Author Archives: Scott Dyson

Free Promotion is here!

Started today, January 29th.  For five days only, ending February 2nd (Monday).

Two of my titles are free for Kindle on Amazon via KDP promotion.

Here are the links:

The Gateway Coverand

Jackolantern Cover

Please download them, read them, if you like them, consider leaving a review.  There are SIX (!!!) short stories contained in the two titles.  See the previous post for a description, or check out the Amazon book page for that same description.  They’re more or less flash fiction pieces.  The longest clocks in at something around 1800 words, if I recall correctly.

Thanks for grabbing them!

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Another KDP Select promo coming up…

I’m running a promotion on two of my titles, THE GATEWAY (with AMERICA’S PASTIME and HOT SPOT) and JACK’O’LANTERN (with THE MOMENT and SARAH’S PUPPY).  They will be free starting on Thursday January 29 for five days.  The promo ends on Monday, February 2.

The Gateway CoverAn imaginative boy discovers that the gateway for all evil has been opened, and his neighbor has been possessed! The fate of the whole world, or at least his neighborhood, is in his hands now. He must act to destroy the Gateway.

A 1500 word short tale of horror.

(Also found in the collection 14 Dark Windows.)

Contains two bonus stories:
America’s Pastime – a 1300 word short horror story, &
Hot Spot – a 700 word short horror story (dedicated to Dale Vincent Schwitalla)

Jackolantern CoverAs four young wanna-be Halloween vandals terrorize the far side of their neighborhood by smashing pumpkins, they encounter a jack’o’lantern that is by far the biggest and ugliest pumpkin they’ve seen this night. But this pumpkin is more than it appears.

A mild horror short story of about 1300 words.

*Also contains TWO bonus stories (NEITHER IS HORROR):
THE MOMENT (about 1500 words) and                                                                                                    SARAH’S PUPPY (about 1000 words)
And a short author’s note.

(These titles can also be found in the collection 14 Dark Windows.)

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Please feel free to download them, starting Thursday January 29.  Thank you!

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Update on Book Pricing

I just thought a quick post updating the book pricing might be interesting.  A couple posts back, I wrote that Amazon’s ebook price for DARK CITY by F. Paul Wilson was $8.54, more than my arbitrary max for a fiction ebook for myself.

So I waited.  I received a ten-dollar gift card from Barnes and Noble for Christmas, and yesterday I went into their store to browse a bit.  There was DARK CITY, retail price $8.99.  With my 10% member’s discount, it was already down to $8.09, less than the ebook price.  Okay, you might say that I already paid for that $0.90 discount with the $25.00 membership fee, and you’d be correct.  But then I also had a 20% coupon that came via email that day.  When I was not a member of B&N’s program, I rarely received coupons, and almost never received 20% coupons, except maybe at Christmas.   Plus, the $25.00 is a “sunk cost” whether I buy the book from Amazon as an ebook or from Barnes and Noble as a trade paperback.

With my 10% and the additional 20%, the cost of the book dropped to $6.47 (plus an 8.75% sales tax).  (I also bought remaindered editions of Evanovich’s 19th Stephanie Plum, a Joe Pickett novel from C.J. Box, a Robert Crais novel and a Jeffrey Deaver novel, each at 10% off their already low price, three at $5.98 and one at $6.98, so I got an additional $2.50 off besides the $0.90 on the Wilson title.  A total of $5.02 off with the coupon.)

Now watch:  I’ll go to Amazon next week and DARK CITY will be $3.99.

