Thursday, September 22, 2016

Story Giveaway Results

The Great Giveaway
Last week I tried, for the first time, an Amazon giveaway. Today's post is a follow up from last weeks on that giveaway. For five days I offered one of my short stories, Interview with a Gunfighter, free on Amazon. I had no idea what to expect, five or six downloads or hundreds. Well, it ended up to be a bit over 60, not sure if that is good or not, but I was satisfied. I am not very active on social media other than a bit of Google + and Twitter. I do use Facebook but so far have not set up an author site or have I tried to advertise my books on the site.

Getting a few more book sales  - Take a look here

New Fans
Not sure if the giveaway will create any new fans, but I have had a slight upturn in sales, since the giveaway, so it might be working. I am still in between as to self-publishing and taking two of my books to small houses that have expressed interest in what I am doing.  Both are true small house publishers, no cost to me, and a little upfront money from them.  The problem is that I would still be doing most, if not all the promotion and as I stated earlier, it is a long way from being a strong suite. Some writers say that any type of traditional publishing will help an author’s brand. I am not sure what that means, other than name recognition, but once again, I will give it a maybe, as in maybe that would be good.

I Really Like to Write
When I started writing it was for one reason – I liked to write. I never gave any thought to selling. Guess I never planned to sell many. But other good things have come from the publishing of my books, mainly two very nice writing jobs. Possibly more good will come from the giveaway short story, I have always wanted to be part of an anthology of some sort.

Seems to me if I don't get with the program, these guys will start circling.

Reading News
I seldom mention on this site what I am reading, but thought today that I would. Last week I finished C.J. Box’s latest book, Off The Grid, it was terrific. This evening I will finish one of Lee Child’s earlier Jack Reacher books, Echo Burning. This, like all of his books, was quite good. I read lots of nonfiction as I research for my fiction and nonfiction books, but it is with fiction that I find an escape. I read western’s, historical fiction, murder mysteries, cozy mysteries and who done it’s, mostly, but read the occasional fantasy or horror. I am not a fan of horror but love the way Stephen King writes, so if I am reading something from the genre of horror, King will have written it. I normally read more than one book at a time and always have a book of short stories going. Most of the time I am also reading a book that would fall into the area of the classics, reading a collection of Robert Frost poetry right now.

Keep reading and keep on writing!

Enjoy the first day of fall

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Book Marketing and the Dead Western

Book Marketing
Like all writers I have found that marketing is most difficult. How much is too much? I commonly cut off people I follow on twitter who post too many times a day promotions for themselves or other authors. Not sure how some people have time for anything else. One I quit following must have tweeted two dozen times a day about their book. Another I cut loose seemed to retweet each and every tweet they could find.

This might be the last chance to download a free copy of my short story click the link and read the short western.

I ran a free book (actually a short story) promotion over the weekend. I limited my promotions to once on each of my blogs and three tweets over three days. Some will tell me that is not enough – maybe not. I did get several dozen downloads but have no idea if that is a good number, or terrible. Nevertheless, this week it will be back to work writing and probably no promotions, other than links on posts like this one. One thing I did notice during the five-day free short story promotion, I sold a few of my other books as the promotion was running.

Is the Western Dead?
I am constantly told that I write in a genre that is dead, or nearly so. Most of what I write could be classified as historical fiction, and I think that is alive and well. The westerns I write may not be doing as well; there are still fans and readers, but not many. So how do the two differ? Historical fiction has real events, real people, and real locations mixed in with fictional happenings, people, and places. Westerns may have a real setting but most, if not all of the story, comes from the active imagination of the author.

Might be a setting for a good story

Making a Living Writing

Mysteries are still popular as part of many genres. Most of my historicals and westerns are also mysteries, something I hope sets my stories apart from many others. Nevertheless, all books, by unknown or nearly unknown authors, have a tough time finding a market. Once in a while, I have a good day or week of sales, but then they often fall off to nothing. Good thing I do not have to rely on my stories to make a living, but along with some writing work for others, I am getting closer.

Here I am heading up the mountain for inspiration - or for the view

One last note 
This could be either good or bad. My wife and I are heading back to Nebraska this week for our class reunion. That wonderful class of 1966. Yep, 50 years and a few of us are still kicking. Should be a lot of fun.

