The Witch Watch in Print:
Buy This Dang Thing Already

By Shamus Posted Friday Mar 2, 2012

Filed under: Projects 102 comments

The book has only been available for a week or so, and I am already sick to death of this marketing stuff. I wrote the book. Proofed the book. Edited the book. Got the book up for sale. At this point in the process, the creative part is over and my heart has already moved on to another project where I can be creative. But instead I-

Oh? I didn’t give you a link to buy the paperback version, did I? Sorry. You can get The Witch Watch in paperback here. Where was I? Oh right, angst…

So here I am promoting this thing. In a perfect world, everyone who wanted the book would buy it. But this is an imperfect world, and there are people out there who would enjoy the book but don’t know it exists yet. So I have to spend time getting their attention and describing the book in the best possible way in the fewest number of words. The engineer in me doesn’t like this process. It’s unseemly. It’s like bragging. If I write software-

What? Amazon print version? Yeah. I guess I should explain that. Right now the book is available on Createspace. We have submitted the book to Amazon as well, but it takes them a bit longer to do whatever it is they feel they need to do. If CreateSpace isn’t available in your part of the planet, then I beg your continued patience. The Amazon print version should appear next week. Anyway…

Like I was saying: If I write software, it either meets the specifications or it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter if I run around the office and TELL people the program works. The proof is in the execution, and no degree of psychological hype will alter the output. But books are annoyingly analog in their outcome. It’s perfectly possible to write a terrible book that does well. It’s also possible to write an excellent book that does poorly. And the only way to avoid the latter fate is to talk about your work through a metaphorical megaphone, focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative.

Again, as a coder this is the opposite of what I want to do. I’d much prefer-

Oh, right. I should mention that the print version is $19.99 USA BUX. The book is also available on the Kindle store if you’re down with digital versions. And you can get it on Smashwords if you’ve got a Nook or you want to get a PDF version or whatever.

I’d much prefer to go all post-mortem on the book and deconstruct the writing process, what could have been better, the difficulties I faced in writing it, and the stuff I left out. But apparently discussing your book as a series of mistakes, blunders, failures, and missed opportunities is a bad way to build excitement. Or so they tell me.

Please enjoy the book. Or don’t. I mean, I’ve done what I could.

UPDATE: So now it’s available on Amazon. In print. I don’t know why they said it would take 5 more days. Don’t ask me. I suppose you’ll be wanting the link. The Witch Watch


From The Archives:

102 thoughts on “The Witch Watch in Print:
Buy This Dang Thing Already

  1. Tetris says:

    Shamus, I wouldn’t mind if you deconstruct your own book on your own blog. Just make sure to hide everything behind cuts, so I can have a look at it after I read Witch Watch and formed my own opinion about it. Am eagerly waiting for the Amazon print version…

    Of course, since I decided to buy your book approximately at the same time you announced that it would be available in paper format, my opinion might not be representative of those prospective buyers that you’re afraid of scaring away…

    1. BenD says:

      I, too, would welcome either literary critique on behalf of the book’s own author, or discussion of the writing process (good and bad) on behalf of the book’s own author. Behind cuts. Because I don’t get serious reading time for another month. ;)

      1. noahpocalypse says:


          1. Cuthalion says:

            What they all said.

              1. Gilf says:

                And another one!

    2. DaveMc says:

      I’m awaiting the Amazon print version, too. I picked up the Kindle (had to download new software just for that) version and read enough pages to convince me that (a) I can’t read a book on a computer screen, and (b) I want to read the rest of this one, on paper. Amazon will be the easiest way to have it arrive at the door of my mountain fortress in Canada. (Or my house, since I don’t actually have a mountain fortress yet.)

      EDIT: Actually, my assumption was incorrect about the ease of shipping. CreateSpace requires me to create a new account, which is a bit of nuisance, but once done the shipping to Canada is $6.99, which is about what it’d be from the U.S. version of Amazon. (This is a relief, given how often places seem to charge the same shipping to Canada and to, say, Nepal.) If it shows up on, though, I can get free shipping, so I’ll still hold out and see. It seems to vary, in terms of which things show up on the .ca version of the site, so time will tell …

        1. Yes it went up (though is missing description for no apparent reason.) They did say it could take 5-7 days for it to be fully listed. Still not linked to the author page among other things. Feel free to post reviews though, that would be cool.

