Monday, October 14, 2019

Writing Advice is Everywhere

Lately, it seems like everyone has advice on writing.  Or maybe it's just me because I'm on Pinterest and there's an awful lot of writing quotes on there.  In fact, I have a board devoted to writerly quotes*.  Anyway, like I said, it seems like everyone is giving advice.

Many times, I find advice from people I never heard of.  Some of it seems kind of logical and on point, some of it is like 'WTF?'.  I have a tough time following the advice of someone I've never heard of.  It's like 'who the hell is that to be telling anyone anything about writing?'  I guess, for most people, I would fall into that category.

As I've said before, take only the advice that seems pertinent to you.  If I sound rational and sane, and my advice seems good to you, by all means, take it.  If not, toss it into the circular file**.   These days, I feel like I shouldn't be giving anyone advice about anything, but occasionally, I might toss out a kernel of wisdom. 

Sometimes I run across advice that seems okay, but it's from a person I don't respect as a writer or as a human being.  Oh, they're quite successful at what they do, but I can't bring myself to consider what they're saying.  I mean, there are certain people who are continually on the best seller list, but I wouldn't spit on them if they were on fire, so it seems kind of hypocritical to look toward them for advice. :shrug:

Besides, there's every chance someone I do respect said the same or almost the same damn thing.  I can follow that and still feel good about myself.

Anyway, as always, keep the good stuff, chuck out the bad stuff.  Write what you write your own way.  And if something someone says inspires you, go with it.  


* not everyone on there is necessarily someone I respect or have even heard of.  Sometimes I just click Save without thinking about it.  Gut reaction clicking.  You know how it goes.
** circular file = garbage can.  Also known as File 13.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Not Dead, Just Quiet

I'm not dead.  I just don't have much writerly stuff to talk about this week.  And what writerly things I do have, I'm not talking about yet. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Hopefully, I'll have something interesting to put here eventually.

For non-business stuffs, I hope you'll visit my other blog The Writing Spectacle.  I'm there Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Free Book Numbers

Since I had Project Hermes listed for free this week, I got a little curious about the numbers.  Oddly enough, I'd never actually looked at the numbers for my freebies before.

Let's hop into the wayback machine...

2015:  I listed Dying Embers as free in March and moved 356 copies.  I also sold 26 copies of it that month.  Since there were no other books published at that point, that was all DE.

2016:  I did quite a few freebies in 2016.  The biggest one was for DE, during which I moved 2431 copies.  That was February.  I also had a freebie for PH (then BloodFlow) during February and moved 127 copies.  In March, I listed AD for free and moved 759 copies.  FG was free in August - 100 copies.  WIOH was free in both September and October - I assume for one day each month - and 321 copies went out the door.  All told, I gave away 3738 copies in 2016.

2017:  I held two freebies for WIOH only.  I moved 858 copies and then sold 75 copies of the next three genie books - on sale during the freebies for WIOH.

2018: In March, I put AD for free and moved 118 copies - after which I sold 4 copies of NC.  Then in April, I listed DE as free again and 1007 went out the door.  Residual series sales for FG and EG ended up being about 40 books.

2019:  In February, I put Unequal for sale for a day.  Moved 22 copies.  Afterward, I sold one copy of UEQ and one copy of Blink of an I.  This week, Project Hermes was free for three days.  161 copies went out the door.  Since there isn't any book that relates directly to PH, I don't expect a lot of movement, but there's always a chance for KU reads and other sales.  :fingers crossed:

All told, I've given away 6260 books since 2015.

Sometimes, I see an uptick in sales of the book I made free.  Sometimes I get sales for other books in the same series.  Every rare once in a while, other unrelated books get sold because of a freebie promo I've run.  It's hit and miss.

Personally, I hate giving anything away.  But I understand that sometimes giving books away helps sell books.  And I have to remind myself that the people who get my books for free might not have slapped money down to buy them because I am an unknown author to them.  Once they give me a try, they may go on to buy my stuff. 

As a reader, I rely on free books to feed my reading addiction.  The budget's so slim right now I can't afford to try new authors, so I pick them up during freebie promos.  And if they're good, I try to find space in the budget to buy their subsequent books.  That's kind of how the freebie promo is supposed to work.

What about you?  Have you tried freebie promos for your books?  How did they work out for you?  If you haven't tried them as a writer, do you use them as a reader to find new authors? 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Month Ahead and Then Some

First off, today is the last day to get Project Hermes for free.

Next up, the A Dennis Haggarty Mystery books will be on sale for 99c/99p October 16th - 22nd.

Then, Sleeping Ugly will be on sale for 99c/99p from October 25th through Halloween night.

