The Italian Dox Job.

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Image Credit: skeeze/ pixabay

There’s an enormous amount of pressure from publishing houses to avoid authors with pseudonyms, because they need their author’s to get out there and do the publicity rounds, magazine and TV interviews, give readings at bookstores. Drum-up sales is the name of the game, etc. So, when I learned that there was a wildly successful Italian author who embraced her anonymity wholeheartedly, for two decades; it was a breath of fresh air. Because at the end of the day it should be about the book or story the author wishes to tell. Not about; selfies, tweets, likes, or whom he, or she fucks.

The so-call unmasking of author Elena Ferrante, which is bordering on doxing if you ask me, should be condemned by any self -respecting book lover simply because it was her wish to remain anonymous. For two decades she been writing this way, and has stated that she’d rather let her books do the talking, she has said that that privacy allows her creative space, and that if she can’t have that she won’t publish anymore. Well guess what? According to the Walls Street Journal, because of what happened to that privacy, she is off the grid completely and indefinitely. Grazie giornalismo giallo

An author is not the Kardashians, I repeat; an author is NOT a member of the Kardashian family, unless said author wants to be a Kardashian (meaning: a fame whore) then, and only then, should they be treated as the fame whore they wish to be. If on the other hand, the author wants to toil away on his or her books, and wishes to remain anonymous then its their right to do so; you and I have no right to deny them that, because, guess what? They DON’T owe us anything, other than a good book or  good story. If that at all.

That being said, and me, being the professional cynic that I am (but my heart’s not in it *wink, wink*) I just hope this is not a publicity stunt on the part of the author’s publishing house, PR personnel or (God forbid) the author herself—that would suck moose.

Much respect, hats off and all the best to you Elena Ferrante.

My 2 Cents.

The Fine Art of Pitching.

pixabayIt has been said that pitching is the cornerstone for all marketing; if that’s the case, then yours truly really sucks at it.

Yeah it’s going to be one of those rants.

But wait—if you’re writer—stick around and I’ll tell you where you can place a FREE ad, for your free book or short story, a place where you’ll get a bunch of download and  hopefully readers. Okay back to bitching, I mean; pitching. Here’s the pitch (blurb/synopsis) for my FREE short story Killing Crows.

Newly minted family man Bobby Herrera got pinched for robbing a bodega. Now he’s looking at twenty years. His new cellmate, Clayton Stanton Jr., is a dark and violent man. A killer with a big secret—a secret that can set Bobby free or get him killed.

Its chess not checkers at Federal Correctional Institution Ray Brook in Upstate New York.

Admittedly, I’m biased, because I wrote the damn thing. Naturally, as the writer, I don’t see anything wrong with it. The blurb gives the names of the main protagonists and the gist of the story—without giving away the whole enchilada. Reddit is a great place for a lot of cool stuff, I really like the place. Their self-publish sub-reddit helped me a lot when I was starting out in this journey, and to help writers promote their writing; they’ve added a few places where a writer can advertise their books and shorts stories for FREE, without coming across as a spambot douche.

Those sub-reddits are:

/r/freeebooks   /r/kindlefreebies  /r/efreebies   /r/wroteabook   /r/bookdownloads.

So I added my FREE short story Killing Crows to all of those sub-reddits. But apparently my pitch sucked because pretty soon I had some messages that told me so. Here’s the abridge version of some of them:

*Drop back five yards and punt, kiddo.

*Hmm… I’m gonna pass. There’s a grammatical error in the last line.

*Your blurb is very short, doesn’t hook me, and contains at least one grammatical mistake. That’s enough to turn me away.

*I was intrigued by the title, but the cover and blurb didn’t grab me.  

I’m no grammar Nazi, but I understand where these folks are coming from, who wants a miserable reading experience right?  Despite of all that was said above; I stand by my story, It’s a solid piece of work, a testament to that is this AMAZON REVIEW I don’t see the mistakes or problems with that blurb and neither did the TWO editors whom I paid to helped me edit and prof-read it—I’m stumped, that being said, as of this writing, the story has been downloaded by 54 people, and counting, so hopefully they’ll like the story and leave an honest review—that’s all I can hope for.

Look, in no way am I comparing myself to the great Hemingway (I write pulpy crime fiction for fucks sake) but I wonder; if he was a writer today, how on earth would he find the time to go fishing in the Florida Keys, take in a genuine Spanish bullfight, smoke hand- rolled cigars in Cuba, and write great books about his adventures, if he had Tweets to send, Facebook to update, write rants to post on his blog, pin pins on Pinterest, do whatever it is that folks do on Instagram, buy Google ads, buy Twitter ads, figure out how to buy Facebook ads, make print books, find a way to get a mailing list going—somehow, and beg people to read his book on Goodreads, Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook., etc.  If Papa Hemingway was a self-publishing author today, he would probably blow his brains out…Oh wait, bad example.

