We first spoke to fantasy author Jefferson Smith back in Episode #155 about his Immerse or Die Report, a three-strike rating system designed to identify which indie-published books can keep him walking on his treadmill the longest. Since then, the IOD community has grown with a second anthology in the works, expansion onto the YouTube platform with 5-Minute Immersion Lab videos, and the competitive style Page Fight!
All These Shiny Words – A FREE anthology of survivors of Immerse or Die
Pay Me, Bug! by C.B. Wright
Lost Time Series by Damien Boyes
Jeff is the creator behind the Immerse or Die community, and it all started with him trying to devise a way to keep himself walking on his treadmill:
“The premise of the Immerse or Die challenge is simple. I get on my treadmill, open a book, and start the clock. Then I do my best to stay immersed in the story until I reach the end of my 40-minute morning walk. If I make it, that book qualifies for all the attention ImmerseOrDie can bring it. But if I can’t stay immersed, the buzzer sounds and the book is closed.”
He documents his reader experience in his Immerse or Die reports, which now number over 450. From those reports, he’s culled 51 things that break reader immersion and how to fix them, as well as other great author resources on his Creativity Hacker site. He also sings the praises of the approximately 9% of indie reads that survive his tough vetting process.
Recently, Jeff’s expanded his writer resources to include his new YouTube Channel ImmerseOrDie, in which he offers up 5-Minute Immersion Lab videos where he discusses common writing problems and how to avoid them with the help of his animated sidekick Fabrizzio. He also talks about excellent indie books he’s discovered in Indie Nuggets.
All These Shiny Worlds
The first anthology to come from the Immerse or Die community is All These Shiny Worlds: The ImmerseOrDie 2016 Anthology, which was released free on all major e-tailers in January of 2016. The anthology features 15 authors whose work was vetted by three judges using the IOD criteria. Thanks to the collaborative nature of the project and marketing efforts, along with the quality and price, the book has done very well and still ranks #8 in the Science Fiction subcategory Anthologies as of this writing, top #3,800 over all in the free Kindle Store category. Jeff attributes all these factors to the book’s “stickiness” in the Kindle Store.
“I really do think that once a book establishes itself in a particular position on the Amazon charts, it probably has momentum there for a long time.”
Jeff is currently hard at work on the next anthology, which is currently in edits and production. This time around, he asked authors of the previous anthology to recommend “contenders” and invited them to submit, yielding five new authors for this year’s anthology. Jeff says it’s important not to limit the audience of authors you’re drawing from. Everyone benefits by expanding the network and adding new talent and their own networks.
Jeff reports the new anthology will be out soon, but prefers to set publication dates after edits are completed, so stay tuned!
Next Big Thing
Even with all the various projects on his plate, Jeff continues to publish his own fiction. Just last month he published the first two titles in his new series The 13th Advocate: The Dowager’s Largesse and Demon of the Sands.
On top of that, he’s got a new site up called Page Fight!, a place where readers can judge book titles, taglines, blurbs, and covers in head-to-head “bouts.” Authors must be readers/judges first before submitting their own work so they can gain an understanding of how it works. Pitting books against each other helps authors identify what readers actually look for in an objective setting and generates data to help them improve their own work.
Right now the site is in beta, but anyone can join and start playing now!
What is your favorite or most effective method for getting feedback on marketing elements of your books (like cover, title, tagline, blurb)?
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