“Big Chief” Chino knew he had fucked up. Hoodoo Brown was the meanest son-of-a-bitchin’ white man he’d ever met. He had known a couple of loco Apache warriors who could have matched his violence but few could have matched his lack of humanity. If Brown discovered the gold Chino had hidden; “Big Chief” would suffer the vilest death possible; nobody fucked Hoodoo Brown.
It was the late 1800’s and much of the uncivilized portions of the United States were a dog-eat-dog existence. That way-of-life was dramatically demonstrated in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The town had come into being as part of the Santa Fe Trail; but once the railroad reach this at-the-edge location, a whole new level of prosperity arrived. Great fortune was accompanied by some of the worst elements in all of humankind. Each one looking for a fast buck, or at least a moment of guilt free pleasure.
Some of the most notorious characters of their time found their way to Vegas. The lure was money and sex. Often it was also a place to hide. No lawman entered Vegas without the permission of Hoodoo Brown, who was the Justice of the Peace and County Coroner. He ran everything with the help of his gang. He was the law and the law breaker, all wrapped up in one package.
The railroad executives eventually brought a certain form of law and order, but for a time this was a wide open town; with Brown in charge. It attracted the famous and worst the country had to offer; Doc Holliday, Big-Nose Kate, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Bob Ford, Wyatt Earp, Rattlesnake Sam, Cock-Eyed Frank, Web-Fingered Billy, Hook Nose Jim, Stuttering Tom, Durango Kid, and Handsome Harry the Dancehall Rustler.
That is the beginning of a new book Vegas Dead-End, # 4 in the Pacheco & Chino series. My whole attitude toward this book goes back and forth; from enthused to tired. I like the characters, but made a decision to end this series after a very difficult time finishing the last book, Four Corners War. I was going to concentrate on the Vincent Malone books and let Ray Pacheco retire and spend his remaining days fishing.
It was a good plan for all concerned. The flaw in the plan was that the Pacheco & Chino books sell better than my other books. That’s good, but also bad. I can claim my goal in writing books is to produce fine literature; or I could admit my goal is to sell books. If selling books is the goal, it makes no sense to stop the P&C series since that is what the readers want. Okay, yes; my goal is to sell books. So, Vegas Dead-End is in the works. Full time—whatever in the hell that means to me.
I have no idea how many books indie authors sell. As far as I know there is not a source for that data. What I do know is that there are a ton of indie authors. One way of knowing that is the amount of service businesses that cater to that audience. My guess is that the only people making money off of indie books are those service providers. If the indie book industry is not profitable, why are there so many people selling things to them? It’s ego. Indie authors are optimistic to a fault.
The number one marketing tool for indie authors is to give-away books. Brilliant marketing scheme, spend money with advertisers developing a huge number of readers who only read free books and feed that audience an un-ending supply of such books. It is embarrassing to me that I’m part of that madness. Now you can make a case that free books grow an author’s brand, or that other books at full price will be sold because of the free book promotions; and I’m sure some of that is true. And, of course, there is always the one example of a writer who gave away books and suddenly was discovered by the wider book audience and became an “instant” success.
Can’t blame free book readers—if the authors are dumb enough to offer their books for nothing, it isn’t up to the readers to say no—and complain; I would rather pay you something for your effort.
Then why do authors give away books? Because it is the most affordable marketing tool available. An indie author can run ads on Amazon, Facebook, or even Google (or a full page ad in the New York Times—there goes my retirement stash)—but it is expensive and without some kind of hook or name recognition, difficult to cost justify. Free book sites are cheap and you get results. It’s just that the results have questionable value. I now have another free book reader who only reads free books. Yippee!
The people who know what an author should do to sell books advise much of the same type of stuff. Even this blog is considered an essential part of establishing a “brand.” I’m starting to think a bunch of this is just nonsense.
My plan right now is to spend time writing books. The one piece of advice I have received about achieving goals in writing that I believe in the most, is to write. Just write the best book you can and let the chips fall where they may. I’m going to discontinue this blog on a regularly scheduled basis and devote the energy associated with this effort towards creating new books.
Not sure if I will be writing a blog a month or just when something occurs that I want to comment on; but not every week. My monthly newsletter will continue. If you have not signed up for the email releases, please do so by going to my web site at www.tedclifton.com.
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