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Friday
Jan302015

Artwork from my Books

No, I'm not talking about the Cowry Catchers artbook (although I have gotten first proof, and it looks awesome!)

I'm talking about my Tumblr and Pinterest accounts. I'm going to try harder this year to post art from my books there regularly, so if you're on those platforms, please follow me and share my pictures. I'm doing this because I have a lot of artistically-rich story content, but Twitter and Facebook are not good social media platforms for sharing images or discovering things via artwork. I feel like I need to make more of an effort to engage on platforms that focus on images.

Also, with the cowrycatchers.com website gone for good, the artwork from those books is no longer available anywhere other than the ebooks. Apart from Book 1, it's now behind a pay-wall. Since the podcast on Podiobooks promises listeners that the artwork from books 1-3 is available for viewing, I feel like I need to get that back up somewhere, and it will draw more eyeballs on Tumblr and Pinterest than on my website. So, I plan to add a few images a day and try to engage more with folks on those sites. I'll post some art that's not available anywhere else, so follow along if you're interested.

If you don't want to deal with those sites, but still want to follow along, there's a Tumblr RSS feed here - http://alhilton.tumblr.com/rss  I think there's a Pinterest feed, too, but it's basically the same content.

Thursday
Jan152015

Welcome, 2015

It’s a new year, and I just got done doing my final book-keeping/tax work for 2014. I enjoy year-end and New Year’s posts. It’s a good opportunity to assess and regroup.

If 2013 was the year of catch-up in paper, then 2014 was the year of catch-up in audio. I finished production of my epic fullcast Cowry Catchers series, and the podcast competed in March. On Audible.com, I released the complete Prophet series in February, the complete Cowry Catchers series in June, the Crossroads short story collection in July, and Hunters Unlucky in November. I also paid all the people involved in the audio for the right to sell it, so this was an expensive year for me. I released just shy of 700,000 words (about 74 hours) of paid audio on Audible.com.

 In ebooks and paper, I was able to settle back and do what I always wanted – release things as I wrote them. Malachi and the Ghost Kitten came out in ebook in August and paperback in October. Hunters Unlucky came out in ebook in March and paper in July. These releases would have gone more smoothly if I hadn’t been juggling my entire back catalogue in audio, but it was worth the effort.

In new content this year, I wrote Malachi and the Ghost Kitten (6,500 words), The Scarlet Albatross (101,000 words), and 26,000 words of Jager Thunder. I also laid out the upcoming Cowry Catchers art book. I commissioned artwork for Malachi, Hunters, and the art book.

Going forward, I get to produce new work in all three formats without juggling a giant back-catalogue (yey!!).

Upcoming projects in their most likely order:

  • The release of the art book (I just ordered the first physical proof)
  • Finish writing the draft of Jager Thunder
  • Edit and release The Scarlet Albatross
  • Write Eve and Malachi Book 3
  • Edit and release Jager Thunder

Further down the road, there’s the Sunkissed Isles Book (not its final title), Walk Upon High, and a hazy mystery in Danda-lay, starring Chance and involving the Prophet characters.

Money-wise…like I said – it was an expensive year. I spent almost 3x as much as I made this year. Put another way, my book business has been going since 2007 (that's when I started buying illustrations; I didn't know it was going to be a business then). Half of my total expenses to date were spent this year! Or put it another way, I spent as much this year as I have in the last 7 previous years of making books. Audio is expensive.

On the plus side, about 42% my income has been from audio this year. About 85% came from Amazon and Audible, and that 85 was split right down the middle, in spite of the fact that my Audible catalogue was thin at the beginning of the year. If you look at just the last quarter, Audible is out-pacing Amazon as my primary source of income for books.

So I think the audio books are worth it, but they are a huge initial out-lay. It will take several years for those books to make back the money I spent on them this year. Fortunately, I doubt I will ever have 700,000 words of audio to pay for and release in a single year again. That was catch-up. I would have paid a lot less if I’d narrated all of my own audio, but I also wouldn’t have written nearly as many books to date.

Other things on my plate this year include learning more about hardbacks and Lightning Source (the art book will teach me that) and learning more about Kickstarter. I plan to use Kickstarter or a similar crowd-sourcing platform to defray the costs of upcoming audio books, hopefully as a kind of pre-order system.

I’m excited about the future, and I hope you are excited about upcoming books! It think you folks will love The Scarlet Albatross and Jager Thunder. As a Happy New year, I’ve put up a sample of Jager Thunder on my website (up there under "Sneak Peek"). If you missed Gerard and Silveo, click and read. Happy New Year!

Wednesday
Dec242014

Hunters Unlucky Audio Book

Hey, guys! If you keep track of me mostly on my blog, you may not know that Hunters Unlucky audio book is now availble! The entire book is on Audible.com for a single credit. It's over 24 hours of audio. Or, you can listen for free on my podcast. The book began on Nov 10th, and it will run 2 episodes per week through July.

If you're new to the world of Hunters, here's the description: Storm is born into a world of secrets - an island no one visits, names no one will say, and deaths that no one will talk about. The answers are locked in his species' troubled past, guarded by the fierce creasia cats. But when Storm's friends are threatened, he decides that he must act, pitting himself against the creasia to show that they can be resisted and outwitted. To prove his point, he must stay one step ahead of clever hunters, who have more to lose than Storm imagines.

Monday
Dec012014

Christmas is Coming...along with 2015

Hello, Readers and Listeners!

It's that time of year - when you order stuff online, so that it will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas. If someone in your life enjoys my books (or if they might enjoy my books), please consider getting them a lovely paperback. They are all available from Amazon or CreateSpace. You get a 25% discount from CreateSpace if you're on my mailing list. The code is in the welcome email. If you're on the list and have lost the code, let me know.

Cowry Catchers stickers from Redbubble also make great stocking stuffers.

If you're traveling for the holidays, consider an audio book.

And if you read this far through my sales pitch, I invite you to tell me what you'd like to see for sale in the coming year. I'm making my business plan, and I need to know where to focus my efforts. Thanks for the feedback.

Monday
Oct202014

Malachi and the Ghost Kitten

Malachi has the most wonderful adopted family in the world. They love him and tell him stories and bring him food. The problem: Malachi is a boa constrictor and his adopted family are a colony of rats. His particular friend is a young rat named Eve, who does her best to steal tasty treats for Malachi from the farm house. However, the treats seem to be making Malachi sick, and he is growing dangerously hungry. Then, one day, an old enemy comes to visit. She offers a solution to their problem in exchange for a favor. Animals from the neighborhood have been disappearing into a house down the street, and she wants Malachi and Eve to investigate. The local cats say the house is haunted.


I am proud to announce that Malachi and the Ghost Kitten is available in paper and ebook, just in time for Halloween! :)

This is the 2nd book in the Eve and Malachi series. The first book is called Feeding Malachi. The stories are stand-alones, although events will make more sense if you read them in order. These are creepy chapter books for kids 7-12 or (long) short stories for anyone else.

Like the first book, this one has ink illustrations by Sarah Cloutier at the beginning of each chapter. The illustrations are in both the ebook and paper book.

People on my mailing list get a 25% discount when purchasing any of my paper books from CreateSpace.

Happy Fall!