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Decisions, Decisions

“Holy crap, you’ve written a lot of books! Where should I start?”

I get asked something like this a lot, but I never have a good answer. I mentioned a week or two back I’d put a post out like this to help people – but I’m not sure how much help it will provide! Hopefully you’ll want to grab them all. :-)

Anyhow, to answer the question: It depends on a lot of things. For example, do you like sci-fi or fantasy more? Do your tastes range towards action and adventure or crime and mystery? Fast paced or slower, more thoughtful?

Let me throw out a few first and let you decide…

Voidhawk - my first published novel way back in 2009. It also just became an audiobook, but I digress. Voidhawk is fantasy, but it’s fantasy with a twist. It’s kind of like dungeons and dragons in space. Complete with wooden ships sailing through the void (space). So it’s part high fantasy, part space opera, and part wtf. I consider it a niche market and I never expected it to take off. Yet quite a few times over the past few years my Voidhawk series (6 books in it so far) has done quite well. I regularly get people asking for more, which is going to happen someday soon.

Wanted - This is my second published novel. It’s near future science fiction that I dreamt up during the threat of a world-wide recession back in 2007 – 2009. The book takes place in a mildly scorched earth environment. Global terrorism has torn America up and left the southwestern US to fend for itself. Enter the main characters – a former Spec Ops guy who wants to be left alone, a porn star turned actress whose career was peeking after all the real Hollywood stars died when dirty bombs took out LA, and a couple of rich kids who had the misfortune of being on a plane that crashed in the Sonoran desert. There’s 4 books here and this has arguably has been the most successful series I’ve written.

Blades of Leander / Order of the Dragon – More high fantasy here. A new world with new troubles and a peasant farmer boy who’s thrust into being the man of the farm. Then somehow things get twisted up with young love and the chance to make a difference and be a hero. It escalates from Child of Fate (book 1) into a trilogy (Blades of Leander) and then a follow-up saga (Order of the Dragon, 4 more books).

Vitalis - Futuristic science fiction centered around humanity’s discovery of life on another planet. Real, advanced life – in the form of dinosaur-like critters and a downright nasty ecosystem that is very xenophobic. It’s risqué at times, earning at least an R rating and not just for harsh language. Book 2, Resurrection, even starts out with a couple of characters that make some readers uncomfortable – although I never get very descriptive and tragedy interrupts the moment before it can get started. Vitalis is six books at present and one I’m anxious to continue very soon. The first book is called the Vitalis Omnibus because it contains 7 novellettes I put together and tried to sell individually.

Dark Earth – Urban fantasy here. It involves the discovery of a parallel world to Earth that followed a different evolution. We have technology, they have magic. Sort of. They also have a lot of very mean and nasty people in charge. It’s a harsh world where bigots and chauvinists seem to be rewarded. Until the portals start opening and they begin to find out just how dangerous a pissed off woman can be! Dark Earth sets the stage for a 3 book series, which then has two additional books set in the same setting. Another series also uses the Dark Earth setting, but it’s 40 years in the future…

The Lost Girls – This is the series I just mentioned. These books came about when a character popped into my head and demanded attention. She called me dirty names and abused me every possible way until I wrote her story. Then she demanded I write another one, which is rare (usually I break away between books in a series but for her I did back to back). Eventually she demanded a third and later a fourth book. At that point I’d had enough. She’d mellowed out a little over the years and I couldn’t bring myself to do anymore to her. Until another idea hit me. This time it was an idea about a bad guy. We had a long talk (yes, me and the fictional heroine of the series), and she agreed she’d do one more for me. So that series hit five books. There may be more down the road, but she won’t be the starring character anymore. These books are urban fantasy / paranormal / science fiction (yes, I really did wrap all that together) AND they are detective / crime novels to boot. I will not be shoe-horned into a genre, damn it!

If you’re a proper red-blooded American, and by red-blooded I mean you understand the Internet may have been built for the exchange of technology and data but it wouldn’t exist without the need for hot and steamy content, then maybe my Homeland series is up your alley. Only two books in it so far (Forbidden Love and Broken Slipper), but they involve undercover homeland security agents and the lengths, depths, girths, and other extremes they will go to for their country.

