hirst: More than individual books, authors. My favorite storyteller is W. Somerset Maugham; and it is from him that I learned how to story-tell (I like Moon and Sixpence; I love Of Human Bondage – although I found it immensely sad). I learned magic from Isabel Allende (not all her work I like, and her political leanings annoy me, but Eva Luna is a masterpiece). And Ayn Rand of course was pivotal in my understanding of the individual as the central character in their own story – the fight for freedom and meaning and reason (Atlas Shrugged of course, but I prefer The Fountainhead. That story is a little more honest and tries less hard to be philosophical).

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Joel D. Hirst: I would love writing to be a career. It’s a difficult time for new authors, as all writers know. Publishing houses only invest in a ‘sure thing’ and the ‘democratization’ of the publishing world, while a good thing, makes it a little hard to break through into to the general public. These are not complains, just realities. Writers have always faced challenging times to make themselves heard above the fray. This is not new. All that to say, right now I hold a day job, which I do love, but which also allows me the income and experiences to continue to write until one of my novels “makes it”.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Joel D. Hirst: I come from a family of educated folks. My father has a PH.D. and my house was always full of books. My brother is a journalist and a writer (non-fiction). So writing, as a natural result of thinking, has been something that I’ve known forever. I started writing fiction after living for 4 years in Venezuela during the apex of Hugo Chavez’s “revolution”, and saw so much there that was novel-worthy and that there was no way to express in non-fiction that I decided to tell a fictional story about what I had seen. The struggles of ordinary people to find meaning in their lives under political project that wanted all of their attention. The desires of the poor to be free from hunger, and the desires of the rich to be free from the poor. An honest story that does not really take a side, necessarily, but that shows why the ideas led to the apocalypse; all of this ended up being “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio”. I followed this up with “The Burning of San Porfirio”, which starts with the collapse of the political project and the death of “El Comandante” and follows the protagonists as they try to re-discover humanity and rebuild their lives after the revolution sputtered out. “A modern day, secular Pilgrim’s Progress” is what it has been called.

IAN: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

Joel D. Hirst: I have been blessed with wide travel. I have visited four continents and more than fifty countries; Africa, North Africa, Latin America, and Europe. I have lived for more than thirty years overseas, in some of the hardest places in the world. These travels have made me sensitive; they have made me sad. They have robbed me of my feeling of invincibility and they have made me question a lot of what I believe and was taught. But my interactions with people has given me a deep commitment to their struggles, which is something that comes out in all my writing.

IAN: Who designed the covers?

Joel D. Hirst: The artist for all my novels is Andres Rodriguez, a company called Arghoost Toons. He is Argentina and lives in the southern interior of that country.

IAN: What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your book to life?

Joel D. Hirst: Lords of Misrule is my best written (according to my editors), and most challenging, novel. It took me 2 years to research and another year to write. I had to research Islamic thought, philosophy, traditions and history. I also had to learn about Tuareg and Berber history and traditions and then I had to weave those together over the backdrop of an epic Saharan tale. All of this required a lot of reading and talking to Tuaregs and Muslims from different traditions. It helped that I was living in Mali for these years, and so I had direct exposure to so much of the fabric of the novel. And then the book went to an Islamic scholar to make sure it was accurate and respectful, as well as to an Amazigh (Berber) expert to ensure that the traditions of that ancient people were respected. It was a heavy life, and I invite you to pick up a copy and immerse yourself in something foreign, yet enrapturing.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Joel D. Hirst: I have finished writing and am currently editing my 4th novel, provisionally titled “From the Camps”. It is the story of a boy’s from a refugee camp in East Africa and his hard journey to manhood, and meaning. It is a story of poverty and of violence – for too many people across Africa, it is their life’s story.

