We Proudly Present To You: Hazel!

We Proudly Present To You: Hazel!

A while back, I mentioned I was so happy to be working with Collin Fogel, my best friend from Junior High and the cover artist for The Journals of Bob Drifter, on a comic limited series.

Then the comic was picked up by a small press Hazel got put with a comic containing content I couldn’t support or endorse, so I stepped away.

Time passed, and Hazel’s run with that series ended. The company kindly gave Collin the green light to publish Hazel elsewhere.

After some time, Collin and I decided to make Hazel available on Amazon. Here we are!

As you read this the electronic version of Hazel is now available on Amazon for $7.99.

Here are some things to know though. This is the first time I’ve tried to publish a comic online. I think I did everything right, but I could have messed up. If you’re willing to try it, would you please e-mail me to know how it works, I mean that literally. Obviously I hope you enjoy it, but I’m worried something in the data or in how it runs might make the comic functionality poor, and if that’s the case, I’m hoping someone will tell me.

Another note: Comics don’t exactly work the same way as regular books. The page-by-page style of the written word is easy. Hazel has at least three full-spread pages (two pages that combine to make one big page). It reads left to right, but between two pages. One page is vertical. These are things that I can’t do anything about. When I’m done with the paperback (see below), you’ll be able to twist and turn it just like any other comic trade paperback.

I wanted to be forthright about these things because I’m hoping feedback will let me know.

This is honestly the fulfillment of a childhood dream. Collin and I have known each other for decades, and we always talked about having a comic out. This is really his project. He’s the creator, and he did most of the work. I feel the need to say he also (rightly) gets the bulk of the royalties, but I’ll keep the actual distribution private.

There is a chance that the paperback will be troublesome. Again, with a comic, some pages are designed to be vertical, and Amazon can be pretty challenging for things like that. We’re giving it a shot.

I hope you’ll choose to do the same. I’m really hopeful this project does well, and you’re the ones who can help me with that.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

I Hope To See You At The Southern Maryland Comic-Con!

I Hope To See You At The Southern Maryland Comic-Con!

Greetings all,

So the Southern Maryland Comic-Con is next month (scheduled for Nov. 13), and I actually have a table. Believe it or not, I bought the table a year and a half ago, but then COVID hit. They were so awesome, keeping me up to date and holding my spot for all this time, and now they’re ready to go.

To my knowledge, this is the only event I’m scheduled to attend this calendar year. We’re hoping to get back in the swing of things, but that depends on several factors. So it’s my sincere hope that if you’re in the area, you’ll come by, say hello and maybe buy some books. We have a few new things (and hope to maybe have another surprise) for you to try since the last time we were at a table.

I just wanted to put it out there in the hope that you might consider stopping by.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

A New 5-Star Review for Caught

A New 5-Star Review for Caught

Greetings all,

It’s been a while since I’ve had a review, but man, I love it when I get one, especially when it’s good. That means I get to share this five-star review for Caught from Cowan on Audible.


What a read!

Ho-ly Cow! What a great book to read. Intense with great twists. A wonderful and original take on the genre. Highly recommend!


It’s great because it’s five stars, and even though it’s short, it’s super kind.

If you’ve read any of my work, please consider leaving a rating and review on Amazon, Goodreads, Audible, or all three. They really do mean the world to me.

As always, I appreciate you all for supporting my silly dream. I’ll keep writing, and I will always thank you for reading.

Matt

The Discovery Draft of Discovered Is Finished!

The Discovery Draft of Discovered Is Finished!

I really do love these posts! I’m not sure why, but I’m strangely surprised when I finish another book. The thing is, every book is a new challenge. Life provides challenges. But if you just keep chipping away at a goal, you’ll get there eventually. Discovered is proof of that.

Discovered is about 100,000 words, and it took me just about 15 months to finish this draft. This draft always takes the longest, because I’m working from scratch. The other drafts will take between 40-80 days each, with about a month between each draft.

Discovered is the final book in the Oneiors Log, and it brings the story to a close that is also a new beginning. While I don’t personally plan on doing more in that universe, it brings the saga to the point I saw it at when I started writing Repressed.

Sal and Kaitlyn have POVs, of course. This time, Kira steps as a main POV character, and she joins Mariana (from Betrayed) and one of several new characters, Daniel. I really love Daniel as a character, and I hope you will, too.

Just like always, I’ve written some quick notes to myself on issues I already know are in this draft. I’ll let it sit for a month to clear my creative pallet. I’ll get to work on the first draft of Discovered Oct. 21, on month after I finished the discovery draft. I must say, this is a particularly rough draft. It needs a lot of work, and I want to take my time to make sure I conclude this saga the right way.

So what else am I working on?

Well, I’m working on a secret that I’m very excited about, but I can’t announce anything just yet. If everything works out, I’ll quickly have some big news (at least it’s big to me because of how meaningful it would be).

What I can tell you is about the other project I’ll be working on.

