This is a Reading of “Dear Marc” from Letters Never Meant to be Read.
Send in your own letters, we dare you…
“It’s tragic to think that heroic man’s great destiny is to become economic man, that men will be reduced to craven creatures who crawl across the globe competing for money, who spend their nights dreaming up new ways to swindle each other. That’s the path we’re on now. What a withering, ignoble end…”
―Jack Donovan, The Way of Men
Who is Jack Donovan? I didn’t know and that was fine. Then, I stumbled upon his work, a conceptual analysis of masculinity. I wondered: How did I get so far off course? Where did I go wrong? Where are my friends? My brothers? Why am I ashamed of The Way of Men?
I have to admit that for most of my life, I have been searching for something. A group, a religion, a cause, somewhere to belong, somewhere to be. This is one of the reasons I joined the Army, to be a part of a brotherhood. For the comradery, the mutual respect, the guidance, the paratrooping, and the sacrifice. I am not saying that I found what I was looking for in this book, but perhaps I’ve been looking in the wrong places.
“If you are never truly challenged in a meaningful way and are only required to perform idiot-proofed corporate processes to get your meat and shelter, can you ever truly be engaged enough to call yourself alive, let alone a man?”
―Jack Donovan, The Way of Men
I want to be the first to tell you that this is NOT a feminist-bashing book or a guide to be a cool jerk and pick up women. This book, like most analyses of life, WILL NOT tell you what to do to be successful. Instead, it offers a hard slap that reveals reality after the headache subsides. It awakens us to the dangerous path that men face should we tramp along, maintaining the gaze at our shoes. This book also stresses the importance of being a part of a tribe.
What is masculinity? Ask ten men and you’ll get ten vague, conflicting answers. Unlike any book of its kind, The Way of Men offers a simple, straightforward answer-without getting bogged down in religion, morality, or politics. It’s a guide for understanding who men have been and the challenges men face today. The Way of Men captures the silent, stifling rage of men everywhere who find themselves at odds with the over-regulated, over-civilized, politically correct modern world. If you’ve ever closed your eyes and wished for one day as a lion, this book is for you.
What I Liked About This Book:
I could quote Donovan for days. This is the kind of book that one reads which makes you highlight entire sections and say: You Know What? He’s Right.
The author takes on the challenge of describing the difference between being a good man and being good at being a man.
“Being good at being a man isn’t a quest for moral perfection, it’s about fighting to survive. Good men admire or respect bad men when they demonstrate strength, courage, mastery or a commitment to the men of their own renegade tribes. A concern with being good at being a man is what good guys and bad guys have in common.”
―Jack Donovan, The Way of Men
Donovan’s keen observations on the turning of our society is not just backed by jargon alone. His use of quotes and research is relentless. He provides historical examples in context but gives the reader enough to chew on without being arrogant.
Where do I go from here? What do I do? Are these simply things to keep in mind, a new mode of being, a way of looking at the world? This book has enlightened me enough to be proud of who I am. It has taught me to be less apologetic, less explanatory, and therefore, less problematic.
What I Didn’t Like About This Book:
I still don’t know who Jack Donovan is and I remain uncertain. Yet, I am intensely intrigued and scared at what I may find. An illusion? A better Man?
I think that some may pick this book up believing that it will tell them what to do. It does not. To be fair, it starts to at the end when Donovan suggests to Form a Gang. His other books, also on my Summer Reading List, may be more practical in nature but this is more food for thought on the meaning of masculinity in our time.
I had to break this book up over a few weeks as I found his style of writing and citation both intense and overbearing. Why? I often read three books at a time with such eagerness. I read magazines, newspapers, and blogs. How could this book throw such a wrench in my reading machine? Easy, because it made me think too much.
It’s hard to knock a book for making you think. This book was too short and very dangerous. I will read it again.
This made me question a great deal, yet still I wonder who is the man behind the book? A complicated man, to be sure.
His controversial book Androphilia was reportedly “…required reading for young homosexual men looking for an alternative to disco balls, rainbow flags and celebrity gossip.” – Just Out, Portland. What? Jack Donovan is gay? Might be. Ok, fine.
How has he come to such conclusions? Is he for real? How does he live these principles he describes? I have no doubt that a day with Jack Donovan would change me forever, which is a tad scary.
This brings me to another point: accessibility.
“Western men are supposed to constantly ask women for permission and make sure women don’t feel threatened or undermined in any way.”
