Ebook Marketing Math…

Per my earlier blogs, in addition to being the “bon” in bon vivant, an Irish bullshitter, a comic fiction writer, and a father to lil’ ones, I also consider myself a bit of a numbers guy, a mathematician of sorts. Being so, like any good mathematician, I frequently use numbers to avoid reality. Take my current foray into numerology. Recent sales of my comic fiction epic, THE GENERAL STORE, suck. I sold two copies so far this month, and one was to me.

Not good.

A normal person, unskilled in the ways of mathematics, would simply conclude THE GENERAL STORE is pure garbage. But me, being a math dude…I think something else is going on here.

Here is my math.

1. There are 300 million people in the United States (roughly).

2. 50 million people know how to read.

3. 15 million people know how to read english.

4. 1.5 million of the 15 million readers own Kindles

5. 100,000 of 1.5 million people read ebooks written by Indie Authors

6. 95,000 of 100,000 remaining readers only read ebooks about teenage vampires falling  in, and out, of  love.

7. 50 readers (1% of the remain remaining 5,000 readers) will scroll through 300,000 books to find my masterpiece at Amazon.com

8. 5 readers (10% of the remaining 50 readers) will be open to reading a book that has the word “erection” in its first sentence.

In short, my math shows the total market for THE GENERAL STORE is five readers.

Hmm, God dammit. One out of five readers have bought THE GENERAL STORE. I have a best-seller on my hands!

It’s true! The numbers never lie.

🙂 W4$

 

Writing with Bees

Fellow Indies writers, and snobbish literati who give away your work to the paper-pushers for a measly ten percent, I’ve stumbled across a tremendous writing aid that I feel obliged to share with you.

If you’re like me, married with children, your biggest problem is finding time to write: kids yelling about their most recent light saber injury, the wife testing your fatherhood/manhood by asking you to pave the driveway with a rolling pin, etc., etc… You know the deal. To solve this problem I usually write from three to five in the morning, a time when children only wakeup to throw up, or scream about the family of Zombies living under their beds.

Well, I’m pleased to report; I recently stumbled upon a cure for this problem.

Bees! Yes. Bees.

I write in my basement, in a big office, in a big house, not paid for with my ebook royalties 🙂 This fall, about forty-five days ago, my office became infested with bees. Being an Irish bullshitter (See my previous post.) this means about ten to twenty bees. I’m sort of easy going about most things, including bees. So, I let the bees swirl about me. Two times bees got into my pants, but I smushed them before they reached my testicles. And, I got bit once, on the arm. No big deal.

It was all worth it, for the cohabitants of my dwelling, a.k.a. my family, are deathly afraid of bees. Accordingly, they did not come within thirty feet of my office. In short, they left me alone. I could write for a whole hour without interruption. It was a dream come true.

Sadly, last night, the temperature went down to forty in Western Massachusetts. So, as I am writing this blog, my bees are stationary at my feet. I considered attempting CPR, but I think my mouth is too big. Alas, it appears my bee gig is up. So, I think I need to move on… time to begin writing with snakes!

W4$

Kiss Me! I’m…

I was working on my new web site (It’s going to be optimized for indie publishing – stay tuned…) when I noticed I had made a tremendous mistake. I had forgotten to include my nationality in my current bio. I write offensive comic fiction, in the hope of attracting hate mail, yet I had failed to provide the basic info required to inspire race-based hatred, which we all know is the force that keeps the world on its axis. My apologies. This blog corrects this terrible oversight.

Since I, Wright Forbucks, am the “bon” in bon vivant, I’m sure most of you have assumed I am a Frenchie or perhaps of Northern Italian descent. Worse, I’m certain others of you have assumed I was Eastern European, figuring my warped brain was the byproduct of a half a century of internment in a Soviet Gulag. Further, I’m certain the ten people that read EVEN STEVEN, my sci-sigh comic fiction masterpiece, assume that I am a Jew due to my Einstein-like understanding of particle physics. These are all good guesses, but the truth is I am Irishman. And, I am not the the average American-Irishman that’s twenty-five percent Irish, plus some of dis, and some of dat. I be a purebred, proof being a recent MRI which revealed my head was solid bone.

Since it tis what it tis, for those of you unfamiliar with a real Irishman, I offer the following characteristics and welcome you to use them as fodder against me should my fiction inspire a rant.