    3. neminem says:

      Indeed. It’s one of my favorite things about Sanderson’s works, besides the fact that, you know, he’s a brilliant writer. But he also writes up chapter-by-chapter discussions of all his books, that are quite interesting to read.

      I already bought your ebook! It’s on my list of things to read! (But that list is… not small.)

  2. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

    I would love to see some more posts on your writing process for this book… hey, if you make enough, you can compile another book with them!

  3. cyranor says:

    Shamus the book itself is excellent, hopefully all of your readers here will help with your marketing process via their friends, coworkers, blogs, and reviews and take some of he pressure off you. Best of luck to you and remember you have your own personal army of fans to help you through almost anything.

  4. Rob Lundeen says:

    Ordered. Can’t wait to get it! :)

  5. Factoid says:

    I wish I could read about 5 times faster than I do. I still have about 100 pages left in the book I’m working on before I could even begin to start in on Witch Watch. Plus I’ve got 4 other books I need to be reading. ARG! I wish I could make my brain work faster. I’ve never been a very fast reader, yet I love reading. Such a tragedy.

    My sister-in-law can kill a short paperback in one sitting. 200-300 pages in just 3 or 4 hours. It would take me at least double that, probably more. Plus I can rarely make myself sit and do nothing but read for 3 straight hours. I get distracted or bored and my brain moves on after an hour.

    1. Susie Day says:

      it’s alright, i’m 200 pages into a 900 page book that I’m borrowing from a friend, so i have to get it finished … add to that the mounds of reading that my professors think I have time for, and … The Witch Watch might have to wait until spring break :-(

  6. gragsmash says:

    Wait, what do you mean you have moved onto other projects?

    Why should I buy this if I can’t expect future DLC?

    1. Entropy says:

      No, but the DLC was made during book production, and is included in the book you buy. You have to pay to unlock it though.

    2. Actually DLC is coming, believe it or not. Working on maps (for free though they will be included in the hard cover edition. :P)

      1. Grag says:

        That is awesome to hear. I was actually doing some mild trolling.

        Any idea how long until hardcover is available? I might wait to get that version.

  7. krellen says:

    Okay, so I bought it, left a giant tip, and now have to wait for shipping.

    So you can start talking about the writing process now.

    Oh, and I still think you should change that “Author” link on your top nav bar to your newer one. The one currently up there doesn’t even mention your books.

  8. StranaMente says:

    I was about to buy it from createspace, but it says that the estimate arrival in italy is at the end of april with normal (not that cheap) shipping.
    If I’d want to read it this month I have to pay almost twice the price of the book. I’d rather give that money to you than to the post office.
    I’ll probably wait another week, since usually I had better luck with Amazon.

    1. Looks like the Amazon version is up (though some aren’t showing the description yet.)

      1. StranaMente says:

        I looked over at amazon, but still no sign of the print copy. Maybe it shows it only to the author?

        Edit: never mind, I found it through the link Peter posted few comments earlier. Buying it as I type!

  9. Griffin says:

    To help soothe the marketing annoyance, you should keep in mind that it is going to be long term thing. If someone who enjoys the book buys it a year from now, is that really a bad thing? With digital product and print-on-demand the book isn’t going to go out of print or become harder to find. So the need for the big marketing push right out the gate isn’t nearly as important. So take a break, talk about other stuff, bring it up again in a few months when you might have new readers on the blog.

    1. Really it more of a financial thing– we need the income since he spent a year working on this and I have spent the last 5 months working on editing, illustrations, formatting, etc.

  10. Well, I guess I have to buy it now. If only to find out
    Which Witch’s Watch?

    1. X2Eliah says:

      The one that starts with “The” and has a dude named Shamus as the author?

      1. Facepalm.
        I meant in plot terms–as in, the watch belonging to which witch? Doubtless complicated by the difficulty of discerning which witch is which.

        1. Hitch says:

          It’s the watch which watches the witches.

        2. Shamus says:

          You joke, but the title actually does have multiple meanings within the book.

          1. That one comment made much stronger my desire to actually purchase the book. I mean, I meant to anyway, in solidarity and whatnot, but I’m all the more interested now.

          2. rofltehcat says:

            Is this also the reason why The Church is sometimes written as the church? As in one being just a religious institution and the other being THE witch-hunters? Or is this just coincidence?

            1. Shamus says:

              The Church / church is the result of a bit of sloppyness on my part.

              I actually had a bunch of backstory on THE Church, when it came to be, why, who runs it, how it works, etc. It wasn’t needed for this book, so I left it out.

