Wayne Stinnett, Author

Wayne Stinnett, Author

Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End Book Promotion: Free and Discounted Books!

Fallen Out, the first book in the Jesse McDermitt series is $2.99. The rest are regularly priced at $3.99.

 Except for a very limited time, celebrating the arrival of 2015!

For the next few days the second book, Fallen Palm, will be FREE and the third one, Fallen Hunter, will be REDUCED to just $.99. Also, Fallen Out, the first book in the series, is part of a seven novel box set called Seven Seas Mysteries for only $.99.

For a very limited time, you can get all three of the first books in the Jesse McDermitt series for only $1.98, a SAVINGS of $8.99 off the the regular price. PLUS, you get 6 other author's novels in the box set for free. That's 9 best selling novels for the price of a cup of coffee!!!

This deal will expire at 3am Eastern/12am Pacific time on 1/4/15. The links to download them to your Kindle are at the right. Just right click on the covers and open each in a new tab or window.

Don't have a Kindle? You can download the Kindle for PC app, or the Kindle app for iPhone/tablet for free and read Kindle books on your PC, laptop, tablet, or iPhone.

Already read all three and looking for something else? Fallen Pride and Fallen Mangrove are next in the series. If you've read all five and are waiting on Fallen King to be released next month, allow me make a recommendation. Right now I'm reading Steven Becker's Mac Travis series, set in the Florida Keys. I'm really enjoying this series (on the third book now) and highly recommend any of Steve's great novels. You can find them all on Steven Becker's Amazon Page.

Happy New Year,

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Prequel to an Existing Book Series?

Prequels, in both literature and film, have been wildly successful in many cases. Some others not so much. I decided last spring to write a prequel to the Jesse McDermitt series to answer many questions my readers asked about the characters' back stories.

Originally, I'd planned it as a short novel and intended to price it lower than the others, both to entice new readers and as a thank you to my existing fan base and answer their questions. When release day came around, I set the price a dollar less than my other books. It was a huge success and I received a lot of fan mail thanking me for answering questions people were to timid to ask.

Fallen Out is a short novel, or long novella, depending on how you look at it. It can be read in about five or six hours, the perfect beach book. It starts on the day the main character retires (falls out) from the service and quickly moves through two years, highlighting the important parts of his (and many other characters) backgrounds.

Quite a few characters that appear in later books have cameo appearances in Fallen Out. I tried to write it just like the others, so that it could be read as a stand alone story, before or after any other book in the series. Many have said they loved reading it after the others and many others have said it's best to read it before the others.

It's my favorite of the five so far. It takes Jesse back to a simpler time, when he was nothing more than a "wet behind the ears landlubber", as his best friend Rusty would say. In this prequel, the reader learns exactly how Jesse came to be a charter boat captain, how and when he bought his tiny little island north of Big Pine Key, and how he came to own the ugliest truck in the Florida Keys.

Writing it was so much fun, because I only had to devolve everything from the other books. In fact, it took only six weeks to write and another week to have it edited and the cover made. The first chapter starts with Jesse waking up on the day of his retirement.

When most people think of someone retiring, they envision gray hair, wrinkles, and shuffleboard. But, military retirement can come as early as twenty years of service at age thirty-seven. Retiring and playing shuffleboard weren't a part of Jesse's plans, though. With no relatives or friends back home, he headed south to see an old friend he'd served with early in his career. Along the way he decides he wants to buy a boat and live on it, taking out the occasional fishing or dive charter for fuel and beer money.

I won't give away too much of the plot here, because I know a few who read this might have read the other books in the series and not be aware of this fun prequel. It's been available on Amazon since late May, but still hasn't sold as many copies as what used to be the first book in the series, Fallen Palm, so I know a lot of people have missed this one.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Fallen Palm will be free on Amazon, while Fallen Hunter, the third book in the series will be only $.99, for a year end promotion. I wanted to make Fallen Out free but Amazon says it's not eligible yet. It'll be free in March for a few days, but why wait? You can get the first three of the five books in the series for less than $4, with a sixth one due out in late January. If you haven't read these yet, I'd like to invite you to grab a copy, light a fire and cozy up to it for a little fun in the south Florida sun. Start with Fallen Out and bookmark my blog so you can come back on Tuesday and get the others in the series at the special promotional price.

The links are on the right.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Seven Seas Mysteries Collection is now LIVE on Amazon!

Seven Seas Mysteries

The release of the much anticipated Seven Seas Mysteries has just occurred.
For a couple of weeks now, I've been working with six other writers to put together a Christmas gift for our readers. If you enjoyed reading my books, you'll like this collection of seven nautical thrillers. How do I know? Simple, I write what I like to read and I enjoyed reading their books. Which is why I agreed to join in with them.

