There are far too many people to thank, so I’m not going to mention anybody individually for fear of leaving out too many, but a big, heartfelt, sincere thank you to everybody who has helped out so far with the promotion. As of now, here’s where Brotherhood sits on the Amazon Kindle Store rankings: #82 total; #60 all fiction; #51 genre fiction; #8 all fantasy; and #3 epic fantasy. In my estimation, that’s a pretty successful first day, and hopefully, we will continue to climb throughout today. Please, keep sharing the links on your social media pages and let’s get to the top of the boards in all categories. The free promotion continues until about 3:00 AM May 3 (Amazon is on the West Coast).
Yesterday was a wild ride of emotions for me. The concept for the series was born nearly a decade ago, the manuscript completed almost 8 years ago, and the first book released over 7 years ago. I had very limited financing at first and had to do everything as frugally as possible. The original print run of 500 was not very professional. The cover was too simplistic, the binding was awful, and the paper stock for the cover was wrong. The books were flimsy, fragile, and honestly a little ugly, but I sold nearly all of them. For the second run of 1,000, we changed binders and paper stock, and I redesigned the cover slightly. However, while the quality was better, the book still looked self-published and cheap, and during those first three years, I endured a lot of criticism, ridicule, and insults.
I don’t want to dwell on or relive the negative, but there were some painful moments those first three years. My marriage disintegrated, my teaching career fell apart, my writing career stalled, and my children moved to Florida. There were some long, dark, lonely nights. There was an abundance of self-doubt and regrets. Then, I learned about Lightning Source, the POD division of Ingram. After my divorce, I redesigned all new color covers for books one and two, and in early summer 2008, relaunched my efforts with a vigor. The new covers were well received, but sales were awful. I had successful conventions here and there, but the series seemed stuck. It was maddening and frustrating to feel like I had a good property with no way to get it the exposure it deserved.
I plugged along, attending as many conventions as I could afford, promoting as much as I could, and ignoring the naysayers. Slowly but steadily, the series started to gain respect. Feedback from readers and other writers was nearly always positive, and in June of 2009, I was fortunate to meet Stephen Zimmer at Hypericon in Nashville. He had heard of my series on the con circuit and was curious to read it. From that convention forward, he has been one of my biggest supporters and closest friends, and last spring, I approached him about joining Seventh Star Press. I knew I had gone as far as I could with self-publishing, and Seventh Star was expanding its stable. It was the best move I’ve made in my writing career, and the proof is in those ranking at the top of the page.
I’m aware that there’s still a lot of work to do. I’m aware that a few thousand giveaways isn’t the goal line. If anything, it’s just the beginning of the hard work, but yesterday, I truly felt for the first time in seven years that all the hard work and struggle has been worth it. While I did suffer self-doubt and regret over choices I made for the books, I never lost faith that the books themselves are of professional quality and that the series is a fun, entertaining, quality read. Being picked up by Ereader News Today yesterday validated that faith and put to rest for me all the insults, criticisms, and naysayers that tried to derail me for seven years. The Brotherhood of Dwarves is alive and well and growing, and I am as strong and healthy and stubborn as ever. For seven years, I’ve been knocking on the door, and yesterday, it finally cracked open, if but an inch. Now, it’s time to charge through it and into the future. Get a good grip on your axes, guys. This is going to be fun!