UPDATE November 1: An Angel With Fur and the Pet Wall get spotlight coverage at Justin Bogdanovitch’s blog. Great pooch photos too.

URGENT NEWS: Zero Sum, Book 1 – Kotov Syndrome, is #1 Bestseller on Amazon free Action/Adventure downloads, and #14 on overall free downloads!!!

BREAKING NEWS: New review for Fatal Exchange from book blogger Kate’s Reads.


Thanks to everyone who registered a pricing alert with Amazon. It’s been a long week with a lot of help from my twitter buddies, but I’m happy to say that the mission was accomplished.

Zero Sum, Book 1 – Kotov Syndrome – is now a free download from Amazon.

You can download it there, and should. Early and often.

I know that hundreds of you sent messages to Amazon alerting them to the pricing disparity, and it looks like it worked.

Amazon is under no requirement to lower the price to free. They don’t have a price parity guarantee on anything but televisions. With books, it’s more of a smart business policy. But sometimes when you’re dancing with elephants you have to do so nimbly; with a little help from your friends. And so hundreds of messages alerting Amazon to the pricing disconnect were registered, and eventually a switch was flicked, and Zero Sum Book 1 is free.

That’s you guys – the power of the crowd, if you will.

Now I can market the books as they were intended – Book 1 for free, to familiarize readers with my intrigue/thrillers, fostering a trust in my style and reassuring the reader that I can write competently, and hopefully in a manner they enjoy. I know the biggest hurdle when I consider a new author is the concern they aren’t up to the task of keeping me entertained, and will come off as amateurish, or pedantic, or poorly executed in myriad ways. I’m pretty sure that once a reader has spent ten to twenty minutes with any of my books they’ll figure out quickly whether I suck or not, and if they believe I don’t, will then be interested in mushing forward through the remainder of the trilogy, and perhaps even to other books.

That’s the hope, anyway. Give the reader a taste, and then let them decide if further reading is warranted. Many will likely never read the download, or decide it’s not their cup of tea, which as John Locke points out, is par for the course, as is the likelihood of some hating you, some loving you, and some being ambivalent. It’s all part of the game. The only trepidation I have is that those who download free books might not fall into the demographic of those that buy books, but that’s risk anytime you hand out free anything. You have to expect those who go to Costco just to eat dinner by trying complimentary samples, along with legitimate customers who have no problem buying if they like it. At the end of the day, it all evens out, and the good will float to the top.

So now I have one more favor to ask, and then that’s it. For a while.

Please tweet to your following that Zero Sum Book 1 is now free on Amazon. The link is:


And always, thank you. I absolutely know I couldn’t have done this without you.

2011 was definitely the year of the book for me. Ten books released in one year (and one more I’m not releasing as it will make you all hate me and believe me to be the devil or something). Don’t try this at home. I never will again.

But never forget that the real push began when Zero Sum went free, and that was entirely due to support from the indie author community and my twitter crew. To all of you, Muchas Gracias! This may all wind up a tempest in a tea cup, but my bones say no, it’s the beginning of something big. We shall see. At least you all have front row seats!

Thanks again to everyone who contacted Amazon on my behalf. And thanks in advance to everyone who tweets about Zero Sum Book 1 – Kotov Syndrome – now being free on Amazon! As well as those who post honest reviews as to how they liked the books. Your feedback is important, and I try to read and respond to every critique.



  1. Tue 25th Oct 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Glad to help, Russell! I liked and tagged your book while I was there too 😉

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 25th Oct 2011 at 9:35 pm


  2. Tue 25th Oct 2011 at 9:16 pm

    As always, I’m looking forward to reading what you publish!

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 25th Oct 2011 at 9:36 pm

      Thanks, Amber. You rock. Like a hurricane. Hey. That’s good. Might be a song in that…

  3. Wed 26th Oct 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I still think you have a lot of nerve trying to give something away free…very un-Amazonian of you. Want to wager that you won’t have any issues raising the price? Look forward to hearing how the free offer works in conjunction with the series.

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 26th Oct 2011 at 2:10 pm

      So far, so good. I think it’s all about getting exposure for the work, and this seems like the fastest way to get the most. That should translate into bigger sales across the whole catalog in time. I think of it as a marketing cost, nothing more.

  4. Wed 26th Oct 2011 at 2:05 pm

    OMG, you are so needy. Ha! My pleasure to help, sir. 2011 was certainly a productive year for you, I hope to have that kind of 2012 and I’m sure that I’ll be looking to you for a little inspiration. I find myself excited at the prospect of reading more of your stuff, and that feels good. Love Fatal Exchange so far.

    You’ve been missed, my crazy comrade.

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 26th Oct 2011 at 2:08 pm

      Why thank you.

      Yeah, it’s been a crazy year, but I don’t recommend it. Not much time for anything but writing, and social media. One needs time to hit the club and put one’s hands in the air like you just don’t care in all that. It’s quality of life, etc.

  5. Wed 26th Oct 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Okay, I have to ask this, how do you manage to keep working so consistently for a whole year? A post about your secret would really be appreciated. Unless it has something to do with clowns, then I don’t want to know.

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 26th Oct 2011 at 5:52 pm

      Honestly? I’m just very directed and disciplined. I find if I set a goal, as I have right now, to have 90K words done by the end of the month on my next book, and I don’t hit my daily milestones (say, 5K words per day) I start experiencing a lot of internal stress, so rather than face that, I just get the work done. Fortunately, my first drafts are usually pretty good, and they’re getting better as I apply myself, so the polish stage isn’t as grim as it is for many, nor is the editing.

      By way of example, I already have 30K or so of my next novel written, and then I put it aside to write this one, as the ideas for this one were bubbling more. So I have elasticity in my process, but by year end, I will have both done. I’ve always been like this – if I need to spend 12 hours a day on a project to get er done, I will. And with writing, the more I do of it, the easier it gets, which keeps me motivated to write more.

      That, a lot of tequila, and my lingering hatred for clowns and their simian minions. That fuels me too. But mostly it’s just being a very OCD type of personality. Oh, and you have to prepare to basically not have a life outside of writing if you want to try my release a book every month gig. I don’t recommend it. I just did it to see if I could, and to challenge myself. Next time I think I’ll just take a cruise instead…

  6. Thu 27th Oct 2011 at 1:18 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! It was a battle well fought. You did great!!! BRAVO!!!

    My ebook, Jetting Away, went free overnight on Amazon. I’d been trying to get JA free for some time. JA is a short story prequel to my novel, Outback Love, so I meant for it to be free from the beginning. Of course, both JA & OL can be read as stand-alones.
    Anyway, it was a hard battle and you did most of the fighting for all of us.

    I can’t thank you enough. I’ve been Tweeting about your ZERO SUM & also have it on my Kindle. I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend. Best wishes to you & many thanks!
    Teri Heyer

  7. Jeff Bennington
    Thu 27th Oct 2011 at 3:34 pm

    So are you retired or something? Or have you been writing full-time for a while?

    • Russell Blake  –  Thu 27th Oct 2011 at 3:38 pm

      Retired. And writing full time for a while.

  8. Marilou George
    Wed 02nd Nov 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Congratulations!! I did download the free copy of Zero Sum Book 1, love a free book. After reading reviews I immediately bought Zero Sum Special Bundle Books 2 and 3. I am looking forward to reading your books and wish you all the best.

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 02nd Nov 2011 at 2:22 pm

      Oh good. I hope you enjoy it.


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