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The Witch Watch in Print:
Buy This Dang Thing Already

By Shamus
on Friday Mar 2, 2012
Filed under:


The book has only been available for a week or so, and I am already sick to death of this marketing stuff. I wrote the book. Proofed the book. Edited the book. Got the book up for sale. At this point in the process, the creative part is over and my heart has already moved on to another project where I can be creative. But instead I-

Oh? I didn’t give you a link to buy the paperback version, did I? Sorry. You can get The Witch Watch in paperback here. Where was I? Oh right, angst…

So here I am promoting this thing. In a perfect world, everyone who wanted the book would buy it. But this is an imperfect world, and there are people out there who would enjoy the book but don’t know it exists yet. So I have to spend time getting their attention and describing the book in the best possible way in the fewest number of words. The engineer in me doesn’t like this process. It’s unseemly. It’s like bragging. If I write software-

What? Amazon print version? Yeah. I guess I should explain that. Right now the book is available on Createspace. We have submitted the book to Amazon as well, but it takes them a bit longer to do whatever it is they feel they need to do. If CreateSpace isn’t available in your part of the planet, then I beg your continued patience. The Amazon print version should appear next week. Anyway…

Like I was saying: If I write software, it either meets the specifications or it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter if I run around the office and TELL people the program works. The proof is in the execution, and no degree of psychological hype will alter the output. But books are annoyingly analog in their outcome. It’s perfectly possible to write a terrible book that does well. It’s also possible to write an excellent book that does poorly. And the only way to avoid the latter fate is to talk about your work through a metaphorical megaphone, focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative.

Again, as a coder this is the opposite of what I want to do. I’d much prefer-

Oh, right. I should mention that the print version is $19.99 USA BUX. The book is also available on the Kindle store if you’re down with digital versions. And you can get it on Smashwords if you’ve got a Nook or you want to get a PDF version or whatever.

I’d much prefer to go all post-mortem on the book and deconstruct the writing process, what could have been better, the difficulties I faced in writing it, and the stuff I left out. But apparently discussing your book as a series of mistakes, blunders, failures, and missed opportunities is a bad way to build excitement. Or so they tell me.

Please enjoy the book. Or don’t. I mean, I’ve done what I could.

UPDATE: So now it’s available on Amazon. In print. I don’t know why they said it would take 5 more days. Don’t ask me. I suppose you’ll be wanting the link. The Witch Watch

Comments (102)

  1. Tetris says:

    Shamus, I wouldn’t mind if you deconstruct your own book on your own blog. Just make sure to hide everything behind cuts, so I can have a look at it after I read Witch Watch and formed my own opinion about it. Am eagerly waiting for the Amazon print version…

    Of course, since I decided to buy your book approximately at the same time you announced that it would be available in paper format, my opinion might not be representative of those prospective buyers that you’re afraid of scaring away…

  2. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

    I would love to see some more posts on your writing process for this book… hey, if you make enough, you can compile another book with them!

  3. cyranor says:

    Shamus the book itself is excellent, hopefully all of your readers here will help with your marketing process via their friends, coworkers, blogs, and reviews and take some of he pressure off you. Best of luck to you and remember you have your own personal army of fans to help you through almost anything.

  4. Rob Lundeen says:

    Ordered. Can’t wait to get it! :)

  5. Factoid says:

    I wish I could read about 5 times faster than I do. I still have about 100 pages left in the book I’m working on before I could even begin to start in on Witch Watch. Plus I’ve got 4 other books I need to be reading. ARG! I wish I could make my brain work faster. I’ve never been a very fast reader, yet I love reading. Such a tragedy.

    My sister-in-law can kill a short paperback in one sitting. 200-300 pages in just 3 or 4 hours. It would take me at least double that, probably more. Plus I can rarely make myself sit and do nothing but read for 3 straight hours. I get distracted or bored and my brain moves on after an hour.

    • Susie Day says:

      it’s alright, i’m 200 pages into a 900 page book that I’m borrowing from a friend, so i have to get it finished … add to that the mounds of reading that my professors think I have time for, and … The Witch Watch might have to wait until spring break :-(

  6. gragsmash says:

    Wait, what do you mean you have moved onto other projects?

    Why should I buy this if I can’t expect future DLC?

  7. krellen says:

    Okay, so I bought it, left a giant tip, and now have to wait for shipping.

    So you can start talking about the writing process now.

    Oh, and I still think you should change that “Author” link on your top nav bar to your newer one. The one currently up there doesn’t even mention your books.

  8. StranaMente says:

    I was about to buy it from createspace, but it says that the estimate arrival in italy is at the end of april with normal (not that cheap) shipping.
    If I’d want to read it this month I have to pay almost twice the price of the book. I’d rather give that money to you than to the post office.
    I’ll probably wait another week, since usually I had better luck with Amazon.