Terrible, jet-black humor aside, this promo thing has proven to be quite the challenge. At times it feels like a tremendous waste of time, but hey, that seems to be the new normal for us self-publishers these days, good thing I enjoy writing a cool and solid page turner, otherwise I won’t be doing this.

‘Till next Time Buckaroos.

Pimping Books.

pimp-hatA book pimp is essentially what a writer has to become in this day and age. Reductive? Heck, downright insulting, but it’s true. I love the freedom that self-publishing provides, I do this mainly because I love to write an entertaining good story, I don’t do it for fame, nor do I want fame, I don’t do it for money or poontang—God knows I get none of the above by doing this, but I’ve come to the realization that I’m essentially running a business, a business that’s bleeding money because I suck at pimping books.

Granted, I haven’t been in the game for long, but I’m starting to see why many a self-published writer drops the towel and quits the game. Writing the book is half the battle, promoting the thing, now there’s a skill no one tells you about—I don’t have it, because I never been a salesman, let alone a ‘self-promoter.’ I feel icky pushing what I write onto people’s faces, it can get frustrating, depressing and some would say ‘undignified.’

Blowjobs for reviews is no way to go through life (unless that’s your thing, in which case; carry on).

Why all the bellyaching you ask when all I have to do is pursue a deal with a ‘reputable’  gate keeper, eh…I mean; publisher? Lots of reasons, mainly I don’t think they’ll like what I write, I’m not a ‘literary’ guy, I write what entertains me and hopefully, is what will entertain the few folks who are kind enough to read my stuff. Publishers have the annoying tendency to tell writers what they should or should not write. They take more than they give; they hardly do any promotion, which is what a writer needs the most. The list goes on…and on.

I wish I had the promotional budget of the Coca-Cola Company to promote my books, because I run on a tight budget, I’m not rich (even though I spend most of my time at my job, hmm) So by the time I’m finished paying the editor/s, book formatter, securing a copyright, and buying images for the book cover. I’m left with zero budget for promotion, which sends the book into oblivion. I repeat: I never been a salesman, nor do I have the desire to become one, but it looks like I have to become that which I hate the most; a shameless fucking salesman. (No offence to those of you who are. A tip of the hat to you, that shit ain’t easy).

Hand jobs for a five star review on Amazon… sir? Madam? Gimp? Anybody…?

Truthfully, I’d rather be writing my next book. That being said, and after deciding to forgo a visit to the dentist (yet again)fingers cross, this upcoming Monday I’ll dip my toes into the murky waters of buying ads. So far I’ve learned that Twitter seems to be the easiest, Facebook on the other hand seems daunting, I hardly understand that platform as it is, hence the reason why I’m hardly on there—aside from the occasional post. I don’t even know how to join Facebook groups, or ‘like’ other people’s postings on it. Google AdWords seems to be the toughest, but hey, we’ll see how it goes.

How is this for my very first sales pitch? ‘Drop your knickers we got a book to sell!’ I hate myself already, stay tune for partie deux.

Great, now I want a Coke, and so do you. See what I mean?

You’re a Crime Fiction Writer If…

*You’re pretty sure that your web search history trips the alarms of: the FBI, CIA, and NSA, Homeland Security, MI-5 and 6. Plus, you’re positive that all of the above are currently working on a search warrant for your sorry-ass.

*You’re positive that in another life you were a great cop or a kick-ass detective.

*You’re positive that in another lifetime you were a successful criminal.

*Your smartphone is chock full of Police scanner radio apps. (Ok, maybe a couple).

*The theme song from the TV show COPS is your jam. (Or ‘I Fought The Law’).

*You’re obsessed with the grand poohbahs of Crime Fiction.

*You spend your free time researching bold crimes and bizarre murders, therefore killing your chances at a normal love-life.

*You think about visiting ‘the body farm’ but you’re too much of a chicken to actually do so.

*Your obsession with guns and ammo makes the NRA really fucking happy.

*You’re ‘familiar’ with a few shady cats around the neighborhood, even though they scare the bejesus out of you.

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Monthly Bullet Points.

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I can’t believe it’s been one year and three months since I started this blog. Back then, the idea of doing this scared me, I didn’t know anything about blogging (still kinda don’t) writing for strangers is quite terrifying, but here we are. When starting this adventure, I didn’t know what I was going to blog about. I thought it was something that bored house wives did to kill time, but as a writer I’ve came to the realization that this bloggity thing is pushing me to write more (even though sometimes I don’t know what to blog about), and so it seems that somehow, I’m still finding my footing.