I’ve got a few stand-alone books too, or books that are related to a series but aren’t officially a part of it. Those don’t get much traction even though everyone that reads them that tells me about it says they enjoy them.

Oh! Silly me, I almost forgot my latest. I released one a few months ago called Transcendent. Future sci-fi with humanity controlling all of our solar system (but not doing anything beyond it). It’s my attempt at capturing the dystopian young adult interest so popular with Divergent and The Hunger Games. Except I went a little more high tech by introducing biomechs (basically humanoid tanks of the future with a human pilot plugged in the cockpit and organic muscle systems stretched over their metal frames).

And, on the not-so-sly, I’ve been working with my wife to capture a spot in the paranormal romance genre by releasing a serial novel called Claimed by the Beast. We’re using her name, Dawn Michelle, for that series. I refer to it as furry porn, but only tongue in cheek. There’s no actual, um, porn going on. (although there are a few very steamy scenes in upcoming releases).

Phew – I think that about covers it. Don’t ask me which one is m favorite – I love them all. I’ve been very disappointed by the lack of response a few have gotten (Homeland and Transcendent, for example). I’ve been surprised by others because I didn’t think people would be as twisted as I am. I’ll vouch for any and all of them, but they’re my children so I kind of have to. :-)

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Another Notch in the Headboard

With a title like that, you’re probably thinking, “What is that freak up to now?” Well, not to disappoint you, but it’s just an indicator another year come and gone. I’m excited to have made it to the other side (2014), and I think I’ve learned a lot in 2013 that I can reflect on and share. So, without wasting any more time, I’ll jump into sharing the wisdom I gained in 2013 (read: what stupid things I did), and the data behind it.

#1: Never blindly trust an absentee landlord with a gambling addiction that lives in Las Vegas.

#2: Publishing smut (or romance) with a masculine name is an uphill battle. In a blizzard. With enemy machine gunners hiding in fortified pillboxes above you.

#3: Publishing mystery / detective novels is also a hard genre to get into (no machine guns though).

#4: Trying to break into any new genre is difficult because the readers that know and like you probably aren’t interested in trying out the new genre.

#5: Science Fiction and Fantasy are my sweet spots, so I should focus more on those. Except I can’t stop myself from writing other stories because, damn it, they need to be told!

#6 The last quarter of the year kind of sucks for book sales, whereas the first two are the best.

#7 Collaborating with another writer can be a frustrating process or it can be a wonderful experience. For me in 2013 it was a great opportunity. I expect that to continue in 2014 and (perhaps) beyond.

#8 The writing and publishing industry is in a state of constant upheaval and reinvention. That does not mean we should throw our hands up in the air and just have faith that it will all work out. That would be like a book-worshipping religion. Writing is both art and science and to succeed we have to focus on the stats and numbers as well as proper timing of when to sacrifice small woodland creatures to the writing gods.

#9 I can write fast if I have the availability to do so. In the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge I unofficially decided to destroy I wrote two novels instead of just one. While working full time, having a family, and sleeping an average of 6 hours a night. Since I can write fast, I should write fast – that’s what professional editing is for.

#10 Audiobooks are a lot of work! And that’s with me not reading them! The market is there and it’s growing though, so I recommend people hop on the wagon. I have 5 books in audio at present with 1 more about to be released and three more in the process.

 

Now the numbers behind it.

My Total Books Published: 44

My books published in 2013: 16 (2 of which are omnibuses)

My books written in 2013: 14 (not counting the omnibuses twice, nor a book published in early January of 2013, but I did count the book I finished near the end of December but won’t publish for a week or two into 2014.)

Total Books sold (Amazon US and UK only): 27,636

Books by Genre

-Science Fiction:           12,035

-Fantasy:                       13,598

-Urban Fantasy:             1,265

-The Rest:                          738

My thoughts and notes on the above numbers: Pretty darn cool. In 2012 I sold over 35,000 books, but a lot of those were $.99 novellas that I rolled into my Vitalis Omnibus book in late 2012. And yes, I mean a lot (I had a few months with 5,000+ of the $.99 novellas sold). What’s a potentially more impressive number is that in 2012 I saw almost $50k in royalties from Amazon US & UK. In 2013 my Amazon US and UK royalties were over $72,000.