And finally I've set up a sale wherein both Blink of an I and Unequal will be 99c simultaneously from November 3rd - 9th. 

I also would like to so something for the Once Upon a Djinn books in November and something for the Serial Crimes Investigation Unit series in December. 

I wish I had news on future publications, but that's not in the cards right now.  Even if I sent Ugly and the Beast to my editor tomorrow, we both would really have to push for it to be ready for a 2019 release.  And it is so not ready to be sent to her.  Sorry about that, people.  At the beginning of the year, I had hopes and those didn't pan out.  Stuff happens.  That's life.

Thank you all so much for your support.  Here's hoping for a better 2020.

Do you have anything going on in the months ahead you'd like to talk about?  Let me know in the comments.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Project Hermes is FREE

Early Saturday morning, I got tickled by a wild hair and decided to run a free promo for Project Hermes.  To the best of my knowledge, I've never done a freebie promo for PH, so now's your chance to snag a copy without having to slap down $4.99.

So, yeah, it's free worldwide through Amazon today through Wednesday. 

No cost to you, unless you want to be really nice and pay for it by leaving a review.  That would be awesome and I would be so appreciative. 

If you're not familiar with PH, it's my political/medical/techno suspense.  (Previously published as Blood Flow.)  Here's the blurb...

It's the little things that kill

The highest levels of the government believe Project Hermes is the best way to control America’s immigration problem. A simple microchip carrying a citizen’s information will allow officials to sort out who belongs—and who doesn’t. Harmless.

Unless the chip carries more than just information.

Agent Miranda Kruz of the Terrorism Task Force has reason to believe something is very wrong with Project Hermes. People are dying and the clues all point to a microchip implant. But Randi’s superiors don’t want anything or anyone interfering with their pet project. They’re threatening her job, her loved ones, and her life to keep her from revealing their secret. With the help of medical examiner, Vic Hammond, and electronics engineer, Jack Davis, Randi has to uncover the truth and make it public before anyone else is targeted for death.

Locating the madmen behind these executions will be hard enough—stopping them might just be impossible.

Anyway, I hope people will pick up some copies while it's free and maybe read some pages through the Kindle Unlimited program.   That's about all a writer can ask for.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Sales and Kindle Unlimited

Here is a look at my Amazon 30-day sales graph as of yesterday
If you haven't seen one of these, the top graph is the quantity of whole books sold and the bottom is pages read through the Kindle Unlimited program. 

The spikes you see in the first graph directly correlate to paid advertising.  There's a little residual sale activity after the ad, but beyond that, crickets in the whole book sales area. 

What's notable is the continued page reads after the sale is over.  Two weeks after the ad went live for Dying Embers, I'm still seeing people in the KU program reading books even if nobody is buying the whole thing all at once. 

Sure, these numbers aren't going to wow anyone and I'm nowhere near making the list of top sellers in KU, but to see residual pages reads at all is always welcome.

This is why I keep my books in KU.  As I've said before, the times I've taken my books to a wider distribution, I do not see enough sales to make up for the page reads I've lost.  Of course, your mileage may vary.  We all have to do things that work best for us.  I just don't have a wide enough reach to bother having my books available everywhere.  And I don't have a large group of people out there telling me they'd buy my books if only they were available for Nook or Kobo or whatever.  (I used to have a couple people who asked, but one sale here or there wasn't making it worth my while.  If you don't have a Kindle and want to read my books, Amazon has an app for that.)  My stay in Kindle Select could change, but for now, this is working for me. 

Any questions? 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Wednesday's Post: A Gripping Read

I don't actually expect that any of you will find this post gripping in the least, but I wanted to see if using the word gripping in the title actually does attract readers. 

You see, I've been noticing lately that a lot of authors/publicists are referring to books as 'gripping' these days.  In the title, no less.  And basically what I've found is that when I read a book that refers to itself as gripping, it usually isn't.  Or at least not as gripping as the name implies.  Which, in my opinion, is a total letdown.

It's like roadside diners with a sign that says 'Good Food' out front.  In my experience, the restaurants that feel the need to say they have good food inside rarely do. 

So, what is it about the word gripping that seems to draw people in?  I mean, it must work or it wouldn't be such a noticeable trend.  (Maybe I'm the only one noticing it.)

Another, similar word I've seen, albeit not as much, is riveting.  Alas, I am rarely riveted by these books. 

If your book is truly gripping or riveting, you shouldn't need to say it.  Your reviewers will say it for you.  One hopes your blurb will hint at how the reader will be gripped or riveted and then they'll buy your book and find out. 

Or, to use an old maxim from the writing world, Show Don't Tell.  Show me that your book is gripping, don't tell me that it is. 

Jus' sayin'.