Monday, July 6, 2015

Arctic Wargame, by Ethan Jones~On Sale~99 Cents

My friend, Ethan Jones, has put his Kindle bestselling thriller on sale for just 99 cents for a limited time. 

Arctic Wargame is the first book in the wildly popular Justin Hall spy thriller series, hitting Amazon’s
Best Sellers lists in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Canadian Intelligence Service Agent Justin Hall—combat-hardened in operations throughout Northern Africa—has been demoted after a botched mission in Libya. 

When two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters, Justin volunteers for the reconnaissance mission, eager to return to the field. His team discovers a foreign weapons cache deep in the Arctic, but they are not aware that a spy has infiltrated the Department of National Defence. 

The team begins to unravel a treasonous plan against Canada, but they fall under attack from one of their own. Disarmed and stripped of their survival gear, they are stranded in a remote location. Now the team must survive the deadly Arctic not only to save themselves, but their country. 

Arctic Wargame is an action-packed spy thriller in the bestselling tradition of David Baldacci, Brad Thor and Vince Flynn. Readers will enjoy a great tale of courage, fear and betrayal. 

The bonus content includes the prologue and the first chapter of TRIPOLI'S TARGET, the second book in this series, which came out in 2012 and reached Amazon’s Best Sellers lists in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

ARCTIC WARGAME links on major book retailers:

Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Nook UK

Friday, June 19, 2015

Kindle Unlimited~How I'll Approach It

I currently have five titles in Kindle Unlimited and borrows make up about one fourth of my ebook income. Of course, KU has some advantages beyond income--increased visibility in the Kindle Store, for example. I'm not sure how that can be measured in relation to an actual increase in purchases. I would say possibly a handful of purchases can be attributed each month to word of mouth from borrowers. That's probably a generous number, but one I'll go with for now.

With the changes coming up next month when KU switches to paying by page instead of paying nothing until readers read 10% of a book, and then once they do, Amazon paid the full borrow rate for that month. It averaged about $1.38/borrow.

What I'm going to do to determine if it's worth staying in, since Amazon will only give us the number of pages read, and not the number of books borrowed, I can only go by pages read. Call me a pessimist but I don't think we'll get more than 2 cents/page read. That will be okay, actually if most of my borrowers finish my books. At an average page count of almost 300 pages a book for 3 of my 5 books, and the other 2 averaging 175 pages, I'll make out better than I do with the current system.

Being even more conservative, I'm going to assume the worst at a penny/page. That would still be better for me--if readers consume the whole book. Big if. Of course I hope it happens more often than not, but the reality is, readers--especially readers who haven't invested much in a book--give up on books for all kinds of reasons. Some are within my control--write a better book, for instance--others are beyond my control. An example: a reader begins reading March Into Hell after downloading No Good Deed for free. Their real life gets busy, they stop reading, and then forget about it. A month later, they want to borrow some other book and have to return one to get within the 10 book checkout limit, and March Into Hell pops up and Amazon asks the reader if they want to return it. They debate, then decide to return it because they can always read it later, and they forgot what it was about anyway. Boom. Book returned.

My books are due to come out of Select in mid-July. Most of the time, I'd probably just roll them back into KU because I don't normally have a lot of sales on other platforms, but I recently had a Bookbub ad for No Good Deed, and I had thousands of downloads outside of Amazon. It's been killing me that I can't put my other books up on those sites. I wish I could do both and hate the exclusivity clause in KU. Okay, rant about that over. Reality is, I hate to leave those readers hanging.

To know if staying in is worthwhile, in my head I'm going to assign a penny/page read, average out the pages read/day, and see if the income from those comes out to the same income I'm earning now on borrows/day. If it's significantly lower, I'll yank the books out of Select, and put them back onto other platforms. I just hope two weeks is enough time to evaluate the program.

That may sound all very business-like, but I don't know how else to evaluate it. Up until this Bookbub ad, even the sales I did have on other platforms were 'silent' sales. I didn't get reviews or feedback in any way, so I didn't know if anyone was actually reading the books, but in the last month, No Good Deed has racked up quite a few reviews on other platforms, and I've had messages from readers who found the book on other sites. Hearing from them makes me even more inclined to pull out of KU.

