A Day in the Life and the Premier of Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss

This book is a salute and celebration of the Modern American Worker. Generations of unrecognized heroes who wash our cars, mow our lawns, bake our bread, douse our fires, take our garbage, teach our kids, grow our food, build our houses, mend our roads, and defend our freedom.

The American Dream is still there for all of them, hidden in plain sight, riddled with confusion and abandonment.

In an America full of unemployment, late fees, foreclosures, bankruptcy, and loss of hope…

There Are Consequences.

This short story collection includes some of the pale misery behind faults in the American Economy. Find a cab driver who lost his way, a down and out executive who stumbles onto a Voodoo curse in New Orleans, a nurse who pays the price for rescuing a man once thought loved, and a horrific, dystopian future. Discover new hope after cancer. Follow a paratrooper to manhood as he approached the deadly ground. Help the underemployed win at a game where reality TV meets nature at the crossroads of technology.

The stories in this collection contain clues, breadcrumbs dropped along a path to help you on your way.

Can You Find Them? 

 

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.

 

 

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Amazon KDP Select Free Promo Days- A Case Study for Letters Never Meant to be Read

 

 

 

My last book Letters Never Meant to be Read has had me in a fever.

Yes, book marketing can take over your life, if you care to let it, and this has been quite the puzzle. My Kindle Free Promo Days start tomorrow 4/21. What to do?

I listed all of the tasks I have done leading up to the free promo. Will it work?

I don’t just want to sell copies of the Letters book, I also want Letters to come in for the next edition. Basically, I want it to be a thing. Also, because I believe in the project, I want it to be a thing sooner than later. When people read the book, they generally like it, which only adds fuel to my crazed fire.

I realized that I was throwing money away at Facebook and Amazon ads after listening to and exploring the world of Derek Murphy  on his YouTube channel and his website Creativindie.

I reviewed his work Book Marketing is Dead: Book Promotion Secrets You MUST Know BEFORE You Publish Your Book on the last post and have implemented some of his tactics with regards to the Amazon page for the Letters Book.

I hired two people on Fiverr to help with the sales copy. The first was good, the second was better, almostfreemoney. She gave me new keywords with analytics, categories, and better description copy.

Part of the new description copy included a spot for a quote from the book. This put me in a panic because I couldn’t decide. I knocked a few around, but ultimately settled on a few simple phrases that better describe what it is because the work is unconventional. I am still not happy with the description, but apparently it includes the necessary keywords for the robots. I hope.

The cover? People love the cover so I think I am good there. I like it too, but that doesn’t matter. I have received many compliments from NOT JUST FRIENDS and FAMILY, so all is well, right? I hope so.

Before, when I ran Facebook ads, I’d get a 2.5% click rate and about a 10% sales rate from there. Well, when you get 1346 Button Clicks out of 57,000 impressions, you should get some sales, right? I am no math wizard. Is that good? Am I a moron? Yes, probably in this realm.

Hell no, that is not good and it leaves me squeamish when I look at my sales rankings, the Commander of My Life right now. Here is a great article on those monsters.

The idea is that if you get your sales ranking up and people like and review your book, the ever-knowing Amazon robot will nod in your favor and start pitching your book for you. Plus, it helps to be at the top of your categories. My categories are easier that most, being a niche book, but I have clenched my teeth when I get into the top 20, only to be faded away. It is like a slow death, really.

Which leads me to reviews. These are really important as well, and I have a 10% review rate on queries sent out to reviewers. Not good either and very time consuming. I need at least ten reviews, which shouldn’t be hard, right? Wrong.

Again, following the direction of Derek, I devised a plan:

KDP Select free days for Letters Never Meant to be Read are 4/21-4/25.

Goals: Garner more Reviews and Interest in the Project (Fans and Writers).

One week prior: I ran FB ads with new copy and fiddled with the description and categories (some more). I found a blog post that discussed having Createspace keywords different from Kindle keywords. Duh? Why didn’t I do this before? I did this.

My Amazon affiliate links are all good too btw.

