I find the whole book marketing thing pretty hard. I’m creative when it comes to writing; not so much when it comes to trying to strategise advertising. I’ve never been one to toot my own horn. Time and time again, we hear there’s three magic ingredients to selling a book; Contents, Cover, Blurb. Well, there’s not a huge amount I can do about the CRYO contents because it’s written. And, from the feedback and reviews I’ve gathered, people like it. I’ve swapped the blurb around a few times, but I’m trying out a new cover, once again. I’ve had a few comments that the cover’s scary and implies horror. Also, that it’s too cartoony. I’ve looked down the current top lists for science fiction and dystopian and yes, there’s nothing like my cover out there. But perhaps this is where uniqueness is a flaw; perhaps I need to gel with the crowd more and give people something they’re used to.
With that in mind, I’ve created a new and VERY simple cover. Literally, it’s a slightly altered photostock image with clear text added utilising canva. It’s not yet appeared on Amazon, but if you use the ‘Look Inside‘ feature, you’ll see it’s now inside the book.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, if something isn’t working, change it. It can be hard to let go of covers, text etc you’ve worked hard on, but if it’s not actually bringing in sales, you just can’t hold on it. For now, this is a test run – I’ve only applied it to Amazon to see if it’ll have any effect. What do you think? More sci-fi than the previous cover? More eye-catching? Or, perhaps you don’t like it as much?
So, as you’re probably aware, CRYO: A Changed World is coming out on April 13th!! The second instalment of the CRYO series see’s John and the other CRYO survivors stepping out into the world and trying to work out where the hell they are, and what on earth happened whilst they were asleep.
Questions will be answered for many of the CRYO candidates as they begin to explore, but as with such things, new discoveries open up only more questions. And whilst Agnes was a force from within, the gang are going to have to try and stay alive as they journey through the wilderness.
If you missed the cover and blurb reveal, here it is
If you awoke to find that humankind had been annihilated, could you survive?
John’s dreams have crumbled. A global corporation, CRYO, kidnapped him, froze him and sent him to the future, only to fade into history as he slept. Now, John and his pod mates are in a new and strange world that’s far from anything they’ve ever known.
With a strange creature having cut their already dwindled numbers, the fight for survival has begun. There’s already discontent amongst the small group of survivors. And, as John heads out into the unknown with a small splinter group, there’s just one question; what will he find?
So, in anticipation for next Sunday’s release, I’m offering review ARC’s for A Changed World. The process is pretty simple; all you have to do to get your hands on a free book, is to have reviewed one of my earlier books. Yep, that simple!
Email me at geoff _ wakeling AT hotmail DOT com with the link to your prior review (it doesn’t have to be Rise of the Immortals, by the way) and I’ll send you back a free copy of A Changed World. Your review can be on Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, B&N, Apple or even a personal blog.
Of course, these reviews should be unbiased and honest; I’m not expecting to give you a free book in return for a top rating – I just hope you enjoy the read! And, if you don’t want to review a copy but just want to enjoy it at your leisure instead, you can buy Rise of the Immortals on sale at $2.99 and sign up to the mailing list to be one of the first to get your hands on A Changed World.
Are you an artist? Love to dabble with alien concepts and create new life? Want to win some Sci-Fi goodies AND get your artwork inside an eBook? You’ve come to the right place!
As many of you may know, CRYO: A Changed World has been completed and is undergoing edits. This is the second book of the CRYO series, and I’m expecting it to be released at the end of the March. Then, very excitingly for me, I’m having my first ever blog tour for the book. But, back to competition time.
In A Changed World, an alien race make their first appearance and it’s time for you to get your thinking hats on. Using the information below, prepare artwork on how YOU envisage these new alien creatures. The best will be showcased here on my website, across my social media sites (G+, Pinterest etc) and the one winner will be placed within the print and digital copies of the books themselves!
– One Winner will have their image featured within CRYO: A Changed World. They’ll also receive digital copies (in their preferred format) of books 1 and 2. They’ll be showcased on this blog too!
– Five runners-up will be featured on this blog and will also receive digital copies (in their preferred format) of CRYO books 1 and 2.
*NOTE* All entrants will keep the copyright to their images, but provide me with an attribution license to distribute artwork untouched. This includes sharing on social media websites and within the book itself. The winning entry will have a link to artists website from the digital copy (for print, the web URL will be provided).
Submission Details and Closing Date
The closing date is Friday March 28th. Please submit artwork with a subject line of “CRYO CONTEST” to geoff_wakeling(at)hotmail(dot)com. In addition to submitting your art, please let me have details of your website so I can link at G+, Pinterest posts etc to your portfolio’s!
