Free books promotion

This Christmas weekend I tried my first free books promotion. It was successful.

No, thousands of readers did not download my short story. (My free offering was my horror/thriller short story When Gymkhana Smiles).

No, after the sale was over I didn’t get lots of paid downloads. Probably nobody has read it and reviewed it from this weekend’s downloads. And the story did not stay in the 3,696 ratings range it got to while it was free. As I write this, When Gymkhana Smiles is now at 400,849 in e-book ratings for the Kindle reader and apps. Which is pretty close to where it started.

And no, the free downloads did not lead (as yet, anyhow) to the stampede to purchase any of the other three titles I have. The book that has sold well for the last six months continues to sell well (The Cowboy’s Baby) and the other three limp along. To paraphrase as famous song: some day their readers will come.

The promotion was successful because many more people than I expected downloaded my free offering. When they finally get around to reading it (Hey, I’ve got some free titles on my Kindle I haven’t taken the time to read that have been there for almost a year. But I will read them.) they may be intrigued enough to check out the rest of my work. I’ll really never know.

But because of the free promotion I now have pages and pages of  “people who bought this also bought this” declarations where before there had only been two books to toggle between. This is how books get sold.

And I learned a bunch. Like, don’t promote something free over a big holiday weekend. Why? Because everyone does it. You should read the blog Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote yesterday about it. (  “The Holiday Surprise” article posted December 28). People downloaded free classics that will always be free because they are in the public domain instead of free current books that will only be free for a day or two. They’ll learn soon enough.

And like, don’t promote for more than one day at a time. Almost all of my downloads came on the first day. (But I love you few guys who downloaded on day two and day three just as much as the hoard the first day.)

I’ll do this again. With another of the stories. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know when.

Find my books at B&N for the Nook reader, and at Smashwords, and find both my books and stories at for the Kindle reader and Kindle apps.

End of Year

THE END OF 2011 just happens to coincide with the end of several of my writing projects. But before I get to that, there is a really helpful and interesting list of writer’s resolutions put forth by J.A. Konrath. See it here (Wednesday, December 21, 2011). My particular resolution is to work harder.

My newest novel Arroyo will be a POD paperback available through pretty soon after I post this blog entry. I’m proofing the proof copy. It looks great. I’d buy it in a New York minute. Thank you for the opportunity; and thank you Streetlight Graphics for taking our cover ideas and turning them into reality. For those of you who prefer your reading to have a physical weight, Arroyo‘s almost available for you.

My newest fiction The Taking of Rhinoceros 456 just went live as a Kindle publication. Although it started as a short story, it ended as a novelette (approximately 10,000 words or 40 pages). Thank you Mike and Dianne and Roxanne for your comments; a better story emerged in the end. I’ve entered this long short story in the lending program for Amazon Prime members and intend to experiment with the marketing by offerering it free for a short time. Keep watching or you’ll miss out.

When Gymkhana Smiles  has also joined the Amazon Prime lending program, although I can’t see many people choosing to borrow a short story vs a novel. It will also go up for free reading for a very short period.  Keep a watch out for it.  It’s an ugly little story, but mine own. Horror. Gore. Mystery. What else could you ask for?

My first novel The Cowboy’s Baby continues to sell well. It’s available across all e-book platforms. We also have a paperback available through Rix Cafe Texican. Send us an email if you’re interested. Or comment here and we’ll get in touch.

Next year will see the first of the Boo-Done-It mystery series. Boo is our dog.  She’s going to be instrumental in solving murders. The first title is Talking To the Dead Guys. I have some ideas about it, but the work will start on January 1, 2012. As will the promotional work for the 2012 Scare The Dickens Out of Us ghost story writing contests. Never heard of it? This will be the fourth year. Top prize is $1000.00. You can find the rules and the past winners at .

MERRY CHRISTMAS. HAPPY NEW YEAR.  If you like a writer or follow a blogger, make their Christmas brighter by buying some of their books. Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lindsay Buroker, J.A. Konrath, whoever else is helping authors with their blogs and advice.

WHAT I’VE READ THIS WEEK—What Fluffy Knew by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  Spy Killer by L. Ron Hubbard.

My books and stories can be found at

 The novels are also available at Barnes & Noble Nook and at Smashwords.


FYI: I started this blog in November after being inspired by what The Passive Guy was doing with some of his spam, e.g, making the verbal equivalent of fried spam sandwiches. I used to get major spam just as outrageous as his, but now that I wanted it, my spam had trickled down to just the boring stuff (thank you Askimet).  So I’ve been using the last few months saving it up. Now I’ve got some worth sharing.    

