Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Month on Kindle and Other Things

So HBVK has been on Kindle for about a month. It hasn't quite exploded the face of the Internet, thanks to my Taoist marketing strategy of refusing to go against the flow of the Universe by promoting my book all the time. That's wu wei, baby. If it's gonna happen, it'll happen.

Yeah, well. I haven't squared the circle yet on how to tell people about my book without being annoying. Everyone I'm connected to on Facebook already knows about it and maybe already bought it. I'm back on Twitter but not tweeting much and don't want all my tweets to be BUY MY BOOK like so many of you I'm still following for some reason. (Not you, @BoxedWineSocial, I love you. Then again, you don't have a book ... YET).

I've debated mentioning my sales figures on here and I figured fuck it. Let's be real. If nothing else the small-press people will enjoy getting a laugh. So in a month I sold 13 books, which got me about twenty bucks. I am ranked in the mid 300,000s on Kindle. LET'S CRACK 200K PEOPLE WE CAN DOO ITTTT

So there that is. My thoughts:

1. 20 bucks is not bad. That's a case of good beer, or a suitcase of Busch with some change left over. It's two handles of my favorite cheap whisky: (http://www.drinksite.com/product.php?prod_id=1891 . I'm pulling your coat on a sleeper hit, there. You're welcome.) It's a night out at the dollar theater with the wife, a couple of good cigars. It's still money someone paid to read something I wrote.

2. I didn't expect to set the world on fire, and I didn't, but I did sell some books. Shouts out to the folks in Germany and the UK who bought a book, I thought that was pretty awesome. I have no idea who bought this thing, feel free to email me and tell me about yourself or something. I'd be interested to know how people found it. I'd like to think that people will see it pop up in suggestions and check it out. I like to think it's pretty different.

3. All this was basically without any marketing effort on my part. I didn't buy any ads, spam Twitter or FB, or run any deals. I am in KDP Select but I don't know how much that helped, if any. No one borrowed the book which is one of the things KDP Select offers. Which reminds me, did you know, Prime users and whoever else gets to borrow books, that if you do borrow it, I still get paid? Yeah, I thought that was pretty awesome too. So borrow away, I don't mind.

Not bad for a book that I worked on and (mostly) off for several years and that is now 3+ years old in it's final form. It's my first book and I'll be honest, I kind of cringe to look at it. Shit, I cringe at the memories, as much as I love them at the same time, of the cons I went to "promoting" it (I probably more demoted it).

I have more thoughts on this but I'm trying a new way of blogging and yet again am trying for shorter posts, so that will have to wait.

For now -- PLEASE review my fucking book if you want to help me. Shit, I'll tell you what -- if you have a BAD review, fucking post that too. I think bad reviews help, believe it or not. Right now I only have one 5-star review so everyone assumes either I or my wife or my mom wrote it. And shitting on my book might make you feel better if you're having a bad day.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Obituary: Jasper, 1999?-2014

Beloved pet and long-time candidate for Best Dog in the World Jasper passed away quietly in his sleep on the afternoon of Tuesday the 8th of July from an overdose of barbituates, in the company of his owners. He was approximately 16 years old. His health had been declining for some time and doctors advised that euthanasia would be more humane then attempting heroic measures. He was preceded in death by Jezebel, his wife and dam of his litter. He is survived by his issue, two of whom, Buster and Mammoth, reside with the Gavins.

His birthdate is unknown but believed to be some time in 1999, and his early life is lost to history. Some sources say he was rescued from an owner who neglected him, others that he passed through several owners, escaping each time until he found a loving home, still others that his early life was far less brutal than has been reported.

Regardless, in 2000 he was adopted by Jim Gavin, noted author of pulp philosophical fantasy novels, and past this point his life is well-known. Jasper's intelligence, strength and agility were above average for a dog of his size and breed and he was capable of many feats. Perhaps his greatest gift, though, was his ability to win the heart of every human he met. This was notably attested to by the brief but memorable "OBEY JASPER" sticker campaign that had the small, tightly-knit college town community of Charlottesville, Virginia abuzz.

In 2001, Jasper survived three days in the wild forests of Virginia after an accident involving an overly-aggressive squirrel that fled upon challenge. His owner searched tirelessly for him, and it is presumed that Jasper did the same. The heartwarming story of survival and reunion was optioned by the ANIMAL PLANET network for a movie of the week but was never produced due to difficulty casting the lead role.