I've gotten to know these other writers in a private Facebook page where, in only 16 days, we've hammered out all the details to put this together. Imagine that for just a second. Seven creative minds agreeing and organizing the dozens of details large and small in just a couple of weeks. It was a lot of fun and I'm proud to have been able to work with these story tellers.

Here's the books:
A Dangerous Harbor - RP Dahlke
Blue Water Killer - CLR Dougherty
Fallen Out - Wayne Stinnett
The Inside Passage - Pendleton Wallace
Trawler Trash - Ed Robinson
Troubled Sea -  Jinx Schwartz
Wood's Relic - Steven Becker

This set is now available on Amazon for only $.99 at the link below. The individual book's settings range from the tropical Caribbean, to the sunny Sea of Cortz, to the icy coast of Western Canada. Together, the seven of us have more than sixty novels. Enough to keep even the most voracious reader warm through the cold winter. So build a fire in the fireplace and take a little sail with us. These seven novels are available individually on Amazon for a total of  $22.93, so you're saving almost $22 with this collection.

While I'm sure some of you may have read some of these already, you'll still want the Seven Seas Mysteries collection, even if there's only one in it that you haven't read. All seven are regularly priced from $2.99 to $3.99.

This offer will only last a short while and 100% of the royalties after the cost of production will be donated to Veterans Writing Project, a non-profit organization that helps Vets to write about their experiences, not just as a possible second income, but also as a means to deal with the adjustment back to civilian life.

Okay, here's the link. Just click the cover.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Seven Seas Mysteries: A Collection of Nautical Thrillers

The release of the much anticipated Seven Seas Mysteries is just hours away.

For a couple of weeks now, I've been working with six other writers to put together a Christmas gift for our readers. If you enjoyed reading my books, you'll like this collection of seven nautical thrillers. How do I know? Simple, I write what I like to read and I enjoyed reading their books. Which is why I agreed to join in with them.

I've gotten to know these other writers on a private Facebook page where, in only 16 days, we've hammered out all the details to put this together. Imagine that for just a second. Seven creative minds agreeing and organizing the dozens of details large and small in just a couple of weeks. It was a lot of fun and I'm proud to be able to say I was able to work with these story tellers.

Here's the books:
A Dangerous Harbor - RP Dahlke
Blue Water Killer - CLR Dougherty
Fallen Out - Wayne Stinnett
The Inside Passage - Pendleton Wallace
Trawler Trash - Ed Robinson
Troubled Sea -  Jinx Schwartz
Wood's Relic - Steven Becker

This set will likely be available by the end of the day. The settings are from the tropical Caribbean, to the sunny Sea of Cortz, to the icy coast of Western Canada. Together, the seven of us have more than sixty novels. Enough to keep even the most voracious reader warm through the cold winter. So build a fire in the fireplace and take a little sail with us.

While I'm sure some of you may have read some of these already, you'll still want the Seven Seas Mysteries collection. This offer will only last a while and 100% of the royalties after the cost of production will be donated to Veterans Writing Project, a non-profit organization that helps Vets to write about their experiences, not just as a possible second income, but also as a means to deal with the adjustment back to civilian life.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

In Writing, Are You a Hobbyest or a Business Person?

In a number of discussion forums and blogs, I've seen this topic come up. It amazes me how many writers think of their work as a hobby until they reach a certain level of success. That level for them might be anywhere between being able to pay for a night out with their spouse to doubling or tripling the income from their day job. But, at some point they have to concede that it is a business.

I've got news for you. That point is with the sell of your first book. It's not some lofty goal "that I'm working toward". It's the minute you sell your very first book. How important do you treat your business? Many will still continue to call what they do a hobby, even after writing and publishing half a dozen books or more. The truth is, as long as they look at it like a hobby, which it clearly isn't, their success won't come. Success is measured in book sales. Bottom line.

Why is it not a hobby? Consider the definition of each. A hobby is something we do in our spare time, that relaxes or invigorates us. Something we like to do, even feel passionate about. Whether we're good at it or not doesn't matter, we love to do it and we'd do it for free and eventually we'll get better at it. In fact, that's the only way it can still be a hobby. If you do it for free.

Once you produce a product and offer it for sale, you're still in the realm of a hobbyest. But, as soon as someone buys it and you're compensated in some way, usually money, it's no longer a hobby. It's a business. It fits all the parameters of a hobby up until money is exchanged. From there on, it fits all the parameters of a business. Make no mistake about it, if you're an indie writer and someone has bought your book, you're participating in the capitalist marketplace that can either eat you up or make you a success.

