Friday, August 17, 2018

A reading from the book of Zandri...

"I get mad p!@#$ on Bingo Night..."

...And our new reading series continues with Bingo Night, one of my newest short stories included in my collection, Pathological (Bear Pulp). Like the last one, this one is delivered warts, swears, silliness, and all. It's a lot of fun, which I believe is what writing is all about, although the more serious students and stuffy profs at my MFA program would have disagreed...If your story isn't the equivalent of hanging from a cross by 9-inch nails, it's got to be wrong. Lighten up, Francis!

Now, let's hear it for Bingo Night!


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Monday, August 13, 2018

And now a message from our sponsors...

...of course, I'm the sponsor and the messenger and the writer. But I thought I'd try out a new promo idea today. I haven't done a reading in a while and since I don't have any scheduled in the near future, I thought I'd bring the reading to you. Now in full disclosure I've done better readings, probably because I was half on the bag when I did them, which explains a lot. But this one I take cold sober and it's less than perfect. But you get the idea and it's only fair I present it to you warts and all, because that's what makes it so interesting.

So without further ado (what the hell is ado?)

Now, grab Chase Baker and the Spear of Destiny and be thrilled!

In the UK: Chase Baker and the Spear of Destiny.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Sometimes you need a thrilling beach read...

...even if you're not at the beach. Which is why I'm making one of my Clive Cussler inspired best, Chase Baker and the Golden Condor, just 0.99 on all platforms and in all countries, for a very limited time.

Be thrilled and enjoy the beach no matter where you are.

Chase Baker and the Golden Condor for US audience

Chase Baker and the Golden Condor for UK audience

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

I've lost count...

...That is, I've quite literally lost count of how many novels I've written. I know it's more than forty at
this point, and that more than thirty are published, but I'll be damned if I know precisely how many I've penned at this point. Quite remarkable that we live in an age where we are directly rewarded for our productivity and our ability to produce quality over quantity, even if we are putting out lots and lots of material.

I just typed THE END on Tunnel Rats, my new Sam Savage, Sky Marshal pulp action series. It's 30K words which makes it the longest one yet. And since it's the third, my editor will kindly bundle these into a sweet little bingeable collection for all you romantic action & adventure fans.

Also coming this month is the second episode in the steamy noir series The Handyman. The third will be out next month and then that too will be bundled for your binging convenience. After that comes the second full-length novel in the new Young Chase Baker series, and following that, a brand new Keeper Marconi PI novel, and following that, something a little different--a non-fiction book about my hybrid authorship journey thus far.

I hope you're able to keep up, because some days I'm not sure I can. But one thing is for damn sure, being a full-time author is tons of fun. It's living the dream. Now if only I can figure out how many books I've written.


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

2018 sales thus far...

Ironically speaking, the summer (for me anyway) is always a slower time for book sales. You would assume with all those beach readers out there that the opposite would hold true, but I guess people spend less time indoors and therefor they don't have their faces stuffed in a book like they would in the winter months.

In any case, the question of sales came up the other day with my agent, Sam, and for the fudge of it, I decided to make at least a cursory check on what I had sold thus far in 2018. I'd never really performed a data check before because like my dad used to say, you should always be making money and striving to make more, so why bother checking on what you've already done? But then, by seeing what's selling and what's not, you're better able to make adjustments to certain books. If they are indie books, you might want to take them out of wide and put them back in KU for instance. That sort of thing.

Keep in mind, these number DO NOT INCLUDE paper (both hard and soft), nor audio, nor page reads (for those books in Kindle Unlimited). Nor do they include the numbers I did with the publishers I am presently working with. They do include my "rounded out" Thomas & Mercer numbers however. The numbers are not exact but as close as I could get without actually printing out statements.
Kindle Direct Publishing and Apub: 17,500+/- units
Draft2Digital: 2,100+/-
Publish Drive: 52 units (This is Google Play which I just joined last month)

Okay so for the first half of the year we're looking at around 20K sales. When you include the paper and audio,  etc. it's probably more like 22-23K, again not including the numbers from two publishers, nor the hundreds of thousands of page reads at .0045 per page read. Price points range from 0.99 to 7.99.

What's it all represent? Most romance writers would laugh at these numbers, or assume they read the opening wrong and I'm just talking about one month (although I have had instances where I've done these numbers in a single month). But then, for a hard-boiled writer, these are pretty respectful numbers for a half year. It means there are authors doing far better and probably plenty more who are doing a lot worse. For certain, my indie numbers have picked up a lot from last year, and that's what counts since this is a long game, not a sprint. It's also not a zero sum game, meaning I'm not competing with anyone. I'm competing with myself. It's also a living.  

I also have some income from the occasional journalism piece, three novels from the Chase Baker series that I produced and bestselling author Ben Sobieck wrote, plus there's the course I did for Writers Digest. 

The takeaway? Constant production and constant publishing over multiple platforms, both indie and traditional, remains of paramount importance. So is having a very good agent. I haven't done much with subsidiary rights this year but I plan to in the coming months. I also use AMS ads, FB ads (to a degree), apply for Book Bubs as often as possible, run a couple of flash sale promos per month, actively build my subscriber list with a permafree book (Moonlight Falls), and recently I've added a marketing dude to my team of editors and artists. We'll see if he delivers the positive ROI he promises.