  9. Griffin says:

    To help soothe the marketing annoyance, you should keep in mind that it is going to be long term thing. If someone who enjoys the book buys it a year from now, is that really a bad thing? With digital product and print-on-demand the book isn’t going to go out of print or become harder to find. So the need for the big marketing push right out the gate isn’t nearly as important. So take a break, talk about other stuff, bring it up again in a few months when you might have new readers on the blog.

  10. Well, I guess I have to buy it now. If only to find out
    Which Witch’s Watch?

  11. rrgg says:

    I found this out when I tried making a Minecraft adventure map. Marketing is the worst thing ever.

  12. Eärlindor says:

    Book bought! :D Can’t wait to read it!

  13. Paul Spooner says:

    Awaiting the arrival of the print version. We’re taking a long drive up to Seattle, so hopefully it will arrive in time to read in the car. I would have bought the digital version, but we don’t have any devices to read it on!

    Yeah marketing is kind of a drag. I’ve found the best way to prepare myself psychologically is to recall that I’ve got something super great that people are going to love once they have it. It’s about sharing your excitement for your work!
    That said, the whole “extreme introvert” thing makes this difficult. Even if you’ve trained yourself to be more outgoing, its draining and discouraging to commit energy to personal interaction day after day. Really, you just need to find some extrovert that you trust and give him your signet ring to speak on your behalf.

  14. Kel'Thuzad says:

    “So here I am promoting this thing. In a perfect world, everyone who wanted the book would buy it. But this is an imperfect world, and there are people out there who would enjoy the book but don't know it exists yet. So I have to spend time getting their attention and describing the book in the best possible way in the fewest number of words. The engineer in me doesn't like this process. It's unseemly. It's like bragging.”

    There’s more to marketing then that. Your goal is not only to spread information about your book to people that might want to read it; you need to make your book more appealing than other books they might want to spend their money on. Granted, this is less of a problem at the price point you’ve gone with.

  15. Unbeliever says:


    You should probably update your update, changing “not” to “now”, lest you confuse the more literal (and less grammatical) minds amongst us…

  16. Susie Day says:

    so, NOW you know why publishers exist. You write the book, and they do all the annoying stuff that you don’t care about so much … but they do it for a big ol’ cut of the profits too.

    • Shamus says:

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past month or so. It would be awesome to hit it big enough that I could afford to offload all of this hassle onto a publisher.

      • Matt K says:

        Have you considered perhaps doing a Kickstarter for a hardcover edition? I heard that sometime the publicity of raising a decent chunk of money there sometimes entices publishers to take a look at the product.

    • Actually I work with a lot of authors, both indie published and bog name publish and they STILL have to do all this side of marketing. Unless you are huge name the publishing company expects you to do the marketing/talk the book up stuff.

  17. Kevin J. says:

    I already bought it on Kindle (and finished it- great job Shamus!) but am seriously considering picking up a hardback copy to donate to the library.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I was actually feeling cheap for only buying the digital version (I’d prefer to have it in print but money is a concern) but you sir just gave me an idea to whom I can preach the virtues of this book in hopes of maybe getting Shamus another sale or two.

  18. Thomas says:

    Is it going to arrive on Amazon.co.uk or should we order it from the US amazon? (which wouldn’t be a problem, just wondering :D )

    • Shamus says:

      Doesn’t matter. Whatever works for you. :)

      • Drexer says:

        But is it going to appear on amazon’s uk page? I ask because the two stores are different things and I have no idea how Createspace synchronizes with that. And at least for some people inside the EU like me it makes a difference between receiving the book straight at home or having the bad luck of it getting stuck in customs and having to go pick it up(rare under the 50€ mark, but still a possibility).

        Annoyingly the CreateSpace page doesn’t let me see if they can deliver it to Portugal without creating an account either, which is an whole other level of consumer-rage-inducing feature.

    • Stubby says:

      The Kindle version is on Amazon.co.uk – I’ve got my copy downloaded :)

  19. Sephyron says:

    Y U not Post about it on G+?
    Gief moar marketing!

    Bought the Kindle version and loved it, hopefully my ramblings about it might get some of my friends to buy it to.
    Will get the printed version to when the economy allows for it.

  20. JPH says:

    Shamus, why is your book so big?

    I want to read it and know about all this stuffs. I’m especially curious about this female character I keep hearing about. But Icarus damn it, I’m a slow reader.

  21. Uscias says:

    I can’t wait to receive my printed copy!

  22. The Stranger says:

    Observation (and apologies if somebody else already observed this): When you go the print version page on Amazon, you don’t see all the awesome reviews that the Kindle version got. Is there anything you can do about that?

  23. BeamSplashX says:

    Amazon can be witchy-watchy about their timelines for getting things done, witch is why it pays to watch what you promise witch them. It’s almost like witchwatchwitchwatchwitchwatch.

    P.S. Witch Watch

  24. Naota says:

    “Price $19.99. Free Shipping on orders over $25.”

    The non-free shipping costs more than half the price of the book by itself. I can find nothing I want for $5.01.

