The Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP Select) program provides for 5 free give-away days each 3 months.
Mine are coming up on 22-23 April. A free Kindle download copy of ANIMAIA will be available at the Amazon store on those days.
KDP Select is an interesting Amazon initiative. It demands exclusivity of availability in return for some promotion. Some authors like it a lot and others are not so keen. The feedback is mostly positive it seems to me.
I'll see how it goes. Promotion of the free days is underway. You can still buy in now if you wish at $3.99.
I've held back publication of ANIMAIA for a few months while I tested the traditional agent and publisher market, but it looks like it's time to try Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP Select).
Look for a free giveaway under KDP in the next month or so.
In the interim, I've been reading Hugh Howey's Wool -- a big seller indie ebook. Howey now has a print publisher deal as well.
The guy sure can write and I'm enjoying the book so far. Even so, if you consider the environments I write about in ANIMAIA -- jungles and vast landscapes -- it's not surprising that the dystopian Wool makes me feel a little claustrophobic!
"My first thought about this book and how to describe it is "Harry Potter meets Dr. Doolittle". I absolutely loved this book. There are plenty of good guys and baddies. I can't wait for more from this author."
"Animaia is about a world where through evolution, people who were once thought to be witches were actually "gifted" individuals who could psychically link their thoughts with animals, reptiles and birds. Because of this ability, through revolution, a country became Animaia where all people are vegans... no fleshers, skinners or others, even if you are not an anima and "gifted" to be able to sync with the animal kingdom.
Animaia is about Arno Steele, a truly gifted anima who can converse/link with multiple animal groups (a rarity)and his friends as they go off for their first year of school to learn how to control and use their gifts. There are lurking threats from a neighboring country of fleshers (meat eaters) & skinners as well as the question of the crater and the grommets. Shades of Harry Potter, but with a completely different appeal.
I recently put up the map of Animaia (link above). It can be a little tricky building a map when the story is being written progressively over several volumes. Things happen in subsequent volumes that an author cannot entirely predict, unless you're an extraordinary planner and story-boarder. This relates to locations as well.
Even so, with ebook publishing there is always the option to update the map in subsequent volumes (and even early volumes).
Map was done in Corel, and as you can see, I'm no expert artist or Corel user, although adequate, IMHO!
You might also ask "how long is a piece of string." It doesn't really matter if the story is well crafted. Harry Potter, for example, has many layers of characters in order of importance to the story. Some epic fantasies have many more than that.
The thing is, for fantasy stories that wind up over three or more volumes, readers have plenty of time to come to grips with a diverse cast of characters, especially minor ones that keep popping up from time to time. The objection to "too many characters" is often that it makes the story too confusing and detracts from main character development. This may be so in shorter novels where time and pacing are limited. In longer fantasies, you have more time (and words) to embed a multitude of characters.
In addition, you can get away with a big cast if you don't give a minor character a crucial scene without first introducing him or her in a previous chapter, preferably more than once. Surprises and plot twists are fine, but doing it with new characters is not the best way.
ANIMAIA has a cast of, well . . . not exactly thousands but certainly a few dozen. Even so, the superstars are two boys and two girls as the prime protagonists. Another six or so are very important secondary characters, with another ten or more in a third layer of prominence. I think it works well (as do other readers), and by the end of the book the main cast is well entrenched, as they will be for the following volumes.