For more information about this author and his books click here > Joel D. Hirst

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Christine Meier: The IAN Interview

I was a Certified Shorthand Reporter (court stenographer) with the State of New Jersey (CSR) and a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and a Certificate of Merit writer with the National Shorthand Reporters Association. I worked as a per diem reporter in the New York City metro area on various civil lawsuits, primarily in depositions (discovery before trial). Eventually I got my Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Christian International. I became a minister in 1999 and volunteered as an ordained minister in street ministries, soup kitchens, prison ministries, nursing home ministries, both at-risk and women’s outreaches. I’m now ordained with the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. Started Christ-Centered Ministries for Worldwide Worship, Inc., in 2002. It’s become a teaching and preaching ministry with a house church located in Pensacola, FL. We live on a working farm which keeps me way too busy, well fed, but not rich in money; although, nature is God’s elixir. I get to see things in God’s creation most folks only dream about. In that I am truly blessed.  

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Christine Meier: Have you ever wondered how our diverse nation got along to begin with and why we were able to work with one another up until the last fifty years? Let’s just state the obvious: The religious, agnostics and atheists aren’t leaving the country any time soon. 70 Years of American Captivity reveals documentary proof of a non-sectarian covenant applying to all Americans within our Federal Compact. Pursuing a non-judgmental approach, proving God is NOT judging” America, while revealing historic, scientific and documentary evidence the Federal government has broken its covenant to the citizens it swore to protect. Taking screen shots through 500 years of American history allows readers to become infused with a flavor for a very distinct American covenant, which ties religious, economic and non-sectarian goals under one umbrella of Federal awareness. Exploring solid solutions with over 900 sourced endnotes, you’ll learn how our diverse nation got along and continued to work out our differences, making it a birthplace of liberty and ingenuity. Before we trust any more tax seasons or election cycles to a Federal government in the throes of betrayal, this book reaches out to all walks of life with hope for the future.

IAN: Is 70 Years of American Captivity published in print, e-book or both?

Christine Meier: It is published in ebook, paperback and hardcover.

IAN: Where can we buy a copy of 70 Years of American Captivity?

Christine Meier70 Years of American Captivity is available at AmazonItunesBarnes& NobleKobo and Smashwords.   

IAN: What inspired you to write 70 Years of American Captivity?

Christine Meier: I had an experience with the Lord one day and what He told me compelled me to research and write this book.

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Christine Meier: Well, I start writing and then chapter titles and outlines, which become chapters sort of “arrive” on the scene.

IAN: How long did it take to write 70 Years of American Captivity?

Christine Meier: It took between three and a half to almost four years to research and write.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Christine Meier: I suppose I do, but it may not be as obvious as one reads. As I write, I answer questions I feel I would ask or readers would ask. It’s not really that obvious, but I do find myself writing as Zechariah did in the Old Testament. I like to put what I’m writing down for awhile and then pick it back up again. If it speaks to me after not working on it for some time, then I know it will bless those who read it.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Christine Meier: It was based on the statement the Lord gave me, but the subtitle was a work in progress with my publishing house (awesome folks).

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading 70 Years of American Captivity?

Christine Meier: The reality of how close we are to losing our country, and how far we have gone down the rabbit hole in lies we have been told; but more importantly, how easy it is to get us back on track, economically, spiritually and socially.

IAN: How much of the book is realistic?

Christine Meier: All of the book is from factual and actual history. In other words, it really happened. It is non-fiction.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Christine Meier: Some of the experiences related in the book are mine; some are shared through actual historic accounts and some are related through historical writings and other literature.

IAN: Did you have to travel much concerning research or for other aspects of 70 Years of American Captivity?

Christine Meier: I have traveled to four continents for the church books I have written and I have traveled for this one as well. Of course, I would travel anywhere to share this book and my other ones.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

Christine Meier: The cover design was a joint effort between the publishing house and myself. I love what those guys did with the ideas.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing 70 Years of American Captivity?

Christine Meier: I had to make absolutely sure what I wrote was actual and factual history. That means I had to make sure what I wrote had original sourced beginnings. My writing in the past has been in biblical study. Fortunately, original sources are also crucial in that genre. This was quite different as revealing American history— and American history that is not widely known nor studied in most colleges.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing 70 Years of American Captivity and what was it?

