I Caved – BILLY GRIST is FREE tomorrow.

Sorry, I know somewhere back, a month or a two ago, I tweeted that my latest undiscovered masterpiece, BILLY GRIST would never be free. I like to think, I didn’t lie, but I did. The reality is the launch of BILLY GRIST fell flat on its face, forcing me to eat crow. Maybe readers are offended by the first two sentences in the book that speak of God in most unflattering terms.  Or maybe, the Big Guy himself is spiting me for claiming he’s an F-up…

Alas, current sales of BILLY GRIST can be counted on one set of hands that have experienced a serious industrial accident. Accordingly, I’m doing the Amazon KDP thing with BILLY GRIST and posting it for FREE for the next couple days, starting tomorrow, and then again in May.

This being said, if you are one of the few readers that bought BILLY GRIST ping me at wright4bucks@gmail.com and I’ll Paypal your $3.

I don’t write mainstream books. It’s not in me. But, my works are original. well written, and too a few readers very  interesting. So, if you can spare a click download BILLY GRIST tomorrow. I promise it won’t hurt you, but prepare to be offended between laughs.

BILLY GRIST now available at Amazon, at http://www.amazon.com/Billy-Grist-ebook/dp/B00BR6RT3M/

A Wonderful Book – Dead on :)

Some readers hate BILLY GRIST (Just got my first hate mail, sort of…I’ve been told to repent…). And, some readers think it’s great. Check out the 5 star review below. I can’t imagine ever getting a better review…

BILLY GRIST REVIEW by JJ Toner:

This is a wonderful book. I’m not sure I’d go as far as the narrator, who says: `Having read every book in the Library of Congress multiple times I assure you, Billy Grist is the greatest book ever written.’

Epic in breadth, it tells the story of 3 generations of Billy Grist’s family. Epic in scope, it runs a hepatic eye over the religions of the world and proposes radical new solutions to the centuries old problems of human society. `Billy Grist once rhetorically asked, “Why would anyone worship a God that created baby-eating leopards, Joseph Stalin and genital herpes?”‘

Narrated from the unique perspective of the Great Numero Uno, leader of the UIUI, we are presented with a moralistic parable for the times we live in. The UIUI are immortal inter-dimensional creatures that gather statistics for The Big Guy, and amuse themselves by mining the probabilities looking for unlikely events that they can bet on.

How could you fail to love a writer who paints his characters with the economy of a starving artist who has run out of oils? One character had `the personality of a bowling ball,’ another was `a white-haired man who claimed to own the first Brooks Brothers’ suit.’

The writing is exquisite, the storyline so rich, so full of humor and humanist philosophy there is no risk that I will spoil it for anyone by including two of many short excerpts that caught my eye:

“Arghh!” Billy screamed out. “I’m going to die!”
“No, you’re not,” the ever-present General quickly countered. “…You’re perfectly healthy, Billy Grist. You’re going to be an old man someday.”
“Arghh!” Billy Grist screamed. “I’m going to be an old man someday.”

`[He] assisted numerous boys struggling with varying degrees of autism to improve their social skills by refurbishing, and subsequently testing, vintage Karaoke machines.’

That might work!

5 stars. Highly recommended.

JJ Toner, from The Kindle Book Review

Billy Grist, Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned, Again…

BillyGrist291_437
One of the good things about being indie is you can publish whatever you want, including a book that pokes fun at the Big Guy. If you have a religion, or a nationality, you will likely be offended by BILLY GRIST, but hopefully it will also make you laugh. My intent when I started writing BILLY GRIST was to mix a 9-11 revenge fantasy with a twisted tale of creation, my point being, we’re a fundamentally clueless when it comes to the true nature of our creator. (And, we’d all be better off if we just admitted it…)

The idea for BILLY GRIST came from the loss of a friend in the 9-11 attack. My friend was a young man, a husband with a one-year-old daughter. His tragic death confirmed my long-standing belief that religious fanatics are the scourge of humanity. BILLY GRIST is my pathetic attempt to make this point. This being said, BILLY GRIST, also presents the possibility that God exists, but not in a form that is comprehensible by our ilk, or that of an Ultra Intelligent Universe Inspector…

BILLY GRIST was my first book. I wrote it a couple years ago. When done, I thought it was great. A year later, I thought it was the worst book ever written. Awful. Terrible. But, I hate not finishing things, likely due to the granite lodged in my Irish head, so I re-wrote BILLY GRIST. My beta readers now tell me that BILLY GRIST is no longer awful. But they also warn it’s not “mainstream” material, their exact words being, “only readers with significant mental health issues will enjoy this tale.”

