Tag Archives: Amazon books

Today is the day

Well, it's one of the days. My newest book The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II is now available for purchase on Amazon. It's a pre-sale, and the books will deliver on August 31st. That is the other day.

I wanted to do a short pre-sale, but Lisa my robotic assistant must have messed up. Let's talk about the actual book.

This is similar to the first Experimental Notebook, in that it's a collection of short stories and micro-fiction. It's also similar in that it's priced at 99¢.

I decided to make the alchemy wheels into a kind of theme. The first Notebook has one, this book has two, and should there be a third volume it will have three wheels. That way the covers are similar, but also unique.

This book has some science fiction, some paranormal, and one that barely qualifies as fantasy. I love fantasy, but don't write quite as much of it. It also has two stories that don't have any speculative element. I've taken to writing short stories and micros in my spare time, then stockpiling them. When I have enough, I bundle them into a notebook.

Part of me worried about including some tales that didn't have the speculative element in them. So this book has more stories than the first one did. That way, you get the same deal and can consider those stories as free extras.

I revisited Pete Rogers, who first appeared in Will O' the Wisp. He's all grown up now, and trying to make a life for himself. I also revisited Jason Fogg, the fellow from the first notebook who can turn himself into fog. In this story, Jason is investigating a fishy situation.

This book has a few stories that are a tribute to the pulp era as well. People usually think of crime fiction, or romance, when they think of the pulp era. There were plenty of pulp science fiction and horror stories too, and I hope I did them justice.

The stories are also experimental, thus the titles of the books. I tested out the epistolary style in one story, and even tried a longer monologue to relay one story.

The first notebook included an intermission where I address the reader. It proved to be popular, so I did it again in the new book. I suppose it's become a theme now too.

So there you have it. For 99¢ you get fifteen conveniently sized stories. Perfect for coffee breaks, commuter busses, or when those Pokemon are just too elusive. You also get an excerpt from the ever charming Clovis right out of my last novel, The Playground. At that price, even if only one trips your trigger, I think readers are getting their money's worth. If they all ring true, it's a steal of a deal.

Early sales are important, because they credit on the day the book delivers. That can help me get onto one of the Amazon lists. Please consider pre-ordering and helping out. I included the link up above, but I'll include it again in a convenient tweet worthy paragraph:

Pick up the newest Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack on presale today. It's a steal at 99¢ http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01KENADN6

I just tested it out, and there's even room for your favorite hashtags. Simply copy and paste.

I planned on working on more short fiction today, but I need to address some other things. I need to track down a Goodreads librarian and add the book over there. I should put it in my blog sidebar, make some Twitter worthy art to promote with, and assemble my street team. I'll probably turn on the street team bat-signal on Wednesday, but I can write the post today.


Filed under Writing

A little burned out, but hopeful

This weekend was an emotional roller coaster. I watched action on the internet trickle off for a couple of weeks, knowing I had a book to release. Trepidation and nerves, but it wasn't about to stop me.

It isn't just me, I've talked with other bloggers and they've noticed it too. Traditionally, when I announce a new title, it makes it into my top ten list. It may not stay forever, because different posts bump up. That didn't happen this time, and it wasn't even close.

Today, my number one post was a guest I hosted back in September. I have no idea why, but I suspect PH Solomon got some good press somewhere and it linked to my article. I'm thrilled for him, and hope he's doing well. It's just a really old post to spike that way. I kind of expected Lisa's posters to be the top spot. Are you out there PH? Maybe you'd like to get a character on Lisa Burton Radio?

Does this indicate a larger shift in the importance of blogging? I really don't think so, but I'd like to find that next wave before it leaves me behind.

I spent all day today bouncing between various social media. This includes hunting down all the cover reveal posts and catching up with the comments. Everything has been complimentary and positive. It's just less than with previous books. I don't mean less positive, it's less volume I'm talking about.

Between bouts of social media mania, I prepared several posts for various people. I really appreciate these, because creative people asked me to be creative. Some of these ideas never occurred to me, and they were challenging. I'm really excited for them to come out in the next week or two.

I also assembled the next Lisa Burton Radio post and scheduled it for Thursday. It's a fun one, and all authors ought to check it out. Yes, I'm going to make you wait for Thursday for more information. I also exchanged the final version for the week following.