So how do you guarantee success? You can't really. However, there are a lot of steps you can take to minimize the resistance. Very few businesses can be started up without some kind of seed money, or venture capital. We're very fortunate that our chosen profession doesn't have a really high buy in. In fact, the biggest part of your venture capital can be time. We're indies, we do it ourselves.

We write the stories and hopefully they're the kind that people want to read. Some of us do our own cover designs, our own formatting, and our own editing. The more we can do of the former and spend less or no time at all doing the latter, the more successful we'll be. That doesn't mean a first time novelist has to spend hundreds on cover design and thousands on editing and formatting. But those expenses should be a goal. I look forward to paying my editors and cover designers over a thousand dollars. It puts me one step closer to making that money back in spades.

Story tellers all have one thing in common. We're able to tell a story and hopefully keep a person interested through to the end. Cover designers have an artistic flair that the story teller might lack. As much as we might like to tell ourselves that you can't judge a book by its cover, people do. A really good blurb needs a salesman's touch. It's basically a sales pitch, your first chance to hook the reader after they're attracted by the cover. Your cover is the first sales tool in your belt. Without it, your book won't get a second glance. The blurb is the second tool.

So how do you get a really great, eye-catching cover to adorn that first masterpiece and put together a blurb that'll make a snake oil salesman envious? You can do it yourself, right down to the individual pixel level and word choice. But, for a story teller, that'll get old real fast. There are alternatives in between doing it yourself and paying a high price for professional cover design and marketing blurb.

Look at your friends. Ask around. There are some talented people trying to break into the business that will do the job just as well but for a fraction of the price. Or you might have a buddy that can whip out a quality cover for a beer. Give a copy of your book to someone you know whose career is in sales and offer them a steak dinner to write a good blurb. Sales people love a challenge.

A network of friends that are willing to beta read your manuscript can be your first editing team. No, they won't find all of your mistakes (we all make them) and they might take weeks to get to it, but they'll find a lot of the mistakes you miss, because they don't know the story. The writer knows a line is supposed to say, "They went across the street, hand in hand" and can easily miss the fact that it actually says, "The went across they street, and in hand." Soon, you'll be able to hire someone to make it even better and make your second book even better than the first one. Your investment with using friends is minimal, financially speaking, but could be expensive in time. Take whatever time required to create a good quality product.

A small investment in time and perhaps a little money, will allow you to present a better product for sale. Don't rush. I know, the world's gonna be a much better place after people start reading your book, but they'll wait. With every sale of your first book, you're building residual income. Keep that income separate from your personal money and use it only to better your product. After a few months, when a little royalty money starts coming in, you can use it for a better cover on your next book or make the first one even better. My first book has had four cover revisions. A little more money comes in and you can use that to have a professional proofreader look at it. They'll catch more, but don't give up your betas. They can help with specialty things in the plot that the proofreader or editor might not be familiar with. As sales pick up, keep funneling the income into your business, making your product better and better.

Having a separate business account can make this a lot easier. All your book income goes into it and nothing more, while all your expenses come out of it and nothing more. Congratulations, you just made your first profit and loss statement.

It's not a hobby. It's a business. As soon as you come to grips with that, regardless of how low your sales might be, you'll start making business decisions. Make the wrong ones and the business world will let you know. Sales will falter. Make the right ones and you'll know that, as well.

But make no mistake, if you've sold even one book, you are a small business person, not a hobbiest.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Veterans Day Book Promo for Veterans Charities


All day, from midnight to midnight on Veterans Day, 100% of the royalties earned by every author on the titles they display on the Veterans Day Challenge page will be donated to each writer's favorite Veterans charity.

Each author on the page is a Veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States or her allies and has pledged to donate their royalties to the charity of their choice. Many like myself already donate a portion of their royalties to their charities.
There's a short bio on each author's service, along with a link to their chosen charity and other links where you can buy their book. I urge everyone to take advantage and buy one or two books of your choice. Oh, go ahead and buy them all, even if you're not a reader. Your donation will be very much appreciated and rest assured, what you spend on these books will go a long way to helping our Veterans and their families.
If you're interested in making a separate donation to one or more of the charities, we have another page set up describing each charity and a place where you can make a pledge. Being Vets, we're 100% on the honor system. If you pledge, please follow through and donate.

If you'd like to chat with some of the authors, we set up a Google hangout where many of the authors will drop in from time to time throughout the day. You can access it through this Facebook page starting at 0900 EST.

