Free Kindle Promotion for the Novel October 29th to November 2nd!

Pursuing a more humanistic, popular approach to my promotional adverts.
Pursuing a more humanistic, popular approach to my promotional adverts.

Links:

US Amazon Kindle

UK Amazon Kindle

International (automatically redirects to correct Amazon for your country)


When my thoughts have recently blown drearily onto the act of book promotion, they’ve swirled and coalesced about the dates of November 27th (Black Friday), through Cyber Monday, to December 1st, for the obvious reason, having to do with capitalizing on the large volume of online traffic during such period.  Yet when I went to set the promotion on KDP Select, I noticed that I had not expended my ‘free promo’ days for this particular fiscal quarter, ending on November 6th, if memory at all serves presently.  And thusly, I arbitrarily chalked in an October 29th through November 2nd schedule to burn off the days, and have thrown a few advertising dollars out to some of the higher Alexa ranking sites that don’t charge arms, legs, nor otherwise the like.

This go ’round, I’ve changed my advert copy to something less literary or intellectual in impression, but instead, in an almost contradistinguishing fashion, to a more humanistic and popular entertainment quality.  In such, I’ve slightly reinvented my protagonist from a thoughtful man of applied scientific accomplishment, who tangentially is thrown upon the belches and quakes of love, to a lady’s man, devoted to winning a woman by means of extraordinary accomplishment, which of course is only enacted as a function of amorous pursuit.  I’m not the most quick minded in the realm of base social interaction, but I believe that is what popular mythology – aka, products generated from the entertainment industry to attract young consumers – promulgates in order for such to maximize profit:  Some quintessential version of old world Chivalry, that can be summarized by the Bryan Adam’s song, ‘Everything I Do, I Do it for You’, constructed for the film, Robin Hood; certainly not the realized version of such, where if one defeats a woman’s husband in some battle sport, they are thus, um, privy to his armor, &c., and her – his wife.

At any rate, let us examine the ways in which I’ve perjured myself in the quest for a continuance of lunch money, of which this novel does provide, by means of Amazon Kindle sales.  Here is the newly minted synopsis donned on the Amazon page:

In 1820, in the binary country towns of Woodbridge and Hedgely, Gloucestershire, England, Thomas Winter, bachelor of independent means, had a problem. He was in love with a young woman from a prominent family in the area, thoroughly attached to her countryside, but he having always kept a rather itinerant life, working as an engineer about the country, had to prove to her kin that he could be a reliable and productive member of their society before a marriage proposal would be deemed proper. The industrious Mr. Winter therefore endeavored to increase the agricultural yields of the land surrounding these towns by applying the latest science and engineering of the day, yet to his surprise, he soon discovered a large faction of his neighbors, comprised of several of the towns’ farmers, didn’t believe in science! He found himself the target of a propaganda war, alongside his ally, parson Jonathan Moore, who had begun a lecture series focused on natural history, their antagonists motivated by religious ideology and, for the part of a handsome but dull landowner, romantic adversity. This is the story of how manufactured science denial can tear apart two neighborly towns, pitting brother against brother, and how just, right and scientific men do prevail over such.

As I said, a more human element is the focus of this summary; no inorganic chemistry, dimensional analysis, olden geological or evolutionary theories, hints of political satire, or anything else the like:  science denial is not the literary nucleus, but rather just a nebulous barrier that gets between a man and the woman he is pursuing.  But let us take this in parts, that the true story may be discovered:

In 1820, in the binary country towns of Woodbridge and Hedgely, Gloucestershire, England, Thomas Winter, bachelor of independent means, had a problem. He was in love with a young woman from a prominent family in the area, thoroughly attached to her countryside, but he having always kept a rather itinerant life, working as an engineer about the country, had to prove to her kin that he could be a reliable and productive member of their society before a marriage proposal would be deemed proper.

Sure, it’s true Mr. Winter is in love with a particular young lady whose identity is not revealed until the middle chapters, and it’s further correct that in his mind, he is obliged to accomplish his wholly self-defined endeavorments before he believes this woman’s family will heartily accept him showing up unannounced at their front door, in order to convince her father that their attachment is beyond any simple, worldly explosion.   But more than likely, even if Mr. Winter had failed in his scientific pursuits, he would still have been accepted by this woman and her family, by function of his income and inheritable assets alone, and perhaps further, on the notion that he intended to quit the industrial scene and set up shop in Hedgely for as long as his father – an industrial master of mankind – was alive.

