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Topics - Zack Hamric

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I've tried a variety of different standalone marketing approaches- KND, Kindleboards, etc. usually with fairly good success. I think I hit 462 ranking once, but only for few hours. Will stacking promotions make a difference?

This weekend, I have a Kindle WiFi Giveaway that's been running for the past month closing on Sunday night (Good results so far). I'm doing another Black Friday Kindle WiFi Giveaway tomorrow that I'm pushing through Facebook- it can be entered through a FB Link or Book purchase. I have three blogs that have mentioned the giveaway. I have ads running on Goodreads.

When the dust settles on Sunday, I'll do a recap on costs and results. I think everyone is after the same thing- how to sell more books, gain more readers, and do more of what we love...If there are some marketing techniques that work, I'm all for sharing the thoughts behind them...


so...the mark in the sand is...

Crescent Rising # 2,606 Sales MTD- 255 
Blank Slate- #6,266 Sales MTD- 92

Costs- 2 Kindle WiFi- $278
1 Goodreads ad- $30
1 Planet iPad ad- $14.95

...and please feel free to enter the Giveaway- all you have to do is hit the FB Share button on the blog http://zackhamric.blogspot.com/- That gets you 1 entry- a book purchase gets you 5 entries...

Thanks,
Zack




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The Book Bazaar / An Introduction To BLANK SLATE by Zack Hamric
« on: October 22, 2010, 03:12:15 pm »
I have to say "Thank You" for all the Kindlers who have provided so much encouragement with my first book Crescent Rising (Ryan Black Thriller).

That feedback from folks who participated in the process by buying, reviewing or just having a nice word to say on the boards is what made it possible to actually finish the second book.

I would like to celebrate the publication and hopefully help publicize the launch of Blank Slate (A Kyle Jackle Novel) by giving away a Kindle Wi-Fi through my blog listed on my Amazon Profile- http://bit.ly/b2vbLk


BLANK SLATE- http://www.amazon.com/Blank-Slate-Jackle-Novel-ebook/dp/B00486U4EE/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1 

The description is still not showing up on Amazon, but here it is:

"What happens when the Russian mob decides to go in business with the Columbian cartels in Miami? Nothing good; as Kyle Jackle quickly finds out in this tropical thriller.

His undercover investigation for the FBI takes him from the steamy underbelly of the strip club and escort scene in Miami to drug running submarines in the jungles of Ecuador. After almost being beaten to death in an alley one evening, he awakens to find himself hunted by the mob, unable to trust anyone he meets, and with no memory of his past life."

I'm including the first two chapter on this post- a little long, I know, but I think it will give you a good feel for the book. Novel Length- 61,124 words

Chapter 1

I understood this place- this abyss, this overwhelming blackness that seemed somehow familiar, almost comforting. Like the time I was just a kid wading in a bayou in Louisiana and stepped into a gator hole- that feeling of being dragged down into the warm sucking Delta mud that ended as my father jumped in and dragged me back to the surface.

I knew none of this- this blackness was complete and formless with no shape or hard edges to grab hold of. Coming back is the hard part; random flashes as brain synapses begin to fire. The smell permeated my brain first; a raw mix of long dead fish, stale beer, and other unspeakable ingredients mixed into a putrid miasma of decay.

Confusion, too many unanswered questions that I couldn't even bring to thought. Then the pain began to penetrate the depths of my unconsciousness like jabbing an ice pick into a block of ice- I welcomed it, embraced it, a sure sign that I wasn't dead from whatever the hell had just happened.

I started the slow self-inventory of what parts of my body were broken or damaged. The focus helped me fight through the confusion and narrowed the pain to a searing intensity as I slowly began to move one joint at a time. The news wasn't all bad- the grated meat that resulted from my left cheekbone bouncing off the pavement hurt worse than the pinkie finger pointing in a direction that God had never intended.

I finally worked up the energy to crack open the one eye that wasn't swollen shut. Not good- my hair was matted in a puddle of drying blood. A green iguana as long as my arm was slowly licking at the tastier bits of the mixed blood and garbage in the alley. His eyes slowly blinked as his reptile brain tried to determine if I was actually edible or if he had to wait until I stopped moving before dining.