Each of the above links will open in a separate page, so you won't lose your place. Please feel free to share this post on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or just pop a smoke and send smoke signals.

Lastly, this whole thing was thrown together in just a matter of days and we'll be taking submissions all through Veterans Day. If you're a Vet and an author, please join us. Better late than never. Email the organizer, Richard Peters, for instructions on how to submit. His email address is bsthing2010@hotmail.com. If you know a Vet who is an author, please forward this post to them.

Semper Fi,

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Veteran Authors Helping Veterans

A group of authors, myself included, are building a website over a period of just a few days to promote books written by Veterans. The site will go public on Veterans Day and all the royalties from the whole day's sales of each author's work will go to each author's favorite Veterans charity, as listed on the website.

Our submission criteria for promotion eligibility is simple:
1) The book must be authored by a Veteran of the Armed Froces of the United States or her allies.
2) The author must pledge to donate 100% of the promoted title's royalties accrued on 11/11/14. The proceeds are considered the net payment to the author for print/ebook/audio sales and Amazon KU/KOLL borrows recorded on 11 November, 2014.
4) Add the pledge, using whatever wording you like, in bold print on your product's description page. It's suggested, but not required, to also post the link to the main promo page listing all participating books.
5) CRUCIAL: Authors MUST post the estimated dollar amount raised for their charity to the event coordinator by midnight EST on 12 Nov 2014. This will be posted on the main promo page. You don't have to list exact sales/borrows. The receipt number is also required when payment has been made. We understand that Amazon releases the funds 60 days after the end of the calendar month, so you'll have 90 days maximum to make payment.

Our goal is to raise a total of $10,000 for the many charities the authors represent. Being Veterans, I know we'll easily surpass that goal. Anyone wishing to donate to some worthy causes, have only to buy a book, or two, or three.... Oh heck, just buy them all.

Currently, we have about fifteen different author's books listed, but hope to have more than double that number by Veterans Day. I'll be blogging the link to the site here on the morning of Veterans Day, and will be promoting it throughout the day, on Facebook and Twitter, as will all the other authors.

Any Veteran author interested in promoting his book on Veterans Day and donating the proceeds for that day, should contact Richard Peters at bsthing2010@hotmail.com as soon as possible. Time and space is limited.

A Veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable, "To My Country". For an amount, "Up to and including my life."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Great Interview with Robert Bidinotto, “The Vigilante Author”.

I've been working hard on my next novel, Fallen King, which will be available around the first of the year. In this novel, Jesse is stalked by a ruthless Haitian gang out of Miami, for reasons he can't figure out. It seems that the gang is trying to draw Jesse out, by destroying small patch reefs in the back country of Florida Bay using hand grenades and collecting the dead fish. I'm about 30% finished writing it and hope to have it in the editor's hands by Christmas.

I've taken a few days off from writing to work on a couple of projects around the house and to find a new (to me) truck. My daughter was embarrassed to be seen in my old wreck. Although my new ride is twenty years old, it looks new, has a brand new engine and should last many years. Jordy's no longer embarrassed.

A couple of days ago, we had the earliest snowfall recorded here in upstate South Carolina. Only an inch, but it foretold the kind of winter we had to look forward to. While the snow lay on the ground, I did an interview with fellow author Robert Bidinotto. Robert is a very thorough and professional interviewer. You can read the interview here: Interview with Author, Wayne Stinnett.

This week, I've been reading one of my favorite author's new releases. "Second Chance Gold " is the fourth novel in John H. Cunningham's exciting Buck Reilly Adventure Series. The first book in this series is "Red Right Return". All of the books in the series are guaranteed to keep any Caribbean action/adventure reader turning the pages.

Well, that's it for now.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cultivating a Strong Mailing List to Chart in One Day.

As most of you know, I launched my fifth novel two weeks ago. It debuted in Amazon's top 1000 in less than twenty-four hours thanks to the dedicated fans I have on my newsletter mailing list. Do you have a mailing list? Do you engage with them?

During the course of writing Fallen Mangrove, I emailed my list about every two or three weeks, usually talking about how the book was coming along and recommending books that I was currently reading, but occasionally also asking for advice. My main character's new airplane was named this way. I asked for name suggestions and received nearly a hundred replies. Many readers from my mailing list correspond with me on a regular basis now. I have just over 400, but that was less than 200 when I started writing Mangrove and corresponding regularly. While that's not a huge mailing list, they are a dedicated bunch.

