“The way to make something good is to make it well. If the ingredients are extra good (truffles, vivid prose, fascinating characters) that’s a help. But it’s what you do with them that counts. With the most ordinary ingredients (potatoes, everyday language, commonplace characters) – and care and skill in using them – you can make something extremely good.”
“If your manuscript doesn’t follow the rules of what’s currently trendy, the rules of what’s supposed to be salable, the rule some great authority laid down, you’re supposed to make it do so. Most such rules are hogwash, and even sound ones may not apply to your story. What’s the use of a great recipe for soufflé if you’re making blintzes? The important thing is to know what it is you’re making, where your story is going, so that you use only the advice that genuinely helps you get there. The hell…
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I don’t pay much attention to these except in passing. I’ll notice that I’m getting about the same number of viewers or that a post has climbed to the top of my most-commented-on list. Let’s say, if I spend ten minutes a week on this, I’d be exaggerating.
But, it’s nice to know where I can look for quantitative feedback. One of my wonderful readers, Jill Weatherholt, asked where I found them. I don’t use anything beyond what WordPress offers. There are fancier options (like through Google) but this gives me everything I want. To that end, here’s where I found the stats I posted as a summary of my 2017:
First: Access the backend of your WordPress blog:
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I live in a diverse neighborhood, and it’s never more apparent than during the winter holidays. Some of my neighbors don’t celebrate, some go for the minimalist look, and some go hog to the wall. I don’t celebrate, but the wife does, and now that we have grandchildren, it’s kind of obligatory. The wife did a tree and streamers for a while, but with just the two of us, it got kinda boring, so she’s now restricting the decoration to a single, simple wreath on the door, and we go to our daughter’s house for the other stuff.
What I do like, though, is going around the neighborhood just before December 25 and snapping photos of some of the more notable displays. I share a couple of them with you.
Okay, well, it’s pretty much already here where I live. I almost biffed it on the ice today on my walk. But the sky is clear and the sun is gorgeous, so I’ll take it!
Today I wanted to let y’all know about some special deals just in time for the holidays:
First up, Michael over at Free Kindle Books and Tips is running a contest for signed paperbacks (the first Leine Basso thriller, SERIAL DATE, is included in the lineup) and a new Kindle Paperwhite. There are some amazing reads by fabulous authors, including M.A. Comley and Debra Burroughs.Click here to enter. (contest ends Friday, 8 Dec.)
Next, 50 fast-paced, page-turning thrillers and a brand new eReader are up for grabs over at Booksweeps. (And you get free ebooks just for entering, so a great deal all the way around). An e-copy of the latest Leine…
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I am excited to announce that my novel, Vixen, has been nominated for the Readers Choice Award in the Historical Fiction Category. I encourage all of my readers to go to www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting/ and go to category 14 (Historical Fiction) and vote for it. Vixen can be found near the bottom of the category page. Your vote will be greatly appreciated. Again, a reminder, go to www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting/ and vote.
As a special treat to my readers, I’m making four of my books (Kindle version) available for free each month in November and December. Just click on the link to go to the book’s page on Amazon.
If I Should Die Before I Wake — November 4 – 8
Portrait of Africa — November 11 – 15
Buffalo Soldier: Range War — November 18 – 22
Vixen — November 25 – 29
Hey there! HAPPY OCTOBER. Holy cow! How did THAT happen? It’s like I woke up and BAM–summer was over and it was fall. To
make me feel better celebrate, I’m running a paperback AND ebook giveaway of The Last Deception.
If you live in the US, click on over to Goodreads for a chance to win 1 of 2 signed copies. If you live outside the US, leave your email address in the comments below, or send an email to dvb (at) dvberkom (dot) com to be entered to win an eBook copy.
Contests end October 7th. Winners will be contacted via email and announced October 10th here on the blog.
Goodreads Book Giveaway
by D.V. Berkom
Giveaway ends October 07, 2017.
See the giveaway details
In other news, the Leine Basso Thriller Prequel,A Killing Truth,will be free…
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Capitol Police Heroes Crystal Griner and David Bailey Saved the Day, Preventing Congressional Massacre
Capitol Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey are the heroes who kept the shooting on Wednesday from being the “massacre” Congress members say it could have been. Both of the officers are on Rep. Steve Scalise’s security detail and put their lives on the line to respond when shots rang out at a congressional baseball practice.
Scalise was standing near second base and was shot by James Hodgkinson before both Griner and Bailey rushed into action, taking down the shooter despite both being injured. Both have since been taken to the hospital and are recovering from their injuries.
“Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre,” Senator Rand Paul said to MSNBC. Majority Leader Eric Cantor praised both agents, who had served on his protection detail before. “[Griner’s] an incredibly able and professional individual who…
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There’s been a number of articles on various sites about publishers who hook unwary authors into contracts that give nothing in return. Many indie authors have fallen into this trap—I include myself, unfortunately, in that number.
When I was working on my first book length manuscript, a book on leadership that I was encouraged to write by a young man who worked for me as my speech writer when I was U.S. ambassador to Cambodia (2002-2005). After slaving over the manuscript for nearly three years, I went searching for a publisher.
I encountered an ad from PublishAmerica, a Maryland-based small imprint that, unlike the many vanity publishers advertising at the time, touted the fact that they PAID authors for their work instead of asking for payment. Knowing, or at least suspecting, that the book I’d written would have limited appeal, it didn’t sound like a bad deal, so I submitted it.
A few weeks later I received an email advising me that my book was accepted for publication. Attached to the email was a contract. Naïve in the ways of publishing, I unwisely didn’t have that contract read by a lawyer before signing it. From what I’d read, it didn’t seem to bad – the advance was paltry (a mere $1.00), and I was locked into an 8-year commitment. But, the book would be published, so I figured I had nothing to lose.
It was published, but from that point on, it was a nightmare. The cover was somewhat amateurish—even then, just learning the art of designing book covers, I could’ve done a better job. The price was a bit high, I thought, but again, I was new to all this and didn’t know any better. I was encouraged to buy copies for myself at a measly discount from the inflated cover price. The royalties were also small; something like 8% of the cover price (compare that to the 75% you can get publishing it yourself through the Kindle Direct Program, or even the rather generous percentage you get when you publish a paperback through CreateSpace). They did, at least, list it on all the major book-seller sites; Amazon, etc.
Surprisingly, there were a few early sales, and I even got it included in a couple of libraries (The U.S. State Department Library, and my college library, to name two). A few people I met at conferences, who had read it, also informed me that they’d purchased copies to use in their management training programs. Despite this, my royalty checks over the past eight-plus years have yet to exceed $50. Looking back, when I compare this to the $100 per month I get through KDP, and an average of $30 per month through CreateSpace and other sales of paperbacks, I can see that what seemed at the time to be ‘too good to be true,’ in fact was just that.
The eight years in the contract are up now, and you would assume, as implied in the contract, my book rights belong to me. Guess again.
PublishAmerica changed its name to AmericaStar, in an effort, I believe, to attract foreign indie authors, but its practices remain the same. It does nothing to promote the books it accepts, beyond importuning the author regularly to buy copies, and lately it has done something that seals its fate as far as I’m concerned.
Over the past 60 days, I’ve been getting emails from AmericaStar nee PublishAmerica, informing me that the company is getting out of the publishing business and going full time to book promotion. In doing so, it plans to sell the rights to the books it holds to another ‘Indie’ publisher, but I can get them assigned to me for a modest fee of $199—it said in the initial emails that this was to cover the cost of removing it from selling platforms, etc.
At first, I couldn’t believe they would have the gall to do something like this, so I just ignored the first four or five emails. Then, they said, if I couldn’t afford $199, for a few days I could get my rights back for a mere $149. Again, I ignored them. A week later, another email, informing me that I had only two days to BUY my rights back, and they were doing me a big favor by reducing the cost to $99. Thoroughly steamed by now, I just filed the emails away and went on to other projects.
The latest are . . . funny, pathetic, I’m not sure how to characterize them. I now have 24 hours to obtain the rights to my own work for $79. If I fail to do this, someone else (as yet unknown) will own the rights to my book, and they can’t promise what the buyer will do with these rights.
Thankfully, I’ve self-published scores of books since my first mistake, and while I’m not on any best-seller lists, and not getting rich from it, I’m enjoying fairly regular sales, and getting some pretty solid reviews. As for buying the rights back to my own work—I’m in wait-and-see mode. If the last email is correct, I will probably be hearing from the mysterious new publisher someday soon with a request that I buy my book, or something equally ridiculous.
I’ve written that book off as a lost cause, and a lesson learned. Never were the words caveat emptor more appropriate.
John and Robert Puller were just kids when their mother, Jackie, disappeared. Thirty years later, their father, legendary three-star general John Puller, now suffering from dementia, is accused of killing her. John, a chief warrant officer with army CID, with the help of his brother and an enigmatic secret agent, Veronica Knox, determines to solve his mother’s case–even if it means implicating his father.
At the same time Paul Rogers, in prison for 17 years for manslaughter, is paroled. Rogers had been in the same place as Jackie Puller at the time of her disappearance.
The paths of these two men cross with a bang in David Baldacci’s No Man’s Land. Classic Baldacci, it keeps you guessing until the end, and doesn’t fail to entertain the whole way.
I received this book as a gift. I give it five stars.