Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: Amazon Kindle

[free] fantasy Book of Kayal: Strength of Unity now free on Amazon Kindle

Explore the world of BoK with Ganis and her unlikely crew in the first installment of the series.




On Writing: books and their progress

I’ve come across some author websites where the published books and those in progress are listed. Thought of doing the same just to keep track of things.

  • Book of Kayal (Fantasy series)
    • Book I –  Wolf Emperor: draft 1 completed (Project scrapped and might be turned into a series of short stories)
    • Book II – Strength of Unity (Previously titled Hands of Fate): published-ed2 on Amazon and available on KU
    • Book III – Deliverance Edge: Draft 1 completed
    • Book IV – Grieving Flame: Draft 1 completed
    • Book IV – [Untitled Thalg Story] Draft 1 in progress, roughly 33% completed.
  • Palladium Falls (Sci-fi novel)
    • Introduction and concept completed. Awaiting 1,000,000 word writing practice mark to continue
  • Conscripted (Non-fiction)
    • Chapter 1 completed, book completion estimate unavailable.

I really should have this list prepared in a better way. Perhaps I’ll start another website dedicated to the books only.

PS: Book of Kayal: Strength of Unity will be available for free from August 30-31 on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Book of Kayal: Strength of Unity (ed2) Now Available on Amazon

On Writing: Marketing

As I have mentioned before, I was at a miss about the post-publishing process. I have not invested anything but time in my book and was reluctant to look for an editor, instead improvised based on the few reviews I got. Needless to say, that is not an advisable thing to do. However, there was another reason behind my choice to publish without hiring a professional editor. I wanted – and still want – to see if the story is good enough to be read in spite of its lack of polishing – I know this is an extreme type of experimentation which bears a great deal of risk for future releases.

The one mistake I did was not offering the book for free via one of the many available ebook channels. Due to the Amazon Kindle select program, I don’t think I am allowed to unpublish it within the next three months.

There is one thing, however, which I miraculously discovered, marketing your ebook for free, or at least get people to download it for your initial push. Needless to say, a book without reviews is difficult to sell, simply because you cannot know if you are buying your money’s worth of ‘book’. Exposure is the first step for an unknown author and, I believe, any publicity is good publicity. Others might argue with me and chose to offer a book once it has been made perfect, and I agree 100%, but I am simply trying to test the waters in an unusual way.

The two pictures – which I cannot seem to control – at the end of the post are snapshots of the book’s performance during the free promo day of Friday 21st. Amazon calculates the book rank based on the total number of downloads for the given promo period, regardless of how long it is. In other words, in only one day, I managed to get my book as the 7th most downloaded free book of its genre with a 519 downloads for this day, which totaled to 724 when counting the downloads for promo I scheduled Friday and Saturday of the previous week. Notice that among the viewed list, Book of Kayal: Hands of Fate is the only which had not received any reviews.

How I did it? Is the question that should be on your minds right now. The answer is simple. I announced my free promo day as soon as the book became available for free on the following sites: (1) reddit, (2) goodreads, (3) this blog and (4) facebook.

I am not sure about the source for each download, and I assume that the frequency of interaction was a highly correlated indicator. was the most useful website as it got me a high stream of interaction with 212 up-votes and 56 down-votes across 6 different subreddits (a forum page specific for a certain topic). I posted my book in the following sections: ebooks, fantasy, self-publish, kindle, writers, kindlefreebies. Each post, however, had to be reworded and tailored to the audience – I will not be discussing this.

As for goodreads, I joined a few groups, actively contributing whenever I can, a week before. I spent some time pinpointing relevant groups regarding my genre and interests and stumbled upon a few. Most groups I joined had a section to announce your offered free books. I made my announcements and responded whenever a question was asked, I only received one or two questions thought. The interaction on goodreads was poor, but the community is made in a way to limit promotional interaction, something I do not mind at all considering all the other forums that require diligence in responding to messages.

On facebook, I received a total of 4 likes across 3 different groups, a huge disappointment considering that it is one of the most frequently visited websites which emphasize socializing. This blog had a total of 103 followers at the time of my announcement, and I have not received any interaction regarding my promo posts, making it impossible to judge their impact.

To conclude my experience during my personal marketing efforts discussed in this haphazardly written post, I found that reddit and goodreads were the best two means of marketing your book while keeping an open communication channel. The thing that is most precious about these two sites is the community. A significant amount of them offer you a great deal of help simply in return for being polite and promoting in a friendly non-selfish way. After getting helped by members of these communities several times, I also got myself more involved in them and offered as much help as I can, reflecting in more than simply gratification, but also keeping you active within these communities. While facebook and other social media did not do much to me, the amount of time spent on them was negligible, making them a ‘why not announce’ type of thing since you waste no time making your announcements and interacting with people. Reddit and goodreads, however, bear great reward while requiring a little bit of effort.

Here are the numbers:

Snapshot 1 Snapshot 2

On Writing: Character Interests

I have been watching lectures by Brandon Sanderson, a published Fantasy author and professor, on youtube and came across some interesting ways to keep your characters interesting.

The first thing that he said which grabbed my attention was ‘give your characters interests’. This would come the cost of some research – depending on how familiar you are with the interest you decided to give him/her – and time. However, it will reflect beautifully on your story. Once you learn to make them use terminologies of their interest or give them an appropriate mindset, you will find a far more colorful character which would entertain the readers while motivating you to write more about him/her.

He also suggested to use historical characters, something which I base most of my characters on, to start guiding your characters speech and behavior. A strong background of history also helps develop ideas and plots for a wide range of genres.