First of all, a real Irishman is a bullshitter. So, you’ll never be able to tell when we are telling you the truth. In fact, the only statement you should believe when talking to a real Irishman is “I got sh**faced last night.”

And speaking of drink… it’s advisable to never go drinking with a real irishman unless your health insurance is up to date, for even the frailest Irishman can drink his body weight in beer without fear of a hangover. In fact, we rather enjoy listening to our non-Irish “drinking buddies” heave about while we enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast, a can of corned beef hash and a warm Budweiser.

And speaking of health… a real Irishman never goes to the doctor unless we have a tumor that weighs more than a Volkswagen, or we have been shot more than three times. Doctors say bad things. Who needs them?

And speaking of death… a real Irishman is relentlessly fatalistic. In fact, when we answer the phone we do not say, “Hello.” We say, “Who died?”

Also, speaking of death again, it being our favorite topic… It’s the hope of any real Irishman to die of Irish Alzheimer’s Disease. This illness is characterized by a decade of sitting in a Lazy Boy Recliner (where you are occasionally spoon-fed boiled dinner by one of your thirty grandchildren). Symptoms of this disease also include the inability to remember the names of your spouse or children, but total recall of all grudges.

Also, most tragically, due to ancestors that include Joyce, Shaw, Wilde, Stoker, and similar riff raff… any real Irishman believes he can write. But, the truth is, when it comes to writing, most of us are hacks that have more ego than brains who think we are witty due to the cumulative effect the above mentioned attributes…

Hmmm, you might want to use that one against me…

W4$

Free Ain’t What It Used to Be – Ebooks versus Snack Food

This blurb is a continuation of my prior post about free ebooks…

As far as I can tell, free isn’t getting any better. To complete my Amazon/KDP free “promotion” of my still unreviewed comic fiction masterpiece, THE GENRAL STORE, I ran two final days of free. I did a few tweets to promote the offering, nothing else, and got twenty downloads. This was about 10X-100X lower than the past with the same level of promotion.

I like to think these results did not happen because my amazingly hysterical ebook totally sucks. Instead, it seems to me that many readers now feel free ebooks are worth less than the fraction of a fraction of a penny it takes to store them on their Kindle’s hard drive. I think this is happening because the free ebook market is max’d out.

Ultimately, my just completed ebook freebie-thon reminded of a recent child-rearing experience…

I have three boys. Two are teenagers. They eat a lot. So, the other day I went to BJ’s and bought massive quantities of snack food, a box of that contained three hundred little bags of Cheez-Its, a crate that contained five hundred sleeves of good old-fashioned Oreos (not the shitty blond ones), and a thirty-eight gallon bag filled with smaller bags of chips and cheesy-crunchy things that looked like mini colons. I then went to Home Depot and bought some plastic shelving. After a few hours of sweat, I put the snacks on the supposedly “easy to assemble” shelf and told da boys to “load up!” They’re skinny as hell, but can out-eat an NFL lineman, so I was expecting them to empty the shelves in a couple days. Instead, an amazing thing happened. And, I’m not making this up. They barely touched the snacks. The same items they would have wiped out in a few minutes if I bought a smaller quantity were totally ignored.

They knew a large supply of snacks were available. So, they were in no rush to eat them.

W4$

Free Aint What it Used to Be

Fellow authors, FYI…

I just did a Amazon/KDP free giveaway for THE GENERAL STORE, my latest novel, another undiscovered comic fiction masterpiece. Over a three day period with one day of intense Twitter spam, 130 free downloads happened. Earlier in the month I gave away EVEN STEVEN for 2 days. It realized 78 downloads. I also did a 2-day freebie for THE WALKING MAN. 398 downloads happened. For both EVEN STEVEN and THE WALKING MAN I did zero pre-promotion, and maybe 1 tweet each during the free period.

Six months ago when I did a KDP giveaway, several thousand downloads would happen.

Follow-on sales for THE WALKING MAN were zippo. EVEN STEVEN sold 8 copies. The returns for THE GENERAL STORE are pending.

I think this data suggests readers are waiting for free. To me, it also suggests once a book has launched and received decent critical acclaim, like THE WALKING MAN, a free offer is not a good thing. It de-values the work.

I’m doing a combo of blogging and advertising moving forward. I’ll let you know how it goes…I’m not doing Twitter spam again. All my tests show it is super annoying and produces near zero return.