I’ve been fiddling with Images of Truth (the first novel in the Perception of War saga), and I really do want to jump on that, but I don’t think that’s the right call.

As much as I want to finish writing a new book, I have several titles that are finished but not published, so I feel the right thing to do is try to get one of those projects out into the world. That means it’s time for me to start work on a draft of The 1,200.

The 1,200 is a story about homeless veterans. When I first started that story, I learned through research that San Diego has more than 1,200 homeless veterans, and that fact gave birth to this whole story. However, I was a very different writer back then (2009), and the world was a very different place. So as I start working on that project, I’m going to take a very critical look at it. I’d be stoked if I could go through the book and prep the next draft before I move back to Discovered.

Another note on 1,200: If you’re a fan of Bob Drifter, pay close attention to that book. There’s a treat or two in there for you. It’s not earth shattering, but I think it’s nice.

I don’t think I’ll publish 1,200 before Discovered. In a manner of speaking, they’re both in the same stage of development. It could happen, but I doubt it. But I’d be very pleased if both books come out in 2022. I fully expect Discovered to be out in 2022 (maybe early 2023). Part of it depends on how many revisions both stories require, and the other part depends on how quickly I can save up money for edits and the cover.

The best way you can help me is to buy my books, rate and review them, and convince others to buy them. I save about $170 a month to go to the Weech dream, and about $115 of that goes to marketing. While that’s going better, it’s not where it needs to be. Without sales to bolster my saving, it’ll be slow going to get product out because I need to save for two rounds of edits and a cover for each project. I truly hope you’ll consider helping in this way, but even if you just buy and read my work, you’re wonderful.

For those of you who follow this blog and already read my work, I just can’t express what your support means to me. You’ve helped me keep publishing books for six years now, and there’s now way I could do this without you. I’m not a best seller; I don’t even make a profit from month to month. But I lose less money every year! I just keep moving forward, and having those few of you who support me means everything. I get emails, and you offer to Alpha and Beta read for me. It’s just overwhelmingly touching. Thank you.

So it’s off to work on The 1,200. Until then …

Thanks for reading (always),

Matt

Marketing Journal: A New Record For Sales In A Month!

Marketing Journal: A New Record For Sales In A Month!

Greetings all,

As you can see in the title, I’m quite excited by the news of this month. A while back, I was glad I about 12 sales, but I spent around $200 to get there. That led me to work to bring down my ACOS (which is always important and should be below 70%). That meant decreasing what I spend on clicks and getting my sales back to where they were (or better).

In my last update, things looked good. I brought my monthly cost down to below $100, and my sales were starting to creep up.

This brings us to the last two months.

I spent about $94 in July. You can see the one order, but that’s not the total of my sales, just what AMS tracked as sales resulting from clicks. All told, I had 12 sales in addition to the 2,619 pages read or more. Again, AMS only counts what they can track directly to clicks.

So things were picking up, and at that point I had gotten all the way back to 12 sales (where I was when I realized I was blowing money faster than I could save it), and I had cut my cost in half.

I still have a lot of work to do in this area though. What I know is that most (but not all) of the insane CPC bids have been eliminated, and that saved me about $100. I also did a decent job of finding the obvious non-profitable keywords, which are keywords that get me a lot of clicks but don’t result in any conversions. This is why my monthly bill is starting to creep in the wrong direction again. However, the same sales for half the expenses is a step in the right direction.

So August came in, and I was closer to $100 than I want to be (at least not without 55 sales), but as you can see, AMS saw 10 sales, and there were more.

I’m happy to say I have a new record for online monthly sales, which is 14!

Now I know 14 is pretty pathetic compared to someone who’s profitable (they make money on writing). It’s even worse for those big stars out there. However, anyone will tell you to celebrate every victory.

I don’t honestly remember when I started, but I do remember where, and reaching a point where I have sold more books and had more pages read than ever before is absolutely something to celebrate.

What’s the next step? Well, I scanned my books to see where my impressions were, and I had six books that had fallen well below 100,000 impressions per month. That means I have to get those books back up to snuff. Then I have to track down those vampires that are sucking up pennies and not rewarding me with any conversions. I also want to use Publisher Rocket’s new keyword analyzer function to try and get new keywords that are more profitable.

That’s going to take time, but I usually wait a few months before I do another analysis of my campaigns and add to my keywords. My hope is to get those six (I already have at least two of them) back up to 100,000 impressions per month. Then I can go back into monitoring the campaigns and trying to optimize them. I still hope to reach 60 sales a month (which would theoretically allow me to break even or better), and I’m just under a quarter of the way there!

I’ll keep you all up to date on how things progress. I’m glad to share good news with you for this post.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

A 5-Star Review For Stealing Freedom

Greetings all,

It’s a happy Saturday for me because I get to share a review this week. This five-star review for Stealing Freedom from Madeline L. was very kind.

Stealing Freedom is probably my most socially conscious project, and it’s nice to see feedback that indicates readers resonate with the themes I was trying to convey.