But for those who believe it's impossible to make a living writing thrillers should think again. It's very possible if you're willing to work at it and treat it like a business. But then, in all honesty, I'd do it for free.



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Writing Spaces: Author/writer Elyse Major interviews me

Author/writer/editor Elyse Major puts out an awful lot of words about spaces. She's written a couple books on the subject and now edits a big magazine out of Providence, RI, my old stomping grounds. Since I'm always going on about my writing studio regardless of where it might be in the world, she decided to interview me on the topic. Here it is: 
writer/author Elyse Major
Leave the gun, take the cannoli
What makes it to Vincent Zandri’s writing space
As a lifestyle writer I can’t help but be intrigued whenever Vince posts an image of his work-space because aside from his Albany home base, these set-ups are essentially mobile. Like his characters Jobz or Marconi, I find myself studying these shared snaps, wondering what makes the cut for a streamline guy who brings only a single backpack along for a month of traveling. 
Here are eight questions to scratch the surface of what keeps the ever-prolific Zandri meeting that coveted daily word count wherever he may be.
So Vince, once you’ve stuffed your red Sriracha t-shirt and passport into your bag, what tools or supplies are on the packing list to ensure the work gets done?
Laptop, smartphone, camera, brain...
Is location or type of trip a factor as far as what you hope to accomplish while away? For example, do on-the-go travels like your recent visit to Asia mean writing-only while longer stays (Florence) mean proofing and editing as well, or is it an organic mix?
It's harder to write when I'm on a night train, or traveling 500km overland or getting up at dark thirty for a plane to who knows where, but luckily I can write anywhere. Writing new words lends itself to both on-the-go travels, as you call them, and long stays. But editing is easier with the long stays. 
If you find yourself in a situation where the laptop is out of battery and there’s no electrical outlet or Wifi, do you take the night off or switch to pen and paper?
I haven't encountered that in a long time since I plan for the eventuality. On occasion I've had no choice but paper and pen. And of course I keep a notebook in my pocket. 
From the photo of your home office, it looks like you “bite the nail” from a card table and not a desk. Is this by design or circumstance (like, well I had this table handy and turns out I prefer it to a desk…)?
It's actually a kitchen table. I've always used kitchen tables as desks. More space to spread out my junk. Normal sized desks don't work for me. 
Explain the gun?
Guns are a big part of my life and my character's lives. The one in the picture is actually an Airsoft trainer. The real .45 is locked away. 
When adventure-traveling, do you write about the experiences of that day immediately, use them for future stories, or both? 
Unless I'm writing an article for some magazine or a post for the Vox, I keep mental notes of everything. Plus I take tons of photos. I try to be as observant as possible and soak up the experience. My brain remembers the important things like the tastes, smells, textures, sounds, and of course, the weather. 
Do you scribble notes or chronicle things using an app?
No. I should though, shouldn't I?
Do you need to “set the stage” for yourself for writing on-the-go, or can you plop down anyplace with your laptop and get busy?
A little of both. I wrote ten pages of my new book sitting on my butt in the airport in Hong Kong. But as soon as I arrive in Florence, or Paris, or Bangkok, or New York City, or even Cape Cod, I set up my little writing space. It's the very first thing I do. It makes me feel good for some reason. At peace with the world, knowing that even if I'm technically I'm not home, I can still be creative. It's an addiction I guess or an obsession anyway.   
What items make it onto the home memo board?
Anything that strikes me as having meaning and relevance to my work. Hemingway is there, some photos I took for an assignment in West Africa a while ago, a Publishers Weekly cover featuring my face and The Remains, a photographer outside Angkor Wat, A headline about all out war when Russia attacked Georgia, the cover to the Italian edition of Moonlight Sonata, Paris, stuff like that. Who knows, Elyse, maybe you'll make it up there?

Elyse Major is the author of several books including Tinkered Treasures and I Modify IKEA. You can get the full scoop, including links to her books, her website, and video at her Good Reads page

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Home Again...Home Again...

How cool is Clint?

Okay, I've been home a few days and nights now and even though I spent nearly a full month in South East Asia, it's strange how it feels like I never left all. Maybe because I rarely break stride in my writing routine. Doesn't matter if I'm staying in a tin hut on a rice paddy, or my place in Florence, the Marriott in New Jersey, or my home studio in Albany, I try never to break the word count routine.

I'm just about to put the finishing touches on the first draft of The Caretakers Wife which is the book I've been touting as The Postman Always Rings Twice meets High Plains Drifter. I recently read the former and watched the latter in order to do homage to both stories, but only on a very surface level. The plot and story is naturally all my own. I'll finish the first draft then set it aside for a few weeks in anticipation of rewrite. I'm usually a three draft dude.

Keeping with my promise to publish something independently every month this year, the first episode in The Handyman erotic noir series will be published in a week or so in Kindle and KU. As soon as all three new episodes are published I'll bundle it and have the audio produced along with a paperback.

Missing the jungle
I'm also working on a third Sam Savage Sky Marshal pulp episode. This one is called Tunnel Rats and relies on some of my experiences in Vietnam, especially Chu Chi where all the Viet Cong tunnels are. What pulp author can resist that kind of action?

If you missed it, here's the replay of my radio interview with Susan Wingate that aired yesterday. If you wanna catch up on your Handyman episodes you can buy the full steamy bundle of season one, right HERE.