15 January 2013 by Published in: Jet 36 comments

Everybody that follows me knows that my new action thriller series JET has been wildly successful, far surpassing my expectations in its first 90 days of release. It’s gotten about 145 reviews during that time, the overwhelming number of which have been enthusiastically positive (and which I didn’t even have to pay for!), and not a day goes by now when I don’t get an e-mail from a reader asking me when the hell I’m going to stop slacking and write JET V.

JET, for those who aren’t familiar with the tale, is the story of an ex-Mossad operative who fakes her own death to get out of the game, but gets sucked back in when her past comes back to haunt her. It’s written in a breakneck style – I wanted to write the fastest-paced action thriller I’d ever heard of; something that launched from the first pages and kept accelerating right through to the end. I sort of envisioned a kind of literary equivalent to the TV show 24 – except with a female Jack Bauer, a cross between Bourne and Kill Bill, with some Lisbeth Salander seasoning and with a little Bond (shaken, not stirred) twist. In other words, a female main character with a whole lotta kick ass who can take names and deal with business.

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NEWS: Great new interview at Free Kindle Books and Tips with, well, you know who. Worth a look!

NEWS: An awesome new interview from Cellardoorians on my craft and creations. A classic. Sort of.

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I also wanted all the books to be big books that moved from exotic locale to exotic locale – as did the Bond books. I can honestly say that when I came up with the rough idea, I had no sense that I would be penning the fifth installment within as many months, and be eagerly looking forward to doing so. But there it is. That Jet. She kinda grows on you.

Some have said that JET is my best work. It’s certainly sold enough – 20K copies in 90 days – so why the hell would I ever want to give it away for free? I mean, it’s a real novel – almost 90K words, not some teaser. A book that earns substantial revenue. So what, have I lost my mind? Do I just hate money? Have I gone altruistic on your ass? Am I swearing off all worldly reward?

Not hardly. The way I see it, 2013 is the year where I need to broaden my audience, and increase my visibility – my reach. My novels have found acceptance with a decent sized crowd, for which I am grateful, and I believe that if more people knew about them, they would do even better. But how to gain broad market visibility absent Random House coming in, offering me a whopping contract, and then spending millions advertising them? Simple. Give one of my best books away.

My confidence in the work is such that I’m betting that most who read JET will want to read more, if only to see whether the writing and pacing was a fluke. My second bet is that once they finish with the series and realize that it’s not a fluke, they’ll move to my other series (the Assassin series), which begins with King of Swords. And then once they devour that, they’ll give my stand-alone novels a whirl.

And hopefully, tell a friend or two.

I also want to have 2013 be the year where my sales on platforms other than Amazon take off, and by keeping the JET series available across all vendors, I believe I can begin to really see some movement in the Apple, Kobo, Sony and B&N stores. Time will tell whether this was a good strategy – as of this writing, my giving away JET equates to investing about $250 a day in making it free. That seems like a lot, and I man have second thoughts after a month, but for now, I’m going to give it a whirl. My thinking is I’ll need to give away 250K copies to get 10K new readers. I’ve already given away 75K from promos, so I’m almost halfway there. Frankly, I’d just as soon have a million copies of JET out there, as I’m not as interested in sales as I am in getting readers. A sale is a one-time event. A reader is a relationship.

And I want that relationship.

If you haven’t picked up JET yet on Amazon, or on B&N or Apple or Smashwords, to see what all the fuss is about, please do, with my compliments. And here’s to hoping 2013 is as good as 2012 was. So far, so good.

Jet-final for web

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Comments

  1. Tue 15th Jan 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Consider your audience expanded. I’ve been reading your blog for a while but this looks like just the book I’ve been looking for. Wanting something suspense/thrillerish last weekend and couldn’t decide. Going to add this to my kindle right now. Congrats on your success. It feels good, doesn’t it? I think I’ll go share this with my readers.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 15th Jan 2013 at 8:17 pm

      Thanks Selena. Hope you enjoy it. It’s unapologetically over-the-top and mile-a-minute fun.