In the last two weeks before publication, while the manuscript was undergoing editing, I emailed them more often, culminating with two emails in the last week before publication, keeping them abreast of the editing process, getting input on the cover design and holding contests for free, signed, print copies. I set up a soft launch at $.99 for two days, where only those on my mailing list and Facebook Fan page would know about. This was a way of paying them back in advance. Do you engage your fans?

Fallen Mangrove went live on Amazon about 10 pm EDT on 9/29 and I already had the release email drafted and only needed to add the link to the book. Within the first hour after sending the email, it sold 30 copies and wound up at 87 sales in just the five hours left in the day. Amazon is on Pacific time. The next day, over a hundred more sales. Only those on my mailing list, Facebook page and those who read my blog knew about the soft launch. At 4 pm it was ranked at #10 million, but the 5 pm update had it at #1,722 and it peaked at #990.

On 10/4 the book had its public launch, with announcements on Twitter, my website and my regular Facebook page. Three days later, on 10/7, I had an ad on BookBub for Fallen Pride, the book immediately before Fallen Mangrove in the series. You can see the results of the soft launch, the public launch, and sell through from Pride on the graph below.

How important is cultivating a mailing list and engaging with them? Fallen Mangrove has never fallen below #3,700 since it launched and that was the day before the public launch. It's sold over 600 copies in twelve days, more than 400 of those at full price of $3.99. That's how important your mailing list is.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fallen Mangrove is now available on Amazon!!

It's been a long wait for the editors to complete their tasks, but Fallen Mangrove is now available on Amazon. CLICK HERE

This is the fifth book in the Jesse McDermitt action/adventure series. Jesse and his friends are on a hunt for buried treasure on the picturesque island of Elbow Cay, in the northern Bahamas, unaware that both Gaspar's Revenge and the Rusty Anchor have been bugged and now a whole cast of bad guys (and bad women) are trying to beat them to it, or take it from them.

If you've missed any of the previous books in the series, Here are links to them on Amazon:
Fallen Out: Jesse McDermitt Series, The Beginning
Fallen Palm (Jesse McDermitt Series Book 2)
Fallen Hunter (Jesse McDermitt Series Book 3)
Fallen Pride (Jesse McDermitt Series Book 4)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How Important is Scheduling for a Writer?

I'm a scheduler. I schedule everything. It's been such an ingrained part of my daily life for so long, it's hard not to. I know that might seem strange to many, but considering the last 30 years of my life, it's understandable. 

From the mid-eighties, when I first started writing, submitting to publishers and receiving rejections, until 2002, I was a construction manager. Getting my crews and material to a job, when it was time for them to be there to do certain work was very crucial to the success of the builder and thus, my own. I scheduled well in advance and followed the progress of the trades through thousands of homes went from an empty lot to someone's dream.

From '02 until last May, I was an over the road truck driver. When assigned a load, I always asked when it was to be picked up and delivered. With a little experience and having the wonders of technology close at hand, I could plan the route from a specific place on the east coast to another on the west coast, knowing where there'd be traffic delays and where I'd stop each night. I'd respond to dispatch and ask if they could accept the load four hours early, or maybe that I couldn't get there until four hours later. A long trip, like life, can be broken down into smaller segments. In the east, 550 miles in twelve hours is good, but once across the Mississippi, I knew I could stretch that to 650 or more, giving me a very good time of arrival. I was almost always within an hour of what I'd predicted 2800 miles and five days earlier.

When I decided to go full time with my writing career, I sat down and made a schedule. Currently, I have the months in which I'll start writing the next five books scheduled as well as when each will be published and which specific books would be promoted when, over the next fifteen months. Some haven't even been written yet. 

"But, Wayne, I'm just not inspired to write today." 
Are you a writer? Then WRITE!

Break that long schedule down into smaller, more manageable schedules. Can we call these smaller chunks of the big schedule Books? My next book, I'm scheduled to start writing in three weeks and it will be published by early February during a huge promo for the first book in my series. I hope to gain 50,000 new readers with this promo and release. If only half of those go on to read the whole series, that's 125,000 books sold next year, or almost half a million bucks! That means I have four months for me to come up with an idea, create an outline, write that crucial first sentence, finish the book, choose a cover photo, beta reading, editing, proof reading.... Well, you get the picture. Sounds daunting, huh?

"In four months?" 
Are you a writer? Then WRITE!

Four months is 120 days. Subtract 20 days for beta reading, editing and proof reading and during that time, work with the photographer and cover designer and get started with the submission process and formatting. That leaves 100 days to write a 100K word novel. That will require a minimum of 1,000 words written each day. They don't have to be perfect. They just have to be there. A couple hundred extra words will give you a day off now and then to go to the kids' ball games.

