Funny Business at Amazon

HungryGods-questionmark

So last week I set up a giveaway for the first book in my Identity Crisis series, Hungry Gods. Supposedly, the way it worked was, for every 100 people entered, there would be a winner. Well, because I didn’t get around to pushing it out until there were only two days left, I only get 131 entrants.

But that should have meant 1 person won a book, right?

Apparently not. Amazon reported to me that 131 entered and no one won.

And I have no idea why. 

I may roll the money I already put into it for a re-do, but that might only be open to subscribers to my mailing list. As in, the first 21 people to respond will be the winners. (Thus no more funky, unpredictable odds.)

We’ll see. I’ve inquired as to what happened and will go from there.

If you want to join my Conspiracy Newsletter and get in on the next round of action (plus more news and special offers), just click here. 

Advertisements

Superheroes for X-Mas

IDCU-squared-small

In case you missed the last “Ghosts of Christmas Present” blog post the other day, or just didn’t quite get through the nice, long version, here’s the abridged edition:

IDC Campaign.

I’m excited to finally present the new book and new look for my Identity Crisis Universe (IDCU) titles, all fun romps through a slightly more realistic, grown-up superhero land. Consider it all to be PG-13, give or take. My new series/universe catchphrase is “Capes aren’t just for kids anymore!”

 

If you’d like to check out any of these books, you can click there these links. Hungry Gods is up for only $0.99 right now, while Deus Ex Machina is brand new and up for pre-order right now.

You can also try your luck to score the first book for free on Amazon. I’m giving away 21 copies of Hungry Gods here.

The drawback is that there’s only 1 winner for every 100 entrants. I’m not super thrilled about that method, but that’s Amazon’s new way to doing things, I guess. I prefer the lottery draw after a certain date, but Big A’s new thing (from what I can tell) is 99 people enter and don’t win, #100 does, rinse and repeat.

And the femme fatale, superhero short story Silk Spider: Behind the Eight-Ball, is now FREE on all sites. So you can sample, then nibble, then chow down on some superhero/sci-fi fiction for big kids.

Please enjoy the Christmas goodies and tell all your friends to do so as well!

Ghost of Christmas Present

aa-present

To continue with my Dickens/Scrooged theme…

The Ghost of Christmas Present. What’s happening right now. (Aside from starting a new job, first Xmas home in about 11 years, etc.) Basically, my big project right now is my IDC Campaign.

I’m excited to finally present the new book and new look for my Identity Crisis Universe (IDCU) titles, all fun romps through a slightly more realistic, grown-up superhero land. Consider it all to be PG-13, give or take. My new series/universe catchphrase is “Capes aren’t just for kids anymore!”

There are three series in the IDCU: the Identity Crisis (IDC) series, starring Spitball and the Phenomenal Five (living and dead… and undead, in some cases); the Secret Origins (SO) series, spin-off stories giving more background on various characters in the universe; and the Identity Crisis 2029 (IDC’29) series, which started out as a one-shot novella that I’ve since decided should be the first installment in a trilogy of its own, although I haven’t progressed on it as of yet.

The first book in the IDCU, Hungry Gods, has been my most successful book ever and was first published nearly four years ago. I’ve been working on the sequel, Deus Ex Machina, off and on for about three years. Finally, it will go live exactly four years to the day from HG’s original debut: January 31st, 2019. (But it is available now  for pre-order, if you’re interested…)

So, the IDC Campaign. What’s that?

Honestly, I’m still wading in and figuring it out. As I’ve probably said, I haven’t had as much time for admin/infrastructure in the writing biz as I’d have liked, but I’m making a go of it right now. Kind of building the airplane in mid-flight, as it were.

STEP ONE: Cover Convergence

IDCU-squared-small

Over the last few months, I’ve been working to revise and recover (re-cover?) all these IDCU books so that they look the same. (That decision was finally made back when my Sun Tzu inspiration hit, which I blogged about and then included in my indie writers’ survival guide TSC4IW…) With the help of the talented Henry Ponciano, I have now assimilated all the IDC and SO covers to follow the same visual theme. This way, passersby will know at a glance that all these books are related, even though they are in different series.

(Invasion (IDC’29) will follow before long. That one’s on hold for now. Henry actually did the current/original cover for that one, too.)

The sad part about revamping covers that there are some I like and will miss. (And some I don’t like and won’t.) I’ve been planning to have an “obituary page” on my website at some point, featuring all the covers that have moved on over the years.

If you’d like to check out any of these books, you can click here:

STEP TWO: Make Them Easy to Get

The first part of making them easy to get is “going wide”. I know a lot of people swear their allegiance and financial futures to Amazon, but I’m not one of them.  So if you prefer Kobo, iBooks, B&N, even your local library, you can do that.

The second part is putting the first book on sale.

For a limited time, Hungry Gods is only $0.99!

(And if you like it, you might consider leaving a review that says so and then moving on to another IDCU book.)

