Don’t worry folks, just a little walk around the yard and me mumbling to myself. Don’t fear, I will still spend some time typing away for your enjoyment. I have several books that I am working on right now for fall release.
Don’t worry folks, just a little walk around the yard and me mumbling to myself. Don’t fear, I will still spend some time typing away for your enjoyment. I have several books that I am working on right now for fall release.
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/
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.
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.
Ok. So I mainly run Facebook Ads for Letters Never Meant to be Read. The results of those among other marketing efforts will come out soon. But I wanted to get a handle on Amazon Ads, or Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) because I have spent $100 dollars and only sold one book with them (what???).
I know, right? Sad. Not entirely true because it seems that Kindle Unlimited Lending Library stats are not reported on AMS.
I scooped up this book free on Amazon thinking I would get a better understanding of how Amazon Ads work. The book opened with the logic that direct sales on Amazon itself would be more productive than any other platform. The customers are already there and are mostly ready to spend money. I knew this already.
What I liked about this book:
One aspect of Amazon Ads that I did not understand for fiction writers is Targeting. AMS has an option for Automatic and Manual Targeting.
This is the part I was missing out on for the Letters Book. Although it is technically non-fiction, it is very important to do your own Manual Targeting and test those key words. You can use your own key words with a Cost Per Click adjustment as well as the suggested key words that Amazon lists for your book.
This suggests using authors and Google Adwords for Keyword planning.
Unfortunately, this is a two part deal. Not only do your keywords matter, but your ad copy matters too.
Test, Test, and more test. You must test the combination of keywords and ad copy to get the best conversion to sales. Expensive right?
Not really, the authors suggest a dollar a day on several campaigns. Once you find the right combination, pour money into that fire. The authors state that it is also difficult to get Amazon to spend your budget.
Also, the authors suggest “Most authors find that Product Display Adverts are not as effective for gaining sales…you will find that Sponsored Products are the simplest and most direct way…”
Choose Sponsored Products. I ran Product Display Ads one time, I don’t know what I was thinking.
What I didn’t like about this book:
Short much? Click bait in book form? Did this really take two authors to write?
Obviously, this is a link generating book with some insight and references to more knowledge but…necessary? No.
I didn’t even realize that I could have gotten this book, or some version, simply by giving one of my emails that I never check.
Luckily, it was free, but there is no way I would be happy if I spent a full 2.99 on this little gem.
Also, one of the authors references his guitar books and used those as examples of how to work the advertisements. I could have really used a little more help with using AMS to market fiction.
How this Changes My Marketing
Well, I did what the book said and I am now running 6 Amazon Ads. 3 for Letters Never Meant to be Read, 2 for Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss, and one for Andrew Brechko’s Where Did You Go?: A 21st Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again.
I used 30 different keywords on each. Is that enough? No, probably not. When I ran a taxi company before, I had 750 keywords that I used in Google Adwords.
I’m sure there is more and better information out there. I will go on the hunt tomorrow for free info on the web, maybe even run across your blog, who knows?
Scoop it up while it is free, read it in 30 minutes and adjust your ads accordingly.
Anybody run ads?
Anybody know of a better reference to Amazon or Facebook Ads out there?
I could use the help, Please Comment below.
The American Dream is still there for all of them, hidden in plain sight, riddled with confusion and abandonment.
This short story collection was a while coming but I am overall happy with the results. Between pulling teeth over the cover design, hiring an editor, and editing AGAIN on a 60 inch TV in a hotel in Tennessee, this has been quite the ride. How did it begin?
It all started this past fall when I was underemployed. Isn’t that how all mischief starts? I feverishly wrote before the light of day. I tested on the phone to unsuspecting victims. I was posting these and other stories on my blog. All because I read Miracle Mornings by Hal Elrod and Steve Scott and went off to the races every morning, writing whether I cared to or not. I am NOT a morning person, despite my military background, but I became one with coffee and anger.
