The Baltimore Riots

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So, for the last 24 hours I’ve seriously debated blogging on this topic. Usually when I blog on a topic this intense, half of my readers disown me, while the other half completely come to my defense. But, after seeing dozens of Facebook posts filled with hate and ignorance, I had to speak my peace.

The greatest day this country has seen(politically) is the day that President Obama became elected. And, before you ask, I voted for Mitt Romney. But hear me out. When Obama took office, he took every excuse away. We now live in a country where, no matter what color your skin is, you can achieve anything. Does racism still exist in America? Yes. Racism is ignorance in action. No person should be judged based on the color of their skin. Actions and what’s in a person’s heart should make the person. That said, Obama was a black person in the United States of America and now holds its highest office.

As I said, racism is ignorance in action. So is looting and burning down buildings in retaliation to what you feel is racism. It solves absolutely nothing, while setting us back decades as a society. I’m not a white guy with black friends, I’m a guy with friends. The media has done its part, too, carefully placing the words black and white into a story, whenever possible. Because at the end of the day, major media outlets are owned by the 1% and they will continue to thrive in dividing the other 99%. True story.

Slavery is a sore subject(as it should be), but thankfully, none of us were here to endure it or be responsible for it. And slavery still exists. In this day and age, however, slavery is not about the color of a person’s skin – it’s about wealth vs. poverty. If you’re born poor, chances are you will die the same way. But how do you combat this type of slavery?

Burning down buildings, looting and assaulting police officers? No. You only break the cycle in becoming as educated as possible and lifting yourself out of the situation. That isn’t easily done and can sometimes seem impossible. Trust me, as a poor kid who grew up in a small trailer with absolutely no hope of going to college, I felt doomed from the beginning. But somewhere along the way, I realized that I have the power to change my life and make it better. To me, this isn’t about changing the system around us, this is about each of us changing who we are – for the better. Ignorance leads to more ignorance, and changes nothing. Police brutality is unacceptable, and rioting in Baltimore is unacceptable.

In closing, stop feeding into the 1% who owns you through financial means, and fight back with the best possible education you can get. Stop hating one another because the media wants you to, and start loving one another because it’s the right thing to do. If you truly want change for the better, change yourself. Then do whatever you must to get into the legal position to make change. Stop running around in circles – rioting has been done before and changed nothing. Ultimately, where you end up(no matter your color) depends on you. The photo is proof of that. Three black men, three deifferent sets of choices and three different end results. I’m sure with a bit of digging on Google, I could find a similar picture with three white men.

Empower yourself with knowledge and love everyone. That’s what I try to teach my own children. It’s about time other folks do the same.

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How to sell more eBooks

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As a disclaimer, you’re not likely to make the type of money that’s pictured above. Still, a lot of people ask me how they can improve their own book sales. I’m not lighting cigars with big bills over here, and I still mow my own lawn, but I have seen a significant bump. I’ve heard a lot of people say that selling tons of books has a lot to do with luck. Maybe. But if you take care of a few things, you’ll at least have a better chance of selling eBooks.

Covers – You can’t judge a book by its cover, and yet people still do. Did you know that red text is more likely to lead to sales, where blue text is most likely to turn a buyer away? That’s a true story, based on a study I found online. Covers typically sell for $100+ and make a significant difference in sales. BUT, by visiting shutterstock.com, you can fetch solid cover art(in sets of two) for $29. Take that cover art and visit cooltext.com and in minutes, you can work up text that will lay on your cover art perfectly – done with any photo program. Total cost: $14.50 per cover.

Editing – Editing matters. Each of the well-established indie authors has an editor.

Formatting – Formatting matters, too. If a readers grabs your book and it’s improperly formatted, they’ll likely view it as an editing issue and review it as such. Visit smashwords.com and upload your manuscript into the Smashwords Premium Catalog program(also known as the Meatgrinder), then prepare to be humbled. A book should not be publishing until it gets through the Meatgrinder successfully. If you choose to avoid the Meatgrinder and publish anyway, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s a painstaking process, but will help you in the end.