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UPDATE:  I went to the Amazon page to see what the price was today.  Instead of it being $8.54, it had gone up to $8.99, the exact same cost as the MMPB.  All I can do is shrug…

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Mount TBR

The to-be-read pile:  It’s something that every avid reader I know has.  There are all sorts of landscapes to be found on the slopes of this mountain for avid readers.  My own contains plenty of mystery, science fiction, horror and thrillers, but also contains books on sports, on music, on wine, on history…I don’t even know what’s in it anymore.  Only the parts I can see, which are heavy on Deaver, Connelly, Child, King, Grafton and Evanovich.   I don’t have a clue how many books are in the pile anymore.  The only thing I know for sure is that it got a whole lot bigger when I got my Kindle Fire, and while I’m pretty sure most of the content is genre fiction, I haven’t a clue how many unread books there are on that device either.

Before I got married in ’98, I lived a bachelor’s life.  I had a small house with three small bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen, and one bedroom was my “music studio” with my keyboards and guitars and an old Tascam Portastudio that recorded four tracks on a cassette.  Another was my library and writing room, where my bookshelves contained my nicer hardcovers and double rows of paperback books.  Then there was my bedroom.  I wish I had a picture of the mess that it was.  For a booklover, the mess was sort of beautiful.  There were books everywhere.  Stacks lined the far walls of the room to a height of about half the distance between the windows and the floor.  At least three feet of books (the windows were small and set high), with the columns of the paperbacks lining the walls.  I don’t know how many there were.  I know that I never got to most of them, and I still have most of them, boxed, in my basement (though a few made the trip to the attic at my office).

Now my TBR stacks are confined to shelves in the basement, in my bedroom, and in our home office.  I don’t know the count, but I’d guess thirty in the bedroom, thirty in the office, and another million or so in the basement.  Oh, and then there are the ones next to my bed, in the drawers of my nightstand where they are out of sight if not out of mind.  And three or four sitting on top of the nightstand, still IN sight, and still IN mind.  Oh, and I forgot the stack that’s here at my dental office.  Probably less than twenty here.

My wife has a love-hate relationship with my Kindle.  She loves that I don’t buy as many physical books.  But she hates the attention I give to the device when I’m in the middle of reading something I love.  Something that’s fully engrossed me.  She’s not a voracious reader (and that explains it, if you are an avid reader, you’ll get it).

The Kindle has made it easy for me to pile books on Mount TBR, because the guilt about the sheer number of books is easier to deal with.  Also the cost is significantly less.  There are only a couple of authors I buy when they release a new book (King and Coben, though F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack series was on that list until it was finished).  The rest either get bought off the bargain bins, or when I have a coupon to supplement my 10% B&N discount.  I still have quite the physical Mount TBR, but the virtual mountain is growing by leaps and bounds.

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Price of books…

A while back, I purchased a book by F. Paul Wilson, whose Repairman Jack series is one of my favorites.  While the series is finished (at the end), Wilson decided to write three prequels detailing the early years of Jack in NYC.  The first of these three is called COLD CITY and it was priced, at the time, at something like $3.99 as an ebook, I think.  Maybe have been a dollar more or less, but I’m certain that it was below $5.00.

I read it, enjoyed it a lot, and went to check on what the next book, DARK CITY, costs as an ebook.  I was surprised to see that it costs $8.54 on Amazon.  More than my max for an ebook for my personal use (I sometimes go higher for books for my kids).  But what surprised me even more was that the cost of the paperback is $8.99.  In the dialect of Jack’s friend Abe, “I should care how the words get from Wilson’s imagination to my brain?”

Just so we’re clear.  I have a B&N membership.  I get it usually at Thanksgiving, and it costs me $25.00.  Over the year, I believe it pays for itself, buying books for myself (mostly bargain books off the remaindered shelf where I only save about $0.70 or $0.80 per book, but I buy 10 or 15 of them a year, maybe more) and buying books for my kids (also usually around a dollar savings).  With the card, however, you also get more coupons and better coupons.  For example, toward the end of the year I was routinely getting 20% coupons every week, and I even got two 30% coupons (one of which I didn’t use).  I’ll have to track it more carefully this year.  But I’m sure it paid for itself last year, since we bought a bunch of Dr. Who stuff for the kiddies as well.