    Curse you Amazoooooon!

    • Sumanai says:

      Where do you live? It was mentioned above that it will be in other Amazons as well, but a bit later.

      Also, I ordered from US Amazon, to Finland, and it ended up as 22 euros total.

      • Naota says:

        I live in Toronto, Canada, so typically shipping isn’t as prohibitively expensive or restricted as it might be overseas. That said, there is a very obnoxious markup for items shipped over the border regardless of size, weight, or anything properly rational. I often discover that it’s actually cheaper to ship things from coast to coast within the US than it is to send them a mere hundred miles north of the border.

        If The Witch Watch is planned to show up on amazon.ca in the near future (Shamus’s biography is actually already listed there), I may well wait it out in hope of a better deal.

    • Are you telling me we should have left the price at $25 as originally planned?

  25. Hawk says:

    Hey Shamus “” posted this question back in the proofs discussion, but as it was the last comment it didn’t get any attention: I'm considering looking in to the print-on-demand route, too. Do you have any thoughts on Createspace versus Lulu? Since you're pursuing both, are you finding it a lot of work to format for both? Is one or the other better to start with?

    Your posts actually motivated me to go out and look into self-publishing my own (non-fiction) eBook. Thanks for turning me on to Smashwords “” I wish I'd found it before working on Kindle since it would have been easier to do Smashwords formatting first and then create the Kindle edition. (For anyone interested, the book is titled Soldier/Geek: An Army Science Advisor's Journal of the War in Afghanistan at Amazon & Smashwords.)

    Anyway, congratulations on publishing the book in hard copy too — I’ll be picking one up!

  26. Bear says:

    On the Amazon site, I pushed the “Tell the Publisher! I’d like to read this book on Kindle ” for two reasons.
    1) There already is a kindle version.
    2) I already bought the kindle version two nights ago, and You’d think Amazon would have recorded that fact.

    It’s funny ‘is all, just say’in…

  27. Ryck says:

    I picked up the PDF version on Smashwords. Having to create an account was a drag… just sell me the daggone book already!

    I’m headed out on a 2 week vacation and I look forward to being able to read it on the train to California.

    Congrats again on publishing. I read your other two works and I expect the same amazing things from this one!

  28. ClearWater says:

    Shamus, you mean now it’s available on Amazon right? Otherwise, what did I just order? I think the 5 days might be until it actually ships, although it seems more like 2 days if my calculations of 5-3 are correct. Or maybe that’s just because it’s weekend now. I don’t know. Doesn’t matter much to me any way cos it’ll take about a month to get here.

    • The 5-7 days is so they have time to get all the info up and connected between the author page and various versions and whatnot. If they say 5-7 days then the author (and readers) don’t fuss about not having everything posted right away, and if they have an influx of books it won’t hurt to have things take longer.) In general we have found with Amazon that they er on the side of taking longer instead of being optimistic about timeframe.

  29. Brother Ham says:

    Just bought the print version from Amazon. A shame it’ll take a few weeks to arrive, but at least I’ll have something to look forward to.

  30. Loonyyy says:

    Shamus, just a question, is this being released in print, and sold, anywhere in Australia? I’d prefer the print version, and I’m wondering if I can pick it up from a store, rather than deal with postage from Amazon. Thanks!

  31. Hitch says:

    I just finished reading The Witch Watch. My two word review for Shamus the programmer: “It works.”

  32. Octorok says:

    Ah. I didn’t know it was going to be on amazon.co.uk (since it isn’t now, and you’re based in the US), so went ahead and got it from the States.

    Crazy thing is, shipping was pretty reasonable, it’s just the long wait I’m regretting.

    The other day, I ordered The Game of Thrones for £1. Shipping was £2.80, the standard shipping price on a book for all Amazon sellers.

    So that’s moving a book from England to Scotland (maybe 300 miles).

    Shipping on The Witch Watch across the entire Atlantic (a distance of 3,000 miles, assuming the book goes directly from the East Coast to Scotland. It’s more likely to arrive in England first, and then make that first journey as well.) – £5.22.

    We live in strange times, fellows…

  33. arthurbu says:

    Hooray, I bought it! The shipping was sort of lame just to get it to Canada but oh well. Your book almost convinced me to think about getting an ebook reader thingee. Can’t decide if I want one of those…

  34. bkw says:

    I bought the book on Amazon last week and read it over the next day. It is a startlingly good book. I look forward to purchasing your next book, and urge anyone who enjoys reading to read this. It is a great deal of fun.

  35. Trevel says:

    Bought book. Read book. Enjoyed book.

  36. Galad says:

    I’ll very likely buy it once I finish with what’s out of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series :)

  37. Shinjin says:

    In celebration of the job offer that I received, I just bought this dang thing!

  38. Scerro says:

    I finally got around to ordering a physical copy from Amazon. I’m definitely looking forward to it, considering I read a third of it from Smashwords first.

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