I've recently been interviewed by Mercedes Fox for her regular Meet the Author feature. She posed some really interesting questions that led me on to a range of topics including some background insights into the Merchant Blades series, my writing process, and my thoughts on self-publishing. If you'd like to read the interview in full, please click on this link.
Things are moving at quite a pace now, and the e-book of book 2 in the Merchant Blades series, Lose a Princess, Lose Your Head, is now available to pre-order on Amazon. Click here for the pre-order page on amazon.com, and here for the page on amazon.co.uk.
It will be released NEXT WEEKEND on Saturday, 25th Feb, 2017, and if you pre-order today, it will be sent direct to your kindle device or app on the release day, so you can be among the first to read of Regina's and Jaeger's continuing adventures.
To celebrate the release of book 2, I'm running a promotion on book 1 in the series, The Alchemist's Box, from Friday 24th through to Saturday 26th Feb, so if you haven't already got a copy, this is your chance to get hold of one for free.
If you haven't signed up for my newsletter yet, you should, as soon every subscriber will receive a free short story! You can sign up here.
So, what do Regina and Jaeger get up to in the second book? As you probably read in the teaser at the end of the first novel, while lying low in Eressia, they bump into one of Jaeger’s former officers in the Eressian Imperial Army, who invites them on a job, to escort a princess of Eressia across the country to meet her future husband. They sense that everything’s not as it seems, but Jaeger’s patriotism gets the better of him, and he accepts. Now she's bound to Jaeger by a curse, Regina has little choice but to come along. Of course, the job doesn’t go entirely to plan, and they are ambushed and the princess is kidnapped. They find themselves in a mad rush to try to retrieve her before the kidnappers cross the border into the Duchy of Korthi. Thus, the adventure begins.
I want to say a BIG THANK-YOU to everyone who downloaded The Alchemist's Box for our first promotion on Saturday. Watching the downloads rack up was exciting, and from that one day there are now around 500 extra copies out there to be read. If you got one, I really hope you enjoy it.
As an independent author, gaining book reviews is SO important, so if, once you've read it, you can spare a moment to write a few lines of review on Amazon, it would be so helpful. I really need to build up reviews on Amazon.com (the US site) as well as on Amazon.co.uk, so if you downloaded it from the UK site, you can still post a review on Amazon.com by clicking here.
From here on, I'll give some details on what we did for our giveaway, which may only be of interest to other independent authors, so if you're not interested in the details, I thank-you once more for your help in reading this, and hopefully downloading the book.
OK, so the Amazon free promotion was for a single day, Saturday 14th Jan, 2017. We submitted free ads to 18 book promotion websites, of which we found our book live on 6. The other twelve may have tweeted or posted details of our book promotion on Facebook, or may not have had room on the day for our book, so I will calss these 12 as unconfirmed. We also paid fairly small amounts for promotions on 3 sites, and posted details on 2 book promotion forums, and tweeted to 5 book promotion twitter accounts.
This resulted in download of 470 copies over the day, with a significant number (approx 1 in 3) of those coming after 10 pm UK time, suggesting that a lot of folks in the US downloaded in their late afternoon/early evening. The following day we also had a small spike of paid sales, which easily covered the price of the ads we placed.
Our target from this first round of promotion is to increase the number of reviews on amazon.com. Before the promotion we had 5 reviews, and I'm optimistically hoping that if 1% of the downloads turn into a review, we might get another 4-5 reviews from this campaign. If this is the case, this will open up other promotional sites to us who have larger distribution lists, such as Book Barbarian, who claim to have an average of 1800 downloads from their site alone for promotional giveaways, but require a minimum of 10 reviews.
We will plan another promotion once we have the second book, Lose a Princess, Lose Your Head, published, as I'm hoping that will be ready in a couple of weeks now its back from the editor. I'm formatting it for e-book at the moment, and having a final proofread to try to ensure it is as error free as possible before it is published.
Finally I will summarise the promitional websites we used:
Free ads where our listing definitely went out:
kboards.com - book bazaar
Sites submitted to, where we were unable to confirm whether our promotion was live (if you heard of it from one of these, please let us know and we will adjust the post):
The FREE GIVEAWAY of The Alchemist's Box is doing great. We're getting lots of downloads, and climbing the Amazon charts. Unfortunately, to get any higher we need to start deposing the likes of H.G.Wells, Victor Hugo, and Robert E. Howard: three of my heroes! Still, it looks good to see The Alchemist's Box in such exalted company!
If you haven't downloaded your copy, get it tonight before it goes back to full price!