And for those who do prefer Amazon, I’m giving away 21 copies of Hungry Gods there.

The drawback is that there’s only 1 winner for every 100 entrants. I’m not super thrilled about that method, but that’s Amazon’s new way to doing things, I guess. I prefer the lottery draw after a certain date, but Big A’s new thing (from what I can tell) is 99 people enter and don’t win, #100 does, rinse and repeat.

The other drawback is that it ends on December 21st! Which I didn’t realize when I set it up a week ago and got too busy to anything with it! CRAP! So go there now and try your luck!

(UPDATE: Amazon and I both screwed up, in my view. I didn’t get the word out in time, but they didn’t award any prizes to those who actually did sign up. Hmmm…)

Which means, the more people that enter, the more who will win. So if you want one, it actually helps to tell other people to join in too!

And if you don’t want to leave it to chance, you can score it for cheap right now! Free or a buck, now is the time to grab it. After this free-for-all is over, the price will go back to $4.99.

I’ve already mentioned another aspect of Step Two, which is putting Deus Ex Machina up for pre-order.  Pre-orders tune up the cyber-gibberish algorithms to help make a book more visible. (Apparently doesn’t work on Amazon anymore though–they like to dismantle everything that helps authors for some reason…) So if you know you want to read something and it’s on pre-order, you could actually be helping the success of that book by pre-ordering it before it releases. (And we appreciate that immensely.)

I’ve also set Silk Spider: Behind the Eight-Ball, an IDCU short story, at FREE on all sites. And it will likely stay free so that more folks will be willing to give the IDCU a try in the future.

STEP THREE: Tell All the Good People!

Which is what I’m doing now!

But my voice doesn’t carry very well. Which is why I deeply and truly appreciate it when you pass this news along.

If you know anyone who likes superheroes, science fiction, or fantasy… If you’re a social media butterfly who always posts your most delicious findings…. If you feel the holiday spirit and just want to share, share, share in this time of giving… Please let other people know what’s happening here.

All you’re doing is telling your friends where they can find a book for a buck, or even for free. They might just appreciate that.

And so will I!

Thank you for reading this far, thanks for your support, and good luck for those who will try for the freebie.

Next up: the thing that all men fear…

Ghost of Christmas Past

aa-past

Ah, the classic Dickensian Ghosts of Christmas: Past, Present, and Future. For my purposes, they will be depicted in their incarnations from my favorite Christmas movie, Scrooged.

What do they have to do with what I’m about to blog? I don’t know yet, I’m working on it… I just came up with this as a theme to fit what I want to say. Forcing my words to fit that theme is part of what writing is all about, right?

“Your assignment: write X.”

“Roger that. X on the way…”

What I’m really trying to talk about is the past, present, and future of my writing plans, the rollover of the new year, and the exciting news that’s happening now and how it relates to what’s past, present, and coming up.

(Yeah, that’s it! I knew that, somewhere in here, I knew what I was talking about!)

Which makes this the post about Christmas Past. And for the past several months, this guy has been driving…

scrooged-ghost-of-christmas-past

That should pretty much tell you all you need to know! But I’ll elaborate a little…

Okay, very little. ‘Cuz it’s depressing, confusing, and more than you really care about.

Basically, got out of the Navy in February, in and out of the Navy Reserve since then (active to inactive, actually), started a job, quit by Naval decree, got another one, went inactive reserve (so Naval decree has way less weight), went back to first job. So December 10th was me starting over yet again! At least it was the job I started back in February, so I am at least familiar. But it’s still starting anew.

So unstable life. Moved from Japan to Ohio, family still settling in and finding their places. My son’s been in three different schools this year.

Every step forward is followed by two steps back. You know that dance, right?

Despite all these real-world setbacks, I’ve still managed some progress in my writing world. My yearly goal for words published (not written, but actually published into the world) is 80,000 words. A novel by definition is 40K, though a typical one put out by the Big Five New York publishing mafia is about 80K. I’m going to fall short of that mark this year, but that’s okay! I allow myself some leeway given all the seismic shocks of our lives this past year. I’m lucky to have gotten anything published at all.

Here’s what I did get out there. Most of these are short stories or novelettes that were written before 2018. One book I did write this year. (Crammed it in in only 2 short months, in fact.) Plus, I have a short story coming out still in Weirdbook Magazine #41, hopefully before the year is out.

aa-collage

And even though I fell short of the 80K goal, I’ll more than make up for it in 2019. I already have Deus Ex Machina set up on pre-order, which is 85,000 words by itself. BAM! My 2019 goal is already in the bag! And Green-Eyed Monster will soon follow, which is a collection of all these short stories above, plus several more. BAM! Overkill! And those are all already written! So 2019 will be a productive year.

But that’s a different ghost…

We’re talking 2018 right now. The yearly wrap-up.

