Monday, 21 November 2016

Kati of Terra, Books 1, 2, and 3 on Kindle Countdown this week

Kati of Terra, Books 1, 2, and 3 on Kindle Countdown this week

All three Kati of Terra books are on Kindle Countdown this week (Nov 21 to 28, 2016), a great value at 99 cents each, this week only (regular $3.99 each).  Enjoy all the adventure and romance, in a galaxy far, far away.

Kati 1 - Escape from the Drowned Planet
Kati and Mikal's escape from the alien slaver Gorsh.
Amazon U.S.:
Amazon U.K.:

Kati 2 - On Assignment on the Planet of the Exalted
Kati and Mikal follow the trail of justice to the planet Vultaire.
Amazon U.S.:
Amazon U.K.:

Kati 3 - Showdown on the Planet of the Slavers
Kati and Mikal must battle Gorsh on his home turf.
Amazon U.S.:
Amazon U.K.:

Kati 1 - Escape from the Drowned Planet

In saving her small son from alien abductors, a 24-year-old Earth woman, Katie, finds herself abducted instead. She awakens from a drug-induced coma on a spaceship, in a room full of children, both human and alien, and two other women, younger than she is. The young women adapt to the situation as best they can, keeping the youngsters calm and entertained. But, when a drugged alien man wearing a uniform is added to the captive cargo, it becomes clear that this is an intergalactic slave operation.
The slave traders implant their captives with “translation nodes” in order to allow communication among various groups. These are living entities, normally docile, merely enhancing certain brain functions, such as language acquisition. However, Katie discovers that she has accidentally received a very special “granda node”, a long-lived node with its own cantankerous personality, including a fondness for criminality and lethal weaponry. Fortunately for Katie, it also values its freedom. With its help, she escapes on a fringe planet, dragging the peace officer along—also at the granda’s suggestion.
She finds herself on a strange world, with a somewhat deranged personality, quite possibly a killer, in her head, and partnered with a man from an advanced civilization who abhors killing. He is a Federation Peace Officer, captured by the slavers while attempting to bring them to justice. His task is complicated by the fact that he has sworn to avoid the taking of sentient life during the performance of his duties. He can and does, however, make vigorous use of non-lethal weaponry. Since, before leaving the ship, Katie had promised to help her co-captives gain their liberty, she and the alien peace officer find that they have a common cause.
But first they must find their way off the primitive planet and get to the Federated Civilization, avoiding the slavers who have been left on the planet to re-capture them. Their flight is complicated by the fact that the planet has had a global warming catastrophe some centuries back – the locals refer to it as the Drowned World. This has forced the inhabitants to revert to a pre-industrial state of development; however, they are a wily and resourceful people, mostly helpful, but they can also be dangerous.
Kati (to mark her escape, she adopts a slight name change) and Mikal seek a Federation beacon, which had been hidden on this planet ages ago, to aid in situations such as this, (in accord with a longstanding Federation policy for fringe worlds). They must embark on an arduous trek across two continents and an ocean, seeking the temple that holds the beacon. They travel on foot, by cart, by riverboat, by tall sailing ship, and on pack animals, always pursued by the dangerous slavers.
They must rely on their wits, guile, charm and acting abilities to avoid recapture, while their chasers have advanced technology and ruthlessness on their side. Fortunately, they are able to make many friends who help them along the way, and their quest becomes a series of adventures, both frightening and funny, and involving a cast of engaging characters.
To complicate matters, Kati finds herself falling in love with Mikal, the strange, handsome and amusing alien. He seems to be reciprocating, though they both struggle against an untimely romantic entanglement.
Will Kati and Mikal escape from the Drowned Planet? Can they ultimately bring the slavers to justice, as Mikal has sworn to do? Can they free the remaining captives of the slavers, as Kati has promised to do? Read this book and the rest of the series to find out all.
At about 200,000 words (equivalent to a paperback of about 400 pages), the book is an excellent value.

Kati 2 - On Assignment on the Planet of the Exalted

After narrowly escaping the pursuit of the slave trader Gorsh on Makros III, the Drowned Planet, Kati of Terra has arrived on the planet Lamania, the home world of her alien companion and fellow escapee, Mikal r’ma Trodden. The bureaucracy of the Lamanian Social Services, however, insists that the two be separated for half-a-Lamanian year, to ensure that this Wilder woman is not being exploited by her more urbane lover, who is also a Star Federation agent. In principle a worthy policy, it has left Kati without Mikal’s company while dealing with the loss of her connection to her young son Jake, and the knowledge that she will never be able to return home to Earth.

While exploring her new environment, she is confronted with the realization that Gorsh has spread his tentacles into the Star Federation. She identifies and rescues a young victim of the slave trade, using knowledge gained during her and Mikal’s period of captivity on Gorsh’s ship.

