A lot of you have been asking when the next Lawson novel is coming out. As you might know, I walked away from a deal with St. Martin’s Press to publish the next Lawson because what they were offering was simply not good enough to make me want to partner with them again. That said, I’m committed to getting the next novel – THE RIPPER – out in a timely fashion for those of you wondering where Lawson is headed next. So, THE RIPPER will be out in time for the holiday season. In this next installment, we get to see a lot more of Arthur’s backstory from when he was a Fixer in London a long time ago. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to release it. It will be available first as an ebook. But I’m looking around for a publisher – preferably a publisher that “gets it,” when it comes to the new emerging business model of publishing – to sell print rights to the entire series. I want Lawson in print and even if I have to do it myself, I’m going to get him out there. (So if you know any cool publishers, please drop me a line…)

Also, OATHBREAKER is coming along nicely. Still not sure whether this will be a Lawson short story or a novella. But I expect to have that done by the start of the Autumn season.

Things are a bit slow right now because it’s summer and my sons are home, so my productivity has diminished quite a bit. Expect a LOT of stuff coming at you over the next few months, though. PREY will be out soon, DEATH MASTER will be out soon, and a bunch of other stuff. I should have news on a new series pretty soon as well as the progress on THE FIXER TV series. Trust me when I tell you this: the Autumn is going to be awesome. And busy. But that’s good stuff.

I’m out on Google+ now, so be sure to add me to your circles.

In the meantime, I’m preparing to release the next issue of my FREE newsletter and you should totally subscribe if you haven’t already. Also, make sure you’re all caught up on the Lawson series by grabbing the adventures out on Amazon for the Kindle or Barnes & Noble for the Nook.

Have a great weekend everyone & thanks for reading!

The End of Fabruary

Bunch of stuff to talk about today…

Last week was spent suffering through a nasty bout of the flu. I was down for most of the week (the worst was actually over in about two days, but the lingering effects sucked) and spent all my awake time finishing off my final Rogue Angel novel. I’ve had an absolute blast writing on that series, but after eleven novels, I’m pretty burned out. The folks at Gold Eagle are fantastic to work with and I really enjoyed my time with them.

But I’m excited about things ahead for one big reason: the preceding month has been renamed to “Fabruary.”

Let me explain…

I’ve always viewed the coming ebook revolution with something of a jaded eye. After a decade or more in this business, I’m always wary of supposedly “new” things. But I’ve also been playing around with ebooks for a few years now. I had some early success with it with regards to Parallax and then, after putting out a host of novels, short stories, and a few other things, my sales flatlined at about $100 earnings each month for the last year. That means I was making about a hundred bucks on sales of everything I had out on the Amazon Kindle platform. Not impressive, by any means – especially when I’d read blogs by other folks like Joe Konrath, Amanda Hocking (she just bought a house for cash with her ebook earnings), and even some closer friends and colleagues – all of them were enjoying some serious success.

And I wasn’t.

So, I decided to try to remedy that. At the end of January, I put my entire Lawson backlist – four novels, a novella, and four short stories – out on both the Kindle and the Nook platforms. In February, I also debuted a new novella, SLAVE TO LOVE, and then in late February, I reworked the cover of Parallax, dropped its price to 99 cents, and put an excerpt from THE FIXER in the back of it. The goal was to use Parallax as something of a gateway drug to my Lawson series.

The results have been amazing.

Thanks to a series of incredible covers, the Lawson backlist is selling very well, indeed. As of this moment, THE FIXER alone has sold 450 copies on the US Kindle store alone. Priced at $2.99, the novel has earned me $900 and change this month. That’s 100% gorgeous passive income – and it’s 9 times what I made in total for the previous 9 months.

Ah, but I’ve got more than one Lawson novel. I’ve got four. The other three are all selling triple digits. The novellas are closing in on 3 digits and the short stories are selling very well.

So, by itself, the Lawson backlist was generating very strong sales during the shortest month of the year.

