Book Blitz: Edge of Nowhere by CH Armstrong

Posted on January 19th, 2016

One of my friends, CH Armstrong, is releasing her debut novel today. Check out her guest post and see whether it’s a good fit for your next read!

IN BOOKSTORES AND ONLINE TODAY!

FULL RESOLUTION EON

SYNOPSIS

The year is 1992 and Victoria Hastings Harrison Greene—reviled matriarch of a sprawling family—is dying.

After surviving the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Victoria refuses to leave this earth before revealing the secrets she’s carried for decades.

Once the child of a loving family during peaceful times, a shocking death shattered her life. Victoria came face to face with the harshness of the world. As the warm days of childhood receded to distant memory, Victoria learns to survive.

No matter what it takes.

To keep her family alive in an Oklahoma blighted by dust storms and poverty, Victoria makes choices—harsh ones, desperate ones. Ones that eventually made her into the woman her grandchildren fear and whisper about. Ones that kept them all alive. Hers is a tale of tragedy, love, murder, and above all, the conviction to never stop fighting.


OFFICIAL VIDEO TRAILER FOR THE EDGE OF NOWHERE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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C.H. Armstrong is an Oklahoma native transplanted in Minnesota. A 1992 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, “Cathie”is a life-long lover of books, and staunchly outspoken on subject of banned and challenged books. The Edge of Nowhere is her first novel and was inspired by her own family’s experiences during the 1930s Oklahoma Dust Bowl and The Great Depression.


PURCHASE A COPY OF THE EDGE OF NOWHERE ONLINE NOW

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Free: A Shark at the Park Video!

Posted on February 14th, 2015

I’m trying something a little unusual: I’ve posted a video reading of A Shark at the Park.

What does that mean? You’ll get to preview all of the pictures and hear the story, entirely for free.

If you like what you see, share the video with your friends and buy a copy of the book at your favorite retailer. Enjoy!


Kickstarter campaign

Posted on July 1st, 2014

The publishing world is rapidly changing with the rise of the indie author. What’s less known is that some of the supporting services, like audiobooks, are also looking to find ways to take advantage of the most popular independently-published books.

Caldarian Conflict kickstarter torn

I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for recording an audiobook of my novel, The Caldarian Conflict. This book was independently published and has sold thousands of copies. Last year, it was also selected for six months as a featured read in all Dunn Bros Coffee stores. In March, Common Mode, an audiobook company with over 30 years of experience contacted me with an interesting proposal: launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund a professionally produced audiobook using the best available voice talent.

Common Mode is trying this innovative crowdsourcing method to help independent authors afford the significant expense of hiring this top talent. The Caldarian Conflict is their second foray into this field, and the first full-length novel.

I’m really excited about this opportunity. Please join the adventure and help me make this a reality.

About me:

author photo for kickstarter - transparent Mike Kalmbach grew up in a forest near Lake Michigan. Spending his summers chasing wizards and battling evil ogres, Mike has always had a creative mind. He’ll often share stories from his past, and some of them are even true.

After time dragged him from childhood, Mike moved into freelance editing, helping other authors improve dozens of stories. During the daylight hours, he writes software to help with genetics research. He leads the Rochester MN Writing group (over 100 members) and often speaks on topics from writing and editing to engineering and robotics.

Luckily, Mike now has two sons, so he has plenty of excuses to set down the pen and play. He lives in Minnesota where he, his family, and a band of pirates can still be found battling ogres, dust bunnies, and even the occasional dragon.

Mike has authored three released books, and is a freelance editor of dozens of other novels, including New York Times Bestseller The Darwin Elevator by Jason Hough.

If you’re a blogger and would like to help, please let me know in the comments or at [email protected]


Big, BIG news! Coffee & Books

Posted on January 18th, 2013

Big news! The Caldarian Conflict was selected for the Coffee & Books program at Dunn Brothers (currently there are only around 20 books in the program). Read on for a coupon promo!

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This is a very big deal–the top four books each quarter are displayed in all Dunn Bros locations. This could help The Caldarian Conflict find hundreds of new readers.

Why is this so important?

  • There’s very little competition right now in the program, which helps increase my visibility
  • As a participating author, it’s relatively easy for me to get in for readings and signing events.
  • Buying books gets you free coffee. What better deal is there than that?

To celebrate the inclusion of The Caldarian Conflict in the Coffee & Books program, I’m running a promo. The first 50 people to buy The Caldarian Conflict ebook will receive 20% off the book! Just use the coupon code “pirate” when you check out (without the quotes). Remember, this is only good for the first 50 customers!

