Witch Watch: Digital Edition Available

By Shamus Posted Monday Feb 27, 2012

Filed under: Projects 138 comments

As some people noticed last week, my book is already for sale on Amazon, due to some screw-up or misunderstanding on our part. This stealth release actually worked out really well: One nasty error and a couple of trivial ones had crept in during our final round of formatting, and these early readers caught them before it went out to the masses. (Or went into printing!)

So, since the door is open, I might as well start spreading the news: The Witch Watch (digital edition) is now available for sale. The print edition will go live this Friday, March 2nd. For a full list of all the ways you can buy this thing, check my author page.

And before you ask…

Q. So how much is this thing gonna set me back?

The introductory price is five bucks. (USA $) I plan to move the price up after a week or so. Then the price will slowly go down. I’m going this to see how price impacts sales. The online publishing biz is so open that anyone can publish. Which means there’s a lot of dross. It’s possible that if I set the price too low I’ll be signaling to buyers that the work isn’t very good. This pricing stuff is tricky business, and it’s pretty far out of my area of expertise. So I need to experiment a bit and see what works.

The point is, I’m going to sell it for $5 for a week before I start mucking around with it.

Q. I see you have the book for sale in several different places. What version makes you the most money?

The difference between stores is very small. One gives me 75% of the list price, another gives me 80%. Which works out to twenty-five cents. (These percentages are very good, historically. When you go into a bookstore, the author usually doesn’t make more than 15%, and can sometimes make a good bit less than that.)

So, please get whatever version is most convenient for you. If it doesn’t matter, then I suppose buying from Amazon is best because the “people who liked this have also purchased” system can sell my books to people who have never heard of me or my humble website. Currently it’s lumping me in with Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. And I’m okay with that. *Puts on sunglasses.*

Q. How can I get an autographed copy?

If you’re heading for PAX East, then you can just get a regular copy and hunt me down when we get to the show. I’ll be happy to sign whatever stuff you think would be better with my name on it.

If you’re not going to PAX East, then I’ll get back to you. Let me get this print version out before we start working on manually distributing signed copies.

Q. I’ve read the book already and I want to talk about it! When can we have spoiler-y discussions?

I’m going to put up a post later this week for that exact purpose.

Q. How is the book selling so far?

Considering that almost nobody knew it was for sale? Pretty good, I guess. The real test will come this Friday when the print version goes live and I start promoting it.

So far the feedback is very encouraging. Whether it sells or not, I think I’ve written a good book. I’m proud of it, and I’m happy I wrote it.

Q. How can I help you promote the book?

Post a review where you bought it! Tell your friends! I guess that second one was kind of obvious! I’m not actually all that marketing-savvy, except I know you’re supposed to use a lot of exclamation marks!


From The Archives:

138 thoughts on “Witch Watch: Digital Edition Available

  1. Dmatix says:

    Since I can’t really read full length novels on a screen, I’ll have to try and get a print copy. Which is a problem because Amazon charges a gallon of blood in shipping to where I live. If this ever gets to the Book Depository I’ll get it there, and if it doesn’t I’ll try and get some U.S dwelling relative to send it to me. Because I am going to read this, I promise you that.

    1. rofltehcat says:

      I read it on my Android phone (Samsung Galaxy Gio) and although it isn’t really an ebook reader, I was surprised at how well I could read it on the small screen (low brightness, slightly-brow instead of white background). Much more enjoyable than on my screen at least.
      So if you have a smartphone, maybe try out how good ebooks work on it (there are many free ones, even on Amazon).

      Then buy Shamus’ book twice ;D

    2. topazwolf says:

      Ever try a normal Kindle? No back lighting or flickering so it’s easy on the eyes.

      1. Brandon says:

        I second the classic e-ink model Kindles as the ideal way to read ebooks and some manga. Like reading paper, dangit! I just wish the thing had higher pixel density. My only complaint. I don’t even mind the refresh delay (which is minimal on the latest models).

        1. Dmatix says:

          Don’t have a Kindle or a smart phone. Starving student and all. My only luxury is a gaming laptop I got as a gift, and reading on it isn’t much fun. If I could afford a Kindle I might have already got one, but I really can’t.

          1. BeardedDork says:

            If you are a starving student you should really make every effort to get a good ereader many books for school are much cheaper on them, the investment definitely pays off.

            1. X2Eliah says:

              This. So many times this. A kindle costs about 15$ more than a single coursebook (or two, depending on the subject). And you can get digital versions of the coursebooks from all sorts of libraries in various e-formats.

              And yes, the kindle’s e-ink screen is utterly perfect for sustained reading sessions. Which is why you should not choose the kindle fire (the colour tablet), as it doesn’t have an e-ink screen.

  2. Exetera says:

    If you’re going to put up a post for Witch Watch discussion, can we please also have one for Free Radical discussion? I really want to talk about that book sometime.

    1. atom F says:

      I second this request!