She agrees to take the lead role in an undercover investigation of the venerable Federation planet, Vultaire, which seems to be implicated in the lawlessness. Apparently the members of the planet’s upper class, known as the Exalted Citizens, have grown corrupt, some of them even taking up slave-ownership, alongside numerous other vices. With three companions, Kati forms the Unofficial Investigative Team into the Conditions on the Planet Vultaire. The team members make their way, clandestinely, there, and undertake their investigation while posing as an itinerant Entertainment Troupe. Secretly, they make common cause with the downtrodden locals, including elements of the resistance to the oligarchy.

Meanwhile, Mikal, the Federation agent, is sent to explore the Xeonsaur connection to the slave trade. It has to do with a captive member of the lizard species who has been forced to navigate Slaver Gorsh’s space ship through vast distances during its slave-snatching operations. Mikal too must make common cause; he does so with a beautiful female of the reptilian/humanoid race, the life-partner to the unhappy Xeonsaur captive.

Kati and Mikal must make their separate ways and overcome separate obstacles and dangers, before re-uniting in the struggle on Vultaire. Their reunion as battlers against the slave trade coincides with the end of their forced separation, ushering in a time of new connection. However, together on Vultaire, they need all the resources and ingenuity that they and their companions have, to stay alive, and to help heal the Vultairian society, as well as the very planet itself from the sickness that the corruptions have caused.

This is a full-length novel of about 260,000 words (equivalent to a paperback of about 500 pages). Please note that the Kati of Terra novels are written so that they can be read as stand-alone books. Kati of Terra Book 2 can be enjoyed by readers who have not yet read Kati of Terra Book 1. Naturally, we encourage people to read both novels to experience all the adventure and romance of the Kati of Terra series.

Kati 3 - Showdown on the Planet of the Slavers

Kati of Terra and Star Federation Agent Mikal R’ma Trodden join forces with the beautiful female reptilian, Xoraya, and the young Tarangayan mathematics and engineering genius, Lank, to chase down the Slaver Gorsh and bring him to justice. The evil Waywardian Gorsh was responsible for Kati’s abduction from Earth, along with numerous other victims from many other worlds; among these were many small children from Earth and other planets.

Their quest begins on an obscure Fringe Space Station which houses a reputable used space ship yard, the services of which they need if they are to journey along the Space Trade Lanes. Odd and dangerous events start to shadow them while they are on the Space Station, Qupar, and never really cease during the course of their mission. It begins to look like there is much more at stake than merely bringing to justice a slaver, and rescuing the people he has enslaved and sold - an unnatural and unspeakable evil of cosmic proportions may well be at the center of events.

The group gains new members, even while it loses Mikal and Xoraya into Gorsh’s hands - Kati and Mikal are once again separated, and have to struggle to perform their tasks apart from one another. However, neither of them is a quitter; they are resourceful and in love, so no force in the universe can keep them separated for long. The manner in which they and their allies overcome the obstacles that they face makes for an exciting, amusing, and romantic tale.
This is the thrilling conclusion to the dramatic story which began in Escape from the Drowned Planet, and continued in On Assignment to the Planet of the Exalted. Kati and Mikal can now take a breather from adventure - or can they? Time will tell.
This is a full-length novel of about 260,000 words (equivalent to a paperback of about 550 pages). Please note that the Kati of Terra novels are written so that they can be read as stand-alone books, so Kati of Terra Book 3 can be enjoyed by readers who have not yet read Kati of Terra Book 1 or Book 2. Naturally, we encourage people to read the entire trilogy to experience all the adventure and romance of the Kati of Terra series.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Three Love Stories, Free on Amazon this Weekend (Nov 17-21)

Three Love Stories, Free on Amazon this Weekend (Nov 17-21)

Helena Puumala’s collection of three love stories is free on Amazon Kindle this weekend (November 17 to 21, 2016).  Normally, this collection retails at 99 cents (or each story can be purchased separately for the same price).  Enjoy some love, lust,  betrayal, reconciliation, new romance and family drama, all for free this weekend.

Three Love Stories
Amazon U.S.:

Three Love Stories

Here are three stories, all dealing with the theme of romantic love. They encompass the feelings we all recognize from our experiences of love: lust and desire, jealousy and betrayal, confusion and certainty, forgiveness and reconciliation, loss and rebirth. They even suggest that love might get a little help from those mysterious realms beyond our normal, everyday life. Love is, after all, one of the most magical of all transformations that we mortals can undergo.
It should be noted that these three stories have been previously published, but we wanted to bundle them together, for a number of reasons.

·         Firstly, they are thematically connected - they all concern the joys, pains and triumphs of romantic love.

·         Secondly, the first two stories are connected by plot and character - Love at the Lake: Part 2 (published separately as “A Mid-Summer Morning’s Dream at the Lake”) tells the story of what happens later to the characters embroiled in the jealousy and betrayal of Love at the Lake: Part 1. Characters can sometimes take on a life of their own, and insist that the writer tell their whole story - that’s just what happened here.  Love and Rebirth on the Prairie follows different characters, but they too are searching for love within the complexities of family drama with a history of (possible) betrayal. 