Share this with your friends. The more people who buy The Caldarian Conflict, the better my chances are of the book arriving in the store!

Thanks everyone!


Announcing: Writing Advice for Teens: Creating Stories

Posted on March 18th, 2012

My next book, Writing Advice for Teens: Creating Stories, is now available for preorder from Amazon. I’m pretty excited!

Cover for Writing Advice for Teens: Creating Stories

This book is the first in a series of non-fiction books designed to help teen writers through all the stages of writing, from creating stories to writing as a career. It’s great for new writers of all ages, and is organized into an easy-to-read format with plenty of examples and exercises.

As well as accepting preorders through Amazon, I’m also looking for early reviewers who will read the book and write a review in time for its April 24 launch. Readers will receive a free PDF of the book, and as might be obvious, should not distribute the file to anyone else. Simply comment on this blog post, post a message on my Facebook Author page, or send me a tweet via Twitter (@mikekalmbach).

If you’re on Goodreads, take a moment to add Writing Advice for Teens: Creating Stories to your to-read list.

Thanks for helping get a new book off the ground!


Book Cover for Into the Land of Iowah

Posted on November 15th, 2011

As I’m sure is not a surprise, I’m hard at work on another novel with the working title, Into the Land of Iowah. Here’s the blurb:

Vagus, a wizard from the realm of Amishan, loses a battle and is banished to the most heinous land his enemy can think of: a corn field in the middle of present-day Iowa. In a land where all people know of magic is from the movies, he’s convinced there’s no worse place to be. With the help of a trucker named Bob, Vagus must find his way back home in time to rescue his friends.

It’s intended to be a humorous fantasy novel in the vein of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Terry Pratchett’s novels.

While there is still a lot of work left to do on the novel, I was lucky enough to befriend a talented artist, Chris Osman.  He’s created a cover concept for Into the Land of Iowah, and I think it’s pretty awesome.  There’s still time to make adjustments, so feel free to comment if there’s something you think should change.  Of course, comments like “this is an awesome cover” and “I can’t wait until it’s ready” are also welcome.  🙂

Into the Land of Iowah cover

Into the Land of Iowah cover (click for larger version)

What do you think? I’d love to hear it!


Free book today and tomorrow

Posted on October 29th, 2011

In celebration of my favorite holiday, I’m offering a coupon for a free ebook of The Caldarian Conflict.

Use coupon code FG33N at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/84747 to download your copy for free.

Happy Halloween!


How to Best Support an Indie Author

Posted on October 5th, 2011

Did you just read an awesome indie book? Are you looking for ways to help the author out?

You’ve come to the right place.

What follows are several methods to help an indie author out.  This includes:

  • Buying the book (first for yourself, then as gifts for friends)
  • Telling your friends (and posting reviews)
  • Tagging the book to make it easier for people to find

While (perhaps obviously), I’m targeting this to my own fans, these strategies are general enough for any indie author. I’d expect the actual dollar values should be consistent for most indie authors as well.

Buy the book

Of course, the first and best way is to buy a copy of the author’s book.  However, where you buy it is as important as your actual purchase.

Paperbacks:

Since I published through CreateSpace, I earn the most when people buy direct from them (about $4.50 per book from my $10.95 book).  Amazon falls in at a respectable $2.94.  However, when someone buys a copy from Barnes and Noble, I earn only $0.25 per book.

Buying the book as a gift is an excellent way to thank an author. That’s part of the reason I offer signed copies through my site (check the right-hand panel)–it’s an opportunity for fans to purchase a unique gift for themselves or their friends.  Since I include a free ebook with autographed paperbacks purchased through my site, you can buy a paperback as a gift and keep the ebook for yourself.

Giving the book as a gift offers you the opportunity to talk with others about the book, which helps get the word out for an indie author.

Ebooks:

As an indie author, Smashwords gives me the best return: about $2.21 per book.  Amazon is second, at about $2.03 a book, and Barnes and Noble gives me $1.94 per book.  Besides offering the best return, Smashwords also lets me run coupons as needed.  If I want to give a free copy to a book reviewer, all I have to do is generate a code and pass it along.

Lending an ebook to a friend also helps spread the word about a good book, so take advantage of this opportunity.  Which leads us to the next point:

Tell your friends

Think about the last book you bought.  Why did you buy it?

Chances are pretty good that it’s because a friend recommended it.

Word of mouth advertising is awesome.  If you can’t stop raving about the plot twists in The Caldarian Conflict, (as a completely random and unbiased example), people take notice.