For a while there I had decided to stop tracking my written word counts. This was likely one of my new 2018 streamlining goals about this time last year. About mid-way through the year, though, I decided to start tracking them again. My monthly, active writing goal is a comfortable 10,000 words per month. Given my chaotic and over-taxed life, that’s not bad. And even without writing new words every month in 2018, I still managed about 86,000—and that’s probably underestimating April and May when I wasn’t quite keeping track. You can’t publish 80K next year if you don’t write some this year, right? Well, even with riding the whirlwind and all, I still cranked out enough to ensure my current and future publishing goals. Not too shabby.

What I did not get enough of in 2018 was business savvy. Marketing knowledge. Cybernetic infrastructure. The administrative and business side of the indie writing biz. I hope to make more time for that very soon.

For now, given the tumultuous real-world events of 2018, I’m pretty damn happy with the way my writing/publishing year turned out. Which I couldn’t really say until right this minute! Because I, like all indie writers, am too impatient and too hard on myself. Which is why doing little recaps like this are good for me (us). Looking back and seeing that, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. I mean, uh, Yes, Virginia, you did accomplish more than many aspiring writers this year, despite always cursing yourself as a failure. Therefore, No, Virginia, you’re not a piece of shit.

Good job.

Alrighty, that’s it for the Ghost of Christmas Past. Stay tuned. Expect the next ghost at the stroke of one… (This was the midnight ghost, ya know?)

Daily Disaster

Photo on 12-9-18 at 2.21 PM

This sums up my life right now.

After going to A LOT of trouble to get myself a snow blower (including having to pay way too much to rent a van to go pick it up), I tried to start it up to move it to the shed and… broke the damn cord.

I don’t blame the guy who sold it to me—no way he could have known that would happen. He’s a mechanic and agreed to fix it for 20 bucks. So add 20 to the mounting cost of the damn thing.

We better get a lot of snow this year…

On top of that, tried to change the light bulbs on the front outdoor lights. They were both broken inside and have come apart rather than unscrewed. So I’m screwed.

Bought two different items to address the safety issue of our fireplace, neither one has worked out. One didn’t fit, the other was missing parts.

So I’ve spent a lot of time going back and forth and getting nowhere. I’ve also gone back and forth a jobs. Starting my old teaching job AGAIN tomorrow. Long story on that one. And back and forth on Navy stuff too. You thought I was out of the Navy? So did I…

Those are just some of the reasons why this blog has been seriously neglected. I’d LIKE to blog about more than when I have a book on sale or coming out, but who has the time???

One of my planned resolutions for the new year is to do just that. Blog once a week, and at least 3 a month NOT be just about my books. I don’t want to just ram sales shit down everyone’s throats. I just don’t have time for pleasantries.

Speaking of which, more new book announcements on the way soon…

In the meantime, I hope everyone is making more real life progress than I am right now.

Cheers.

 

A Turkey Day Gift

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of you in the U.S., today is the first day of Eating Season. I hope you have your sweat pants on, ‘cuz that waistline won’t look the same by day’s end!

This post started as an email to only those on my mailing list, but then I figured, It’s Thanksgiving! And I’m thankful for every set of eyeballs that land on this blog, too, so why not share with everyone?

I have to get to work on the sweat potatoes here shortly. This will be my first Thanksgiving back home since my exit from the Navy. I’ve been in twice now and both times–a total of almost 14 years–I spent most holidays far away. So it’ll be nice to have my nuclear family able to finally join in the festivities with my greater family.

And I’m making the sweat potatoes! They may be disappointed, though, because I’m not planning to follow the recipe my mom’s been following for the last several decades. I’m reducing the extra sugar content and going my own way with real (not canned) yams! Gasp! Oh no! Why did Jeremy have to come home and ruin Thanksgiving?!

But before I get cooking, I want to get at least one chapter of Deus Ex Machina revised. I’m on chapter 9 right now and have set a deadline of December 10th to have all 37 or so completed and ready for the editor. DXM is book 2 of my Identity Crisis series, following the superheroes and zombies novel Hungry Gods. I hope to have DXM up for pre-order by the end of December, maybe even by X-mas.

To that end, here’s my THXGVG gift for you: a FREE ebook download of Hungry Gods. If you haven’t read it yet, give it a shot. If you’re not sure if you like superheroes, give it a shot anyway. It’s free, right? No strings attached, I promise! You might be surprised. My books aren’t written for children and are probably a bit different than the vast majority of spandex books out there. HG is part capes, part horror, and part humor. And again, it’s free, so it doesn’t hurt to try!

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/c98sacd0i1

Download it before your trip so you’ll have an escape from Aunt Suzy and drunken Uncle Sammy! Share it with your family so they can get an escape too! Let Sammy and Suzy fight it out with drumsticks while the rest of you are hiding with your e-readers in the next room. 🙂 And it’ll give you something to read while you’re waiting for the Black Friday riots to quiet down.

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

J. D. Brink