Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Anti-Konrath...

Well, it's the end of the month (just about) and I got achingly close to my sales goal. In case you haven't been following closely (and really, what's wrong with you?) my goal for the month was to sell twenty-five Kindle e-books. That's twenty-five copies total, not twenty-five per day or per minute. Nor is it twenty-five of each of my titles (I have a total of seven titles available - two novels, two short stories, and three story collections). Just twenty-five. There are still a few hours left in the month, but I'm stuck at twenty-four. I've been there for a few days. Ah well. If I do my maths correctly, that's a total of $10.50 in my pocket that wasn't there before, so that's not so bad, but...

I'm not sure how to increase sales. There are a lot of things that I'm not doing yet - for instance, some writers say that if you're active on Facebook, you get greater sales. First, I can't imagine how that works. How would people find me there unless I tell tham I'm on Facebook? And if I have their ear for that long, why wouldn't I just tell them where my books can be bought? (Amazon... That's pretty much it.)

Still, there are a lot of things that I have done througout my writing career and now with the Kindles. It's just that absolutely none of it has ever helped. Years ago when people were giving away free stuff (bookmarks, pens, baseball caps, etc.) I gave away a ton of stuff. Sales sucked. When the advice was "get short stories published to boost novel sales," I published a couple dozen stories. Paying markets, non-paying, online, in print, anthologies, you name it. Sales sucked. I did signings at bookstores, booktalks at libraries, other speaking engagements. Nothing. And, by the way, I'm not saying the uptick in sales was small, I'm saying there was literally NO uptick in sales. I wrote articles for magazines, even one for the New York Times. Nothing. Conference panels? Nothing. Getting blurbs from all the best authors (except you, of couse)? Done. Sales? Unchanged.

Then Kindle came along. I could be in chrage of my own lack of sales for once. Nice covers? Some of the e-books have really nice artwork, I think. Here's an example:

I like it.

High quality content? yes. Some stories nominated for awards. One was a winner. Great reviews. Not sure what else I could do on that score.

Formatting? Certainly adequate though I can't say I'm an expert. No glaring problems that I can tell.

Haven't done the social media thing (though I blog as you see and I'm on several listservs - not terribly active perhaps).

My website is not as up to date as it should be.

I don't have a mailing list at all. Wouldn't know how to construct one though I'm sure it's easy. There's a fault. People who have shown an interest in my past writings aren't automatically told about future writings. Of course, Dickens made a bundle without a mailing list, but....

What else am I doing wrong? Tell me. I want to know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Drive for Twenty-five

Okay. If I sell a total of twenty-five kindles this month, I'll be quite pleased with myself. So far, I'm at nineteen. That's total sales. Mind you, that's more than any other month since I've been flogging kindle files. Anyway, I've got a few days left before closing out the books on the month. Here are some titles in case you're interested in killing two birds with one stone*:

1 - The Precinct Puerto Rico Files - a set of stories about the characters from my Precinct Puerto Rico series of novels.

2 - The Concrete Maze - a hardboiled, noir novel set in New York City in the 1990s when the city averaged more than a half dozen murders a day. A father loses his daughter to the mean streets. What will he do to get her back?

3 - Killing Ways 2 - Adequately described at Amazon: "Hard luck, hard knock, hot and cold blooded killers, criminals, and the people they collide with."

* The two birds are, of course, helping me reach my goal and getting yourself some very fine reading material.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Justin Beiber Singing Toothbrush...

You might be tempted to think I'm making this up. Justin Beiber sells a singing toothbrush.

I know about this because Groupon sent me a coupon for it. This is how I know Groupon is NOT tailoring their promotions for me.

The slogans write themselves I think: "I can't get that song out of my head..." "Now I've got a little Beiber in my mouth..." Actually, that's about it for me. Feel free to write your own.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Precinct Puerto Rico Stories

Well, they're out and about and sales are strong - that is, I've sold four copies. Which is strong for me. The Anti-Konrath, me. In any event, the collection is called The Precinct Puerto Rico Files, and I've put up some artwork for the cover finally, but I'm not very impressed and will probably be switching it out for something I like in the near (meaning distant) future. Take a look for yourself:

Of course, the print isn't readable at thumbnail size (I think). I could correct that, but honestly the image does little to inspire me. Let me know if I'm too critical. If you think it is fine, I'd like to hear.

Of course, the quality of the stories themselves remains unchanged. One of them was nominated for a Derringer Award, and that's no mean feat. Don't believe me? You try getting nominated for a Derringer.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Concrete Maze Artwork

Okay, yes, I did it myself. With help from Shutterstock. And, yes, it took me about 700 hours of work (698 to find the image, one to figure out how to use Paint, one to do the rest). But I think it looks very nice. See for yourself:

Of course, I'm even prouder of the novel behind the cover. It's my best work. You can go here and sample (or buy... I wouldn't stop you from buying...)