I rolled over to my back and slowly struggled to a sitting position. Another bad idea- the wave of pain rolled over me like a tsunami and it was a question of whether I would pass out or puke from the pain. Within a couple of minutes, the wave of nausea passed and I actually was able to shift my attention to my surroundings.

Not enough information- just another non-descript alley with the usual collection of rusted dumpsters, garbage, and the occasional used condom scattered like wilted dead jellyfish on the beach at high tide. Palm trees overhanging the alley burdened with their dead fronds contributing to the general air of air of decay and neglect.

I was struggling to piece it all together when the cop showed up.

"Hey buddy, you OK?" he asked, while trying to figure out what he was dealing with. He was pretty sure that the blood covering me meant I had been the victim of some crime, but still hedged his bets by keeping one hand firmly clasped on the butt of his Taser.

"Not sure, hurts too d*mn much for me to be dead," I said while trying to cradle my head between my knees.

"I'll get an ambulance on the way," the cop said as he keyed the radio mike clipped to his lapel. "You just hang in there, they'll be here in a minute. Got some ID? I'll call your relatives and have them meet you at the hospital."

I reached for my wallet and came up with nothing but air. I started to explain that to the cop, but the effort was too much. My last thought as I fell over sideways into unconsciousness was I didn't have the slightest idea who I was.

CHAPTER 2

Victoria ran for her life. She had no real hope of living, only a deep-seated fear of dying at the hands of men she knew were capable of unlimited depravity. Midnight in Naples- no one out on the streets except predators and their prey. She could hear them coming quickly behind her, three or four men running over the irregular cobblestones.

A louder crash and muffled curses as one of them slipped on the trash piled high in the narrow twisting alleyways. She saw a familiar sight ahead in the darkness- the twenty-foot high ancient wooden doors leading to an old convent. She took a moment, banged on the rough wooden door until the flesh of her hands tore. No answer. If they heard her, they knew better than to become involved in someone else's troubles.

She cursed herself for her impetuousness- she had reacted instinctively tonight when she saw the opportunity for escape. It had been yet another mind-numbing night sitting in the basement of a `piano bar' in Naples.

The first surprise to anyone coming off the street and walking into the establishment was the lack of anything resembling a piano. The second was the vino rosso served at the exorbitant rate of fifteen Euros per glass. Usually the visitors, almost exclusively male tourists, quickly forgot that detail as they choked back the cheap red wine and ogled the lineup of Ukranian women sitting on the overstuffed leather couches. Before the first glass of wine was gone, the tourist would find himself surrounded by one or more girls who would offer to fulfill his wildest fantasies for his tour of Italy for no more than two hundred Euros for two hours.

It could have been much worse. She knew of some girls from Albania who spent their days locked in one-bedroom apartments servicing dozens of men a day. At least Allessandro, her pimp for the past five months seemed to treat her with some degree of kindness as long as she complied with his sexual demands, flirted with the foreign tourists in the piano bar, and regularly delivered on the six hundred Euros she could make on a good night. He was always there in the background- making sure that the clients paid their money in advance and that the local Polizia Municipale didn't interfere with business.

It seemed like a lifetime ago, but had actually only been six months since she left her home on the outskirts of Chelyabinsk. She and her older sister had been the prettiest girls in her village. Not that it mattered in that tiny backwater town- every day, she could feel the hope slowly draining out of her. She saw the jobs disappear and the town gradually fall into an economic slump that ended with a grinding poverty crushing the dreams of everyone she knew. Her sister had managed to escape to a better life a few years before, but her leaving only intensified Victoria's determination to leave and make her own way in the world.

Small wonder that when she saw the glossy ad for a modeling agency audition in the port city of Oblask, she had leaped at it. It was her dream of a lifetime. The man she met at her interview was charming, well dressed in a suit that suggested he was someone of great importance and possessed the whitest teeth she had ever seen as he showed her brochures of all the beautiful places she would travel while she was on contract with his agency. She was a beautiful woman he told her as he gently touched her hand- he could make her famous like so many Russian women before her.