―Jack Donovan, The Way of Men
I know what he means and I see myself fall into certain traps with regards to my interpersonal relationships. Yet, I wonder how many would be turned off? How many men with daughters like me would have difficulty swallowing a hard truth?
This is no way means that I think Donovan should have made this work more accessible or watered down. Bitter pills are best swallowed whole.
“Honor Diversity” is an interesting slogan, because it essentially means “honor everyone and everything.” If everyone is honored equally, and everyone’s way of life is honored equally, honor has no hierarchy, and therefore honor has little value according to the economics of supply and demand. “Honor diversity” doesn’t mean much more than “be nice.”
―Jack Donovan, The Way of Men
What this Does for My Writing:
This tops the charts with Branding. From cover design, to his small press, to his social media, Jack is a work of art. This makes sense, it is what he studied. His covers are instant T-shirts and highly recognizable. I actually tried to emulate his simple yet tragic style on my Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss cover. He himself is a masculine figure which commands idolization. I would follow him into a jungle, I think. Is that where we are going Jack?
Reading this book has made me want to write a guide for young men. I think that men ages 13-22 could do well learning some of these principles, especially with regards to honor.
Earlier, I reviewed The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green. The diction in that book makes me narrate my life as I live it and want to write. I do not get the same effect from The Way of Men. Instead, I think hard and long about my own plight, and that of the universe. This is one of the reasons this relatively short book took me so long to read.
Be careful friend, should you tread down this wild path.
More Books by Jack Donovan:
With the Audiobook production of Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss and Letters Never Meant to be Read underway, I noticed that I did not receive as many auditions as I had on my previous Audiobook projects on ACX.
For these projects, I was calling for female voice actors to perform these books. In the past, the projects called for male voices. I was able to get enough auditions on my previous book projects to pick and choose a little and really find the right male voice.
Modern Waste received 26 auditions for royalty split, and nonfiction offering Where Did You Go?: A 20th Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again by Andrew Brechko got 40 plus. Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss and Letters Never Meant to be Read got only 1 (WS still open) and 6, respectively. Still, with the 6 for Letters, I was still able to find one great audition from Pamela Hershey, who seems to be new to the platform. The book is in production as I speak and will be ready for sale on Audible in a month or two.
This made me wonder just how many women verses men their are producing Audiobooks on ACX? Turns out, my observation was correct.
Male Producers (English)- 30881
Female Producers (English)- 24648
That is only a 56% to 44% difference you say? Well, with thousands of titles going into production every day, along with some lengthy production times, 6000+ more males than female actors can certainly mean less female auditions for your projects.
For the indie writer and publisher, this can mean less choice in who does your book.
I recently edited, produced, and published Andrew Brechko’s Where Did You Go?: A 21st Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again. What started as an enthusiastic discussion in the middle of a night maneuver, we two soldiers decided to produce a book together. Then, after bouts of sweaty misery in the Louisiana swamps, contacts were exchanged and promises were made.
Hard to believe, but 7 months later, we had a finished product that I believe to be a great starter book for my Army buddy Andrew, which also carries a good message to the reader. Given some coaching and time behind the keys, Andrew can be a prolific non-fiction author with excellent subject matter. On the whole, the book serves as a new path to take and has reportedly caused entire sections of the workforce to call it quits and follow their dreams.
After things settled a bit, I put the book up for audition on ACX. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we received over 40 auditions. I suppose that self- help or time management style books that are short are the bread and butter for some producers.
What an amazing platform and God Bless America because I found Barry Dean Evans.
Barry entered the voice over world at radio station KANS in Larned, Kansas. After a degree in Radio/TV Journalism from Kansas State University (EMAW!) he continued at NPR affiliate KSAC in Manhattan, then with radio station KFDI in Wichita, KS and KRMG in Tulsa, OK. Barry then became chief recording engineer and voice talent at Irving Productions in Tulsa for more than 30 years before starting Irving Sound, LLC in 2012.
Barry has voiced, appeared on-camera, edited, produced and written radio and television commercials from coast to coast and around the world. His projects include, the BASSMasters, ESPN, the Kentucky Derby/NBC, the University of Tulsa football and basketball, the Outdoor Channel, White Tail Country, Under Wild Skies, 6 Flags over Texas, Sonic, Arby’s, Thrifty Car Sales, Phillips 66, Garmin, Dowell Schulmberger and he was the voice of ESPN Classic for 10 years. His most recent work has been for CitiBank and GTA Telecommunications in Guam.