There are several questionnaires out for future radio interviews. These can get on the schedule, first come first served. I'm still looking for more authors who want their character to participate. I'm toying with putting one of my own characters on the show, but I'm not certain.

I custom wrote a couple of Lisa visits where she can hand out posters and talk about my new book. She still has some mileage in her for this release, so drop me a line if you'd like her to stop by. There are a couple of other bloggers who have teased they have interesting ideas, and I'll address those as they come in.

I have some pre-written posts that don't involve Lisa. I'm offering them to those who said they'd host a promotional post. I've been sending inquiries a couple at a time, because they are easier to keep track of. I also don't want to promise the same thing to more than one blogger. These posts are about inspiration, my style methods, and one interview with Lorelei, the Muse.

I got The Playground all fixed up on Goodreads. I'd really appreciate anyone who added it to a TBR list. This really helps, because it throws it into multiple timelines and brings awareness. Here is the link if you're so inclined https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29556732-the-playground

I also got it added to the Rave Reviews Book Club catalog. These guys can really help with promotion, and I'm looking forward to that.

This is supposed to be an exciting time, but it wasn't all fun and games. Aside from my concern about the slowdown, there were some personal issues this weekend too.

Friday night I knew we had a problem. The old pitbull didn't have that twinkle in his eyes, and really wasn't too interested in anything. He couldn't get comfortable, and moved between me and my wife all evening.

Saturday morning he wouldn't get up. He didn't need outside, and wasn't interested in his breakfast. We wound up putting him down. He's been on a downward spiral, and he's had a growing cancer for months. It hurts even writing about it. I haven't been without a dog since 1979. The place feels kind of empty now. Sometimes I had two, and at one point even had three dogs. None-at-all is a new experience for me.

We skipped date night this weekend because neither one of us felt like it. I bashed through all my promotional activities and failed to deal with it. It feels kind of like letting my old friend down, but it has to be done. The release was planned, and there are no do-overs.

I'm not seeking any sympathy here. It's just a fact of life, and those of us who love animals have all been through it. There will come a time to re-dog, but not right now.

For now, I'll console myself with the fictional dog in The Playground. I think you guys are going to get a kick out of him.

I think the Amazon giveaway was a failure. I expect an email at any time saying so. The rules are that I can do it again, since I already purchased the books. When I do, I'm going to lower the odds of winning dramatically. We will give away all the copies, I swear. Project for a different day.

For now here are the takeaways:

  • Please add The Playground on Goodreads.
  • Lisa is willing to make more visits. Let me know if you're interested.
  • I have a few prewritten, non-Lisa posts available.
  • Apologies for the Amazon giveaway. I'll probably revamp it and try again.
  • Lisa Burton Radio is a real deal. Contact me if you'd like to participate. This is your chance to promote here.
  • I'm also willing to custom write something if you have a specific idea that let's me promote my new book.
  • As we get to my guest posts expect some re-blogging around here.
  • Please consider using the social media sharing buttons for my promotional stuff.

My creativity has been a little off, but other folks have been challenging me and that's great. I haven't added a word to a short story, or The Yak Guy project for a long time. I can't honestly say I wasn't writing though. All these posts involved quite a word count if you add them all up.


I'll end with a promotional question for all of you. I believe in trying different things. I will tweet with the best of them, and hire a professional blog tour from time to time. I also want something to stand apart from the crowd. That's why I put so much effort into Lisa Burton. A mascot, or spokesmodel, has worked for Mad Magazine and Disney, why not me? It is working, and there will be more to come.


When I started off, I wanted something to brand myself. A common point that everyone could recognize. I chose Mom's old inkwell. It's cool. It's turning purple, and it's writing related. It just doesn't have the instant recognition of Lisa. Lisa has done so much more than the old inkwell ever could.


So here's the question. Should I find an image of Lisa for my Gravitar, and rework the banner at the top of my blog? The only thing holding me back is that Lisa is my character, but she isn't me. I have the image of Lisa with my bust that I used on Facebook, and it might make a good Gravitar. Then again, Mickey Mouse wasn't Walt Disney either, and that worked out okay.


Let me hear it in the comments. I'm a little tired, a little excited, a little bit more sad. It's been a long weekend, and the paycheck job is calling tomorrow.


