Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Trouble with Magic! Former Comedy Writer Goes Rogue — Guest Post by Melodie Campbell

Today we are hosting author Melodie Campbell, celebrating the release of ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD, book 2 in her fantasy series and sequel to ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL. Melodie has recently participated in our Tales of Love and Magic promotion, featuring great books from Dragonwell Publishing and several other very talented authors. And now, on to Meoldie’s post:

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I’m a former comedy writer gone rogue, by writing fantasy. My Land’s End series has been called “Game of Thrones Lite” by reviewers, and also, “The Princess Bride with sex.”

ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD, book 2 in the series, has just been released. I’m currently writing book three and have discovered a fascinating thing about fantasy.

Here’s the trouble with magic: if you allow a mage to be all-powerful, what’s to stop him from killing everyone he doesn’t like, grabbing the girl, and getting his way all the time?

Nice for him, but not much of a story for our readers. So…I have learned that the thing about writing books with magic in them is you need to establish limits to that magic. In fact, you need rules.

These rules need to be logical, and they need to be consistent. They can’t be too complex –  readers must be able to understand them.

In ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD, Cedric is the main user of magic. He is also the villain (Author insert here: or is he?) Cedric is learning magic, and becoming more powerful. He has gone over to the dark side to pick up more power. He can create armies of ghostly faceless warriors. But he has a major limit. He can’t do magic from a distance. Therefore, he can’t kill or inflict harm on someone he can’t actually see.

Rowena is also a user of magic. But she is an ‘infant witch,’ untrained. She has a magic bracelet, and no idea how to use it. Then she finds out that with the bracelet, she can channel magic. So if someone is around, happening to use magic, she can misdirect it. But she doesn’t know how to create it herself.

These limits on magic allow me to create a lively and funny plot in ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD. There is misfiring magic all over the place. A Roman Legion gets taken out of time, and time itself is in jeopardy.

We take care of that one in book three.

Short Excerpt:

A man stood in front of me, dressed in a tunic with rudimentary chainmail. He was very blond with blue eyes and extremely well-armed, with broadsword and two daggers.

He scanned to and fro. His eyes settled on me. His whole face lit up.

“Hail Rowena,” said Gareth.

I tried to step back but before I could, Gareth moved forward and grabbed my arm with one huge hand.

I heard Kendra scream behind me.

Then he swung me up like a child into his arms, turned and walked through the shimmering band of light.


Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich.  She has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and 4 novels. She has won 6 awards for fiction.

ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD is NOW AVAILABLE at the special introductory price of .99! (regular price $3.99, after May 1.)Buy Link:

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Our books now available as EPUB, plus freebies and giveaways!

After almost a year in Amazon’s KDP Select program, Dragonwell Publishing titles are now expanding to other on-line retailers, including Barnes&, as well as a number of other bookstores. We are also planning to add them to iBookstore very soon.

Visit one of the on-line retailers, or download a copy in our bookstore by visiting to see the newly posted Epub versions of Cindy Lynn Speer’s THE CHOCOLATIER’S WIFE, and Anna Kashina’s THE PRINCESS OF DHAGABAD, or visit online retailers for any of the following titles:

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Want to see more of our titles in different venues? Leave us a comment with a link, and we’ll follow it through.

And yes, one more thing: as one of our April specials, we will be giving away free e-copies of Cindy Lynn Speer’s THE CHOCOLATIER’S JOURNAL to every 20 respondents each day. To participate, leave comments to any of our blog posts, or tweet with the hashtags #Dragonwell or #Dragonwellbooks

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Tips for the authors: understanding Amazon e-book best seller ranks

This week, we decided to do a post on Amazon best seller ranks–the number that is directly linked to book sales but proves to be difficult for authors to evaluate.

While the way Amazon best seller ranks are calculated is not publicly revealed, this number actually ranks the books in order of sales through the Amazon web site. I.e., the most sold book will have rank #1, and the least sold will be in the 6 million or so range, directly corresponding to the number of books available for sale through Amazon. The good news is, if your book has an Amazon sales rank, it means somebody bought at least one copy through Amazon. If your rank is steadily in the top 10 for a few months, you are probably going to get a very hefty paycheck. But that is not very helpful, is it?

Over the year or so we have been selling e-books through Amazon, we have accumulated data comparing the number of book sold (or downloaded for free by Amazon Prime members through KDP Select program) to the best seller rank showing on the book information page. This number can be found down the page after the book description, under the Book Details, and looks something like this:

Product Details

  • File Size: 553 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Dragonwell Publishing; 1 edition (December 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AQNG78K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,558 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

In this example, the Best Sellers Rank tells us that this particular book is currently #48,500 or so on the list of sellers through Amazon, but does it actually tell anyone who many copies this book sold? Actually, it does, to some extent.

To make the top 100 Paid in the Kindle store, a book needs to sell about 1,000 copies or more in one day. Its exact placement then will depend on the other sellers in this ranking. For example, a recent article by Publishers Weekly analyzed that selling 6,000 or so copies per day can land a #1 ranking and keep the book in the top 5. If no more copies are sold (which rarely happens for this kind of books, but could, if the rank was achieved through a short-term promotional discount), the ranks will slowly taper and reach 100,000-200,000 within a week or so, and will deteriorate further after that. However, this rarely happens to the top 100 books, so if you have ever seen your book at this kind of ranking, chances are your book is a real success.

Amazingly enough, the ranks going down from there fall in a perfectly correlated way. The sales of 100 books a day will give you a rank of 1,000 or less, 30 books a day will hover around 3,000 or so, 10 books a day will keep the rank of about 10,000 and so on. If you steadily sell one book a day without fail you will have a rank around 100,000. In addition, if you keep daily track of your ranks, you can always see a boost after each sale, since the ranks are frequently updated, especially for books with the rank of 100,000 or above.

While you may find detailed charts and algorithms in other places on the web, we found that following this simple estimate can enable authors to maintain a fairly accurate data about their sales through Amazon, if these authors are committed enough to do daily rank checks.

These numbers concern e-book sales only, since other platforms and formats cannot be easily tracked in almost real time. And, one can in principle use these numbers further to calculate royalties due. For example, if your contract is for 50% of the e-book revenue, a book with a cover price of $9.99 will bring your publisher between $3.50 and $7.00 (depending on the distribution channel) and you can make $1.75 to $3.50 per each sale. For a book with 100,000 rank this would be your daily income, rounding up to about $1000 per year.

Of course, there are always other venues, including print sales and other e-book retailers.

Good luck!


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