INFECTED Promo Results (Day Two)

Continued from Lessons Learned from the INFECTED giveaway.

January 9th
PhotoFunia-16f3d2b_smallGood morning, again! Today Book Blast is set to go out and, with (fingers’ crossed) the continued buzz from yesterday’s promotion, this should make for an exciting day. I don’t know about you, but I could hardly sleep a wink. Whattdya say we see how much action happened overnight?

NOTE: CLICK ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE

2686 Downloads as of 0600, January 9th.
2686 Downloads as of 0600, January 9th.
Woo-hoo! Made it into the coveted Top 100.
Woo-hoo! Made it into the coveted Top 100.

Two interesting points of order based on these stats. First, is that I’m still listed in Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure (an old category) as well as Science Fiction > Post-Apocalyptic (new category). Could this be because my update is still “processing”? I’m not sure. I’ll have to watch carefully as this develops. Second, even though my rank has surpassed the Top 100 free books in the kindle store, I only gave away 450 copies over the course of the entire night. Which leads to…

LESSON LEARNED: Be patient/don’t panic. Within the first two hours of the day, my rank got worse and shot up to #99. If this is a race to #1, that means I’m not doing well… or does it? Amazon’s best seller ranking is elastically flexible and doesn’t necessarily correspond to current downloads. Maybe someone else’s rank simply processed before mine? I could just need some time to catch up. Tough to say. Amazon keeps their ranking algorithm a closely-guarded secret, but it pays to go with the flow. Just keep doing what you know you should be doing, and let the ranking system do its thing.

Here’s a mid-day update, after Book Blast has gone out:

4113 Downloads as of 1400, January 9th.
4113 Downloads as of 1400, January 9th.
Back to "increasing!" Slow and steady wins the race today.
Back to “increasing!” Slow and steady wins the race today.

Interesting to note that the categories are still switching. Could this be a good thing? It’s putting me on several different categories throughout the day (the maximum allowed is two), so I can’t see how it would hurt… Hmm. But the main point is that it’s getting better. From all I’ve heard and read, Book Bub is the behemoth service that’ll push any promotion over the edge. So if I can just keep climbing the charts, no matter how slowly, I should be in for a treat tomorrow.

The snowball is your book promotion. The more people you get to help push it along, the bigger it’ll get until it eventually starts feeding itself.

The afternoon was spent doing more promoting and marketing, of course, which leads to another…

LESSON LEARNED: Set up everything beforehand. I started contacting book sites a month out, but I found a great list of resources I was planning to contact during the promotion. Big mistake. Just going through with everything I’d had planned, to include continued social media marketing, took up all my time. You should have everything ready to go before you promotion starts, so the most work you have to do during the event involves the copy/paste function.

It’s getting late. Let’s do one last look at the stats before bed:

5358 Downloads as of 2200, January 9th.
5358 Downloads as of 2200, January 9th.
Still increasing and -- BONUS -- now it's topping 3 categories!
Still increasing and — BONUS — now it’s topping 3 categories!

It’s getting significantly more difficult for INFECTED to climb the ranks, but at least it still is. And with tomorrow set to be my “anchor day” I’m hopeful. You might also notice 3 more sales of MURDERED in 24 hours. Not exactly the boost I was hoping for, but it’s still early (and I’m thankful for each sale I get). Time to try and sleep and prepare for the exciting conclusion tomorrow…

Continue to INFECTED Promo Results (Day Three) 

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My Big Week in Texas

Hey, that's me!
Hey, that’s me!

If you follow me on twitter, goodreads, facebook, or have checked out my “events” tab in the last month, you probably know I went to Ft Hood, TX for a book signing (Or, to be more accurate, I went to Texas for my sister’s wedding and scheduled a book signing around the same time. Congrats Melissa and Craig!). Well, for a self-published author, this was a big week.

Knowing it would be a 3-day signing event, but not knowing what to expect, I ordered 3 boxes of books (24 each) and brought the 10 I had sitting at home, just because I was feeling optimistic. So, with 82 books, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to leave too many at my parents’ house.

First stop was to our hometown newspaper, where I was interviewed. I’m still new enough to the game where little things like this are novel and exciting. If you like, you can read the article here.

Source: “Heights High School grad pens zombie book” from KDHnews.com

Next stop? I’d heard that Hastings has a “local author” section, so I decided to give it a try and see if I could leave a few copies there. Much to my surprise, not only was I accepted at Hastings in Killeen, but I was placed on the “zombie” shelf right up front as well as out in the general “horror” section. Whoa! That in itself was a huge life event–my first brick-and-mortar store.

Make Your Choice
Make Your Choice
Note to self, stop having an "S" last name.
Note to self, stop having an “S” last name.

Then there was the signing. My sister Alison had the idea to dress up like a zombie on Saturday, and my other sisters soon caved to the peer pressure. After all, I offered a free t-shirt and a professional makeup job. I’d play Friday straight, have my zombies with me on Saturday, then offer a sale on Sunday in hopes of reducing my inventory. I needed to leave some books behind for Hastings, but not too many…

IMAG0311

Friday, day 1: People were very receptive to INFECTED! In fact, I sold 21 books–almost a full box. Not bad, maybe I could sell the same on Sunday and try for a full 30 on Saturday when my zombies were with me. That would leave 10 books for Hastings. My nervous fears that I’d be ignored for three days were proving to be unfounded. I even met some very nice people who were excited for me to sign a book for either themselves or a zombie fan in their family. At lunch, my fortune cookie sagely reminded me:

Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.”

