Couple of Quickies…

I’m back from vacation well-rested and ready to get cranking again. Today, however, is devoted to painting my sons’ bedrooms. I started one yesterday and will finish today. That Monday adrenaline rush never gets old, eh? 😉 GORUCK Challenge updates will return soon…

Joe Nassise and I have a brand new ebook bundle out called DOUBLE TROUBLE. It features two full-length novels. From Joe, you get the first book in his awesome Templar Chronicles, THE HERETIC. And from me, you get Lawson in THE FIXER. The bundle is just $8.95 for two incredible reads. You should buy it here for the Kindle and here for the Nook and here if you shop at Kobo.

ZOMBIE RYU Episode Two will be out later this month. Make sure you grab the first episode and if you love it, then leave a review on Amazon, B&N, and anywhere else people purchase fine ebooks. The second episode cranks things up even more. Zombie vs. samurai and ninja in feudal Japan is a winning combination! Again, KINDLE | NOOK | KOBO

Finally, while many of you were asleep last night, I got a phone call from NASA. Seems that Curiosity Lander touched down and its first picture caught a lot of folks by surprise. Who knew Martians had such good taste? Apparently not even the best minds at NASA knew, so I’m being flown down today on a private Gulfstream 5 (after painting) to discuss the inherent galactic implications this photograph entails. I have no idea if Lawson will be chosen for first contact or not, but all options are on the table. More news when I have it…



By Jon F. Merz

You might remember this project idea I had a while back. I created a Kickstarter campaign to try to fund it, but that didn’t work out too well, so I shelved it for a bit until I could figure out the right way to pursue it. About six weeks ago, I finally came up with how I wanted to present this series and now, the very first adventure is live!

Zombie Ryu takes you back in time to feudal Japan where a crazy monk has unleashed a zombie invasion upon the land. They stalk the countryside at night, killing innocents, destroying home and farms, and leaving a wave of paranoia building across the land. For eighteen year old Shigoko (“secret talk”) life has been largely frustrating. She wants nothing more than to become a mighty warrior, but she is stuck on her rundown farm with her father, their most prized possession being an old samurai sword. When Shigoko’s farm is attacked by zombies one night, she flees into the woods and stumbles into the camp of the gnarled ronin Fudo and his squire Nishi.

Shigoko’s life will never be the same.

Fudo is gathering the greatest warriors in Japan – samurai, ninja, ronin – to head north to the most remote places in Hokkaido in their search for the evil monk. Together, they will become known as the Zombie Ryu. Only time will tell if they are successful, and only time will tell if Shigoko has what it takes to become the warrior she has always dreamed of being.

ZOMBIE RYU is written like an episodic television series. Every month, a new 25,000-word episode will debut as the warriors of Zombie Ryu edge ever closer to their goal of ridding Japan of the zombies and the evil monk who created them. Zombie Ryu also features wonderful cover art from my good friend and amazingly talented artist Courtney Rose.

ZOMBIE RYU: Episode One “Torn Asunder” is now on-sale. Grab the first episode in an action-packed new series today!

Get ZOMBIE RYU at Amazon for Kindle
Get ZOMBIE RYU at Amazon UK for Kindle
Get ZOMBIE RYU at Amazon DE for Kindle
Get ZOMBIE RYU at Amazon FR for Kindle
Get ZOMBIE RYU at Kobo for all sorts of e-readers
Get ZOMBIE RYU at Barnes & Noble for Nook
Get ZOMBIE RYU at Smashwords

Since today is launch day, I hope you’ll share this news around to your friends and family. Thank you for your support! Enjoy the series!

Summer Sales Tactics for Indie Authors

By Jon F. Merz

So, it’s the summer (y’know, in case the scorching heat waves hadn’t made that obvious enough) and this is typically the time when the entire NYC traditional publishing beast slows waaaaaaay down. Summer hours mean most NYC publishing professionals leave work at about 3pm to start the weekend, traditional sales slow down as more editors and agents are off on vacations, and in general it’s a dead time. In the old days, if you were a writer, the summer could be a very frustrating time because you weren’t getting any sort of feedback from your agent or potential editors. It used to drive me nuts that months would pass without a peep.

Then along came the ebook revolution. No longer were you forced to bide your time while everyone jetted off to the Hamptons for a luxurious vacation or a weekend party at Diddy’s. Now, with the writers in control, you could sell your work year round. It was a great time of revelation.

But there’s something curious about the summer that still affects publishing: less sales.

See, not only does traditional publishing go off on vacation, but so do readers. Kids are out of school and people aren’t necessarily thinking about buying books during these months. They’re outside (as they should be) enjoying the weather and frolicking and getting their collective groove on. From one perspective, that’s awesome. Happy people is always a good thing, I think.

But from the perspective of a “company” engaged in selling product (namely, my ebooks) any sort of sales drop-off is bad for my business. Last year, my sales dropped in the summer and stayed depressed through the Autumn months. I was still selling well, but not nearly at the volume as last Spring. And it’s not just me this happens to. Ask most indie authors how their sales are right now and you’ll find that the majority of them report that sales have slowed – sometimes dramatically. The question then becomes: what can we do about a sales slowdown?

The popular tactic right now seems to be this idea that writers need to lower their prices. I know of a LOT of indie authors right now who have dropped their prices into the 99 cent cesspool in an attempt to gain exposure with increased sales that will position them on certain bestseller lists. Once that happens, they switch the price back to a higher point and hope to reap some extra sales that way.

I happen to think that’s rather dumb.

First of all, the price you set for your work tells potential customers a lot. There’s been significant talk in the indie author circles that readers equate lower prices with lower quality work. “99 cents for a novel? It can’t be that good.” Now, obviously, that’s not a fair assumption to make. There are plenty of great reads out there for 99 cents. But there are also awful books as well. Dropping your work into that swamp of 99 cent books could tarnish it instead of elevate it.

Second, I don’t like jerking price points around like marionette strings. Consumers aren’t stupid. If I bought something at $4.99 and the next day it dropped to 99 cents, I’d be pissed off. And I probably wouldn’t buy from that author again. I’m not looking to make a quick buck off of people; I’m looking to turn them into lifelong fans of mine. That means treating them with the respect they deserve. I set my prices at a point that I feel is fair to me – as the creator – and fair to them as the consumer.

So rather than going with the flow this summer, I’ve decided to be a bit of a contrarian. My price points will stay where they are right now and we’ll see how sales do. So far, this summer has been very good to me. And next week, I launch my brand new episodic series ZOMBIE RYU, about an 18-year-old girl in feudal Japan who teams up with a grizzled band of warriors to stop a zombie invasion unleashed by an evil sorcerer. A brand new 25,000-word episode debuts each month. It’s a big experiment for me, so it’s going to be very interesting to see how it pans out.

If you’re an indie author, my advice this summer is not to do what everyone else is doing. Be different; set yourself apart. Launch a new project at a time when most people aren’t. Keep your prices where they are. Do things no one else is doing and see what you can do to ensure this summer isn’t about slow sales, but rather about even greater success.

Best of luck!