Jasper had many interests, from riding in cars to games of tug-of-war, but his great abiding passion was the people around him. His tireless attention to the needs of others led him to be widely regarded as "the best dog" and thus made him a constant contender for the title of Best Dog in the World, though he never actively campaigned for the honor.

Jasper spent the remaining year of his life at the Gavin family compound, surrounded by family, friends and well-wishers, receiving the best of care and the most sumptuous of foods. Despite living in the lap of luxury, he never lost his humility or his empathy, spending days relaxing in the sun in the company of those he loved, and who loved him.

Upon his passing, Gavin remarked, "He was the best dog I've ever known. And he was, and always will be, my friend."

No flowers, please.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Yeah, and so is everything else. Hey, I'm still excited. More excited than I've been in a long time.

So now you can get it here. It also includes a preview of ARENA OF THE WOLF for those of you who haven't read it yet. For an older book I think the price is fair, the KDP (that's Kindle Direct Publishing) seems to be trying to move away from $1.99 and $2.99 books with some success. Turns out if your book's too cheap people will think of it accordingly.

Let me tell you a quick story. A few months back I got a phone call from a guy. A guy who produces TV shows. Big TV shows. Many of you are probably fans of his most successful effort to date. I would say who and what but the protocol in Hollywood seems to be that you don't talk about this shit so I won't. The point is, I got this phone call, and though I knew he was really looking for West Coast Jim I allowed myself a moment to think that maybe he was looking for me.

He wasn't, of course. But I rolled a goddamn natural 20 and had a nice five-minute conversation with the guy. I managed to play it off as "hey, no big deal, happens all the time" which wasn't all that untrue. I'm kind of over the disappointment and frustration since it's not like I'm getting my ass kicked by someone who doesn't deserve it. Anyway, TV Guy asks about what I write, I give him the elevator pitch for my books that are currently out ... and he says, "Wow, those sound crazy ... I'm gonna check these out."



I hear him typing on the background from a motel room somewhere in the middle of America. "Hey," he says, "is your book on Kindle? I'm gonna download these right now. I love to have new books to read."

Yes, I got THAT FUCKING CLOSE and was denied. He gave me a half-hearted request to email the MSS to his talent manager, where I'm sure it disappeared into a hole never to be seen ever. Or worse, they read it and hated it and tried to forget I existed. That was a few months ago and no I haven't heard back nor do I think I ever will.

So, that shit is not happening again. My Twitter followers will recall my Scarlett O'Hara-like declaration soon after (in fact right after) this incident occurred. It's taken me a while for several reasons, but I'm done fucking around.

My novella will be up too, I haven't decided how long to hold it back or if I should at all since it's technically back catalogue now -- both these books are 3+ years old.

None of this should be taken as me giving the finger to Dark Regions. I mostly just wanted to try self-publishing and see how it worked for me. The e-rights are mine, so why not?

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, especially my "official" page, because if I start getting too many fans I'm going to have to start restricting that to personal contacts only and that's always a clusterfuck getting people to move over. I'll post similar announcements there, but since it's facebook and they fuck with you, you should follow this blog in your RSS feeder etc. etc. because that way you're guaranteed to get news about upcoming books.

That reminds me: what about Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, etc etc? Well, all the figures I've seen show that the market share that Kindle has is ridiculously huge compared to the others. We're talking 95% Kindle and the remaining 5% shared by the rest of the markets. So I went ahead and enrolled my book in Amazon's "KDP Select" program which means it has to be Amazon-exclusive (as far as digital goes, fortunately). I may stick with that, I may not. It gives me some bonuses like letting people with Prime memberships borrow my book and I think I get a little extra promotion by Amazon. I also get more money but I forget how that works. Formatting books for different markets takes a little extra work. Let me know what you think, if there's enough demand I will put out my books on all the various markets in the future.

And if you want limited editions, you can still get them at DRP for now. They make excellent quality hardback books, especially lately, and I would like to continue to use them in the future if I think there's a demand for fancy collector's editions.

Thanks to everyone for their support -- and if you were one of the MANY fans who asked me at cons, or via email or Facebook, "is it on Kindle?" Well, it is now!