Then I dropped the price on Parallax. Until I reworked the cover, I’d sold 4 copies all month. After I dropped the price to 99 cents, I sold many more copies. As of last Friday, I’d sold just over 150 on the Kindle and perhaps 50 on the Nook.

But on Saturday morning, something incredible happened: Barnes & Noble featured Parallax in an email promo to its customers. Nothing elaborate; just a simple shot of some book covers. Parallax was featured in its “thrifty reads & great stories” section. I had no idea this had happened until very late Saturday night. Saturday morning, I saw that Parallax had suddenly sold 55 copies and I thought, “huh, interesting.” I continued to watch the numbers climb all day and into Saturday night. By midnight, it had done 347 copies for the day.

Incredible. My sales rank in the Nook store was beating the likes of JD Robb/Nora Roberts and I was on par with ebook success Amanda Hocking. I had no way of knowing if the trend would last, but yesterday, I sold 233 copies.


I have no idea if the Parallax burst will last, but I’m thrilled to have gotten such an amazing push. I’ve sold 25 copies this morning. You can still get it for the Nook HERE and on the Kindle HERE for just 99 cents. It’s a great book, one of my best.

So, with all that said, I’m very excited. The ebook revolution means that I have the freedom to write whatever I want and get it out there as soon as it’s ready for mass consumption. No longer do I have to slave over a proposal and hope that an editor in New York understands the scope of the project, gets excited, can then pitch it to a room full of supposed experts, gets the green light to acquire it, makes a decent offer (lol), and then tells me the book will be out in about a year. Now, if I have an idea I think is cool, I can just write the thing and put it out. If it flops, no biggie. If it’s a hit – all the better. But the amount of time and number of hoops to jump through for me to reach my readers has now been drastically winnowed.

After all, it’s always been about the readers. Or rather, it should have always been about the readers. That hasn’t always been the case with the traditional publishing model.

But now, it can be.

Am I through with traditional publishing? Probably not. But I will say this: my attitude has been changed tremendously given the success I’ve had in the shortest month of the year. I have big plans to get a lot more material out for ereaders – more Lawson, new series, fun stuff – a veritable ton of things that have only been ideas and “failed” proposals until now. (I say “failed” only because they didn’t sell in the traditional publishing world.)

The landscape is changing. Dramatically.

Borders has gone bankrupt. Is B&N going that way, too? Probably not since they adopted an ebook strategy. But the thing about ebooks is this: they’re not going to stop. And more people will get an e-reader. I love the feel of traditional books, but even I have been reading some things on my iPhone lately. We’re either at a tipping point or beyond it now. Millions are reading ebooks and millions more will soon join them.

Traditional publishers need to seriously revamp their contracts. Right now, the industry standard is 25% net on ebook sales.

That’s crap.

And as much as they may insist that costs are high for producing an ebook, it’s a bogus argument. I can put an ebook out on the Kindle and it takes me perhaps thirty minutes to do. Same for the Nook. I can hire someone to design a great cover.

So why would I give a publisher more than 50% of the proceeds from ebook sales?

For me personally, there’s a lot to think about in the coming months. Where do I want my career to go? With THE FIXER TV series moving ahead, do I want my books tied up by a traditional publisher that doesn’t pay me a fair rate?

Before the ebook revolution, the folks in New York (by and large) determined the destinies of writers.

Since the ebook revolution, that power has shifted. On a seismic scale. Writers now control their destinies. We can write what we want and sell it to our readers. Fewer middlemen means a lot of very good things, indeed.

I’m excited.

For the month of Fabruary, I just broke $3,000 in earnings for my ebooks. 30 times what I’d earned each month for the previous year. (and frankly, there are many writers making a LOT more than that right now, so my potential for sales isn’t going to go down, it’s going to go up as I a) produce more material, b) the number of folks reading ebooks climbs, and c) the number of e-readers sold climbs…)

That kind of success can make a person stop and think.