One question I have is will Amazon count books borrowed in June, read past 10%, but continued into July. Say someone borrows a book on June 28th, reads the first 10% by June 30th, and continues reading the book into July, finishing all 300 pages. Will Amazon pay me for both the 10% borrow in June, and the 270 pages in July? Or will they consider that book as paid for already? Will they tally those pages, but then not pay them because the book was paid in June? And if they do that, how will I know?

Friday, June 5, 2015

My Current Deals for Summer Reading

Quick rundown of my current deals on ebooks and audiobooks. All links will be at the bottom of  the post so you don't miss a deal by clicking on link before reaching the next deal:

First, No Good Deed: Book One--still FREE! Woo-hoo! Response to this deal has been phenomenal! I love all the new readers it has brought to the Mark Taylor Series. As if getting the ebook free was a good enough deal, did you know that because No Good Deed has Whispersync, you can get the audiobook version, narrated by award-winning narrator, Daniel Penz, for only $1.99! Yes, even a free ebook download counts for this deal!

Next BIG DEAL---For a limited time, March Into Hell: Book Two is just 99 cents in both the US and the U.K. via a Kindle Countdown Deal!

Next deals are for Mark Taylor: Genesis, and Deeds of Mercy: Book Three. Both of these titles are also Whispersynced. Mark Taylor: Genesis for almost a year. If you took advantage of that deal and have the book already on your Kindle, you can get the audio book for just $1.99! Of course, no worries if you didn't--the regular price of the ebook is only $2.99, and you can still get the audiobook for just $1.99 no matter how you acquired the book.

Deeds of Mercy has never been free, but it still has Whispersync and if you have the book on your Kindle--even if you bought it when it first came out three years ago--you can get the audiobook for just $1.99!





Friday, May 29, 2015

No Good Deed Still Free, Plus Unexpected Success in the UK

I am thrilled with No Good Deed's success as a free book in the U.K. over the last month. I don't
know what changed, because it's been free there before, but I'm not sure it ever made the top 100 free at any other time, and if it did, it was only for a few hours in the high 90s. So, when No Good Deed was price-matched to free in several Amazon markets, including the UK, back in mid-April, I didn't have high expectations for it in the U.K. It had always received pretty good reviews there, but had never been all that successful, even back in 2011 when it did very well in the US after a free run.

With no promo at all, it hung around 180-300 free in the store for weeks for the first month, and I was pleasantly surprised. On the 19th of this month, I had a BookBub ad, and that shot the book up to #2 in the Kindle Free store. It stayed there for several days and since then, has bounced from about #18 to #8. This morning, it was #11. How cool is that? I don't know how long it will remain in the top 100 there, let alone the top 20 (and I probably just jinxed it by creating this blog post!) but I'll be happy while it lasts.

Meanwhile, it's still hanging in the top 100 in the US Kindle Free store as well, although it's been not as high and it had some extra help from the fantastic Pixel of Ink and EreaderNewsToday, having promos with both of those great sites.

My friend, Susanne O'Leary's book, Hot Property, has done even better in the UK, sticking in the top 10 for several weeks now. It is also still free in the US as well, so grab it while you can!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

"SHOOT" Cover Reveal & Excerpt

“So, you don’t use the camera anymore?” CJ glanced at Mark as the other man crossed the loft and
retrieved his shoes from a mat beside the door. He’d posed the question because he was curious, but it was also a desperate attempt to distract himself from the overwhelming urge to touch the camera. Its energy beckoned him with the urgency that meth called to an addict. He jammed his hands in his front pockets, hooking his thumbs on the edge of the denim. Was he just imagining it, or could he actually feel the energy coiling through his body even from a few feet away?

Mark sat on the sofa and put his foot on the edge of the coffee table as he tied his shoe. “I use it sometimes, but I don’t really need to anymore. After my stay at the CIA spa,” Mark threw CJ a rueful grin, “I get the visions without using the camera, but sometimes I use it anyway, to check if what it shows is any different from what I …see.”

He dropped his foot from the table. “So far, I’ve been able to see the same as what’s in the images, plus a lot extra.” He shrugged. “I don’t have to mess around with developing the film. Of course, the downside is that I can’t print out my visions.”

