zaterdag 27 oktober 2012

Still No Reviews!

Very few writers know how to promote their own work. That would mean coming out of that semi-dark room—you know the room I'm talking about…it's the one where the bug guy doesn't even bother to spray on his yearly visits—and joining the frightening world of real people.

So, this is how I've handled the daunting world of self-promotion: I have done absolutely nothing. I don't have a Facebook page, I don't have a personal blog, and the thought of contacting family and friends to sell my books makes me crawl even deeper into that bug-filled room. That's the reason I don't use my real name. I don't want any pity purchases.

The one exception to the above strategy has been "free days" on KDP Select (Amazon). Over the course of the free promotion days for the three titles that I had with KDP Direct, I have given away almost 3,000 copies. And I have sold a respectable number of copies of my three books over the last six months or so.

Still, I have ZERO reviews. Not even bad ones. I don't understand. My writing has won several national contests, and I have been represented in the past by two pretty well-known agents (Jeff Herman and Paige Wheeler), so I don't think the lack of reviews is because I'm a bad writer. I'm no Steinbeck, but I'm not bad.

I know that some of this is a result of my refusal to accept reciprocal reviews from authors whose books I have reviewed. I review books simply because they are entertaining and well-written. A reciprocal review is, at best, questionable. They may be true and heartfelt reviews, but how would we ever know. Often, I review books under my real name so that no one knows that "Sean Dexter" has reviewed their work. I would rather have no reviews than one that is payback (positive or negative revenge reviews) for a review I have given.

Not too long ago, I joined Goodreads. Goodreads is a social media platform for readers and writers. I soon learned that most (but certainly not all) of the writers associated with Goodreads have one goal and one goal only: to shamelessly solicit reciprocal reviews. They even have reciprocal review clubs where they take turns reviewing each other's books. I would like to disassociate myself from Goodreads, but I am afraid that I won't be allowed to leave alive. I have taken to sleeping with a Ruger .357 just in case the "Recip Squad" should choose to pay me a late night visit for criticizing them...

Wait, did you hear that? Oh God, I think they're here…


woensdag 17 oktober 2012

I can't figure it out.

So I’m like the rest of you self-pubbed authors out there who are trying to keep their heads above water in the exploding world of e-publishing.

I feel your pain and I’ve been trying more than a few of the tricks I found in a fuckload of blogs about self-publishing.

I have good covers for my novels, the writing is good (I think so and so I’m told, Ain’t bragging!)

I have read and figured how to maximize “free days” on kindle select.

I have used a “middle of the week” approach. I have nearly spammed twitter at every significant hours (morning commute, lunch hour and after-evening-commute-before-you-go-to-bed) of a bunch of major “English” population centers (England, East-Coast, Mid-West, West-Coast, Australia…) It’s a fucking annoying task to upkeep and I’m not particularly fond of social networks in general (twitter the least of them all.)

But I did it anyways, I semi-spammed twitter and the few occasional annoying post on facebook that will most likely drive my real friends away and my latest giveaway landed “The Factory Line” in the top 40 free in humor.

I was thinking “holy shit, somehow this worked!” and expected to give away more books per hour (and trust, me I was addicted to statistics and reports for days!) but it didn’t happened. I was actually giving away less than before despite another round of less-than-shitty tweets to promote the book.

I can’t figure out the pattern. And for a guy who LIVES to figure out patterns, this is incredibly frustrating. I might actually ask for a job at Amazon to try and learn the freaking pattern because so far I can’t do it.

I wish I could, I can't. I mean don't get me wrong. Gimme the least amount of publicity and a half-decent publisher, I might work somthing out. And it would be a little bit like this :
A)    write a gritty, transgressive novel with a shocking name. If it’s literary and has some social criticism at the same time, double “marty” points to come.
B)     Get a great title and a good cover.
C)    Get loads and loads of fake reviews (although I have moral restraints to do this and I can’t afford to anyways)
D)    Get some “real” journalists (or glorified bloggers) to talk about the book.
E)     At the right moment, send a shocking letter from some right-wing group (you’ve created from scratch with a fake e-mail and blog) to some jumpy right-wing elected official who’ll jump on the occasion to “defend good Canadian (American, English, Australian…) families and values.
F)     Reply vigorously and fuel the flames of the debate by trolling said elected official
G)    Get more press because of the feud, which will sell more books.
H)    When you see the sales going down, fake your pen name’s death.

That would make a killing, I'm sure of it. So what the fuck am I waiting for?

I have not a freaking clue!

(those of you who failed to see the sarcasm/satire (OK! mostly sarcasm) in my post are invited to read Beckett, Burroughs, Welsh or Palahnuick)

That's pretty much it!

Take care,


dinsdag 9 oktober 2012


Desiree Blanc wants to be a gun-moll. Born into poverty in rural northern Mississippi, Dorothy Jellnick grew into an ash-blonde beauty. Everyone told her to go to Hollywood, show the movie people a real southern belle. She made it as far as Bourbon Street, New Orleans, where she became Desiree Blanc, a white-hot stripper at Hotsy Jazz Club. Determined to never be poor again, Desiree discovers a short cut to big money - crime. It is the summer of 1947.

As the story opens, Desiree and her hoodlum boyfriend rob a tourist from Kansas, leaving the man in his skivvies on a rural highway just outside New Orleans. More crimes and more money follows. The ash-blond beauty surrenders to avarice – the unreasonably strong desire to obtain and keep money – in a dangerous and deadly game.

BOURBON STREET is a classic noir mystery with a femme fatale, arrogant criminal, La Cosa Nostra mobsters and an army veteran wounded at the Battle of the Bulge whose love for Desiree is her only chance.

This is a damn good book. I know. I wrote it, but that's not why it's good. The characters make the book. They took over the book from the start and showed me where they wanted to go. It happened in BATTLE KISS and ENAMORED as well. The more I write, the more I learn from those voices in my brain. BOURBON STREET is only $2.00 Kindle and Smashwords and $10.95 trade paperback.