And it should.

So, while I do that, here’s a new review of THE KENSEI and a fun little Q&A with Talya. Enjoy!

Upcoming Release Schedule…

With the entire Lawson Vampire backlist selling well on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I’ve decided to get a lot of stories, novellas, and novels out into the ebook marketplace. So, to give you a snapshot of what’s ahead, here’s a list of what you can expect between now and next year. The exact schedule is up in the air as I juggle multiple projects, but this should be a fair indicator of about when you can expect things to show up for sale.

THE MADAGASCAR MATTER – This was supposed to be a serialized novella but it’s grown into a full-fledged early novel (meaning pre-Fixer) with Lawson and Zero in Africa. I’m still finishing this up, but I expect it will be out by the end of March.

THE SHEPHERD – Not sure what this is going to be yet. It’s already proving it’s too involved to be a short story, so odds are good this will be a novella. I expect to have this out around April/May.

MISSION: MALTA – A serialized piece for my newsletter, so this will end in December unless it takes on a mind of its own. This will be a short story.

THE CAIRO CONNECTION, CANARY TRAP, A FORCED DISAPPEARANCE – A trio of longer short stories originally supposed to be published by a certain UK chapbook publisher under the banner of DARK OPS. Due to problems with that publisher, I’ll be bringing these out myself. Probably a Fall release.

THE RIPPER – Officially, the 6th novel in the series, it will be out in trade paperback from St. Martin’s next Spring.

Other Lawson projects include two other novels (not releasing the titles yet, but they’re coming) and a few more short stories. Lawson’s world is growing everyday and new fans are getting caught up in the rapture – between the ebooks, print novels, and the TV series, things are going to get crazy. And we still have to get the graphic novel finished at some point as well. Lots of stuff happening so please spread the word about Lawson and his adventures. And if you don’t have an ereader yet for your smartphone, a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or other ereader, you should probably get one soon. 🙂

Need to get caught up on some Lawson adventures you’ve missed?

Go here if you’ve got the Kindle or Kindle app: Lawson on Kindle | Go here if you’ve got a Nook or Nook app or other ereader that handles epub files. Lawson on Nook

Additionally, I will be working on the first NINJA novel, the sword & sorcery epic starring Ran, a recent ninja school graduate. I’ve gotten a number of emails lately asking when that will be available, so I’ll be working on that. I also have to do revisions on my boys adventure series THE NINJA APPRENTICE. Busy times ahead, but good fun – lots coming at you! 🙂

The Future for Writers (part 2)

So, in my last post we talked about how a lot of authors (myself included, briefly, when I started doing this full time about a decade back) have relied too much on only one source for their income over the years. And consequently, when that income source is threatened or dissolves in the fashion that Dorchester’s Leisure mass market paperback line is, then those authors are left without much. I recommended that all authors in the current market build multiple income streams to take into account fluctuations in demand, economic conditions, bad luck, what have you. When I was cast out by my first publisher Kensington back in ’04, I struggled for years to preserve and expand my writing career. The following list is just some of what I use on a daily basis – some are actual income streams and some are ways to enhance those streams.

(Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section.)

1. EBooks

I’m not crazy about reading books on a small screen. But a huge and ever-growing segment of the population really digs this. I’ve seen plenty of authors resist the ebook advance with as much obstinacy as traditional publishers. That’s stupid. Get out on Amazon through their DTP program and sell your backlist or any other projects that you haven’t found a traditional home for. Price your novels at $2.99, get a great cover, and bump your descriptions and tags up. 60 days from now, you’ll have your first royalty check direct deposited into your bank account. It’s faster and easier than traditional publishing, there’s very little overhead, you can do the formatting yourself (or hire someone for fairly cheap scratch) and get your work out in front of millions. And earning roughly $2.09 per book (the 70% royalty rate for an ebook priced between $2.99-$9.99) is pretty sweet.