At $8.99 price point, with 10% off for certain (via the card I already have) and perhaps another 15% off via a coupon which will probably come soon via email, the final cost of the book will be $8.09 plus tax at the most, and $6.88 at best, if I wait for a 15% coupon (which I certainly can do).  So let’s see.  I get a physical copy of the book, which I can resell or give to my buddy down the road, for $6.88 plus tax, or I buy an ebook which I can’t do anything else with after I’ve read it (except read it a second time, perhaps), for $8.54 (without tax today, but as soon as Amazon opens their facility in Illinois, then with state sales tax as well).

I think I’m going for the physical copy.  Not that I care.  If the ebook was less, maybe in the $5.99 range, I wouldn’t hesitate.  It would already be on my Kindle.  I’d probably be reading it now.

Whose bright idea are those prices, anyway?

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Kindle Giveaway (via KDP Select) – Success or Failure?

So the giveaway is over.  I put two of my titles, SOLE OCCUPANT and DEAD OR ALIVE, on free promotion from Wednesday 12/10/14 to Sunday 12/14/14.  How did they do, you ask?  Well, between the two of them, I gave away 144 copies of the two short stories.  I really didn’t know what to expect as far as numbers, but it was mentioned to me by SF/Thriller author Steven M. Moore that giveaways used to be measured in the thousands and now they’re measured in the hundreds.

I piggy-backed this giveaway on the concurrent giveaway of QUANTUM ZOO, hoping for a few shares of my posts promoting both giveaways on Facebook so that I would be exposed to other authors’ fans, but the only share I got was by D.J. Gelner, the editor of QUANTUM ZOO.  (Thanks DJ!)  It did help, because instead of around a hundred people seeing my posts, close to 300 saw the first post with the links in the comments.

SOLE OCCUPANT got more downloads than DEAD OR ALIVE did, in the US by 75 to 50.  It’s a much shorter title, with two stories adding up right around 3100 words, while DEAD OR ALIVE is a single story of about 7800 words, something like that.  DEAD OR ALIVE is part of a larger “trilogy” of vampire detective stories, which I hoped might work in its favor.  SOLE OCCUPANT has a cover made by professional Rich Siegle, while DEAD OR ALIVE features a home-made cover.  I don’t think it sucks, but no way is it as good as Rich’s cover.

My hope was that perhaps I might get a paid download or three of one of the collections.  I haven’t had a paid sale in a month.  My other goal was to get a review or three.  But so far, out of 144 titles given away, there are no additional reviews, either good or bad.  I don’t know if that means that most of the downloads haven’t actually been read, so I suppose there’s still some time.

A third goal was simply to get some of my work into the hands of readers, who may or may not like it, but I figured it was worth a shot.  Tastes vary, and out of 144 tries, you’d think that maybe I might get a new reader or three.

It’s sort of depressing.  A commenter, John Ellsworth (I think) on one of my other posts suggested that I focus on writing something longer.  I have longer pieces out there, nothing approaching 80K words (the length he suggested) but maybe closing in on 50K for a couple of them.  Nothing under 23K, I think.  Mostly horror, though one of them is a mystery.

It’s sort of one of those catch-22’s, in that I want this to be a self-supporting hobby.  I am willing to pay for covers and editing, but I want to see enough earnings to suggest that it’s worth it for me to do so.  I hoped to sell enough short stories to make enough money, even if it was just a hundred bucks a month, to pay for cover art for some of these longer projects.  But it’s been a no-go.

So what should I do?  Keep writing?  (I’ll do that anyway.)  Keep publishing?  (Not as certain about that one.)  I’m dismayed by the lack of reciprocal promotion I get from authors whose works I’ve promoted on my FB page and here on the blog.  Not even a “Like” from any besides D.J. and J. Michael Major, who has also reviewed a few of my stories on Amazon.

