Matt Archer: Year One in Review

On August 18, 2012, I nervously pushed the “publish” button on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords and sent Matt Archer: Monster Hunter out into the world. I had no idea how it would be received, how to market books or even what to expect from sales.

matt_archer__monster_hunter_by_sweartoad-d5g5bbe

Gee, thanks, lady. Look what you got me into.

In the last twelve months, I’ve gotten a real education. Some of it came from experts in self publishing (if you aren’t reading Lindsay Buroker’s blog and you plan to self publish, you need to go check it out), while some of it came from throwing resources at different marketing options to see what would stick. I thought I’d throw out a few quick stats, a year in review so to speak, of how Matt found his place.

  • Sales: I can’t state exact numbers, but the Matt Archer series crossed 10,000 in total sales earlier this month. Monster Hunter’s sales are right at half of  that number. Are these huge numbers compared to other titles? Maybe not, but I’m really proud of how well Matt’s doing.
  • Advertising: As most self-published authors know, Bookbub is kind of like a magic fairy who grants wishes. However, there are a lot of good, smaller venues out there. I’ve had good luck with Kindle Fire Department, Kindle Boards and eReader News Today. So far, I haven’t been able to get Pixel of Ink to feature any of my titles, but hopefully one day.
  • Pace: I’m never going to be one who’s able to write more than 2-3 books a year. And that’s okay. I wish I had more time to write, because I love it, and creating words/worlds really helps keep me centered. But, I have a day job and a great family to care for, so time is a limited, precious resource. I know leaving y’all on a cliffhanger in Legend wasn’t very nice, but so far book 4 has been quite a ride. Hopefully that will earn your forgiveness.
  • Reception: I think what has surprised me most is how many people have told me they enjoyed Matt’s story. This is why a writer writes, and every kind word has both humbled and thrilled me. I appreciate feedback, too. Reader response helps guide the way I shape future aspects of the story.

So that’s the quick download. If you have comments or questions, feel free to drop me a line. But now, I think it’s time for the fun stuff!

First, in honor of Matt’s first birthday, Blade’s Edge is on sale for $0.99 and Legend is on sale for $3.49. These prices are good for Kindle, Nook and Kobo. If you are a Smashwords customer (or Apple iBooks), send me a ping via the contact page and I’ll send you a coupon to match those prices. The sale ends August 31, so if you’re interested (or thinking of foisting the story on your friends : D) catch it while you can.

Second, I posted a couple of MA4 sneak peeks here and here. There will be a few more in the coming months, and they’ll be posted on my Facebook page.

Finally, here’s a tidbit I usually don’t share until the cover is revealed, but what the heck. This is a birthday party, so there need to be surprises, right? Here goes — in case you were wondering, the title for MA4 is…

 

Matt Archer: Bloodlines

 

I’ll leave y’all to speculate about what that means for now. : D

It’s been a fantastic year. Thanks to everyone who made it happen. And I can’t wait for y’all to see what Matt’s gotten himself into this time…be on the lookout for Bloodlines in early 2014.

Until then…beware of monsters.

Muse with an Attitude

Hello Monster Hunters! I’m back from the Hinterlands (aka Walt Disney World) where I spent a lot of time chasing my muse. For example, my birthday present from the hubby:

 

Tink Poster

All it takes is faith and trust…and a little pixie dust!

And this was my birthday present to me:

Tink figurine

She’s guarding my books at present but I’m hoping that she gets up to some mischief later and creates some words for me. Matt’s Tink has been ominously quiet of late, and I’m sure this little muse is conspiring with her to pull a fast one on our intrepid monster hunter. Don’t you just love the art deco colors she’s wearing? She looks awfully sweet–she must be up to something. : )

Because I never do anything halfway, I also acquired a Tinkerbell charm and a pin for my hat. Looks like a collection may be starting. Kind of funny…given it all started with a knife.

I just had a birthday, and next week, Matt has his. On August 18th, Matt Archer turns one–the same day my mother would’ve been 70. That day will be bittersweet for sure. I’ll do a state of the union on the next blog–lessons learned, general stats and a look at the highs and lows of publishing. It’s been an amazing year, and I can’t wait to see what the next one brings.

Hopefully my little muse will spark some fantastic journeys going forward!