Along those lines, get your work out on Smashwords. And Barnes & Noble is doing their own thing soon with Pub It!. You can already sell your ebooks through the Apple iBooks store, but you need an account and have to follow some extra guidelines to do it. Of course, you can always get your books made into iPhone apps as I did with several of mine. Each week, I sell a few copies out there that gets me a monthly PayPal payment from the guy I teamed up with to develop them.

Ebooks are an incredible boon to authors right now. If you’re not taking advantage of this, then fix it before you do anything else. Seriously. Literally every minute you delay, you’re losing out on sales.

2. Sell Direct

Middlemen can be helpful; middlemen can be a pain-in-the-ass. If you’ve got an established fan base, there’s no reason why you can’t sell directly to them – ebooks, print books, merchandise, etc. Set up a Paypal account or Google Checkout and start selling on your website. You can sell ebooks directly and pocket even more of the money. It’s a fairly easy matter to convert ebooks into various popular file formats like .epub, .mobi, and even Amazon’s .azw.

3. Print Your Own

Createspace and various other outfits can print your backlist on demand. I haven’t yet explored this option myself, although I intend to. You won’t make as much as you will selling ebooks, but it’s another way to help make sure your product finds its way into customer hands. Some people will always prefer print books to ebooks, so make sure you cater to them.

4. Serialize

Serialized fiction works for me. I’ve twice experimented with it, this year selling the exclusive early Lawson Vampire adventure THE MADAGASCAR MATTER direct to subscribers. Each week (barring a few delays that couldn’t be helped) they get a new chapter in their email in one of 3 formats: as a text within the body of the email, a .pdf file, or an .azw file they can read on their Kindle. The price was $7.95. I’ve had hundreds of people sign up for it and we’re still going strong, just past the midpoint of the novel. Just don’t make the mistake I made last year and announce the project around Christmas. I heard crickets for a while there, lol…

5. Embrace Social Media

Yeah, I know a lot of you don’t much care for promotion. Tough. Get used to doing it, because the rest of the world is out on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linked In, Plaxo, and about a million other sites. Get a personal profile on Facebook and then set up a Page for yourself as an author. Here: use this handy ebook guide to help you set it up. I’ve heard the author is wicked cool. (If you need the book in another format other than Kindle, drop me a line) Social media sites are an integral part of interacting with your readers, developing your brand identity, expanding your audience, and attracting new readers and sales. You NEED to be on it, no matter how desperately you wish otherwise.

6. Hollywood

Writers normally look at an option or film rights deal as some type of ultimate pie-in-the-sky event. But the business model in Hollywood is changing as well. Not radically, but enough that you have a better chance now to make an impression out there provided you know how to do so. Start studying the business. Understand how studios make money and where they make it. Stop listening to halfwit idiots espousing box office takes and read THE BIG PICTURE: Money & Power in Hollywood by Edward Jay Epstein. Then read it again. Read it until you know how things have evolved from the start and why TV and feature films make money and yet they don’t make any money.

Then learn how to write a screenplay. Learn what a beat-sheet is. Learn what a scriptment is. Learn how to create a compelling B story within your screenplay.

And if you’re not satisfied with things in Hollywood, buy your own camera, like say the Canon EOS 5d MKII, which shoots glorious full 1080p HD for a measly $2500 for the body. My production company for THE FIXER (website’s being redesigned, come back in October for the trailer’s debut) has three of these cameras along with a bunch of lenses and rigs. They’re awesome. And the camera is revolutionizing Hollywood. SO go buy it for short change and start making your own content. No reason you can’t. You can take the LONG and hard path like my business partner and I did and find investors for your project (it’s only taken us about three years of constant frustration and heartache, but we’ve found some truly awesome folks) or you can raise funds through Kickstarter or from your reading public. Hire yourself top talent and crew and wow the world.

Who says you can’t?

