As I come closer to wrapping up the rough draft of All Jacked Up Walt Disney World, I want to share another excerpt with you:
Sarah brought me a plate of food as she sat on the couch beside me. I had no idea I was in some kind of trance until she asked me a question.
"Jack, what's going on? Ever since we've been off work you've been staring out that window. There aren't even any clouds out there, so you're not actually staring out the window. What's wrong? Remember, we can only trust each other."
Can I really trust you? And if you do really care, you're also about to walk out of my life.
Sarah sat her own plate down. She touched my right hand with her left, as she turned her body toward me. "Jack, if we can't trust each other, who in this whole wide world can we trust? Baby, I want to help you through what ever this is. What can I do for you? Talk to me. Tell me. Lead me." She put her face in front of mine. "Tell me how I can help you. Let me in."
I looked into her eyes. 'Mickey knows all about me. Everything."
Her brows raised, then I saw the confusion in her face and the worry in her eyes. "How?"
"I have no idea. He stopped me this morning and told me everything about my life. Everything I've been sharing with you." Then, like a lightning bolt shocking my body, a thought hit me. I tilted my head and looked deeply into her eyes. "Did you tell him?"
Her mouth dropped. Tears flooded her eyes. Her hands clutched her chest. "Ouch! That hurts. How could you even think that? After how I've reached out to you, trying to be here for you. After giving myself to you. How could you...?" Her body starts shaking from her sobs.
Good job, Jack. Screw yet another good thing up. There you go.
"No, Jack," she said through sobs. "I haven't said a word to anyone." She stared at me through red, teary eyes. "Remember, we can only trust each other. Do you remember that?" She closed her eyes in pain and let the sobs continue.
I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her close. "I'm sorry."
Here's an unedited excerpt from All Jacked Up Walt Disney World. (Name may change a bit.) Hope you enjoy. Feedback is welcome.
She sat in the driver's seat, key in hand. She looked at me with the most seductive eyes I've ever seen on a girl looking at me. She put her foot on the pedal and wiggled her brows at me. When I didn't move, she extended her hand to me, then did a 'come hither' motion with her index finger.
Oh my God, I can't believe I'm about to actually do this.
"C'mon, baby. You know you want to." That wavy brunette hair is falling across her back looking like she just jumped out of bed, and it looks so good. Her eyes are so bright, it's obvious she's excited. Her smile shows she's completely comfortable with the idea of what we're about to do.
I climb in. As soon as my but hits the seat, she hits the pedal and I'm about to get whiplash. The air starts flowing around us. Her hair flaps a bit as we take off from right outside the Wardrobe Room and head South. We pass a couple of workers and she heads straight into the main hall that cuts a straight line right under the Magic Kingdom. I can't help but watch her hair, her face, her eyes. The smile grows wider, her eyes grow brighter, and her hair seems to get lighter with every second and each section of the hall that she drives us through. The lights are passing overhead, the wall sections are passing beside us letting me know that we are going at a decent rate of speed.
In just a few minutes we come to the section where the Utilidors split in three ways again. She lets off the pedal to slow down, then takes a sharp right, in front of the personnel office. Then she takes an almost immediate sharp left, then another sharp right in front of Stairway 18.
The hall turns at an angle to the right as we start to go around the circle of the Utilidors. She drives down a bit and some workers start telling us to slow down. She ignores them and we pass a first aid station and a break area on the left. On the right is Stairway 17, which goes to the Crystal Palace.
She comes close to knocking the legs off a couple of guys and they cuss her.
I look at her again and she's smiling bigger than ever.
"You do realize that you're throwing your job here away, right?"
The joy on her face continues to grow. "Oh, I should have done this a long time ago."
I try to sit back and enjoy the ride, knowing we will both be fired in the morning.
The hall makes a couple more curves to the right and we're under Adventureland now. We pass another hall to the left that contains Stairway 13 which goes to Liberty Square and Adventureland Veranda, and Stairway 16 which goes to Adventureland and Frontierland. There's also a break room and a bathroom down that hall.
