Learnings from book writing/publishing

As I celebrate the 1st anniversary of On Swift Wing’s launch, I’m going to try to post once each day about each element of the book writing and publishing industry, starting with my original thoughts and ideas going into the things that I’ve learned. If anybody is interested in writing their own books, hopefully this will be valuable information. Of course, you can always reach out to me as well, I’m an open book… if you’ll pardon the absolutely intentional pun.

  • Planning
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Cover Design
  • Publishing
  • Launching
  • Marketing
  • Reviews
  • Awards

If there is anything else about which you’d like to know more, just let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

I’ll try to target one subject each day, but cover it with as much thoroughness as possible and as much meaningful insight as I can whip up.

Everything will be done through the lens of my first novel, On Swift Wings, which is available at stores both online and physical everywhere.

I’ve also made the first five chapters available for free:

Order now from Amazon.ca
Click Here for Preview

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On Swift Wings – 1st Anniversary Relaunch

It has been a year since the launch of On Swift Wings, my debut novel. To celebrate, I’m relaunching the award-winning novel with a new cover and a new website design.

Order now from Amazon.ca

Cygnus is an average young man working for an airline. When something goes wrong on a transcontinental flight, he is thrust into the adventure of a lifetime.

Many challenges lie ahead of Cygnus. His survival depends on his wits as he encounters mysterious islands occupied by human-enslaving horses, immortals, a race of sorcerers and necromancers, anti-intellectuals, giants, and miniature human civilizations.

On Swift Wings is an action and humour-packed satirical adventure fantasy, rich in vivid detail, following the style and structure of Jonathan Swift. If you like satirical comedy and classical fantasy, you’re sure to love this award winning novel by author Brett Wiens.

As has been the case since its original launch, 20% of all author royalties are being donated to the Children’s Hospital.

Preview the first five chapters



Available at most bookstores in hardcover, paperback or digital format.

1st Anniversary – new look Relaunch

In a few weeks (July 1) On Swift Wings will have its first anniversary and to celebrate I’ve commissioned a new cover and a new look for the novel!

I’d like to do this for a few reasons.

  • The novel has been out for a full year, and I have learned so much about book publishing in this time, I want to celebrate by treating myself to a fresh design.
  • It makes the existing cover unique, and a sort of first-edition for the book. After the new cover is completed it will not be available anymore, so you’ll have something of a collector’s item when Brett M. Wiens becomes a household name… even more of a household name.
  • I believe that the current cover doesn’t tell the reader very much about the story. It doesn’t tell me that it is an fantasy/adventure/satire at a glance.
  • My click conversion rate on Amazon is obscenely low. I have the reviews now, and readers have been enthusiastic about the book, but everybody does judge a book by its cover, and I want the cover to encourage people to give the book a try.

I have a few options (plus unlimited revisions) for the new cover and I’d love to get your thoughts, votes, and feedback. A fun little distraction from the strange world in which we find ourselves these days.

Option 1 – Yellow Font, Green Water, Drowning Cygnus
Option 2 – White font, Dark Blue Water, Plane Crash Cygnus
Option 3 – Castle on cliffs, Calm water, Sun shining on Cygnus

You can also comment on this post directly, or reach me at my Facebook page.

You can also preview the book by clicking below, or preview the first five chapters by clicking here. If you haven’t had a chance yet, give the preview a try, I’m confident that you’ll enjoy the story.

Click Here for Preview

Also, please, please, please review the book! Somebody I know once said that they wouldn’t read a book that didn’t have a 4-star average with over a hundred reviews… I’m only 91 reviews away!

Thank you, and may your world always grow!


Free Preview

While the world continues to be paralyzed by the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic, I thought I’d give people something entertaining to chew on for free.

I’ve released the first five chapters of On Swift Wings to the website. I hope that you’ll enjoy this sample of the book.

The first five chapters set the stage and introduce the reader to the first island in the novel.

Fans of Jonathan Swift’s classic, Gulliver’s travels ought to recognize some familiar elements, and hopefully feel that the style is reminiscent of the original work.


If you’re feeling it, you could just dive right in and get the whole book up front, I certainly wouldn’t complain!

More than anything, I hope that you are all safe and well during these challenging times. May your world always grow!


I Knew/Know Nothing

I’m continuously surprised at how little I know about things. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been dabbling with advertising again on Amazon and Facebook. I toyed with this a little bit a few months ago to little success and had kind of given up on the idea. I saw an ad for a free Amazon Ad School by Bryan Cohen and figured I’d see if there was anything to it that I hadn’t already figured out.