Mr. Winter therefore endeavored to increase the agricultural yields of the land surrounding these towns by applying the latest science and engineering of the day, yet to his surprise, he soon discovered a large faction of his neighbors, comprised of several of the towns’ farmers, didn’t believe in science!

Here again is the implication that everything Mr. Winter does, he does it for her, yet again I will emphasize he is not so one dimensional: He tosses and turns on whether or not he should even pursue her, and once a rival presents to their society, he puts it in mind to give her up altogether, and concentrate on his work at hand.  Were it not that his love secretly reciprocated his sentiments, and was able to travel outside the bounds of social construct and admit as much, his cowardice would have paid him but tragedy in the end.

With regard to the man being surprised at the farmers’ indifference toward his prerogative to apply scientific knowledge for the purpose of augmenting crops yields, there are a few points to make: Firstly, Mr. Winter is an impartial observer of everything around him; he takes in information without assigning any rash prejudices or acute tempers to such, and later quietly contemplates the mechanics involved in their presentation. In other words, he’s rarely surprised by any event, proximally or not. Unfortunately, in the writing of advert copy, dramatic emotional swings hold greater weight than thoughtful stoicism: The average entertainment consumer is attracted to over-the-top action, with the category ‘action and adventure’ polling high in what novel readers are interested in.

Secondly, as we’re dealing with a credible amount of realism here – where character motivations aren’t derived from some inherent ‘good’ or ‘evil’ standing, arbitrarily defined for the sake of instilling the plot with necessary conflict, but conversely, come organically, through the convergence of a suite of situational forcings – it’s unnecessary for Mr. Winter to be even the least surprised at anything the farmers offer (they are, after all, acting rationally, given their particular positions); much less exude the melodrama implied in the synopsis. In fact, he – again, the astute observer – knows perfectly what they’re about:

Here is a relatively young upstart with no agricultural experience, no practice under his belt, trying to convince old veterans of the field that he can make their businesses more profitable – a profit none of them are particularly missing, nor have any desire in achieving, so late in life and uninterested in innovation they are: When one becomes old and accomplished, it is a credible level of constancy that is held in high regard, not sweeping change that may knock certain unlucky fellows off their feet.  Indeed, it is illuminated in the later chapters, that they realize any increase in profit only stimulates their local master of mankind – the squire and extensive landowner, whom several of their mates rent their farms from – to increase their let, leaving them with the obligation of increased productivity year after year and no net benefit from their original enthusiasm.

Further these men have been indoctrinated by a staunch religious component intricately woven inside their culture which 1) has a certain penchant for orthodoxy and tradition; and 2) offers a world view that is uncommonly comforting in its simplicity, so much so that anything which is perceived as disruptive to such must either be ignored or dissolved with a confident might; its wielder never questioning the morality of such, so convinced they are of their righteousness. This too lends a given level of resistance by the farmers against anyone who is, or is perceived to be representing The Enlightenment, which of course holds rationalism and empiricism in higher regard than the set of bronze age fables that comprise the Bible; surely the gravest of sins. They are also not unique among the indoctrinated in that they are apt to find a rational for whatever they are pleased to do by way of a particular passage or principle in the Bible: They have no desire to increase yields – certainly not by instruction from an outsider – and therefore are not gluttons, coveting their neighbor’s profit or the like.

He found himself the target of a propaganda war, alongside his ally, parson Jonathan Moore, who had begun a lecture series focused on natural history, their antagonists motivated by religious ideology and, for the part of a handsome but dull landowner, romantic adversity. This is the story of how manufactured science denial can tear apart two neighborly towns, pitting brother against brother, and how just, right and scientific men do prevail over such.

Here I have little to add other than some of the antagonists and propagandists do become somewhat reformed in the end, so it is not as though the scientific men have crushed their enemies, but rather the antagonism is culled for the sake of the towns’ fellowship.   One point I do make in the novel in the ending chapters is that even though there is a cessation of the propaganda at that point, the effects of such still linger in the communities.  I’ve designed this, like many passages in the novel, as a comment on climate change denial propaganda:  Exxon no longer funds the radical right-wing think tanks that in turn distribute money to science denial bloggers and media regulars, but we still have half of the inhabitants of states like West Virgina unwilling to accept the basic scientific findings related to climate change.