"Hey, slow that thing down if you know what's good for you!" The voice yelling fades as she ignores them and keeps going.
The hall breaks to the right again and we pass Stairway 12 to Ye Old Christmas Shoppe, on the right. On the left are Stairway 10 to the Hall of Presidents and Stairway 15 to Legend of the Lion King. This leg of the Utilidors is a bit longer, so we keep going. Another hall shoots off to the left and contains Stairway 14 and goes to Liberty Square, Columbia Harbor House, and Peter Pan's Flight.
A lady jumps out of our way. "I'm reporting you!"
Immediately after that hall is the Lion King Green Room. Just past that is Studio D and the halls breaks again.
"You're gonna crash, you know that don't you!" Another voice that fades into the background.
This time there's the equivalent of a fork in the hall. Studio D is on the left of the fork and the Character Zoo is on the right. Going right, we'll pass the straight section we just came out of and go around to the other half of the Utilidors. Breaking left we'll pass another set of bathrooms and the Fantasyland Dining Room, then we'll be out in the daylight, ready to run off the property. The main wardrobe is in a huge room located in the middle of this fork.
She takes the left this time.
"Wanting to enjoy some outside air now?" I ask.
"Sure. Plus I'm tired of these workers complaining about our little joy ride." Her eyes and her smile are as bright as ever, though.
Today, I'm sharing a slightly juiced up version of a cover blurb I have for All Jacked Up Again. Would love to hear your thoughts on the blurb and on the alternate cover below:
Jack survived psychotic co-workers, a slimy boss, falling on the wrong side of the fence, interfering parents, trying to climb the rat-race ladder, and a girl that knows a little too much about him.
That was round one.
Here's round two: a shady Italian, a psychotic mom that stalks him, a girl friend that's not his girl friend, and an innocent sandwich maker.
Will Jack keep his sanity?
Reader warning: This has a cliff-hanger ending.
Happy 4th of July! Enjoy America's celebration of Independence with an excerpt from All Jacked Up Disney, which isn't available yet...
I could hear the rumblings of voices through the wall as he approached the door we were about to go through to surprise park guests. Getting closer to the wall, the voices grow in volume. I can hear boys and girls and parents. Hi and low pitches mixing together. Traveling in all directions as people are moving about.
We open the door and the cacophony of sounds bathes us as we watch the surprised faces while everyone turns and looks at us. You know they are wondering where in the world we just came from. How we materialized out of thin air.
"Hey, how are you guys doing today?" Sarah asks as she wiggles her body and waves to the crowd.
I make a few Goofy movements, then turn my attention to her again.
She starts walking through the crowd, acting so chipper as she passes each and every person. In other words, being herself. She lives to bring a smile to each face. She'll shake her hands, lift a foot at a time and shake it in the air, wiggle her rear, and bob her head if that's what it takes to get the patrons to smile and laugh. It's like they energize her. The more responses she gets from them, the more animated she becomes.
I don't think I'll ever be able to say the same about myself. Probably not such a good thing for Goofy to think. Then again, I didn't choose this career. It was thrown upon me.
As Sarah comes alive, I'm happy to slide into the shadows, so to speak, as people focus their attention on her. As they energize her, she energizes them. They feed off each other well.
Kids are coming up to her, hugging her, posing with her, and insisting on kissing her costumed cheeks. They may not know the real Sarah, but they absolutely adore Sarah's version of Minnie. They are in love with her. Not only the kids, but the parents. I see the trances parents slip into as they watch their kids be mesmerized by Sarah. Mom's eyes become glassy from tears of joy. Dad's faces flow with pride, knowing that they were able to provide this for their children and give them at least one dream that every child craves. Flashes erupt right and left as memories are retained forever, so each family can look back on this moment in time and say to each other that they got to physically be with Minnie at least once in their life. And what a magical person Minnie is. And always will be now, thanks to Sarah's example.
Anything for the Disney magic, right?
