Friends Old and New Give “Hope” a Bump

You just never know where your next bump is coming from. My first novel, The Long Shadow of Hope, experienced a bit of a resurrection when The Lost Lantern was released in July. Let me clarify. I’m talking about going from a drip to a trickle, though it has sold more consistently in the last few weeks. And yet, I hadn’t received any new reviews on Hope in at least six or eight months, maybe more.

Shadow Copy thumbnail I realize that writing a review – going to the Amazon or Goodreads site – is new for some and can be uncomfortable. You’re putting your opinion, your thoughts, out there, sometimes with your name attached. There is also the tightrope of honesty versus appeasing/not upsetting the author. As one of my lifelong friends put it, “I don’t want to be THAT guy,” (accentuating the negative).  I also realize it’s an additional time commitment, after the reader has generously given hours of their lives to the author.

I’ve been blessed to know the sweet and amiable Dawn Snyder for going on 40 years – school buds, mutual work friends, overlapping non-traditional college experiences, and ongoing Lantern Thumbsmall-town life. I’ve known Jeremy Fallecker for less than three, he’s a young man not even close to pushing 40 years old. He carried The Long Shadow of Hope with him to Kuwait, honorably serving our country with the Air National Guard. His codename on top of the list is “Bandit.” ( I hope that’s not a security breach!)

Both friends took time this week to write informative, thoughtful reviews, and that means the world to an “Indie” writer like me. If you care to take a peek, click on this link: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/community  I also want to again thank two former SAHS English teachers, Cathy McClanahan and Carla Williamson, along with our close neighbor at my parents’ home of untold years, Gayle Michael, for their recent reviews of The Lost Lantern.

Thanks, in fact, to everyone who has read or purchased my books. I’m going to try to keep this circus rolling, while writing novel number three. Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas, A.S.

For The Love Of Books

Since my last post, shamelessly, with tongue-in-cheek connecting my new novel, The Lost Lantern, with Jeannette Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle (oops, I did it again), I played around with some numbers. If Jeannette’s sales were created in the 261 weeks it was on the NY Times Bestseller List, the per week amount of books sold is 10,344. If it were over the 12 years since the book’s release the number is 4,326 sold a week. Dan Brown sold 27 million copies of the Da Vinci Code. Over 14 years that’s 37,087 a week. Can you imagine the elation either must have been feeling?

Lantern Thumb I’ve been at this independent publishing for less than 16 months.  I get excited each and every time I sell a book. In one of the above scenarios I probably would stroke out from happiness.  But it’s an uphill battle. Even Amazon, which makes most of the money, chooses not to promote independents. The cost-free electronic version? We indies still get bumped by the Pattersons, Sparks, and Grishams. There’s a big ol’ bank of money each month from subscribers at Kindle Unlimited, but writers like me will never see any of it. I believe both my novels are entertaining departures, yet how does one get them in front of the masses?

Still, I’m feeling blessed and extremely grateful. Today marks one month since we released “The Lost Lantern,” and I can’t help but feel optimistic. Without the benefit of a big-budget publisher, pre-publicity, or industry reviews, we have sold 90 copies in 30 days, with five reviews, on Amazon.com. I received great news from Terri Dingess Baloga, a fellow St. Albans (WV) High grad now residing in North Carolina, who chose “The Lost Lantern” for her book club to read next month! This is exactly what an independent writer like me needs – word of mouth among READERS in other states… in other countries. I need to offer thanks to Tom Hindman, Ray Epperly, Ross Harrison, (now deployed) Jeremy Ranson, and Becky Goodwin for their honest reviews, with expectations for more soon from Bob Carpenter, Lance Carney, and Carla Williamson. If reviews add the validity buyers need, I’ll scratch and claw for all I can get. Thanks for reading!  

First Step In The Empire

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Author’s note: Thanks to Emily and the staff at Empire Books & News for hosting my book signing last Wednesday evening. I had a great time and though we moved just a handful of books, The Long Shadow Of Hope is now STOCKED there, which is a first step in my estimation. I am pictured with a REAL book connoisseur, Mrs. Danford, Lakewood Elementary’s fabulous librarian. West Virginia Wesleyan and University of Kentucky-trained, she made the trek down to Huntington though I would have gladly delivered to her. Thanks Mrs. Danford and to everybody who helped spread the word! Here’s a little whimsy about getting started.

No matter where the journey ends,

From here to Timbuktu,

There is a common stride to take,

Whether three or ninety-two.

The final tally can’t be known,

Nor courage ’long the way,

Unless you burst out of the blocks,

“Get started,” as they say.

No matter what your goal might be,

Or what you hope to solve,

Unless that eager first-step-make,

You’ll waste your new resolve.

Both wins and losses come about,

By taking that great chance,

So dream, then take a solid step,

How else will you advance?

© 2016

 

The Long Shadow Of Hope is available at Amazon.com and Goodreads.com