Im Back

All in all, it wasn’t worth the effort, but it was a learning experience. My Amazon download numbers certainly picked up once I switched to KDP Select exclusively, but nowhere near the numbers I was pulling on Smashwords. Now that I’ve relisted it on Smashwords, activity on Amazon has been next to nil and Smashwords downloads and views picked up immediately.  Sure, my Smashwords version is free and that might have something to do with it, but I’m listing it on KDP at the lowest price Amazon permits – .99$ – and I gotta believe that anyone who is interested in reading YSYD isn’t deterred by the price tag. So… I’m not totally confident about the reason for the disparity.

Moving on – I’m still struggling to get more reviews – a common lament among the self-published crowd. I’m guessing the ‘non-bestselling-authors’ whine in similar fashion. I only have a handful on Amazon and none on Smashwords, despite the larger numbers. I need to work on my marketing strategies.

Meanwhile, thanks to all of you who downloaded a version from wherever. I’m stoked that even one person enjoyed it. If you find yourself so moved, slide over to either site and drop me a review – for either YSYD or Mr. Awesome and the Cheese. I’m currently working on an unrelated project, but if I think enough readers are interested, then I might be convinced to return to the well, sooner. Ray Chapin and the most dysfunctional crime fighting duo you’ve ever met have more in store for all of us! – MDO

Holiday Rush is Over

Well, rush may be a relative term. I enrolled YSYD in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. In doing so, I had to unpublish the story on Smashwords or anywhere else for 90 days. I’ll republish on Smashwords in March. There was a pretty good response during the initial KDP Select free promotion period thwhich I advertised on Facebook (16-18 Dec). I didn’t advertise the second period (25-26 Dec) at all as a test to see if word was getting out or if readers were finding YSYD via Amazon listings. The second period fell flat, so lesson learned. Take charge of your own marketing.

Meanwhile, if you like to download YSYD, you have to use Amazon. If you are a Kindle Unlimited member you can still download it at no cost. If you already have the story and participate in the Kindle Lending Library, then you can lend it to someone else. Otherwise, its $.99.  Less than the cost of a soda, it will last longer before tasting flat, and you’ll enjoy it a lot more!

YSYD Free on Amazon! 16-18 Dec

You Stop You Die Cover FINALFINAL

Because I listed YSYD in the Kindle Direct Program Select, I can offer the book for free at certain periods during a 90 day period on KDP Select. I set up to offer the book at no cost this weekend. I will do this again 25-26 December 2016. I’m hoping this will increase the circulation of the book and garner a few more reviews.

After a little bit of research, it seemed that more folks are looking for ebook content on the weekends (makes sense). I’m also trying to capitalize on all the new ebook readers who join the fray after receiving new tablets at Christmas and are looking to fill their libraries without furthering their Christmas debt. As you might know from reading earlier posts, this isn’t about making money. I’d be getting an MBA instead of hunching over my laptop making up stories if it was. Its tough to get your work read as a new author, so strategies for increasing readership are key.

I hope everyone enjoys the book. Whether you do or don’t, feel free to email your thoughts at  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Can’t Find YSYD on Smashwords?


Doh! That’s because I unpublished it for a while. I’m trying out Kindle Direct Publishing Select for a little while. In order to enroll in that program, the book cannot be listed anywhere else, so I removed it from Smashwords. Its still available on Amazon for 99 cents and from 16-18 December and 25-26 December I will list it at no cost on Amazon. The book was getting a few downloads every other day on Smashwords (predictably – it was free there), but no real movement on Amazon. It will eventually return to Smashwords, but I want to experiment with KDP Select for a bit.

Thanks again for your support and visiting my website!

Musing About Measuring Success

151 downloads of YSYD on Smashwords. 10 on Amazon (YSYD is free on Smashwords). I admit I’m tracking it closely. I’m certainly not immune to measuring the success of my writing by its popularity. Sure, writing is fun (editing not so much) and the feeling of completing a project for the first time was fantastic, but knowing that people are reading and enjoying my work is a big factor for me.

I’ve seen the advice, “Write for yourself… don’t worry about what sells… you can’t control how your work is received… just be honest with writing…”. Yeah, ok, but I prefer the way Elmore Leonard approached his work. He wrote westerns in the 50’s and 60’s because that’s what sold. When the western market dried up, he looked around and saw that crime fiction was selling. I’m sure he enjoyed writing in both genres, but the point is that he saw himself as a professional writer – and that meant getting paid to write. To get paid, you have to sell. To sell, you have to be read.