Yes, there was. A lot.

Despite not really having enough time to fully throw myself into it, I learned a ton about harvesting keywords, tools to help with that, how to write better ad copy, the structure of Amazon advertisements, etc.

See if you can see the point where I started advertising on this curve!

I went from nobody looking at the book to nearly half a million impressions and hundreds of clicks basically overnight.

Make a lot of advertisements and people will see them.

I got connected to a bunch of great Facebook groups through that little free course, and one of them pointed me towards Reedsy who are putting on their own little free Facebook ads course. I’ve done a little Facebook advertising too, but it hadn’t led anywhere either.

What did I have to lose? Maybe I could apply some of Bryan’s advice to Facebook too, so I am taking that course too. One of the best things that course is teaching me is to do split test advertising, where you post several different ads and see which ad copy or picture, or demographics work best. Facebook charges a small amount for every impression, while Amazon charges for clicks.

Maximize clicks while minimizing reach.

Holy moly! Coincidentally, this L33T click count comes on only 28,072 impressions. Hopefully that will result in a few more eyes on the book, and a material increase in readers. I’d love to know, since all of these links are coming to this webpage, whether people are actually buying the book, or if people have suggestions about what I can do to improve any further.

For those of you who have watched the ad in either place and are interested, drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you! I’m learning a lot, and compared to where I started last year, “I will release this book, hope that people tell other people and it might catch on like wildfire…” I’m much better informed. Really cool.

Expect to see a few more updates to this site. I think I might release the first few chapters of the book online in the coming days as a bit of a sample for interested readers.

Right now, my world is really growing, may yours grow too!


(Seriously though, let me know what you’re thinking!)

Also, reviews are still in great demand. Thank you to Michael and Snowflake for their recent posts on Amazon!

Click Here for Preview

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Troll’d – I need your help!

Please help!

If you’ve read On Swift Wings, or are in the process of reading it, please help me by leaving a positive review on Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, and Amazon.ca. My rating got hit (hard) by a troll this weekend, and it has decimated my ability to promote my book. Read on for more details. I can’t tell you what to give or say, but a subtle suggestion…

A more pleasant sight…

The Attack

4 Tips for Chatting with an Internet Troll
On Swift Wings got trolled.

I started a free online program to better educate me on Amazon ads offered by Bryan Cohen, the “5-Day Amazon Ad Profit Challenge.” As I was setting up the first ad for the challenge, I noticed that my average review score on amazon.com had taken a precipitous drop on the weekend. Where I was averaging 4.33 stars (on a paltry 3 reviews), On Swift Wings had suddenly dropped to 3 stars on average. Unfortunately, I thought, somebody really hated my book. That would be ok, I certainly understand that as a subjective medium, my book is hardly going to be loved by everybody, but it is the first truly negative review to-date. I’ve had a couple people say that they had a hard time reading it for the level of difficulty, or that they just weren’t in the right frame of mind to enjoy it, but a 1-star review is a first.

I may be a little obsessive, but I read every review carefully and this one wasn’t particularly helpful. The review is below.

Not exactly a glowing positive review…

I looked into the reviewer to see if she was typically positive or negative and found that she reviewed four books on April 9 (her only reviews), and all of them received one star.

It doesn’t appear that this is a legitimate review, in fact, none of her reviews seem particularly credible. They are not verified purchases, there is no content to the reviews, and she re-uses the same or similar title and text. I don’t know why she targeted my book and these others, I’m not aware of any enemies that would do such a thing.

Sadly, this one negative review has a pretty catastrophic impact on my book. The first thing people look at when evaluating a book from an unknown author is the average star rating.

Here are her other reviews:

Book TitleStarsReview TitleReview Text
On Swift Wings1/5HorribleNeeds Too much improvement
Shadows Over Greystoke Grange1/5Not Worth ReadingWaste of time
Taking Back Tomorrow1/5HorribleNeeds Too much improvement
Silent Betrayal1/5Not Worth ReadindBad writing
A history of helpful reviews.

Please help me counterbalance this negative review with some positive ones!

If you haven’t seen it yet, take a preview look here:

Click Here for Preview

You can buy a copy here, and determine whether this troll is wrong or even more wrong.

Thank you! May your world always grow!