If you’re part of a book group, suggest that the group read a book by the indie author.  Note: only do this if you’d give the book a 4- or 5-star review.  And make sure the book is free of typos.  When the average reader spots typo after typo, the book probably wasn’t ready to be released.

Did I just mention reviews?

That’s another great way to help out an indie author.  Thoughtful reviews are more important than 5-star reviews (though as an indie author, I always love to receive a 5-star review).  That said, when someone checks out a book’s rating on Amazon, they’re more likely to purchase a book that has several thoughtful reviews than several that say: “This book is teh best!!!” (typo intentional)

When reviewing, do explain what you liked and who might be most likely to enjoy the book.  Try to avoid spoilers where possible.  Post it everywhere the book is sold, and especially on reader communities like Goodreads or LibraryThing.

Once you’ve written a review, tell people on Facebook and Twitter about the book.  When they know you wrote the review, your friends or followers are more likely to at least look at the book to see whether it’s a good match.

While we’re talking about Facebook and Twitter, definitely become a fan of the author and follow their tweets.  When you see something interesting from the author, pass it along to your friends so the author can grow followers and potentially connect with other readers.

Tag the book

What is tagging?

Tagging is a method of adding keywords to a book so that it shows up in search results.  The more people that agree with a particular tag, the higher the placement of the book in the search results.

Tags can usually be found on a product’s Amazon page.  Other sites use tagging sometimes, but Amazon is the most widely used.  Simply search for “tag” on the page, and you should find it.

If there’s nothing there, add tags related to the book.  For example, some of the tags currently used for The Caldarian Conflict include pirates, monks, and corrupt government. If you have read the book, select the check box for those you agree with.  If you happen to think of others that aren’t listed, definitely add them.  The author will certainly appreciate it when others find (and hopefully purchase) their book.

If you’ve already read my book, please go to the Amazon page and help me out with a review and adding some tags.  I’d really appreciate it.

What other ways can you think of to help an indie author out?  What did I miss?


Sales results – Month 1 as an indie author

Posted on October 1st, 2011

This is my first monthly report on how sales are going for my book.  Eventually I’ll include multiple books as I release them.

Why release my numbers publicly?

By sharing this publicly, I hope it helps other indie authors set expectations, plus it helps me maintain a monthly record of what I’ve done and what the results were.

—–

Book Title: The Caldarian Conflict (preview)
Current Rating: 4.5 stars with six reviews on Amazon
Pricing: $2.99 ebook, $10.95 paperback

Favorite quote from a review: “I was literally up all night because I couldn’t stop reading (if there are any typos in this review blame them on my blurry vision).” – Maxine McLister (Amazon)

This month’s goal: 100 books sold (ebook & physical)
Total sales: 124 books sold – 50 ebooks and 74 paperbacks
Promotional copies: 41 ebooks + 12 paperbacks (not included in sales)

—–

I’m pretty pleased with the results.  Exceeding my goal for first month’s sales is pretty awesome–especially since I had no measurements to guide my estimate.

My biggest surprise? That physical books outsold the ebooks this month.  With everything I’ve read, and the lower price point on the ebooks, I expected ebooks to far exceed paperbacks.

That said, it’s probably a result of the heavy marketing I did.  The single biggest day of sales was 43 paperbacks at my launch party.

At this point, I think it’s most effective for me to allow people time to read the book and (hopefully) write reviews.  With the exception of occasional tweets and Facebook posts, I plan to focus most of my spare time on writing additional material.

I’m also planning to point out that signed copies of The Caldarian Conflict make a great unique gift for fantasy fans. (hint hint: check the right-hand panel for ordering autographed copies, or buy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, or Smashwords)

In October, I plan to invest a lot of time working on my next two projects.  With luck, I’ll finish the first draft of at least one of them by year-end.

Next month’s goal: 50 books (ebook & physical), due to spending much less time marketing

What do you think?  Should I continue focusing on writing more material? Or are there other marketing avenues that I should pursue?


Another signing event tomorrow!

Posted on September 23rd, 2011

If you missed my book launch party and are in the Rochester, MN area, I will be signing books at:

Rochester Family “Y”
709 1st Ave SW,
Rochester MN

I’ll be there (and dressed as a pirate) from 10am-3pm. My books will be $10 apiece.

There will be other local and talented authors there also, including:

o Elsie Dunn
o Divine Rhubarb Committee
o Helen Chen
o Joan Sween
o Jen Brewer
o Ann Schultz
o Tom Harper
o David Fingerman

As well as some local and talented artists:

o Brenda Kline
o Leisa Luis Grill
o Mary Lou Devlin
o Loretta Verbout
o Andrew Neville
o Deb Zipse

It’s going to be a great time!