Monday, December 26, 2011

Something for your Kindle or Nook

It's the day after Christmas. Congratulations on getting your new Kindle or Nook. Your reading wold is about to change. Not only can you put thousands of best-sellers on your new device, there is a whole world of authors who are principally available in ebook format. They may be published by a small press. They may be going out on their own and self-publishing their books. Either way, you probably won't find them being promoted in an email from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. But they are talented authors writing great books. Since you and your new device need some content, I'm going to let you in on three books I read this year that I really enjoyed. I think you will too. They are three different genres, so there should be something here for everyone.

Gabriel's Redemption 
by Steve Umstead 

Steve's a guy I met through Twitter. He was actually my first interview here a few months ago. He's a great guys and written a great book. This is the first book of the Evan Gabriel trilogy, and it had me from the first page. The future Umstead has created is believable, the characters are worth pulling for, and the technology he describes is easy to understand. He tells the story of a disgraced military man given a chance at redemption. There's plenty of actions and plenty of politics. And, while this story comes to a satisfying conclusion, there's plenty here to set up the rest of the trilogy. All three parts are available now, but you can get the first book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble by following the links below.

Barnes and Noble

Follow the Money 
by Fingers Murphy 

Fingers isn't his real name. I've interviewed him, too. He explains the name there. This is also his first book, even though he's released two others and a novella this year. I loved this book. I loved the characters. And I loved the setting. The story takes place in L.A. and Murphy does such a good job of painting the scenes that I found myself wanting to go see these places for myself. I identified with the main character, Ollie. He's a kid from modest means that finds himself in the world of the upper crust. A law student, Ollie lands an internship at a prestigious law firm. He's assigned to a case and quickly finds himself over his head. Ollie returns in The Flaming Motel, also a good book. Get a copy of Follow the Money at the links below.

Barnes and Noble

Burden, Kansas
by Alan Ryker

I'm not a horror fan. I've read a few Steven King books, but that's it. I picked this book up because of the setting. I'm from Kansas City, and every year when I was a kid we would drive form Texas to Missouri to see family. Our route took us straight through the part of Kansas where this book is set.
I didn't know what to expect from this vampire story, but I was pleasantly surprised. These vampires are scary, more animal than human. I liked that. I'm not a fan of the pretty boy vampires, and there was nothing pretty about these guys. I also liked that this was a personal story about revenge and redemption. The fighting here is personal. It's not just between a farmer and an invading band of vampires. It's between people with a history. That was a great unexpected twist. Like the two other selections, if you like this book Alan Ryker has other books available. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this one is available for Nook users so the Barnes and Noble link below will take you to the paperback version.

Barnes and Noble

So, there it is. Go get some content for your new e-reader. You'll like all these books. And while you're at it, grab mine also. You'll like those too. Each is the first in a series, and the second book in each series is getting close to being finished.

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Greatest Story Ever Told, Chapter One

Merry Christmas, everyone. 
I haven't been around here much, and that's a bad thing. It goes against about every list of tips I've seen on how to build an audience and a readership. The job search has kept me busy. And Gina says I haven't been in the best of moods the last few months. I haven't noticed it, but I wouldn't really. She's the one who has to live with me every day. I felt like I've dealt with this whole situation well. And, really, she's not saying I've been insufferable, just down. I get that, and, if she says it, it's probably true.

But today is Christmas. A day for family.  A day for fun. A day for good times. It's a different Christmas for us. We don't have the usual budget for gifts, so we've spent not as much time thinking about the material aspect of the holiday and focusing more on the real reason that we celebrate. The reason for the season as the fans of rhyming like to say. Gina and I have volunteered at church during the Christmas services. We bought a few gifts for the giveaway that the church is doing for some underprivileged kids that live close by. And as tough as we feel we have it sometimes with my job situation, there are plenty of people far worse off than us.

So in the spirit of a more focused Christmas, I wanted to include here the classic Christmas story from Luke. Just a reminder that there's a reason for the season. And talk about flash fiction. Luke told the story of the birth of our savior in just over 400 words.

Luke 2 (New International Version)

The Birth of Jesus
 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.  4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

I like reading that story, but I like hearing it better. And this is the best version anywhere.
Preach it, Linus.

Once again, Merry Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A December goals update

I promised to keep you posted on my ambitious December goals. I needed to sell roughly 60 books in the month to hit the 200 mark for total sold. It was ambitious, but I was hopeful that I could do it. What good are goals if they are easily accomplished?

The month started out well. At the end of the first week I'd sold five books. That's a number some would sneeze at, but for me in a week that's great. However, it wasn't going to be good enough to make my goal. Sales needed to pick up the pace. They didn't. At the end of week one I was at five sales for the month. That's where I was at the end of week two. And that's where I am today. Five.

Unless things pick up considerably that last week of the month after everyone has opened their new Kindles, Nooks, and other e-readers, I'm going to miss the goal by a country mile.

I know there's very little I can do to actually influence sales in a significant way. A lot of the advice from people I trust is to not think too long about sales. Instead, focus on writing the next book. One book sells the other, and until you have a good-sized back list then sales are more likely going to be slower. But I promised some updates so consider yourself updated.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do you have marketing tips?

A woman I know from my newspaper days has asked me to come speak to her creative writing class. I think it's going to just be a general info session, but I think she'd like me to focus a bit on marketing. I can tell them my experience, but I'd like to share what others have tried. Stuff that's worked and stuff that hasn't. If you have any tips or advice that students could use, would you leave me a comment?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Laying out my ambitious December goals

I've got a few ideas for more posts and I'll write those soon when I have a chance. But let's stick with the begging theme for now. Well, not so much begging as informing. I've got a couple sales goals for December. Thought that since I shared total sales last post I'd share sales goals this time.

Adding all my sales since March, I'm at 144 books overall. Not bad, but I like round numbers. I'd really like for this year to end with 200 books sold. That means I'd need to have, for me, a record month. I'd need to sell 56 books in December. Is it ambitious? Absolutely. But what else do I have to do? I still don't have a day job. Might as well pour some of the time I'm not using to look for a job into trying to sell books, right?

So you may see me pushing my books hard. Lots more tweets. Hopefully more interviews and guest posts that I'll be pushing you toward. It'll be whatever I can think of that might move some books.

And if you wanted to help me push the books, please do. Retweet my tweets if you follow me on Twitter. Leave a review at Amazon and Barnes and Nobleif you've read and liked either or both of my books. Host me if you have a blog. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm up to writing a few guest posts or doing interviews.

I'll try to keep you updated on how sales are going throughout the month,.