Do you like sneak peeks? Do you hate them? Are you somewhere sitting on the proverbial fence? I use them frequently as an author. As a reader, I loved them at the end of books as a kid. It meant I could stay in the author's world a little longer. But as an adult, I only want to read them at the end if the next book is already available for me to purchase. I hate starting something I can't finish, or which has the potential to never finish due to whatever reason.
What about those previews you can get before you buy? They're sneak peeks into the book without having to purchase another book by that author, and you know you can buy it, so worry-alleviation is instant. Most platforms use the first 20% of the story as the preview and I create and offer excerpts on all my stories listed on Payhip.
I must confess, as a reader, I never look at the preview samples. It's bad. I probably should, but I purchase books based on two things: the author's name (for those I know well who never disappoint) and the book description. In the interest of complete honesty, I have many times in my adult years purchased books through the links at the end of stories I enjoyed.
It doesn't matter to me if the book has a cover, although I recognize the need for genre specific covers to aid those who buy books based on them. (If you want a laugh concerning covers, read this post.) As a poor kid, I chose the fattest books on the shelf, flipped directly to the back, and read the blurb. So maybe the cover mattered in that regard. Holding the book in my hands in the store, I suppose I could have opened it and begun reading, but I never did. I didn't want to damage it because I hadn't paid for it.
With ecommerce, you can read reviews (which I never do as a reader), read the book description, learn genre details, rank on the storefront, and even learn the shipping cost for the size of the book, follow the author, or subscribe to their newsletter. I subscribe to the newsletters of authors I enjoy, and one-click buy most of what they send me messages about. (If I have the cash, of course.)
Publishing has changed a lot since I was a kid. Now, you can read about the author, find out what other books the author has for sale, read a preview sample or excerpt, and even search for the author to learn what they post on blogs and social media.
That last thing will probably lead you to their promotions. Most of it will be soft like the ad card above. You get a sneak peek, a tantalizing snippet, and a link where you can find more. There's no high-pressure sales tactics, just a tidbit to pique your interest and a way to learn more.
Are you curious? Or do you scroll by without even considering it? Most of us scroll past book covers without bothering to interact with the post, but these snippet sneak peek images and tiny videos garner far more attention than you might suspect.
This one, for example, only garnered 3 views since Mar 4, 2023 (when it debuted on YouTube)until writing this blog post on Sunday, April 2, 2023. On TikTok, it garnered 60 views in that same time frame. Now that's not saying much, but it's 63 eyes on my stories. And you must remember I run a faceless YouTube and TikTok channel, so it's difficult to get a lot of views and subscribers that way.
This next ad card is different. It only had 39 views on TikTok, compared to 117 on YouTube. Still not that many, but you can see that people are seeing something about my books. They see the title of the book and my name on every card. I also give them an itty-bitty sneak peek. And I put up a new one every day. I have a lot of stories, so it's easy for me to use different quotes from different tales, but it might even be a better idea to use a handful of quotes with different images. I might try that next.
The Kings Wilde miniseries is in the preview stage and hasn't published yet, so there's no sales data to report concerning this series, but I have seen traffic on my website increase. I now often have at least one day of over 1,000 visitors to my site per week and average over 500 visits per day. That's up considerably from my Payhip launch date of only 4 visits.
I pinned this one to Twitter where it has 2,115 impressions. It has had 433 views on YouTube since February 12, 2023 and 209 views on TikTok. This is a preview for a miniseries I'm giving away to my newsletter subscribers. The first book is currently available, but I'm still writing Master of Destiny and a third tale. Sign up, read Lost One for free and get access to the next books in the series for free, too! Did I tell you it comes with the AI audio/video book? Just click the link located inside the ebook and listen/watch for free on YouTube.
Before you shake your head and log out because you were hoping for a sneak peek at one of my stories, I feel that. The title of this post wasn't misleading. My problem? Which Sneak Peek to offer?
I decided on Suicide Kings. This is a story in the Kings Wilde miniseries. I'm not sure which order the stories will go, but I'm thinking this might be the first book. (I cringed as I typed that. Check out this post for more information on my writing style.) Also, I don't think I've shared this with anyone yet.
