OK, I’ll admit that I am as spoiled as anyone when it comes to free content on the web. If I want to hear a song, I go to YouTube; if I want to look up something, I’ll browse Google rather than a bookstore. So much information and content is available for nothing that I have become reluctant to part with my hard-earned credit.
This bodes ill for the many people (like me) who wish they could make a living as a writer/artist/photographer/musician. I price my books as low as I can go, but sales for most of them remain very slow. I’ve wondered if it’s because my books don’t interest people or if (like me) they just don’t want to pay for them.
In order to find out – and in the hopes of getting some feedback – I decided to take advantage of Amazon’s KDP Select “Free Promotion”, which allows an author or publisher to offer a book for $0.00 for up to 5 days every three months. I started with my full-color children’s book about the Roman Empresses. I’ve had some wonderful comments about it from people, but had only sold 9 copies on Amazon in 3 months, so why not? I was amazed at the result: in three days, ending last night at midnight, 773 people in 5 countries “stole” my book! Of course, I hope that at least one or two will repay me with a positive review, but just having that many people bother to take a look at my work is very gratifying. And I’ve learned that people ARE interested in at least one of my books if the price is right (nothing).
I’ve resisted Amazon’s KDP Select program for most of my titles because it seems like a strong-arm tactic to put their competition out of business. And it probably is – but if I can share my work with more people in one weekend than all of my other outlets have attracted in two years, it seems worth playing along, at least temporarily (I can always opt out of KDP Select after 3 months).
Sooooo – I am offering nearly ALL of my ebooks for free this week (start and end times vary). So far, the numbers are looking good. All of them will be back to their “normal” prices of $2.99 or $0.99 by the end of the week, so act quickly if you’d like to check them out. The following titles already are discounted or will be by noon PDT tomorrow (9/26/12): Dreamweaving; Dreamweaving: Screenplay; Bulla Felix; Bulla Felix: Screenplay; Vipsania; Tiberius and Vipsania: Screenplay; Wisdom Illustrated. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle viewer and read them on your computer screen.
A simple idea – dreams can be recorded and played like videos. Everybody does it, and the most popular TV shows deal with it: “Amazing Dreams,” “Celebrity Dreams”, :”America’s Funniest Dreams”. You get the idea – Unreality Shows. So what happens when a famous psychic dreams the end of the world? Think Jonestown.
Meanwhile, scientists figure out how to retrieve dreams from the past – “fossil dreams”, so to speak. By studying these dreams, they discover a prehistoric civilization that struggled with global warming and rising sea level. Throw in a bit of romantic drama and (hopefully) you have an entertaining story. It’s a quick read at 23,000 or so words, and cheap in paperback or as an ebook. And, yes, a screenplay is on the way.
Based on my novel, “Vipsania: A Roman Odyssey“, This is another feature-length script for a movie (or TV series) that may never be made. I’m selling this one for a song on Amazon, both in paper and as an ebook.
As described in an earlier post, this story is very much in the tradition of “I, Claudius”. In fact, I had the chutzpah to send versions of the story to two of the stars of that amazing series – George Baker (now deceased), who played Tiberius, and Brian Blessed, who played Augustus. Tiberius comes through much better in my tale; Augustus is pretty much the same.
If you enjoyed “I, Claudius” and would like to read more about those times and characters, you might enjoy my novel and script.
Previous entries have described my novel, Bulla Felix: The Roman Robin Hood. This book started as a movie script, covering Bulla’s life from his banishment from Rome to the death of his arch enemy the emperor Severus in Britannia.
On the slim chance that this 100 million dollar blockbuster movie will never be made – and to improve the chances that it will – I’ve published the updated script as an inexpensive paperback ($3.95) and as a 99 cent ebook. I do think it would make an exciting and satisfying movie – after having watched it in my imagination many times (no budget restraints there).
Many recent films have dealt with Roman interactions with the Celtic people of northern Britain (e.g. The Eagle, Centurion, King Arthur, The Last Legion). There seems to be a fascination with the Wild-West-like struggle between the “noble savage” (the Celtic barbarian) and the advanced but corrupt Roman Empire. This script describes a historical drama that arose from the last serious attempt (in the early 200′s) by the Romans to conquer the whole island.
As promised – and sooner than expected – my children’s book about the Roman empresses is now available on Amazon. I’ve kept the price down to $11.99. It’s a slim volume at 60 pages, but with 12 full-color, full-page portraits (7.5 x 9.25), and the stories are easy to read – at a level appropriate for older children (10 and up). I think the book will appeal to anyone interested in history and/or women’s studies.
Am making good progress on my new book about the Roman empresses and expect to offer it for sale by mid-summer (or sooner). “Stories of the ROMAN EMPRESSES and other royal Roman women” will contain 12 full-color portraits of the following: Livia, Antonia, the two Agrippinas, Domitia, Plotina, Sabina, the two Faustinas, Julia Domna, Julia Mamaea, and Helena. I have completed the text and am now working on coloring Faustina I (number 8 of 12).
Unlike my previous book on the empresses (Great Women of Imperial Rome), this book does not present full biographies. Rather, it consists of stories taken from the lives of these women, written at a level appropriate for anyone aged 12 and up. Also included is a list of Roman emperors and their women from 27 BC to AD 337 and an introduction that briefly describes the lot of women in general in the Roman Empire.
I hope to be able to offer the full-color book at a reasonable price – probably $13.99 – through Amazon and others. Stay posted for an announcement of its availability!