Archive for February, 2012

OUT OF TIME Is Out

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Books

Well, that was a crappy headline.  I should’ve said it’s available or for sale or something like that.

Regardless, OUT OF TIME, the collection of short stories I’ve put together is now available for less than what you’d pay for a crappy value meal at some cheap fast food joint.  That meal would in some way help contribute to your death.  My short stories will help you LIVE.

You can find them right here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, thanks for your support, encouragement and kind words.  And your money.

We Won So You Win

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Books

Okay – we won on Saturday 41-39, advancing to the the state final four for the second year in a row.

But I fell asleep on the bus.

So I couldn’t draw names until today.

Tom, you were #1.

Diane Murphy, you were #2.

Email me at jeffreyshelby@gmail.com and let me know which format you prefer, Kindle or PDF.  (If you need another format, I’m sure we can figure it out.)

For everyone else – thank you.  For commenting and for all the nice things you’ve said.  GROUP HUG.

OUT OF TIME should be available tomorrow…I’ll post here as soon as it’s available.

Tick tick tick…

Win A Free Copy Of OUT OF TIME

Posted: February 23, 2012 in Books

OUT OF TIME will hit Amazon early next week. Are you dying to read it?  Do you wish you could set an Amazon alert the moment it goes live?  (Wow, that would actually be really awesome, come to think of it.)

Never fear. I’m giving away a FREE digital copy of OUT OF TIME to one lucky reader.  How do you enter? Leave me a comment telling me which short story you’re most excited to read.  That’s it. Simple.  I’ll pick one winner  (well, maybe two if I’m feeling generous or if my girls’ basketball team wins this Saturday’s state regional playoff game) to receive a digital ARC of OUT OF TIME.

So.  Which story is it gonna be?

  • TWISTED SISTER —  two sisters get down and dirty ripping off a check cashing joint.
  • SPARRING PARTNER — a battered woman makes a decision that dramatically changes the course of her life.
  • JACKED UP — a cop on the brink of retirement makes a mistake…a mistake he can’t escape from.
  • THE BEGINNING OF THE END —  Liz Santangelo keeps a secret from Noah, until he becomes unwillingly involved.
  • FROZEN IN TIME —  Joe Tyler’s life stands still the day his daughter is abducted.

What are you waiting for?  GO COMMENT.  NOW.  I’m choosing a winner while I’m on the bus Saturday night, driving from College Station back to Dallas.  Two, if we win.  (No pressure, girls.)

Coming Your Way…Soon…

Posted: February 21, 2012 in Books

Are you desperate for more Joe Tyler?  Do you miss Noah and Carter?  DO YOU CHECK AMAZON BY THE HOUR, LOOKING FOR NEW RELEASES WITH MY NAME ON THEM???

Fear not.  I’m here to help.  Not full-length novels (I’m working on those), but short stories featuring your favorite characters, as well as a few new ones.

  • TWISTED SISTER —  two sisters get down and dirty ripping off a check cashing joint.
  • SPARRING PARTNER — a battered woman makes a decision that dramatically changes the course of her life.
  • JACKED UP — a cop on the brink of retirement makes a mistake…a mistake he can’t escape from.
  • THE BEGINNING OF THE END —  Liz Santangelo keeps a secret from Noah, until he becomes unwillingly involved.
  • FROZEN IN TIME —  Joe Tyler’s life stands still the day his daughter is abducted.

All five of these stories will be packaged behind another fantastic-looking cover from JT Lindroos.

Look for this on Amazon…early next week.

Want to win a FREE copy???  Check back here on Thursday for details.

Oh, look.  The fantastic-looking cover is right here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How THREAD OF HOPE Hit #1 At Amazon

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Books

You might wanna grab a little more coffee and something to eat because this is gonna be kinda long.  Maybe tell your friends you’re gonna be tied up for awhile.

So over the holidays I published my novel THREAD OF HOPE over at Amazon through their Kindle Direct Publishing program.  This was a novel that had been shopped around with traditional publishers for awhile and despite some near misses, we came up empty in finding a home for it.  It was languishing in my computer, whining at me every day DO SOMETHING WITH ME PLEASE, I’M BORED.  So I finally listened.