      1. Clint Olson says:

        Ooo, that would be interesting. Looking at the intro to Free Radical, it sounds like Shamus had significant feedback while he was writing it, serial-style, but I came across it far too late to participate in that. I third this, as I would relish the chance to discuss some of the more fascinating themes of the book.

        1. krellen says:

          Sounds like another argument for “Shamus needs a forum.”

          1. rofltehcat says:

            But it would be “just another forum to check” rather than having discussions at the bottom at the bottom of the blog posts. I think I prefer the current system (discuss a topic, let it go as new content is posted) over forums that tend to turn in circles and heat up quite regularly. Furthermore, it is easier to contribute in this comments system than it is in a forum (with very long threads and “locals” who dominate nearly all discussions)

            Just my preference, though :)

            1. krellen says:

              Implemented properly, a forum would supplement, not supplant, the blog.

              1. Khizan says:

                I would love a forum. There have been issues and subjects that I’d really like to (discuss/fight about) with people here, except that forum comments are such a bleh place to do so. They fall out of scope in a day or so at the most as new posts go up, it’s hard to find responses, and you have to scan all the comments from the top to the bottom to see if anything new has been said.

                Also, as far as “dominated by locals”… the comments here already tend to end up like that.

                1. krellen says:

                  Yeah, sorry about that. I spend most of my day sitting behind a desk that I have to stay at in case the phone rings or an email comes in.

        2. CrushU says:

          Free Radical was SO GOOD. It is singlehandedly the reason I continue to read anything Shamus says. (Ok, so DMotR helped, but still.)

  3. Meredith says:

    I had no idea it wasn’t supposed to be for sale already last week, now I feel special. :p

    As far as pricing, I’m kind of new to Kindle ownership and may not represent the majority, but I don’t really like paying more than $5-ish for an e-book. I’ve refused to buy the latest book in a couple of series I’m following because they want $10 for it and I find that insulting. The paperback versions will be cheaper, I can wait. On the other hand, I’ve taken a chance on a few books from the under $3.99 deal every month and been mostly pleased with it. So, take that for what it’s worth (also considering I’ve been pretty resistant to the switch from real books to digital).

    1. Mari says:

      I’m pretty much with you. My big thing is that I absolutely refuse to pay the same price for an e-book that I would for the hardcover version. It’s shocking to me how many of the big publishing houses seem to be under the impression that I would be willing to save them all the paper, ink, cover, shipping, and retail bookshelf costs but still PAY the same amount. Generally, I won’t spend much more than $10 for an e-book. I don’t have a floor price, though. I’ve been known to pick up free e-books (not the ones that are on “special” for free or something – just starting authors hoping to get their names out and such free). Some I’ve been happy with, some I’ve not. But the same applies to books I’ve paid for in roughly the same proportions so there ya go.

      1. Meredith says:

        That’s probably a better way to put it. If I know I can eventually get a physical copy for the same/less, I won’t buy the e-book at that price point.

      2. Simulated Knave says:

        theferrett on livejournal explained this well (he was a bookbuyer for Borders back when that was still a viable career).

        Basically, publishers think you’re paying to have the book before other people, not to have a nigh-indestructible, sexy-looking hardcover. Hardcovers aren’t actually much more expensive to make than paperbacks.

        On that basis, such pricing is unsurprising.

    2. Factoid says:

      Kindle book prices generally come down to below paperback pricing when the paperback actually comes out. It’s all a matter of timing. They want to make as much money as possible so they price it high at first, siphon off all the people willing to pay that price, then lower it, get the next group, then lower it again.

      That way everyone gets to pay what they’re willing to pay. Unfortunately there’s no way to do that and still let everyone have it on day 1.

      If a book is in hardback I’m usually happy to pay 10 bucks for the ebook, because the hardback will be at least 20, if not 25 or 30. Amazon used to have a hard limit of $10 for a new release book. Publishers rebelled and amazon capitulated. Now you routinely see 15-19 dollar ebooks for sale on NYT Best Seller type books.

    3. Kdansky says:

      I’d argue the opposite. If I want a book, I really don’t care whether it’s 5$ or 20$. Sure, I prefer the cheap one, but I’ll fork over big money if I have to. After 20$ or so, I’m starting to get stingy. I’ve long since wanted an OOTS collection, but the shipping to Europe (+30% or so) is killing my appetite.

      1. Soylent Dave says:

        I’ve been the same re: the OOTS stuff and postage to Europe.

        I did manage to pick up the print-only stuff at Rich’s recent kickstarter, mostly because the ‘international postage’ add-on was nice and reasonable. I couldn’t comic strip books, though (hopefully international ordering won’t be quite so heinously priced when he reprints ’em…)

        1. Bubble181 says:

          Same for OOTS and Penny Arcade. PA is even worse; when they had their 5-book-sale, shipping was actually more than the cost of the books themselves. I like the USPS, but not that much.

  4. KremlinLaptop says:

    Shamus, when “Witch Watch” gets on the New York Times best sellers list for weeks on end you better not forget all of us ungrateful cretins who’ve been commenting on your blog for years now. We’re your foundation, after all.