The FB ad at $20/day for four days generated again a 2.5% click rate with only two sales. What? I did better before I tinkered, so what then? I don’t know, moving on.

Luckily I stumbled onto kindlepreneur.com from a Google search and found a quote from Derek Murphy on his site so I knew I was in friendly territory.

I found Dave Chesson. He was in the military, like me, and I have gone back to his site like 20 times since. I used his Amazing List of Kindle Free Days Promoters , even downloaded the preferred list went to work with the form fill.

I used the following Kindle Promotion Sites:

Freebooksy.com    $40

Pretty-Hot.com  $25

eBookasuarus.com $10

bknights on Fiverr  $6

Book Bongo $29.99

Robin Reads $55

*I did a few other easy and free ones, but these are the bulk and the ones I paid for. There are some that are difficult to navigate.

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 will adjust tweets for the KDP free days.

Will I win? Am I wasting my money? Will I get more reviews?

Stay tuned.

Time will tell. I will write another post as a result to this campaign. I at least wanted to “do some things right” and give this project a fair shake. If people truly hate it, I will continue with Volume II and press on.

This Letters project is unique because the candle burns at both ends. I want nothing more for readers to enjoy the letters, the first examples, but also Send In Their Own for future publication. Because I and my alter ego who runs Rusty Wheels Media, LLC. believe in profit sharing, it’s a Win, Win for everybody.

Incidentally, my KDP Free Days coincide with World Book Day on April, 23rd. Will that put me in good running? Who knows.

I also wanted to coincide the release of my KDP free promo days with the Kindle release of Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss. A great plan, right?

Except I am having trouble with the cover design being late from Fiverr (you get what you pay for).

This is not my first business and I have had minor success. This is certainly the most challenging and the most rewarding. I love writing and reading books but I have to tackle book marketing.

If anyone who may be reading sees any flaws in my little endeavor to spend money and make something out of nothing, please comment below. Also, if you notice anything that I could adjust with my overall marketing of my books and myself, please, feel free to comment. I could certainly use the help and insight from any veterans of book marketing out there.

I am smart, but only kind of smart when it comes to this game. At times, I feel I am stumbling around, alone in the dark. Other times, I feel like I am drinking from a water hose.

Of course, all of this takes away precious time from what I really love, Reading and Writing. Still, it is a game, and I like to win. I will play this one until I do.

Thanks for your input!

-The Apprentice

 

 

10 Reasons Why This Indie Author and Publisher Should Review Your Work

10 Reasons why Marc D. Crepeaux should Review Your Work on Amazon and Goodreads:

  1.  He will actually read your work and be completely honest. (Good for some, bad for others)
  2. He reads an entire week’s worth of newspapers on Sunday morning.
  3. He works as an English teacher, an Army Reserves Officer and moonlights as a Private Investigator, so there is a great deal of paid downtime while traveling, on stake-outs, or while pretending to proctor exams.
  4. He has a plethora of interests to include: business, entrepreneurship, book marketing, science fiction, speculative fiction, self-help, health and fitness, biographies, historical fiction, horror, absurdity, poetry, correspondence, thrillers, mysteries, crime, country noir, flash fiction…just about everything.
  5. He has an MFA in Creative Writing (poverty), if that sort of thing matters to you.
  6. He has an overused and abused Kindle and a backup just in case.
  7. He will actually buy your work with funds paid by the government in one form or another (Donations in the form of hotel matchbooks and review copies accepted of course).
  8. He has an Audible account and 2 ears that still work with Bluetooth in his car.
  9. He may find you or you may find him and want to collaborate on something later.
  10. He is an Indie Author as well, and knows how important reviews are. He likes to meet new people, runs on the beach, speaks Russian, that sort of thing.

If you want Marc to check out your work, he is easily distracted. Comment below or email rustywheelsmedia@gmail.com

Review Copies can also be sent to:

Rusty Wheels Media, LLC

attn: Marc D. Crepeaux

PO Box 1692

Rome, GA 30162

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Modern Waste by Marc D. Crepeaux

Reblog: Such a nice introduction for the collection of my work!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

new-on-the-shelves-update

The new featured author today is Marc D. Crepeaux and his novel Modern Waste, a thriller set in a small town in north Georgia.