7. Work-For-Hires

I write Rogue Angel novels for the Gold Eagle imprint of Harlequin. I started a few years back and have thus far penned eleven of those suckers. It’s a terrifically fun series and the books tend to write themselves. I earn no royalties from that work, but the pay I get (half on the signing of the contract and half when I turn it in) is pretty sweet change. I write about three each year. That’s a good chunk of money. It’s not easy to break-in, but if you can work your way into the business, it’s worth staying there until you can afford to get out of it for good.

8. Traditional Deals

A lot of ebook exponents are declaring the era of traditional publishing dead. It’s not dead yet. Until that final death knell comes, it’s still a good idea to have a traditional publisher backing you up. Here’s the thing: if you’re selling lots of ebooks, have a good social media presence, and more, you’re making yourself more attractive to a traditional publisher. The fact that I have over 13,000 followers on Twitter helped secure my deal St. Martin’s Press. Don’t discount anything these days.

9. Small Press

Until very recently, I haven’t had much luck with the small press. But I know others who have enjoyed great success there. My suggestion is to find one that likes your work and set yourself up as something of an exclusivity with them. If you’ve got a brand, then the publisher benefits and you benefit as well. Chapbooks, novellas, collections, novels, compilations, whatever. It’s yet another avenue to be explored and mined.

10. Develop a Brand

Yeah, I know what you’re saying: “But I’m a writer.” So are about a zillion other writers. What do you do that separates you from the crowd? Why should anyone care about what you write? Why should they pay $4.99 for your book when there’s someone else writing about ghouls on Amazon and is only charging $2.99 for their book. “But I’m the Ghoul Guy!” Okay, now why are YOU the ghoul guy? What makes your ghouls better than that guy’s?

My “brand” is this: writer, producer, ninja. I write books (and various other things); I produce my own TV show, THE FIXER; and I’m a 5th degree black belt in the last authentic lineage of Ninjutsu and have studied the art for over 20 years. Not too many (er, any as far as I can see) other authors can say the same thing.

Figure out who you are and you’ll be in a much better position to find new readers and fans, and thereby sell your work to them.

One final note: be honest. Don’t lie to your reading public. They’re smarter than that. I’ve read countless blogs where someone claims this movie deal or that they’re being actively pursued by multiple publishers, etc. etc. Please. It’s not THAT tough finding out if it’s true or not. We’re not in a giant, nameless industry. And a lot of us have extensive contacts that we can easily call and ask about things. I find it amusing that so many authors need to lie to make themselves seem more important than they are. Readers don’t care about that crap. They want a great burst of entertainment from you. And if you’re honest with them, they’ll reward you with their loyalty. Respect them accordingly.

All right, that’s enough from me. I’d love to hear from readers on other ways writers can flourish in these volatile times.

Did you enjoy this blog post? If so, please subscribe right now!

Get It By EMail | Add to iGoogle | RSS/XML Feed

Liked this post? Please share it!


Get this and other great articles from the source at www.JonFMerz.net

New Stuff Coming Your Way…

I’ll be uploading a few new things to the Amazon Kindle store over the next week or so.

First off, NINJA – the novella written in the vein as Robert E. Howard’s Conan, will be up (I hope) today. I’ll update this post as soon as it goes live. This is the first in what I hope is a new series – authentic ninjutsu mixed with sword & sorcery – what’s not to love?

DANGER-CLOSE – my first Jake Thunder mystery/thriller starring the former USAF specops commando turned paraplegic private eye will also be up shortly.

SHADOW CHASER – this is the novel I wrote right before THE FIXER, years back, and after reading through it, I still think it’s a fun read. An espionage thriller filled with all sorts of intriguing characters, it’s a good time.

I’ll also be uploading a bunch of short stories and two new non-fiction ebooks. But I’m keeping mum on those for right now. More updates as they become available. I hope you enjoy them all!

Did you enjoy this blog post? If so, please subscribe right now!

Get It By EMail | Add to iGoogle | RSS/XML Feed

Liked this post? Please share it!


Get this and other great articles from the source at www.JonFMerz.net