* I recently published a short novel call Desperados (get your Kindle copy here: AMAZON) I’ve been harping about it because it took me roughly three to four years (on and off) to finish it. It started as a short story, the first two chapters are—more or less—just as I wrote them back then, way before Donaldo Trumpado decided to go on a tirade against my Mexican primos, because of this, I thought the book was doomed, see I don’t want to be perceived as agreeing with the Orange One. A lot of research and hard work went into it, I felt I had a lot to say, and there was no way that the twisted rhetoric of a pompous billionaire was going to stump my efforts. So if you read the book, keep in mind that in no way, shape or form, do I agree with that loony toon.

* The second amendment is a wise article of the constitution; I get it, humans are easily corrupted and it’s meant to keep in check, whom ever is in power. However, the second amendment becomes a horrendous nightmare when it’s abused by sickies, and cowards who go on shooting sprees such as what happened in Orlando, Fla. twice, this month. I don’t possess the wisdom, knowledge or acumen to offer an easy solution, but something has to be done to quell this insanity. It’s not about being political; it’s about having common sense.

*This is possibly a misleading headline, but I read somewhere that the world’s 400 richest people lost $127 billion on account of Brexit. Fear not, dear reader, because this just means that the world’s 400 richest people are still the world’s 400 richest people.

* The subway train is stuck between stations. After fifteen minutes of this, folks tend to get a bit angsty, fidgety. They’ve had it; however most keep their cool. All except for the guy who hurls himself, several times, toward the closed doors screaming that he needs to get the fuck out. He wants to be let out. Eventually the train moves along, it gets to the next station. Cops are waiting on the platform, the hurler steps out, says hello to the officers and goes on his merry way. Fellow passengers draw a collective sigh, it could have been worse, I’m thinking; “Hey at least it wasn’t a stabber, or worse; George Zimmerman.” Such is life in the city that never sweeps sleeps.

* Hey did I mentioned that I just published a short novel call Desperados? I did, didn’t I, so what you waiting on playa? Help this humble scribe become one of the lucky 400 rich people (yeah like that’ll ever happen) still, head on over to AMAZON and buy a copy, I could use a cold one. Tell your friends!

Thank you for reading my rant—Peace Out Yo.

Finally.

My short novel Desperados is live today. I Know I’m not supposed to say this but, I believe it’s some of my best work. I’m proud and excited that it’s finally available to readers on – AMAZON.  ITUNESB&NKOBO. So what’s it about you ask? Here’s the synopsis:

By crossing the U. S. border, Julio Roman embarks on a roller coaster ride.

With hellhounds on his trail, he navigates an America he did not imagine. The land of the free ain’t paved with gold; rather it is a place where desperate men and women do what needs to be done in order to survive. Get rich or die trying is the name of the game. Question is: Will Julio play? And if so, will he live to tell the tale? The cards have been laid on the table of life. And the stakes are high indeed. Welcome to the land of milk and honey.

Includes a link to the original song “Two Summers Ago.”

E-BOOK ONLY $2.99

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And while you mosey on down to your favorite book vendor to get your copy, I’ll crack open a brewsky, listen to Metallica (in honor of my new friend Julio Roman) and get ready to write my next book.

Cheers,

Thank you for your patronage!

Dig This.

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There’s a bunch of reasons why I love writing. First of all; it’s fun, at times vexing. It can be cathartic, it drives me bonkers. Most every cliché you’ve read about writing is true—a writer lives in a dreamscape of his or her creation. While writing; the whole structure of the house you’re in may be burning to a cinder, but you’re there with the characters, the scene, their situations; etc. It is indeed a dream state. I wish more people would try it.

The other thing I love about writing is the chance one gets to learn new things about this third rock from the sun we call home. You get to learn this in the form of research because research is a writer’s best mistress, an unforgivable mistress. If you refuse to dance with her, you will come across as a jackass who doesn’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

The worse part though. The most feared gremlin of all for any writer, is editing.

Editing is where you get to kill your darlings, darlings that you’ve worked on for days and nights, through good days and bad days. This is where you got to slay them fuckers because, for some reason or another they just don’t work. You love the scene, that character, that sentence, that line of dialog; you thought was clever—guess what? The bitch gotta go. It ain’t working. And you do this line by line, scene by scene. You add and you take out. A great editor helps a lot, they’re not cheap, but is A MUST.

So you’re ready to publish—it’s done. Guess what? You still need to get the book in the hands of the right people who would be more than happy to read it. But since I don’t want to bum anybody out with that adventure, I’ll leave it for another post—you dig? Good.

In case you haven’t noticed; I really love writing. Coming up with a great story that jumps out of the page is what I love doing. Speaking of which, my upcoming short novel Desperados is being formatted as we speak, and it will be ready to hit the web soon. I hope folks like it, and although it was a mere three to four years (on and off) in the making, I’ve learn a lot from writing it. I had a lot of fun, and hopefully that comes through in the story.

As always: Thank you for reading my rant.