Volume – The rules of publishing have changed. Traditional authors have lots of pipes to travel through before their work is finally published. Write hard, take care of business and you can easily put out three times as much work as a traditionally-published author. For example, Tom publishes with one of the big 6 publishing companies. Yay, right? Wrong! In the same time it takes our friend Tom to get his first book published, I’ve published three! I’ve also wrapped them up into a trilogy edition for a total of 4 hits to his 1. I have an editor, just like Tom. I have a formatting template, just like his publishing company has used and I’ve even went to the same website for cover art. At this point, Tom has 0 advantages on the indie author and will have to sell a lot of books to catch up. That usually doesn’t happen.

Trilogies – Write trilogies, folks. Why write nine standalone books when you can write nine books that break down into three trilogies – giving you a grand total of twelve books? It makes no sense to me. My trilogy editions typically bring in more sales than standalone books, too. Readers love the ability to get the entire story with a single download.

KDP Select – The answer is no.The only real benefit to the KDP Select program is giving away free books. And yes, I completely back the idea of giving away a book if I have several more in the series that can be purchased. But the elite indie authors have another way of doing things. Publish to Kobo. After publishing, set your price to free and then publish on Barnes and Noble and KDP as normal. Hopefully, in time, Barnes and Noble will price match Kobo(they normally do, but it takes a while). After B&N has matched the freebie, Amazon will begin sniffing around and likely do the same(it also takes a while). We’re talking months here, folks, but you’ll then have a permanent freebie in the Amazon Store, while avoiding the KDP Select program!

Links – They make or break an author’s success. If you’re giving away a book, load it down with links to your other work. Make sure your website has lots of links to your work, too. And ensure that they are near the top of the page somewhere and mobile friendly.

Want this plan in greater detail, along with a marketing plan that works? I have it all wrapped up for you and waiting in the Amazon Kindle Store! For the price of one cup of coffee, you can start finding your footing in the eBook world. Don’t wait any longer – GET IT TODAY!

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Torpedo of Truth – 2015

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Ring the bell, people, the Torpedo of Self-Publishing Truth Tour of 2015 is officially in the works! Say that three times, I dare you. In case you’re new to this blog, I did a similar tour back in 2013 and it chapped some asses in the publishing world. Folks who sit atop their mighty thrones of traditional publishing and look down upon us indie peasants.

The Torpedo of Truth 2015 will be an effort to once again expose them(traditional publishing houses) for being both unnecessary and delusional. I’ll visit several blogs out there and explain to indie authors abroad how to utilize keywords, properly format, land fantastic looking covers for cheap, market their work like a warlock, use social media and do all of the above at(or above) the level of traditionally published authors.

Think I’m insane? Well I may very well be. But the last Torpedo of Truth Tour was mighty fun and it helped out a lot of indie authors in the process. If you’re interested in booking me onto your blog, email me at johndavisbooks.yahoo.com. In 2013, I capped the tour off with six visits. How many will I sign up for this time around? That all depends on how much whiskey I have and how many emails I receive.

Guardian Angel

So, the Guardian Angel series has officially been re-branded, beginning with the trilogy edition.

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I’m often asked the same handful of questions. How can I get into writing? Where do your characters come from? Which of your stories do you like the most? Well, I’ve always been a fan of the Guardian Angel series, to be honest. If that offends Gunship fans, I’m sorry. But I’m partial to Alicia, Jackson and the mess she seems to find herself getting into time and again. When this series first published, I had astronomical hopes. I won’t lie. I thought that Guardian Angel would be the next greatest thing. A woman torn between two lovers, a war with a very nasty race of ancient soldiers and fantastic weaponry. What’s not to love?

More often than not, people seem to be turned off by the opening pages of book one. There’s a scene in which Alicia and another woman engage in a very suggestive form of dancing. Ah, the hate mail that followed. If only these folks would have read the story through to the end of book three, they’d see a very different woman. Someone who discovers herself, and, in doing so, a strong religious belief(hence the title). What would I like for Christmas this year? The ability to write more Guardian Angel books and know they would sell. In fact, I still consider Guardian Angel 2 my best work, with Gunship: The Afterworlds coming in a very close second. The characters in Guardian Angel 2(The Berlin War) absolutely make the story and I got so caught up in that story when writing it that it literally changed me as an author.

Anyway, if you’re new around here or new to the series, I really hope you’ll give the Guardian Angel Trilogy a shot!

Available now on Kindle and Nook.