              The idea is that the Church has this branch dedicated to witch-hunting, which is usually called the “Red Sashes”.

              1. Kaeltik says:

                THIS book. You said THIS book. So, when can we expect the sequel?

        3. krellen says:

          It is, I am led to believe, actually a Watch that watches Witches.

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            It could have to do with a pocket watch owned by a witch. Or a statement that the organization named “witch” do in fact watch things.

          2. Irridium says:

            Who watches the Watch(men)?

            1. JPH says:

              The witches, of course. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

  11. rrgg says:

    I found this out when I tried making a Minecraft adventure map. Marketing is the worst thing ever.

  12. Eärlindor says:

    Book bought! :D Can’t wait to read it!

  13. Paul Spooner says:

    Awaiting the arrival of the print version. We’re taking a long drive up to Seattle, so hopefully it will arrive in time to read in the car. I would have bought the digital version, but we don’t have any devices to read it on!

    Yeah marketing is kind of a drag. I’ve found the best way to prepare myself psychologically is to recall that I’ve got something super great that people are going to love once they have it. It’s about sharing your excitement for your work!
    That said, the whole “extreme introvert” thing makes this difficult. Even if you’ve trained yourself to be more outgoing, its draining and discouraging to commit energy to personal interaction day after day. Really, you just need to find some extrovert that you trust and give him your signet ring to speak on your behalf.

  14. Kel'Thuzad says:

    “So here I am promoting this thing. In a perfect world, everyone who wanted the book would buy it. But this is an imperfect world, and there are people out there who would enjoy the book but don't know it exists yet. So I have to spend time getting their attention and describing the book in the best possible way in the fewest number of words. The engineer in me doesn't like this process. It's unseemly. It's like bragging.”

    There’s more to marketing then that. Your goal is not only to spread information about your book to people that might want to read it; you need to make your book more appealing than other books they might want to spend their money on. Granted, this is less of a problem at the price point you’ve gone with.

  15. Unbeliever says:


    You should probably update your update, changing “not” to “now”, lest you confuse the more literal (and less grammatical) minds amongst us…

  16. Susie Day says:

    so, NOW you know why publishers exist. You write the book, and they do all the annoying stuff that you don’t care about so much … but they do it for a big ol’ cut of the profits too.

    1. Shamus says:

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past month or so. It would be awesome to hit it big enough that I could afford to offload all of this hassle onto a publisher.

      1. Matt K says:

        Have you considered perhaps doing a Kickstarter for a hardcover edition? I heard that sometime the publicity of raising a decent chunk of money there sometimes entices publishers to take a look at the product.

    2. Actually I work with a lot of authors, both indie published and bog name publish and they STILL have to do all this side of marketing. Unless you are huge name the publishing company expects you to do the marketing/talk the book up stuff.

  17. Kevin J. says:

    I already bought it on Kindle (and finished it- great job Shamus!) but am seriously considering picking up a hardback copy to donate to the library.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I was actually feeling cheap for only buying the digital version (I’d prefer to have it in print but money is a concern) but you sir just gave me an idea to whom I can preach the virtues of this book in hopes of maybe getting Shamus another sale or two.

  18. Thomas says:

    Is it going to arrive on or should we order it from the US amazon? (which wouldn’t be a problem, just wondering :D )

    1. Shamus says:

      Doesn’t matter. Whatever works for you. :)

      1. Drexer says:

        But is it going to appear on amazon’s uk page? I ask because the two stores are different things and I have no idea how Createspace synchronizes with that. And at least for some people inside the EU like me it makes a difference between receiving the book straight at home or having the bad luck of it getting stuck in customs and having to go pick it up(rare under the 50€ mark, but still a possibility).

        Annoyingly the CreateSpace page doesn’t let me see if they can deliver it to Portugal without creating an account either, which is an whole other level of consumer-rage-inducing feature.

        1. It will be on all the pages available to us– that means UK, France, Italy, Germany.

          1. Caffiene says:

            Excellent news!

            As an Australian, having it available on the UK amazon means I can get free delivery. If I had to order from the US the delivery would add at least another 50% on to the price.