A little slice of heaven. You know...a hole-in-the-wall apartment, a vehicle that only breaks down once a week and, if fate smiles kindly, a good looking woman that he can proudly take home to his parents. Not picky. Tack on a decent job that he doesn't hate. Is that too much to ask? For Jack, it is.
Can he overcome psychotic co-workers, a boss that covers the truth, and falling on the wrong side of the fence? Not to mention interfering parents, trying to climb the rat-race ladder, and a girl that knows a little too much about him.
It all adds up to sleepless nights and a can of beans for his one meal per day.
Will Jack get out of this?
Reader beware: This has a cliff-hanger ending.
(Not a bad deal for $1.99 :P )
As you see, in my right hand column, I've got my own books listed as well as books from several other authors. Not all of them are signed to my label, either, and I'm not an Amazon affiliate so I get absolutely nothing from most of the books in that column. But, I still hope you enjoy them and click on them to buy.
It's called marketing. And all of us indies need more of that. So, I'm sticking my neck out to do my part and then some.
With that said, I plan to start highlighting the books in this right hand column. Some days I will feature one or more books from that column, putting their synopsis in my blog post. Or, maybe what's hoped to be a synopsis on hyper-speed, hoping you'll like it more than the current one.
So, the first book I'm choosing to highlight is one of my own. In fact, my cheapest. All Jacked Up Prequel/Short Story. It is a prequel to the series and it's also a short story, coming in around 3 or 4 thousand words if I remember correctly. I've had two sentences on the synopsis for a while. I'm hoping the following illustrates the story a bit better. Let me know what you think:
Are Jack and the devil really linked? What possessed Jack to do such a horrendous thing to his father as a child? Will his father ever forgive him?
I've written about this recently, but it seems the need is still out there to have attention called to this matter.
Do we really WANT to support one another in our MUTUAL pursuit? I hope so.
I've just created a new facebook group for FREE books. http://www.facebook.com/groups/369867503068226/
Join it and help support each other.
It's like this...we can run around spamming our own wares to every other author and be upset when they don't bite...because WE aren't biting on theirs. OR...we can actually support the others first, so that when WE want support, they are more likely to oblige as well. When we run around spamming everyone else constantly with an "take mine" attitude without us giving anything in return, people get sick of seeing us.
Is THAT helpful for our marketing? Not so much.
So let's grow some guts. Have a tiny bit of courtesy. Of human decency. Of mutual respect. Of...common sense. Too bad common sense isn't common at all. Wonder who came up with that term anyway...
Let's change the trends...TOGETHER. Let's stop just spamming our books to every fellow author we come across. Let's band together and each author simply point and click to download the free wares to raise our fellow author's ranking. Let's help one another raise in Amazon's precious rankings so that ACTUAL paying customers will then see our individual wares. Let's help each other make actual cash. Let's stop pimping our own wares to every other author. Oh wait, did I already say that one?
Let's stop only pimping our own wares to every other author.
Wait...I feel like I'm repeating myself.
Well, maybe if some authors would listen...maybe if some authors would listen...maybe if some authors would listen...*slaps recording*
Help me create a new recording. Help me create a recording that says "All indies actually, honest-to-God support each other, it's awesome!"
Here's an idea from the Twilight Zone. How about we each make a commitment to start pimping other author's works and not touch our own. I will say this...from my own experience of doing just that, I've sold a copy of each book in my Jack series when I wasn't pimping them myself. However, when I pimped them myself every single day...they books were broken. Stuck. In the mud. Going nowhere fast. Zero to sixty in...well...in infinity because they never hit sixty, haha.
And that is a series from which the first book is in over 10,000 readers hands/kindles currently.
So, let's enjoy our personal Twilight Zone and flip the conventional thinking scenario on it's head. You just may be PLEASANTLY surprised. Give it a shot and see. What do you have to lose?
I mean to make this post yesterday, but things got so hectic I didn't get it done.
I had a great response this week for our Summer Comedy Event and the #finishtheline contest. Thanks to ALL who participated!
I combed through the entries and narrowed them down to four that struck me the most. Then, the task of figuring out which one struck me as the best of those four.