I wrote a few of the stories while out on a case (I moonlight as a Private Investigator). I did some first drafts with Dragon Naturally Speaking, but most I crafted before anybody could get to me and ask for anything.
The first in this series Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common was an unusual 2nd book to put out. Yes, weird after Country Noir Modern Waste but that’s what a year in Russian school at the Defense Language Institute will do to you. Utterly demoralizing.
If you are interested in poetry, great art, or political treatise without picking sides, Poetry and Prose for the Common is good. If you are interested in selling books, it was not. What was I thinking?
Well, I was thinking about art and I am glad that was the first in the Worked Stiff Series but man was it difficult. Think layout is hard? Try adding stanzas and full page digital artwork into the mix.
Really though, I cut my teeth on that baby. And, after the first edition of Letters Never Meant to be Read, I can pull any project together.
So, naturally, a children’s book would be next, right? No!!!
I am actually working on a psychological thriller with A.M. Hounchell which I need to get back to. I will also be pulling together the next Worked Stiff: Crime Always Pays. Or, something to that effect.
Short Stories to Tell Your Boss was difficult because of editing and more and more editing. Why? Well, when you edit a novel or novella, you have mostly one POV and one tense. Short story compilations are tough and I found myself having to edit one story and taking a break before starting on another. This is after I hired an “editor”. I had to fix his mistakes too. There is no brevity as in a poetry book either.
I made the final cuts while in Tennessee, in a hotel, on active duty, plugged into a big flatscreen. That was so helpful and I am never going to edit any other way. All the mistakes were HUGE and it really helped me when I needed to read out loud.
I needed to get this out before I could move on. I know my writer buddies out there feel the same way at times. The cover design was a terrible process but I am satisfied enough for now and I can’t wait to see the print version.
I wanted this release to coincide with my KDP free promo days for the Letters Book but I hit a snag back there. This process has been a lesson in patience.
I am going to go for ACX tonight. I usually meander around awhile before doing the Audible version, but not this time.
Do tell if you see anything glaring and I sure hope you like it. My dog Maggie and I just got done with a long run and there is nobody home, and nobody will answer my calls of joyous celebration. So, I am sharing the release with you in this quiet way, for now.
Slow and Steady wins this one. May your night be wonderful and filled with dreams of paratroopers, android sex, and black mambas.
10 Reasons why Marc D. Crepeaux should Review Your Work on Amazon and Goodreads:
If you want Marc to check out your work, he is easily distracted. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Review Copies can also be sent to:
Rusty Wheels Media, LLC
attn: Marc D. Crepeaux
PO Box 1692
Rome, GA 30162
Reblog: Such a nice introduction for the collection of my work!
The new featured author today is Marc D. Crepeaux and his novel Modern Waste, a thriller set in a small town in north Georgia.
Modern Waste is a thrilling adventure of deception, murder, and corruption in a small town in north Georgia. The town’s gangs and old families control the county and its police. A rival from another town is taking over, and war is breaking out. As the title suggests, the book is filled with lives thrown away, and futures desecrated. This is about part of modern society that is often lost, people that live in the middle. They are on the fringe, between lawlessness and legitimacy.
A selection of reviews for the book
If you’re looking for black and white crime fiction dripping with romanticism look elsewhere. “Modern Waste” is set in the backwoods of North Georgia far removed from…
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I have had the unique opportunity to meet amazing people throughout my life and Army career. My good friend Andrew Brechko is no exception. Veteran, former teacher, and owner of ABrechko Outdoors, Andrew strives to get individuals back out into nature and focus their lives to meet success head on.
His first book Where Did You Go?: A 21st Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again is a call and answer for those who feel lost and that there is a level of success that they can achieve despite their current misconceptions about life or limitations.