Christine Meier: I learned a tremendous amount of American history, early American thought and psychology as it related to the formation of our governing compact. I also developed a deep appreciation for how different our country truly is in its birth, formation and governing documents. I learned so much that today’s press, colleges and media are not telling Americans.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Christine Meier: I have a prophetic study book and a gifts of the Bible book in the pipeline next.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sentinels of Tzurac Screenplay is an Award Winner

by James Raven

I have just been informed that the adapted screenplay for my first book in the Sentinels of Tzurac Trilogy has been given the Silver Winner Award from International Independent Film Awards in the 2016 Summer category.

I am very grateful and also excited at the prospect of being recognised among the film industry and am looking forward with anticipation at the possibility of my trilogy being made into a film or three. I am currently arranging a screenplay to be written for my second book "Zarkwin's Revenge" in the trilogy. When my third book Retaliation which is reaching final proof reading becomes published I will also be adapting this to a feature screenplay as well.

Sentinels of Tzurac

The discovery of a valuable energy source that can change the future of all civilizations in the universe is about to fall into the wrong hands…
Earth’s natural resources are running out and the planet is dying, suffocating under the weight of humankind’s greed. Intergalactic mining companies search distant planets for badly needed replacement resources and Kyron, a recent engineering graduate, gains a prominent position with mining corporation MERIC. When an explosion involving a strange blue rock known as Xytrinium stops their operation on Terra Iota cold, MERIC owner Samuel Jensen sends Kyron to investigate. But someone has other ideas about a resource so powerful it could destroy entire worlds.

Kyron narrowly escapes an attempt on his life on his trip to Terra Iota and the motive of the culprit is as simple as it is diabolical: he is determined to exert complete power over the entire world and he needs Xytrinium to do it. Caught in the middle, Kyron now finds himself in a war with a man who seems to hold all the cards, but when a murder, an ancient gold ring, and his father’s hidden past reveal startling truths, Kyron will risk everything to save Earth— and the life of the woman he loves.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Charles E Yallowitz: The IAN Interview

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is the 10th volume of my Legends of Windemere epic fantasy series, which sees that the heroes have been forced to split up.  The story focuses on Timoran Wrath, an honorable and wise barbarian who has been a constant source of stability for his friends.  To continue their journey, the champions must travel to Timoran’s homeland of Stonehelm and gain entry into the Snow Tiger Tribe’s holy land.  There’s just one big problem:

Timoran is an exile and returning home means he must stand trial for his sins that could lead to his execution.   Unwilling to do more harm to his people, he is ready to accept judgement and die for his crimes, which puts the champion prophecy at risk.  Lucky for Timoran, Luke, Nyx, and Dariana have their suspicions that something is not right in Stonehelm and refuse to let their friend die without a fight.

If this delay is not bad enough, the chaos elf army is on the march and the only way for them to return home is if their leader can claim Nyx’s head and raze Stonehelm to the ground.

IAN: Is Tribe of the Snow Tiger published in print, e-book or both?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  E-Book

IAN: Where can we go to buy Tribe of the Snow Tiger?

Charles E. Yallowitz:

IAN: Do you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  I’m a big planner when it comes to my stories because I want to make sure I lead up to certain plot and character evolution points.  So, I make outlines that break the chapters down into sections and use character bios to know where I want to go with them.  Do any of these plans stay intact when I start writing?  Not really, which means there is a ‘winging’ aspect of the first draft that makes sure the story flows naturally.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Yes and it’s Present Tense Third Person.  *ducks barrage of rotting vegetables* It isn’t really a common or popular style, but it’s what I feel most comfortable writing in.  This came about in high school because I was always switching tenses in my stories.  A teacher sat me down to help me realize where I was going wrong and break the habits.  This involved choosing one tense to stick with and I happened to pick Present Tense, which nobody told me was odd until I published my first book in 2013.  Honestly, this works best for my stories because I see them as visual scenes in my head.  This is why I use a lot of action and dialogue, especially since flashbacks and info dumps don’t work very well in Present Tense.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Be even better if they’re excited for the next volume.  I write to entertain and draw out the proper emotions for the scenes.  So, I’m happy if a reader laughs at the jokes, tears up at the sad parts, and is on the edge of their seat during the action.  For me, one of the best things to hear from a reader is who their favorite character is or if a scene really stuck with them.