Filed under Writing

Is it good? Is it bad? Possibly indifferent?

I've been hitting the promotion front pretty hard since September. It started off with Experimental Notebook. There were cover reveals, followed by advanced sales. Early reviews came next, then Lisa Burton toured around and discussed the book. A small bit of that is still going on.

Part of Notebook is a free sample of Will O' the Wisp. The hope was that leading into October, folks might be interested in that kind of story. Lisa made a stop on Friday, and has one more in early November to talk about this book.

Macabre Macaroni is part of the mix too. If someone likes one of those stories, maybe they will take a 99¢ chance on my Notebook.

There is more Macabre Macaroni coming, but I'm also trotting Will O' the Wisp out for another blog tour. You'll probably see a few reblogs around here to help my supportive hosts out.

I want to talk about Amazon advertising today. I decided to run a campaign for each book, but I chose different options in each case. This isn't a scientific comparison, because they are different books with a different price point. I still think there is some information to be gleaned.

In each case, I bid 19¢ for placement of my ad. Amazon awards the bid to the highest amount, but only charges enough to win the spot. Some of my ads were placed for 6¢. I'm only charged when someone clicks on my ad, not whenever it gets seen. Let's look at the chart.

The bottom campaign is an old test drive for Will O' the Wisp dating back to May. This campaign placed my ads on products that might be similar to my book. You can see that I spent 95¢ to show my cover to 28,000 people. Seventeen of them clicked on my ad, and I never sold a single book.

In my mind, this is a mediocre winner. I got a lot of exposure for 95¢. I wasn't convinced or defeated here. So I decided to do it again.

On October 4th I ran a very similar campaign. I am banking on the season to help me with this particular book. Right now I have 19,500 views, and 12 interested parties. Nobody has taken the bait yet, but I've only spent 94¢.

The top row is for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack, and it started on October 6th. For this campaign, I chose genres instead of products.

I didn't know until after my first campaign what the difference might be. With products, you cannot be advertised on Kindles or the various apps. With genres that is where your book gets placed. What this means is if someone is shopping for a boxed set of the television show “Charmed” they might see the advertisement for Will O' the Wisp. The risk is they aren't shopping for a book, and might not be readers at all.

The Notebook campaign shows 2634 placements, 17 clicks, and one actual sale at 99¢. (Which I have to share with Amazon.) These ads were all placed with folks shopping for ebooks. I have no idea why I have more page views than clicks. I assumed there had to be a click before there was a page view. Maybe the person who bought the book went back and forth a few times??? You can see that my 35¢ royalty cost me $2.55.

Both current campaigns are performing better than my original one. I'm getting a ton of exposure, and I know my covers are great. The Notebook cover isn't as awesome at thumbnail size though.

I don't see these campaigns as losers. I'm spending a minuscule amount of money for a ton of exposure. It is possible that someone will return later and make a purchase too. They might see the cover for Wisp on the blog tour and go, “Oh yeah… I'm going to buy that.”

For those who haven't explored this program, you have to commit a specific amount of money. In my case $100. This serves as a fail safe to prevent dumping a million dollars on a campaign that goes crazy. The campaign ends at $100. There is also an ending date for the same reason.

It looks like the campaign that targets genre is performing a little bit better. Notebook is cheaper, but one sale doesn't sway the performance much.

I know I've spent $50 on several promotions that never netted a single sale. This doesn't look too bad by comparison.

Let me hear from you guys. Have you ever used this service? Are my numbers pretty typical, or do they suck? Would you ever use this service? Has this post piqued your interest in this service? Do you want to buy a book?


Filed under Writing

What are the readers saying?

It’s time for a bit of self promotion. I’ve never hidden the fact this is a writer’s blog, and one of its jobs is to promote my work.

My newest book is Will O’ the Wisp. This story has three facets the readers are enjoying.

  • It’s a coming of age story.
  • It’s a paranormal mystery.
  • It’s a walk down memory lane.

The reviews are all suggesting this as well. Let’s look at the reviews:

So much fun! March 15, 2015 — I particularly enjoyed the fact that it was set in the 1970’s. I can relate to microwaves, writing letters, phone chords, and mercurochrome…

Bottom line? I loved it! Get the book. Read the book. You will NOT regret it.