            Now I just have to wait until it shows up on there…

          2. Aanok says:

            Oh! Seems I’ll have to wait some more, then, given the book is still not showing up outside of . Maybe it’ll take those 5 days they told you…

          3. Bubble181 says:

            Very good news, since shipping from UK or DE saves about $20 for me too…Might just buy a second copy from that :-P

          4. Tetris says:

            Hello again Heather and Shamus,

            the Kindle edition is available on the non-american amazons you mentioned, but not the print version. Will it come out in Europe at all? I’d buy it in a heartbeat if it did, but am not willing to pay transatlantic shipping (and deal with the customs, they’re sometimes a pain in the neck when buying from outside Europe).

    2. Stubby says:

      The Kindle version is on – I’ve got my copy downloaded :)

  19. Sephyron says:

    Y U not Post about it on G+?
    Gief moar marketing!

    Bought the Kindle version and loved it, hopefully my ramblings about it might get some of my friends to buy it to.
    Will get the printed version to when the economy allows for it.

  20. JPH says:

    Shamus, why is your book so big?

    I want to read it and know about all this stuffs. I’m especially curious about this female character I keep hearing about. But Icarus damn it, I’m a slow reader.

  21. Uscias says:

    I can’t wait to receive my printed copy!

  22. The Stranger says:

    Observation (and apologies if somebody else already observed this): When you go the print version page on Amazon, you don’t see all the awesome reviews that the Kindle version got. Is there anything you can do about that?

    1. All those awesome reviewers have to post their awesome reviews to the print version– reviews welcome.

      1. Amazon will get those hooked up for you soon or eventually, whichever it ends up being… Then the two versions will be linked and all reviews will be on both pages. Always takes a little while.

  23. BeamSplashX says:

    Amazon can be witchy-watchy about their timelines for getting things done, witch is why it pays to watch what you promise witch them. It’s almost like witchwatchwitchwatchwitchwatch.

    P.S. Witch Watch

    1. JPH says:

      I don’t quite see what you did there…

      1. BeamSplashX says:

        I would explain further, but WITCHWATCH.

      2. X2Eliah says:

        Which is why you need to watch out for that kind of stuff.

  24. Naota says:

    “Price $19.99. Free Shipping on orders over $25.”

    The non-free shipping costs more than half the price of the book by itself. I can find nothing I want for $5.01.

    Curse you Amazoooooon!

    1. Sumanai says:

      Where do you live? It was mentioned above that it will be in other Amazons as well, but a bit later.

      Also, I ordered from US Amazon, to Finland, and it ended up as 22 euros total.

      1. Naota says:

        I live in Toronto, Canada, so typically shipping isn’t as prohibitively expensive or restricted as it might be overseas. That said, there is a very obnoxious markup for items shipped over the border regardless of size, weight, or anything properly rational. I often discover that it’s actually cheaper to ship things from coast to coast within the US than it is to send them a mere hundred miles north of the border.

        If The Witch Watch is planned to show up on in the near future (Shamus’s biography is actually already listed there), I may well wait it out in hope of a better deal.

        1. Sumanai says:

          I’d wait and see if it pops up in I would’ve waited for if the postage wouldn’t have been reasonable.

    2. Are you telling me we should have left the price at $25 as originally planned?

      1. krellen says:

        Ironically enough, probably. Because of Amazon’s free shipping deal, $25 would probably have been cheaper for almost everyone.

      2. Naota says:

        Alternatively: supply several pages of Shamus expounding on the trials and tribulations of writing the book and sell it for exactly $5.01. As an aspiring writer of things this would interest me greatly :P.

      3. Cuthalion says:

        Well, for US peoples, it’s $23.98 as-is, including shipping. So $25 would be a bit more expensive.

  25. Hawk says:

    Hey Shamus “” posted this question back in the proofs discussion, but as it was the last comment it didn’t get any attention: I'm considering looking in to the print-on-demand route, too. Do you have any thoughts on Createspace versus Lulu? Since you're pursuing both, are you finding it a lot of work to format for both? Is one or the other better to start with?

    Your posts actually motivated me to go out and look into self-publishing my own (non-fiction) eBook. Thanks for turning me on to Smashwords “” I wish I'd found it before working on Kindle since it would have been easier to do Smashwords formatting first and then create the Kindle edition. (For anyone interested, the book is titled Soldier/Geek: An Army Science Advisor's Journal of the War in Afghanistan at Amazon & Smashwords.)

    Anyway, congratulations on publishing the book in hard copy too — I’ll be picking one up!

    1. Shamus says:

      Yes, doing both is more work. We’re favoring CreateSpace because it’s bigger and (we THINK) has a more international reach.