How about you? Do you have a collection you love to keep, or a muse that keeps your art flowing?

And The Winner Is…

Greetings monsters!

When you read this, I’ll most likely be celebrating my birthday somewhere in the Carribbean. Let’s hear it for vacations! So this will be a short post this week, but I do have an announcement. The winner of the Matt Archer’s Birthday giveaway–which includes a signed copy of all three books and a chance to name a character in MA5–is….<<drumroll>>

buddy-the-elf-excited-a

Shelley B!!

 

Congrats to Shelley! The books will be on their way as soon as I’m back in the States. And I hope everyone else is having a great summer. In two weeks, I’ll give a state of the union update on all things Matt Archer, so be sure to tune in then.

Until next week, beware of monsters!

Character Interview: Jorge

Hi everyone,

Last week I promised an interview with a very elusive character in Matt Archer’s life: Jorge, Peruvian medicine man, magic-knife creator and Yale scholar. He’s graciously agreed to speak with me via satellite phone…primarily because Major Ramirez offered him a box of Girl Scout Cookies?

J: Well, you can’t exactly get Thin Mints out here very often. The major was kind enough to pick up a box when he was on leave.

K: Wouldn’t they melt, though? It’s kind of humid in the rain forest.

J: You’re assuming I try to keep them for a while. I shared one sleeve with the major’s team, and ate the rest the same day.

K: Wow, and I thought my addiction to Tag-alongs was fierce. But this leads me to my first question. You grew up here, with your people, but were offered the opportunity to study abroad, in the United States. What kind of culture shock was that?

J: It was extreme. I picked up English quickly, so it wasn’t the language, but I had no concept of what American life was like. I’d find myself in social situations and have no idea what was going on. I’m good at studying behavior, so I worked hard to fit in, although I never really did.

K: Is there anything you miss from those days after returning home?

J: Besides the Thin Mints? <laughs> Well, I don’t miss the winters. It got very cold in the Northeast, and I was sick a great deal those first few years. But let’s see…some people would probably say modern conveniences like plumbing and coffee makers. I don’t really need those things. I miss the books. I have a small library here, and the major brings a few for me, but it’s difficult to keep them since I’m on the move a lot.

K: I can see that being an issue. I’d miss books, too.  So I have a few questions from other people…Misha has questions about the knives, if you are willing to answer them.

J: <long pause> I’ll answer some, but this isn’t necessarily knowledge I’d prefer to get out. It could be quite dangerous, you see.

K: Okay, we’ll give it a try. First up, materials:  What metals did you use to make the knives? Was it the same mix for all five?

J:  The blades themselves are all made of the same mix of metals. They’re a bronze alloy. <chuckles> Don’t tell my grandfather, but I threw a little steel into the mix for durability. Not classic technique, but these aren’t ordinary blades.

K: How about the handles? What are they made of?

J: Each one is slightly different. Four are made of enameled bone. Plain white, plain black (which is mine), black with white markings and white with black markings. Variations on light and dark. The fifth I made from a bronze/steel alloy.

K: Why the difference with the fifth?

J: That’s a secret. Next question?

K: Um, okay. How did you forge the blades, and when you bound the spirits to them, did you feel it?

J: That’s two questions.

K: Well, yeah.

J:  Hmmm.  To the first, I used a version of clay casting (the old ways are better sometimes) and a great deal of heat. I…might have achieved the desired heat through less than natural means.  <clears throat> To the second, yes, I absolutely felt the spirits enter the blades. I had to bind them together, so I was the link. It was painful, especially with young Archer’s knife. His knife-spirit is willful and extremely strong. The bronze’s spirit was strong-willed, too, but more…refined? I don’t have a better way to explain it. The other three were strong, but definitely less potent than those two.

K: Speaking of which, what do you think about Matt?

J: He frightens me.

K: Uh…what?

J:  His power, his ability. It’s…odd. But my hope is that it’s a good kind of odd. We called the knives the “blades of redemption” for a reason.

K: Sounds like all the wielders have a rough road ahead.

J: You have no idea. And hopefully, you never will.

K: Not very optimistic.

J: That is not my role.

K: You’re probably right. Well, I know you’re a busy man, so we’ll wrap up. Thanks so much for taking the time.

