Alliance YA Novels Now Available

It’s done! Finished! All of the hard work, waiting, stressing, more waiting and all other things related to my successful Indiegogo campaign are finally over!

I have two complete self-published YA novels now available on Amazon!

The digital rewards have been sent out to my awesome contributors, and physical copies of the books are on the way to me now. I can’t wait to sign and ship them out to their new homes!

Like, share, read, review and let’s get the Alliance series novel to the top of the Amazon charts!

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Again, I can’t help but to be in awe of these beautiful covers by Ida with amygdaladesign.net. You should check out her work if you need covers or formatting.

Sacrifice Novel Excerpt

There’s only a week left until the Kickstarter campaign launches, and i’m eager to share more information about my upcoming novel. Instead of sharing another piece of concept art or character bio, I decided to include a teaser from the Sacrifice manuscript. Did you miss my formal announcement? If so, you can click here to find out about the importance of my campaign and diversity in literature.

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Here’s an unedited excerpt from chapter eleven of the Sacrifice manuscript. I hope you enjoy this little taste of Sacrifice.

The sunset painted the concrete around me with a gorgeous orange highlight. I had no idea where I was or how I got here, but I stood on a city sidewalk in some dystopian wasteland. Collapsed and broken buildings littered the streets as vegetation crept up around the ruins. My eyes scanned the rusted yellow cars left abandoned in the street. Where were their owners? What had happened here?

Regardless of the city’s obvious decimation, I found the silence of this vast area to be quite eerie. Where were the birds and other signs of wildlife? This place had to be home to more than just plant life. I listened for several moments, but there was no sound to be heard.

Warm air still lingered from the departing sun, and I walked out toward the crumbled patch of concrete in front of me where I faced a lone parking meter. The meter seemed oddly placed even though it obviously wasn’t, but everything else I could see was deconstructed. I felt overwhelmed with an urge to reach out and touch the last surviving meter, but a cold draft of air stopped my hand before my fingers reached the metal post. Chill bumps paraded all over my body, and an icy breath tickled at my neck. I spun around on my heels, but there was no one to be seen.

I glanced back and found Micah next to the parking meter—my body jolted at his unexpected presence. My hand went to my chest as if to calm the beating of my heart, but I was even more relieved than startled.

“I’m so glad you’re here. Where ever here is. I’ve worried about you.”

“Sorry for scaring you,” he said in a soft voice. “I suck at this whole ghost thing.”

Micah’s pale grey eyes locked on with mine, but his expression was unreadable. He stepped off the sidewalk, and his eyes shifted to an enormous crater formed in the pavement nearby that was shaped like a monstrous footprint. I shuddered at the thought of what might have created such a print.

“I always wanted to visit here someday, but this is definitely not what I had in mind,” he said with a sigh.

“And where exactly is here?”

“Times Square.”

“This is New York City?” I gasped. I’d been to the city that never sleeps a few times, but never seen the place look anything shy of fabulous. Times Square made sense because the ground was littered with shattered pieces of what I recognized to be L.E.D lights, which were often used for the city’s signature lighting and billboards. The beautifully lit part of the city was always such a spectacular site, and now the entire area was growing dark as the sun continued to set.

“I always wanted to go to a Yankee’s game. Come back as a ghost and I’m still out of luck,” he said. His lips curled up slightly to match the mood of his joke, but the effect was lost with such weary eyes.

I opened my mouth to speak, but I didn’t know what to say. I felt a pull at my chest that was all too familiar. It pained me that he was gone, and we never got that baseball game he wanted.

As if he knew my thoughts had wandered to a sorrowful place, he tilted his gaze to the faded orange sky. “We need to leave here before the sun fully sets.”

“Why? What will happen at nighttime? Ghosts should be nocturnal, right?”

“I can see fine, but we won’t want to see what becomes of this place at full darkness.”

“What happens here?”

“This is the same outcome that happens everywhere if you don’t stop them. Every nasty supernatural being will be unleashed on our world if you don’t. The demons won’t come out during daylight so that keeps them at bay, but once they’re in total darkness they will come out to play.”

“Who causes this? When does this happen?”

“I tried to tell you last time, but they wouldn’t let me. The things they did, God Kat, I didn’t know it was possible to torture a ghost,” he said with a grimace. His eyes weren’t tired now, they looked troubled. A ghost with such haunted eyes just reeked of irony.

“Please Kat you have to figure this out. This isn’t just some random dream. I’m showing you the future. They know you’re the threat and they’ll be coming for you.”

Micah’s last words faded to a whisper as the sun disappeared, and the broken Times Square horizon filled with glowing eyes of inhuman color. I was suddenly engulfed in the darkness as I shouted for him.

 

From the Book: Sacrifice by S.E. Doster Copyright © 2014 by S.E. Doster. Artwork by Cindy Chan.