"How do you write 1,000 words a day?" 
Are you a writer? Then WRITE!

This post is just over 1,000 words long and took less than an hour to write. A thousand words isn't all that much. To a journalist, it's a column and a half. Yeah, it's just the meanderings of my mind about how I go about planning for success, but that's the point. My books are just the meanderings of an over developed imagination. Aren't yours? Just let the words pour out onto the page and arrange them later. I like to "bookmark" my writing at the end of each day. The next day, I go back two bookmark places, delete that bookmark and start reading, editing as I go. Since I'm going back two days every day, the whole manuscript is proofread by me twice when I get to those two words, "The End". It also gets my head back into the game, picking up the storyline and pacing. Doesn't matter if you're a plotter or a pantser, getting your head back to where it was when you stopped the day before will give your story flow. My bookmarks are simple. When I stop, I skip a line, type in the number of words to that point and give it a style heading, so it appears in the TOC with the chapters. That way, I can just click on it and go to where I stopped two days ago.

In eleven months, starting in late June, 2013 and ending in late May, 2014, I wrote, edited, designed, planned and published four books. My fifth book will be released on the one year anniversary of the first. That's not a coincidence. I had it scheduled almost six months ago, when I published my third book and before I started writing number four. I had no idea at all what number five would be about at the time, but I knew when it would be published. Now my schedule includes releases in February, May, September, and December of 2015. I haven't got a clue what those books will be about either, because the scheduled time to think about that hasn't arrived yet.

Well, okay, I'm cheating my schedule a bit. I know what the February release will be about. The book I'm supposed to start in five weeks already has 10K words written. Developing a good writing habit isn't something you want to break, right? Besides, I want to enjoy some family time through the upcoming holidays and possibly go down island to put my toes in the sand for a few days, enjoy some good rum and get out of the snow.

Semper Fi,
Click here to Visit my Amazon Page to see my books.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Amazon Launches Kindle Unlimited in the UK

Right on the heels of unveiling Kindle Unlimited All-Stars, Amazon announced the launch of Kindle Unlimited in the United Kingdom today.

This is good news for avid readers across the pond. For only £7.99 a month, readers in the UK can download and enjoy as many books as they wish from the 650,000 titles available. That's a big savings if you read more than a couple of books a month.

The news of the unveiling came a week ahead of schedule, as it was originally planned for October and appeared on the companies main page this morning at http://www.amazon.co.uk/ with a video description.

Just as here in the US, readers in the UK can subscribe for 30 days at no charge to test the waters. 

My latest novel, Fallen Mangrove, is still with the editors for ten days now. I was originally told the editing process could take anywhere from a week to ten days, so I'm hoping to get it back today. Once I receive it, I'll spend a few days going over the suggested revisions, before sending it to my proofreaders for final eyes. Time is getting tight after today. My discounted soft launch (sent out to my newsletter subscribers only) is coming up very soon. The public launch at regular price is scheduled for 10/4, just ten days from today.

I'm currently working on another book, tentatively titled Fallen Reef and planning a release in early 2015.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Amazon Introduces Kindle Unlimited All-Stars.

Amazon released a new program this past week, Kindle Unlimited All-Stars. You've probably already heard about Kindle Unlimited, which was launched on July 18th and allows readers to download unlimited ebook "borrows" for only $9.99 per month. Avid readers are saving a fortune with it and these days, you have to save money anywhere you can.

Amazon determined their most popular books by genre, by adding up the number of books sold, borrowed from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, and the number of books read in Kindle Unlimited. These authors were recognized as the Kindle Unlimited All-Stars for August. 

I was not only recognized as one of the inaugural All-Stars, but Amazon even picked me to be the very first Featured All-Star. When I learned about this I was absolutely blown away. As if being chosen as one of Amazon's top sellers weren't enough. I'm humbled beyond belief. Click here, to check out the Kindle Unlimited All-Star listings.

A year and a half ago, I was just a truck driver, hauling over sized loads from South Carolina to the coal, copper, silver, and gold mines in the Rocky Mountain states. In June of last year, I learned about self publishing for the first time and recalled a dream I had three decades ago to be a writer. My work was turned down by several dozen publishers back then and I was discouraged, to say the least.

Long story short, I decided to compile the short stories I'd written way back then, modernize them and write a couple of novels with the hope of maybe earning enough to set up a wood working shop and get off the road. Last October, I released my first book and last May, I quit my job and came home to be with my family. Less than 15 months after hearing about self publishing, I have four books on Amazon, a fifth one coming out in two weeks and was chosen as the first Kindle Unlimited Featured All-Star.