Now the fun bit! I’ve included as many details below as I can think of. Ask questions in the comments section if you need! And please, spread the word.
– Large eyes
– No ears – just folds. Lacking hair – again, think amphibian.
– Between 4/5 feet tall.
– Three fingered, three toed.
– A range of skin colours, from mottled brown and grey, to teal and silver. The colour of reflect their caste.
– Natural coloured tunics.
– Their skin is breathable and has to be kept damp. As such, when outside their cities/vehicles etc they wear biosuits. These keep the moisture in. The suits are transparent but can be flicked to a dense opaque texture with the push of a button. However, they’ll often wear a body suit without the head component, slathering their face with a muddy moisturiser instead.
– They use growing plants as adornments. Plants, fungi, lichen, flowers have roots embedded under the skin. These tiny pieces of flora then grow across the skin. Creatures are described as having swathes of silvery lichen up their neck, a cluster of bright flowers over their brow, or perhaps, fungi growing over their heads.
– In addition to plants, they’ll use feathers and beads to decorate themselves.
– Adult males wear funny flat-cap type hats, whilst the larger and taller females utilise long conical headdresses with adornments to make them appear even taller.
– the creatures live in vast underground and cavernous cities.
– These are kept moist, well lit and filled with plants; an artificial oasis.
– Some architecture is on the surface, but covered with a transparent layer like their biosuits.
I haven’t updated the blog in a while and that’s been because every available word at my disposal has been thrust into this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those of you who don’t know). And, for the first time it looks like I’m going to complete the challenge; 50,000 words in a month. I reached 40,000 yesterday so thought I’d take a brief gulp of air and push my head up to see what’s happening.
Many years ago as I was walking passed a building site, inspiration struck me. The first year accommodation for my university were four concrete and skyline-domineering tower blocks. They really were an eyesore, but I had many good memories. When the site was sold to developers, I assumed they’d simply blow the towers up; you know, Vegas style. As I walked by on this particular day, an extremely long crane with a unyielding set of metal jaws rose into the air instead, and it began to dismantle the towers from the top downwards. The image immediately sparked something in my head; it was like a great creature reaching into the air and causing destruction with ironic grace. At that time I was writing Inside Evil, and there was no way I could fit in these beasts. And so, CRYO took its first footsteps of life.
Like all things, the CRYO tale took on a life of it’s own; so much so that these beasts almost didn’t appear at all. John and Kath, my main characters in the first novel, took over my head and led the story where they wanted it to go. But finally, as I hit 30,000 words in the sequel, years of thinking finally came into alignment and the huge crane de-constructing my former home finally wormed its way into the pages of my book.
This year, NaNoWriMo has been a complete God send. It’s fitted in seamlessly with my writing schedule, and I intend to have about 60,000 words written by the end of the month; that’s two-thirds of CRYO – A Changed World complete. It’s been extremely interesting writing this sequel and taking John, Anne, Amity and co into the great world beyond the CRYO station. They’ve discovered – actually, they still are discovering – a lot of new things and are leading me in great circles around my story milestones. There’s also the battle of a language barrier between my CRYO survivors and a new race to contend with ….it’s a difficult line to write a new language without it becoming absurd, whilst trying to put enough in to show the difficulties my characters face.
Whilst I was aiming to get this sequel out towards the end of February, it’s looking like it might come early…and that’s something I’m extremely pleased to hear!
I’ve always been a huge fan of science fiction so naturally, when it came to writing, my mind was already inspired by the books I’d read and the movies I’d seen. One thing that fascinated me was cryonics; that is, the process of freezing someone and reviving them down the line. With current technology, though almost 300 people have actually been cryonically frozen, there’s no means to revive people. Even if they was, the damage done to their bodies is probably irreparable until some considerable leaps forward in bioengineering or nanomedicine are made.
One of the fantastic things about writing science fiction is that you can take a current technology and jump forward in time with it, letting your mind go wild about where a new technological breakthrough might lead. The use of cryonics has found popularity in mainstream entertainment, but I always found the process of actually ‘waking up’ a little too, well, ordinary. After all, this is a process where people are literally frozen into stasis. Why is it then, that when it’s often shown in movies, people just wake from ‘hyper-sleep’ a little too easily?