More advert copy focused on the base social and emotive aspects of the novel.
More advert copy focused on the base social and emotive aspects of the novel.

Welp, wish me luck on the promotion folks.  Last time around I was able to achieve the top ten list for Historical Literary Fiction and Romance Literary Fiction without spending one penny on advertising.  This time I’ve designed to try a very modest advertisement budget.  Results from last April:

4th place in Historical Literary Fiction for the UK market.
4th place in Historical Literary Fiction for the UK market.

 

Second Place in Romantic Literary Fiction for the UK market.
Second Place in Romantic Literary Fiction for the UK market.

 

Here I am in 5th place in the US market.
Here I am in 5th place in the US market.

Addressing the Literary Questions – Question Seven

Manchester_from_Kersal_Moor_William_Wylde_(1857)
In fear of a repeat of the cold 1816, where the Thames froze over, and crop yields were diminished, Manchester began providing what they conceived was a solution to the global cooling.

In my last post, built for book reviewers, I posted the set of literary questions that exist directly after the conclusion of the story in both the kindle and physical formats.  Question seven of these is as follows, for which I will attempt a brief answer:

The author, in various places inside the novel, offers mathematically detailed solutions to simple, logistical problems, which showcase the creative spirit of an entrepreneur and applied scientist; and the manner in which such a person would approach puzzles owning both inherent knowns and unknowns. Many days research were spent so that not only sound physics and chemistry prevailed throughout the story, but the engineering and material solutions were true to what was available in 1820 (albeit to a son of one of the wealthiest men in England, who happened to have his hand squarely on the modern industrial operations of the time). Why did the author risk stifling the flow of the novel with technical details that could be construed as excessive, or improper for popular entertainment and the casual reader?

There are a few places, indeed, where Mr. Winter walks the reader by the hand through the details of calculations he has made concerning his experiments, the first one, I believe, involving how to water two 1/2-acre fields with a solution of carbonate of ammonia so that enough of the fertilizer is deployed at the correct concentration, but further, that the field is not overly drenched, especially during the months of heavier precipitation; the second, being where he affords logistical and dimensional analysis driven solutions to moving marl, lime, and gypsum from their quarries to their sights of application; and thirdly, towards the end of the novel where he estimates his grain yields through sample based extrapolation.

The function of these sections, which would surely be dissected by a professional editor, is five fold:

Firstly I’m recreating real problems that would have existed during this era, and finding real solutions to them.  Even though I’m but an armchair historian, I believe there is historical merit in doing so, especially considering that a true historian may not have the mathematical skills or abstract problem solving ability to provide a detailed account of such by way of recreation.  When Mr. Winter informs his audience, regarding the movement of marl from the quarry to the field, that, ‘Each cart [they’ve] observed is drawn by one draft horse of approximately eighteen hundred pounds, and on account of the hills, we wished that the creatures not pull more than their weight,’ the reader may comfortably accept that I did the research on how much a horse weighed, how much it could pull up a moderate hill, the like to those characteristic of the Cotswold countryside, and how much a tumbril cart would have weighed, &c.  Again I will reemphasize that I did my level best in recreating calculations that would have been accomplished in 1820 to garner the feats my characters thusly performed in the novel.

Secondly I want the audience to realize the cold hard reality of cold hard calculations.  I’m weary of those contemporary propagandists that would have us believe that scientists are ‘fudging numbers’ to conform to a liberal agenda; the like to the cooked books coal baron and billionaire Donald Blankenship of WV created to fool safety inspectors into thinking he wasn’t out to destroy his gentlemen miners for the sake of a few extra cents in earnings per share of common stock.  There’s no magic; no feelings; no mark-to-fantasy home values; just plain, simple Euclidean inspired adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.  This novel is about science advocacy; here is partly the essence of science and engineering, boiled down to some rudimentary calculations.

Thirdly this novel was intended partly for the readership of those scientists fed up with the right wing think tanks’ propaganda that they are up to no good for the sake of money, that global warming is ‘the greatest hoax played on the American people’, &c.  I fancy a particular reader may try to recreate my calculations on the back of an envelope for their own amusement.

Further, this is my hobby.  The novel exists mostly for my own amusement, and is indeed not an instrument to sell a million copies to the teenage masses for the sake of wealth creation.  In fact there is some diversion from the thought of an editor, all in an uproar, over Mr. Winter’s long winded instructions inside the mundane subject of farming.