Since then, I've been contacted by a few bloggers and reporters for interviews. Everything's moving way faster than I ever figured. I like to plan things out and move forward at sort of a slow, steady pace. I've even been called a plodder, before. 

Only in America, my friends.

 Semper Fi,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

So, you want to be an author?

For all you folks wondering if your dream of being an author can ever come true. Yes, it can! But, dreaming about it won't do it. You must act. Ben Franklin once said, "Failing to prepare is the same as preparing to fail." He was of course, talking about preparing for war with the British once the Declaration of Independence was signed. But, I've come to realize all those old guys from years ago were probably the most intelligent group to ever live at one time, in one place. Much of the things they wrote can be taken myriad number of ways.

Did I dream about making a better living for me and my family with my story telling? Yeah, for many years. But, I was target fixated. That's when a fighter pilot concentrates so hard on the tango he's trying to shoot down, he completely misses the other one coming up behind him. My target for nearly three decades was getting on the bookstore shelves. I'd never heard of an ebook. Then, our oldest daughter and her husband gave me a Kindle for Christmas two years ago. A few months later, I mentioned to him that I'd been reading a lot of authors I'd never heard of on it. He told me they were probably self published. That's when I learned he worked for Amazon. When I mentioned I'd been trying to get published since the eighties, he explained how self publishing worked and showed me on my laptop how to do it. That was in June, 2013, one year and three months ago.

A month later, I took out those dusty short stories from the late eighties and began writing my first novel based on them. I was determined to do it. My goal was to compile and lengthen those three shorts into two novels and with any luck, I could make enough to buy tools for a wood working shop. I was a truck driver and wanted desperately to get off the road and work for myself, building furniture, cabinets and most of all, boats.

I cranked out my first book, with little or no guidance, in three months and published it last October. I put it out of my mind completely and started on the second one. Though it was 20K words longer, I cranked it out in 2-1/2 months. Mind you, I was working upwards of 70 hours a week as an over the road truck driver and writing in the sleeper of the truck. My first goal was to get both books published before Christmas and that's just what I did, 178K words in less than six months, publishing my second book on 10/23. December sales were only a couple hundred dollars, most of it after the second book. January sales were over $2500. More than enough for all the tools I wanted.

That's when it hit me. I could make a living at this, which had been a dream for decades. Something else hit me at about the same time. The numbers. I realized I'd written 178,000 of my own words in two stories, in 178 days. One thousand words a day. I'd read somewhere that was the key to successful writing. And those two stories earned me $2500 in one month! It wasn't hard to calculate that two more stories in six months would double that income. I hadn't yet learned about how ranking and  exposure caused exponential sales of multiple works. I knew nothing about book marketing, or even proper editing, cover design and formatting. I was wet behind the ears at 55.

That's about the time I found Kindle Boards (www.KBoards.com) and all the writers that hang out in the Writers' Cafe forum there. What a blessing that was. I spent a month lurking and learning everything I could, soaking in the vast expanse of accumulated creative and marketing knowledge that are right there on those boards. I learned what worked and more importantly, I learned what didn't work. Armed with better weaponry, I attacked my first two books with a vengeance and rereleased them as second editions with much better covers, formatting and a marketing plan. Sales climbed slightly and I started on a third book, but without the guidance of those short stories.

I wanted to write about something that I was emotionally too close to, so I sought the help of a young Marine who'd recently left the Corps after three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Infantryman. He's the son of a friend and suffered post traumatic stress. At first he was reluctant, until I told him about my own demons. It took us a while, but I like to think we put together a fictional story that might help others to seek out someone to talk to. I published Fallen Pride in early April, 2014. Sales that month were equal to my best month as a truck driver. I was almost there. I could feel it.

From KBoards, I learned a "feeder" was needed, but I was reluctant to reduce the price of my first book, or EGAD, make it permafree. So in just six weeks, I cranked out a 53K word prequel to the others and knowing that my dream was doable and already having a good emergency savings and retirement in place, I QUIT MY JOB half way through writing it. Fallen Out was published on May 30, two weeks before the one year anniversary of the first time I ever heard about self publishing. Since day one, it's been my sales leader, drawing in more and more readers. I intentionally made it a little jerky, to more closely match the pace of my first book.

Last month, I earned more than four times my best trucking month and now KDP wants to reward that hard work by slapping on another three grand? Yes, my friends, dreams really can come true. But, not without sacrifice and hard work. Oh, and planning to succeed. In the Corps, I had a Platoon leader who always reminded us of the "Seven P's", "Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance".

