Fight Elven Prejudice with The Man in the Cinder Clouds Giveaway

Today I’m finishing my interview with author R. J. Daley, the only person who knows the true origin of Santa Clause because he wrote the book, The Man in the Cinder Clouds!

The Man in the Cinder Clouds is not cartoonish, although the book is very funny in places. It’s a story within a story of how Kris Kringle proves to a prejudiced Elven council that goodness exists in humans, including himself. There’s a lot at stake. If Kris fails, he’ll lose friends, a girlfriend, his standing in the Elven community, his home, the lives of children who may be relatives, and his own life. Oh yeah, Christmas too. All this is written in an elf’s journal found by researchers in an ice core sample taken at the North Pole. Should they publish their findings or keep the secret? What will happen if the location of Kris’s home becomes public knowledge?

As an adult, I totally enjoyed The Man in the Cinder Clouds, and my sister’s young grandchildren were so entranced when I visited, I bought a copy to leave with them. You can read my full review here to find out some other fun things you’ll discover about Santa. But don’t wait for the holiday season to read it. This story is about fighting for the things you believe in. Besides, learning how to be unselfish shouldn’t wait until Christmas, especially not when it’s such a fun read that children and teens won’t know they’re being taught.

Okay, Rick, on with the interview. As an indie author, you have to do your own marketing. Since I may go the same route, I’d like to know if you started your author platform before publishing and how/where?  Specifically, what did you do first, second, on down the list (Blog, website, twitter, etc.)?

I didn’t try any platform building until I had finished the first draft of my first novel, a 120,000-word paranormal thriller.  Google led me to Nathan Bransford’s blog, and after following him for a while I started my own blog.  I picked up followers by commenting on Nathan’s blog, and the blogs of other commenters who I thought posted thoughtful or funny comments.

I started another blog, The Public Query Slushpile, but I don’t really count that as part of my platform.  I posted an announcement when I released my book, but the followers of that blog are more interested in critiquing queries than in getting slammed with promos; I don’t want to abuse that platform.

I set up a Cinder Clouds page on Facebook, but I’m not very active there.  My personal Facebook profile is mainly close friends (past and present) and family…I’m not the “friend everyone” kind of Facebook user.  I’ve only recently started to accumulate Twitter followers, but I rarely Tweet.  Honestly, I don’t really get Twitter.  When I visit my homepage there’s rarely anything that interests me.  The most fun I’ve had with Twitter was being bored at the airport and killing time making fun of the news programs on the various airport TVs.

Did you seek reviews before publishing or after?
I sought reviews after publishing.  I didn’t have a big coordinated book launch.  My plan was for a soft launch in the summer of 2011 so I could start accumulating reviews, so my more concerted marketing efforts closer to the Christmas season would have a nice foundation.
Did you do a blog tour, and if so, through what organization or by seeking out individual authors?
I sought out individual bloggers, and had several recommended to me from other writers.  I didn’t do a major blog tour, but I did have recommendations, interviews, and guest posts at various blogs in September-December last year, with December being the month with the most visibility.

I put your purchase links in the last post, but I still wonder if you tried KDP on Amazon?
Yes, I’m selling through KDP but not KDP Select.  I’m not a big fan of exclusivity
A final note: Most of my sales came from blogs that posted interviews and/or reviews…that is, my book sold best when someone other than me said, “You should read this book.”  Guest posting did very little.  I even had a guest post on Nathan Bransford’s blog, which had almost 6,000 followers at the time, and the feedback on the post itself was great but it didn’t translate to book sales.
I also did several give-aways on Goodreads, but I don’t think I’ll do that again.  I think I gave away 25 books, but only 5 or 6 people gave it a rating / review (although those that did rate / review it really liked it). 
I hope every reader pays close attention to that last comment. If you want indie authors to keep doing giveaways, you must realize they have to pay off. If the book doesn’t sell, the author can’t keep writing. It’s very important to an indie author that you leave a good review for a book you enjoyed because they don’t get the benefit of a publisher’s publicity campaign. Readers ARE the publicity for indies. 
So please, whoever wins this book, if you like it, make sure to leave a good review as many places as you can: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Facebook, twitter, your blog if you have one, etc. You can also “like” the book at places that won’t allow a review unless you bought it there, and you can click here to open Goodreads in another tab and put The Man in the Cinder Clouds on your “To be read” list so you won’t forget to read and review it.

Now I’m going to spill the beans (snicker/juvenile humor) about Rick’s next book, Rudy Toot-Toot, about a gas-powered boy who was born on a bean farm and, after a gassy accident, has to use his special power save the farm! There, I tooted Rick’s horn.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & vvb32reads for hosting this Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop. After you leave your comment below (say what country you live in and why you want to win Rick’s book) you can find the Rafflecopter form in my last post right after the first half of Rick’s interview. If you don’t see it below, please click here. Thanks!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Thanks again for inviting me to the interview, Sheryl!!

    And what you said is so right: Readers ARE the publicity for indies.

    Every voice counts, and if you find a book you like, please tell people about it!

  2. What a cool-sounding book! Love the cover, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Notice

    All content is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without proper credit and links. For purposes other than charity or education, printed materials require prior written consent. Disclaimer: Most books were provided free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.