413uvvutltl-_uy250_About the book

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

Fast-Paced and Intense  ByJ_T_D on September 30, 2014

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…

View original post 994 more words

Calling for Submissions

Dear Writers and Friends,

Rusty Wheels Media will be releasing the second of the Worked Stiff Series “Short-stories to Tell Your Boss” in the next month or so. For those of you who read the poetry book “Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common“, this second and third will not be the same.
I am interested in alternating between the short-story/short/novelette collections and poetry books for the Worked Stiff Series from now until I die.
The first poetry book focused on the plight of modern man, blue collar troubles, and political common sense. While I am happy that this was the first in the series, themed-based books are going to be the norm.
The second, due out soon, is a short story collection that focuses on the working class and the fictional world in which they live. Some of those stories I posted on my blog as an experiment.
The third Worked Stiff: Back to the Land, we are calling for submissions here: This will focus on nature. Of course, anything loosely involving nature: working the land, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, quiet moments in the forest…you get the idea. RWM will consider unpublished poems, short-stories, essays, etc.
As with Letters Never Meant to be Read, RWM believes in profit sharing with percentages based on poems/works that make it into the book. Some of you who are receiving your first royalty checks in the mail now from the Letters Project are not retiring to the Bahamas just yet, but it’s a start.
I will of course be taking letters as well and would like to put out the second in May/June. Some of you have already submitted new letters which is encouraging.

Send your poems and letters to:

rustywheelsmedia@gmail.com

or

Rusty Wheels Media, LLC

PO Box 1692

Rome, GA 30162

I look forward to your submissions and I will show you mine one way or another.
-Marc

Why Audible and ACX are a MUST for Indie Authors

With Audible pushing advertising and more people reading on the go, it just makes sense for Indie Authors to add the Audio book to their means of reaching readers.

It used to be that Audio books were limited to CD’s that got lost or scratched in the car. Now, people are consuming books via Bluetooth on their handheld supercomputers  at rapid rates on iTunes and Audible. With membership programs on Audible and decent pricing, the consumer only need to push a few buttons and be entertained during that long commute to nowhere.

For Indie Authors who want an edge as well as another revenue stream, ACX, owned by Amazon, is the best there is. Using their royalty system, an author can sample, audition, and hire professional voice actors without spending any money upfront. Funds, after ACX gets their cut, are split between the author and voice actor, known as the producer. You can hire the producer via royalty or pay their hourly rate. ACX has strict standards, so one does not have to worry about quality control. You can also go out on a limb and produce the work yourself with ACX.

For my first book Modern Waste, I was propositioned by Scott Pollak after hanging my 50/50 royalty split audition out there. The voice of NPR Atlanta, Scott wanted to do my book because it had the North Georgia flavor he knew well and I needed several Southern accents due to my unique and long character list. He did a great job and I was able to ask Scott to edit a few parts after the final product was delivered. The experience was great, easy, and exciting.

Having an audio version of your book for sale on Amazon can help with your professional status. When customers see you have an eBook, print, and audio, it gives a sense of the complete package. One of the challenges I see going forward with Letters Never Meant to be Read is just how to get several voices for an anthology? While this may not be possible in the current configuration, I can rest easy knowing my short-story collection Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss will one day be read by a professional.

As a rabid consumer of Audio books, I have found another way to consume books while driving and I am able to hone my craft of writing in ways I never thought possible. While writing my next short-story collection, I tore through anthologies and collections to keep myself in the zone and my mind open to the possibilities of the form.

There is so much to choose from on Audible too, from 30 minute erotica for 48 cents to history books that will take you a whole month to listen to on your morning commute. When I get in the car, I can’t wait to push play, especially now, as I am listening to Edgar Allan Poe – The Complete Short Stories.

Read and Write on, Dear Reader, in any way you choose. Do so often, I dare you…