Sunday, March 26, 2017

An Attempt at Book Marketing

It has been an interesting three days as I attempted to move a few books. Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to read more about book marketing. Something I have not done much of, instead I spend time writing and editing, then move on to another book. I like the writing part, but am woefully bad at marketing. I have turned down several chances to publish with small presses as I still would have been the main, or only, marketer, could not see an advantage over Indy publishing.

To boost my sales, I offered a free eBook, a pretty good read and one I had a chance to publish with a small press. I declined the small press offer, believing if it only sold a few hundred copies I would make more Indy, than with a small press.

Creating a good Facebook Author Page, and developing an active email list seem to be the first needed steps, I have done neither. Instead, I trudge on, with a handful of posts on my blogs and a once-in-a-while tweet about my books. Guess what? It doesn’t work. A few days ago I posted this, in different variations, on several of my blog sites, as an attempt at marketing.

I am giving away, for the next three days, one of my novels, Ghost of the Fawn, the eBook format anyway. If you read on electronic devices, like Kindle or even your phone, it is free, no strings attached, just click the Amazon, buy for $0.00 - and it is all yours.
So what will you be getting? An adventure, modern day western mystery, set in several places in Wyoming. And it's short, only a couple hundred pages.
Click the link, download the book, and see what I have been up to the last few years.

How did it do? About what I expected, a few dozen downloads and a bit of an uptick in sales of my other stuff – but overall, not much. Looks like I might need to take some advice from marketers, who know what they are doing, to heart. 

Love to hear about anything that has worked for other Indy writers.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ghost of the Fawn - Free eBook

Now in the second day of my free ebook give-a-way. So far, not bad. I hoped that during the five days of the give-a-way that I might get 100, or so, downloads. After the first day it looks like I will fall short of that goal, but still, it is not bad for my first try. Maybe, the weekend will help, and I will still make it. I did give away a short story a few months ago which did fairly well and helped my sales of other books for more than a week.

I have lamented a few times, on this site, that I was a poor book marketer, but I am trying and will continue with a few other promotional ideas as I go along. This book, classified as a mystery or modern day western takes place in Wyoming and spends time on the Wind River Reservation, in Riverton and at the famous, Big Horn Medicine Wheel.
Medicine Wheel

It's funny how things happen, I wrote this novel, Ghost of the Fawn, with Jr. High and High school readers as my target - but I am getting some wonderful comments from older readers who love it. Now if I can just get some of them to post reviews instead of just e-mailing me.

I will post an update and then a conclusion to this exciting story as I move along. In one small genre category, it is now up to number 3, pretty happy about that.

Here it is if you have not got the free download yet! Give it a try.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ghost of the Fawn - Free for next few days.

Free eBook, this is the first time I have given away a book. I did this several months ago with a short story and it was well received. This one is a book of Wyoming mystery, intrigue and history. Set in central Wyoming in modern times, Give it a try today.  FREE!!  Click to Order

Friday, March 17, 2017

Getting an Amazon Best Seller or at Least in the Top Half

I spent some time this morning doing research as to how many books Amazon has for sale. Might have fit better into, messing around on the internet, but I’m going with research because it sounds like I was working. During this research phase of my day, I could not find anything from the last few months but did see that in 2015 Amazon had 17.1 million books, in English, available for sale. The same information listed more than three million, written in English, eBooks.

If this is true, an author with a book consistently listed in the top one million seven hundred thousand will make it to the top ten percent of books on Amazon. The same eBook would need to be in top 300,000 to qualify. To be in the top half of all books listed for sale on Amazon, it would take a book in the top 8,500,000 or the top million and a half eBooks. Sounds pretty good except that a book selling near the bottom of the top half of all books on Amazon would only need to sell a copy or two each month to qualify for that ranking, maybe even less than that.
My first six books - click to go to my Amazon Author's Page
Got my proof books for my two latest novels today. Will need to make a few changes to the cover of, The Ghost Dance, I didn’t like the white font. Otherwise, it looked fine. Hope that doesn’t take long. That book will be out to first readers in the next day or so – then some final edits, and it will be published. The other proof is for the third in the series of my of kids books – Yikes, My Neighbor’s a Vampire. It is fine and should be as this is the third time I have made changes. My thought is, keep doing it until I like it.
I liked how it looked on my computer, but too light here

Now I am in the final part of my first draft of a gardening, and murder in the garden, book. It is a bit different, I hope readers like it.