ESPN classic? Really? Such luck that Barry took kindly to our little project and produced an awesome Audiobook. Here was his audition and sample of the work:
Editing is hard. Editing a first-time author? Dangerous. I teach English, I should know where commas go, right? Wrong!
Barry did such a great job at reading through minor errors that I did not see with my eyes peeled, and run-on sentence structure. I plan to use his recording when I edit the book (again) and release the 2nd edition.
Turns out, both Andrew and I have an unusual attraction to the same plague: long-winded sentence structure.
I spent many cold mornings between 5am-7am writing and rewriting his work. I even sent it off for proofreading to my “go to guy” just in case. I feared the danger.
The danger that Andrew and I both fear is periods.
All is well that ends well though and I can do better, WILL do better. I have learned a great deal. With solid voice artists like Barry, we can all see our dreams come alive with sound.
I urge anyone with a book out there on Amazon or other platform to consider publishing their title with ACX. With more Audible customers every day and less competition overall, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.
If you are wondering how to produce your audiobook for free with ACX, check out my previous post on “Why Audible and ACX are a MUST for Indie Authors.”
If you have any questions on producing your own Audible and iTunes versions, feel free to ask.
Now, go click a few dozen times, find your actor, and produce the Audio. I dare you…
Check out Andrew at http://abrechkooutdoors.com/
As part of my Summer Reading List, this book breezed by as I clocked the hours in my car. My mom recommends books all the time and I do try and make a mental note whenever she tells of a good read. Often, with all the robberies, holdups, cases, and school fights I get involved in, I hardly get a chance to squeak a main-stream book in that her lady friends are reading for book club.
I do wish this particular group of ladies would sit with their glasses of wine and discuss one of my gems. I’ll keep trying.
In this case, I listened to the Audible edition because, well, I likely wouldn’t have read it any other way.
I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the book more than I thought I would as I hit the road right along with the protagonist.
When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he’d planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger–and amuse himself–he decides to show the monk some “American fun” along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world–and more important, his life–through someone else’s eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing.
In Roland Merullo’s masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder, bemusement, and wry humor of a man who unwittingly finds what he’s missing in the most unexpected place.
A sequel, entitled Lunch with Buddha, is now available. In a starred review, Kirkus magazine called this novel which continues the journey of Otto and Rinpoche, “a beautifully written and compelling story about a man’s search for meaning that earnestly and accessibly tackles some well-trodden but universal questions” and a “quiet meditation on life, death, darkness and spirituality, sprinkled with humor, tenderness and stunning landscapes.”
What I Liked about this Book:
Ok, so this book was released about ten years ago but still maintains a timeless vibe that could easily go on for another thirty years, or whenever the Americana that the book describes no longer makes sense for comparison. The narrator and protagonist is an editor of largely Cookbooks who sets out on a painful road trip with a man he was not expecting. Together they tour the northern tier of America and the narrative serves as a reflection of our shimmering reality.
I must note that I am a sucker for a road-trip or quests of any kind. I love books and movies that span a fair amount of time and physical location.
The author offers solid transitions between the internal struggles of a middle-aged man who seems to have everything, and the outward appearance of our era.
This book is a fun, candid story about growth. It offers a novel approach to understanding human nature and the capacity to learn even after you seem to know everything. The author conveys this theme well by using a clever narrative where small squabbles and large conflict are paramount.
Both the internal and external struggle of the protagonist, named Otto, lead to a revelation within the story of two very different people on a road trip. I also appreciate the glance at Buddhism, among many other religions, as I am in study. I daresay that I learned more from this book regarding my mental state than I have at some of those Beginner’s Guide to Buddhism books that are out there.
What I Didn’t Like About this Book:
Pacing. Some sections I felt were too long, while others, too short. There were some parts that could have been cut to leave room for more sights, more experiences for the pair to enjoy, fight, and reflect over. I wanted to see more of America.
I also think some of the struggles the main character goes through may fall on deaf ears. He has everything, or seems to. I do not share this comfortable reality with the protagonist: his steady job as an editor of food publications, or his wondering whether his life has meaning despite the success he has achieved.
The protagonist is pondering, against his will, whether or not there is meaning behind his comfortable life and thus, the inner struggle ensues with the help of a spiritual guide.