J: You’re welcome. And keep that boy out of trouble, will you? I can only heal so much.

K: I…can’t promise anything, but duly noted.

J: Hmmm…

 

Birthday Extravaganza!

Greetings Monster Hunters!

cupcakeIn a few short weeks, the Matt Archer series will celebrate it’s first year in print (the first edition published on August 18, 2012). When we get to the anniversary, I’ll do a publishing state of the union, just to let everyone know how we’re doing and lessons I’ve learned (believe me, there were quite a few!) along the way.

Even more exciting, Monster Hunter hit 50+ reviews on Amazon and 100+ ratings on GoodReads this past week. I’m so thrilled by the support from the readers that I want to share the love! So let’s do a little giveaway. The prize is a signed paperback of all three Matt Archer books and the opportunity to name a character in the final book, MA5, likely to publish this time next year. To enter, see the Rafflecopter link below. I’ll announce the winner on the August 5th blog. Oh, and the giveaway is open internationally!

I also have a request. When I asked if you’d like to hear from other characters, a number of you suggested I interview Jorge. I’d love to post that next week, but I need your help. What questions would you like to ask him? Post them in the comments below, or send me ideas via my contact page.

Thanks again for all the support, reviews and kind words. This has been an awesome journey.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tin Foil Hats

Greetings Monster Hunters!

Alien UFOWith the anniversary of the “Roswell Incident” I’ve been thinking a lot about conspiracy theories lately. Is Area 51 more than just a governmental research facility? Are their aliens trapped in there? Is Will Smith going to have to learn how to pilot a UFO to save the world?

My writing takes me to some strange places (my imagination is a dark, cobwebby place full of creaky floorboards), but you want to scare me stiff, regale me with stories about alien abductions. Seriously, if a tin foil hat would save me from their experiments, I would make a Fedora out of Reynolds Wrap!

So why are so many nut-cases people obsessed with the idea that UFOs routinely fly over rural Kansas, and aliens live among us? If a civilization had the technology to fly halfway across the galaxy to come check us out, I have to think they wouldn’t be benevolent Star Fleet officers who’d obey the Prime Directive (aka, leave that primitive society alone, yo!).  No, they’d be coming to find cheap labor, natural resources and diet cola. Steven Hawking agrees with me.

Still, there’s something bewitching about the idea that we aren’t alone out here. That somewhere, out in the black, other beings are living, struggling, creating. Maybe they’re kind of like us, and don’t want to turn us all into minions. Maybe they get sassed by their tweeners, have trouble balancing work and family and wonder if there will be cookies at lunch. If that’s true, then we truly aren’t alone.

So, what do you think? Aliens…real or not? And if they are real, do they come in peace?

Hoax or real?

Greetings Monsters!

Matt’s on tour the next few weeks, celebrating the release of Legend with Reading Addiction blog tours. Check out the links below to find out where we’ll stop next!

July 2 – Known To Read – Review Book #3/Interview

July 3 – Marked By Books – Review All Books
July 4 – Ali’s Books – PROMO/Guest Post
July 6 – Mom With a Kindle – Review Book #1
July 7 – Kil0u & Mimi – Guest Post/PROMO
July 8 – Once Upon a YA Book – Book #1 Review
July 10 – Texas Book Nook – Review Book #3
July 11 – Word to Dreams – PROMO
July 12 – My Reading Addiction – PROMO
July 13 – Andi’s YA Books – Review Book #3/Interview
July 14 – The Adventures Within – PROMO
July 15 – Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Review Books 1-3
July 16 – Words I Write Crazy – Review Book #3/Guest Post
July 17 – The Solitary Bookworm – Review Book #3/Guest Post
July 18 – Mythical Books – PROMO
July 19 – Twinsie Talk Reviews – Review Book #3
July 20 – Inside BJ’s Head – Guest Post/PROMO
July 21 – A Life Through Books – Review Book #3
July 22 – My Cozie Corner – Review Book #3
July 23 – Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Review Book #3/Interview
July 24 – Dedicated Readers Only – Review All Books
July 26 – RABT Reviews – Review

 

Cute DragonSo, back to Monsters! Just for fun…check out this article. Do you think it’s really Bigfoot? Or just a hoax? Time will tell, I guess.