Meet the Ghost of Sacrifice

 

This week’s Sacrifice character reveal is Micah Morgan.

Micah had been Kat’s best friend for as long as she could remember, but he died in a tragic car accident almost four years ago. She struggled with the loss, and his name went unspoken—until he started haunting her dreams. Micah’s spirit became linked with a group of mages, and he communicates with Kat through her dreams to warn what the future holds if she can’t stop the supernatural attacks happening across the country.

 

Micah facial hair and background GHOST

 

 

 

How to Plan a Successful Kickstarter Part 2 of 2

This article is where i’ll break down the planning portion of building a successful Kickstarter. Have you read part 1 yet? If not, I recommend you go here. That article contains information about Kickstarter, and explains what to expect from starting your own crowdfundung project.

Okay, so now you’ve read part 1? Let’s continue.

The planning is where things get really serious. It’s crucial to establish a plan, do the necessary research, and put the plan into action long before you decide to launch.

First question, have you generated any interest in your project on social media? If the answer is no, then I would suggest you start there. Some people might just stumble upon your Kickstarter page, but mostly you’ll need to drive the traffic there yourself. Start generating interest long before you’re planning to launch.

Second, have you thought about your fan base? Who would be most interested in your project? Gamers?  Mothers?  Sports fans? Find out what social media platforms are best to seek out potential backers. Facebook and Twitter are pretty common, but don’t limit yourself to just the social juggernauts.

You will also need a video. Based on all the research I’ve done on Kickstarter campaigns, the success rate of projects without videos is very low. The odds seemed so bad that it’s a risk I wouldn’t take.

You also need a passionate story. If you can’t tell people why the project is so important and worthy of their money, why should anyone care at all?

Set a reasonable goal. Don’t try to aim for a goal that exceeds the amount you really need. Once your goal is locked in place, you have to hope that you reach the amount by the end of the campaign time. You can exceed your goal, but you can’t have a successful campaign if you don’t reach the set amount. With that being said, you must also remember to factor in the small fees charged by both Kickstarter and Amazon, as well as factoring in the cost of your rewards. Not sure what to offer? If you’re completely stumped then I recommend you browse similar projects, and see what others are offering as rewards.

Speaking of rewards, don’t just offer thoughtless incentives. Entice people with simple, yet fulfilling reward tiers. Some people might donate simply based off your passionate story or video, but most people want value from their rewards.

Now that I’ve broken everything down, let’s use my Kickstarter plan as an example.

I’m slowly building my fan base on social media. Sacrifice is an New Adult urban fantasy novel that features a gay protagonist. I knew that if I narrowed down my fan base to very specific groups, my best chance would be with fantasy readers and the LGBT community. I was already a part of several online communities that specifically relate to those two groups, but I still needed to build interest in the novel.

How? I went to talented artists and asked them to create concept art and illustrations that I could use. I could have just talked about my book, but some people want a visual. The art gave me something to show in my video while I explained why Sacrifice was important, and it provided me with art prints to use as rewards.

Next I wrote up a very compelling story that explains why Sacrifice is important. My book offers diversity of both race and sexual orientation, and that needed to be my key selling point. Make sure you make your selling point clear in both the video and written explanation.

I did my homework and got estimates for how much it would cost to have my manuscript professionally edited, with a professionally designed cover, and formatting for both paperback and ebook. I knew I needed a little more than my estimate to cover costs of printing and shipping rewards, as well as the small fees charged by Kickstarter and Amazon payments (it’s 5% for Kickstarter and 3-5% for Amazon as they process the payments). So I didn’t magically pull a number out of the air, and I won’t be asking for more than I actually need.

Now with my rewards I tried to keep my tiers simple, yet still fulfilling to my potential backers. For one of the cheaper tiers I’ll be offering a downloadable PDF of the finished project. The download will allow people to help for a small price while still receiving a fair reward. No shipping there! People also like to receive tangible rewards, so for that I will offer paperback copies and art prints. Small printing and shipping costs are figured into the tier price. I will even offer much larger and enticing rewards such as having a character in my novel named after a backer. So be creative and put time into your rewards.

These tips should give you a great advantage when planning your Kickstarter. You shouldn’t get discouraged if your project fails to meet the set goal. A first attempt at crowdfunding is a learning experience, and you can use that knowledge to make your second attempt even better. Remember to show passion, have patience, and plan as much as you can.

 

Sacrifice Illustration Full Color Reveal

I’m finally revealing the full-color art print created by P.R. Dedelis. This beautiful art print will be one of the many rewards in various tiers of my Kickstarter project. This piece showcases our humble protagonist, Kat Reese, as she defends her girlfriend from werewolves.

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Tomorrow I will begin releasing the concept art created by Jerry Buckholt. I’ll do a character reveal that will include a bio so that you can get introduced to the characters of the Sacrifice novel.