Sales were way down this month. Just enough to buy 2 tacos. Not enough to buy a super-sized Mountain Dew. Damn. Still have lots of fun being indie. It was a great first year. I released three novels and made lots of new friends. It has been a tremendously fun and positive experience.

I’m going to release a Christmas compendium along with some e-publishing advice next month. Look for WRIGHT FORBUCKS, THE EARLY YEAR.

And put 3 dollars in your 2013 budget for BILLY GRIST, my comic fiction masterpiece…

Regards,
W4$

Bless Me Father for I have Sinned.

I just finished my third novel, THE GENERAL STORE, and hit the publish button at Amazon.com. It is another work of comic fiction. This time an environmental/sex comedy set in the small town of Apple, Massachusetts. I wrote THE GENERAL STORE due to my subconscious desire to be excommunicated from the Catholic church. I’ve always wanted a bishop, or perhaps a cardinal, to knock on my door and yell at me like a home plate umpire, “You’re Outta here!”

I’m not sure how many sins THE GENERAL STORE commits because the sin-counter on my word processor has been disabled by a virus, but there is one chapter where every other word is mother f*!!*#* and another where an well-endowed young man does something improper with a Wendy’s chocolate Frosty.

I can’t say I’m proud about writing a book with no redeeming qualities, but I’m fairly certain it does contain a few scenes that will make most readers smash their Kindles on the ground and laugh until their sides hurt, and what’s wrong with that, especially if you got one of those new Fire tablets that constantly freezes and randomly shouts ‘redrum!” while you’re trying to read.

I also believe THE GENERAL STORE has a few noteworthy quotes, including the first rule of infidelity, “Don’t cheat with a woman that looks like an orangutang if your wife is a kick-boxer.” I also believe the book has one of the all-time great opening lines, but I’ll leave that to you to judge. (Go to Amazon and click on preview, if you’re too cheap to throw down the $2.99)

Now comes the hard part of writing a book, selling it.

With my last work, THE WALKING MAN (11/18 Five Star reviews) I did the twitter thing. This means I spent my time trying to sell my book to other authors who are generally too busy writing to read. I also did the Free Amazon.com KDP Select scam, giving away 10,000+ books to earn enough money to buy a pack of used condoms. This time around my plan is to advertise. Pure and simple. I’ve read there is no worse return than advertising an ebook, that readership must be earned by sending hand-signed letters to book bloggers, and begging literary rock stars for a retweet. My fear is this is true, but nonetheless I plan to advertise. Now I just have to find a web site with a million viewers that will accept an ad for a book about a man with a big one – a really big one.

Hmmm, maybe Funny or Die!

Sucky the Fish

One of my kids named the fish, so I might be spelling his or hers name wrong. I’m not sure. But, I do know Sucky the Fish, did live with our family for a good six months before meeting his or hers maker.

I know this because I killed Sucky. But, it was not intentional.

Several years ago Massachusetts experienced a December ice storm that knocked out power to our house, for more than a week. As soon as I saw the downed trees I called a hotel twenty miles away and rented a suite, beating about 500,000 other people to the punch. It was my finest moment.

Each evening at the hotel, after the kids were asleep, I’d dress like a line man so folks would buy me free drinks.

“Thank you, for all your good work,” strangers would say to me.

“Just doing my job,” I’d reply.

It was the best of times.

Before leaving for the hotel I drained the water in the house to prevent its pipes from freezing/bursting. I had it all figured out. The only problem was I forgot about Sucky the Fish and his or hers friends in our aquarium. What can I tell you? I’m not a pet person.

Upon power restoration I eventually led my brood back home. I entered the house first. Luckily, the kids were fighting, some sibling rivalry thing, so I saw the frozen fish tank first. Sucky and his friends in a block of ice.

“Guys, stop fighting!” I yelled. “Do me a favor go downstairs and make sure the TV is working!” The ploy bought me enough time to open the back door and hurl the entire fish tank into a snow bank.

Minutes latest the questions started.

“Where’s Sucky?”

Without hesitating I responded, “I brought Sucky back to Pet Smart so she would not freeze to death.”

“Good thinking Dad,” the oldest one said.

“She cuaght a bit of a cold, so she might be there awhile,” I added.

The brothers bought it.

A few days later the questions started. “When are we going to Pet Smart to get Sucky?”

“Sucky’s still recovering,” I’d respond.

Eventually, the questions stopped. I had won. I got away with murder, or so I thought.

Then tonight at the dinner table, out of nowhere, four plus years after the freezing of Sucky, my middle one asks, “Did you really bring Sucky the Fish to Pet Smart?”