      Reply
  2. Robert Jones
    Wed 16th Jan 2013 at 10:30 am

    My wife just added it to her Kindle. She’s not overly into a lot of standard action thrillers, so I think at this point she added Jet just because she hears me talking about your work. If she goes forward from here, you’ll have gained a new reader, so I’m interested to see what happens.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 16th Jan 2013 at 11:08 am

      That will be interesting. Here’s hoping that she likes it!

      Reply
  3. Wed 16th Jan 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Hey Russell,

    I’m 20-ish percent into it, and it rocks. And you know me… I’m pickier than hell.

    Yours,
    Stan

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 16th Jan 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Oh, good. Glad you think so. I was trying for breakneck pace and a larger-than-life female lead who could carry as many books as I felt like writing. I’ll look forward to your reaction once you’re done.

      Reply
  4. Thu 17th Jan 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I’m halfway through and having a blast. I feel some of it is action novel cliché, which is obviously expect and doesn’t detract at all. Good stuff.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Thu 17th Jan 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Glad you’re enjoying it. Yes, it’s hard not to have some common genre elements in it – sort of goes with the territory. But understanding the limitations, I think the art in the deal is to try to tell a fresh story that captivates the reader and entertains them. If I’ve managed to accomplish that, I’m happy.

      Reply
      • James  –  Mon 21st Jan 2013 at 3:47 pm

        I finished it, Russell, and it was absolutely awesome. Been awhile since I couldn’t put down my kindle. I’ll be sure to recommend it to my friends. You hooked me with Jet; I haven’t started Jet #2 but it’s waiting for me on my Kindle.

        Reply
        • Russell Blake  –  Mon 21st Jan 2013 at 4:56 pm

          Oh, good! Be sure to leave a review! I’m so glad you liked it. Definitely one of my faves…

          Reply
  5. Thu 17th Jan 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I read Jet and loved it. Told my co-workers, mom and a few friends to pick up a copy. Now that it’s free I will remind them to get it right away if they haven’t already done so.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Thu 17th Jan 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Glad to hear it. Appreciate the warm praise, and spreading the word. That’s how momentum builds. Thanks again. And don’t forget to leave a review!

      Reply
  6. Fri 18th Jan 2013 at 2:24 am

    Russell, as always you’re a great voice of reason. KDP Select seems to be slowly dying a death so getting out across other platforms is the way forward.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Fri 18th Jan 2013 at 10:54 am

      I think it is never a bad idea to diversify, even if you’ve ridden a winner to this point. It’s the classic investment mistake. Again, for a new or .99 author, maybe it makes sense, but for an established one selling books for $2.99 or higher, it’s a money loser, not a money maker. Free had been so declawed it has virtually no impact for 99+% of titles going free on any day, and borrows DO cannibalize sales. So you’re essentially paying to be in the program, which now benefits only Amazon. Why would anyone do that, other than either idiocy or misplaced desperation? I don’t get it, and I’m a guy who has done very well in the program. But for me, it seems like it’s time to move on.

      Reply
  7. yoon
    Fri 18th Jan 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Silver screen? Which one?

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 19th Jan 2013 at 1:07 am

      Can’t discuss it. Mum’s the word. Shhh. Ixnay on the ver-sil screen-ay.

      Reply
      • yoon  –  Sat 19th Jan 2013 at 1:23 am

        Fine. Be that way. But make sure Jennifer Abba is in it.

        Reply
        • Russell Blake  –  Sat 19th Jan 2013 at 2:24 am

          They always sounded kind of Swedish or Danish to me. Was Jennifer the brunette or the blonde?

          Reply
  8. Tue 22nd Jan 2013 at 12:42 am

    Long-term thinking, flexibility, growing the audience. It’s like you’re planning for success or something.