I get a lot of spam on this site and most of of it is blocked (thank god!). But every day I glance at what gets through for my approval. Like the The Passive Voice site, I sometimes get some real corkers. I think I’ll let you see them.  (But for the real good stuff, go to   

Here’s a good one.      

I’d have to consult you right here. That isn’t a thing I usually carry out! My partner and i get pleasure from researching any offered that may make individuals think. Also, appreciate your allowing me personally to be able to opinion!    

And this    

Thanks friend. This has already been unique seeing     

And this    

obviously previously mentioned soil private pools are easier to sustain and clean~    

This one’s intriguing    

fortuitous, why didn’t a person?? my partner and i thought adam shouldve been recently removed a prolonged period in the past! and that i don’t mean for that cause involving his taste men, however i suggest, i dislike exactly how they screams    

And I get this one all the time    

Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone! Also, please visit my page    

Most are like this    

design is incredible! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!)    

This one’s good    

Presently what did you say? I considered necessary! Maybe to facilitate bidding transpire my inspiration on behalf of the week, keep it emergence!    

Just about the best I’ve received in a while    

I wanted to create you that bit of observation just to thank you very much once again for your lovely views you have shown at this time. It’s quite particularly open-handed with people like you to offer extensively exactly what a few people might have distributed for an e book in order to make some profit for their own end, even more so considering the fact that you could have done it if you decided. Those good tips as well served as the easy way to be aware that other people online have the same keenness the same as my personal own to figure out great deal more with respect to this matter. I’m sure there are lots of more enjoyable periods up front for many who looked at your site.    

And my personal favorite      



WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—I’m reading all right, I just haven’t finished anything. Mostly I’ve been watching The Big Bang Theory on TBS and DVD’s of STAR TREK  ENTERPRISE and LOST.  




Book signings, festivals and great expectations

Friday it rained. Central Texas is in a deep drought situation, so rain was great, except that it almost sidelined the local festival I was selling my books at. Didn’t sell a book all evening, and missed the parade as well.

Saturday it rained. The ground under the covered tent where I was selling books was running with water, some even dripped down the side of the tent onto items vendors had left there overnight. I ended up sitting on a chair with my long dress hem unknowingly on the ground soaking it up. Had to wring it dry every hour. Damned glad I wasn’t wearing my expensive Victorian costume like I was supposed to. Wanted to be more comfortable.

Sales were almost nonexistent. Got my first real experience of people going by, and going by, and going by like I’ve heard they often ignore the authors at book-signings in Barnes & Noble, etc.  But Konrath is right. This was more than about selling my books. This was about letting people see the writer over there, getting to know my face, and me learning to pipe up and talk to them. This was about showing off my book, buying the book my neighbor was selling right across from us, and just being nice to people, being part of the community.

And being bypassed  wasn’t even all that bad, because it wasn’t just me selling stuff, it was the whole tent. And I wasn’t the only one being bypassed. And the people weren’t rude;  they made eye contact and smiled if I was looking at them, sometimes they picked up the books and looked before putting them down and going on. Just the wrong product at the wrong time with the wrong price. I say that because Jeff across the aisle had the right book for the right market. I think he sold quite a lot. Unfortunately, I don’t write what he does.

I missed everything about the festival by being in that booth except the people-watching. A good-looking guy went by with a dog as big as a bear that looked like a bear. Everyone stopped them to exclaim. The dog toy/supply people brought their Saint Bernard to show off. The good-looking chiropractor across the aisle came over to say hi, as did Jeff who did so well with his books. We saw friends and neighbors and lots of strangers. Missed the harpist, the petting zoo, all the choirs, Father Christmas (actually, I saw Father Christmas when I was at the library for my stint at the book-selling event there.) Missed the face painting, didn’t miss the food booths (we got a good taste of  many of the dishes offered and tortilla soup was the best).

After a day and a half in rainy weather, sold three copies of The Cowboy’s Baby and five copies of the books other writers had given us to sell for them. Had hoped to sell ten and would have been happier with five. Not sorry we went, but probably won’t try my books at this particular festival again. Wrong book for the wrong festival. Don’t think my new one Arroyo would fare any better.

Learned a lot. Actually had fun. Didn’t let it get me down. And three copies is three copies.

Link for Gretchen Rix

Link for Jeanne Murray

Link for Marvin S. Mayer