Amateur Detective Contest!

AVAILABLE NOW: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H3T9TAI

Ever read a whodunit where you outwitted the main character? Ever watched a murder mystery where you outfoxed the gumshoe? Grab your pipe and magnifying glass, super sleuth, it’s time to test your powers of deduction in Click Your Poison’s Amateur Detective Contest!

murdered_promo

How does it work? MURDERED is a murder mystery unlike any other, where YOU are the main character and must solve the crime by making choices. To see what I mean, try out a sample here.

The Kindle edition of MURDERED released on Amazon on Thursday, 5 December 2013. That’s when the contest starts. One grandprize winner will receive the *first ever* signed paperback copy (the paperback release date is 12 December 2013), annotated as such and congratulating you on your prowess as a detective. You’ll also receive an autographed copy of INFECTED or a $25 amazon gift certificate (your choice) AND a collectible INFECTED wine glass (to toast to your success). That’s over $50 in prizes!

Oooh, sparkly!
Oooh, sparkly!

How do I win? The contest is simple. Once the ebook is released, the first reader to email me the correct identity of the story’s villain (along with your proof) wins the grand prize. That’s it! It’s a race against time to piece together the clues.

PS — You MUST email me the via the contact form. If you publicly spoil the story, you’re disqualified. Also, you’ll make me sad.

Good luck and happy hunting!

UPDATE: We have a winner…

MURDERED Release Date & Giveaway

Mystery Books

Its official.

MURDERED, the second in the Click Your Poison series will be released this Thursday, 5 December 2013.

Could YOU solve a murder? MURDERED is a mystery/thriller unlike any other. As the main character, you must follow clues, interrogate suspects, and piece together the puzzle before the killer gets away. Try a sample here.

For a chance to win a FREE COPY on release day, join and share the following events:

The more people “attending,” the more copies that will be given away. So click “join” and invite your friends!

Could YOU Solve a Murder?
Could YOU Solve a Murder?

Facebook, Fridays, & Freebies

Yes, I know it’s a Tuesday. But today I’m trying out WordPress’ new Embed Facebook Posts feature, and at the same time letting my readers know about Trivia Friday. As you can see from the post below, every Friday I plan on asking a trivia question, and the first person to get it right will win free stuff. Hooray for new features!

Free Zombie Swag

If you’re on facebook and love zombie fiction, today’s your lucky day.

ZFEEB

Check out Zombie Fest Free ebook Bonanza, a facebook event open to the public and supported by numerous zombie writers, artists, and fanatics.

I’m giving away a few copies of INFECTED to lucky raffle winners, and countless others are doing the same. There’s even a free ebook you can download the day of the event (an anthology of short stories) to which I’ve submitted “Corporate Zombie“.

So, click the link, head on over to facebook, get some free gear, and meet some talented artists!

And while you’re there, give a LIKE to Click Your Poison Books! 😉

CYPFB

Free love, Fanfic, and Pirates, Argh

Okay, so last week I posted about my move over to Amazon. It’s currently in progress, but some of these sites take a couple of weeks from when you edit your book to respond. Which, really, is a major indicator that Amazon has their stuff together way more than the other retailers. If I make a change in price, or an edit to the manuscript, Amazon has posted the new information within a couple of hours, 24 hours max. The other retailers, I’ll remind you, take a couple of weeks. That’s ridiculous. If the other retailers moved as fast as Amazon, you could do your low-price promotions without going exclusive. But trying to wrangle them into appearing all at the same time (a pre-announced time) would be a bit like trying to herd cats. Good luck with that.

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Now then, the results of my giveaway trial for “Corporate Zombie” using KDP Select. Prior to the giveaway, I had the story available for free on my website. Then I moved it to Amazon in August of 2012, to prepare for my future as a published author. I’ve sold a total of 27 copies at $0.99 since August. Last Tuesday-Friday, I gave away 128 copies for free in 6 different countries.

