Archive

Posts Tagged ‘email’

I’ve Been a Jerk

September 4, 2017 1 comment

It’s true. I’ve been a jerk. For almost two years now I’ve been asking questions and writing blogs and newsletters to people in a purely one-sided manner. I once promised I would respond to every single reader that reached out to me, and it was a promise I meant to keep. Yet for the last two years I haven’t done that.

Turns out sometime in 2016 something went wrong with my email accounts. My jason@booksbyjason.com account has been set up since I created it to forward to my main account. Early 2016 it stopped doing that and I didn’t figure it out until yesterday. No idea why either. I checked the settings and even logged into the account. It looked like I wasn’t receiving any email there. So on my main account I set it up to not only receive forwards from, er, me, but to also actively reach out and receive mail sent to that account. I was satisfied that, moving forward, I’d be all set.

I glanced at my email a few minutes later and holy crap! I had over a thousand emails all of a sudden. I would love to say that they were all from readers trying to discuss my books with me, but they weren’t. Probably 50% – 60% were junk trying to get me to advertise with them, pay the money to boost my book or guarantee I’d get reviews, or some other scheme to provide a service for a fee that probably wouldn’t do crap for me except lower my bank account. Those got deleted.

What remained was several hours of reading and responding to readers. Real people with real questions, thoughts, and kind things to say. Those are the people I do this for – when I’m not doing this for me. I have to admit, for the past two years of receiving next to no kind of reader feedback on top of the greatly diminishing sales, I’d begun to feel kind of burned out. Sort of a, “what’s the point?” feeling. Now that I’ve caught up I feel a lot better, to say the least! Recharged even.

The Lost Girls continues to be a series that pulls in admiration and emphatic responses from readers. Those books are near and dear to my heart, and it seems to be they pull at the heart strings of many readers as well. Most of the feedback I get praises me for “getting it” and being able to write a lesbian character so well. I have to break the news to each and every reader that I really didn’t “get” anything. I wrote about a main character that had a lot of demons in her past and present (and future, depending on which book they’d read). She was as real as person as a character can be to me, and what she endured was terrible and heart wrenching – and something I’m saddened to say can and does happen in the real world too.

Wanted continues to be a fan favorite as well, and that makes me happy because Carl’s just such a fun character. He’s prick, but the kind of prick you can’t help but admire and respect – not to mention want on your side!

Voidhawk draws in a lot of readers as well. It’s out there and crazy, but readers get sucked in to the crazy and love it in spite of the heavy suspension of disbelief needed. After all, it’s a story that takes place on wooden ships using magic to sail through space! Physics majors need not apply.

Not surprisingly, my Kroth books (Blades of Leander trilogy, Order of the Dragon saga, and Serpent’s War series) came in hand in hand with Voidhawk support. The two series do intertwine from time to time these days, so I’m very happy to see readers are crossing over as well.

Vitalis and Dark Universe had a lot of love too, which tickles me because I feel the same love for them. So many opportunities and so much potential with those books, they’re like gifts to me that keep on giving!

Even Terminus had some fan mail. Terminus was a short lived series that was a cooperative effort between myself and John Davis. We both wrote books in the setting and had plans for many more… but alas, the sales didn’t materialize to justify it. Damn shame too, there was so many great things that could come of it. We sort of pulled on Star Wars for inspiration with those books.

The shocker for me came in the support mail for my Homeland series. Those books are a harder read, and by harder I mean they lean more towards adult natured stories. Almost, but not quite, erotica. Or at least I don’t think they are (some may disagree). There was a cliffhanger ending with the third book in the series and the readers want a fourth. I do too, but once again sales sucked, so I never got around to it. Knowing that people really do want more, even if it’s only a handful of people, inspires me to continue that series again, even if I take a loss on it financially.

That, my friends, is the lesson here. If you enjoy something spread the word. Share it with the person who created it! The appreciation is going to mean a lot to them. Beyond that, it might even bring them to do more with it. Or, in my case, I reached out to some of these readers with some thoughts and ideas on things I’d like to do with stories and I asked for their feedback. And I meant it – those who are getting back to me are inspiring me to include some of their ideas and concepts into future stories. That, I think, is cool. I know if I could talk to some of my favorite authors and get them to include some ideas I have into their stuff, I’d be over the moon. Unfortunately, R.A. Heinlein and R.E. Howard aren’t taking requests anymore.

Some random trivia that has shocked a few readers: I have never watched any of the Game of Thrones episodes, nor have I read the books they are based on. I’d like to, but I’m afraid of being influenced or “corrupted” by them. By abstaining I maintain that my fantasy books are original. Pretty stupid and ridiculous, really, since I’ve read tons of other fantasy books over the years.

One last thing – I put out a call to people to send me their character ideas for the next Vitalis book. It was because of that and one man in particular, Kelly David Screen, that I discovered my email woes. I’m still eagerly taking any character ideas you’ve got and, I’m happy to say, I know I’m getting them now!

And finally, my most sincere apologies to anyone over the last couple of years that I missed or accidentally deleted in my junk mail purge. I hope I can honestly say it won’t happen again.

P.S. The Goblin Queen is still anxious to make her way into your heart. It’s available as an ebook an in print, if you prefer.

 

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.

 

Advertisements

Is That a Roll of Quarters in My Pocket?

January 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Change. Some people love it, some people hate it. I’ve got a bunch of sliding around in my truck and I’m annoyed by it. I used to use it for vending machines at work, but the place I’m at now is a company that makes micro-markets. They’re pretty cool, you should check them out if you don’t know what they are.

You guessed it though, this post has nothing to do with vending machines. Or pocket change. Or anything resembling a roll of quarters in my pocket. It has to do with necessary changes to move ahead in life and do the things that need doing. In my case, the change involved switching my mailing list for my newsletter. I went from a simple text based email I wrote up every month and sent out via a group of people that had told me they wanted to get emails from me to a fancy mailing list program called Mailchimp.

I’m not getting any kickbacks from any of the links to these companies, mind you – I’m just trying to help anyone interested in learning more. With Mailchimp I have to say I was impressed. The setup was easy, as was importing my existing base of people that had signed up for my newsletter. I’m finding that it offers analytics that are pretty cool too – it helps me learn if I’m wasting my time or not. The answer is not, so that means I push ahead.

You’re possibly thinking that I’m an IT guy and a programmer at that. Of course setting up something is easy. Well let me tell you that I may be able to whip up some pretty cool stuff from time to time, but having to design something for this was not on the plate. I wanted quick and easy. And I got it at a price that was more than reasonable (my level of usage is free – how much more reasonable can you get?). So when I say it was easy I mean it.

So newsletter #1 went out and 40% of the addresses opened it. 3.8% clicked on something in the newsletter. Seem dismal? Well the industry average is 15.6% opening the mail and 1.8% clicking on something contained therein. That’s a win to me, but I’m one of those patient grind it out and achieve success through hard work kinds of people. If you prefer instant success then you probably don’t need to read my books or anybody else’s – you’re living in a fantasy land already!

So there’s nothing exciting about this blog, it’s just a bit of a public service announcement to fellow writers about something I found that seems pretty slick, easy, and affordable. What do I get out of it? Not a darn thing – unless you’re interested in being put on the newsletter mailing list and want to click here to sign up for 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.