I had listened to the success some other author friends had with publishing electronically, but I admit – I didn’t pay too much attention.  I’ve had too many other things going on in my life to really dig into the shifting publishing landscape and get a firm grasp on it.

But there were three things I consistently heard:

  • it was easy to do
  • I’d have close to complete control
  • the books sold.

I figured that I had nothing to lose.  I knew the book was polished.  I knew that traditional publishing doesn’t always know what sells.  I knew I had a small group of people who were familiar with my name because of the other books I’d published.  I knew that I could handle it if not a single soul was interested in the book because, well, I’ve known that feeling during different times in my career as a writer.

So it went live on Amazon on December 31st.

And promptly didn’t do much of anything.

Sure, my family and friends grabbed a copy and a random copy or two would sell each day.  But it did nothing to set the world on fire.

Which was actually fine because I had no expectations for the book.  I was just testing the waters, learning about epublishing and this brave new world.

When I published the book, I signed up for the KDP Select program, which most have probably already heard too much about.  Long story short – the book can be loaned if you’re an Amazon Prime member and, as the author, I could give the book away for free for a few days if I wanted.

Now, I’m not here to debate the merits of giving one’s work away for free.  I know all of the arguments and I can make a case for either side.  But for this book, because I didn’t have any expectations and because I simply wanted to get the word out, I decided I would give the book away for free on February 6th and 7th.

When I woke up Monday morning, it was already flying.  I think the most I’d sold in any one day prior to that day was six.

When I woke up that day at about 5:30am, it had already been downloaded 287 times in the approximately three and a half hours it had been available for free.

Interesting.

I got up, went to work.

And I could hear it whistling at is flew up the free bestseller list.

I admit – “free bestseller” is an oxymoron.  It’s not selling.  It’s giving.  But seeing it climb any list that has “bestseller” in the title is always going to be welcome.

I had done some planning ahead, thanks to the smart folks over at the Kindle Boards, and contacted several of the big ereader sites that notify their followers and readers about free Kindle books. Ereader News Today picked it up first and let people know that morning.

And downloads spiked.

And then Pixel of Ink – the Holy Grail of ebook news – let their readers and followers know about it in their midday post.

And it was gasoline on the fire in the best of ways.  A tiny spark raged into an inferno.

At 9:47pm on Monday night, I checked Amazon.

THREAD OF HOPE was the most downloaded book in all of Amazon land.  Not in mysteries.  Not in fiction.  But in all books.  Number Freaking One.

I don’t recall the exact number, but THREAD OF HOPE had been downloaded somewhere in the neighborhood of 28,000 times.

Whoa.

And it parked itself there for all of Tuesday.  I did not track the numbers exactly but it was somewhere around 40,000 downloads when it went back to paid in the middle of the night between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Now came the interesting chart.

The aforementioned friends – particularly Anthony Neil Smith and Victor Gischler – assured me that the success the book experienced while being free would carry over into the paid sales column.

I had expanded my readership and, more importantly, Amazon was now aware of me.

The paid sales were immediate.

Immediate.

And it slowly started to climbed the bestseller list.

And this time it was actually selling.

It moved steadily on Wednesday and Thursday, hitting different milestones along the way.  Top 100 for all books.  Top 10 in mystery.

To say I was freaking out would be a bit of an understatement.  But you have to understand.  My career had come to a screeching halt for several years before getting jumpstarted again in 2011.  And even after the jumpstart, I knew my audience was still small.  In a matter of several days, I was gaining more exposure – and financial success – than I’d ever had.  Seeing my name up there with Janet Evanovich and Stieg Larsson was strange and odd and fantastic and a million other things.

On Friday morning, when I woke up, it was at #4 on the mystery list, right behind the three Larsson books which had been entrenched on the bestseller list for, like, three years.  That isn’t an exaggeration.  Three years.

I was giddy.  I think it was #25 overall – something like that.  I honestly can’t recall all of the details.

At 2:15pm, I checked the rankings.

THREAD OF HOPE was #1 on the mystery list.

In approximately 110 hours, it went from complete obscurity to the bestselling book in the mystery genre at Amazon.

I was shocked.  My students came into my room and I was a stuttering mess because I couldn’t focus, couldn’t concentrate.

I think it was there for about twelve hours before Larsson retook his spot atop the mountaintop.