“True, but that’s cool that you get complete visions.” CJ sidled closer to the bookshelf that held the camera. As he edged beside it, the hair on his arms rose as if he’d just removed a sweater in dry winter air. He swiped a hand down his arm but the charge of energy remained. He just knew if he touched something metal he’d get a hell of a  shock from the static. His skin tingled in an almost painful way as goose bumps dotted his arm, but as though his feet were nailed to the floor, he remained close to the shelf despite the discomfort.

The hum of the air conditioner caught his attention. Had it just cycled on? That had to be the reason for the sudden chill. It would explain the dry air, too. He rubbed his arms, but couldn’t ignore the overwhelming urge to hold the camera. It was as if he was made of iron and the camera a powerful magnet drawing him closer and closer. The power seemed to lift his arm and suck it towards the camera. Straightening his finger, he, touched it. A surge of energy-along with the shock he’d anticipated-charged up his arm and he jerked his hand back.

“You want to try it out again?” Mark stood and circled the coffee table, stopping beside him. “Here. It’s okay.” He plucked the camera off the shelf and offered it to CJ.

Swallowing hard, he nodded. “Yeah, but…I wasn’t sure if you wanted anyone else to touch it.”
Mark laughed. “And yet, you touched it anyway.” He gave CJ a wide smile.

Returning the grin, CJ shrugged. “I couldn’t stop myself.”

“Don’t worry-I get it.”

The camera felt just as CJ remembered-warm and thrumming with energy he couldn’t explain. Ever since he’d used it a few months ago when Mark needed help in D.C., he hadn’t been able to put the incredible device out of his mind. Every day, he wondered if it was showing Mark an image of some future horror that needed to prevented. He imagined all kinds of scenarios fueled by the real life exploits he’d wheedled out of Mark while the poor guy had taken a few days to recover before returning to Chicago.

He still felt a little guilty for making a complete pest of himself while Mark and Jessie had stayed at CJ’s apartment those two nights. His dad had been busy with tons of reports and paperwork and hadn’t been around to tell CJ to knock it off. Even when Mark had slept, which he’d done a lot of the first day, CJ had pried more stories out of Jessie.

His cheeks heated in embarrassment at how obnoxious he’d been and he tore his gaze from the camera long enough to shoot a look at Mark. “Hey man, I’ve been meaning to apologize for how I acted when you stayed at my place.”

Mark’s brow knit in confusion. “How you acted?”

“I was like a little kid the way I was pestering you about this.” He lifted the camera slightly. “I’m pretty sure I made a fool of myself.”

Mark clapped him on the shoulder. “No worries. You were fine. I know firsthand it’s a lot to take in. I just wish I’d have had more time to discuss it with you while I was at your place, but honestly, my memory of that time is a fuzzy mess.” He waved a hand. “I haven’t given a second thought to your questions.”

The guilt melted away but his doubt about using the camera grew and he thrust the camera back at Mark, shaking his head. “I don’t think I can use it. It’s not something I should play around with as if it’s a freaking toy.”

Mark didn’t take it immediately. He gave CJ a long look, his head cocked and his mouth open as if he was about to say something, but instead, his lips compressed into a faint smile and he took the camera. After returning it to the shelf, he stepped back and crossed his arms. “CJ, one thing you have to realize is it’s still just a camera. It’s not alive and it doesn’t judge your intentions.”

“I suppose, but I feel like if I took it, I’d be…I don’t know….” CJ shifted and jammed his hands in in front pockets up to his knuckles. “It’s as if I’d be using it on a lark because I’m here on vacation. It’s too important to be treated lightly.”

Mark nodded. “I see.” He raised an eyebrow at CJ and snapped his fingers, pointing at him. “You know, now that I don’t need to use it, you could just take it back to D.C. with you. Who knows what kind of events you could alter?”

Temptation beckoned but CJ ignored it. “I want to use it…believe me. It’s the most awesome, fantastical thing ever, but, I can’t do what you do. I can’t take the responsibility of changing the future.” CJ backed away from the bookshelf, putting as much distance between himself and the camera as possible.

Mark raised one shoulder. “I don’t know about that. You handled yourself like a pro out in D.C. from what I recall and from what Jessie told me.”