Being paid to write is a great motivator for some folks. I’m not as driven by it (making Patterson cash would be nice, though). For me, it’s about writing stories that entertain. If I just wanted to “write for myself,” I wouldn’t spend as much time editing. I’m a lot more willing to read my own stuff with the numerous typos and liberal splash of commas than an average reader would be. In the end, I try to craft a story that people will want to read.

I believe the essence of ‘story’ is that it must entertain – first and foremost. Inform, enlighten, challenge, shock – a story can do all of these things, and it should. However, if it doesn’t entertain, I don’t believe most readers will hang around for the rest of the good stuff. Like the tree that falls in the woods with no one around to hear it, if the story doesn’t have an audience, is it really a story?

So why write a western? Isn’t that one of the least popular genres these days? Without a doubt, it trails well behind fantasy and romance novels, but its making a comeback in the shorter forms and on ebooks. In addition, as a first attempt to write something for publication, it just seemed like a comfortable place to start. I have always loved westerns. Just wish I could get a few more online reviews – wink, wink. 

Now, I’ve started full on outlining and writing the next project that is more of a contemporary action/adventure story. I’m really enjoying the process. It’s a welcome relief from the drudgery of editing that has consumed my last couple of months.

I also hope to get another MA&TC story out in the coming weeks. The kids have been after me to finish it. If nothing else, they are a captive audience that I aim to please.

I appreciate all your support and feel free to leave comments, email me, like this post, or even follow me on Twitter. 

Harder than I thought it would be!

Most of you reading this are probably friends or family and that’s great. I’m glad you took the time. In reality, you were likely going to read this or cruise Facebook for another meme of Donald Trump or crying Hillary supporters, so it probably wasn’t that big an effort. Thanks anyway.

As many of you know, I retired last year from the military and convinced my wife I should take a year off to write that novel I’d been talking about for fifteen years; well, that and spend time with the kids. When I finally sat down last Fall to start banging away, it turned out I was more than a little lost trying to get my hands around the scope of a full novel. I fell back and decided to attack the short story genre until I got my feet under me.

Mr. Awesome and the Cheese was a fun little project and my first fully realized effort. I wrote it in less than a week for a writing contest. The kids inspired the characters and collaborated with me on the story, but balked when I told them to bang it out on the computer. Alas, it didn’t win anything, but a 2,000-word limit definitely attacked my tendency to run on. And the kids liked it, so it counts as a win.

Anyway, I wrote a handful of other stories (all too horrible to post) before I found my idea for a western exploding from my envisioned 5,000 words to over 20,000. I started it last January and it evolved over time – as did my understanding of things like characterization, story structure, story arcs, plot, yada, yada, yada. I probably wrote nearly 100,000 words if you count all the revisions and edits. It took a while, to say the least. Meanwhile, I was putting myself through a crash course on the publishing world before finally settling on self-publishing as a viable option. Bottom line, You Stop, You Die was more of a self-paced master thesis project that I felt I needed to do something with given the time and effort I had put into it.

I’ll leave it to the readers to make up their own minds if it was a well-spent year – I certainly enjoyed it. I have a couple other stories in the development stage including a sequel to Mr Awesome and The Cheese and an idea for a series of stories to build on You Stop, You Die. I have a larger project based on my time in Iraq, but the outline is kicking my butt and it may be some time before its ready to publish.

Again, thanks for all the support and taking the time to stop by. Now go read, write, and adventure! (Yeah, I’m working on a better tag line…)

You Stop, You Die…published at last!

You Stop You Die Cover FINALFINAL

Ray Chapin is a hired gun, a killer for money, and he’s sick of it. He longs for a life far from the draught stricken plains of West Texas, but he needs money to escape. The Alabama Kid is a deadly sadist with a plan to rob the payroll coach of the richest cattle baron in the county. The two men team up for what promises to be an easy job; no killing required. Ray’s dream of salvation disappears when he finds himself double-crossed and left for dead with a trail of bodies behind him. Surrounded by posses, Indians, and Texas Rangers all set on killing him, Ray and his faithful mustang, Esther, have to run for their lives before he can ride for vengeance.
A throwback western adventure story in the tradition of Elmore Leonard and Louis L’Amour, this novella delivers the heroes, the villains, the gunfights and surprises harkening back to the serials of the 1940s and 1950s.