Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Uncharted by Tracey Garvis Graves

A journey into the unknown, often in a far-flung, exotic location.


Characters you care about who are thrust into extraordinary circumstances, with considerable suspense as to whether the characters will triumph over the challenges they face.

These are a few of the elements that make up a great adventure story. These elements also happen to be provided in wonderful abundance in Uncharted by Tracey Garvis Graves.

Uncharted is a companion novella, a follow-up to the author’s runaway bestseller On The Island. On The Island tells the story of an unlikely romance that blossoms when a young woman and an even younger man are stranded for years on a tiny island in the Maldives. While there, they discover a human skeleton and a tiny wooden shack. Uncharted clears up the mystery of the island's deceased previous visitor, while introducing another young couple with a unique and challenging romance of their own.

And for all you guys out there, yes, I just used the r-word. Twice. On The Island and Uncharted are both categorized as Women's Fiction and Contemporary Romance.

Trickery, trickery, trickery. Don't be fooled into passing on these reads. I carry a Y chromosome with me everywhere I go and I enjoyed both books tremendously.

These stories are much more than boy meets girl; they are legitimate entries in the Action and Adventure category. Both of them kept me up into the wee hours of the morning. The author goes far beyond simply relating events as they take place. Instead she immerses the reader into the adventure so we understand what the experience is like for the characters. We get to feel their fears, their pain, and ultimately, their joy.

Uncharted can be read and enjoyed on its own, but I don’t recommend doing so. In my opinion you would be depriving yourself of the best way to experience these captivating stories. Part of the tension I felt while reading the novella was a delicious after-effect of On The Island, and Uncharted includes a few spoilers that relate to the preceding novel.

So if you haven't read On The Island, grab yourself a copy and then click your way over to Uncharted. You'll be glad you did. I found myself so engrossed in the reading experience that at one point I thought I could hear a voice calling faintly from far out on the water:


But that was probably just my imagination.

My verdict: 5 out of 5 swaying palm trees

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lessons Learned: A Successful "Free Book" Promotion

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) offers authors the option of signing up for the KDP Select Program. One of the benefits is that authors are permitted to offer books for free for a limited number of days. I held a Select free promotion recently for my novel entitled Unauthorized Access. This promotion turned out to be more successful than I ever could have predicted. The book was downloaded 30,000 times in the first 24 hours and shot up to the #1 Best Seller for Free Kindle eBooks. Unauthorized Access held this #1 slot for the entire second day of the promotion and never fell out of the top 10. The final total was 52,000 downloads in three days.

The book went back to paid status following the promotion. In a little over 24 hours Unauthorized Access earned the #1 spot on the paid best seller lists for both the Technothriller and Men’s Adventure categories on each of the US, UK, and Canadian Amazon sites. The impact lasted for exactly a month, making the promotion well worth holding. Sales were wonderful for the first couple of days, then gradually diminished over the course of the month, finally settling back to pre-promotion levels.

I was fortunate to receive considerable support from my online friends during the promotion, including quite a number of people who are authors themselves. I am intensely thankful for the help I received. As a small token of my appreciation, I’ve tried to capture what I learned from the experience so others might benefit. My advice is available in the document below. I hope it proves useful for other authors who are considering whether to conduct a free promotion with Amazon Select, and would like some advice on how to do so successfully. If you're not an author, this will give you some insight into the issues faced by Indie authors today.

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