Difficult to relate to because so many people, myself included, are struggling for real with overdo bills, credit reports, underemployment, etc. We already know the big prize is at the end is jaded and not working. We already suspect there is more to life than one job in one career=success and happiness via a big house and 2.5 new cars. We suspect this because we have to and the target is moving.
How nice for a middle-aged man to be able to take weeks off and find himself in the rubble of America that the author seems to only want to hint at, but never dive into.
What this Does for My Writing:
Branding much? Yeah, author Roland Merullo has quite the following, along with sequels Lunch With Buddha, Dinner With Buddha, and Rinpoche’s Remarkable Ten-Week Weight Loss Clinic, among other works that defy genre. All of his work seems to have great reviews and in high numbers.
Also, if you want to write a road-trip or physical and spiritual quest style book, this would be good to read and would help serve as something of a template.
If you are in need of a pick-me-up or just feeling down, I recommend this book for at least a different perspective.
Please, Feel Free to Comment below.
This book was actually suggested to me on Audible. I am sure that I am confusing the robots in the sky by my varied purchases. I saw it then, with credits burning in my pocket, but discovered that the book was on pre-order and I added it to my wishlist long ago.
I thought because my Letters Never Meant to be Read was being largely bought by women, to my delight, that this book would give me some insight into that and help me with my Facebook and Amazon Ad copy.
Women drive 80% of consumer spending. The most powerful determining factor of how we see the world is GENDER. In today’s business market, women hold buying power of $4.4 trillion dollars, in the U.S. alone.
Mastering the skill to tap into the world’s largest buying segment will give you the competitive advantage you need. Dawn Jones shares 7 techniques for bridging the gap and capturing more business.
Why Women Buy will equip you to stay ahead of your competition and master the art of selling to half the population.
What I Liked About this Book:
The first three chapters or so were great, exactly what I was looking for. It gave me some insight into retail buying behaviors of women and the idea that relationships and communication can have an impact on women’s’ purchases. I wanted some insight so that I could come up with better ad copy. This sort of helped, but with no real result.
There were some great discussions on social norms, biology, sociology, and psychology that could potentially help a marketeer in their pursuit of a target audience. In order to use this to your advantage, you must weed through the garden to find the gems of info.
The performance of the Audio book was awkward in parts but overall a great reading by author, coach, and entrepreneur Dawn Jones. I could listen to her voice for a long time. She does a great job at making a dry subject entertaining.
What I Didn’t Like About this Book:
By Chapter 4, this book drives toward direct sales or business to business marketing. I had flashbacks of my old roommate cold calling in the other room as he tried to sell magazine ads. Not really my cup of tea, and NOT what I was looking for in the slightest.
Indie booksellers ARE retailers. We often do this from a distance and our tactics are very different than that of a direct salesperson. An author must develop an elevator pitch but a lot of what is required involves copy: cover, back cover, book description, ads, promotional, etc. We try NOT to be pushy upfront with “Buy My Book!” and all that.
How This Effects My Writing:
I believe that I could listen to the first three chapters to give me at least a boost of confidence before writing copy which targets women readers on Facebook.
As for my fiction, not much. Reading is good for the soul in any manner. Listening to someone express their ideas with clear focus and direction is beneficial even if I don’t really dig the content.
If you are interested in direct sales and boardrooms, I recommend this book. This book is a little misleading in the ad copy, go figure.
I normally don’t review books that I don’t love, but it is on my summer list and I blew through this thing (only 3hrs and 53min) within a couple of days of driving. The overall performance and some information contained really saved this book.
Can you recommend any books to help with writing ad copy?
Please Comment Below.
This is my first year teaching and the moment is upon us here in the South, Summer Vacation. I have a number of plans to include some light burglary and home repairs. But above all, I plan to do a great deal of READING and WRITING.
Below is a short list of the books I intend on reading. Some are not Indie, some are. Just like my writing, I will genre hop. If you do not see your genre included here, DO NOT be afraid to ask. I am always open to explore. Other books are for sport, entertainment, or writing practice.
If you want your work to be reviewed, I accept ARCs, but if I can, I will buy it. You can check out my review page above or just shoot me a message below or on Twitter.
Due to the fact that I will likely spend a lot of time in the car this summer, Audible copies are often moved to the front.
This is by no means a complete list, but a starter list and NOT in any particular order. I hope to review these books and many others, so please send in your requests.