Three days after the end of the giveaway, I’ve not yet had any new paid sales. HOWEVER, you can see that my numbers are tiny. In a “real” giveaway, you need to give thousands of copies away in order to see a difference. I only spread the word on facebook and twitter, and even then using only casual posts. So — lesson learned #1 — you have to advertise your giveaway. Yes, you need to pay to spread the word about your free book. It’s counter intuitive, but it works. I’ve seen the numbers from other authors.

During the giveaway, I recieved a new 4-star review on the story entitled “Great short story”:

A great little short story that is a real page turner. A refreshing variation on a zombie story, from the corporate side. I don’t think a 6-page story is worth $0.99, but as a freebie, a very good read.”

First this, then lesson #2:

Soap Box
“Not worth a buck? What is worth a $1? A can of soda? A snickers bar? Let me guess, you assume I spent 10-minutes writing a perfectly edited, plotted out, final draft of the story, happened to have a cover already created, and spent another 5 minutes slapping it up on Amazon. Sound about right? Sheesh.

Alright, off my soap box. Lesson learned #2: Most readers don’t value individual short stories. I already knew this based on my previous sales, but the event & review confirms it. So, if you have short stories, go with an anthology. I hope to “replace” my individual shorts with an anthology some time around this summer.

I also haven’t seen any sort of boost in my other titles. Which, I realized a little too late, is lesson #3: Link your other titles at the end of your books. Don’t expect the reader to find them on their own.

Silver lining: There are 128 people out there who were introduced to my work. Though I love this story, I haven’t had a sale of “Corporate Zombie” since November. So I don’t really feel like I “lost” anything.

Recap: Advertise, Anthologize, Link-ize.

Now for the fanfic and pirates.

Pirate fanfic
I imagine the mashup something like this.

While googling to see if INFECTED had disappeared from other e-tailers (see what I did there?), I found out that I’m much more on the cusp of “making it” than I realized. I’ve been content thus far with relative obscurity. People read my book, like it, tell me so, I feel good, and I write the occasisonal blog post that maybe 10-20 people read. But now, I’ve been noticed: someone wrote INFECTED fan fiction, and (unrelated) someone has pirated the book.

Gasp!

For the fan fiction, I don’t want to embarrass the author too much, but sufice it to say that it exists. I’m flattered. If you really want to see the link, I posted it on my facebook page.

The piracy, however, is a different matter altogether. There’s a website offering an INFECTED  .doc, .pdf, and .epub rip at the low, low price of $Free-95.

Yes, I realize the irony that once I’ve considered book giveaways I discover that someone else has beat me to the punch.

But, obviously, there’s little benefit to me on the piracy site. According to the website, the book has been illegally downloaded almost 200 times since January 24th. Which is more than I’ve had in paid sales over those last two months. The wound is still a little fresh and has left me dazed. I’m unsure what I can or will do about it, but if there are any of you out there with experiences in this arena, I’d love to hear them. I’ll do some research and make another update in the next few days.

Hmm… not fun.

UPDATE: Part Two

Amazon Makes the Best Kool-Aid

My walls have been kicked down. Oh Yeah!
My walls have been kicked down. Oh Yeah!

It is with bittersweet anticipation that I announce INFECTED will be only available on Amazon.com very soon. Some of you are nook users or buy using itunes, kobo, etc — if you’ve been waiting to get the book, do so now. I’ll leave it active for another week or so. If you already bought a copy from another site, don’t worry, you’ll still have your book on your ereader.

Why go exclusive? If you haven’t heard of KDP Select, allow me to sum it up for the layperson: Amazon offers benefits for those who go exclusive. Most notably, five promotional free-giveaway days per 90 days of exclusivity. What? Giving away your book for free is a benefit? It is — and I’ll explain that in a moment. You’re also allowed to lend the book to Amazon Prime members, which makes it free for them to read (Amazon still pays you) and that sounds like a real win-win for readers and authors.

I already have two short stories available through KDP Select, and this week I’m using all five of my giveaway days on “Corporate Zombie” a short story. Please, check it out and download it free:

Click me. I'm FREE this week only.
Click me. I’m FREE this week only.

