It’s All About Marketing

If we were having coffee today I’d be gently raising my mask to take a quick sip while I related my elation to some good book news.

Writing a book, or several books, occurs in several stages. Of course, there is the original concept, structure, and actual writing. After that, an author must pore over their manuscript, tweaking, nudging, adding, subtracting … I call this revision stage “crafting the novel.”

If one is fortunate enough to publish, after the requisite editor back and forth and acceptance of the finished manuscript, the most daunting task begins. You have to sell the damn thing. Marketing generally kicks me in the ass. That’s an official publishing term.

This weekend I have embarked upon my most aggressive marketing campaign ever … I paid for some outside promotion of my entire four-book series on Kindle. For me, it was not cheap, I have been fairly conservative in spending money on promotion. Spend a buck to make a buck, right?

The series promotion expects that the first book in the series will be either free or very cheap. I went with offering it for free. Amazon lets one offer a kindle book for free for five days. They also let one offer a discount price for seven days. I used that second function to offer the other three books at varying discounts. The result? Readers can acquire my entire series for $5.97. Normally that would be $15.96. Four books for under six bucks!

The sale continues through the weekend but the results so far have been encouraging. So far, I’ve given away 4029 copies of THE FEVER. That’s like introducing myself to 4029 new readers!
BUT — 117 readers also bought book two, A CURSE THAT BITES DEEP, AND 52 more took a chance on book three, LUCKY STRIKE, AND 46 bought book four, PENUMBRA! I even saw an uptick in my self-published companion cookbook, which is always free anyway.

Will I make my money back? Not quite; not yet. But an author must not only sell individual books, they must also sell themselves. In that respect, this has been quite successful. My hope is that people who like THE FEVER will want to go back and see what other trouble the characters get into in Books 2-4 and be willing to chance another $3.99 on them. They do seem to get into a lot of trouble and each books is better than the previous one.

I have also seen in the past that Amazon backs up increased sales (even free sales) with additional targeted promotion. I’ve even had them suggest my own books to me in the past … this is a real thing.

The sale continues through the weekend. Check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087JD9CJD

CATCH THE FEVER!

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Thomas Fenske is an author living in North Carolina.
Get the full scoop at http://thefensk.com

New Release!

If we were trying to have coffee today I’d no doubt be all excited! It’s release day for my latest novel. PENUMBRA.

Some people make a big deal about release day. For me it is a bit anticlimactic…okay, it’s official. Distribution is a little wonky today too. This month my publisher is expanding the print copies into a new supplier. We have been exclusively Amazon for a while. Now Amazon will provide print copies sold on its platform and the new supplier will be able to more easily provide copies to bookstores and libraries.

Of course with anything new, the publisher had no real guidance into how long the new books would be in limbo. When they are available, they’ll be available. To make matters worse, the print copies on Amazon are delayed as well.

It’s a good thing I didn’t plan anything big for release day. Today’s big “release” activity? I cut the grass!

Ah, but you can still buy the Kindle edition today. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08D7267W7/

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina. Check out his web page at http://thefensk.com

Countdown to Penumbra – 1

Penumbra-IIOkay, tomorrow is the big day!  I know, I’ve bothered you all week, but I just wanted to be sure I got the word out.
This will mark three books published in 10 months.  It’s not quite as amazing as it sounds.  For one thing, for a number of reasons I had a three-year-hiatus in publishing, well, except for my companion cookbook.  So, this pretty much puts me back on track for a book a year. It amounts to the four books of the Traces of Treasure Series, and the stand-alone historical novel The Hag Rider (my other Summer of 2020 release).

I managed to cobble Penumbra together in a little over five months, from the first page to the final revision and signed contract. My first book, The Fever, took close to three years.  Writing is like any other journey. There are left turns and right turns, and any number of hard stops.  One encounters bumpy roads and pitfalls.  Actually, in writing, we create a lot of bumpy roads and pitfalls.

Anyway, thanks for coming along for the ride.  There will be more to come, most certainly. I have assembled quite a crew of characters who are meant to take this series forward, but I probably won’t feature ALL of them at the same time as I did in Penumbra.

Look for Penumbra on Amazon tomorrow, in Kindle, KindleUnlimited, & paperback.  I’m working on getting copies into some bookstores as well but with my small publisher, this is a work in progress.

The kindle link is HERE.

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina
You can find out more about him and his writing on his web page: www.thefensk.com

Countdown to Penumbra – 2

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There are two days until the release of Penumbra!
It is the fourth book in my Traces of Treasure Series.

I guess it is time for another review!  Bonnye Reed is another prolific Goodreads reviewer with almost 2900 reviews posted. She’s reviewed several of my books and I am gratified that she has so far liked my work:

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I am pleased to refer Thomas Fenske to friends and family. He writes a tight, intriguing story set in the desert southwest – or as we know it, God’s Country. His characters are contrary but honest, and his background and scenic descriptions are spot-on. The addition of mystical and possibly unhappy spirits is an added bonus. I have enjoyed everything I have read from Thomas Fenske, and this is another five-star effort.