There are many cases where cryonics is used; Alien, Avatar and Star Wars immediately spring to mind. At least Han Solo woke with a bit of temporary blindness. It’s been used in television too, with Star Trek, Dr Who, Lost in Space, even the Golden Girls, all featuring the process. It’s something that continues to fascinate people. It’s also a process that allows time to pass without individuals have to age at all. Though, of course, that brings all sorts of time issues into play too; stay asleep long enough – whilst you go off on a mining expedition, for example – and you wind up being younger than your grandchild.
When it came to writing CRYO; Rise of the Immortals, I was very aware that I didn’t want waking from cryonic sleep to be easy. Far from it. I wanted it to be incredibly painful and disorientating. I wanted to put people in a position where they thought twice about travelling to the future by having their bodily fluid drained and their cells frozen. Matters are made even worse when there’s a complete lack of personnel to help my characters acclimatise themselves. But that gives the story drive, provides yet another hurdle for my protagonist, John, to overcome.
Everyone’s take on cryonics is a little different, and all too often, the process is simply used as a means to get characters from A to B. And, yes, I’m guilty of that too; my 50 CRYO candidates go into the cryonics program to do exactly that, move from one period of time to another. But sometimes it’s these tiny details that can be embellished to create entirely new stories. My inspirational moment of ‘what if waking up from hyper-sleep wasn’t easy?’ has spawned an entire series. And I’ll make it no secret that I drew inspiration from my favourite shows, movies and books.
Cryonics is so often overlooked as a vital time-travelling method. It’s not instant, apart for those who are frozen, but it is time travel depending on how you view it. And, I’m sure, as the years go on and further technological advances are made, cryonics, like everything else, will evolve in the way it’s portrayed.
Oh, NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month for those who don’t know). Every November, writers around the world grow beards, lose contact with loved ones and become smelly because they don’t have time to wash; all in the bid to get 50,000 words down in just one month. It’s an epic challenge, and one that, sadly, I’ve never managed to complete. However, with November rearing its head next week and another novel to get on the road, I’ve decidedly to participate this year.
As you’ll have seen in my previous post, I’ve made some changes to CRYO; Rise of the Immortals. That’s mostly because I’m about to start writing CRYO; A Changed World. I left my cast of characters perilously trying to survive in a new and alien world after winning a place on a cryonics scheme. It’s about time I got back to them. I really want to get the sequel written by mid-January at the latest so my editor has a good six weeks – aiming for a publication date at the end of Feb 2014. With the first installment being just over 100,000k and the next at least that, I need a kick start, and NaNoWriMo is perfect.
I’ll be adding a little widget to the sidebar in a moment so regular visitors can track my progress. I also have a profile over at the official website. And, if you’re a writer and so inclined, feel free to add me as a buddy too so we can spur each other on!
One of the things you often hear when publishing is that it’s crucial to get THREE things right; cover, blurb and sample. It sounds pretty obvious, but it can be hard to know what people are looking for. A cover has to make readers stop in their tracks, the blurb has to cause interest and the sample has to result in people having that ‘I HAVE TO BUY THIS BOOK’ moment. It’s well reported that even if one of these factors is lacking, sales can flat-line. H. M. Ward is a famous example for this. Initially, her books (Damaged, Scandalous etc) were selling, but not amazingly. She then changed the cover art, tightened up the blurb and BAM – New York Bestseller list. So…you can see how important it is.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to change up the CRYO cover. I love the Rise of the Immortals artwork, and the novel is my favourite – because I love the SciFi genre – but for some reason, it’s just not attracting readers. The few reviews I’ve received are extremely favourable (as you’ll see from the above link), and I’m about to embark on writing the sequel. With that in mind, I thought it was time for a change. In addition, I gave the sample a once over and changed a couple of bad style choices that had been overlooked.
So, the new blurb goes like this:
Would you accept a one-way ticket to the future?
Earth is dying, but John Carlody has the chance to escape. He wins the most anticipated lotto ever; the opportunity to become part of CRYO, be one of fifty people to enjoy the latest cryonics technology and journey forward half a century.
However, a dream come true could be a making of a nightmare. CRYO isn’t what it pretends to be and John is about to discover their secrets. But will he be too late?
Since changing the blurb and cover I’ve sold a grand total of….drum roll….two books. BUT, that’s more than I had been shifting. When I say it’s not attracting readers, I mean it. So, we’ll see what happens with the new details. It’s not all about the novel….in some ways, the packaging it more important than what’s inside. It’s great to have a exciting book and all, but if no ones reading it, what’s the point?
Like the new cover & blurb? Prefer the old one? Let me know…for us little indie’s these details are vital!