Category Archives: Marketing

Get out of my Mind!

I’ve been mulling over ConCarolinas since I got back from Europe.  A year ago, after attending ConCarolinas, I planned to be the one sitting behind the table selling books this year.  Alas, it didn’t happen.

I put in an application a few months back to be a guest (I think it was before I released book 3 of my trilogy).  I’m not established enough to be invited, which didn’t surprise me.  So instead, I asked for a table to sell my books.  The reply was: they only give tables to invited guests.  Seems like a catch-22 to me.  Getting a table at conventions was part of my marketing plan to help get readers.  It seems I have to first have readers in order to get a table.  Which came first — the chicken or the egg.

This seems contrary to what I’ve observed at past conventions.  I’ve seen plenty of beginning authors selling their wares.  I guess it’s a policy shift or something.

So I was a bit depressed as the weekend approached and couldn’t decide if I was going to ConCarolinas or not.  I’ve been several times, and it’s typically the same guests who I’ve met before.  I like to go around and talk to the authors at their tables, but is it worth the 40 bucks?  Especially since I’ve already met most of them before?

I decided to stay home this weekend and hang out with the wife, watch anime, start sorting vacation pictures, and work on my latest draft (beer or book, you decide.)

I haven’t sworn off conventions.  I plan to attend ConGregate July 13th – 15th in High Point, NC.  I am also making plans to attend DragonCon in September.  Oh, and I will be selling books at the Riverside Mill Endless Yardsale in Weldon, NC on June 15th & 16th.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, time to finish adding that extra chapter to my WIP.  Oh, and here are a couple of cool pictures from my recent trip to Prague:

 

 

 

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Filed under Author Appearance, Conventions, Marketing, Pictures

Here’s a Treat

 

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Check out my new strawberry pot!  There’s nothing better than a freshly picked strawberry.  We’ve harvested about 10 berries so far.  Most of them didn’t make it into the house, but that’s the point.  You gotta have something to snack on while you’re out in the yard.

If you’re not into strawberries, check out my Amazon promotion going on right now for the Kingdom of Haven Series. . . Delicious.

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Filed under Books, Gardening, Marketing, Reading

Check out my Stuff!

I will be running an Amazon promotion on the Kingdom of Haven series for the next 5 days.  The Order of the Wolf is free, Stenson Blues is $.99, and The Eastern Factor is $1.99.

I tend to write towards the dark and gritty.  If you’re not quite sure if they’re your cup of tea, check out my quick book descriptions:

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Having a mid-life crisis, shit happens, and people die.

 

 

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Coming of age, more shit happens, and more people die.

 

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Life’s a bitch, then you marry one, and then you die.

 

If you like gritty mercenaries, strong women, and dirty politics give them a read.

What was I thinking?  That sounds pretty light and cheery.

 

 

 

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Free, Marketing, Reading

It Takes a Village?

I’ve heard the expression: “It takes a village to raise a child.”  This isn’t entirely correct.  Children are raised every day by single parents or a set of parents with no external support.  Some of those children turn out fine, and some children who grow up with a huge support network have major issues.  While the adage isn’t totally correct in all instances, I believe it is a good concept.  Basically, we all need help at some point or another to succeed.

But when should we ask for help?

For me, the “It takes a Village” concept is hard to put into practice because it appears to be in direct opposition to another important concept: the Work Ethic.

Work Ethic:  a belief in work as a moral good: a set of values centered on the importance of doing work and reflected especially in a desire or determination to work hard.

While the definition of Work Ethic does not say “do it alone,” it does imply a person should work hard as a moral obligation.  The way many of us interpret the idea of Work Ethic is that if only I work harder, I can attain my goal.  I do believe this can be the case in many instances, but there are times when hard work alone will not get you there.  Sometimes you need help.  Unfortunately, a person with a strong work ethic equates asking for help as weakness.

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

I’ve seen this expression thrown around by people who advocate for the “It takes a Village” concept.  It doesn’t quite ring true for me.  In order to ask for help, you must first recognize your weakness, acknowledge it, and then seek help to overcome it.  Because of this, I prefer the following quote:

Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.

I have a hard time asking for help, because of that Work Ethic thing (Yes, I will drive around the block as many times as it takes before I’ll ask for directions, but that’s a different issue).  I do normally recognize when I need help, but I get stuck in that “if I only work harder” line of thinking.

Writing is one of those areas where you can’t do it alone.  Of course, you can sit alone at your desk or in a coffee shop to write, but you cannot learn to write a great novel alone.  It takes the help of fellow writers either through critique partners or some similar means.

I’ve recently come to realize that I cannot promote my books alone either.  Yes, I can hire someone to run a blog tour, and give away free books, but that only goes so far.  In order to truly promote my writing, It Takes a Village.

So this is my request.  If I am to reach my goal and make writing a full-time adventure, I need your help.

Friends, neighbors, and (dare I hope) fans, if you haven’t yet purchased any of my books you can find them here.

Hey, I’m a bit on the frugal side. If you’re anything like me, you probably wait for the sale before you buy.  Well, it just so happens that I have a 5-day promotion on Amazon starting on April 15th.  The Order of the Wolf will be Free, Stenson Blues on sale for .99, and The Eastern Factor for 1.99.

 

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If you are one of the few who has bought a book of mine or the not so few who have received a free copy, please leave me a review on Amazon or Goodreads. (or anywhere else where I can find it)  Reviews are worth more than gold in the writing world.

If you are looking to join a village, you can join my newsletter mailing list here.