And it has continued to sell.

A lot.  As I write this, it’s hovering around the #50 spot in mysteries, #500 overall.

A week later.  So there’s been some staying power.  And, um, a fair amount of money.

How did it happen?

I’m not really sure – I don’t think you can ever be sure – but here are some things that I think contributed:

1.  Planning.  Making sure that people knew it was going to be free was key.  My networks only reach so far.  When other places picked it up and told their networks, it had a snowball effect.  Once it got up on the lists, people found it easily.

2.  The cover.  JT Lindroos did the cover for THREAD OF HOPE (Neil pointed me in his direction) and it’s fantastic.  In a sea of book covers, I think he nailed it and I think it looks fantastic. And covers matter to people buying ebooks.

3. At the risk of sounding like a jerk…it’s a good book.  I spent a ton of time on it and it was vetted by a number of people who helped make it better.  It’s polished and clean.  I think the reviews that I’ve garnered in the last two weeks confirm that.

4.  Luck.  Because big numbers require a little luck.  Where it came from, I’ll never know.

5.  Clearly, I’m the next Stieg Larsson.  Kidding.

6.  The writing community.  Nearly every writer I know will do anything they can to help out another writer. When the book hit and I started sending out the info, other writers sent out tweets and posted it on Facebook and told everyone they knew.  It’s what writers do.  They don’t just write.  They support.  Because they know what it’s like.

There are probably about a hundred other things that contributed, but those are the first reasons that come to mind.

So now what?  What’s the fallout?

I’m the first to admit this has all caught me unprepared.  I didn’t expect for people to be clamoring for the next book in the series.  I didn’t expect for people within the publishing industry – digital and print – to show interest.  I didn’t expect for so much to change in such a short amount of time.

I have a lot to think about.

But I am writing.  The second Joe book.  The fourth Noah book.  A collection of short stories featuring Joe and Noah.  With a fabulous cover that J.T. has done.  Which I’ll be unveiling here tomorrow.  With a release date for the shorts.  A very, very near release date.

So thank you.  To everyone who downloaded the book, who publicized the book, who told a friend about the book, who sent me an email congratulating me, who wrote a review of the book, who asked for the next book.

Thank you all.

I’m Writing As Fast As I Can

Posted: February 16, 2012 in Books
So last week, I said I had a million things to say about THREAD OF HOPE.  Making it free and all that followed.  I still do. But I also had a lot of people — A LOT — tell me to get writing.  Like now.  And that’s what I’m doing.  A book of short stories — including one with Joe from Thread of Hope and one with Noah Braddock as well as a few others.  Look for it in the next week.

I will update. I will share those thoughts.  But right now, I gotta keep these new fans happy.  And the best way to do that is to write.

Haven’t read Thread of Hope?  Here are a few five star reviews from readers:

“This is the first book of Shelby’s that I have read but it will not be the last. I got this as a free book from pixel of ink and couldn’t put it down once I started it.. anxiously waiting for the sequel and will buy it for sure.Will also get his other books now that I have discovered his writing..”

 “I just fInished reading Thread of Hope after starting it late last night. I am an avid reader and pretty fussy about what I enjoy reading. This has to be one of the best I’ve read this year. I didn’t know who was the truly “bad” person until the end. Each of the characters seemed so real, like you could see them on the street and know who they were. As a parent I felt the tale told was very sad but definitely plausible. Highly recommend this book.”

“This is one of the best thrillers that I have read! The pacing is excellent and at the end of nearly every chapter there are cliff hangers, both large and small. Beyond the plot, which fits logically together and moves swiftly, the back story involving the disappearance of narrator Joe Tyler’s daughter, Elizabeth, and the heartbreaking dissolution of his marriage give the story and characters weight and substance. As a reader you care and root for Joe and his former wife, Lauren.  The many characters are memorable and vividly drawn such that the reader easily keeps track of them as they move in and out of the story. Often in reading such books the reader quickly figures out the “who done it” but this story is so intricately drawn and carefully constructed that the reader is never ahead of investigator Joe Tyler as he carefully puts the pieces of the mystery together.  The book is also much more than a series of plot twists. As the story progresses, author Jeff Shelby slowly peals away layer after layer of the main characters personalities and motivations. Even the setting–Coronado Island and San Diego–works and is refreshingly not the typical L.A. or big city locale. This would make a great movie. I also understand the author is preparing a sequel–I for one can’t wait! A great read!”