Within days, she was on her way to Italy aboard a small coastal steamer. Her dream turned to a nightmare almost as soon as she arrived in the port of Naples. Her first sight on arriving was the Castel Nuovo, a brooding 13th century fortress overlooking a bay littered with the floating detritus of human life. The man who met her and several other girls at the dock loaded them into a crowded microbus and took them deep into the Qatieri Spagnolia.

Within minutes of arriving at their small apartment in the top floor of a crowded tenement, she discovered the harsh, uncompromising nature of the man she was dealing with- he took the passport from her and the other girls and explained that they would get them back only after having repayed the ten thousand Euros that it cost to bring them to Italy.

Her choice to repay him was simple- work as a hostess for five Euros a day in one of the clubs or go on `dates' with important visitors for fifty Euros a day. That was the first time she tried to run. She had been beaten and locked in a tiny room for a week for her impertinence. Over the next couple of weeks she was moved from one tiny apartment to another with several other girls who had been smuggled into Italy.

When she was finally allowed out of her room, there were several men waiting in the living room to bid on her contract. The high bidder was her current pimp Allessandro. He was a member of the Anatoli clan of the Camorra in Naples. They were but one of several hundred small, fiercely independent groups loosely affiliated with the Camorra Mafia who had ruled Naples with an iron fist for one hundred years.

There had been a rising undercurrent of tension over the past few weeks that she could see in Allessandro. After years of hiding from the Italian authorities, his boss had finally been arrested in the Quatieri Spagnolia a few weeks before.
There was a period of a couple of weeks where it was business as usual, when no one really seemed to know where the new leadership would come from. Since then, there had been new men coming to speak with Allessandro, at first with conciliatory messages, but lately with increasingly threatening tones as they began to consolidate their grip on territories formerly controlled by his boss.

Last Sunday night, Allessandro had left her locked in the windowless room in the back of his apartment. She watched the grainy television stations that were available in Italian and fell asleep after trying in vain to stay awake until he returned. Finally, just after three in the morning, she heard the sound of the lock being opened in the front room. A moment later her door opened to reveal Allessandro standing in the doorway sweating profusely and wearing a heavily stained shirt. He stared at her for a moment and without a word stripped off his shirt and threw it to her to wash. Victoria tried not to cringe as she wrung out the shirt in the sink and observed the blood coursing in a dark whirlpool down the drain. Allessandro silently watched her work as he sat on the couch and cleaned the dried blood from his knife.

Tonight had started out normally enough; just another typical night at the club. The girls were bored, no real prospects so far- just a couple of drunk tourists who wandered in from the street looking for a place to dance. A couple of stragglers after they left; the worst kind- men in Italy for business for a few days trying to live out their fantasies as they escaped their boring lives back home. They talked a good game- until it came time to hand over the two hundred Euros.

Just before midnight, five men stepped through the front door. The two larger ones closed the door and locked it from the inside. The instant Allessandro saw them walk in, she could see the blood drain from his face. Without a word, he bolted frantically for the back door. He made it almost halfway, scattering tables and chairs in his panicked flight, before one the men intercepted him, casually smashing him in the side of the head with a club as if he were swatting a fly. As he collapsed, she screamed and ran for the door. The others made a headlong rush for her, but Allessandro's body lying in the narrow walkway slowed them enough for her to make good her escape for the moment.

She was slowing now, exhausted, unable to keep up the pace that had allowed her to elude her pursuers until now. A quick turn into a narrow alley off the main road, hoping that in the near total darkness they would miss seeing the move. Another hundred yards through the alley and nothing in front of her but a craggy brick wall built centuries before to keep brigands at bay during the long nights; it was too high for her to scale.

She turned and...with no need for them to hurry now, saw the gleaming teeth of the men reflected in the moonlight as they closed in on her. She was roughly thrown in the back of a car and minutes later hustled through a doorway near the medieval convent that she had begged for help at earlier. The doorway opened to an ancient carpentry shop smelling of sawdust and old varnish with dozens of ornate wooden doors in various states of repair or construction stacked against the plaster walls.

