THE CRUCIBLE is here!

The Crucible Book Cover Hi-ResIt’s been a long time coming…

But the newest Lawson Vampire novel, THE CRUCIBLE, is finally here and EXCLUSIVELY at my new secure website. This is the ONLY place to get the book and you can pay using either a credit card or PayPal.

PLEASE NOTE: The lines where you enter your credit card information (number, expiration date, CC code, etc.) are too small to see what you’re typing, but they DO WORK (I’ve tested them). I’m trying to get that issue sorted right now. Also, once you pay, the CONFIRMATION PAGE will show three file types IN RED that you can download: .mobi for the Kindle, .epub for the Nook and other e-readers, and .pdf for printing or desktop reading.

I hope you all enjoy the latest Lawson adventure! Click on this link to go buy it! https://jonfmerz.net/product/the-crucible-a-lawson-vampire-novel/

Talya’s gone.

Kidnapped by the infamous Xuan Xiang, a former Fixer who has sold out to the Communist Chinese, in a bid to lure Lawson to a final climactic battle where only one Fixer walks away.

But Lawson doesn’t play by the rules. And rather than walk into an ambush, Lawson sets his own plan into motion to rescue the woman he loves. Aided by Jack, the recently-graduated Invoker, they launch their rescue operation, unsanctioned by the Council and thousands of miles from any sort of ally or help.

Deep in western China, Lawson and Jack uncover far more than they expected. And it’s going to take all of their skills combined to ensure their own survival and that of Talya.

Click on this link to go buy it! https://jonfmerz.net/product/the-crucible-a-lawson-vampire-novel/

GHOST IN THE MACHINE: A FREE Lawson Vampire Story by Jon F. Merz

Yesterday was my birthday and to celebrate, I’m giving away a brand NEW Lawson Vampire story called GHOST IN THE MACHINE. It’s absolutely FREE for a limited time so grab your copy below in one of three file formats: .pdf, .epub, or .mobi

In this story, it’s 1992 and Lawson owes a friend a favor. It sounds simple enough, but nothing ever is for Lawson. The story runs 7700+ words and will hopefully tide all you Lawson fans over until the release of the next Lawson novel, THE CRUCIBLE.

Have at it & thanks again for being such awesome fans!

-Jon

GHOST IN THE MACHINE PDF FILE (right click “save as”)

GHOST IN THE MACHINE EPUB FILE (right click “save as”)

GHOST IN THE MACHINE MOBI FILE (right click “save as”)

Videos, Signings, and More…

Just a couple of items to catch you up on…

1. This Friday night, October 18th, 2013 at 6:30pm, I will be having my “official” launch party for THE UNDEAD HORDES OF KAN-GUL at Park Street Books in Medfield, MA. The store is located right on route 109, 504 Main Street. It’s an awesome place, filled with amazing books – including mine. The event will probably last about two hours and I’m hoping to see a ton of people there. Please join me if you can!

2. Yesterday saw the debut of not one, but two different videos. The first is a quick promo I did for the above-mentioned signing.

The second is the book trailer for THE UNDEAD HORDES. Check that out here:

3. My publisher sent me about a zillion bookmarks and post cards for THE UNDEAD HORDES events I have coming up. I don’t expect that I’ll be using them all. I’m trying to figure out how to get some out to my awesome fans who aren’t local. More news on that when I have it.

bookmarks and postcards

4. Finally, this past weekend, we took some family photos over at Rexhame Beach in Marshfield, MA. Here are two that I’ll be using for promotional purposes. (Can you tell it was a bit windy?)

Jon F. Merz headshot1Jon F. Merz headshot2

5 Key Tips for Indie Authors in 2013

By Jon F. Merz

I had a great year of sales in 2012. As detailed in my previous post, I did quite well selling ebooks that I released independently. But I try to never rest on my laurels – because, frankly, laurels aren’t all that comfortable.

So what am I doing now that I hope to see bear fruit in 2013 and push my ebook sales goals even higher? Let’s take a look at some of the things indie authors can do to improve their sales over the next twelve months.

1. Invest in Your Business

This may sound more like something “regular companies” do, but if you’re an indie author, you’d better be treating your writing like it IS a business if you have any hope of sustaining or improving sales. To that end, you need to take some of your profits and reinvest them back into your company. How? Here are a few things you could be improving:

  • Website: is it professional enough? Are there any pages that need tweaking? Any that need completing? I’m still trying to get this site completely functional, myself!
  • Book Covers: are all of your books selling enough? Are they meeting your goals? If not, maybe you should try a different cover.
  • Analytics: see below

2. Newsletter

You do have a newsletter, right? It is the single most important piece of marketing you have access to: people who have given you permission to market to them directly by virtue of them signing up for it. Your email list is far more important than most realize and it’s the one source of data you have that isn’t reliant on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. If all of those go away overnight, you’ll still have that list. Make sure you pack it full of good stuff – news, free fiction, and more. Get a reliable email service provider that offers detailed stats on click rates, open rates, etc. This is data you need that will tell you whether you’re doing it right.

