Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Websites all writers should be on.

I’ve been doing a lot of marketing/promotion lately for my books and have come up with a “must-be-on” list for writers who want to promote their books. These website provide free services that can really get your books noticed. There are many other sites out there but I highly recommend you concentrate your marketing efforts on these. Did I mention that they are all free?













Sunday, October 23, 2011

Believe in ghosts?

I work at a country Inn rumored to be haunted. And I’m not just saying that. The Inn has been written up in books about haunted places and actual ghost hunters have spent nights trying to capture on film inhabitants of the great beyond. One of more frequent questions I get asked by people who know the Inn’s history is if I have ever seen anything out of the ordinary? Now, I’m at the Inn late at night, I’ve done inventory in the “haunted” wine cellar at two in the morning. I’ve strolled through the old buildings for more than a decade and this is what I’ve seen that makes me question whether or not I believe in ghosts. Nothing. I’ve never witnessed one thing out of the ordinary. Sorry, but I just don’t believe there are such creatures as ghosts, which doesn’t altogether eliminate the concept of a hereafter. I just don’t think these beings of the netherworld are interested in hanging around old structures when no one is supposed to be watching them. I mean, if the human soul continues on after death than what could the afterlife be like? I have my own ideas.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Free Promo! Free Promo!

Just a quick post before I spend my weekend working at my job and this little piece of promotion disappears into cyberspace. If you’re an indie writer and have a book to sell than check out the site below, Indie Snippets. They have a pretty good base of readers and having my books placed there has increased traffic to my book sites. I think they’re a little backlogged right now, but take a moment to fill out their submission form. It’s free, and free is always good.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Staycation for $1.25

Lately, I’ve been blogging about memories, life experiences, writing, my take on the publishing industry, etc. So, today I’ve decide to do some good ole’ fashioned promotion. My latest three books, all released in the last year, are now available for just $1.25. As I mentioned in a previous post, although these books all came out around the same few months, they took more than a decade for me to consider them finished. They all have been professionally edited, evaluated, and even made the NY publishing rounds with a prominent agent at FinePrint Literary Agency. They all got serious interest from major publishers such as Random House and Harper publishing who all agreed the material was “very strong and unique storytelling”. In the end and due to the shrinking marketplace for new writers, they were turned down. Then Kindle came along and we all know how this story ends. So, if you’re looking for a way to escape your normal routine for awhile and lose yourself in a good book, why not, for less than a cup of coffee, have a little staycation with one of my novels? I think you’ll agree it was the best buck-and-a-quarter entertainment you’ve ever spent.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Riches vs. fame

I’ve been pondering the notion of my books one day going viral and selling millions of copies. I’ve been pondering how much my life would change and what I would do with my time if I didn’t have to work at a conventional job anymore. Of course, I would still write books, that’s a given, but what else would I do with my time? I guess it depends on the amount of sales. A million copies sold would allow me to live a life of ease, but if you’re talking in the millions, then I would like to give back a little. It’s always been a dream of mine to start my own publishing company and help out authors who write books that are wild, and a bit off the mainstream, like mine. But, the reality of the twenty-first century is that authors don’t need publishers anymore. With epublishing and Kindle Direct Publishing, author’s can be their own bosses. Maybe, I’d contribute to a college or give some money to an animal rescue or a homeless shelter. I don’t know. I guess, if I go viral we’ll see what happens. Riches are good. But what about fame? What does fame allow you to do? Let’s see. It can get you a good seat at a restaurant. It can most likely get you a romp in the sack with a member of the opposite sex… Gee, it’s hard to come up with another one. Without money, fame is nothing more than an ego boost. As of this writing, I’ve got almost fifty followers on my blog, my books have been “liked” on Amazon by dozens of strangers, my author’s den site has had over 45,000 hits, and my other sites have combined hits of over 25,000. That said, over 70,000 people, at least, have read about me, seen my books, and showed an interest in what I do. In a way, I guess that makes me famous. So let’s see what that fame can do for my writing career, because I sure ain’t getting rich off it. Yet.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My dead dog.

I dreamt of my dog last night. It has been exactly six months since I made that awful decision to put him down. He was deaf, crippled, and going blind. I had spent the last months of his life in denial of his condition and constantly cleaning up his incontinence. When I went to work I would have to line the floor with newspaper and still would come home to messes. Finally, when all he could do was eat, sleep, and spin in circles, I decided it was time. It took everything I had to walk into the vet’s office and hold my dog as the injection was administered. I would have been okay if all my dog did was go to sleep peacefully, but he didn’t. He whined and cried as the medication took effect. He hadn’t uttered a whimper for two months previous. Finally, after what seemed like minutes, he went limp in my arms and I put him onto the table. I looked at his lifeless body with his blind eyes open wide, and then went outside to sob. It was only the second time in my ten years of marriage that my wife had seen me cry. I spent the remainder of that day throwing away my dog’s things, except for his collar which I put away in a box.