      1. takes more of your income than Createspace does (We hav eto charge more in order to get the same income from Createspace is owned by so the relationship speeds the process of distribution up a bit. Also, buying a proof copy on Lulu is $12 vs $6 on Createspace.

        1. Hawk says:

          Cool — thanks! I’ll stick with Createspace for the time being, then.

  26. Bear says:

    On the Amazon site, I pushed the “Tell the Publisher! I’d like to read this book on Kindle ” for two reasons.
    1) There already is a kindle version.
    2) I already bought the kindle version two nights ago, and You’d think Amazon would have recorded that fact.

    It’s funny ‘is all, just say’in…

    1. It is just because it still hasn’t got it caught up– once it recognizes the author and author page it should recognize the Kindle edition.

  27. Ryck says:

    I picked up the PDF version on Smashwords. Having to create an account was a drag… just sell me the daggone book already!

    I’m headed out on a 2 week vacation and I look forward to being able to read it on the train to California.

    Congrats again on publishing. I read your other two works and I expect the same amazing things from this one!

  28. ClearWater says:

    Shamus, you mean now it’s available on Amazon right? Otherwise, what did I just order? I think the 5 days might be until it actually ships, although it seems more like 2 days if my calculations of 5-3 are correct. Or maybe that’s just because it’s weekend now. I don’t know. Doesn’t matter much to me any way cos it’ll take about a month to get here.

    1. The 5-7 days is so they have time to get all the info up and connected between the author page and various versions and whatnot. If they say 5-7 days then the author (and readers) don’t fuss about not having everything posted right away, and if they have an influx of books it won’t hurt to have things take longer.) In general we have found with Amazon that they er on the side of taking longer instead of being optimistic about timeframe.

  29. Brother Ham says:

    Just bought the print version from Amazon. A shame it’ll take a few weeks to arrive, but at least I’ll have something to look forward to.

  30. Loonyyy says:

    Shamus, just a question, is this being released in print, and sold, anywhere in Australia? I’d prefer the print version, and I’m wondering if I can pick it up from a store, rather than deal with postage from Amazon. Thanks!

    1. Sumanai says:

      Above it’s mentioned the book should appear in and someone said there’s free shipping for Australia.

      You could also take the IBAN and show it to someone working in a bookstore and ask if they could get it for you.

      1. You can take the ISBN and have your bookstore order it for you. It is available to bookstores and libraries for purchase.

        1. Sumanai says:

          Right, ISBN. That’s what I said.

      2. Loonyyy says:

        Oh, that’s awesome, thanks for the tip!
        And should that not work, I’ll order it in like you and Heather suggested.

        Thanks to both of you.

        1. Sumanai says:

          You’re welcome. Just remember, I did not tell you to give them your International Bank Account Number. ’cause that would be silly.

  31. Hitch says:

    I just finished reading The Witch Watch. My two word review for Shamus the programmer: “It works.”

  32. Octorok says:

    Ah. I didn’t know it was going to be on (since it isn’t now, and you’re based in the US), so went ahead and got it from the States.

    Crazy thing is, shipping was pretty reasonable, it’s just the long wait I’m regretting.

    The other day, I ordered The Game of Thrones for £1. Shipping was £2.80, the standard shipping price on a book for all Amazon sellers.

    So that’s moving a book from England to Scotland (maybe 300 miles).

    Shipping on The Witch Watch across the entire Atlantic (a distance of 3,000 miles, assuming the book goes directly from the East Coast to Scotland. It’s more likely to arrive in England first, and then make that first journey as well.) – £5.22.

    We live in strange times, fellows…

  33. arthurbu says:

    Hooray, I bought it! The shipping was sort of lame just to get it to Canada but oh well. Your book almost convinced me to think about getting an ebook reader thingee. Can’t decide if I want one of those…

  34. bkw says:

    I bought the book on Amazon last week and read it over the next day. It is a startlingly good book. I look forward to purchasing your next book, and urge anyone who enjoys reading to read this. It is a great deal of fun.

  35. Trevel says:

    Bought book. Read book. Enjoyed book.

  36. Galad says:

    I’ll very likely buy it once I finish with what’s out of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series :)

  37. Shinjin says:

    In celebration of the job offer that I received, I just bought this dang thing!

  38. Scerro says:

    I finally got around to ordering a physical copy from Amazon. I’m definitely looking forward to it, considering I read a third of it from Smashwords first.

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