    Also I’m probably going to be buying the paper-back version myself.

    1. Kdansky says:

      “I’m contributing!”

  5. When I heard that it was already available I thought I was crazy. I’ve been following your blog for years, and couldn’t believe I missed the “Witch Watch is out!” post. lol Thanks, Shamus, looking forward to it. :)

  6. Dev Null says:

    Just in case the vaguaries of Amazon recommendations make it go away, I saved this for you.

    Yeah, thats the kind of company I could live with too.

    1. Zagzag says:

      That’s exactly what I’m getting right now as well, on the UK version though.

  7. Piflik says:

    I just started reading (finished the first chapter) and so far I like it. One thing I am missing, though, are the chapter markings on my Kindle’s ‘progress bar’…

  8. Factoid says:

    It's possible that if I set the price too low I'll be signaling to buyers that the work isn't very good. This pricing stuff is tricky business, and it's pretty far out of my area of expertise. So I need to experiment a bit and see what works.

    I applaud your willingness to experiment. I think the idea of “low price signals low value” has been disproven in the marketing world, though. At least for goods that are already low price.

    If I’m in the manufacturing business and I’m interested in a machine that will make 14 million widgets per day, and one machine costs a million dollars while the other costs half a million dollars, I’m probably going to worry that the half-million dollar machine might not be as robust as the million dollar machine, even though it claims to have the same performance. But for items under a certain threshold the standard rules of supply, demand and price elasticity apply.

    Regarding the book, I picked it up on Amazon the other day. I’m not sure whether it was my kindle, or something with the book itself, but it would not download for quite a while. I bought it on friday and it didn’t successfully download to my kindle until sunday after attempting to sync multiple times. I’ve got it now, though. I still have to wrap up another book before I dive in, but I”m looking forward to it.

    1. Tizzy says:

      As far as books are concerned, I’m pretty sure it can make a difference. Many reading enthusiasts have way more books to read than time to read them in, and will have little patience for anything that just might be a waste of time.

      Fortunately, recommendations do a lot more than price point to win people over. And anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that this book will be worth their while.

  9. squishydish says:

    Is there an ISBN number in case I want to order the print edition from Barnes & Noble or my favorite indie bookstore? I don’t have an e-reader, so my other option is to spend more time sitting in front of my PC…

    1. Shamus says:

      13-digit ISBN: 978-1470105815

  10. LintMan says:

    Just saw this over at Boing-Boing, I’m not sure it this will impact you, but FYI about Amazon’s pricing:

    1. BeardedDork says:

      Shamus should already be aware of it, that’s always been in the TOS.

  11. GiantRaven says:

    In trying to buy this I find that Amazon doesn’t appear to like Apple very much. I download the kindle app onto my ipod so I can buy this – absolutely no option to search through and buy books. So I download the Amazon app for searching and buying stuff – get greeted with a message that you can’t buy kindle books this way.

    It seems somewhat stupid to have no way to buy a product on the very device it’s intended to be downloaded onto. Blergh.

    1. LintMan says:

      I find that Amazon doesn't appear to like Apple very much

      I think it’s the other way around. More specifically, I think Apple wants a $$$ cut of any purchasing being done via their hardware (rather an outrageous demand, IMHO), and likely requires them to use the app store or negotiate some similar way for them to get their cut. So since Amazon doesn’t want to pay Apple to sell you a book, you can’t buy them on the ipod. Of course, it also doesn’t help that Apple has it’s own ibook publishing setup.

      1. StranaMente says:

        Most likely, Apple’s plan is to have all the things. All of them. And make people pay loads of cash for them.

      2. Marauder says:

        Exactly. You used to be able to purchase directly from the Kindle App, but then Apple changed the rules to force all content purchases made within apps to go through the App Store (where they get a 30% cut). Instead of capitulating to Apple’s demands, Amazon updated the Kindle app to force purchases to go through their web page instead.


        1. GiantRaven says:

          I see, thanks. I guess I’ll be all up in this book when I get home then. =D

    2. Heron says:

      This is Apple’s fault. I forget the exact details but the basic idea is that Apple doesn’t want apps to link to external places to buy things unless the things are also available as in-app purchases (going through Apple’s system and thus giving Apple a 30% cut of everything). Amazon probably doesn’t want to give Apple a 30% cut of every ebook sale.

      Amazon’s choices were to either remove the links to their store from the app, or de-list the iOS Kindle app. I’m glad they chose to keep the app there, because I use it extensively.

      (Full disclosure: I work for Amazon [Web Services], so I may be biased in favor of Amazon in general; however, in this case, there’s plenty of information out there on this situation so I don’t think my siding with Amazon in this case is just bias.)

      1. GiantRaven says:

        Nothing wrong with siding with Amazon here. 30% seems like a ridiculously huge amount to be handing over. I’m glad I make all my purchaces through other means where possible.

