Who am I and what am I doing here?
Funny you should ask. (Or funnier that I should ask? Hmm …?)
I’m a New York Times bestselling author, but that’s not all I am. I’m also a screenwriter (as yet unproduced), blogger, vlogger, podcaster, videographer, and photographer (the quality may vary, only because I haven’t spent an entire career doing these things. Nonetheless, I’m learning).
At one time, my book sales were fantastic. I chalked it up to having five blogs, running a nearly-continuous series of book reviews on one of them, sharing information about self-publishing on another, and recounting my own experiences as an indie author (good, bad, indifferent) on yet another blog.
In 2011, Amazon, in essence, made an offer most self-published authors believed they couldn’t refuse. (Does that phrase sound familiar? It should.) It offered a few promotional perks and an unspecified percentage of a
slush fund earmarked for self-published authors who agreed to be exclusive to Amazon for at least three months.
I turned them down. Flat. And I have paid financially for doing so.
After a while, I eventually capitulated and made one of my books exclusive to Amazon for three whole months. Didn’t get much out of that experience, except a spike in downloads when I offered my work for free, only to be followed by a rapid decline in downloads after the free offer ended.
On top of that, I decided to take up screenwriting, along with writing novels.
I have devoted hours (that could have gone toward writing more novels) toward improving my screenwriting skills. And learning the ropes of a whole new side of the business. Because publishing is just one small part of what we call “media.”
Books are quite often the raw material producers look for when developing new shows (whether movies, TV series, plays, podcasts, etc.).
In other words, an author’s work has value. I can’t simply give everything away (three months at a time) and expect to make a living or even recover the cost of producing the books. Not without spending way too much on promotion or running ads. And don’t we have enough ads and “great bargains” cluttering up our Facebook feeds and crowding our email inboxes?
So, how does one get heard above the noise when one is being drowned out by the very algorithms that were so helpful to one’s alleged “success” as an author? How do you sell books anywhere other than Amazon when so many people use Amazon as their default search engine to find new reading?
The only way I can think to do it is to offer you something more, along with my work.
Frankly, I’ve considered starting a membership site. One in which I can create a forum that could support a book club or movie discussion group, as well as the ability to share my work with you.
I’m still pondering what I’d need to do to make that happen, but for the moment I’ll invite you to join my private Facebook group for book and movie reviews. I’ll try to show up now and then
, even though I hate Facebook almost as much as I hate … you know who! :).
Technically, I could set up such a group here. A lot is possible, if you can figure out the tools that make it possible.
All Subscribers (Paid or Free) Get:
My first novel, IDENTITY CRISIS, in serialized form;
A few sample chapters of my other fiction;
My latest book reviews;
Curated public domain stories. Curated, of course, by me. Hopefully, you’ll like what I pick.
Advance review copies of my new releases.
Paid Subscribers Get:
Early access to serialized versions of upcoming book releases, either edited or semi-polished working drafts, and updates from me.
Access to serialized works-in-progress.
Access to my book review archives.
I’m also looking at non-Facebook alternatives for setting up a book club. If you have any suggestions on that score, please let me know.
I’m still learning my way around Substack, so your patience is appreciated.
I encourage you to read what I’m working on as well as what I’ve already written. And feel free to leave a comment or otherwise share your thoughts. You can always reach me through my website.
In addition to writing books, I have a podcast called the Crime Cafe, which you can access here. (Check the dropdown menu to access the video and audio interviews for each season.) You can also access bonus episodes and other perks if you support the podcast on Patreon.
I also blog movie reviews and make videos which I share here.
You won’t have to worry about missing anything. Every new edition of this newsletter goes directly to your inbox.
Join my Street Team!
All subscribers here (free or paid), get an advance reader copy of my upcoming releases. My only request is that you read the book and post a short, honest review online around the time I release it.
I’ll keep you updated on when to expect those.
To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.