Also, my next book, Half-hand will be published in time for Christmas and I am currently seeking Beta Readers.  You can sign up here.

Writing is my passion, if reading is yours, give my books a try.

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Filed under Books, Marketing, Reading, Writing

Free Book Marketing?

Deciding how to spend your marketing dollars on your indie book is tough.  After paying for an editor and book cover, now you have to decide how much to spend on marketing.  You’re already in the hole, and you wonder if your book will ever earn enough to recoup what you already have in it.  So how much more money do you spend on marketing, and will it make a difference in sales?

Well then, it’s time for some free marketing, right?

Unfortunately, nothing in life is free (Somebody famous said that I’m sure).  The majority of the free marketing sites I’ve run across require you to give your book away for free to join.  Most of them want you to have your book free on Amazon.  Basically, you have to be in KDP Select to really take advantage of these opportunities.  So it’s more like: If you want something for free, don’t write a book.  Yes, these sites are free for the reader but lost revenue for you.

The philosophy is that you need to get your name out there in order to build a following and eventually sell books.  Another philosophy I’ve heard is to price your book higher so that readers feel it has value and will buy it.  So like every other aspect of writing, there is no one path to success in marketing.

I’ve had my books on Amazon and Kobo and recently entered a few giveaways on Goodreads and Instafreebie (I also did an Amazon ad campaign).  I’ve been giving away book one of my series for several months to build readership.  I’ve given away about 600 copies of The Order of the Wolf.  I’ve also sponsored a Blog tour for my series and a book blitz for my new book release.

The net result of my efforts is three new book ratings/reviews on Goodreads, one on Amazon, and one on a review website.  I have sold a few copies of The Eastern Factor that just released, but not enough to get excited about.

My take away from all this is that people are more than willing to download a free book.  In fact, I think a lot of people are grabbing all the free e-books they can get their hands on.  Whether they read them is another matter.  I’ve actually heard people brag about how many books they have on their e-reader—more than they’ll read in their lifetime. If they read your book, they have to like it in order to rate it or buy the next book.  Finding readers to take your book isn’t so hard when you’re giving it away, but finding the right readers that will want to read more is the key.

Takeaway number two: I need to do more with ARC reviews and pre-order sales.  Much of the marketing is targeted for this period vs. after the release.

Another takeaway is that I need to have my giveaways on Amazon to harness the power of, well, Amazon.  I’ve resisted KDP Select for awhile, but I recognize that it is the best marketing platform to use when you’re trying to get established.  So this week I’m taking my books down from other sites and switching my series over to KDP Select and I am going to use their marketing features going forward.  Well, at least for the next 90 days.

I’ll admit, I’m a slow processor.  I have to mull over a problem for a while before deciding which way to go.  My wife says I’m hard-headed and will argue with a wall (I am not!), but I do eventually work out a path forward.  Let’s see where this one leads.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to get your copy of The Eastern Factor.    You’ll find it on Amazon.  And you can buy the complete Kingdom of Haven series there as well if you’re so inclined.

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Filed under Books, Marketing, Writing, Writing Process

Where’s Your Sandwich?

 

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I went out to eat with my family a few years ago at one of those gas station places with multiple fast food joints inside.  We went our separate ways to get food, and I ended up at Subway.  The line was long and by the time I got to the front of the line my family was already sitting down with their food.

The girl behind the counter was a sandwich making machine.  She had multiple orders going at once.  She asked me what I wanted, put the meat and cheese on the bread, and then asked me if I wanted it toasted.  I said yes, so she put my sandwich in the oven behind her and turned back to help the guy in front of me.

After she finished making his sandwich, she turned back to me and asked me what I wanted on mine.  I started naming off the ingredients:  lettuce, tomatoes, pickles … and she started loading them on the sandwich in front of her, which happened to belong to the next person in line.  I turned and looked at the lady next to me, who was starting to look distressed, and then said to the girl, “That’s not my sandwich.  It’s hers.”  I pointed to the distressed lady next to me. “And I don’t think she likes pickles.”

The girl stopped with a confused look on her face and asked the lady, “Is this your sandwich?”

When the lady nodded, the girl turned back to me and said, “Where’s your sandwich?”

I had to explain to her that my sandwich was still in the oven behind her (where she had left it).

This is a funny story and has become a running joke for my family.  Whenever one of us gets confused, or in a hurry, we ask each other, “Where’s your sandwich?”

Marketing makes me feel that way:  Reading through all the advice, trying to figure out what to do next, wondering if you forgot something.  I feel like that girl in Subway hurrying to get it all done and losing track of what I have in front of me.

All you can do at that point is to stop, take a deep breath, and turn to your customer and ask, “Where’s your Sandwich?”

Well.

Where’s your Sandwich?

By the way, I’ve lost my taste for toasted sandwiches.  It probably has nothing to do with this story (maybe).

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Filed under Humor, Marketing, musings

All Good Tours Come to an End

Today is the last day of my blog tour for the Kingdom of Haven series hosted by SAGE’s BLOG TOURS.  The last stop is a book spotlight and review on Hogwash.  The review is for the first book in the series The Order of the Wolf.

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You can still get your free copy of The Order of the Wolf here along with 60+ other fantasy novels in the Secret Worlds – Fantasy Giveaway going on until February 10th.

Don’t forget to get your copy of The Eastern Factor: Kingdom of Haven Book 3 when it’s released on January 30th (Like you’re going to forget when I keep reminding you).

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Free, Marketing, Reading, Writing