  12. Matt K says:

    I honestly can’t wait to buy a print edition (I don’t mind reading on a e-reader but much prefer to own a physical copy). In the mean time, I just realized Free Radical is available and I’ll probably give that a go while I wait (heck, the first e-book I read on my device was Vatsy and Bruno).

  13. Terran says:

    I think you need a different pair of sunglasses to dramatically don for *each author you’re associated with.

    *Provided you like said author.

  14. James says:

    when/if the time comes i’d happily pay extra for a signed copy, hell the hard back of A Dance with Dragons was £25, and a signed copy from or favorite fallout 3 “fan” would be worth as much (shipping will be fun though)

  15. Falcon says:

    You mentioned pricing and royalties a bit, namely regarding digital retailers. I’m curious if you make more money (nit percentage, but actual direct income) on a physical book or digital. I prefer physical books but if you make more on digital that will be my choice.

    1. Shamus says:

      Physical copies make me more money per unit, even though I make a much smaller percentage.

      Print-on-demand is getting better all the time, but it’s still not as efficient as batch printing.

      1. krellen says:

        How many sales do you need to have made it worth your while? Not in the “hey, look, people bought my book” sense, but in that “Well, yeah, I guess that’s about what I could have made working my programming job all that time” sense.

        1. Shamus says:

          Heather and I have been talking about this, and at the end of this long journey, I realized I hadn’t even considered this until the dang thing was done.

          It’s a bit mushy, obviously, but I think 10k units would be a solid success. That number could be a bit lower if the print copy is the most popular version. It might need to be a bit higher if most sales are digital. And this is assuming I don’t need to drop the prices to rock bottom to move them.

          I have no idea if this is a reasonable number at all. It might be an easy target. It might be a pipe dream. We’ll see how it goes. I guess.

          1. krellen says:

            Given the numbers you’ve posted about your pageviews (I assume you were quoting unique views, not total), that’s about 30% of your audience. Seems reasonable to me.

          2. Kayle says:

            I’m not really connected into the book world, but from Usenet rec.arts.sf.written threads many years ago (when Usenet actually mattered!), my guess is that 10K hardcover sales would be a smashing success for an SF author, though not quite a blockbuster. 10K rack-sized paperback sales would be high mid-list (also for an SF author). Other genres, large format softcovers, or ebooks, I have no idea.

          3. Dys says:

            10k should be achievable, though without any kind of advertising you’re relying on people to tell their friends. So long as each person convinces at least one other to buy it, sales should be infinite! Math!

            1. Bubble181 says:

              My guess is they’d peter out around the 7 billion mark, but hey :-P

          4. Vlad says:

            Well, I hope that you will keep us in the loop on how well it does. If, for nothing else, because we obviously like to read what you write.

            By the way, just finished it about an hour ago. Smashing good read, I really liked the style. It reminded me a lot (both in tone and in the themes it drew from) of the DnD campaign you posted at the beginning of this blog. Great fun, both of them.

  16. MrCompassionate says:

    Its great to see such positive reviews! Very happy for you, I might buy it myself actually.

  17. Galad says:

    Pardon the noob question, but if I get the kindle version will I be able to read it on my computer? Are the formats compatible?

    1. Exetera says:

      Amazon has Kindle viewer applications available for PC. You can also read Kindle books in a web browser.

      1. swenson says:

        I actually just finished reading my “copy” with Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader, right in my browser. Very convenient, has a good size and looks nice, and you can use keyboard controls for navigation, so basically it’s got all my favorite features for an e-reader program!

  18. Mephane says:

    Well Shamus, now you missed the opportunity to disguise this fluke as a clever marketing ploy. ;)

    I was actually surprised once again at currency differences. In Euros tThe eBook version on Amazon was just below 4 Euros in Europe, and with 5 being the typical no-brainer limit for many people, this might give you even further sales on this side of the pond. :D

  19. Mari says:

    I don’t know how to game Amazon’s recommendation matrix but I’d also throw author Glen Cook into that mix of authors they’re comparing you to. I find your style to be very compatible with Cook and you both share a similar wit drier than the Sahara.

  20. X2Eliah says:

    If the publishing agreements and legal kerfluffles aren’t against it, you might drop a few review e-copies to some sf/f literature blogs, they are usually appreciative of good writing. Which means more exposure to you, at any rate.

  21. guy says:

    I don’t suppose there is a Nook version?

    Man, the Ebook format wars are such a pain.

    1. Piflik says:

      You can buy it in ePub format for your Nook here.

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        But no lit I see.

        1. Piflik says:

          If you can open .lit only, I recommend getting Calibre and convert it or a proper App that can open more common files…there are a multitude of readers for most (if not all) devices.

        2. Kayle says:

          Microsoft ended sales of ebooks in .lit format last November–it’s pretty much a a dead format now.

    2. Bubble181 says:

      There is. Search around and you’ll find a post with links to each version.