Of course, you might be waiting to hear what Ken Bruen had to say about it. Here's a snippet: "A dark wondrous jewel of a novel." He said a lot more, but I assure you it was all good. I'll prove it later by quoting him in full.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snooki without makeup...

Full disclosure: I've never seen an episode of Jersey Shore. This is not a point of pride with me. I just don't have cable TV. I've got rabbit ears. That means I get PBS and CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX. A couple of local channels when it's not raining. Or cloudy. Or windy. Still, I know of Snooki and her friends.


Wait. A) Why is this news? and, not to be snarky, but B) If you don't want to see Snooki with her makeup on, will the lack of makeup make you change your mind?

That said, she's much better looking without the mask.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Concrete Maze

If you don't care what the cover looks like, you can get a copy of THE CONCRETE MAZE as a kindle right now. What is THE CONCRETE MAZE, you ask? It is a hardboiled and noir-ish novel I wrote some years ago and which I'm making available for the first time in a year or two.

What did Jennifer Jordan have to say about it? This is a solid novel that shows that Torres can write excellent hard-boiled mysteries.

What did Kevin Tipple have to say about it? a read full of intriguing characters, plenty of action and a twisting case which ultimately results in an intense and suspenseful novel.

Did others like it? Absolutely. I'll say more in the next post.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marta Argerich... Greatest Ever?

Okay, this isn't mystery related unless it is the mysteries of the human soul and the limits of human capabilities you're seeking. Marta Argerich is considered by many to be the greatest classical pianist of our age and conceivably the greatest in recorded history. Here's a snippet of her at work on Prokofiev's 3rd Concerto, a knuckle breaker.

Not for the faint of heart... And I'm just talking about watching it. It's a part of a much longer movement. The pyrotechnics aren't easily surpassed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ranked # 352,654...

Here is a link to my newest Kindle collection, The Precinct Puerto Rico Files.

And here is a description of those stories:

Ten tales featuring heroes from the Precinct Puerto Rico series of novels.

UFO - When a senior citizen reports a UFO has crashed into the woods behind his house, Sheriff Luis Gonzalo isn't in too much of a hurry to investigate, but it isn't long before the town begins to change, and it seems Gonzalo is the only one who isn't in on the secret.

Rolling Rivera - Wheelchair-bound Rivera was a nasty piece of work. Now it seems someone may have used the chair against him.

The Inspector - When a meat inspector goes missing in town, Sheriff Gonzalo learns the man had cultivated more than his fair share of enemies.

Caring for Jose - Rachel Matos claims to have killed her husband, Jose, with one swing of a frying pan, but Sheriff Gonzalo had tussled with the man often enough to know it would take more than that to bring him down.

The Driver - What could have been a routine stop, turns into an all out chase.

Fiesta - One of Sheriff Gonzalo's colleagues notices a suspicious pair of young men at a town party, but how can she get them to talk before the last song is sung?

The Tent of Babel - This story takes one of Sheriff Gonzalo's colleagues back to his time as a prisoner of war in the Korean War.

David - A little boy goes missing just as Hurricane David approaches the island, and Sheriff Gonzalo and his team race to find him.

Angustias, Puerto Rico, 1970 - When one of the more venerated ladies of the town is brutally murdered, Gonzalo races to catch the culprit before it happens again.

The Valley of Angustias - In his very first case, even before becoming sheriff, Luis Gonzalo tries to figure out why citizens of Angustias are being beaten when they don't seem to be connected.

And here is my personal evaluation: I like UFO and THE VALLEY OF ANGUSTIAS the best. For one thing, they earned me the most money having been published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. The latter story is, I think, very well-executed and earned a nomination for a Derringer Award that I'm quite proud of.

Rolling Rivera and The Inspector are based on people I've known -a girl who was married off at just thirteen years of age and a meat inspector who was actually a nice guy, but carried a gun.

Angustias, David, and The Tent are attempts at history. The Tent goess all the way back to the Korean War to show one of the characters from the series and how they made it through a rough patch.

Story Time

If you've been wondering where my collection of Precinct Puerto Rico short stories is, wonder no more. It is here.

Right now it has the plainest cover Amazon can muster, but I'm hoping for pictures from Puerto Rico momentarily in case you're one of those ebook cover hounds who won't buy a book without just the right ebook cover.

Is there more coming? Of course. A collection of oddball stories for one thing. THE CONCRETE MAZE for another.

Oh, and descriptions of this collection in just a little bit.