Pleasure at the compliment heated his cheeks, but CJ shook it off as undeserved. It was easy to be calm when his dad and Jessie did the most of the work and took the risks. Besides, he probably wasn’t ready for taking on the camera and its responsibilities.

He plopped onto the couch and wondered how soon Jessie would arrive. They were just waiting for her before they went out for dinner. His dad would meet them at the restaurant. CJ leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees as he scrubbed his hands down his face. “I mean, that’s crazy to think I could deal with the camera. I’m barely out of college and I don’t even have a job yet.”

Mark dug in a basket on his breakfast bar for something. “About that…Jim told me that you had an offer from the CIA-that you had already interned with them and had planned to work there after graduation.” He pulled a set of keys out of the basket and twirled the ring around his finger as he leaned a shoulder against a brick column between the kitchen and the living room. “I hope nothing that’s happened to me made you change your mind. You could do a lot of good there.”

CJ shrugged. “It has something to do with it, but not everything. I need to be able to trust the agency I work with. How can I trust them after what happened to you?”

Shaking his head, Mark pushed off the column. “It was just one rogue officer and a desperate scientist. It wasn’t a sanctioned operation.”

“Are you sure about that? What about that other guy who was involved?” CJ knew from personal experience that the CIA had layers upon layers of secrecy and one hand didn’t know what the other was doing half the time. It had to be that way for the safety of the people involved and he understood why. He got that. What bothered him was that the officer took advantage of the secrecy code to go rogue and conduct his own experiment.

Mark waved a hand dismissively. “He didn’t do much besides give Callahan my name and that I was coming out to D.C. Jim says the investigation is still ongoing, but he doesn’t think anything will come of it.”

CJ jumped to his feet. “See? That’s what I’m talking about. It’ll all be covered up. Can you imagine what the press would do with this story?” He didn’t mean for it to come out as though he was contemplating telling the media, but Mark must have taken it that way. His eyes hardened and he jabbed a finger at CJ.

“The press can’t ever know of this, understand? The last time reporters got wind of anything, it nearly killed me.”

CJ hadn’t heard that story, but he didn’t doubt Mark’s statement. “I’m sorry, Mark. That came out wrong. I’d never tell anyone about what you do.” CJ tried to lighten the sudden tension and quipped, “That would be like revealing Batman’s identity or something.”

Mark’s shoulders lowered and the corner of his mouth turned up. “Batman? I was thinking more along the lines of the Greatest American Hero.”

CJ chuckled because he knew Mark was making some kind of joke, but he felt like he was missing something. “Uh, yeah.”

“Oh jeez. Now you’re making me feel old. Come on. Jessie sent me a text to meet her at the restaurant.”

Be sure to sign up to my Mailing List to be notified of release! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bookbub is AMAZING!

I had a Bookbub ad for No Good Deed yesterday and had fantastic results with the book reaching #3 on the Kindle Free Top 100 in the US, and #2 in both the U.K. and Canada!

On top of that, I found out that March Into Madness was nominated in two categories in the 2015 eFestival of Books. The categories were thriller, and novel. Since it's the newest book in the series, and the last one, plus, it's never been free, the audience for it has been much smaller than my older books. I was astounded that anyone would think to nominate it, but whoever did so, here's a big THANK YOU!  (and I don't know how many nominations a book needed to get on the ballot)

Two more good things happened yesterday--Kboards does a nice shoutout every day, I think, for kboards authors, and I had a message saying one of the books in my signature was going to be in yesterday's feature and it turned out to be Seeking Vengeance. I was happy to see that book receive a little love. It gets a little lonely sometimes, being the only stand alone novel that I have, and surrounded by the Mark Taylor Series.

The other good thing was that No Good Deed almost made the top 100 in audiobooks according to the sales chart in my author page on Amazon. It got up 109 at some point after I went to bed.

So, as you can imagine, it's been hard to focus on finishing the next book, but I'm still plugging away! I am getting so close! If all goes well, it should be published sometime next month. I was going to post a cover reveal, but I might be making changes to the cover and won't know until I get those changes back if I'm going to go with them. Stay tuned! Next week, I plan to post a sneak peek for the next book in the spin-off series of CJ Sheridan thrillers.