It’s coming up on Xmas, so it must be time for JET 8! What’s that you say? Where can you buy it now, on pre-order, so it’s automatically on your kindle the day after Xmas? Glad you asked.
You can pre-order it from Amazon, and whenever Smashwords gets around to putting it through their system, from all other quality ebook retailers.
I think it’s a good one. So much so I’m really looking forward to JET 9, to see where everyone winds up going from here.
That’s a good feeling.
Here’s the cover. It was inspired by my German colleague Michael Schubert, who is way too busy to churn these out at the rate I write books, but to whom I owe a large debt for putting a look I adore to my prose.
December will be my 42nd month self-publishing.
The world’s changed a lot since summer, 2011. Gone are the euphoric days where bright new names were selling millions of .99 books, seemingly with ease. Gone too are the heady times where you could run a free Select promo and sell 10K novels at $4 a pop in the afterglow. It was an incredible period, and I feel fortunate I got to participate on the second half of it.
My buddy D.D. VanDyke has released his new mystery novel, Loose Ends, and is running a giveaway everyone should sign up for. Just do it unless you want that Ebola that’s going around. And if you act now, you can get it for only .99!
That golden era lasted about two years. Kindles were the new shiny plaything and everyone wanted one. And they needed content. Enter indie authors, who could sell a novel for less than a fast food meal.
Fast forward to today. 2014 marked a big change in many authors’ fortunes. The marketing gimmick of running Select free days on Amazon and seeing a big spike in sales afterward are over. Likewise, the effectiveness of putting your first book perma-free has diminished – either because of Amazon monkeying with their algos (free books don’t show up in also boughts any more, as one example of how visibility has been reduced) or due to a glut of free content.
Since summer, selling indie books has gotten even tougher. Amazon introduced Kindle Unlimited, which enables customers to pay $10 a month and borrow as many books as they like – with the caveat that only some titles are in the program, which pays $1.33 for a borrow instead of the royalty an author would normally see (except for Amazon imprints and trad pubs, which see their full royalty on a borrow); a windfall for those writing 10K short stories or serials, but not so great for those with novels, hence limited participation. I have some of my stuff in the program, and those are doing okay, for the ones selected for Amazon promos. The others can’t get arrested. So for me, net neutral, as over 20 of my novels aren’t participating.
But the effect it’s had on a lot of indie authors’s sales has been devastating, because apparently many of those who might have bought a book are now no longer buyers, they’re borrowers. I’m hearing stories of 60, 70, 80% drops in sales from authors who are recognized names and who shift tonnage of books. Some genres have been hit harder than others, which makes sense – for instance, NA and romance, which are well known for having voracious readerships, have seen the biggest drops in sales. My action thriller genre, not nearly as bad, however it’s still down.
So what’s an author to do? My strategy is to continue writing books I’d want to read, and hope that my readership grows over time, and feels that my stories and prose are a fair value at their $5 or so price point. I’ve had an amazing three and a half year trajectory, culminating with the release of my co-authored novel with Clive Cussler, The Eye of Heaven, in September. I can’t bitch. I mean, I can and do, but I really have no grounds for it.
My thinking is that this is a business of peaks and valleys, as is all retail, and while the valleys suck, they’re necessary if you’re going to have peaks at all. My philosophy is that if you can have higher lows and higher highs, that’s awesome. If not, change it up, look hard at what you’re doing, and ask yourself what you can do better – then do it. Aside from that, I know of no magic bullet, but after three and a half years of writing for a living, I can think of worse ways to spend my time, and I’m always extremely grateful to my readership, because there are any number of great books out there, and I’m fortunate they’re reading mine.
Now go buy my crap so I can continue punishing my liver. Because it’s evil and deserves it. Trust me. I would know. Bad dirty organs. Bad bad bad.
Why would I say such a thing? Why, you ask?
Because everywhere I look, there’s blatant evidence that there’s no rule of law anywhere, and that the bad guys do whatever they like, with total impunity, telling the world to suck it.