2. Scooped this up on Kindle Unlimited, already started and I like it so far…
3. Niels Saunders follows my blog and I am genuinely interested in his writing. Not going to lie, I DO want to take a picture with a pineapple and I love his branding. If he is paying attention, he will send me an ARC. He has a newer book out Grand Theft Octo that I may get to later.
4. and 5. I received these copies from Joanne Van Leerdam all the way from Australia! Stained Glass will be a gift after I read and review. I reviewed her short story collection New Horizons here.
6. 80% finished already, Jack Donovan is very interesting indeed.
7. Picked this up at a bargain at McKay’s Used books in Knoxville, TN. Great Store.
8. Picked this up at a bargain at McKay’s Used books in Knoxville, TN. Great Store.
9. This book is written entirely in letters. Such great practice filled with enjoyment for the next Letters Never Meant to be Read. Also picked this up at a bargain at McKay’s Used books in Knoxville, TN. Great Store.
10. Because “Your Mother Should Know…”
12. The Eon Chronicles: A New Order Emerges Book 1 of the Eon Chronicles Trilogy (Volume 1). I actually went to high school with Daniel Sopp and now we are sort of family by marriage. I have been meaning to get to this book. It is out of print now but maybe if it is good, I can convince him to let me do a reprint.
14. Because I well…run. I picked this gem up at Alan’s Used Books.
16. I have read some of this already. Sections of the book are for traditional publishing methods, but I will revisit this and possibly review.
17. Have to see what this is about and check out Derek Murphy’s tactics in fiction form. I will read this with my daughter.
18. Because…I want to know.
19. Newer cover is better and I listened to it before. I will listen again, maybe it will help…
20. Love a little Faulkner. A little hard to follow at times, but it gets the words flowing.
21. I got to like day 12 and got distracted, which the book warns against. I will follow through with this and review.
22. Same as above. I started reading tactics in the book and got distracted from finishing. I will finish and review.
23. Because…Jack Donovan
24. Because…Jack Donovan
25. ADD YOUR TITLE TO THE LIST!!!
Too many? Too little? We’ll see.
Don’t see your book on the list?
Comment below and I am sure to oblige. Remember, Audible books will usually be reviewed sooner!
Two years ago, I was a stupid writer who only wrote stories and refused to recognize the importance of my blog and social media in general. I have no time, or…I should be writing…It’s so impersonal…These are the common excuses.
My friend set up my Twitter Account (for a price). I was blogging on my own but sporadically, which didn’t make much of a difference except for my core supporters and family who would check in every once in a while.
When my good friend set up my Twitter account, he aimed to get me numbers. Not the kind of numbers I needed, but just followers.
Now, I see blogging and tweeting as fun and a value to my writing. I met some Amazing people on Twitter: A.M. Hounchell, who I am now writing a book with, Derek Murphy who I can’t stop watching on YouTube, Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur, and A.Z. Anthony and Jo van Leerdam whose books I reviewed. Jo is sending me a signed poetry book from Australia! Among Many others…
I can pitch stories, do book reviews, and just talk about my two favorite activities, Reading and Writing.
It is such great practice as well and I can get a word count going and reach people in a meaningful way. Blogging has helped my writing because I am, well, writing more often and on various subjects. I can also talk about my work and pitch.
I can meet other indie authors too, buy their books, call for submissions, and just mingle with people who have the same goals. Some are further along, some are starting out like me.
Tweeting is fun too and has given me many exercises in marketing, micro poetry, books to read, memes to create, etc.
The problem was, I had too many people that I was following for no reason. This has given me less clout with my measly 2700+ followers (I thank you all) and has filled my news feed with so much stuff I don’t care about (politics) that it has been hard to decipher who I really want to interact with and re tweet.
I needed to take the plunge and do what several people have told me to do and use a Twitter Manager.
I first checked out Hootsuite because EVERYBODY says use Hootsuite. Too many features for me right now, and I would end up paying for features I would never use. I also checked out Meet Edgar, Post Planner, and Buffer.
For now, all I really want to do is manage Twitter and maybe Facebook, and be able to connect my blog.
So, I set upon the YouTube journey of discovery…
I watched the following videos in this order:
This video is long and he does repeat himself so I suggest you use the time markers in the description in order to jump to the info you want.
You can try ManageFlitter for free without any effort (no forms or whatever) which I was pleasantly surprised about.