So, why am I telling you this? Because I just wrote that scene into my latest book, turning that negative into a positive. Although my dog of fifteen years is gone now, his memory will live on.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hated Indie authors

Once again, I’ve made the cardinal sin of trying to market my books on forums and threads, and once again, a bunch of people are sending me nasty replies. Which is fine if these forums and threads had a policy of no author marketing, but they don’t. I learned early on that trying to post of those sites gets you a base of enemies real fast. But what still confuses me is the length that some people will go to, to make you feel bad for even trying to distribute your novels. I mean, why are these people so bored with their lives that they actually take the time to comment negatively? If I don’t like something I ignore it, I don’t use it as a vehicle to spew my hate and anger. Why even waste my time with it? I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if you hate the concept of the indie writer marketing and selling their own work without the help of the big publishing corporations and corporate greed, then just ignore us and move on with your lives. All we’re trying to do is provide some escapism entertainment for the world. Believe me, there are very few indie writers making anything more than beer money from their indie books. It’s about art and sharing your stories.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How long does it take to write a book?

I’ve been wondering how long it really takes for an author to write a book. I’m not talking about a first draft, I’m talking about the point where an author says “done!” and then sends it off to the publisher or agent. For me, it usually takes about six months to write a draft worthy of revision. But to consider the manuscript completed it takes a lot longer. Since all of my books have been through the ringer with agents, editors, and publishers and I’ve used their advice and my continuing literary improvement to keep revising and strengthening both plot and grammar, the maturation process for each book has taken a long time. Here are the time frames it took to consider each of my novels complete and off-to-the-publisher-worthy. I have many more books to come.


INSECTLAND 1997-2011… 14 years

DROP OUT   2007-2011… 4 years

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spooky times ahead

Tis the season to be spooky. That said, AFTER is now half price for the Halloween season. Many of you read my article on pricing and I received many comments both good and bad about lowering the price of my books and the perceived worth of the material inside. I believe that by temporarily lowering the price of my books I will be able to generate a larger audience who will appreciate a good, original story and want to check out more of my stuff. If you haven’t checked out AFTER, here’s a brief summary and a link for purchase.


When Nick Murray dies mysteriously he enters an afterlife like nothing he had ever imagined. There are rules, regulations, and beings in positions of great power. The devil craves this power and will do anything to attain it, even use his evil influence to start a global war on Earth. The devil intends to collect billions of human souls and turn them into a massive, afterlife zombie attack force.

Nick’s soul is dropped into the body of a deceased army commander in the hopes of stopping the apocalypse. But an unexpected turn of events lands him face to face with the ultimate adversary where he discovers a terrifying truth. How can you destroy something that is already dead?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What price?

In earlier posts, I’ve often said that I think the 99 cent price on Kindle books seem to cheapen the worth of the book. Now, I’m not reversing that conviction completely, but what I will say is that 99 cent books appear to be selling many more copies than those books priced just a few dollars higher. Why? Let’s put it in terms of a used bookstore that has a rack of books for 99 cents and a rack of books for three dollars. As a reader, which shelf are you likely to check out first? I for one, always check out the cheaper books hoping to find a gem. And even if I don’t, I’m likely to buy a few books that merely spark my interest. After all, you can’t really go wrong with 99 cents, even if the book is terrible. So that said, I’ve caved into the common denominator and lowered the price of my Kindle books to $1.25 each. I chose that price because I wanted to set myself apart from the pack, even if it is only by twenty-six cents. All of my books have been professionally edited, formatted, and the covers are all original artwork. I think that alone is worth the extra pennies. So, if you’ve got a buck and a quarter to spare, check out my stuff, it’ll be the most entertainment value around.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My mistakes.

My father always told me that it's okay to make mistakes, it's how you learn. Well, I'm about to tell you the mistakes I've learned while marketing and promoting my books so that you don't have to go through the same things when you market and promote your books. I'll put them in list form so it's easier to digest.
Number 1. When posting on forums don't just promote yourself with no other redeeming information. When I first started out I'd post summaries of my books and links to buy them on sites that specifically said no self-promo. I didn’t listen. The result: I got banned from these sites and all the networking they could have provided.

Number 2. Don't write articles that tell people how they are going to feel about your book. For instance, don't write a blurb that says, "this is the best book you'll read all year". Statements like that really turn off the reader.

Number 3. Don't believe the hype that paying for click advertising or putting up banners are going to increase sales. The most important driver of sales is word of mouth through social sites and networking. It's a very small percentage of people that actually will buy the book through a paid ad.

Number 4. Don’t think that by spamming social network sites that you’re somehow going to go viral and sell a million books. I’ve had a few tweets and postings that went viral (meaning tens of thousands of people clicked on the info) and it led to just a small increase in sales. It’s a cool feeling knowing so many people have checked your stuff, but not profitable.

Number 5. Just because you wrote a book, published it, and sold a few copies, don’t think you’re going to be able to quit your job and retire. That only happens to a few lottery-winning writers.

Number 6. Write for yourself and don’t try to copy what’s out there just because what’s out there is selling now. Be original and write what you want.

So there you have it. These are the mistakes I made and that cost me loads of time and damaged my professional online persona. Do the exact opposite of these six things and I guarantee you’ll see your sales rise and people will begin to notice you.