Boyack’s Best Yet! March 16, 2015 — In my view, this is Boyack’s best yet, his piece de resistance! All his characters are strong and well defined, but Craig has excelled in stepping into Patty’s shoes; he has produced a most convincing teen, likeable one minute, and annoying the next, a self-reliant, independent and free-thinking child of the seventies, an era which he has expertly and admirably reproduced in this story, and which is certain to bring back many memories for many readers.

Although this story is classified as YA, I recommend it to anyone who is still young at heart (or who can at least still remember how being young felt).

A delightful read for young and old alike! March 15, 2015 —  It’s bad enough she has to deal with adolescent issues like attending her first dance; an overprotective mother who insists she wear leg braces Patty knows she doesn’t need; and friends who have waded into the dating pool when she’s still woefully single, but toss in the centuries-old curse and a neighbor who has been possessed by “the Wisp,” and Patty’s life is far from average. I won’t give away the ending, but the author pulled the plot threads together in a way that was not only satisfying but fun.

This is an engaging YA read, but it’s also a treat for adults who will remember the era in which this is set. I loved the glimpse into a small rural town/farming community and the magic and whimsy of friendship. Remember Quisp cereal, your first teen dance, roaming through fields at night, exploring old cemeteries, sharing secrets with your friends? All of that magic and more is here. Patty is an everyday kid you can’t help but cheer for and admire. A delightful read for young and old alike.

Great YA Urban Fantasy April 14, 2015 — I  loved this book, and it had something to offer on every page. Patty, and indeed all the characters, are drawn excellently and I cared what happened to them all. The world building, plot, pacing, and character development were brilliant.

Will O’ the Wisp  April 20, 2015 — If Sci-Fi and Paranormal fiction had a teenage daughter, it would be Will O’ the Wisp.
Will O’ the Wisp takes place in the mid-70s and stars Patty Hall a fifteen year old girl with a fascination for space, an over protective mom –who expects too much from her, an easy going step dad, and a family curse.
Can Patty end this curse?
You’ll have to read to find out.
Thrilling – don’t miss this intriguing story! March 22, 2015 — Ernest Hemingway once stated “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” C. S. Boyack shows this mastery with this story – he created living people instead of mere characters. I was drawn into the story right away – very close to Patty. I could easily envision the characters and locations. I had a great time reading Will O’ the Wisp. It is a very enjoyable read.
WOW! What a remarkable book! March 17, 2015 —  This YA novel will chill the spines of young and old alike, and is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. The characters are well-developed, the setting is vivid, and the time-period is told perfectly. Mr. Boyack really outdid himself with this wonderful tale of The Wonder Years meets The Exorcist.
Wow! Compared to Hemingway. It’s the beard, I know it is. All joking aside, I really enjoyed writing this one. I also believe in it strongly. I would appreciate a few more of you adding it to your reading lists.
Here are the inevitable buy links:


Filed under Writing

Last day, get ’em while they’re HOT

This is the last day of my three day giveaway. This time the book is called Arson. This is a return to science fiction and involves other planets and aliens. The expansion into space has caused a return to colonialism.

Perry Wolfe is a member of an elite team that fights fires in space. During a huge space liner fire, he receives a minor wound, but it is career ending. Rendered uninsurable, he can never be a firefighter again.

Perry enters the ATF firefighting school and gets shipped to a small moon called Quantico Two. His training facility is in the city of Glynco. He uncovers clues that link his sister’s murder to a string of arsons, but the FBI doesn’t welcome interference.

Perry can’t let go of being a firefighter. Maybe there is something else he needs in Glynco.


This story includes the most fun supporting character I’ve ever written. Curious?

This one has never been the subject of a giveaway or a countdown deal. This is the first promotion for Arson. It needs more reviews, and maybe I can gain a few from my giveaway. Here’s what my one review says:

“This SciFi thriller has plenty of action to keep your heart pumping. C.S. Boyack does a good job of pulling you into the story. I especially like the way he integrated alien species into the story as friends and co-workers. That aspect reminded me a bit of the Star Wars movies, but this story is much more sophisticated.”

Here’s the link one more time, if you want a free book: Arson.



Filed under Writing

Day one of my big giveaway

Today is the first day of my three day book giveaway. This is the day to get Wild Concept free for 24 hours only.