It was a Santa Claus moment. I assessed whether my son could handle the truth and then I responded, “Of course I did. In fact, Sucky recently died of natural causes after living a long, full life.”

“That’s too bad,” he said. But, I could tell he did not believe me.

I waited for the follow-on questions to begin, but they never happened. My son is getting older. He had intentionally left me of the hook for killing Sucky the Fish.

4Evah

In 2010 I read a scientific article about a group of researchers at Harvard Medical School that had “reverse aged” a mouse. Essentially, they genetically engineered a mouse to age rapidly. Then after the mouse got old enough to want a Buick and a condo in Florida, they gave the mouse a drug that clipped the tattered ends of its chromosomes and the mouse reverse aged, i.e., returned to its youthful state. Proof being the mouse was later spotted on Newbury Street drinking a ten-dollar beer, his arms around a couple hotties. One of the researchers referred to the outcome as  the “Ponce de Leon Effect.” In truth, the experiment was more about f’ing up a mouse and then un-f’ing up a mouse. But, it was a good story.

The other day I brought my kids to see the Hunger Games movie and they hated it. (I liked it and loved the book.) They could not understand the basis for the child-on-child violence. A few days later, one of my kids was in the hospital for a week with Lyme Meningitis (put it on the list of things you don’t want to catch). He is fine now. While living in amazingly complex and uncomfortable hospital chairs I wrote a short story called 4Evah. It’s about the consequences of living forever, but it has a touch of Lyme Disease and one ups the Hunger Games in its core premise. It’s six thousand words long and it’s not raunchy like my prior work, THE GENERAL STORE. But, that doesn’t mean its a bedtime story…It’ll cost you ninety-nine US pennies to buy it at Amazon.com. Probably worth it. Check it out. Regards, W4$

Remember the Bloody Sock!

I normally blog about self publishing, but today I must digress for my hero, Curt Schilling, is being bashed by the lowly state of Rhode Island for supposedly tanking his company, 38 Studios. It’s not right. And frankly, I’ve had enough. It’s time for Red Sox  Nation to rise up and support our brother, our hero, the man who led the Red Sox to victory in Game 2 of the 2004 World Series with a ruptured tendon in his ankle. Remember the bloody sock?

All Curt did was invest his baseball fortune in a company and then move it to Rhode Island as part of a hopeless effort to revive this backwater state. For, its part Rhode Island contributed a measly $75 million. In turn, Curt put his legend on the line by begging 400 well-educated  employees to leave their real states to move to Rhode Island. Then, when the going got rough, Rhode Island bailed on Curt causing 38 Studios to fail. Worse, Lincoln Chafee, this pathetic little state’s pathetic little Governor, is now accusing Curt of corporate malfeasance.

Yes, it is true Red Sox Nation. A lowly politician is currently defacing our hero. Something must be done.

Because Curt is far too polite to properly bash Rhode Island for its lead role in destroying his beautiful company, it’s time for somebody to say what needs to be said in Curt’s defense. And, I for one am not shy about doing so…

Rhode Island is the crap Massachusetts did not want. It’s not a state. It’s an accident. The best thing that can be said about Rhode Island is that it is small. What does Rhode Island have? Brown Unviersity, a half-ass Ivy League college, and Hasbro, a company that makes plastic potatoes. Give me an f’n break. The Rhode Island’s economy is a joke. Rhode Island’s unemployment rate  is high because its citizens can’t afford cars to leave. The average Rhode Islander is so low tech they think an iPad is a tampon and Andersen Windows is Microsoft’s main competitor. The only reason people from Massachusetts travel to Rhode Island is to have somebody killed or give a dollar to a stripper that looked likes Atilla the Hun. And then there’s Rhode Island’s jewel – Providence. The only difference between Providence and Kabul is one city is populated by backward people that treat woman like dirt, and the other is the capital of Afghanistan.

Let’s face it. There is no good reason for Rhode Island to exist. In a rational world this pip squeak state would have been split in two and forced upon Massachusetts and Connecticut a century ago. But, in today’s world interbreeding worries would make such a deal impossible.

This leaves Red Sox Nation to right this current wrong. I say we follow the lead of Texas, a real state. It knew what to do when its heroes were assaulted. Remember the Alamo?  The time has come for us to do the same…

REMEMBER THE BLOODY SOCK!

5 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$:)

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