Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Review: Star Light, Star Bright—Exploring Our Solar System

A cute way to convey information about our solar system to children under 6, Star Light, Star Bright—Exploring Our Solar System was written by Anna Prokos and illustrated by Dave Clegg. This book balances gorgeous illustrations with storyline text and factual text beautifully for children aged 3 and up. The space facts and table of contents give this book extra appeal for older children and educators who wish to explore more about space. The fact-delivery of this book takes priority over the story, and there is a lacklustre climax and resolution at the end, but most children under 6 will be happy to have this book read to them.

This review was based on the electronic ARC supplied by the publisher.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5
Age: 3-6
Reading Level: Read to me
Genre: Picture book, faction

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Marketing a Fantasy Novel How To

Over the past year and a half I have developed expertise in cutting-to-the-chase shoe-string book marketing online, and my services are for sale here.

This is part of the reason I went ahead and released my epic fantasy novel Talon, after working on it for more than 17 years. I finally felt it was a good time to release it and that I now know how I can have a crack at self-publishing and marketing it successfully. This is not about making money, though it would be nice to cover my costs, it is about finding a readership that enjoys my work.

For Talon, I have so far implemented all of the following:

Marketing Action Plan
Affect on Sales (ROI): This plan helped me get my head around my target market and informed everything I have done so far and everything I'm planning to do. I update it when I get time, as it is a living document. I have not implemented everything in it yet, due to time and money constraints, but what I have implemented I am pleased with.

Kindle Select
Kindle Count Down Deals, Web Advertising Strategy and Promotion Schedule
Affect on Sales (ROI): The single most effective thing I have done, to help get the Amazon sales rank up, the reviews up, and people reading my book in the USA. Learning how to do this is part of marketing stage 1. There are clear spikes during my activities in this strategy.

Sales Sheet
Affect on Sales (ROI): This is useful to send to reviewers, magazines, booksellers, librarians, teacher-librarians, marketing people, advertisers etc. Also to take to book stores (but I don't have time for that, nor do I think it would be a good use of my time, or theirs). It is imperative for a printed book, and also useful for an ebook-only publication.

Advanced Book Review Management (package 1)
Affect on Sales (ROI): This is critical for a genre novel IMO - as it gets the book in front of professional reviewers who are actively seeking books to read and review. You not only get useful feedback, but also quotes you can use in marketing. Even better, some of them will load the review they write to Amazon if you ask them to (after the book is released). Can be done before or after launch.

Booklink URL redirect
Affect on Sales (ROI): I used this to generate a short URL for my book that would be easy for me to remember ( goes to the Australian Amazon page for the ebook). A booklink landing page is very good value for an author who does not want to maintain their own website.

Deluxe Website
Affect on Sales (ROI): My author website is there, ready for when/if my author platform does become significant, i.e. if any readers or book industry folk decide to check me out. I don't have illusions of grandeur. I have put my best effort forward to ensure it is a good, mobile-friendly, fast-loading website with all the information to entice a reader to enjoy my books. I am at the beginning of my career as an author, and I'm very preoccupied running Australian eBook Publisher, so my author website is here simply as a start. I do not expect ROI for it yet, as it's a step of faith or an investment for the future.

Video Book Trailer
 You can check it out here:
Affect on Sales (ROI): I have used it on my website, social media and Youtube, but it's early days to see any impact from the video itself. My video marketing effectiveness would be greatly improved by posting up more interview-style or writing and publishing info. videos. Something I will consider doing in the future.

Web Advertisements
Affect on Sales (ROI): I have posted ads on social media in the form of posts, but due to limited budget have not taken a lot of visual ad spaces online for Talon yet.

Advertisements (print) 

Affect on Sales (ROI): I have advertised in Good Reading magazine (Australia) and Locus (US).

Social Media  

Affect on Sales (ROI): My social media efforts so far have been minimal and have not generated a lot of sales. There would have been a few, but I haven't really had time to pinpoint my target market on social networks and forums, then "join the conversation" (as opposed to barging in to a conversation and self-promoting). I want to bring value to groups online, before trying to simply sell my book, but I simply do not have time.

In addition to running Australian eBook Publisher full time I have two young children to look after when they're not at school and daycare. My kids are so important to me. This stuff with my writing is not meant to take over my whole life. So even though it's a bit frustrating that I know what to do but don't have the opportunity to do it, I know what I'd rather be doing! Being with my kids. :)  These are the choices every writer has to make of course, whatever their situation.

Email Newsletters 

Affect on Sales (ROI): I've been building an email list for about ten years, and it's still pretty small. So I simply let them know when each of my books is out and leave them in peace.

Pull-up Banner 

Affect on Sales (ROI): I have my pull-up banner at the Sydney Book Expo in 2015, and will use it again this year at SupaNova. Otherwise, though, I have not had time to anything in person to promote Talon. The strategy has more been about internet marketing on a shoe-string budget (time and money wise!).


It is difficult to pin-point sales to any particular things I have done (apart from my Kindle and Web Promotion Strategy). I think selling books is a two steps forward, one step back kind of process, some things work—some don't. You just gotta try, try and try again.
Talon has only been out since April, yet I am already earning quarterly royalties that MAY have a trajectory that will lead to a profitable book. None my customers have ever taken up as many of the marketing services I have used for Talon. The more an author does, the better their sales, unless they have a dud. And you never can tell.
I have not covered my production and marketing costs for Talon yet, but I am sure I will eventually.

Update: 11/09/2017 Talon is a steady seller and lots of readers enjoy it on the Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tanza Book 2 of The Astor Chronicles

"Tanza", Book 2 of my bridge fantasy series "The Astor Chronicles" is complete! The layout and ebook conversion is underway. The cover art has been done for about a decade, and I'm so glad to finally release it to the world.

If you enjoyed Book 1 "Talon" you're going to love Book 2, in which Talon and Sarlice enter the mystical realm of Tanza and become part of an epic war with the Zeikas. 

I rewrote the blurb for "Talon" yesterday when I wrote the blurb for "Tanza".


With a newly awakened icetiger for his companion, Talon is finally learning the magic of the Kriite people, including telepathy and shape-changing. After his home town Jaria is attacked by Zeikas he embarks on a mission to seek help.

Before Talon even understands the power within him, there are demon summoners after him. He is horrified to learn that the Zeika leader plans to use Talon’s body and mind to further his ambition for power. Bal Harar is on a god-given mission to enslave or kill all Kriites.

Talon represents both the greatest threat and the greatest opportunity to the Zeikas—his actions and faith will make all the difference between the two.

Talon is Amanda Greenslade's debut novel and is the first in a series of epic fantasy adventure novels for a new adult audience.


Sarlice and I came to Tanza to escape from the Zeikas, and we were not prepared for a country on the brink of war. Where should our loyalties lie—to our home towns, to Tanza or to each other?

The Zeikas have their fire magic, dragons and demons, but they lack the Kriite ability to communicate across vast distances using the waves. I know one thing—the skyearls will not give up Tanza without a fight.

Soon I will have a skyearl of my own, and the miracle of flight along with it. I was slow to come into my powers in Jaria, but I was wrong to think Krii had no purpose for my life. They have a new name for me here in Tanza: Astor Talon.

Tanza is the second in “The Astor Chronicles”, a series of epic fantasy adventure novels for a new adult audience.

Available in Print and as an Ebook September 2, 2016