Why do I keep mentioning the US and UK? Those are my biggest markets. With that said, in 2013 I began to regularly see sales each month in Canada, Germany, and Australia. Tangible sales that beat the minimums necessary to send out royalty checks each month. Tangible or not, they typically double digits only, not triple.

Audiobooks? Thanks for asking. I’d wager I made around $500 in audiobooks last year. Not much, but hey, my first book wasn’t available until late June and I didn’t hit 5 available for sale until December 24th. I may never get all my books on audio, but I’ll keep pushing to get them transitioned, especially when I review the work done by my amazing narrators. My two most recent ones sent chills down my spine and made me literally laugh, gasp, and otherwise react out loud when listening to them. In a good way! One of them is Child of Fate, which should be available any day now. The other is Wolfgirl, which is in progress and hopefully will be available by the end of February.

On the writing front I’m about 25% of the way through my next Vitalis book (and I just finished Vitalis: Invasion, which should be released in a week or two). Why write back to back Vitalis books? Two reasons: the first is that the story is burning in my head and wants to be told. The second reason is because I’ve seen a strong surge in my Vitalis series in December. With book sales being the strongest in the 1st and 2nd quarter of the year, it makes sense to capitalize on that by giving my readers what they are showing me they want. This will be the 5th Vitalis novel, but remember the first one (Vitalis Omnibus) contains 7 novellas within it.

What does 2014 hold for me on the writing front? More writing! I’m working on my 46th book right now and I have every intention of hitting the 50 book mark and beyond this year. I’m considering a sequel to Human Nature and I’ve already written a short story to kick it off (unreleased so far). There will be more Voidhawk, more Dark Earth, more Fallen Angels (co-written with J. Knight Bybee) and possibly more Lost Girls, as well as a continuation of both my Homeland and my Cookie Cutters series. Oh, and Vitalis – it’s an amazing setting with so much opportunity it would take a team of writers to even begin to tap into its potential.

A lot of writers are scared or overwhelmed by the chaos in the publishing / writing industry these days. Don’t be! Embrace it. Make it your own and carve out a piece. Readers have more available to them now than ever. I’m looking forward to what 2014 brings, so let’s get started on it!

 

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Cinderella Never Looked This Good

On this blog I’ve been absent for a while. Months, and lots of them. So what better way to open it back up than with a notice about a brand new book? This one’s called Broken Slipper and it picks up a year after Forbidden Love ended. If those titles sound a little, uh, unusual, it’s because they are. These books are in my Homeland series, which blends espionage, secret agents, and smut. Yes, they are erotic books and definitely for mature reading audiences. But hey, there’s plenty of romance, suspense, and action tossed in as well to round them out.

Broken Slipper is more than just a simple novel, it’s a mega-freaking-novel. Come to think of it, there’s some mega-freaking in it too, but that’s not what I meant. I meant it’s over 140,000 words long, which puts this puppy in the neighborhood of 600 pages. Even at the page turning pace this book demands it’ll keep you busy for a while! As a special incentive to hook people on this series I’ve also lowered the price of book 1 in the series, Forbidden Love, to only $0.99!

But enough about me trying to suggest you check it out, I’ll let the blurb, cover, and the book itself do that!

Special Agent Sarah Ford hated her desk and she hated her life. She’d been stuck behind it for a year thanks to the dark cloud that followed her every move. She knew it was there and so did her superiors– at least the ones that survived her last case.

When her request to be returned to the field was granted she jumped at the chance at redemption. The catch? She had to rely on her skills earned while putting herself through college as a hair stylist. Immersing herself back into the realm of cosmetology would soon be the least of her concerns.

Sarah, with the new name and wild hair of washed up wannabe actress Misty West, was needed to investigate rumors of a threat to national security in Phoenix, Arizona. Her agency secured a position for her in the most unlikely of places to learn more– working for Digital Treasures, an adult multimedia company that specialized in voyeurism and exhibitionism.

With a new partner fresh in the field from training, Misty finds herself in deeper than ever before. Juggling her duty and her ragged emotions is a full time job, let alone the things she begins to discover that threaten to not only shatter who she is, but the lives of countless others.