The latest example: A year or so ago, Germany told the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (a privately owned bank, mind you) that it wanted to repatriate 300 tons of the 1700 tons of gold it had stored in its vaults (back during the cold war, when Russia looked like it might invade Germany at any moment, it seemed prudent to keep it in NY).
The Federal Reserve responded that it would take seven years to return that fraction of Germany’s gold, but not to worry, because it, like, had it. It just didn’t HAVE it, have it, to where it could actually return it, or show it to them to prove it. You know. Because of stuff, and, well, things.
Fast forward. A year later, instead of delivering what it was supposed to (three hundred divided by seven), it managed to scrape up 5 and deliver that. None of which was actually Germany’s gold, which is stamped with their proprietary logo, serialized, etc. It was different gold. The excuse for why it wasn’t actually the German gold was ludicrous, as have been all the Fed’s excuses, so I won’t even bother repeating it here (something about the original pure gold German bars being “obsolete” – I shit you not – which ignores that gold is gold is gold). The point is that the bank that is holding something like 1700+ tons of Germany’s wealth couldn’t even return a fraction of that.
Fast forward to this summer, when after failing to get any gold in 2014, the politicians in Germany announced that they had decided to keep their gold in NY, because it was a good idea.
The easy translation is that they can’t get any of the gold back, because it’s all been stolen by the private bank, leased out or outright sold to banks like GS and JP Morgan so they can manipulate the gold market down, making the dollar appear stronger in relationship to gold (all markets theoretically, if they function correctly – read are honest – are based on supply and demand. Increase supply by selling 1700 tons of someone else’s gold you don’t own, and you can distort the supply curve pretty drastically. Of course that’s theft, but hey, details, right?), likely at the request of the U.S. government, which wants to continue running the printing presses around the clock, massively inflating the amount of U.S. currency, but having the dollar appear to be retaining its value compared to gold and silver, which have traditionally been money until the U.S. declared them to be obsolete (right after they got caught lying in 1971, and couldn’t give France the gold it owed that country when France wanted to exchange its dollars for gold, as was its right) and abruptly stopped backing the dollar with gold.
So, basically, a group of private bankers has stolen the German peoples’ gold, and the politicians the Germans elected have been bought off or threatened by the U.S., and have declared that they trust the NY Fed, ending the matter. As if by declaration the German politicians can make it all O.K.
In the old days this was called fraud and theft. Now, it’s never that, but always something else. I was going to write a fiction novel surrounding this, but the circumstances are so weird, so implausible, nobody would believe it: Germany was refused the ability to audit their gold and verify it was actually in the vaults the Fed claimed it was stored. “We have it. But you can’t see it.” “Why?” “Because of stuff.” “Oh.”
I couldn’t make this up.
Obviously, the Germans have decided that short of going to war, they’re never going to get their peoples’ wealth returned, so better to not rock the boat and tell anyone asking that the matter is ended and they’re satisfied, and hope there isn’t a revolution where they’re burned at the stake.
The disheartening part is that this sort of rampant criminality by the NY bankers reappears throughout history (the European bankers as well – they own the Fed, as well as Bank of England, every central bank in the world, including the central bank of the central banks – the Bank of International Settlements in Switzerland), and nothing happens. They confiscate the wealth of entire nations via outright theft, and because they control the money and therefore who gets elected, they have complete impunity for their behavior.
That’s the real world. And it’s a cheat. Hence my title: The World Is A Cheat.
Now go buy my crap. BLACK is on sale for $1.99. Unlike Germany’s gold, if you hand Amazon $1.99, you’ll actually get delivery of the book. At least we’ve all got that going for us…
I know. Crazy talk.
But it’s true.
So come on, cheapskates. Now’s your big chance. Read all four for less than eight bucks. That’s fractions of pennies per word. And I put in a lot of them. Some long. So more value.