I started hacking at inactive followers right away. I then scheduled some Tweets which was a cool feeling since I do it haphazard or on the fly. I also found the best times to tweet out my info. I then connected my blog which would allow me to schedule tweets from my RSS feed, awesome.
A few months ago, I saw this as impersonal. Now, I realize that what I was doing was impersonal. I can engage with the people I actually want to.
I upgraded to a Pro account which is 12.99 for now, the other option is 49.99 with all the bells and whistles. You can also use Facebook and LinkedIn profiles with ManageFlitter.
What I wanted to achieve is three things:
More about this later, but I thought it was at least important to let you know how I spent my Sunday afternoon.
I am going to be checking out more of Jerry Banfield, his website and videos. He really has a lot to offer and I appreciate the info. I have queued up his video on SEO that I can’t wait to watch:
Stay Classy Authors and Poets.
What is your Favorite Social Media Managing App and HOW DO YOU USE IT?
Please share in the comments below.
I feverishly listened to this title by Mike Wells after finding him on Twitter. I had several posts where I called upon my fellow indie authors for suggestions on what to listen to and review next on Audible. Nobody loves me, as it were, and I was left to my own devices.
Mike Wells is an American bestselling author of over 20 “unputdownable” thriller and suspense novels, including Lust, Money & Murder and Passion, Power & Sin. He is also known for his young adult books, such as The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer, The Wrong Side of the Tracks, and Wild Child, which are used by English teachers in high schools and colleges worldwide. Formerly a screenwriter, Wells has a fast-paced, cinematic writing style. His work is often compared to that of the late Sidney Sheldon, with strong and inspiring female heroes, tightly-written scenes, engaging action/dialogue, and numerous plot twists. He currently lives in Europe and has taught in the Creative Writing program at the University of Oxford.
Talk about branding! And “unputdownable” is right. I blew through the 20+ hours of these five books in less than a week (partly thanks to commute and stakeouts). Mike Wells’ work is his own brand, complete with predictable cover design and profitable categories. He has got his thing here and he does it well. I’m glad to have stumbled upon his work.
One spectacular financial scheme. One woman alone against the world. Young, beautiful, and yearning for love, Heather Bancroft meets the “perfect” man…and is lured into a game in which she begins to make more money than she ever imagined. Betrayed by her own innocence, she loses all that is dear to her and discovers that she has been mercilessly used. Defeated and broken, but surviving with sheer persistence and ingenuity, Heather emerges from her trying ordeal, determined to punish the ruthless man who destroyed her life. Her thirst for revenge takes her halfway around the globe, to the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, where her nemesis secludes himself in obscene wealth that he’s gained from the financial ruin of others. Heather is playing for the highest stakes in a lethal game. Only one man loves her – he’s handsome, confident, and just as determined as she is. Only one man can stop her – a criminal mastermind who is intent on her destruction.
What I Liked about this Book:
I sometimes look for value when using my precious Audible credits. At a run time of 21 hours and 4 minutes, this book provided a lot of air time and is jam packed with twists and turns. I loved the opening scene which showed the antagonist and his doings first before going to the protagonist Heather Bancroft.
Characterization was great in this book, even minor characters had a soul and some dark secrets to boot. The protagonist Heather Bancroft is morally ambiguous yet somehow centered. She is both pretty and practical, driven by emotion, while still cunning. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the redhead just a little.
I absolutely love books and movies that span a great deal of time and space. Up for some international travel? Well, you can surely find it here. Heather tramps across New York, France, the old Soviet block, Turkey, the Mediterranean, and Japan.
If you are looking for a good beach read or need to kill time on an international flight, this will do the trick. You’ll be entertained, you’ll commit some white collar crimes, and you’ll have fun along the way.
What I didn’t like about this book:
Some of the twists were unbelievable, even for Heather Bancroft, but it is entertaining. The author also seems to have an imbalance of “show verses tell” but maybe that’s the point. If he didn’t tell some of the scenes, this book would be twice as long which might not fit into Mike’s audience.
The ending. Without giving anything away, I feel the ending was abrupt and unexplained a bit. How did she have a reunion in France without the authorities ruining the party? I asked this of myself and made a note.
What this does for My Writing:
Yet another author that I feel could write circles around me and is probably doing so as we speak. He spans a lot of time, covers a good bit of ground, and makes me wonder in sickening delight, just how long it took him to write these books. Everything is reasonably believable, and straight to the point. I would love to take some lessons from him and cringe as he crosses out in red all of my useless explanations and garbage.