3. Analytics

Speaking of stats, do you have Google Analytics installed on your website? Do you know where your traffic is coming from? Do you know which of your site’s pages are the most heavily trafficked or how long surfers are staying on your site? Analytics are a vital tool that will help you refine your marketing efforts. If your landing page isn’t capturing the attention of surfers, then change the landing page until it does. Is your sales funnel channeling prospects to key pages and then getting them sign up for your newsletter or purchase your ebooks? Analytics will help you determine all of this and more. I know next to nothing about analytics and how to make it hum, so I’ve brought in a real pro to help me. This is another investment in my business. Yes, it costs money upfront, but I fully expect to make back many times the amount I’m spending now once I can look at the reports and see how I can improve. If you don’t know much about analytics, find someone who does who can help you figure this out.

4. Read More

You’re shaking your head at this one saying, “Yeah, Jon, we’re writers. We know we need to read more. We do anyway.” Great. Happy to hear it. Are you reading Fortune Magazine? What about free articles on Stratfor? Are you tuned in to key development continents like Africa? Are you thinking ahead enough to see where sales will be coming from in the future? There will be thousands of opportunities in the near future, but only for those who know they exist. Don’t shortchange your future by failing to read about coming waves of business opportunities now. There are a LOT of things happening across the world that indie authors can position themselves to take advantage of. Free ebook programs for disadvantaged youths in the rain forests might not sound like it will add to your bottom line, but in ten years when those kids are grateful your work and have elevated themselves out of poverty, they might just become your biggest evangelicals.

5. Help Others

Again, a lot of you are probably saying that you do this anyway, but do you? It’s not enough to simply retweet another author every week or so. You have to look for ways to positively impact the lives of other people – not just those you’re attempting to sell to. Look at your Facebook newsfeed and find someone you might only “kinda sorta” know. Take a day or so and learn as much as you can about them. Drop them a note. Say hi. Appreciate them. Nothing is cooler than getting a pleasant note out of the blue from someone. They might be having a bad day and your message is just the thing that helps them get through it. It doesn’t take money; it just takes effort and sincerity. Given the pace of our world and the level of insincerity that exists in so many areas, the gift of genuine attention is precious and rare. Even if it doesn’t translate into money in your pocket, it definitely generates good karma. And we can all use a little more of that!

Thanks for reading!

Did you enjoy this post? You’ll love my ebooks then! Available on Kindle here. | Available on Nook here. | Available on Kobo here.

Why It’s Important to Subscribe to My Newsletter

My newsletter is one of the most important things I have as an author. It lets me keep all my readers informed of my new work, writing, happenings, and all sorts of assorted goodness. There’s free fiction and more in each issue and I try to make it a bit more interesting with each installment. 2013 will see some cool changes as well with more added content every month. I always recommend that people subscribe and stay subscribed and this morning presented a perfect reason why.

Starting in January, Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photographs. Go read the article and nuke your Instagram account and then come back and we’ll continue.

Back? Okay, so Instagram is owned by Facebook. They bought Instagram for billions of dollars and now they have a very popular photography site that they are planning on turning into a serious revenue stream for themselves. I don’t use Instagram (I think I did once, but I nuked my account this morning just to be sure) but I do use Facebook. A LOT. I post tons of things out there to both my personal profile and my fan page. And my thinking is that if Facebook enacts a stupid policy change like they just did with Instagram, then what’s to stop them from doing the same at Facebook itself? While they’ve repeatedly said they won’t charge anyone to use Facebook, will they attempt to sell things that people post as a revenue maker? It’s possible. is it likely? I don’t know.

But I do know that if they ever did, my Facebook presence would disappear in a second. And that’s why I’m urging you all to subscribe to my free newsletter now so we have a redundant system of communication between us. Yes, you can find me on Facebook and stay up-to-date, but what if Facebook goes down or I stop posting there? By being a member of the coolest newsletter subscriber base on the planet (if I do say so rather immodestly) you’ll be sure that you always get the latest and greatest from me.

A new issue is dropping in a few days, so don’t wait. Subscribe right now by plopping your email address into the little box below. It’s quick, easy, and totally free. I will never sell your information to anyone. Ever. Period.