Saturday, day 2: Thanks so much to my sisters–love you guys! The book sold like hotcakes. There was often a queue at my signing table, zombie fans eager for a book and a photograph with our crazy family. I sold 47 books. I had to tell my family members not to buy any for themselves, otherwise I’d be in danger of selling out. I had already dropped off  9 at Hastings, so I was left with only 5 left for Sunday… gulp.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Don't worry, my family scares me too.
Don’t worry, my family scares me too.

Sunday, day 3: I sold out in about an hour. Boy, did I underestimate. I should’ve brought two more boxes at least. I think I could’ve hit Friday’s numbers at least, then I would’ve had some left over for Hastings after I left. Instead, I had to direct disappointed would-be customers to either this store or amazon.com. After checking with Hastings, turns out they sold out of my book as well–making it their #1 book for the week. Even beating out “50 Shades of Grey”! Granted, E.L. James wasn’t in Killeen promoting like I was, but it still felt like victory.

This was an appreciated confidence booster, and it was fun to be a minor celebrity for a weekend, but I still have lots of work to do before “Click Your Poison” is a household name. So what’s next? Of course there’s book #2 to work on, but I’ve also been invited to come back to Fort Hood any time, and I probably will. Maybe for book #2? Maybe around Halloween when the zombie craze is at its peak? In the meantime, I need to ship more books to Hastings and see about getting other stores out there to carry INFECTED. Maybe there’s a Big Week in California in my future? Who knows–but wherever life takes me, the future looks bright.

Thanks to all who attended!

I Will Be Happy, Damn It

I’m a former Air Force officer, I left that job and Montana about a year ago, so I’ve been doing some reflecting.

In the past year, aside from a ton of writing, my main goal has been to get happy again.  I was once a happy-go-lucky type and I’d slowly become bitter through my nine years in the military.  So I resolved to never have a bad day.  It’s all my time now, I told myself, it’s up to me to make sure I’m happy.  I can no longer blame anyone else.

And I did it!  A whole year without a bad day.  But here’s the thing–it’s not like I wasn’t frustrated and it’s not like everything has gone my way.  The difference, is that I chose to be happy.  And you can too.

If I had to put it succinctly, I’d say a good life is simply a collection of moments lived well.  So then the key to a good life is simply enjoying each moment.  There you have it, the secret to life.

I think one of the biggest dileneators between man and animal is that we can choose to be happy.  Hear me out.

Like me, my dog is happiest when she’s writing.

A dog can be happy.  I can see my dog is loving life when we’re playing or I’m giving her attention, and I can tell she’s sad when I put her in the crate, scold her or she’s feeling sick.  But none of those things are within her control.  She has no concept of what happiness is.  We, as humans, can actually outthink our bodies.  We can tell when outside forces are affecting us, and we can literally say, “No.”

It’s not easy, but we can.

If you get a flat tire on the way to a weekend out of town you can either get pissed and curse the tire, or you can say, “I’m going to enjoy my weekend and this won’t stop it,” fix the tire and move on.

They say life isn’t about the destination but the journey. What if the journey is so ridiculous and discouraging that you wonder if the destination is actually worth it?  I say the journey is the journey.  You can complain that your butt hurts and car travel makes you nauseous or you can get some snacks, plug in an audiobook, and enjoy the scenery.

I think we have to overcome our own cynicism, to some extent.  I have a friend on his way to becoming a professional pilot and he’s worried.  What if he hates it?  What if it’s true that pilots are only glorified bus drivers?  All that stuff is just in his head, I say.  He already knows he enjoys flying.  So if it’s, “I’m just a glorified bus driver” vs “I get to fly through the sky on a daily basis, a career that Da Vinci only dreamed of, like a Greek god blazing across the earth on gossamer wings”…which one do you think should he pick?

Comedian Louis C.K. provides some insight on the topic.

I’m not naive enough to say everything is your choice. Like you can get kicked in the balls on a daily basis and say, “I’m still happy!”  So control what you can and roll with the rest.  Get out of bad situations, do your best to enter good ones.  That’s what I did with the Air Force job.  I’m sad to say, it got me down in a major way.  I don’t hate the military or anything like that, but do I hate what I did?  Absolutely.  I was a nuclear missile officer–a Missilier, if you like made-up words–which I firmly believe is the worst job an officer can have.  I was frustrated, overtaxed, undervalued, and perpetually tired.

Beyond the pale
Feb, 2011. No, that’s not the flash. I was that pale; what do you expect? I worked underground. There were no tan lines on my body. And this is on a happy day, my birthday, yet still I look like a freshly exhumed corpse. Here’s what I look like now.

I’ll save that missile talk for another day.  Today’s about being happy.

I created this blog post while I was on a run, as a discussion in my head, after things were looking up.  I started off tired and feeling like crap, so I told myself to enjoy the sun, the breeze, and the way my body felt.  Then I grew happier.

That’s all it took.  Just outthink the negative and you too will be happy, damn it.

P.S. (If you want some awesome insight on feeling happy while running, I highly recommend Born to Run.  Maybe you can listen to it as an audiobook on your journey?)

Books

I’ve started querying my historical fantasy novel, which I’ll refer to as WTZD until I can give out more details.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to blog about this, as publishers like to be tight-lipped about their in-development projects, and it dates my efforts to any agent looking at this site.  BUT that’s why I started this blog, to track my progress as a writer.  So what does that mean?  Unfortunately I can’t say much, yet.  Just that the novel is done, loved by my inner circle of critics, and ready to be shown to literary agents.  I am, as of this post, unrepresented.  That will soon change .

What I can share, is this image below, which I found while doing research for my queries.  It sums up, quite nicely, my goal with WTZD.  To enthrall and feed imaginations.

Wish me luck.

Books - That is exactly how they work

Source for: Books