  22. Strangeite says:

    As an individual that recently purchased the book and knows a little bit about marketing (I am a promoter for concerts), let me give you some unsolicited advice.

    1. This is the big one. I am afraid you are grossly under utilizing your greatest asset. The Twenty Sided community. Forbes had an article recently on the OOTS Kickstarter and came to the conclusion that authors should leverage Facebook, Twitter, etc. in order to promote their works. Within the comments, it was pointed out that while this isn’t a bad idea, it had NOTHING to do with the success of the OOTS Kickstarter. Burlew does not have a Facebook page, or Twitter, etc.

    Also pointed out in the comments, the real reason the OOTS Kickstarter was so successful was that the OOTS community themselves crowd sourced the fundraiser. This was able to be accomplished because of the robust and vibrant forum on the Giant in the Playground site.

    A forum would allow individuals that care about the Twenty sided community, your work and you (in that order) to research, organize, discuss and execute ways of promoting The Witch Watch. For example, since the Witch Watch has come out, I have been interested in seeing how the Amazon Sales Rank algorithm works. There are ways of gaming the system, but it is dependent upon people timing their purchases, making purchases from distinct OSs, etc. Such things would be trivial to organize for fans, IF they had a forum in which to communicate.

    I think the success of the TwentyMine server is proof positive that a Twenty Sided Forum would not only be a huge boon for the community but would directly benefit you financially.

    2. Leverage past success. Whenever I am organizing a new concert series or festival, I routinely send a press release to the individual reporters that have covered one of my previous events. I make it a point to mention the previous concert and include a quote from their article. On the surface it appears as if this is just the standard press release, when in fact, it has been tailored to that specific journalist. Is this dishonest? I don’t believe so, but I do know it works. I get almost a 70% success rate that the media outlet will cover the new endeavor.

    You got lots of coverage about The DMing of the Ring, leverage it.

    3. Actively participate within the Amazon forums. There is a passionate community of authors and readers there that will take a chance on work if they are aware of it, they in turn will also be very likely to continue discussing it within the Amazon forum. Currently there is no threads about The Witch Watch within the Amazon forums. I would start one myself, but need to think of a good topic for an initial thread.

    You know what they say about unsolicited advice, so I hope I have not overstepped manners by giving you mine. I truly want this book to be a success for you and your family. If I have come across as being heavy handed, it was because I have the best of intentions.

    Good luck.

    1. Shamus says:

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful advice. I will be thinking about it very carefully.

      1. Alan says:

        Some good advice there, and I would welcome a forum, and I would think that you should be able to find plenty of people willing to to the admin for it.

        I also work in marketing (Small businesses online), so here is my (unasked for) £0.02:

        1) I would also add that temporarily changing the banner ads on the side to something promoting the book might work. If you look at your stats and see that most visitors look at more than one page, you could use an ‘onload’ function to have a random ‘book banner’, or Google Adsense so your main income stream won’t be affected, but you still promote the book.

        2) If you haven’t done so already, try contacting the Escapist to see if they would be willing to help. From what I have seen, they have done all kinds of things to help their contributors. I think it is clear that there is a lot of crossover in interest with their audience. It is worth an E-mail.

        3) Make a promo video. Distribute widely (see above about Escapist), having a video may get to people who don’t come to this site. It doesn’t have to be long ~1 min, just with a shot of the book, maybe one or two of the illustrations, and reading out a passage perhaps, or the synopsis.

        4) One thing Rich Burlew did do was participate in various podcasts etc. It may be worth contacting the different sci-fi / Fantasy sites who have regular podcasts / news to do an interview / feature.

        5) Book signing events at local gaming / book stores. It may sound a little weird, but if a book store is willing to host a book signing session in their store – “Meet local writer, Shamus Young, with his new book ‘Witch Watch’, and get a signed copy” – possibly get it featured in the local press / radio.

        You might not be fighting off hordes of people, but you will be able to shift a few copies and spread the word. Put an insert with a leaflet with your site address in too.

        Unfortunately the above does mean meeting people…

        6) Contact the library / schools / colleges / bookshops / reading circles etc and offer some copies.

        7) Develop a thick skin. To promote your work, you have to be a little bit pushy, and face not so much rejection, but more likely indifference.

        Good luck with it,


        P/s I have not long finished your other book, and I will be waiting for the dead tree edition of this one, so I can waste some aviation fuel to have it flown to me to provide the postman work.

        1. Strangeite says:

          Regarding the library angle, I can offer a little advice on this angle as well. My wife works in administration for a medium sized library system and I know from conversations with her that libraries are inundated in books from indie authors. As such, cold calling the library with an offer to donate your book is not a guarantee that it will be included in the stacks.

          A better option would be to first talk to a librarian that you or your family already have an existing relationship with, and secondly to reach out to whomever is in charge of special programming. They will be more likely to think outside the box and possibly arrange a Q and A session or book club or other option.

