Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Update and Thanks to Brandon Sanderson

A few weeks ago I dipped into the realm of self-publishing. You can read about it more HERE. Even though I have a book coming out with a publisher next year, I wanted to give it a go, just to see what it was like. I thought I would give everyone an update on how that is going.

I started out my price at 1.99, figuring that it wouldn't be a bad price considering it was a fundraiser for our adoption. I lowered it to .99 after poor sales.

Kindle: 5 Copies
Smashwords: 3 Copies

8 copies sold.

I also put up a contest on here to GIVE away a copy. (Here) 3 people entered. Another contest on Goodreads that closes today. (Link Here) I'm up to 222 people in the giveaway! However, if you compare it to the others around me, that is a low number, too.

I'm not sure if the low interest is because of the cover? I know it isn't the quality of the art (the artist is good), but maybe the subject? Maybe the image is too dark? I also wonder if it is because it is a short story instead of a full-length. And of course, that "self-publishing" is part of it as well. That, in itself, pulls people away. In the spirit of knowledge, could you all share with me what holds you back? This is an experiment/adventure for me. It also tells me how difficult self-publishing can be. For, even with the cause of an adoption behind it, people still turn away.

Now, back to the contest. My THREE wonderful entrants. The winner is ....drumroll....ilima! Sorry about the delay in announcing it. I had other events take over my life the last few weeks, which brings me to the second part of my post.


Earlier this month, my family took the long drive to visit my father in Alabama. My husband and I both love fantasy fiction, and we took a few audiobooks with us to entertain us on our trip. One of the books was by the author, Brandon Sanderson, one of my favorite authors. If you read fantasy at all, you will know who he is. The book we started was a tomb of a book called The Way of Kings.
The book on Amazon is listed as being over 1,200 pages. The audio CD's we checked out at the library consisted of 36 disks. So needless to say, we had plenty of material. We listened to it on the way down AND the way back up from Alabama. After we got back home, my father, who has been battling Leukemia, took a turn for the worse.

I sat at home, miles and miles away, holding my cell phone in my hand, waiting to hear from my aunts as my father's health steadily declined. And all the while, I listened to The Way of Kings, using that long, layered story to occupy my mind.  

Finally, I heard he wasn't going to recover. The doctors gave him days to live. So I bought a plane ticket. And as I traveled back to my father, switching flights, The Way of Kings helped me, taking me away to another world as I looked at the clouds drifting by.

When I arrived, the leukemia had gone to his spinal fluid. I'm not sure if he knew I was even there, his mind was so clouded. My stepmother and I didn't get much sleep those last two nights of his life at home in hospice care, trying to keep my father comfortable and out of pain. And in the in-between times, laying in the guest room, waiting for my father's life to end, I listened to the story, distracting myself. On Sunday, August 19th, he lost his battle with cancer. And I was at his side as he took his final breath.

The funeral was set for nearly a week after his death. It made for night after night of trouble-filled sleep as I waited for the week to drag by. And as I laid there each night, away from home, in a strange bed, thinking about my father, The Way of Kings carried me away from my troubles, helping me fall asleep. 

My family joined me last Thursday, driving the long trip back to Alabama. After the funeral, we returned to Iowa. Mr. Sanderson helped speed my journey home. And yesterday, my first day home in over a week, the story helped me, giving me a day of rest away from it all. I finished the book yesterday, and I'm grateful that it was there for me, distracting me, taking me away from my grief, even if for a short amount of time.

Books teach people. They entertain people. They comfort people. In this instance, a story brought me rest from my pain and grief during one of the most difficult times in my life. It was a LONG story. But I NEEDED a long story during this time. Thank you, Brandon Sanderson, for giving me comfort by doing what you do best.

And to my writing friends... You may never know the lives you touch as you do your craft. We do what we do, not only to entertain, but to impact lives. Writing does make a difference, even if it isn't some deeply theological book. That is one reason why I love fantasy, why I read fantasy, why I watch fantasy, why I write fantasy. Fantasy takes you away from the hum-drum, from the pain, from our everyday lives, and takes you far, far beyond. It shows the unfathomable depths and creativity of our minds.

My daddy... b November 9, 1943- d. September 19, 2012.


gailecn said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your father's passing. Keeping you in my thoughts.

I love that you're selling a short story to raise money for adoption. That hits close to my heart as my husband & I can't have any more children after my bout with choriocarcinoma last year (yeah, cancer definitely sucks!). I haven't delved into the e-book (e-short story?) world yet. I'm not sure what's holding me back...just a reluctance to change, I suppose.

Eliza Tilton said...

So sorry for your loss. Prayers to you and your family.

LinWash said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Jennifer Malone said...

So sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your story with us. I sometimes question whether writing commercial fiction (as I do) will ever affect anyone the way more literary books have stayed with me, but you've given me a powerful reminder that books as distraction, as release and as escape have an equal power to impact and linger. I wish you much luck on your adoption journey as well as your writing one. My thoughts are with you.

Kell Andrews said...

Condolences for your loss, Kristal. I'm glad that a book was there for you -- I have no doubt that your books and stories will do the same for others. Give them time, my friend, and give yourself time too.

And thank you for your honesty, as always.

Heather Murphy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your father.

JeffO said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad you found the book to give you some comfort.

Michelle McLean said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Kristal. This was a beautiful post and I whole-heartedly agree. Books have pull me through some hard times as well. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

As for your book, I suspect it's because it's a short story. Short stories are often hard sells, I think. Though I completely loved it!

Michelle McLean said...

From Dawn Allen:

So, terribly sorry for your loss. The picture of the two of you is so sweet. It will be a source of comfort for a long time.


"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." ~Anton Chekhov

Carmen said...

I read your post with tears in my eyes. Hugs and prayers to you and your family!

I lost my dad many, many years ago and not a day goes by where I don't think of him. Dads are just that important!

I wish you the best of luck with your fundraising efforts. I personally don't read e-books as I prefer to hold a book in my hand. Also, I'm very narrow in the genres I read. Perhaps what you're experiencing is more a factor of things like that rather than a reflection of the book itself.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

So sorry about your dad, Kristal. Excellent thoughts on the importance of fantasy, or at least an alternate reality, at times like these in our lives. I've certainly used fiction as an escape. And it's lovely to think that someday some of our writing will reach people the same way The Way of Kings helped you, just by being there at the right moment. God bless you and your family!

Amparo Ortiz said...

My condolences, Kristal. :(

Lindsay said...

So sorry about your dad, Kristal. Many hugs. xx