Download from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Its all happening this week! I received Lose a Princess, Lose Your Head back from my super-talented editor, and I think it reads really well now. I've done a final proofread, and so the second novel in the Merchant Blades series will soon be ready for release. Just need to format it for the e-book, refine the cover blurb and it'll be ready to go.
The Alchemist's Box has been doing well so far. The Kindle Unlimited 'pages read' count has been stradily increaseing, despite having done little promotional activity yet. We've even had our first '1000 pages read in a day' day! Its been read around the world, with sales in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, and of course in Greece, and its great to know there's people out there who I don't know who are picking it up and reading it (without having been bullied into it!) I'm also really pleased that from the stats it looks like once people start reading it, they can't put it down, and get through it in a couple of days.The intention when I wrote the book was that it would be a page-turner that would make you miss your stop on the bus!
This weekend we're running our first promotional event, a GIVEAWAY SATURDAY, where the book will be available to download for FREE from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Hoping we get a good number of downloads, that will hopefully translate into some more good reviews on Amazon. I'll blog more about that on Saturday, but if you want a copy, or you know anyone who might want to get their hands on a free copy, Saturday's the day!
I am very excited today, and not just because it’s Christmas Eve, always a good reason to be excited. The reason that I'm so excited today is that I’m happy and proud to announce that my first novel, The Alchemist’s Box, is available for download in Kindle format.
For the UK, click here.
For the US and the rest of the world, click here
It’s taken a while from the moment the original idea popped in my mind to the day the final finished form of the novel was ready. It had to be written down, re written, edited, re-edited and then edited once more by a professional editor. This sentence makes it sound that everything happened very fast, but it did take some doing. It was all worth it, as I think it turned the book into the best it could be. I think the revamp of the website (still a work in progress) is also an improvement, and I’m very excited about the map of this world, and the sketches of the leading characters, Regina Fitzwaters and Maximillian Jaeger.
The book is a fast paced, swashbuckling fantasy adventure set in a world similar to Napoleonic/Regency era Europe. Captain Regina Fitzwaters, a mercenary in the Merchant Blades and former cavalry captain is offered an opportunity to have her gambling debts forgiven by the bosses of Border Town. All she needs to do is bring back a box they purchased from the Alchemist in the city of Pella. The catch? She has to pair up with Kapitan Maximillian Jaeger, a former enemy, who fought on the opposite side of the war.
Throw in snow threatening to block the only pass, highwaymen, a persistent pack of wolves on their tails, the niece and nephew of the Duke in the opulent court of Pella taking a particular interest in Regina and Jaeger. What could possibly go wrong?
Need something to help you unwind for Christmas? Someone to keep you company on the long journey to and from home? A great gift for someone who likes a good book? The Alchemist’s Box is here for you.
If you enjoy The Alchemist’s Box, as I hope you do, “Lose a Princess, Lose Your Head”, the Merchant Blades second adventure will be out very soon.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Love and Festive Kisses to everyone,
Looking for a fun read over Christmas? I'm excited to announce the e-book version of The Alchemist's Box is now available for pre-order on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com, and will be delivered direct to your e-reader or PC on release day, 21st Dec. Reserve your copy now!
The Alchemist's Box
Five years ago she would have run him though with her saber without a thought. Now she must trust Kapitan Maximillian Jaeger, enemy in the recent bitter war, with her life. Mercenary Captain Regina Fitzwaters embarks on one simple job to save her reputation: to retrieve the mysterious Alchemist’s Box from the court of the neighboring Duchy of Pella.
But in Pella, a curse of a thousand years has resurfaced. Where are all the court dignitaries? What does the Alchemist’s box contain that is worth killing, or dying, for?
Can Regina and Jaeger put the war behind them and work together to save everyone in the Duchy before it’s too late?
Here's a short video trailer of my fantasy adventure novel, The Alchemist's Box. Paperback now available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. The e-book will be released next week!
It’s been a busy few months since the last post, but we have some exciting news to report. The paperback version of The Alchemist’s Box, the first book in the Merchant Blades series, is now live on amazon.com here and on amazon.co.uk here. It’s been a long process, getting it professionally edited, and going through it repeatedly to make it as polished as possible for the final publishable form. We also have review copies of the e-book available, which we are starting to send out in advance of launching the e-book. If you are interested in obtaining a free review copy (kindle mobi format, or e-pub format for other e-readers/apps) please let us know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you know anyone else who has an interest in reading fantasy novels and might like a review copy, please share this with them – in fact, we’d love it if you share this with everyone you know! We’d also like to share with you a map of the Merchant Blades world, so you can see where all the action takes place. There's a larger version of the map, and more background information on the Merchant Blades series in this section of the website.
Alex Avrio is an author of Fantasy Adventure stories.