Hmm, since we’re all crazy, I think what they’re really trying to say is BILLY GRIST is destined to be a best-seller 🙂 W4$

BILLY GRIST available 3-10-13 at Smashwords and Amazon.com

 

The Fifty Percent Rule

I just read Mark Coker’s Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success. Mark is the founder of Smashwords. So, he is the Man when it comes to Indie publishing. The book is great, because it presents advice based upon stubborn things called facts. Unfortunately, for many Indie authors, including me, it paints a bleak outlook for big sales, for it presents virality as the main means of obtaining significant readership. In a nutshell this means 50% of the people who read your book must convince two other people to read your book, or your sales will die rapidly. And, this assumes you can attract some initial readership via Free books, or some other means. For most authors, especially writers like me who don’t author mainstream fiction, this means the odds of publishing a best-selling ebook is roughly the same as being hit by lightning while purchasing a winning megabucks ticket. To me, this does not mean authoring an ebook is a folly. It just means, unless you write teenage vampire romances, a few readers is the new measure of success. It also means…keep your day job.

How to tell if your ebook sucks…

I’m back. I took a few months off from blogging to complete multiple projects including gaining ten pounds and undergoing treatment for post traumatic stress syndrome, induced by several forced visits to the state of Rhode Island. While I was gone I also completed my latest and greatest novel, BILLY GRIST, which hits the virtual stands on 3-15-13. It’s a tale that makes fun of the Big Guy, so if there is a set of pearly gates, I’m in big trouble. Very big trouble…

After completing BILLY GRIST, I was fairly certain it was a decent book. But I’m open to the possibility that it sucks. I say this because once I finish a book, I have no idea if it’s any good, all that writing and re-writing. Thus, my goal is to make sure, at minimum, my books are professionally written. I then leave it to my readers to tell me if the story is worthwhile. But even then I’ve found it’s difficult to tell if I’ve written a stinker because folks, in general, don’t like to insult an honest effort. Knowing this, having written four books now, I can finally decipher most reader comments. Thus as a service to my fellow indies, I’ve compiled a list of comments that are sure fire indications that your book sucks:

Kind indications that your book sucks:

1. “It’s not awful.”
2. “I like the title.”
3. “I found a couple typos.”
4. “Not bad for your first book?” (And it’s your fourth.)
5. “Was it originally written in another language?”

Not-so-kind indications that your book sucks:

1. After reading your ebook I dipped my Kindle in a Fryolator;
2. I printed out your ebook and used it to line my hamster’s cage.
3. Negative Five Stars.
4. My friend says you’re a talentless hack.
5. My favorite sentence was “The End.”

W4$

Ebook Death Revisited

I’m taking a leave from Indie publishing. I’ll be back in the Summer or Fall of 2013 with a new book. I leave you with my most popular blog of 2012. The Five Stages of Ebook Death.

I think it is important for us indie authors to recognize the five stages of ebook death, so we can make proper burial arrangements and then move on in life, no doubt hardened by the experience.

Regarding the burial, I suggest downloading a dead ebook on to a thumbdrive and then interring it in your garden, perhaps with along with a scoop of fresh manure. If you live in the city, I suggest a traditional toilet flush while listening to Danny Boy on your iPod, not the Johnny Cash version. Cremation followed by spreading the ashes at a Barnes and Noble is also and option, if you can find a Barnes and Noble that is still in business.

Based on my experience the death process starts with one month of no sales, and is then followed by months of anguish which can be broken into the following clearly defined stages:

Stage 1: Denial (1 month of no sales)

My book can’t really suck. I’m so smart. It took me so long to write it. Maybe nobody has bought it because they’re too busy. Yeah, that’s it. They’re too busy. I can still get a couple of positive reviews. It can still go viral. Maybe a movie star will read my book and talk about it on Oprah. Yeah, that’s my ticket, Oprah!