That’s okay.  I have to admit, however, that it makes me less enthusiastic about supporting (via promotion on either here or on my FB page) other indie authors.  I’ll still support the ones I like to read by buying their books, and possibly reviewing them if the mood strikes me.

Maybe this giveaway experiment will result in sales down the road.  Maybe it will result in a few reviews, positive or negative.  But right now, I have to come down on the side of “failure” when asking myself if it was a success or failure.

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Successful giveaway?

Just a quick post to update the KDP Select promotion for two of my titles.

I’ve given away 114 ebooks in 3 1/2 days (today being the 1/2).  It’s scheduled to run through tomorrow.  (12/14/14)

Here’s the links:  SOLE OCCUPANT

DEAD OR ALIVE

It will be interesting to see if getting these two stories in the hands of readers results in any reviews of the stories or better still, any increase in sales from them.  Crossing my fingers…

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Two titles free for download from Amazon!

My short stories SOLE OCCUPANT and DEAD OR ALIVE are both available for download for free as of today, December 10th, through Sunday, December 14th.

SOLE OCCUPANT is a 14 page, two story combination that features the short story SOLE OCCUPANT (about 2400 words) and THE ONLY SOLUTION (about 700 words).  It’s short, to be certain, but it’s also free!

DEAD OR ALIVE is a 32 page short story and is the first story of THE STRIKER FILES, a combo-volume featuring all three stories of the series plus a bonus story (priced at $2.99 at Amazon).  DEAD OR ALIVE is free today through Sunday.

QUANTUM ZOO remains free as well, until Friday!

Sole_Occupant_Cover81pdvoY55PL._SL1500_*****

GUILT by Jonathan Kellerman

I have always enjoyed Jonathan Kellerman’s series featuring psychologist/sleuth Alex Delaware and his buddy Milo Sturgis.  There was a period where I felt that the series went a bit downhill, but the last four volumes in this series found the author upping his game a bit and delivering very satisfying stories.

In this story the bones of a baby are found in someone’s back yard, and the police are called in.  It turns out that the bones are pretty old and show no sign of trauma or evidence that the death was anything besides natural.  But the incident gets on the news, and pretty soon another set of baby’s bones are found in a park not too far from this house, followed by the body of a young woman.

Alex Delaware is not one to give up, and that seems to be a theme of this book – an exploration of Alex’s determination, which borders (or may cross into) obsessive/compulsive behavior.  He investigates both cases with his usual dogged determination, while Milo carries on in a by-the-book manner on his police investigation.

The book is about the evidence unfolding as one lead points to another lead, and Alex and Milo follow up on each lead undeterred by interference from higher-ups, lawyers and high-powered show biz types.  The exposition of the crime is done in a highly satisfactory manner (for me) and the solution is dramatic.  As is the solution to the first mystery, that of the baby’s body buried under an old tree, which comes almost as an afterthought, with only Alex finding out the truth of this one.  But you knew it was coming, that Kellerman would not leave us hanging on that one, and the low key manner in which it is presented is again very satisfactory to me.

There was a period where I felt that Kellerman had been surpassed by Stephen White as far as the freshness of his stories in this particular subgenre (psychologist sleuth with a cop buddy), even though I always felt White was imitating Kellerman as much as possible.  White’s Alan Gregory stories were more compelling at that time, but I think Kellerman has come back and taken the lead again in this genre, and I really enjoy his first-person spartan style when writing from Delaware’s perspective.  Also in Guilt, I felt that I learned something about Alex as a character that I didn’t know before.  Though I knew something about his history as a child, I had never put it together with why he has always been so determined and focused on the cases he works with Milo.  This book gave an explanation of sorts for that, and this far into a series, I find that to be a real positive as far as storytelling goes.  I mean, we’ve all known Alex for many many years, and I figured that I knew pretty much all there was to know about him.  Maybe that’s why these last several books have seemed fresher – because Kellerman is exploring depths of Alex’s character that most writers would be ignoring at this stage of the series.

Overall, I give this one a five star review.

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