New Review and Webpage Relaunch


One of the largest online book communities (onlinebookclub.org) finished its review of On Swift Wings yesterday. The review is excellent, but their keen-eyed reviewer was able to identify a dozen typos in the book and by rule had to deduct a star for that. The three star (out of four) review provides the most detailed review summary I’ve received thus far and some glowing praise.

The descriptions of the unknown lands were very vivid. I can still picture some of the scenes in my mind very clearly, days after completing the book.

I truly appreciated the writing style of the book. It has its own unique tone and the author’s use of language was skilled and enjoyable.

Overall, for me, this story was a pleasure to read. The fantasy aspects were engaging and kept me wanting to find out what would happen next. The social commentary was done with a clear and thoughtful voice. It was easy to follow.

I recommend this book to those that enjoy considering the state of the world, societies and how we all fit together. Readers who relish stories of different people in foreign lands will also appreciate the novel.

Snowflake for OnlineBookClub.org

Per the reviewer’s notes, I’m preparing the revision with my formatter, Indie Publishing Group, a new version should be available in the next couple days. The reviewer also would have liked to know more about some of the loose ends regarding other characters, but I intentionally kept some things vague to allow the reader to imagine for themselves.

Hopefully these changes will be enough to earn that coveted fourth star.

The other cool news is I’ve completed a redesign and relaunched my webpage right here at https://www.brettwiens.com. The new page features the book trailer more prominently, adds a review format to the front page, and more links to retailers and review sites. I will be adding details from the most recent review shortly.

Furthermore, you can now choose to be added to my mailing list. I promise to use it only sparingly to announce either new book releases or significant deals.

Success! You're on the list.

Give the book a try by clicking the preview below, or grab your own copy today!

Read a preview, grab your copy!

During these challenging times, a good book delivered to your phone, tablet, kindle, computer, or even to your door might be just the remedy!

May your world always grow!

On Swift Wings Wins!

2020 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award Winner

March 23, 2020 – On Swift Wings was today announced the Regional Literary Award Winner for the Canada West Region. It was also awarded second place in the Humor/Satire category.

The full list of awards winners can be viewed here.

The annual literary awards were established to honor writers who self-published or had their books published by a subsidy publisher, small press, university press, or independent book publisher geared for the North American reading audience and written in English.

Get your copy of this award winning novel today! The cover art will be updated with the award seal soon.

2019-2020 Literary Award Finalist

On Swift Wings has been named a finalist for the 2019-2020 Literary Awards from ReaderViews.com! There are quite a few categories, but On Swift Wings was nominated for best General Fiction/Novel, and best Fiction – Canada West Region.

A list of the finalists is available here: https://www.readerviews.com/2019-2020-literary-awards-finalists

If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the book here, the Kindle version is only a few dollars on Amazon.

Winners will be announced next week on March 23rd.

On Swift Wings is also nominated in onlinebookclub.org’s 2020 Book of the Year. This is a popular contest, so I need your help! Vote for On Swift Wings today! https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelves/book.php?id=415208&boty=1

Thank you to everybody who has voted so far, currently 3rd place and only four votes from second!


May your world always grow!


Awards Season

Vote for On Swift Wings – Book of the Year

Online Book Club Homepage

A new contest has just begun and On Swift Wings is nominated for Book of the Year from OnlineBookClub. This is a voted award, so I need your help! Please go here: https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelves/book.php?id=415208&boty=1 and vote for On Swift Wings!

A second opportunity is from ReaderViews and it is finishing soon!

ReaderViews provided me with this fantastic 5-star review in January: https://www.readerviews.com/reviewwiensonswiftwings and interviewed me: https://www.readerviews.com/interviewwiensonswiftwings

On Swift Wings has been nominated for a pair of awards. Best General Fiction/Novel and Best Fiction – Canada West. I’m anxious to find out if On Swift Wings is announced a finalist next week, that would be very exciting indeed!

Nothing for you to do on this one but cross your fingers and hope. This is a judged contest.

Buy the Book

Of course, you can always grab a copy of the book yourself and submit your own review… please. (The Kindle version, which can be read on any phone, is only $2.99 Canadian.) – you can read a sample of the book right here without even having to change pages!

Immortal Update

I’ve decided to change the voice once again for the second book. I had been trying to write in the third person but was finding it slow, tedious, and an unnatural style for me. Instead, the new style will be first person, but from the perspective of three distinct characters. It should be a challenging style to write, but one that provides more flexibility and an especially creative dynamic. While I will have to rewrite the first three chapters that are already complete, I expect that the result will be a better, more interesting read than would have otherwise been the case.

May your world always grow!