Please note the sneak peeks I share in blog posts on Ophelia Kee Speaks and newsletters are rarely polished gems. They are rather an early look at the rough draft version. If you want the nearly ready for publishing version, check out Just Let Me Read (Updated) where I publish chapters of completed stories I'm editing and creating video content with.
Allow me to introduce one antihero of the Kings Wilde miniseries:
Rylan Giovanni is a streetwise mafioso underboss. He's the guy who knows things and a tech savvy computer nerd. People call him Silent because he rarely talks and never rats on his friends. He has few of those, and the ones he has, he would die for. Sticking with Armand and Nick saved him from prison, and working for them may grant him more magic than he can handle when he meets a nimravus in need of his help. Finding her changes them both forever, but can a man who loves women and the night life settle down?
The prison cell door clicked closed. The ominous sound reverberated in his mind. He’d always believed it would be better to wind up in the grave than the prison. He didn’t have to stay in prison. There were options.
Silent sat on the bunk alone again after Nick Wilde left and contemplated the bars. He shook his head at his darker thoughts. It was odd how one could be in a building filled with other men and still be completely alone. He was no longer locked in isolation.
Silent knew how to get out undetected. He could escape. His friend had been right, even if Silent denied it, and even if he could do so in more ways than Nick imagined.
For what must have been the millionth time, he let go of the thoughts of escaping and of ending things in the same long released sighing breath. It was best to wait for Nick. The man had given him his word. That was worth more than its weight in gold.
If he and Armand could convince Viktor, Silent could live free when he left, rather than need to hide forever. He had to believe in that loyalty. The smoke said it was genuine.
Silent liked women, and he was guilty of having lost count of the number of women he slept with. Still, he’d never seen the woman who lied about him. It was all some strange set up which landed him in the cell.
What she gained from swearing he raped her and offering fabricated evidence against him, Silent didn’t know. The brutal images they had shown him of her beaten and bruised had disgusted him nearly to the point of vomit. No woman should ever be damaged like that.
He guessed it was money, a lot of it. He was also sure she was nowhere to be found immediately after it all went down. Silent was certain someone wanted him out of the picture. He even wondered if the beaten form he saw in the pictures was even the woman who accused him.
Killing him wasn’t easy or would have caused too much of an issue. His connection with the Wilde family preempted that extreme. It would have caused a war in the streets, and Viktor Wilde had the balls to order it. He’d done it before. He was a ruthless man.
Putting Silent behind bars was the more expedient solution. It was the least bloody outcome. Whoever wanted it done had to know it was a temporary measure if Nick and Armand were against it. The man who handled information for the Wilde brothers was discreetly disposed of immediately following Viktor Wilde’s wife passing away. That wasn’t a coincidence.
Considering his philandering ways. It hadn’t been difficult to accomplish the task. No one believed he was innocent, even if they were all shocked at the level of brutality used to commit the atrocity perpetrated against that woman.
He beat himself up, thinking he might have made a crazy drunken mistake. Still, nothing added up. Viktor might have always been right about keeping only one woman. If a man had only one perfect love, and he could keep her safe and happy, then less evil could come against him. Convincing a confirmed believer in monogamy of his innocence was what Silent must hope Nick could do.
Going to trial didn’t happen. He didn’t have that kind of money. He signed the plea deal like every other poor schmuck caught in the system. Silent hoped to get out in five years with good behavior. He knew he would never make it. He wouldn’t last that long because he was a target and after a week in isolation and a month inside, his mental state had already significantly deteriorated.
When Nick showed up on visiting day with sunken bloodshot eyes, Silent was surprised, but happy to see his friend, even if Nick was obviously still grieving the loss of his mother. The two clasped forearms and immediately sat down at one table to appease the guards. The hope, upon seeing the man, brought a giddiness Silent shouldn’t have felt while incarcerated.
“Man, I’m sorry about Winnie. I have no words.” Silent looked away and blinked hard. She had been one of the best people he ever knew. Viktor had been right to shield her from the world.
Nick nodded, then grinned a wistful smile as he looked away at a past only he could see. That moment of silence gave them both a chance to compartmentalize the grief.
“I’m glad you sound the same. She loved you, you know? She always wanted more kids. Dad tried to add you to the family, but he respected your father too much.”