Her attention was drawn to an enormous vertical bandsaw dominating the space in the rear of the shop. It had been used for almost a century to cut heavy oak timbers used in the restoration of historic buildings in the area. There was a cluster of men- four of them busy tying a fifth man spread-eagle to the oversize moveable table used to slide the massive timbers through the saw. Two more men were observing and joking in a language she recognized as Russian while their hapless victim squirmed helplessly against his rope restraints.

The man on the table turned his head toward her and through the blood almost obscuring his features, she recognized Allessandro. She could see the abject fear in his eyes change to raw animal terror when the lights of the shop dimmed as the power was turned on to the big saw. The blade slowly began to whine in a sound that rose to a deafening pitch and the wicked raked teeth blurred to invisibility as it rotated to full speed. Victoria closed her eyes as she realized the teeth of the saw would taste the flesh of two victims tonight.

Thank you!
Zack Hamric

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Writers' Cafe / New cover design for BLANK SLATE- Revision # 372...
« on: October 19, 2010, 10:59:02 am »
I lied- it's really not revision #372...but it feels like it...!

  or this one..

And just so you have context for the image- an underlying theme  is the traficking of Eastern European women by the Russiana Mafia-hence the choice for the image...

...and the blurb....

What happens when the Russian mob decides to go in business with the Columbian cartels in Miami? Nothing good; as Kyle Jackle quickly finds out in this tropical thriller.
His undercover investigation for the FBI takes him from the steamy underbelly of the strip club and escort scene in Miami to drug running submarines in the jungles of Ecuador. After almost being beaten to death in an alley one evening, he awakens to find himself hunted by the mob, unable to trust anyone he meets, and with no memory of his past life.

Thanks for the help!
Zack


4
Writers' Cafe / About the time I think I have this figured out...
« on: September 27, 2010, 11:46:58 am »
I do something different and come up with a whole new set of questions...

I just published the Paperback version of Crescent Rising on Amazon with Create Space. Is there anyway to get the Kindle reviews to "cross over" for the paperback or are they completely separate? Tags- Looks like I need to start the tagging process from scratch on the paperback unless someone has some suggestions...

Oh...and the good news? I actually sold one already!

Thanks as usual for the great help!
Zack


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Writers' Cafe / Yeah, it's Monday and I'm looking for more advice....
« on: July 26, 2010, 09:28:31 am »
I'm not sure if this board helps me more from a marketing side or whether it just serves as much needed therapy....:)

In any case- I have to say "Thank you" for all the great advice -
As someone who still considers myself a relative newbie- I always love making changes in how I present my book just to see what works. Hopefully, it will also help some of the other folks who are also trying to figure where to spend time and energy in marketing their books...so the following is a list of what I did in the past month and what seems to have worked...(or in many cases, what didn't work)

Month of June- Completely lost in the wilderness with only 3 book sales...

Month of July
1) Redesigned cover with help of KB members- saw a bump in sales
2) Experimented with .99 vs $2.99- seemed to make absolutely no difference.
3) Worked on increasing tags- seems to have helped significantly.
4) Reworked my blurb- using fewer words and a little more targeted- maybe a slight uptick in people who bought.
5) Went from 1 to 3 good reviews posted for book last week- big bump
6) Posted as tastefully as possible on the Amazon site- participated in more threads- big bump
7) Interview on Kipp Poe's Blog- http://kippoe.blogspot.com/2010/07/zachary-hamric-interview.html - (too soon to tell the results)


Near the end of the July- 57 sales for the month- past 2 days have been averaging 10 books a day. 66% of people hitting the Amazon page end up buying-

The obvious solution for more sales is driving more people to the Amazon page...

The question is what next?

1) A fan page on Facebook?
2) A Blog?
3) A promotion giving Amazon gift cards for people who buy?
4) Publish on Smashwords as well?
5) Write another book?- This one is in the works- BLANK SLATE due in October...
6) A website?

Your thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
Zack


6
Two weeks ago, I ran a thread on how to change my cover...and it worked! I'm selling more books! You guys have great suggestions!