Out for a cool morning hike, and then off to a 50-year reunion

Friday, September 9, 2016

Western Short Story Give a Way

FREE – Download a free copy today & all weekend.
My western short
Interview With A Gunfighter
More than a quarter of a century after the end of the old west a legendary gunfighter submits to an interview. The one and only time he talks about living his life with a gun.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

My New Book Climbs Into Top 50

It is most gratifying to see my new novel – Ghost of the Fawn, released yesterday, have enough sales to already be in the top 50 in its best category on Amazon. It was written as a young adult but has been very well received by adult readers. Terrific news, my first cross-over book.

Ghost of the Fawn is set in 2015 but flashbacks to the 1800s through the protagonist, a 17-year-old from Chicago, Jimmy Bison-Man’s, family and tribe. The extended Bison-Man family and his tribe the Arapaho, he knows nothing about, but this summer in Wyoming Jimmy intends to find out and maybe live the life of his heritage. From Hell’s Half Acre to Casper, The Wind River Reservation, the Medicine Wheel and Hole in the Wall it is quite a Wyoming adventure.  

Click on the link to read the full sample or get it free with Kindle Unlimited or buy the eBook for $1.99. It is also available in soft cover for $9.99. 

If, like me, you don’t always click links, here is a tiny preview. To set up this clip, it is from page 78 of the 211-page book. I picked it randomly and hope you enjoy.

   Two men sky-lined, walking the ridge, could be arrowhead hunters he thought, but they were wearing yellow hats. Looked like workers hard hats, odd for arrowhead hunters. Jimmy watched them until they disappeared down a small rise. After a few minutes when they did not reappear, Jimmy stood up, brushed off the back of his jeans, and turned back north, it was time to wake Robert.
   The bullet sizzled past, inches above his head before he heard the shot. Jimmy hit the ground rolling and in seconds was in the safety of the opening under the arch. The area underneath was nearly invisible from all sides, and a small rise completely blocked it from the west. The shooters were on the west bank, maybe five or six hundred yards away. They were a few feet higher than Jimmy but now hidden from view. It had to be the two he had watched sky-lining on the western bank, but he could not, for any reason, understand why they would shot at him.
Hell's Half Acre Where Most of the Novel
and the Above Clip Takes Place

Thanks for reading now back to work – not really, I was up way too late last night watching the Wyoming Cowboy football game – a big win. Now, I am sitting in my easy chair with my laptop and watching Rockies baseball, later Texas & Notre Dame.
Here They Are - All Six Of My Books

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Pretty Good August

Summer Is Gone – At Least If You Are A Kid

Wow, the summer seemed to pass quickly. As an old school teacher, for me, summer still ends when the kids are back in school. We live within hearing distance of the playground at the local elementary. I love sitting out on our deck in the morning and listening to the kids playing. Makes this old guy feel young, ok, younger at least.
School Days

Word Numbers for August & 2016

Today’s post is not about going back to school it’s my monthly writing report. The month of august was better for me, still not on goal, but close. For regular readers I started with a goal of 350,000 words, soon realized it was over my ability and reduced it to 250,000 words. To write 250,000 words in a year I need to average just under 21,000 words each month. This month I was a bit over at 21,417 but not nearly enough to make up for the past two months of relaxed writing.
Looks Like I Will Be Spending More Time Writing

For the year I now stand at 155,068 words written, on pace for 232,000 words. Looks like I need to pick up the pace the next few months and with cold weather coming soon, should not be a problem.  
I also was short on blog posts in august, only posting 14 times about 4 or 5 less than normal. So what does a writer do when he/she is not writing? Edits, of course. I have been doing a lot of that recently, along with traveling, gardening and playing golf.
One Of Our Backyard Gardens

Oh, No Not the New Book Again

On the bright side, after writing about it several times, my new book will be live and for sale in a few days. I am just polishing some parts of the back cover text. Right now it looks as if it should be on Amazon, Barns and Nobel and many other places by Monday.

Book Sales

I have posted very  little in the way of promotions for my books this summer and sales are starting to reflect it. Guess advertising, at least a little, does help.