          1. Mari says:

            I suspect it depends on the area. Around here there aren’t many local authors and the county library, for all its faults, is big on supporting the few we have so they’ll bend over backward to help out a local author, especially an indie. They’ve even been known to stock copies of a local author’s book for sale to the general public (no local book shops at all so it’s pretty much buy it through the library or buy out of town/online). I’m sure in mid-sized and up markets it’s probably a totally different story.

        2. rofltehcat says:

          Oh yeah, I’d like to listen to other podcasts featuring Shamus… though I hope it will be better than the time on Child’s Play…

        3. Aulayan says:

          The Meet the Local Author thing is a REALLY Good idea. Local book shops, even local chains (sometimes), love having local authors. It’s a win-win. (More for the author but hey)

          Also occasionally local papers and the like are good press too. “Local Computer Technician writes novels!” I live in a suburb of Indianapolis, and I occasionally see news stories like this. It’s local press but it’s still a few extra book sales.

    2. Steve C says:

      Have you considered constructing a giant billboard advert for your book on the TwentyMine server? (“You” being plural. Kids are cheap labor.) Then you can take a video of it and upload it to youtube or encourage people to make stuff from the book in block form. You could even make a contest out of it: make a great minecraft thingie = free signed book.

      I was first put onto your website via the AotS segment years ago about DMotR. So someone there must like you. That could be an “in” to get your book promoted on TV. Even if all that happens is they get a book and throw it into their green room, that would be valuable exposure to their guests.

      1. Clint Olson says:

        I assume by ‘kids are cheap labor’ you’re referring to Shamus’ children? We have someone on the TwentyMine server who read your comment and raised his hackles at the thought of being called either a kid or “cheap labor” ;)

        1. Steve C says:

          Yup. That’s what I was to my parents when I was a kid.

        2. Mari says:

          LOL Meanwhile, my kids offered to help if Shamus’ kids work as slave labor for him on the TwentyMine server :-P They figure it’s all coming up roses for them. Hang out with the Young kids, help sell a book they’re both enjoying, AND play Minecraft.

          1. Steve C says:

            Yeah kids are easy to trick that way. I remember when I complained to my parents that I was bored all the time when they left me in the car. So they put a bottle of windex and some rags in the glovebox so I could clean the car. :-/

            1. Mari says:

              See, your mistake was complaining about boredom. My parents broke me of that nasty habit very young. Every time I said “I’m bored” they found inventive new chores to torture me with. “The shed needs cleaning out.” “The wallpaper in the dining room needs to be peeled off.” “You can go peel paint off the back patio.” I learned quickly that boredom was not a good state to be in, or at least not a good state to admit to. Better to sit in my room and watch a fly buzz at the window than admit that I was bored.

  23. Exetera says:

    Oh, I’ve got a technical comment on the Kindle release: my preference is to use the Kindle reader on PC or iOS using inverted colors (ie. white-on-black) but the illustrations and some of the other graphical flourishes (the section markers, mostly) don’t really look quite right on it. (IE. black with a white box around them.) Could you please look into making illustrations match inverted color settings?

    1. Exetera says:

      Oh, one more thing – quite the nitpick, but whatever… There’s a comma that escaped the quotation marks about 32% in: “1885”, is the quote.

    2. psivamp says:

      I don’t think that this is possible with the way the formats are. ePub is just a zipped up set of html files with jpgs and gifs, and I imagine that mobi is similar.

  24. susie day says:

    time to charge up my kindle! :D

  25. bickerdyke says:

    I just bought your book on amazon…. now where could I get that signed?

    1. Heron says:

      You could probably bring your Kindle to PAX East ;)

      1. Piflik says:

        Just don’t forget the waterproof marker to write on the display.

        1. bickerdyke says:

          to be honest…. I got the idea from him: http://www.jasperfforde.com/grey/freestuff.html

          1. Mari says:

            You know, you might be onto something here. I have a custom skin for my Nook. The only thing that might be cooler than my newsprint skin would be a skin with the autograph of a treasured author. Hey, Shamus, want to diversify your revenue stream by offering autographed Nook and Kindle skins?

            1. Wes1180 says:

              That would be awesome, I would definately buy one

  26. Guvnorium says:

    I actually bought it yesterday via Smashwords. (The flexibility it offers is kind of awesome.) I didn’t think it was going to release until March 2 and was kind of excited to see it came out early. I’m a big fan of not looking gift horses in the mouth though, so I went ahead and bought it. Hope it doesn’t mess anything up. (Dunno how, but seeing as it was a mistake…)

    So yeah. Good so far. Also recommending it to all of the internet. Well, not the whole thing. Just the small section I inhabit on a regular basis.

  27. Fat Tony says:

    ‘Gonna wait for the signed copies, ’cause:
    A)Probably ‘gonna go direct to you money-wise

    B)Be giving you the mostest money, which is fair considering how much completly FREE entertainment you provide, I mean even you mindless drivels that comes out during a daft episode of Spoiler Warning is better than some PAID entertainment AND

    C)In case you turn out to be the next freak-sucsess, like a J.K.Rowling and I can sell the book for £1,000 somewhere down the line.