Stage 2: Anger (2 months of no sales)

Readers suck. They are so f’n stupid. They only read books about vampires in love and the great battles of World War 2. Amazon is a f’n monopoly that only cares about the big authors. Apple sucks. Microsoft sucks. Democrats suck. Republicans suck. In fact people suck in general.

Stage 3: Bargaining (3 months of no sales)

Dear Mr. Bezos, I’ll list my book for free on Amazon.com, if you agree to make me a best-selling author. If not, I’m off to Apple.com…Mr. Bezos, is that you laughing?

Stage 4: Depression (4 months of no sales)

I suck. I’m so f’n stupid for spending one thousand hours writing a piece of trash that nobody wants to read. How could I be such an f’n idiot. I should have listened to my wife when she told me not to write a book about the joy of refrigerator repair.

Stage 5: Acceptance (5 months of no sales)

I have a great idea for my next book!

W4$:)

Free Reviewed

A year ago I wrote a blog saying “Too Much Free is Bad.” In it I claimed free ebooks would increase supply, thus lower demand for non-free titles, thus book prices in general. I think this has happened. But now, I also think free, bad or not, is here to stay. And, I also believe free is the only way an indie author can attract a few initial readers. Being so, I’m running some trials to assess the factors that cause readers to select a free ebook. In my first test I ran three of my ebooks on Amazon.com to assess the importance of reviews in attracting an audience. I offered each ebook free for 2 days. I did no marketing, not even a single tweet. The first ebook was a 7,000 word short story called THE JESUS TWIN. It had no reviews. It attracted 1 download over a 2 day period. Awesome! Next was THE GENERAL STORE. It is a 50,000 word novel. It also had no reviews, (probably because folks are being kind). It received 110 downloads. I then offered my novel, THE WALKING MAN. It has 18 reviews, mostly five stars. It has 10 hours to go. It has received 550 downloads…

This is a small sample, but it would seem to indicate reviews are a lead factor in a free download decision. I think this means readers are not just stuffing their kindles with free ebooks just because they’re free. It appears readers are being selective, which would indicate many “buyers” intend to read their free downloads, or at least check them out. I think this is a good sign. Of course, there is Jan at Goodreads.com. She is downloading free ebooks at an amazing rate. With 7000 books on her “to-read” shelf, if Jan was welded to her reading chair today (and fed intravenously) she’d have to live to be 130 to clear out her library. God speed Jan.

Ebook Advertising for Dummies

I’m writing this blog after being awake for a 36 hours because I have to make money, which requires me to talk to people from around the world… arrogant bastards that refuse to live on USA time. So, if this blog makes no sense I apologize in advance. Hey, somewhere back in time I promised to run an ebook advertising trial and report my findings to my fellow indie authors.

Before running my test I read JA Konrath’s blog about how to sell books etc. He basically advises to avoid advertising at all cost. The only better advice I know of is not bathe with an electrical appliance.

My test indicates ebook advertising is a profound waste of money. Advertising may make you feel like an author, in much the same way that buying office furniture makes one feel like a businessman, but ultimately it will just make you poorer, which is a bad thing in countries that don’t reward profligate spending with food stamps.

I have to say on the list of wasting money Stumble Upon, in my book, is number one. Instead of spending money at Stumble Upon, I’d suggest simply tossing a handful of twenties out your car window, preferably in a the bad side of town because watching the 47%, i.e.,the rabble, scramble for free money will momentarily make you feel like Mitt Romney which is a feeling infinitely more satisfying than being molested by a Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleader, or perhaps, your favorite Sesame Street muppet – if you’re into that sort of thing. Geez, I seem to be losing my train of thought, ahhh back to ebook advertising. Yeah Stumble Upon…After you load up your Stumble Upon account with money you are asked if you want to target an audience or let the Stumble wizard do it for you. These questions are poorly worded for what Stumble Upon really meant to ask was, Would you like us to steal your money instantly or over a five minute time frame? I went with the instant option and within nanoseconds my web site was hit with a wave of traffic, none of which read a single page on my blog. I hate to think the worst of shaky entities, but I have a feeling some of my Stumble Upon visitors may have been widget-based life forms.