·         And finally, this bundling gives us a way to package the stories in a more economical form for our valued readers - three stories for one low price. In the future, we hope to add even more to this collection of love stories!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Girl on the Train – Movie Revenues versus Book Sales

The Girl on the Train – Movie Revenues versus Book Sales

As many blog readers know, the book “The Girl on the Train”, has been a top seller for most of 2015 and 2016, as can be seen in the chart below. I got his data from the Amazon sites for the specified countries. Basically I was just curious to track a top seller over a long period, to watch its ebbs and flows, and see what sorts of events affected its sales.
The book became very popular, right out of the gate in 2015, and stayed in the top 10 or so in the four main English speaking markets for most of that year. It lost steam by autumn, but was revived by strong Christmas sales, then by being voted a “best book” in the Goodreads reader site, early in 2016. Its sales rank then drifted up into the 25 to 75 range, for much of 2016. Around about summer of 2016, the sales rank began to turn up again, hitting number 1 status as the opening of the movie drew near.
In the second graph, below, I have focused on the U.S. and U.K. Amazon stores, and used a 14 day moving average. Those simplifications are to help make these trends more obvious. Note that the Y-axis is reversed in both graphs, since these are ranks.

 The next two graphs tell a similar story, but using estimated sales figures rather than ranks. The rank to sales conversion is based on an Indie writer crowd sourced rankings to sales power law. For the sake of full disclosure, the formula was:
Sales = 12020 X Rank -0.719
This applied to U.S. sales. Sales for the U.K. were adjusted downwards by dividing by 3 (to account for the smaller populations). Canada and Australia were similarly adjusted to account for their smaller populations. Naturally, that will just be a rough estimate of actual sales, which only Amazon and the publisher actually know for sure. But, for the sake of getting a general picture, it should be useful. 
As with sales rank, the estimated sales graph shows that the book sold strongly through most of 2015, then fell off by autumn. Christmas and the Goodreads award provided a lift, but it was the buzz around the opening of the movie, then the opening itself, that really had an effect, as sales climbed back to the levels of the book’s first months after publishing. However, that effect now seems to be wearing off.
The 14 day moving average, shown below, also indicates that the movie gave the book a boost, but it is now falling back to normal levels. So, it appears that having your best-seller made into a movie will give a jolt to book sales, but that effect is not necessarily long lasting.

The graph also shows an interesting quasi-periodic effect in the first year’s sales, which appear to have peaks and valleys, essentially on a monthly basis. Perhaps it is a “mid-month paycheque” effect, whereby sales spike during those weeks when the rent and other bills don’t have to be paid. 
Now, let’s look at the movie and book together. Note that the source for the movie’s revenues is the website
The first graph, below, shows the sales of the book before and after the opening of the movie, as well as movie revenue. The movie is the thick line, and its scale is on the left vertical axis. The book is the thinner line, with its scale on the right vertical axis. As you can see, book sales rose before the movie opened, probably in anticipation of the movie. Evidently, many people who intended to see the movie also wanted to read the book, before the movie came out, in preparation.
The next graph looks at the fortunes of the movie and book, after the movie opened. It is scaled to an index number, with book and movie revenue both set to the index 100, on the movie’s opening day. That allows us to compare the two products, on the same scale.
It appears that the movie’s fortunes decline faster than do the book’s, as might be expected. After all, once the movie’s popularity wanes, it begins to be taken out of theaters, and is therefore less available to the movie-going public. A book on Amazon, on the other hand, remains available to the book-buying public, with little change in accessibility, as long as it doesn’t fall too far in the Amazon rankings.
As you can see, I also added a trend-line to both the book and the movie. They both show a pretty good fit to a logarithmic decay curve In this case, the book had a somewhat better fit than the movie (R-square=0.83 for the book, 0.76 for the movie).

My sales rank to sales figure calculation indicates Amazon sales of about 3.5 million books, mainly in the U.S. and U.K.. That's just Amazon sales, of course.  A book like this would have sold a lot of paper copies in book stores, airports, etc. so you could probably scale that figure up to at least 10 million copies sold, possibly more.  At about $10 per copy, that might well mean $100 million in revenue.  U.S. sales alone probably account for about 70% of that, so we might ballpark the book’s U.S. sales at about $70 million.
Interestingly, the boxofficemojo website gives about $66 million as the U.S. gross for the movie, up to the end of October.   So, it would appear that the book and movie have generated about the same amount of gross revenue.  Given a book’s low overhead costs, compared to a movie, the book has probably generated much more pure profit for the writer and publisher than the movie has for the film company (and of course the writer should get a cut of the movie profits).
So, that’s my effort to compare a best-selling  book to its spin-off movie.  Naturally, there are a lot of assumptions there, but given the obscure nature of Hollywood’s and traditional publishing’s accounting practices, it might be as good a guess as any.

 “The Girl on the Train” is an interesting read, about troubled people with dark secrets. But if you would like some romance and science fiction adventure with a lighter touch, try “the girl on the drowned planet”, Kati of Terra.  It would make a great movie, too.  (After you have read Kati 1, you can email me for inquiries as to movie rights).  :)