After watching these lectures, I started thinking more deeply in character creation and development. Naturally, the first step was to draw from my personal knowledge and experience. One of the many perks of studying psychology in college is the ability to dive deeper into you written characters’ personalities and making them more realistically complex. What I am experimenting with at the moment, while writing my current book, is giving my characters symptoms of a psychological disorder – all humans have symptoms of psychological abnormalities which is natural and healthy – not to a degree that they would be diagnosed as having it, but to render them more realistic and interesting.

Eventually you will find that as the story develops your characters change, a normal and welcomed occurrence, which might make the initial character personality research seem like a waste of time, yet is actually not due to the need to have a starting point.

Here is the link to the youtube channel which has Brandon Sanderson’s lectures:

I also want to inform you that my first book will be free tomorrow (Friday 21 June 2013) on kindle via these two links (US and UK):



Follow me on twitter if you want an easier way to follow up my free days @TarekCherif3

On Publishing: Attempt One

Just in case some of you have not been following my writing posts, I will give you a short summary about what happened so far before going on with my first attempt at independently publishing.

I started seriously writing about a year ago and finished three fantasy books for a series I named Book of Kayal. I knew that the first two books would not be very good, yet I tried my luck finding a literary agent for them. Because there was somewhat of a cliffhanger in the end of the first book (Rise from Exile), I decided to merge it with my shorter second book (Broken Shackles), I named it (Wolf Emperor). Needless to say, I got rejections left and right. At first, doubt started to take over and it felt rather depressing, but I realized that this would not be an easy journey and kept writing just for the enjoyment of the process.

The third book I finished revising and all last week. It was by far the best work I have ever done in terms of concept, idea and plot. I spent some time researching the characters and integrated the same idea from the first book, with a great deal of tinkering, of using mythological and historical characters in the story. For example, Thalia was the Greek Goddess of drama, I made a character having similar features to what I expect a talented artist to be like – I named my character Thalia too.

This books outline was my second attempt at making one, I wrote the first book using a method referred to as discovery by Brandon Sanderson (author Mistborn series and many other books),  and making a coherent plot to bind all elements together while focusing on sub-plots during each chapter. After reading a lot of books, I mean over 40 in a span of less than six months, I found the exact style I wanted my books to have, that ending that makes everything suddenly seem so logical – the big ‘Ahhh’. Additionally, I read a great deal of short stories which provided a quick insight on the conceptual elements, not ideas, I wanted to have in my books. I finally decided to write each chapter as a short story with its own moral or philosophical lesson to it, some were better than others though. The hardest part, however, was finding this golden idea that made a mediocre book – I know this sounds strange – great by incorporating a hinted sub-plot that unveils itself in the end – the reason behind all of what happened.

So I finished my third book, revised it and decided on the platform I wanted to publish it on. From my experience with literary agents, I realized that most of them don’t even consider unpublished authors regardless of how well a synopsis, query or sample chapters are written, and you can’t blame them for it. Amazon Kindle seemed the best way of publishing my book, after some research.

Two days ago, I posted my book on kindle and started sending emails to various book reviewing websites/blogs. I am not sure what happened regarding the emails yet. Nevertheless, I could not sit and wait for the reviewers to respond, so I went with the second part of my plan and created various announcements on different forums, including relevant reddit subreddits, deviant art, facebook and goodreads. I know that there is practically no way I might make a single sale unless I have reviews or the book was offered for free, so I enrolled in the kindle select program and offered my book for free on Friday and Saturday 14-15. Yesterday at 11:00 am (+2 GMT) was my first book download. The amount of happiness I felt when seeing that 0 become a 1 was incredible, in spite of the face that it was a free promotion. Now, and 190 downloads later, I find myself reaching a halt about my next step. I guess the only thing to do is wait for reviews to pop in and see how it goes from there.

For a book to be successful it needs to have thousands of copies downloaded, but I do not expect mine to reach this level yet, unless by some miracle or great marketing. Being an author is a difficult thing, but when you see the slightest improvement or interest by someone else in your work, it is a reward which outweighs all the hard work and effort spent in this beautiful hobby/profession. I still have leagues and leagues to go, but perhaps one day I might be able to be good enough to make a living out of writing.

You can find the book on Amazon US here and Amazon UK here It is free today (Saturday 15/6/2013) and will be offered for free again on (Friday 21/6/2013). I will keep you updated about any other free promotions on this blog and on my twitter account (@TarekCherif3), which I seem to be horrible at managing.

On Writing: Nearly Finished & Ready to Publish

I have finished my story, as most of the ones who read my posts know, and am currently facing a whole new bunch of issues that require addressing. For starters, the reviewing process is becoming rather tedious, yet not to an extend that would allow me to consider procrastination. I have also started designing my book cover for the only intended publishing version of my book, electronic.

However, there are a few things that I have gotten out of my way. First of all, I have decided to publish via Amazon Kindle my electronic, and only, version of the book. I have also reached a conclusion regarding the pricing of my book. My original intention was to offer the book for free, as I do not seek to profit from writing considering that my skill has not reached the appropriate level for such action. As of this moment, I decided to price it 1.99-2.99$ – namely because several sources noted that free work tends to be associated with a low quality which directly effects exposure.

As I previously posted, attempts to officially publish my first book, not the one hogging the topic of this post, did not go as I expected – namely because there is no reason for a literally agent to trust an unpublished and unknown author. This, however, did not negatively affect my resolve, but boosted my will to find alternative means of getting my work out there.

This has been another post which had only the purpose of logging my journey so far, and I hope that it would not bore you. I would finally like to offer my sincere encouragements to whoever seeks to write and publish her or his work. Do not give up, for refusals in this field are far more than reason dictates, but I believe that the few who make it are either the ones gifted in the craft, or with iron-bound resolve.

Good luck in whatever you seek, be it writing or not.