But, seriously, does Bigfoot exist? Nessie? Yetis?  What about something like this?

The fish is real, actually. I didn’t want to believe it was…but it’s called a Goliath Tiger fish. And if I ever see one in person, I will never swim again.

There are things we just can’t explain, though. The ocean floor is home to creatures we may never see, and honestly, outer space seems much to big to me for us to be alone out here.  And with the 4th of July coming, is there anything more American than a good UFO sighting or a crop ring? : )

What do you think? Is Bigfoot real? Or is it all the product of someone’s overactive imagination? (Heh, I get the irony of this statement.)

 

 

A Monster Thank You!

Just over a week ago, Matt Archer: Legend went live. The response to the book astonished me, and I’d like to thank all the readers who came back to visit Matt again. He’s quite glad, otherwise I would’ve had to send him back to Greenhill High to stay. Instead, it looks like he’ll fight on in books 4 and 5!

Snoopy Happy DancerA number of people have asked about the schedule for the last two books. Book 4 should come out in very early 2014 (late December if I can help it, but certainly by January 15). Book 5, the final full-length novel, will come out this time next year. And I’m going to throw a hint…there’s a Matt Archer Sekrit Project in the works for late 2014. After that, I plan to start a new series for 2015. More on that next year, but it’s going to be older and edgier than Matt, likely a type of mystery series suitable for readers ages 14+. I hope you’ll give it a whirl!

Finally, to show my thanks, I’d like to do a series of character interviews/alt POV short stories kind of like I did with Mike and Mamie earlier this year. Who would you like to hear from? If I were to interview Matt’s Mom, what questions would you ask her? Or how about Badass Aunt Julie? Or Johnson? Any of these characters are fair game. Let me know and over the course of the next few months, I’ll post from tidbits. Give me some ideas and we’ll see what we get!

Again, thank you for all your support! Matt’s already working hard in MA4. Last night, I left him passed out in his sleeping bag, one hand in the sun, to recover from a brush with the Dark. He and Will both have had quite a rough go of it so far…but I have a feeling this story is going to be my favorite so far. : )

 

P.S. (The new look on the blog is due to a “catastrophic code failure” with my old website that my web hosting service can’t decipher. Just thought you ought to know. : D)

Matt Archer: Legend — Now Available!

Greetings!

Matt Archer Legend 300x200I’m excited to announce that the third book in the Matt Archer series–Matt Archer: Legend— is now available at the following retailers:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Other retailers (such as Apple iBookstore and Kobo) should follow in the next week or two. Print copies will be released in late July, as well!

As always, feedback is welcome. Reviews are very helpful, but if you’d prefer to contact me directly, please use the contact page on the website.  I love hearing from readers!

Happy reading! And beware of monsters….

Dead Week

You know that week in school where all assignments are lifted so you can study your butt off for finals?  It’s called Dead Week around here…appropriate, because everyone feels dead at the end of it, limping over the finish line in pure exhaustion.

Yeah…that’s where I am this week. Matt Archer: Legend goes live this coming weekend (be on the lookout for a formal announcement here, on Facebook and on Twitter). I also have a major edit due on another project on Thursday (go here to see what I’m working on). On top of that, I’m getting ready for blog tours. Oh, and I’m leaving for a big conference for work on Saturday, which I have to attend for my professional certification.  Things still on my to-do list after all that? I need to start a beta read for a crit partner and get cracking on MA4. I plan to release it in early 2014, so there’s a ton of work to be done.

yawning girlOn Monday, I plan to sleep through the keynote presentation at the conference. Hey, it doesn’t count for credit, and I’ll probably be a pile of mushy goo by then. But it’s a good kind of exhaustion. Unlike finals, there’s a definite payoff. I get to launch a book I’m really excited about. I’ll hear if my other project is ready to pass to the final editing stage or not. I’ll earn credits toward my professional certification. And I’ll hear from bloggers what they think about MA3.  (FYI — the tour runs from July 1 through July 26, and there’s a giveaway, so come back here for details!)

Most of all, I have the privilege of doing something I love–providing a story I hope resonates (and entertains!) readers.  For that, I’m willing to stumble about like a zombie for the next few weeks.

How about you? Any labors of love you’re willing to give up sleep for?

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