I believe his branding style could be adapted to my gritty crime novel Modern Waste, a book I have mostly written a sequel for but I am worried that nobody cares about.
I will need to investigate Mike Wells further to figure out how he sells books, as it is certainly worth noting. He seems to have book 1 in every series as free with some configuration of package deals.
This book is an easy read and can be picked up and put down on your beach blanket over and over again. You won’t avert your eyes or ears long as it keeps you enticed, just to see what Heather encounters next.
These are the results of a previous post where I outlined a multi-faceted marketing plan in order to jump start my Amazon KDP Select Free Promo Days- A Case Study for Letters Never Meant to be Read.
If you missed my setup for this promo, please review the Case Study so the results make sense. There were several small tasks that I did to get ready for the marketing plan to make my page better, etc.
It’s always good to review the goals in order to gauge results:
KDP Select free days for Letters Never Meant to be Read were 4/21-4/25.
Goals: Garner more Reviews and Interest in the Project (Fans and Writers).
In the marketing plan, I spent
Total KDP Free days Promoters: $165.99
Pre-KDP Free days FB ad: $80
Budgeted for FB and Amazon During and Post (5 days after) KDP free days: $200
Total for this promotion: $445.99 + Ongoing $75 Twitter campaign from yourbookpromoter which adjusted tweets for the KDP free days= $520.99
Starting Point. Here is the data on the Amazon rankings as of April 20, 2017, one day before the promo:
Author Rank: 157,720 (obscurity).
Letters Kindle Version: 389,652 (not even the top pages of my categories).
Letters Print Version: 188,476 (just OK)
Below are the results of the free books downloaded which equal 3,839 free downloads, 2.9K on the first day.
Interestingly, my Kindle Unlimited numbers weren’t too shabby either during this period with 821 KENP total:
0 Paperbacks sold During this period.
Is this good? I don’t know what I would compare it with since Letters Never Meant to be Read is such a unique book.
What I do know is that nearly 4K readers decided to add it to their collection and this can’t be bad. Some of them may end up reading it on the beach this summer and review later, who knows? Thank you if you took a chance on us!
I also got #1 in my fav 2 categories which work best for this book:
More results: Now let’s see just what happened after. I can say that I made it as high as #32 in free in all of Amazon at one point.
We have been hovering between 25K-50K overall and never falling off the first page in my main category. Paperback sales have not been altered at all so I am not going to show the graph because it is sad.
Here is the after results for Kindle Units Sold since the promo. Nothing to write home about and I CERTAINLY will not get see any return on investment at this point:
Here is KENP after the promo:
New Reviews Since Promo: 2 (Hopefully this will go up as people read what is on their virtual shelves).
Letters Received from New Writers for the Next Volume: 1 (The Best Number).
Author Rank Now: 34,290 (not as obscure).
Letters Kindle Version Rank: 54, 807 (WAS 24,227 yesterday).
Letters Print Version Now: 1,339,909 (insert sad-faced emoji here).
Well, Now What?
I would first like to thank everyone who paid attention to this case study and I’d love to hear about your results with your own projects as well.
I would also like to thank all of OUR new readers who are scoping this out right now at LaGuardia Airport or sitting by the pool on a cruise somewhere. The thought of them keeps me going.
Was it worth it? Sure, I suppose. I spent a lot of time and $500, but it’s always worth a shot. This is also part of a larger plan and experimentation. If I run this with the new Worked Stiff Book, I am bound to get wildly different results.
I also was not looking for a one shot wonder or anything. I wanted more reviews and more letters coming in. Those numbers are just not there yet but I know that it will take time.
My confidence in the Letters Project as a whole has not wavered.
I am disappointed that Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss was delayed and I didn’t get it out during this promo which may have helped its initial sales.
I am running test Amazon ads right now which I will take a look at in another post.
Soon, I am going to go into a LESS MARKETING mode, just write, and get the next volume ready, the best marketing there is.
I am happy with the results in that a decent number of people downloaded the book. I just hope 10% of them read it and review on the beach later this summer. That will give me a lot more juice when I run Facebook ads later.
Next time, I will break up my promo days into 3, then 2, something that Dave suggested.
Perhaps Dave and Derek can shed some light on these numbers so I can stop scratching my head like a weird dragon.
If I missed something here, please let me know.
If anyone else has any help, comments, or guidance, I am all ears and strawberry licorice.