Shoreseeker: International Bestseller?

The launch of Shoreseeker one month ago was, by my humble standards, a success. A lot of people showed their support, and even people whom I haven’t seen in years surprised me with pictures of them holding their freshly-printed paperback copies of the book. I was floored–and honored–by the number of people eager to get their hands on my debut novel. So, first of all, I’d like to thank everyone who helped out with the launch, from those who bought a copy, to those who reviewed it, to those who sent me a kind message or gave one of my posts a boost. Thank you so much.

One of the challenges all authors, or really anyone with a product to sell, faces is the fact that only people who have heard of you or your product will buy it. It should surprise no one that authors with a large social media following have an easier time marketing their book simply because more people know about it. So now that the people who know about my book have had a chance to buy it, my next task is to expand the pool of people who know about my book.

But one of the surprising things was learning who had already found out about my book. Shoreseeker is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, which, for those of you not familiar with it, is Amazon’s book subscription program, kind of like Netflix for ebooks. One of the features for authors is that it tells you when someone from one of Amazon’s different markets (for example, the US) reads pages from your book through the program.

Through this, I’ve seen that people from all over the world, from the UK, Germany, Australia, and Japan, are reading Shoreseeker. Since I don’t know anyone from some of these places, that meant somehow people were finding out about the book without me telling them. Which, of course, is beyond awesome. And the best part is, the read-pages count goes up over time. This means that the more someone reads of Shoreseeker, the more they want to read it (though this is slightly guesswork on my part, since Amazon, with a laudable respect for privacy, doesn’t even tell how many people are reading it from a given market, much less who they are).

And this was just the beginning!

So, there’s great news all around. But that wasn’t even the best news.

On a lark, I checked my Amazon ranking in Japan ten days after release and saw this:

That’s right. Shoreseeker was the number one epic fantasy in the country, beating out A Game of Thrones and The Hobbit a mere day after The Hobbit‘s anniversary. Furthermore, it wasn’t merely beating other Kindle books. It was beating every book in every format.

I may have crazy-laughed for a couple minutes.

In a private Facebook group for aspiring writers as well as seasoned pros, I joked that this must make my book an international bestseller. The unanimous response was that it’s no joke. Japan, while a small market, is still its own overseas market, and Shoreseeker was the bestselling epic fantasy in it. Thus making it an international bestseller.

So there you have it. An epic launch for an epic book. I’m going to try to keep the momentum going, as well as continue work on book 2, Drawingpath (which is shaping up very nicely). Thanks again for all your support for helping Shoreseeker‘s release be what it was.

I’m Feeling Confident

My debut novel Shoreseeker drops tomorrow, and I’m feeling very confident about it. To show you why, let me share with you some of the feedback I’ve gotten from people who have read early and current versions of it.

The first time I showed chapters of Shoreseeker to my writing group, the Tokyo Writers Workshop, the chapters featured a side character named Penellia, a middle-aged scholar and magic user traveling through the woods with her less-than-sensible assistant, Stem. The two of them discover disturbing news and soon run into trouble.

One member of the group, who only showed up the one time to check it out, came up to me after the meeting. She said, “You know, I haven’t been interested in fantasy since the Pern books came out when I was a teenager. But reading your chapters makes me want to get into fantasy again.”

I stammered out a thank-you and said goodbye, never to see her again.

Even though they were rough, early chapters about a side character, they managed to interest a total stranger enough to make them want to read fantasy again. I realized, then, that I might have something special with this book.

Fast-forward several months. Another member of the group, this time a regular, said to me before one of our meetings, “Brandon, every month I have to read your submission twice. Once to critique it, and then a second time because I was too busy enjoying it to critique it the first time.” Like most of the TWW writers, she doesn’t read fantasy.

Here’s another, more recent one. This member is more of a literary writer, though his work has some fantastical elements to it. After reading a chapter about one of my younger characters, this exchange happened:

Him: You’re not marketing your book as YA, are you?

Me: Well, it’s not really appropriate for kids.

Him: Good. Because your prose is too excellent. It would be wasted on children.

Me: *silently wipes tear from cheek*

(While I appreciate the sentiment, I do disagree with it. I specifically wrote Shoreseeker so that anyone can enjoy the writing. Content-wise, however, yeah. Not for kids.)

One final example. I recently joined a second group called the Tokyo Fantasy Writers. Some of the members are also members of TWW, but one isn’t, and he had never read anything from Shoreseeker. I gave him the complete manuscript to read. At the next meeting, he said, “I read your book in four hours. And I feel bad that I didn’t pay you for the privilege.”

Because I have received such wonderful feedback throughout Shoreseeker‘s creation, I have put my all into its publication. I hired one of the best cover artists in the industry to do my cover art. And I believe that Shoreseeker has a chance to become a breakout hit.

But if you haven’t read the book and you don’t know the people in these writing groups, this is all just me talking. I want you to decide for yourself if the book is as good as I say it is. That’s why I’m setting the book at the lowest possible price on Amazon for a limited time, and also why I’m enrolling it in Kindle Unlimited, where members can it read it for free. If you’re not yet convinced, check out the sample. I’m confident that if you give the book a chance, you will love it.

Shoreseeker will be available on Amazon in both Kindle version and paperback.