I also continue the painstaking research on my second nonfiction book, still hope that I will get it out before 2018, but not sure. I am also hard at work on the third of my Blade Holmes, historical fiction- mystery novels.
Pronghorn walking the foothills west of town
The days are warming, and spring cleanup has started in our backyard. We have also made a few nice drives giving me a chance to get out with my camera.
Young Bison Bull

Keep on reading and keep on writing. 
Mule Deer running the Pronghorn off

Friday, March 10, 2017

Western Writers or Writing Westerns

I write about the West, some of it old, some new. All five of my adult books are set mostly or partly in Wyoming, my three kids books are set where I grew up in Nebraska. There is an old writer adage that says, write what you know. I like the idea of writing what you know, but also about where you have been. I still spend as much time as possible outside, observing and listening to nature, and anything else that flows in or out. Some of what I take in with my senses finds a way into my stories.

I love watching all sorts of wildlife and listening to anything that breaks the silence. I have found that the smell of a campfire can travel for a mile or more under the correct conditions. That made it into one of my books. A river and lake sound different and both sound wonderful in the rain. Describing the sound can be both challenging and rewarding.
Three Mule Deer - Rare Albino 2-year-old in Front

I call this site, Confessions of a Writer of Westerns, but I really don’t write westerns. Some are in that time period, but they are Historical Fiction, some I classify as Historical Mysteries. Everything I write is out west. Thus I am a western writer. I had a reader email me that read my book of Christmas stories. She had this to say, “The stories are so warm and true to life, I couldn’t put it down.” I thought well, that’s great.
Our Local View

Then she went on to say, “They sure don’t seem like westerns to me.”
In my reply I let her know that I appreciated how much she liked the stories and added, “They may not seem like westerns because they are not.”

 Most people, or maybe I should say many people, confuse the real west with the fictional wild west, where gunfights at high noon and barroom brawls were an everyday occurrence. The wild west of television series fame was a creation of Hollywood and made a good living for many pulp writers for decades. My books tell stories of the west, some old, and some modern, but they are set in a real west.
I enjoy writing about people in the west, some real and many products of my imagination all tied together. I am in the read through the proof stage now on my third kid's book, and my second historical mystery, with my legendary protagonist, Blade Holmes.

For the last few days, I am stepping a bit away from my usual stuff, but still set in the west. The book I am working on is about gardening in the West, gardening takes up much of my time when the weather cooperates. I also have a cozy mystery in the works about a Wyoming Golf Pro/amateur detective. But I will never get away from writing stories involving cowboys, ranchers, Native Indians, townspeople, soldiers and shopkeepers, all out west.
Taking a break - out with nature

Now it’s time to get back to writing and reading. 
Used this Golden Eagle for a scene in my newest novel - available next week

Monday, March 6, 2017

Writing - But No One is Counting

Seems I have had a burst of energy this week, more writing and much more editing. Now the weather is warming, and I can set some goals for spring. Oops, just looked out and it’s snowing – again.
Five Days Ago
I have, at times, posted a, what I did this month blog at the start of a new month, so what did I do in February? Quite a bit. First, I quit counting how many words I wrote. I have kept track of everything for two years and did again in January of 2017, then stopped. I got mixed reactions from writers who counted or did not count their words. Some thought it necessary to keep on task, others said they wrote what they wrote. My wife thought that I was getting a bit too hard on myself if I missed a day or two of writing. She was right, I put a lot of pressure on myself to write every day and to stay on pace for my quarter of a million words each year. Now I am writing, but no longer keeping track of numbers, kind of a relief and I don’t need to keep my calculator at hand.
I did go back and check to see how much I blogged last month, not bad, 11 on my blogger sites, three on Wordpress and five on Google plus. I had been away from Wordpress for a couple of years and decided to give it a try again, not gaining much traction and not sure I will continue posting there on a regular basis. Google Plus seems to have a lot of people, but I don’t get too many comments on Plus, nothing like my regular Blogger site where I have much more traffic.
This Golden Eagle Backlighted by the Setting Sun Yesterday - Spectacular Bird
I did get the review copy of my third kid's book, made a few changes on the cover and ordered another. Should go live later this week. That will be my seventh book and will be followed shortly by my eighth, as I will order the proof this week. Then I hope to finish the first draft – almost there – of my book on gardening. Busy days!

Meanwhile, keep on reading, writing and thinking of spring.
As We Left the Park Last Evening