So now...let's do descriptions- The following is a revision I'm considering to my current description-

Ryan Black is living a life most men will never know- filled with high-risk adventure in exotic locales, an authentic hero who willingly confronts head-on the life and death challenges often found in emerging trouble spots around the globe. He is a man who most women find intriguing- yet it is Cassandra, a rare woman possessing a unique combination of inner strength and beauty who dares to enter his life.

This high impact thriller takes you on a desperate mission to prevent a radiological attack on the United States by Jusef al Sudairy. From mysterious crashes of Soviet era fighters in California to high tech naval battles in the Atlantic, the action is non-stop in this first volume in the Ryan Black Series.


This is the current description- (BTW- this was the result of three days work at a pitch conference last year and I've never liked it!)


Ryan is the founder of Black Diamond Limited, a deadly group of ex-special forces operatives funded by the CIA for covert actions. Ryan is living a life most men will never know- filled with high-risk adventure in exotic locales, an authentic hero who willingly confronts head-on the life and death challenges often found in emerging trouble spots around the globe. He is a man who most women find intriguing- yet it is Cassandra, a rare woman possessing a unique combination of inner strength and beauty who dares to enter his life.

As they are enjoying a romantic evening in South Beach, she is ripped away from him in a brutal kidnapping. Although Ryan desperately explores every avenue to find her, the investigation grows cold until several months later when during a solo ascent of Mt. Whitney, Ryan narrowly escapes a fiery maelstrom as a Soviet-era fighter jet crashes into the mountain. The trail quickly leads back to the group responsible for Cassandra’s kidnapping and Ryan finds himself thrust into a chilling terror plot masterminded by Jusef Al-Sudairy.

Al-Sudairy is a new breed of Al Qaida leader; raised in the multicultural society of London, he finds purpose in the radical Islam emerging there during the nineties. Determined to strike a crippling blow at the American economy, Al-Sudairy plots a simultaneous strike with “dirty bombs” at major airports on the East Coast and West Coast. The attack would cause unprecedented devastation, not only resulting in the tragic deaths of thousands of innocent travelers in the nation’s air terminals, but the radioactive contamination of the airports for decades.

Just as it appears Ryan and his operatives will successfully rescue Cassandra and destroy the terrorists’ ships before the final attack, a devastating act of sabotage from an unexpected quarter cripples Black Diamond Limited’s ship, the Cerulean Dream. With their hi-tech weapons systems disabled, Ryan and his team enter an increasingly desperate fight against an enemy where they may be forced to sacrifice their own lives to prevent the slaughter of thousands.

Any thoughts or suggestions??


Thanks, Zack

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Writers' Cafe / Need Thoughts on Price vs Sales Ranking....
« on: July 05, 2010, 06:03:59 am »
Currently I'm priced at $2.99- rank this morning was #12,400 and #55 in technothrillers. I've sold 4 yesterday and 3 the day before at that price. BTW- Thanks to everyone on my cover redesign project last week- It helped!)

I have a very good agent- we shopped this book fairly extensively last year and couldn't get a deal. My agent is encouraging me to drop the price to .99 and go for the higher ranking which should make it easier to sell the book to dead tree publishers.

I don't like to bounce around from price to price without a reason- I'm sure there will be an increase in units sold- I know that members of this group have been down this same road before. If you don't mind sharing- what kind of sales increase did you actually see from making that change?

Thanks, Zack Hamric

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Writers' Cafe / The bus is rolling...but who is driving?
« on: July 01, 2010, 07:01:01 pm »
I'm a little confused (fairly normal state of affairs in my world!). I started out the day at #124,000 on Kindle and moved to around #10,000 or so this evening. Running #55 on Technothriller. That makes me pretty darn happy...BUT...my sales report for the week hasn't changed. Is there another place to track your sales?

Zack Hamric

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I've created a group on my Facebook page linking to my book on Amazon and I've also posted links on Facebook when something new is happening, but it's hard to measure how well that's working. I've used ads on Facebook to promote other businesses, but at 75 cents  or so a click, it doesn't make any sense for books unless I had a book that I could accurately target to a special interest group.