It wasn't an easy choice, let me tell ya. I loved the absolute simplicity of three of these final four. I loved the play on words with one of these final four. In the end, I went with the choice that sounds most like what Jack would say, and since he is the main character in the free book, I felt that was fitting.
So...my line for #finishtheline was:
I jumped over the barbed wire and...
That's when I lost my pants. Honest, Officer!
And the winner is...Mariah from facebook!
Congratulations to Mariah, and follow me on twitter @LATripp2818 for the next contest which starts TODAY!
Alright, I've run these free promotional days on KDP Select several times now. I've also had books free through another method that would likely be considered old school now.
I've had exactly one very successful free promotional day.
The bottom line about the KDP Select free days are...the free day in and of itself is absolutely nothing more than a tool. There is no magic in it. Your book absolutely will not jump in the rankings simply because you schedule a free day.
In fact, just as you would normally promote your rear end off when your book is selling for a monetary figure, you'll also need to promote your rear off for the free promotional day or days that you schedule.
"But I thought you said you've had one very successful promo day," you ask.
Yes, you're right. And here's the difference.
Ok, for the promo day I just had, I gave away approximately 150 copies....TOTAL in the US of my book. My ranking peaked at 25 from what I saw. And, during this day, my book was tweeted by myself and a few others through out the day. It was also facebooked by myself and a few others through out the day. Plus it was promoted by Flurries for Words (or something like that), Author Marketing Club or one of their lists, and a couple of other venues. In other words, my book was promoted by a few different venues and several individuals. And that resulted in about 150 copies in the US. Yes, I had some in the UK as well, and 1 copy in each of a couple of other countries. Seriously, one copy. But, I'm focusing on the US numbers because that's normally our bread and butter.
Now, the very successful day I had, I literally had a couple of thousand downloads of my book before I even remembered that it was free that day.
What was the difference?
It kinda makes me sick to say this, because it makes me sick to admit that we authors are dependent on one or two different sites/venues to "make us" successful. But, here's the rotten truth. That one day, my book was mentioned by Ereader News Today.
This round, my book was mentioned by three or four other sites along with friends and myself pimping it all day. for a grand total of 150 copies in the US. When Ereader News Today (ENT) promoted it, it downloaded around 3,000 copies total in one day without me saying a word.
In fact, from what I've gathered, if ENT or Pixel of Ink promote your book, you can actually expect around 3,000 copies to be downloaded in one day.
When this many copies are downloaded in one day, this shoots your book up to the top or near the top of the chart in your genre. My book, All Jacked Up, stayed at the number one spot for a day or two when ENT mentioned my book.
P.S. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the other venues that you can use for book promotion on your free days. In fact, I think they are doing a great thing...AND I wish they were much bigger than they are and have much more impact than they do. I hate it that the only sites with a real impact are Pixel and ENT. In fact, if you'll look at this very website of mine, I have a section on this for free books. I'm trying to build this site up to have the kind of reach that Pixel and ENT have, and hopefully help more authors get their names out there. So please, check out my page on this site as well.
Back to my original point. Here's the benefit of KDP Select. Once your free day is over, or days, your book automatically goes back to being charged for. If you go "old school" as in through Smashwords and that process to get Amazon to go free, you will have a harder time getting your book back to paid. With Select it automatically goes back to paid.
Other than that, KDP Select does absolutely nothing in and of itself for your book as far as promotional value.
That's right, the book that kicks off the awesome series "All Jacked Up" is free just for today. So if you could find it in your heart to do a fellow author a solid...you don't even have to spend any money....just down load a free copy of http://amzn.to/rrInyy and urge your friends to do the same!
Ok, now that that is out of the way (and I hope my numbers actually move now, lol), I'm left to consider how Amazon's algorithims and other scientific hoo-haa has changed and how that will affect my promotion and my "after-effect".
Time will tell. Of course, the more help I get today, the more I may be able to tell you a week from now ;)
Don't you love my hints? :)
Y'all have a great day now...ya hear?
(And enjoy Jack while you can!)