    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 22nd Jan 2013 at 12:58 am

      Thank you, my friend. All journeys begin with the first step, and in this business, every day it’s something new. At least it never gets old. And I’ve been very fortunate so far. Let’s hope it continues…

      Reply
  9. Ed Azcuy
    Tue 22nd Jan 2013 at 9:58 am

    I read Jet last month and enjoyed it enough to read the rest of the series. Finished the Assassin series and started on the balance of your books, reading Silver Justice now. I wish you well on your quest to broaden your readership, have recommended your books to my brother and am eagerly awaiting your next offering.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 22nd Jan 2013 at 10:24 am

      Well thanks for the patronage and support. I think that’s how it works – one reader at a time. Requiem for the Assassin should be out within 3 weeks, and JET V within 7-8, so we’re never that far from the next one…

      Reply
  10. Tue 22nd Jan 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Bold move RB. It’s a big world. Giving away one book to pick up a reader is an excellent trade. Good luck with it!
    W4$

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 23rd Jan 2013 at 1:12 am

      Gracias. I’ll know if it’s a good strategy within 30 to 60 days. By watching sales of the rest of the series, and then sales of the other series, which should increase if I’m picking up new readers as opposed to simply giving away a novel to those who are already familiar with me. I also plan to do some promotion next month for JET, so I would hope that would increase the number of downloads.

      Reply
  11. Wed 23rd Jan 2013 at 9:20 am

    Been with this idea of Amazon system for a while with this KDP Select idea and come to much the same conclusion. Its all about getting yourself known and Amazon cannot help but they do have good mechanism and I used it to publish an illustrated kids ebook and pod.
    Just discovered SEO and how important it is in general scheme of things. There is a minefield of BS out there about it but WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast is excellent value. Cheers. Mark

    Reply
  12. Andrew
    Wed 23rd Jan 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Hey Russell, wow, right now Jet is currently Number 5 in the UK Free Kindle chart – a storming performance! Mostly 5 star reviews as well…..

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 23rd Jan 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Nice! I never go there. Maybe once every few months. That’s kind of awesome. I’ll have to buzz over and check it out. Thanks for the head’s up.

      Reply
  13. Peter Prasad
    Wed 23rd Jan 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Free Jet made me a fan. Your descriptions of Bangkok are bulls-eye. Now I’ll spend $14+ in e-book fees to jettison her from my racing heart. My muse reminds me that after warp-speed comes Blake-pace. Huzzah!

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Thu 24th Jan 2013 at 2:59 am

      Well thanks for the warm words. I never get tired of hearing that readers are happy with my little scribblings. Glad you liked what you read!

      Reply
  14. Zorba
    Sat 02nd Feb 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Totally Awesome!!!!!!!
    It,s not very often that I can’t put book down, but JET is one of them. When I started I was instantly hooked. I read 6 books a week and I am delighted to say that you have me as a new reader. Your move to give away a free book has paid off. I WILL purchase your series of JET and also the other series. I want to thank you so much for the entertainmet. Keep up the good work
    Zorba

    Reply
  15. G Dovaston
    Tue 05th Feb 2013 at 11:09 am

    I just wanted to say that I have nearly finished Jet 4 and I have read this series in around about a month a half…compelling reading and non stop action, just how I like it!

    Consider me a massive new fan and our relationship is born…..Just get Jet5 done (wink, wink) as I am going to need a fix real soon!!

    Great work Russell keep it up!

    G.

    Reply
  16. Gray
    Sun 17th Feb 2013 at 7:21 am

    Oh, what a sucker I am. Fell for your evil ploy. Lapped up the free JET and a mere 6 weeks later find I have purchased and devoured every single one of your fiction novels. I may have to break my habit and try your non-fictions. Damn you Russell Blake -I want my life back! Are you just incapable of writing something boring? I guess you’re as skillful a marketer as you are writer.

    Reply
  17. Maia
    Mon 14th Oct 2013 at 11:32 am

    I just read the Jet series and was truly entertained and delighted but now I totally crave for Jet VI. Will there be one?

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 14th Oct 2013 at 11:57 am

      Yup. I’m starting it Wed. Should be available by Xmas. Glad you liked it.

      Reply
      • Maia  –  Mon 14th Oct 2013 at 2:08 pm

        Great! I’ll read the Assassins’ series while waiting. Love your style as a writer and it’s awesome that you’re also an animal lover as I am. All the best to you!

        Reply

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