I’ll report back on the success of my “Corporate Zombie” giveaway later, but even now it’s being downloaded by new readers. I’ve already had half as many downloads this morning as I’ve had *total* sales, and that’s by just tweeting about it. Sure, it’d be nice if those were paying customers, but not many people buy short stories and I’m happy just to have it read. Plus, when you look at the short, it tells you that people who’ve purchased “Corporate Zombie” have also purchased INFECTED and the main benefit is that (I hope) people will like the story and want to check out my book. Cross some fingers for me.

It’s always seemed counter-intuitive to me to go exclusive with one platform, especially when the intended benefit from such an action is ease of giving your work away for free. Indie publishing, if you’re doing it right, can get expensive. I’ve spent money trying to make INFECTED a professional product, and if I’m paying a copyeditor, cover artist, formatter, etc — Don’t I want to try and earn some of that back? Aren’t you devaluing your own work by giving it away for free? Yes and no. I firmly believe that if you want something to be permanently free, the best place for it is your own website. But a free promotion gets… complicated.

After reading these two articles, I can no longer debate the power of a free promotion:

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I’m planning a giveaway of INFECTED to coincide with the release of the next book in the series. Since I’m (hopefully) only 3-4 months away from releasing Click Your Poison #2, I need to go exclusive. Much like the second article I posted, I’ll be transparent about my success and share with you how it goes.

So… thoughts? Good idea? About time? Noooooooo? What do you think? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. And if you’re going to download “Corporate Zombie” — Enjoy!

INFECTED Paperback Giveaway!

That’s me, with the proof of the book. INFECTED will be out in paperback just in time for Thanksgiving, and to give “Thanks!” to all my readers, I’m hosting a giveaway. And in the Holiday spirit, share share share this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win at Rafflecopter or on Facebook.

When Your Work Rises From The Dead

This is an essay I wrote for the blog Fictional Candy to coincide with a book  giveaway.

Fictional Candy

Indie writers have a bad rap. There’s a stigma that these authors couldn’t cut it in the real world of publishing, and therefore used the resources of the internet to bypass the gatekeepers of talent. Some writers, admittedly, deserve this stereotype. For your first story, you probably shouldn’t publish it. You should email it to friends and family for their enjoyment, ask for feedback from strangers online, and grow before you try to stake a professional claim.

But what about projects rejected for reasons other than talent? Those rejected because they are considered “not marketable”? Marketability is actually more important than talent to the business side of publishing. Don’t believe me? How else can you explain this? Sure, at some point, talent is marketability, but not always. You could’ve penned the best vampire novel ever written, but the odds of getting accepted by a publishing house are extremely low—the market is flooded with vampires and therefore it might be rejected based on marketability.

You could try writing a Twilight prequel!        Or not.

So they will kill your work before it’s even born, and it’s up to you to resurrect it. You have the power. It’s no longer “Can I?” but “Should I?” Short stories are a perfect example. You can’t market a single short story as a publishing house, but you sure as hell can self-publish it online as an indie author. And if it’s good enough, you should.

Which brings me to INFECTED and “Click Your Poison” books. No, it wasn’t rejected by a publishing house—it wasn’t even submitted to a publishing house—it was rejected by Hollywood. Back in 2008, INFECTED was a screenplay. It made some ripples in the pond, did well in contests, and even won me a little money. What it didn’t do was attract studio attention. Why not? It was good, I was told, but it needed to either be based on existing intellectual property or be a zombie musical rom-com. Read: Marketability. Not wanting to compromise my story, I shelved the project.

Cut to four years later and an idea to make a “Choose Your Own Adventure” series for grown-ups.* I knew right away that INFECTED needed to rise from the dead. A book where the reader can finally find out for themselves if they would survive the zombie apocalypse? Marketable! I believed this so much so, in fact, I decided not to even attempt the traditional publishing route. It’s the new Wild West in publishing, and that makes indie authors the new outlaws. But soon, very soon, “self-published” will no longer be a dirty word.

*Choose Your Own Adventure® is now a registered trademark of Chooseco, LLC, and is not associated in any way with Click Your Poison™ books.

Head on over to Fictional Candy to enter the giveaway for a free copy of INFECTED!