And lastly, the book is a reaction to a novel, contemporary phenomenon which marks the most significant crossroads in human history – the point where we either listen to our scientists and engineers and prosper, or we destroy ourselves needlessly for the greed of a small subset of wealthy humans, cohabiting among us.  Here, at least in my novel, the reader is obliged to listen to the scientist, understand in detail he is not a fraud, and reinforce their acceptance of the scientific method.  What an odd time we live in, drowning in technology that has improved our condition, but where it is politically fashionable to deny the method of thinking that led us to such.

Message to Potential Reviewers of ‘Of Woodbridge and Hedgely’

Note: Until a satisfactory number of reviews are present, I will provide a free mobi or pdf file of the novel to anyone that agrees to write a well thought out review on its Amazon Kindle page!  See the comments field below on how to contact me.  

Of Woodbridge and Hedgley bravely occupies what one might consider a credibly small niche in the ever growing sea of literature available online:  Firstly, it is a literary work that focuses on science denial and the flawed belief systems, mechanics of propaganda, and delinquencies of character that are nebulous to such.  Secondly, the science involved in the novel is that from the early 19th century, with emphasis on early geology (James Hutton), pre-Darwinian evolution (Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin), and the birth of agricultural chemistry (Sir Humphrey Davy); with a few brief examples of the state of engineering, concerning glass, iron, stove and boiler manufacturing.  Thusly, I often appeal to likes of ‘Science Geeks, History Geeks, and Science-History Geeks’ to answer to the call of readership:

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The novel also provides subtle messages with regard to climate change and food security, basic ecology, and resource limitations. A brief overview of some of these can be found in my post entitled On the Satirical Content and Philosophical Commentary in the Novel. Readers best equipped to comprehend the novel’s offerings are those that are interested in the politics of science (such as modern climate change politics, or possibly the teaching of evolution in public schools), have at least some small degree of environmental concern, and enjoy science advocacy.

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Yes, there are also secondary, Jane Austen inspired romantic subplots at work, where the novel’s frontward pages afford some mystery as to who will be married to who (and perhaps, who will fail to marry) by the end of the novel. The main character, Mr. Winter, has a habit of writing detailed poetical prose (sometimes poorly) in a journal he keeps, where he documents his scientific and engineering endeavors, and all other dealings he has in his new towns of which the novel’s title is derived. And the lead female, Harriet Moore, even offers some country poetry in the novel’s interlude. Indeed man’s interaction with the world of nature is at the very heart of music, literature and art’s 19th century romantic era, and the novel keeps to this tradition with characters enjoying the sights and smells of the small town English countryside. Yes, there is romance. It would almost seem amiss not to offer such in a Regency Era novel.

Further, the novel is an appeal to intellect, and not to pop entertainment. There are no vampires. The plots are idea driven; not action driven. The tragedy is subtle; not one character melodramatically dies. There is, however, one gentleman’s duel that represents the concept of climate change inflaming false belief systems and causing adverse physical outcomes (the U.S. military considers climate change a ‘threat multiplier’).

And so there it is, dear reviewer – my four paragraph caveat for a book that presumably benefits from explanations that exist beyond its pages; the like to the many literary works that have come before it. Indeed this blog is the primary medium in which such occurs. Please do look around if there is any question in your mind as to whether or not the novel would be a handsome addition to your collection and inspire thoughtful feedback on its kindle product page. You may also find utility in the literary questions that exist directly after the novel’s conclusion which I will post below:

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For less than a cup of coffee, you too can enjoy the mechanics of propaganda.
  1. Of Woodbridge and Hedgely is set in the county Gloucestershire, in the South West of England. The two towns are separated by a fairly significant amount of wood for the area, and it becomes known in chapter nine that the closest grain markets to them were at Gloucester, Cirencester, and Stow-on-the-Wold. From these clues, can you find which two Cotswold’s towns these are modeled after? What features, such as road names, or other geographical names, did you use to confirm your answer?
  2. The author has, in many places in the novel, paid tribute to Jane Austen novels and movies, as well as Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin Series. For example, the latter author did oblige his character, Jack Aubrey, to use a particular phrase, ‘to smoke’, in a unique dialectal manner that was given to mean ‘to understand’. This may have been the author’s own invention, or it may have derived from his study of naval letters and knowledge of early 19th century dialect; but inside Of Woodbridge and Hedgely it has taken on a more general role as a substitute for having understood a phenomenon or idea. Another example, related to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is where the character, Mr. Wyatt, who is obliged to learn to read after being unexpectedly elevated from an agricultural laborer to a land owner, has expressed a desire to show off his newfound abilities by reading William Paley’s Natural Theology to the Moore cousins, Harriet and Charlotte, at his estate home to which the ladies are invited, and which the lesser cousin conceives would be an unpleasant experience. This somewhat parallels Jane Austen’s Mr. Collins, who insists on reading James Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women to the Bennet ladies. What other hat tips does Of Woodbridge and Hedgely contain, regarding these authors? Which Jane Austen character does Harriet Moore most resemble?
  3. The novel’s purpose is to showcase science denial and manifestations of ideology confounding rational thought, using a historical lens: The phenomenon becomes readily observable when applied to scientific positions long settled in our present era, and which, even in 1820, had enough credible evidence to point thoughtful men in the proper direction towards them, but which were indeed irrationally refused by a particular individual or set. What are some of these settled scientific positions featured in the novel?
  4. Throughout the novel, the antagonists – a faction of Hedgely Particular Baptists and their agrarian laborers – have latched onto geological hypotheses and theories that were in the process of falling out of favor at the time (ex. Werner’s Neptunism). Why did these men hold so fervently to these ideas? Did each individual and socioeconomic class have its own reasons for this?
  5. Following question four, list several elements contained within the Particular Baptist’s belief systems. Further, provide a contradistinguishing list for the Anglican’s (which includes Mr. Winter, for the purpose of the question). Finally, provide instances where beliefs were held, not secondary to rational conclusions, but from social constructs and the failure of an individual to understand their own incapacity to properly assess a phenomenon, purely by reason and examination of evidence. Were there individuals within the novel that were aware of their limitations, with regard to understanding whether or not a phenomenon was probable, based rational and empirical evidence? Which modern sociopolitical groups are most similar to the Baptist and Anglican groups?
  6. Mr. Winter’s chooses two ‘experimental’ fertilizers for his two, half-acre plots, situated by the River Compton (Mr. Foster’s fields). Which of these represents the scientific pillar of reproducible results from previous discoveries and claims? Which of these represents the scientific phenomenon of serendipitous and rationally informed discovery? What do these two compounds represent with regard to modern fertilizer?
  7. The author, in various places inside the novel, offers mathematically detailed solutions to simple, logistical problems, which showcase the creative spirit of an entrepreneur and applied scientist; and the manner in which such a person would approach puzzles owning both inherent knowns and unknowns. Many days research were spent so that not only sound physics and chemistry prevailed throughout the story, but the engineering and material solutions were true to what was available in 1820 (albeit to a son of one of the wealthiest men in England, who happened to have his hand squarely on the modern industrial operations of the time). Why did the author risk stifling the flow of the novel with technical details that could be construed as excessive, or improper for popular entertainment and the casual reader?
  8. Why does the author state in chapter ten, that the most prolific female writer of the day – meaning the early 19th century – was a woman who went by the title, ‘A Lady’?
  9. Most of the natural philosophers at the time were noblemen or otherwise men financially independent. Why were there little, if any, female scientists? What were some of the disciplines or roles gentry class women could pursue during the Regency Era as a proper means of intellectual expression for their sex? Considering the time period, who are the progressive females in the novel, and who are less so? Were women of the Regency Era less, similarly, or more emotionally happy than they are in today’s Western society?
  10. Mr. Edwards dinner table is always dressed with handsome dishes during his entertaining of guests: white soup, tarts, mutton, pigeon pie, &c. But in the last part of the winter recess, he is said to have suffered a want of food reserves. It is also stated that his income may only be around 100 pounds per year. Is this character going above his means in entertaining guests?
  11. At the front of the novel, the nameless tailor’s daughter watched a glasshouse being built in Mr. Winter’s backyard. Such was the product of brand new glass and iron manufacturing techniques at the time, yet it was still quite a rare for anyone but a handful of the most wealthy people in the country to own one. What does the construction of the glasshouse represent in the novel with regard to themes? What were the latest manufacturing techniques and material innovations occurring, concerning glass and iron? Were there any other attempts previous to 1820 to install a boiler and pipe system into a glasshouse? Who owned and/or where were other glasshouses, conservatories, or orangeries located in England before 1820?