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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Facing Off With Book Killers

I had an excellent illustration of the ongoing war of no reason on Amazon yesterday. My novel HARD CASE has been selling very well. The moment it accumulates a number of five star reviews an incoherent one star book killer hits. Yesterday, the novel received a wonderful five star review, and a one star hit piece. Here is the one star hit by William H. White:
“Badly edited and poorly written. Might appeal to an adolescent boy but surely not to an adult. A comic book in words.”
Here is the five star review by Martin Fricke
This book has everything: gripping fight scenes, rich character development, thrilling plots, good composition, and even absorbing romance. I'm going right on to DeLeo's next one, Hard Case #2.
We as authors wonder if both of these reviews can be true. Yes, they can. John Harding, the star character in HARD CASE, is a larger than life, completely fictional and unrealistic, pulp fiction superhero a bit like in comic books. I wrote him that way, because many times, we as writers write what we love to read.
Mr. White, for whatever reason, bought HARD CASE without bothering to read the three chapter free Amazon preview, doesn’t care much for my pulp fiction, and took the time to save other readers from themselves. To a reader with elevated literary tastes, I’ll even give him his ‘Badly edited and poorly written’ comment. HARD CASE is neither Hemingway nor even Lee Child.
Mr. Fricke, on the other hand, felt everything I hoped a reader would when reading HARD CASE. He enjoys the same type novels I do. It doesn’t mean Mr. Fricke doesn’t enjoy many other literary genres, but he recognizes pulp fiction, likes it, and doesn’t expect a literary masterpiece. It may be he became so absorbed in the storyline that he missed the ‘Badly edited and poorly written’ parts. I many times overlook flaws while reading myself.  :)
I’m not blogging about the merit of either review, or a marketplace that allows ‘book killings’, even when they provide lengthy free previews. I’m here to face the facts. We can’t do anything about the ‘book killers’. I wish we could. If a writer’s novel becomes popular on Amazon, it will attract ‘book killers’. I’ve read one star hit pieces on Lee Child’s books that made me cringe. Lee Child does not shortchange a reader. His books are good sized and provide many chapters for free previewing on Amazon. The one star hit pieces on his novels could only have happened because the reader completely ignored the free Amazon preview. We can point out the free preview, but it doesn’t do much good if they’re ignored for the express purpose of destroying a book’s sales – and unless you want a troll army marching up your ass, whining about reviews is a waste of time. Lee Child doesn’t, and I’m not going to either.  :)
I’m writing this today because there is only one thing we can do to face down the ‘book killers’ – write more of what we love to write, providing multiple targets for them in the marketplace. A writer can’t write to please a ‘book killer’ because the killer isn’t there writing one star hit pieces to help you understand your shortcomings. The killer is there to kill the book’s sales. It’s an already documented fact with numerous media articles condemning the practice. Once we realize that fact, we only have one course of action – write more books, and write them the way we want. Expanding our fan base helps us fight back in the only way we can - with new material. Plus, writing more successful books really pisses off the ‘killers’.  :)  So, to my writer friends: don’t fret, just write. Here’s the paperback cover of my new entry into the front lines, in partnership with my friend and publisher, RJ Parker.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rick Cantelli, P.I.

I finished Rick Cantelli, P.I. over the weekend, and did the first two edits. It ended up at just over 91,200 words. Rick, as I’ve mentioned in older posts, is an Ex Seal Sniper, recruited and handled by CIA Counterintelligence Agent, Lois Madigan. When Lois’s husband Frank convinces Lois after a very close call for her and Rick in Angola to retire, she takes Rick with her to form Madigan & Cantelli Security and Investigations. They’re winding down now after over two decades in the business, handling the start of their seventh decade with class, and snarly resignation.
Then Stacy Alden, an old high school girlfriend of Rick’s contacts Lois at their office. Lois browbeats the reluctant Rick into calling Stacy. He agrees to meet her. Stacy’s waiting for him with two thugs, having sold him out to save her own life. That does not turn out well for the thugs, but the incident propels Rick, Lois, and their detective agency down a harrowing rabbit hole of danger – all of it with tendrils threading back to Rick’s first encounter with Stacy. The two old partners put thoughts of a golden age to rest. They lock and load, surprising everyone around them, who thought they were a couple of geezers marking time doing photo ops of cheating spouses.  :)
We’re experimenting with covers. This is the first one, seeing as how I’ve only gone through the first couple of edits. We’ll be releasing it everywhere, including in paperback soon. Here's the new cover we're considering.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Publishing Problem, Progress, and a Summer Giveaway

We had a shock at the start of the weekend. Amazon put my novel HARD CASE for free, without permission. It’s back at the regular price with some complications still to be worked out. Apparently in the fine print somewhere, they can hold specials without compensation. We’re looking into it. I am going to get an answer. HARD CASE and THE LURE OF HELL have been in the top ten, and usually the top five of Men’s Adventure for weeks with great rankings. It’s another adventure in publishing I never knew existed on the Amazon marketplace.

I’m going over 80,000 words in my new novel, Rick Cantelli, P.I. today, so I’m in the home stretch on it, way ahead of the September 1st release I thought would be workable. Now, I’m thinking the first week in August. Since I already have 15,000 words done in the third book of my John Harding series, I’ll be on target for getting it finished by the holidays. My partner, RJ Parker, has a new contest going. It’s a summer giveaway. The details are here:

Summer Giveaway WIN a Kindle HD Fire or $200 Paypal Cash