As always, I’m hopeful those of you who’ve read my work might consider taking a moment or two to post a rating and review on Goodreads, Amazon, Audible or all of the above. They really boost my morale, and they help with marketing and sales.

Whatever you do, I’m honored and grateful you’ve decided to give this wacky self-published author a chance.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Last Week of Vacation

Last Week of Vacation

Greetings all,

Just a quick update. I’m currently enjoying the last week of our summer vacation. We’re with my wife’s side of the family this week at a beautiful farm rental. So we’re enjoying the view and each other’s company. Things will start getting back in their normal swing next week. I’ve been doing the marketing pass (which takes up quite a bit of time), so I haven’t gotten much writing done, but I expect to finish Discovered’s discovery draft relatively soon (only about seven chapters left to draft). So yeah, this isn’t really a post so much as an explanation of why there isn’t a post, but I figured I’d give you a bit of an update.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Marketing Journal: Small Steps Toward The Goal

Marketing Journal: Small Steps Toward The Goal

Greetings all,

I figured now would be a good time to do another Marketing Journal.

I used to think marketing was a set and forget process that was instantaneous. You paid for an add; people saw it, and the money would start falling from the sky.

I was misguided.

Since September of 2020, I’ve been working to address that. You can review older posts to see the play-by-play, but the important part is I did indeed improve my sales, but my costs are still higher than those sales. So naturally I started working to balance them out.

In May of 2021, things got pretty dark. I sold three books that month. But there needs to be context, and there’s more to see.

While my sales were lower than they’d been in a long time, I’d reduced my cost, and that’s progress. In fact, my cost is steadily going down, and my sales are steadily going up. This is super encouraging because that was the plan going forward.

Sure, I want to have a great Average Cost of Sales now and earn money every month, but it’s not a sprint.

Also, May maybe wasn’t the great month for full sales, but it wasn’t without traction. You see, I had 957 pages read. Sure, some may scoff and say that’s only about $4, but it’s something. Then we hit June and July.

My cost went down even further for my June bill, and July posted a bill of less than $100!

As for sales, well, June brought me back to within my quote of 8 books a month (I actually sold 9), and I’ve sold 11 in July so far. If this trend holds, I’ve brought my cost down in half and regained my average sales per month from before I started working to bring those excessively high cost per click key words.

I had 1,320 pages read in June and 3,291 pages read in July.

This is encouraging to say the least, and it indicates that the plan is working. The trick is to keep moving forward and not get impatient. I won’t be ready to reset my quota for another month (I always get a three month average), and there’s still about 10 days in July, so I might have a few more sales! (You know you can help with that part, right?)

It’s still my dream for this series to become the “How I Became Profitable” series as opposed to the, “This is what I’m trying,” but that’s all time, patience and (of course) God’s will. Next year, we plan to go back to conventions, and hopefully that will have a positive impact as well.

I’m going to keep working, and I appreciate you all stopping by to see how things are going.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Back From Vacation With A 5-Star Review to Share!

Back From Vacation With A 5-Star Review to Share!

Greetings all,

I know it’s been a few weeks. As my vacation got more fun, I decided to take it easy more and more. Of course I’m motivated to get back at it, and I’m happy to be sharing with you all again, but it was nice being with family and focusing on that for a bit.

Not only is it good to be back, but I was happy to see a new review for Bob Drifter, and that means I have the honor of sharing that with you now. You can read that review here.

Discovered is coming along pretty well. I’m about six or so chapters from being done. I’ll have some things to clean up in this draft, but I’m confident that this first pass is laying all the necessary groundwork for a great finish to the Oneiros Log.

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for reading,

Matt

Vacation Week One

Vacation Week One

Greetings from San Diego!

It’s been an amazing week so far. It’s been a while since I shared some fun and happy personal life stuff on the blog, and given that I’m really not in the mood to think too much as I type this, I figured we’d just talk a bit about how things are going.

As for writing, I was pretty sure (and correct) that I wouldn’t get much writing done this week. We had a ton of activities planned and so much going on. I didn’t want to try and shoe horn in a lot of writing stuff. The discovery draft of Discovered is indeed about six chapters from being done (though that’s a lot of words given all the stuff that the outline demands). I don’t think I’ll get super writing time in, but I do expect to get my usual thousand words in from here on out.

This week I visited my brother and sister and their two wonderful daughters. We went to the Midway Museum, Belmont Park, and the San Diego Zoo. We also got the rent a pool for an afternoon. Honestly, every second of it was awesome. I got some quality time with my brother and sister (they’re married you see). It had been some years since I saw either of my nieces, and I’m so glad we started at this end of the line of families.

This sort of became the activities portion of the vacation. It’s not that we don’t have a few plans at the other locations we plan to visit, it’s just most of the rest of the trip is reserved for relaxation and time with families. But while we were in San Diego with a pair of activity-driven women (my wife and sister), we tried to do everything San Diego offers, and I sort of think we did.

After I get a few hours of sleep, it’s all about the drive to my old stomping grounds.

Thanks for reading,

Matt