    (Some radio DJ was given a signed FIRST-Edition of Philosopher Stones, hand drawn cover and everything and THREW it away, just for a simmular book to be worth like £50,000 now….Yowzers)

    1. Heron says:

      I thought about waiting to find out which version of the book would give Shamus the most money, but then I realized that I’d rather get the format most convenient for *me*, and then make use of the “Donate” button in the sidebar ;)

      1. Fat Tony says:

        I like physical book the most though. So it’s a win/win.

  28. rofltehcat says:

    “I'll be happy to sign whatever stuff you think would be better with my name on it.”

    Can we quote you on that? I bet some people would love to own amusingly unique things with your name on them! Like… a napkin!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJd7Tzgd_XM (after 4:00 if someone wants to skip)

    1. atma says:

      I was (jokingly) thinking about cheques and rights-waiving :p but then my youthful demeanor and spirit crashed into the far more amusing prospect of pointing at random people and claiming that i want Shamus to sign this person :)

      well, sometimes i’m easily amused

      1. Dys says:

        Personally I would like Shamus to sign the Houses of Parliament.

  29. MichaelG says:

    Well, I’m impressed:

    #7 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Alternate History
    #19 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical
    #22 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

    1. Guvnorium says:

      Yes, and three of those alternate history books are actually the same book by Stephen King. So really number five?

      EDIT: How I Learned has also jumped up thirty places or so in the ‘Homeschooling’ category since yesterday. At least, I think so. I think it was around 78 when I checked yesterday.

    2. swenson says:

      #6 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical
      #6 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Alternate History
      #6 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical

      It’s only getting better!

      1. Guvnorium says:

        Those… those are appropriate numbers.

  30. Scaevus XIII says:

    I’ve been a longtime reader/lurker of yours, Shamus, (since about the time you finished DM of the Rings, I think…) and while I feel kind of bad for not contributing to the conversation at this fine blog, I feel a little less bad after buying your book. When you said that you were planning on increasing the price after a week to see how it would impact the sale, I decided that I would probably be best off to purchase it without much delay.

    I’d also just like to thank you for your constant free entertainment and your witty insight. Keep up the good work, and thank you for what is sure to be a wonderful book.

  31. Rick Hambrook says:

    Hi Shamus… if we’re telling friends about the book, where would you like us to link to? This page? The previous post about it? Your author blog?

    1. Shamus says:

      This page should be the most coherent listing of available titles / versions:


      1. krellen says:

        Incidentally, you should probably change the “Author” link in your top nav bar to that.

  32. ClearWater says:

    I’m probably missing something but how does 80% of $5 become $0.25?

    Also, Shamus, is that your special author hat on the Author page? It has a certain je ne sais quoi.

    1. Guvnorium says:

      There’s a five percent difference between the amount of money he makes per book, depending on the site- five percent of five dollars is twenty five cents. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on with that.

    2. Shamus says:

      I make 80% from store A.

      I make 75% from store B.

      So with A, I make 5% more.

      Unless I botched the math in some hilarious way, 5% of $5 is $0.25.

      1. ClearWater says:

        Ohhhhh, now I get it. The difference between the two is 25ct. For some reason I thought you meant the rough total for either was about 25ct.

        I feel dumb now.

  33. psivamp says:

    Just bought it on smashwords — love that it gets me access to all formats.

    Also, Witch Watch is on Good Reads, so it will count toward my reading goals and people on Facebook will see that I’ve read it.

    1. Mari says:

      Well thanks a lot for that. You’ve directed me to a time sink greater than TVtropes. Twenty minutes ago I read this comment, followed the link, signed up, and have now rated 116 books; I have no intention of stopping soon, either. I’m only through about half of the genres I read, first page only of each genre. Some day, some how, I will pay you back for this.

      1. psivamp says:


        I have invitations to Fitocracy still if you want to get addicted to a social media site that might help you with consistently working out. It’s almost March and I’ve kept up my resolution to work out 6 days a week.

        I just wish Good Reads would fix this meaningless graph they have of Publication date v. Read date. It doesn’t contain any significant data, but it looked really cool — now it rounds the date you read the book to the first of the month, so it looks like a broken PCR instead of a chromatography print out.

        1. Mari says:

          I hold out little hope for this working. I’ll say that up front. But I do need some motivation to get in gear so what the heck. Feel free to send an invite code to epithemeus at gmail dot com and have complete confidence that it will be used. (And that e-mail is a spam trap anyway so, no, no concerns about sharing it with Shamus’ huge readership.)

  34. Luke Maciak says:

    I’m holding off to buy the print version because I want to give you more monies. :)

  35. swenson says:

    Bought it off Amazon as soon as I read this post, and…


    I turned in my homework late tonight because of you, you realize that? I started reading about four hours ago and just couldn’t bring myself to stop! It was just that good. I loved it, from beginning to end. I loved the characters, I really loved the setting, I loved the plot and all its various twists and turns… I just loved it in general. I read an awful lot and I’ve read a lot of fantasy, so believe me that I truly mean this is among the most entertaining and interesting novels I’ve ever read, and certainly the best novel I’ve read in quite some time. Fantastic job!