Are you a cancer in your workplace or your home? Do you bring other people down instead of building them up? Do you have a dream that you want to follow? Your clock is ticking. The Mountain awaits you. Begin your ascent. As you climb, surround yourself with people who want the same thing. Stay away from those who ridicule your dreams and align yourself with those who support them. If they don’t understand, point them in the direction of this book to explain what you are doing.
Interview with Andrew Brechko:
Where did you get the idea for the book?
I started writing the book about five years ago when I was in Afghanistan. I had a lot of time to think when I was over there and I felt the urge to write. That’s where I started the book. I ended up setting it down for long periods of time and came back to it periodically over the past five years. It wasn’t until I resigned from my 9-5 last year that I actually came back to it with gusto and finished. Reading what I wrote and continuing to write helped be conquer my fears and served as an anchor over the past eight months as I dealt with a lot of failure and frustration in starting my businesses. This allowed me to put into practice what I wrote. I would lay on my girlfriends little red couch and feel beaten down. “Climb the mountain,” I would say to myself. This would get me out of the valley and back to work.
How does this unique view on life help you find success?
I think we all have to define our own definition of success and I think it has to change over time. If it doesn’t, it will stifle our growth. All too often we allow our society to define it for us. Turning off the noise and really exploring our passions, desires, and fulfillment principles helps create a good foundation or starting point for defining our success. The only rule that I hold constant in defining my own version of success is that it has to offer good to the world. If it meets that criteria, I can adjust the rest.
Many people look on their past with regrets. How do you use your past experiences to help yourself and others succeed?
I think regret is a mindset. If you are not making mistakes, you are not growing as a person. We only know what we know. Life is a blank novel, I write about that in the book. We write our own story. Focusing negative energy on mistakes or things that we did in the past is wasting our most valuable resource; time. Examine your regret. Learn from it. Embrace it but don’t repeat it. I always like to tell people that failure and triumph are equally important lessons to learn from. The world is cruel enough, why beat ourselves up.
What does success mean to you?
Success is always changing as I find my way in the world. Currently, as I said above, I want to add positivity into the world. Adding to that, I want to strengthen who I am. One of the things I have embraced recently is to keep my head down and my chin up. To become bulletproof in my resolve to see all aspects of my life move towards the better. I have really been working on applying this to my business, personal relationships, family relationships and myself. I am slowly starting to see the positive results and they’re building on each other. Very interesting to watch.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on two projects. I have been writing for my blog, ABrechko Outdoors, http://abrechkooutdoors.com/ every day exploring my mind and its interrelationship with the outdoors. Some of the posts are serious, some introspective, some are funny and even mundane. I am writing fearless right now, drawing from a past experience. I used to belong to an art group at a local gallery. One day I was drawing one of our models with very bright pastel colors. I asked the owner of the gallery, a very talented artist, to kindly critique my work. He said I should start learning tonal control with black and white before I added color. It just so happened that his friend who owned a very prominent art gallery in NYC started to have a friendly argument with the owner over his critique. In the midst of the argument, he turned to me and said, “Learn everything from the masters and as soon as you learn it, forget it all!” I have adopted this with my blog. No rules, try everything because I think that is where my true voice will develop. I also take the next step and put everything into the world for critique and as you know, people love to critique. It is hard to release myself into the world, to the sharks if you will, but it is necessary for me to grow. It makes me stronger.
The other project is a book called Drink Beer: Lose Weight.
On the business horizon I continue to build ABrechko Outdoors and a digital marketing business, both are very fun and rewarding.
How do you prioritize your time and effort on all of these tasks?
That is a great question. Funny, you asked that because someone just asked me that yesterday. As you know from my book, I spend very little time engaged with technology or anything that robs me of my time. I try to be very purposeful in everything that I do. I have found that this has really brought with it a new found passion for excellence in all aspects of my life. It also allows me to take my lumps better. I think that when you are happy and living life on your own terms, you are fueled by the universe. I smile in all my tasks from washing dishes to writing. This is a Buddhist concept. It works.