Dream big. My wife and I did this together and then we laid out a detailed plan, in writing, exactly what we needed to do, to make those dreams a reality.

Learn. I was shooting emails back and forth last night with one of my favorite writers, who is now a close friend. Although I didn't discover his work until after I'd started writing my second book and his books were a few years old, we agreed that our works were eerily similar. We both chalked it up to being kindred spirits. He said, "There are no original thoughts, Wayne. Only reorganized ones." There's nothing you can think of doing that hasn't already been done. My dad always told me, "A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of other men." KBoards forums are full of successes and failures. Fortunately, I'd stumbled onto a place where people don't mind sharing both. If something didn't work for other people, why would you try it? Some ideas on there, you can tweak and "rearrange the thoughts" to make it better. It's all there, though. Learn it.

Work hard. One thousand words a day, by habit, will create four 80K-90K word novels a year. You won't make squat with the first one, so hammer out something that'll lure and hook readers. When you have withdrawals because you're not writing that thousand words a day, you'll start to see some success. In some genres, that might happen fast. In others, slower. You might well be a talentless hack. That's okay. Do you honestly think Tiger Woods first game was three under par? Learn and work hard to gain that talent. It's not a sprint. My feeble success was thirty years in the making. That's an ultra-marathon. Sure, there are the very rare few that hit exactly the pacing and many readers happy button and hit it out of the park very early in their career. Odds are you're not going to be one of them. Work toward the future.

Set your prices high. Don't let the market dictate that you should be giving your stuff away cheap. Get that second book out in less than three months. Do a little marketing, so you're part time gig can make enough to pay for itself. Good covers and editing cost money. This will also keep your significant other from screaming that you're squandering the savings.

Keep writing. Hone your craft. Don't be afraid to experiment, there's always a delete button. If you don't like it and you're writing in the genre you like to read, others probably won't either. But, don't let that be your limiting factor. Play around and have fun.

Write what you know. Don't try to write about how beautiful the ocean is if you live in Nebraska and have never seen it. It will show. I'm fortunate. I'm old and have seen a lot more than most. From the islands of the Caribbean to the Columbia River, from the foggy cliffs of Maine, to Rodeo Drive and everywhere in between. I've visited and lived in more foreign countries than most people have visited cities. Write in the genre you most like to read, you already know the pacing of what you like. As a reader, my books are exactly what I love to read.

It's not a dream for the faint of heart. People will call you out in reviews. Friends will tell you it's not possible. I spoke to a guy I used to work with the other day and he asked who I was now driving for. I told him I was still working for myself as a writer, four months after quitting my job. "Ah, unemployment, huh?" he said. "You know that won't last forever." I didn't tell him I'd already made way more since quitting, than I did all of last year as a driver. An easily discouraged person without a plan will sell one copy a month of their one and only book for many years. If a $2 a month pension is okay with you, by all means stop right there. If you want an income stream you can leave to your kids, ignore the nay sayers, think positive, make a plan to achieve your dream and work hard to get there.

But, it all starts with a plan. A dream without a plan is just a wish. And their ain't no dang genies.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Three weeks until the release of Fallen Mangrove, the 5th novel in the Jesse McDermitt action/adventure series.

I finished Fallen Mangrove a week ago and sent it to about a dozen beta readers chosen for their expertise in certain fields or the location where much of the action takes place. I've received their recommendations and will be making the final edits throughout the day and tonight.

In the morning, I'll email the manuscript to my editors who will pick it apart, line by line, paragraph by paragraph and chapter by chapter for a week to ten days. By 9/24, ten days from now, they'll return my shredded masterpiece and tell me what a hack I am and recommend I go back to truck driving. Well, at least that's how it'll feel. I'll spend the rest of that week and the weekend putting it all back together, making the edits and plot changes they recommend and that I agree with.

About 10/1, I'll have it uploaded to the printer and Amazon, ready for a soft launch. It will be priced at only $.99 for the Kindle version and $11.99 for paperback. These prices are as low as I can make them, without owing Amazon money for each sale and the prices will only last for 24 hours. Only those on my newsletter mailing list and Facebook Fan Page will get the exact date and time of the soft launch. One person's name on the mailing list will be drawn on 9/20 and they will receive the very first physical copy printed, which I'll sign and ship to them as soon as it arrives.

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If you haven't read any of the Jesse McDermitt series, you should start with Fallen Out: Jesse McDermitt Series, The Beginning . It's been in Amazon's Top 5 Sea Adventures since it was published on 5/30, as a prequel to the other books in the series. Usually at #1.

Semper Fi,