Although I could not ultimately determine any difference in their service second to Stumble Upon is Google and Facebook. I say Goog and Face are slightly better than Stumble Upon because they put you through an ad approval process before stealing your money, which makes you feel like less of an asshole. Google is world class at this ruse, you’ll be admonished for using capital letters in your ad and then a key word wizard will infer you’re dumber than a lamp post before suggesting a $65 per click key word to sell your $1 ebook. Facebook is based on demographics, so you can specify the group of people that will steal your money. You’ll also get a fancy bar graph that shows you that 0.003375897959% of the people that viewed your ad clicked on it, which, in case you were wondering, is the exact percent of people high on crystal meth in the USA at a given moment.

So, what’s a mother to do? If you want to sell one book and you have one hundred dollars to waste advertise on Goodreads.com. Otherwise, I suggest using social media to generate followers, which then may buy your book if you don’t spam and have something interesting or nice to say now and then. It’s not an instant process, but selling a book is not like selling car insurance, after all your not just asking people for 15 minutes of their time…

The Next Big Thing – An Interview Chain

JF Juzwik sent me this question list a couple days ago. A network of Indies are answering the following ten questions and then passing them on to five other indie authors. You can see JF’s answers at her blog,

1. What is the working title of your book?
BILLY GRIST. It will be available in 2013.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
The death of a friend. Tower 2. 9/11. I’m still pissed off about it.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Comic Fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Tough one. Billy Grist is a man-boy. Gotta go with Justin Bieber.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
We really don’t know sh&**t about anything.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I have no interest in using an agency, ever. I am an Indie. I self publish.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Six months. And the first draft was terrible. It was 75,000 words. The final draft will be special I think…I hope…

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can’t really say. Maybe Blue Beard by Kurt Vonnegut. BILLY GRIST has diverse plot lines that come together in the end.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Greed and stupidity. BILLY GRIST was my first book. I thought I could write a best-seller, but I quickly recognized the folly. But, a funny thing happened along the way. I found I enjoyed writing. So, I plan to keep doing it regardless of sales. It was really quite a surprise for me. I never dreamnt of being a writer. Now, I think I’ve sold enough books to call myself one. (Hundreds not thousands.)

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The book will be a comic fiction masterpiece. I’m going to do rewrites until it’s perfect. The rewrites may take most of 2013. Per Larry Bird. “It’s not bragging if it’s true.” BILLY GRIST will be great, even if nobody buys it 🙂

Per the rules of this game, I have forwarded this interview to five other indie authors, who may also answer these questions, if so moved. These authors include: Russell Blake, the author of countless awesome thrillers, including JET. Peter Palamountain, who wrote a very interesting and inspring book about the perception of austistic youth, Show Me Your Face; Gae Lynn Woods, the author of the amazing The Devil of Light; JJ Toner author of some great short stories, and the Ben Jordan thriller, Find Emily; And, Carrie Rubin, physician and author of The Seneca Scourge, which I am enjoying now.

W4$
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How to host your own indie web site.

Fellow authors, I just upgraded my web site. I use WordPress. I started out with WordPress.com, the free site. I just migrated to WordPress.org. I did this because I wanted to use an Amazon widget to sell my books from my own web site. I also wanted to eliminate ads and be able to make my own widget to do my own promotions.

To make this change I needed to host the site myself, so I purchased a hosting account at Bluehost.com. I then paid a WordPress “Happiness Engineer” $129 to migrate my site. This service can be purchased at the WordPress store.

I’ve created several web sites in the past and usually any form of migration is a complete disaster. But, in this instance, the transition was pain free. Bluehost has a great hosting backend. And, my Happiness Engineer did the transfer over a two-three hour period with minimal downtime. I was very impressed and currently believe it was the best $129 I ever spent.

Once the transfer was made, I modified the layout of my site by editing the style.css file. This file controls the placement of content. This took two hours of trial and error. But, you could preview your changes so I did not have to destroy my live web site during the process. I then plopped in the Amzaon widget. Very easy.

I then downloaded a free plug-in called Contact Form 7. And, I used this form to create my own Free Ebook Promotion. This promotion enables my visitors to download one FREE ebook for joining my email list. I’m doing this for I believe, some time in the not so distance future, email will be the most important means of selling an ebook.

I’ll keep you posted as I continue to upgrade my web site. If you have any questions, you can reach me at Wright4bucks@gmail.com

(No jokes today. Just advice.)

W4$

 

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