It’s still on the top 25 mystery list over at Amazon.  And if everyone that reads this asks a couple of friends to check it out…well, who knows?  I might just show you the cover to the short stories…soon.  Because it’s freaking awesome.

Thursday Thread

Posted: February 9, 2012 in Books

Okay, to try and cram everything that’s happened over the last four days would be a disservice to anyone who cares to read about it.  So I’m begging for your patience and let me get to the weekend so I can organize my thoughts coherently and give you a rundown on what’s occurred.

Here’s the very short version:

On Monday, I made THREAD OF HOPE free over at Amazon.

A LOT of people took advantage of that offer.

It became the #1 downloaded ebook on Amazon.

Then it wasn’t free anymore.

But people decided to pay for it.

It’s currently #47 on the Amazon bestseller list.  For books people pay for.  All books, not just fiction.  It’s #5 in mysteries.  It hit #1 on the mystery list for about an hour.

I’ve got about a million things to say about all of this – including exactly how I think it happened – but I need to get my thoughts organized so I don’t sound like more of a babbling idiot than normal.  Which would really be saying something.

So – thank you for your patience.  And thank you for buying my books and telling your friends and family.  Thank you.  I’ll figure out a way to repay you.  I really will.

Stay tuned…more soon…very soon…

 

Wow

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Books

Okay, I need a little time to decompress, but I promise – tomorrow – a full recap of the last couple days in which THREAD OF HOPE parked itself atop atop the free bestseller list over at Amazon for over 24 hours.  To those that downloaded a copy and helped to spread the word – THANK YOU!!!

Until then – here’s someone who apparently liked THREAD OF HOPE.  :)

I Don’t Want Your Money

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Books

So about a month ago, I gingerly dipped my toe into the e-pub/self-pub/indie-pub/whatever you wanna call it world.  As the industry continues to shift and change, I’ve tried to pay attention to which way it’s going.  THREAD OF HOPE was shopped diligently to all of the traditional publishing houses, but after a couple of very near misses, it was more or less just gathering dust.  So I decided to do what all of the cool kids seem to be doing and self-pubbed the book thru Amazon.

It’s been like starting all over again, which isn’t a bad thing.  But after spending years studying traditional publishing, the learning curve for this brave new world has been pretty huge.  And one of the weird things to get adjusted to is the idea of giving your book away in order to expand your audience.  (Actually, Tyrus showed me that it works when they offered LIQUID SMOKE for free for a couple of days in the fall and I think I got more exposure in those few days then I got in the previous five years.)  So I’ve hemmed and hawed over the last couple of weeks, trying to figure out when to give THREAD OF HOPE away for free, to hopefully find a few new readers.

And today is the today.

Right now, if you skip on over to Amazon, you’ll be able to download THREAD OF HOPE for free.  Tell all of your friends.  And ask them to tell their friends.  Should be free until sometime Tuesday night.

All I ask is that if you do download the book, please consider posting a review at Amazon after you’ve read it – good or bad, no strings attached.

Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Thursday Thread

Posted: February 2, 2012 in Books

See?  I told you this was gonna be a regular thing…

A little bit about the protagonist in THREAD OF HOPE:

Joe Tyler is a former Coronado police officer.  After his daughter was abducted, he left the small Coronado force under a cloud of suspicion and in hope of finding his daughter.  The cloud never lifted and he never found his daughter.  Now, he spends his life looking for other people’s children, hoping to spare them the pain he has to endure every day in not knowing what happened to his child.  He’s a bit of a vagabond, but as I mentioned last week, he gets called back to San Diego to help a friend.  He hasn’t been there for a number of years and he doesn’t plan to stay.  He’s now divorced – the abduction destroyed his marriage – and he’s not comfortable staying in one place.  Because he needs to keep looking for his own daughter.

Will he find her?

I don’t know.

But Joe will be around for awhile.

You can get the book right here and if you’ve already read it, I’d love it if you’d post a review over at Amazon.

And be on the look out involving promotions for both THREAD OF HOPE and STAY AT HOME DEAD in the next few days…