    I’ll leave a glowing five-star review on Amazon tomorrow; I’ve stayed up late enough already, considering I’ve got to get up early tomorrow morning! (or, rather, this morning)

  36. Elec0 says:

    I might have missed it, but how much are you planning on selling the physical version for?

  37. Scerro says:

    It’s not quite what I expected at first.

    But from what I could read on Smashwords, I’m certainly going to get it in one form or another eventually. Much preferably in an actual book. Plus then I can loan it to people. I certainly can recommend it to friends once I read the whole thing, unless the second half of the book decides to somehow become lame, which I’m totally not expecting.

  38. Solf says:

    FWIW, in my backwater EU (Latvia), Amazon link says it’ll cost me $8.05 for a Kindle version.

    Smashwords is happy to sell me an e-pub version for $5 though. So sorry about the ‘also bought’ thingy :)

    I don’t know what’s the reason for Amazon price but thought you might want to know.

    1. Bubble181 says:

      See, if Shamus were to also *get* 80% of the marked-up price ($8 or what have you), I wouldn’t mind so much (similar with euro). But obviously, such happy-fun-conversion-rates only apply to money they bring in. Writers’ll still get their percentage on the base price. So, pfuh!

  39. ooli says:

    It may be too late, But the fact that the Name of the illustrator share the same size as the name of the Author make me think it’s a children book.

    You may have had reason to do so, but it seems very misleading.

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Perhaps one of the reasons is that if he didn’t, Shamus would have to sleep on the couch. *grin*

      1. krellen says:

        IIRC, Heather designed the book cover and did the layout stuff; that might have something to do with it too.

    2. BeardedDork says:

      Amazon does this to all names attached to the book, my editor’s name is the same way.

  40. StranaMente says:

    I was wondering if you could, for some time, leave a side banner for your book. That may raise awareness in some of the visitors and in return may make you sell more copies!

  41. Aelyn says:

    So let’s assume I want an autographed copy. Let’s also assume I buy an electronic copy.

    You mind just dropping me an email that says, “Hi, I’m Shamus and this is my autograph and stuff.”??? I could just print it and paste it to my iPad or something.


  42. BeardedDork says:

    On my Kindle your paragraph indents have completely disappeared.

    The way I deal with this is to take my .doc for Smashwords and remove or replace the Smashwords specific requirements from it, and run it through mobipocket creator. Typically the .opf it generates loads to Kindle and the format keeps. If it doesn’t which has happened once or twice you can take the .html it generates (might also be the .opf, it’s been a while since I had to do this one) and run it through Calibre, to create a .mobi file I’ve never had that not retain it’s intended formatting.
    I make it sound harder than it is.

  43. Ethan says:

    How about nebby nerdheads who live local? How can they get their paper copy signed?

    1. Shamus says:

      Well, we could get together some evening. I know we have some sort of half-finished dinner / evening arrangements that stalled while I was in a push to finish the thing.

      1. Ethan says:

        Your comments and lack of replies make a lot more sense now. I’m eager for Friday to roll around. 1) Your book will be available to purchase in paper form. 2) It will be payday so I can utilize #1.

  44. Sephyron says:

    Yay, i now own a e-book!

  45. SKD says:

    Purchased all three of your available works on Amazon last night. Will review as I finish them which will probably take a while considering college is eating most of my free time these days.

    If your novels are as good as your blog posts then I doubt I will be disappointed

    1. Kaeltik says:

      You won’t be disappointed. Finished the e-book a couple of days back. Getting a dead tree version to give to my son once he learns to read.

  46. Simplex says:

    I already bought the book on smashwords almost immediately after “silent” release but did not start reading yet. Is there some updated, less “buggy” version that I can download?

    1. Shamus says:

      The version on Smashwords has been updated, so if you re-download you’ll get the fixed version.

      1. Simplex says:

        Thanks for the info. As I explained in another post, I did not buy on amazon because that would cost me $8 and I asume you would not see a single cent out of that additional $3. I hope the book is as good (or better) than Free Radical :)

  47. Theodolus says:

    Just finished reading it over the last two days and it was worth every penny and every minute I put in to it. I’ll be picking up the print version to have on the shelf. :)

    You definitely hit your stride about two or three chapters in. Up to that point I felt that you were struggling a little on trying to get forward momentum going. But once you got rolling it was very good!

    Also: I’m disappointed I never got to hear about why Gilbert left the army! It’s hinted that it was politics, but you could tell that wasn’t the whole story…

    And finally, even though it ended in a very satisfying way and could be left there indefinitely, I would think that it would be rather entertaining reading about the group’s future adventures!

    Overall a very solid first (sort of) entry in to the world of books!

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