Broken Slipper, book 2 in the Homeland series by Jason Halstead

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

iTunes (coming soon)

Kobo

Smashwords

Sony (coming soon)

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Bound to End Up On Your E-Reader

…I hope! Bound just happens to be the name of my newest release. It’s an edgy romance novel, and by edgy I mean it has some delightfully naughty points in it. The story centers around a boy who makes a mistake and spends the next ten years of his life paying for it, then he has the chance to start fresh but realizes he doesn’t have a clue. Enter the female lead – the same young lady who was indirectly responsible for ruining his life in the first place. His father warned him about girls like her…

Bound, a stand alone Dark Earth romance novel by Jason Halstead

Wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he committed, James Macavoy’s regimented life is suddenly turned upside down when he’s released from prison into a world that’s all but forgotten about him. Sabrina’s the one person that remains for Jimmy, the woman who’s very existence made it possible for Jimmy’s life to be ruined.

 If adapting to a life without walls isn’t hard enough, Jimmy must decide if he can love her or hate her.

Bound on Amazon

Bound on Amazon UK

Bound on Smashwords

Bound on Barnes and Noble

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

It’s Bound to be a Good Time!

And by bound I don’t mean nylon rope and / or handcuffs. Although I suppose that’s not too far off, in hindsight. The Bound I’m referring to is my latest book that I finished the rough draft on last night! I’ve got some minor revisions to make and then editing to do, then the usual cover art and such. What’s that mean to interested readers? It means look for Bound sometime in late July or, possibly, early August!

But wait, what is it and why should you care? Well, it’s my writing, which is fast paced and filled with fun, combined with a touch of romance. Okay, more than a touch – the plot pretty much revolves around a romance between two characters that are about as star crossed as they can get. The book starts out with a hefty dose of stereotyping and racism and then spends the rest of it trying to recover from the damage a single moment in time can do. Bound takes place in my Dark Earth setting and I do have a a reason for that (let’s call it an ulterior motive so it sounds more devious), but as a stand alone book the setting is irrelevant. For the faint of heart let me offer warning, there is some bloodshed in the book, though I only go into semi-graphic detail at one point. There is also an unusual amount of, ahem, adult behavior. Personally I don’t think it’s enough to earn it the title of erotica but others may disagree. The book is not about bumping uglies at all, it’s about two people finding each other and persevering in spite of the difficulties along the way. And bad guys – what fun can there be without bad guys?

Bound came to me out of nowhere on my ride down to Florida on vacation. I’d just finished Voidhawk – Lost Soul, and I was wondering what I wanted to do next. Bound slipped into my head somewhere between Ohio and West Virginia and I just knew I had to write it. Well, 19 days later I’ve finished the first draft of it. I know it’s good because when the words rush out of me like they’ve been doing lately, there’s no other option.

For the Dark Earth setting fans Bound fits in the same general timeline that Voices is in – kind of before The Lost Girls series and concurrent with it.

So stay tuned, my friends, Bound will be available before you know it! As for me and what’s next… I haven’t thought about that yet. First I want to tidy up Bound then I’ll get into thinking about what comes next. It might be Black Widow, book 4 in the Lost Girls series, or I might write Vitalis part 8. It’s good to have options!

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Sex Sells on Amazon Prime

January 18, 2012 2 comments

I did it again – a bit of word play designed to humor me and strike a ring of truth. For others, it’s deserving of a facepalm. This time around I’m continuing my KDP Select free promotion experimentations. Sex Sells, one one lonely foray into the romance genre, is free today and tomorrow (January 18th and 19th) on Amazon. My wife assures me that calling it a romance isn’t exactly accurate, she thought it was something more likely to get the juices flowing for a reader – creative or otherwise.

I’ll admit, I seldom write about sex in my books. I may come close on occasion, but that’s a subject I prefer to leave up to the imagination. Describing carnal moments in detail takes the magic out of them. This particular book isn’t about sex, at least not directly. It’s about a lonely average guy trying to make a living without dealing with the consequences. When those same consequences smack him in the face (and worse), the real challenge begins. Add in some kidnapping, corruption, and dash of exhibitionism and you’ve got a unique book that is both entertaining and, ahem, fun.

Sex Sells, by Jason Halstead

Sex Sells, a romantica novel by Jason Halstead

Sex Sells on Amazon

Sex Sells on Amazon UK

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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