Book Review: The Atlantis Gene

The Atlantis Gene (The Origin Mystery, #1)The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up for a few reasons – it was self-published with impressive success, it has ‘Atlantis’ and ‘gene’ in the name and I love any book having to do with islands, especially ancient sunken islands, and also anything regarding evolutionary science-fiction. Also, a lot of the premise reminded me of my own book, SIRENS, about an undiscovered subspecies of human.

The book was action packed from the beginning. It switches between multiple characters in order to tell the story from all angles. The story itself is quite complex and epic.  A.G. does a great job of slowly revealing the meat of the plot and the character motivations. The main characters are a young scientist studying autism and a bad-ass guy working for a secret global intel agency called Clocktower. They embark on a mission to stop an impending terrorist attack by an organization called Immari which has ancient roots and knowledge of this human subspecies. They story is super original, and he links events in the story to real-life events like the Spanish Flu, 9-11, etc. Its so cool.

Overall, its high action and you never get bored. He leaves cliff hangers at the end of each short chapter, so you can’t put it down. At times I felt like I was reading a James Bond movie. I’m sure a movie version of this book will be out soon.

Congrats to A.G. Riddle, the author. Its his first novel and he’s already planning the world tour.

Only a little jealous!

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Marketing Your Book: Thinking Outside the box

Chalk it up to too much Shark Tank, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how to market my book from the perspective of the unashamedly profit-seeking, results-oriented business mind. I worked for a consulting company in Washington, DC that profiled strategic best practices at Fortune 500 corporations. The practices chosen all had one thing in common. They were processes that executives had implemented that stood out from the rest. They yielded results others wanted. They were made to look so simple and common sensical once laid out, prompting, “How did I never think of that?” The executives that had the most cutting edge practices were those that thought outside the box. Even if the idea was simple!

After researching the topic of self-publishing, attending conferences, and speaking with fellow writers who have gone through the process, I’ve learned that there are a few go-to strategies everyone knows that’s done any research:

start a blog (okay, check!) and actually post on it
gain a huge following on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and other social networking sites
Tweet a lot, like a whole lot
Write more than one book so that you have a “pipeline”
Be active on other author blogs, Goodreads groups, etc.
Do blog tours to create hype for your book
Get a ton of people to review your book as soon as you post it on Amazon (or wherever)
Spam (Oops, did I say spam?) people with book promotions
Promote the hell out of yourself

All of these are certainly best practices. But one thing I’ve realized is that none of them address the dollars – the profit, the meat – and how to maximize it specifically. Or how to create your own unique sales plan. We all know the deal, self-publishing gives you a way more generous cut of profits than the traditional publisher (around 70% versus about 10-20%). But what can we do beyond that? Are there deals to be made that may cut into that larger profit margin but may yield more sales? Let’s think like a salesman…

IDEA #1 – Let’s say I find a self-published author who has had a ton of success (Okay, how about A.G. Riddle, author of The Origin Mysteries series). Ideally, an author whose book is very similar to my book (say, Sirens), so that they are in the same subgenre and can complement each other. If I contacted A.G. and said, “Hey, I have a book that’s complementary to yours, but I need to build a readership. You have an awesome readership, which means a ton of traffic to your website. How about if I give you 20% (or 10%, 15%…) of every sale I make if you simply feature my book on your website. It could say something like… “If you like The Atlantis Gene, you may like Sirens.”

A.G. may completely ignore me. Or he may say, that’s competition (probably not in my case). Or he may say, hey that’s a great idea. More sales for you means more money for me, and the more people who read our subgenre, the more popular it becomes for us all!

If this works, its a win-win for both parties. Even if you give an author 70-80% (like you would to traditional publishing houses), that’s more sales and more publicity than you had before.

IDEA #2 – Let’s say my book (Sirens) is a “cli-fi” (climate-fiction) and the subject of oceanic preservation is prominent in my story. What if I contacted an organization that gives money to the cause, like and said, “Hey, if you feature my book on your website, I’ll give you 50% (or 5%, 10%…) of the profits of every book sold through you. With this strategy, you can advertise to potential readerships that a portion of their sale will go to X organization. How cool would that be?

One caveat with this strategy is that you have to be really careful what organization you choose. Some can be controversial, too political, etc. Its all about knowing your audience.

Those are just a few ideas as I try to think outside the box. I won’t be going on Shark Tank anytime soon for my book (though for the baby earmuffs I’ve just invented, keep your eye out!).

Do YOU have any ideas?


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This is not your ordinary mermaid tale. This is a story about a species that has coexisted with humans since the beginning of time. From the blossoming tree of evolution, their branch deviated ever so slightly from modern humans to develop more… aquatic capabilities. These are not mermaids. These are real people, the people that the legend of the mermaid is based on. They call themselves Sirens.

Until now the Sirens have purposefully remained eclipsed from the eyes of the human world, inhabiting an obscure, undiscovered island in the Indian Ocean called Rodinia. But in a rising tide of discontent among the burgeoning youth, the Sirens, led by the courageous but headstrong Mello Seaford, decide to test the waters of open society by negotiating a trade agreement with the US megacorporation, Gencore Inc. And they risk everything to do it.

In a future world where rising ocean levels are swallowing coastal cities and humans scramble for resources on an overpopulated earth, the development of human aquatic capabilities has become the goal of scientific biogenetic research. The survival of the human race hinges on its success. In 2098, it has never been more dangerous for the elusive Sirens to be discovered. Has Mello led his people astray, jeopardizing their cherished island by guiding them into the hands of human greed? Will the risk prove worth it, or will the Sirens be forced to face the darkness of eternal isolation?

Follow budding scientist Lorelei Phoenix on a dangerous journey into a hidden world, one in which she finds herself connected by more than just the ancestry of her species.

When two worlds collide, the rising tide of love and acceptance will lift all boats… or sink a ship of titanic proportion.

This darkly whimsical story is told from three points of view; Lorel, the young scientist and heroine, Jake, her Navy SEAL boyfriend, and Mello, a male Siren. A science-fiction novel with a strong focus on romance and adventure. Inspirations drawn from ABC’s series LOST, Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island, Alduous Huxley’s Brave New World, and the exciting gems of possibility hidden within the science of human evolution.

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