IAN: How much of the series is realistic?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  I write fantasy, so there is a lot of magic and monsters along with flashy fight scenes.  The realism comes about from how the characters react to events.  For example, I have no problem having a character cry when something makes them sad instead of them remaining the ‘stoic hero’.  Beyond that, the story is realistic within the rules of the world.  Writing fantasy requires that you make some basic laws and stick to them because consistency is key to world building.

IAN: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Fellow indie authors and bloggers.  Starting a blog was the best thing I did for my writing because it helped me connect with people in the same situation.  Unlike family and friends, these are people that have a full understanding of what I’m trying to do.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  If you’re asking if I’m a full-time author then yes.  Beyond that, it’s a rather complicated answer because ‘career’ sounds very sterile to me.  Writing is a path that I take a sense of accomplishment from and enjoy every day.  I guess I would say it’s the dream job more than a career.  Again, this is because the word has typically been used in a rather dull, just-earn-a-paycheck towards me by those that consider writing nothing more than a hobby.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  I loved writing and telling stories when I as 7, but my skills in other subjects were falling.  So, I always had a mild interest in telling stories that was kept to daydreaming and a few school projects until I turned 15.  My desire to be a zoologist died when I realized I would have to work with blood.  Around this time, I read a fantasy series called ‘The Books of Lost Swords’ by Fred Saberhagen.  Something about the world and how it came to life in my head made me want to do the same thing.  I spent a lot of my free time in high school designing my first fantasy world and the stories that would go along with them.  This ended up becoming Pre-Cataclysm Windemere instead of the main world.

IAN: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Only in my head.  Being a fantasy author, I don’t have any places to go to since the stories don’t take place on Earth.  Yet, I do try to make the environments realistic and work off my own experiences from the few trips I’ve taken.

IAN: Who designed the covers?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Jason Pedersen who is a tattoo artist out of Arizona.  He’s been doing the Legends of Windemere covers since the beginning.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing your books?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Since this is the 10th volume, the hardest part is to keep the characters evolving and make sure there is consistency with the previous books.  I have to keep a lot of notes to avoid creating any incongruities in Windemere, which readers seem to pick out really quickly.  This can be a reused monster that looks and acts differently with no explanation, characters forgetting previous learned information, location descriptions not matching up, and a lot of other traps that I would fall into if I simply wrote without thinking of what came beforehand.  Recently, I began going through the new outlines and making a file of any information that I would need to include from previous volumes.  This really helps with the monsters and locations.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Have fun with your stories and listen to your gut.  If you feel like something isn’t going to work for the book then step back and think.  You might only have a partial idea that will evolve with a little more focus.  This goes for promoting your book too.  It’s good to step out of your comfort zone, but you need to make sure the promo is right for you.  People can tell when an author is uncomfortable, but might not mistake discomfort for not having faith in the product.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Well, I just finished a paranormal thriller that I’m going to post bit by bit on my blog in October.  Not really my genre, so I’m not confident enough to publish it.  Still, it makes for a fun series to do for a month.  Beyond that, I’m editing Legends of Windemere: Charms of the Feykin, which will be the 11th volume of the series.  This covers what happened to the other group of champions, who were left on a cliffhanger in the last book.  Those who survive Tribe of the Snow Tiger must go on a rescue mission to the southern jungles, but they are going to be surprised by what they find.  Their friends will not be the same people they remember and a new enemy will come closer to tearing the entire group apart than any other adversary.  One of my favorite parts about this story is that it brings closure and focus to many of the relationships that have been brewing for a while.