Jack Konrath clearly is the master at tying the pieces together with Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Webs sites etc, but I just wanted to get a feel for any techniques that have worked for others...

(and it could be that I just need more friends!)

Zack Hamric

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Writers' Cafe / I hate creating covers because.....
« on: June 28, 2010, 02:03:32 pm »
1) Spending 8 hours today working on a new cover meant I didn't put 1500 words on paper......
2) I wanted to put up a before and after to get some feedback from the group, but couldn't figure out how to do it. (The one in my signature is the old one, the one in my profile pic is the new one.)
3) My girlfriend took one look at the new one and thought it looked like "pointy lipsticks", not the missiles I had hoped for...

The good news? I'm going to go reread Hemingway's "The Old Man and The Sea from a ragged 1st edition where no one worried about what the cover looked like and drink some good Scotch....

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The Book Bazaar / Zack Hamric CRESCENT RISING
« on: June 22, 2010, 06:27:50 am »
First in the Ryan Black series...
[

Ryan is the founder of Black Diamond Limited, a deadly group of ex-special forces operatives funded by the CIA for covert actions. Ryan is living a life most men will never know- filled with high-risk adventure in exotic locales, an authentic hero who willingly confronts head-on the life and death challenges often found in emerging trouble spots around the globe. He is a man who most women find intriguing- yet it is Cassandra, a rare woman possessing a unique combination of inner strength and beauty who dares to enter his life.

    As they are enjoying a romantic evening in South Beach, she is ripped away from him in a brutal kidnapping. Although Ryan desperately explores every avenue to find her, the investigation grows cold until several months later when during a solo ascent of Mt. Whitney, Ryan narrowly escapes a fiery maelstrom as a Soviet-era fighter jet crashes into the mountain. The trail quickly leads back to the group responsible for Cassandra’s kidnapping and Ryan finds himself thrust into a chilling terror plot masterminded by Jusef Al-Sudairy.

      Al-Sudairy is a new breed of Al Qaida leader; raised in the multicultural society of London, he finds purpose in the radical Islam emerging there during the nineties. Determined to strike a crippling blow at the American economy, Al-Sudairy plots a simultaneous strike with “dirty bombs” at major airports on the East Coast and West Coast. The attack would cause unprecedented devastation, not only resulting in the tragic deaths of thousands of innocent travelers in the nation’s air terminals, but the radioactive contamination of the airports for decades.

    The attack on the West Coast would be launched by GPS guided Soviet fighter jets carrying Strontium 90 payloads from a remote airfield in California. While they are making their final preparations for the attacks, the terrorists’ plans are revealed in the aftermath of a deadly shootout with the Border Patrol as they attempt to smuggle the radioactive material over the Arizona border. In the full scale military assault that ensues on the hidden airfield, Al-Sudairy narrowly escapes and in a final sadistic act of vengeance kills dozens of federal agents by triggering demolition charges hidden throughout the facility.

     While Federal law enforcement officials are occupied with the investigation into the California attack, the second phase of the terrorist plot continues as Al-Sudairy prepares to launch radiation-laden cruise missiles from converted cargo ships off the Atlantic coast.  Just as it appears Ryan and his operatives will successfully rescue Cassandra and destroy the terrorists’ ships before the final attack, a devastating act of sabotage from an unexpected quarter cripples Black Diamond Limited’s ship, the Cerulean Dream. With their hi-tech weapons systems disabled, Ryan and his team enter an increasingly desperate fight against an enemy where they may be forced to sacrifice their own lives to prevent the slaughter of thousands.

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Introductions & Welcomes / Hi Guys!
« on: June 03, 2010, 03:44:27 pm »
Now that I finally figured how to post my signature in something other than jumbo poster sized, I thought I would introduce myself...

I'm an author in Sarasota, Fl...also an avid offshore sailor on a 1969 Whitby 45 sailboat named "Dolce Vita"

Looking forward to jumping into the boards....looks like some interesting folks.....

Have a great day!
Zack

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