Lisa Burton is a concept robot. Atlantic Robotics borrowed a page from Detroit and decided to make a showpiece robot. Lisa was designed to be as human as possible. She still has tons of whiz bang technology included though. This book explores prejudices from the point of view of the outsider. It still winds up being a science fiction adventure.

Here’s what people are saying:

 “Boyack has a character that has no backstory. There is no history to Lisa Burton, but Boyack takes this thing and breathes a fascinating life into it.”

Enjoy and see how Lisa develops, roar with laughter, cry, shake your head, whenever it suits you. Lisa Burton is my favourite (book) character of the year 2014.”

Boyack used great imagination with Lisa’s development and her personality leaped out of the book to me.”

 “This was a fun read and exciting adventure. It also offers some room for deep reflection on prejudice and what it means to be different. If you are looking for an entertaining read that will make you think about mankind’s journey beyond the natural, make you smile and make you cry, this is a neat little story to pick up.”

Give Wild Concept a chance today. It’s free for one day only, then it’s back to full price.



Filed under Writing

My free promotion theories

This is a reminder that my big promotion starts tomorrow. I’m biting my nails hoping I set it up correctly. There were no hours and minutes available. It will either last one whole day, or one whole second. My plan is for a whole day. (Fingers crossed.)

It is designed like this: I will give away a different book per day for three days. If you’ve been wanting to read one of these stories, now is the time to grab it. The adventurous among you are welcome to grab all of them.

Getting my name out there has always been a challenge. I’m a hardcore introvert, and talking about myself and peddling my product is difficult for me. I’m more at ease talking about your product.

A guy has to do something, and this is what I came up with:

Wild Concept is a bit of science fiction that stays close to home. It’s about an experimental robot who has been given emotions and feelings for the first time. Those of you who regularly read my blog know Lisa. This is Lisa’s story. It will be free tomorrow, December first.

Panama is set in the early 1900s during construction of the Panama Canal. Ethan and Coop are retired military men. Ethan was a Rough Rider and Coop was a Buffalo Soldier. One talks with ghosts and the other dabbles in magic. The president asks them to look into some mysterious disappearances at the construction zone. They are ill prepared for what they find. Panama wants independence, Colombia wants to keep them, there is a Spanish Carlist rebel planning a major invasion, plus the Spaniard is backed up by an army from hell itself. This one has been pulling in quite a few five star reviews. Panama is free on December second.

Arson is the story of Perry Wolfe. He is part of an elite group who fight fires in space. He loses his job to a freak accident and must rebuild his life. He goes to the ATF school to train as a federal arson investigator. While there he uncovers some clues to his sister’s murder and a corporate takeover using arson as leverage. This one is deeper science fiction, and has some sexual situations in it. Arson will be free on December third.

But Craig, don’t you have four books out? Yes I do. The Cock of the South is my first fantasy release. It involves fantasy races in a desperate bid to survive in a human dominated world.

Here’s how I envision this. They say no one will buy the cow if you give the milk away for free. I’ve always seen the world differently. Check this out:

Look! Four Spigots.

Look! Four Spigots.

There are four nozzles on this thing, I have four books published. You can have the milk from three of the spigots, but have to pay for the fourth. That fourth spigot has some amazing milk too. Mmmm. Here, have a free glass and if you like it maybe you’ll want to try the special brand in tap number four.

I don’t know if there is any real value in seeing my name get popular for a few days. Amazon stats change fast, but if there is maybe my stock will rise.

Your free download helps me. Some of you have gone on record saying you’d rather buy the books, that an author deserves compensation. God bless you for that. Don’t feel bad about grabbing a free copy. It helps with my numbers just the same. This time of year brings its own financial crunch. Free reading has to be a bonus to everyone.

If you still want to buy them you can. The Cock of the South is still for sale, and each giveaway only lasts one day. Those of you using the lending library, or Kindle Unlimited can always read them for free. That way I get compensation and you spend nothing.

These titles are all ebook only. You will need a Kindle app. There is a link at the top of my sidebar where you can get one for every device imaginable, and the apps are free. Every self published author out there will thank you for trying a reading app.

These are the last free books from C. S. Boyack in 2014. Don’t miss out, get a free book starting tomorrow.


Filed under Writing