Silent nodded. His old man had been a loyal member of the Wilde organization until he passed away. Winnie had been more like a surrogate aunt for Rylan. She gave him good advice and fed him when he was in the Wilde home. But Nick hadn’t come to the prison to reminisce about their teen years.
The man had lots of questions Silent had few suitable answers for, but they boiled down to one big one. Who wanted Silent out of the picture and why?
Sitting in the cell, away from his computers, Silent had plenty of time to think. It had to be a plot to get to Armand or Nick. Silent was their information guy. Whoever targeted him wanted the brothers to have less access to the stream of intelligence he offered.
He passed a name to Nick, who nodded. The family involved with most of the illegal gambling in the area was the only one who truly stood to gain from what happened. Sadly, they failed to realize that what Armand was doing was moving the Wilde family away from the underground. If they had been patient, Armand may have convinced Nick to give up the cards. It would not go well.
Talking with Nick cemented the loyalty he’d always had for the man. Something altered him on that horrific day when the gang got caught, but he was still one of the few loyal friends Rylan Giovanni ever had. No matter what happened, Silent couldn’t turn his back on Nick, and the loyalty between them seemed unchanged in all the years since.
Nick Wilde never pressed him about his silence. Just noted it, nicknamed him, and walked the streets next to him. Silent accepted the moniker and worked with Nick and Armand. The three of them were almost inseparable. They made a good team as leaders of their street gang in their youth and as business partners as adults.
“I’ve already talked to Dad. He agreed with your assessment, and he spoke to a few people. We’re going to get you out. Hang tight. Keep your head down and quit daydreaming about escaping,” Nick whispered as the two stood up near the end of the visitation.
“Rylan, you won’t be here long. I swear it.” Nick searched his face, ensuring Silent understood. He was checking to be sure Silent wasn’t planning his own demise.
Silent nodded. “Thanks. I appreciate it, but I wasn’t thinking about it.”
“Sure. Like you don’t already know how,” Nick laughed and referenced Silent’s knowledge concerning how to break out of jail while ignoring the suicidal thoughts that must have been apparent.
Not only did he know Silent after years of working with him, but he was still the best friend a man could hope for.
“I mean it. I know the charges against you were garbage because I saw the file. The girl lied about all of it. Armand needs you to help him with his damn wheeling and dealing. Dad supports his crazy ideas, so you being in here is bad for my business. You should have come to me instead of accepting that damn deal.” Nick practically hissed in irritation.
Silent stared at the other man. What could he say? Nick’s mother recently passed away. The timing couldn’t have been more deliberate. Silent couldn't take his petty problem of a five-year prison sentence to Nick when the man had just been handed a life sentence without his mother.
Viktor didn’t owe Silent anything. Pressing Nick and Armand for help with his own bullshit hadn’t seemed right. He was sure their enemies banked on that. Armand was right. Going legitimate was important.
“Never mind. I know why you didn’t. It’s cool, but I won’t forgive you again. I don’t forget my friends. You got this pass because of my mom.” Nick almost growled the words.
Silent felt the loyalty Nick had always offered. He hadn’t turned away after what had happened to Nick. Nick was returning the favor. Hearing his friend’s irritation made Silent almost smile. It was good to have loyal friends.
The man turned to leave the prison.
“Hey, Wendigo, thanks. And tell your father I never forget my debts.”
Silent used the old childhood moniker he gave Nick. The man turned back and grinned, then he nodded and was gone. Silent let the guard lead him back to his cell. He could wait a little longer. Things weren’t as bleak as they had been.
As he watched the cell door slide shut, Riley Giovanni breathed. He knew how to escape, but allowing Nick a chance to get him out was the better option. It eased the pressure to end it all. He simply needed to believe that as the walls closed in on him yet again.
I have to run away. I hope you enjoyed my ramblings about what I'm doing as far as promoting my books with no money through my itty-bitty sneak peeks and using my previews/end-of-story chapter sneak peeks in various ways and different places. Just a reminder to always check the Preview Excerpts on Payhip for secret coupon codes for discounts on the books. As always, don't forget to leave your kind reviews when you read, and thank you for your support of my Indie Author's walk. Even if all you do is visit my website to read this post, you helped, and I appreciate that more than you know.
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