Penumbra is stand alone, the fourth in the series Traces of Treasure. Sam and his girlfriend Smidgeon along with several of their friends get drawn into another intriguing search for missing treasure. They travel over the desert SW, driving from Van Horn, TX north into the White Mountain Wilderness north of Ruidoso, NM, and back around and through the Mescalero Reservation and Tularosa, Alamogordo, and several trips through Roswell – back in the age of payphones and Roswell without aliens everywhere. It was a good trip, very nostalgic and satisfying. It was also back in the ago of mandatory 55 mph all across the US, but the drudgery of travel in that time period is left out thank goodness. Most of us remember that all too well. .

Mixed into Penumbra is a posse of good friends, conscientious law enforcement, polite, helpful people, and excellent food – I enjoyed that part of traveling back in the day. You will, too. And the bad guys are satisfyingly bad. Definitely a win-win novel.

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I am blushing when I read such high praise. You can judge for yourself.
Penumbra will be available on Amazon Saturday, August 1, in Kindle, KindleUnlimited, and Paperback.  Pre-order Kindle NOW at Amazon!

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.
You can find more information about him and his writing at http://thefensk.com

Countdown to Penumbra – 3

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There are three days until the release of Penumbra!

Today I’d like to share a little bit about the story. This is the fourth installment of the Traces of Treasure Series and, like the others, it involves a search for a treasure. The first three eventually became a trilogy, one story led directly to the next. I fooled myself into thinking they could each stand-alone, and to some extent, I guess they can, but they are definitely tied together. Penumbra, though, is a story unto itself. We have the same characters, but we are not as concerned about their past exploits this time. Events move quickly and although there is some sense of their community of friendship, they are too busy doing what they are doing to bother much about the past.

What they are doing is trying to find the lost boyfriend of an acquaintance of cafe owner Smidgeon Toll. Of course, the pendulum of fate has made another pass: HE was on a quest for a lost treasure. In order to find him, Smidgeon and her boyfriend must enlist the aid of their friends to first get on his trail, then discern more about this treasure he was after. Along the way, they encounter a huge, centuries-old mystery, confront a crew of bad guys who kidnap and murder their own way in pursuit of the loot. New friends join the quest as well, including Ximena, who I mentioned a few days ago.

Another new friend is Bea Welbourne, a special collections librarian at a nearby university. Bea has no reason to become involved, but she’s intrigued by the tale she’s heard and is even more intrigued by the trail of clues she manages to uncover. She’s no stodgy librarian, she is smart, fit, and can hold her own out in the wilderness. When told she doesn’t need to help them, she simply responds that she enjoys a bit of excitement. She certainly gets more than she bargained for.

I don’t want to say too much more, because I’m getting into spoiler territory, but suffice it to say, there are many veiled layers concealing the core of this mystery. All the pieces fit together, but it takes a while for our hardy crew of treasure-hunter, investigators to a conclusion.  It is full of twists and turns, with criminals lurking and popping up when you least expect it. And there are several supernatural things complicating matters at several turns. Oh, and the cover? You’ll see all of that in the story.

If you haven’t read any of the other three books, don’t despair … you can read this one first if you want, but be warned: you’ll end up wanting to read the other three.
Penumbra will be released on August 1. The Kindle edition is available for pre-order on Amazon right now.

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.
You can get more info at http://thefensk.com

Countdown to Penumbra – 4

Penumbra-II

There are four days until the release of Penumbra!

How about another review?

Diane Bylo is co-owner of the Tometender Book Blog. She is an awesome book-reviewing machine. I just checked her totals on GoodReads and Diane has at this moment, 6490 reviews posted.  By the time you go check, it will most likely be more!
She took a chance on my first book, The Fever, and has reviewed every one of my titles since then. I told her I thought this was the best book so far, and she agreed.  Here’s what she had to say:

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Thomas Fenske’s writing, his characters and the scrapes they get into always remind me of simpler times and dare I say the family television of yesteryear? PENUMBRA is the latest in the Traces of Treasure series and it combines mystery, mayhem and a touch of the unknown as Sam, Smidgeon and their friends take time off from the diner and head to the hills for adventure.

This time out, Sam isn’t at the top of his game, so when someone Smidgeon met before seeks her help in finding her missing boyfriend, the plot thickens as the whole truth comes out. There is treasure buried in them thar hills and isn’t that just right up their alley?

Whose treasure is it? How can it be found? Who knows the secret to finding something buried centuries before? Who will live to uncover the truth? Who is scamming who? Hang on tight, this down-home mystery has Sam and company up to their pickaxes in deceit and the supernatural and you are going to love it as old friends return, once again!

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I’d like to remind you that Penumbra is available for Kindle pre-order at Amazon. For paperbacks, you’ll have to wait for the pub date.

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.
You can get more info at http://thefensk.com

Countdown to Penumbra-5

Penumbra-II

There are five days remaining until the release of Penumbra!

Today, I’d like to share one of the pre-release reviews.  Marianne Reese is a fellow author and book blogger. Please visit her Amazon Author Page to learn more about her. We found each other through a Facebook author forum and have been fans of each other ever since. She’s an awesome writer … check out her books.

She even has a cameo in the third book of the series, Lucky Strike. She read an early version of the manuscript and mentioned that she actually lived in one of the locations for a short time; it coincided with the timeframe of the book! So I stuck a scene with her in there, stranded with a flat tire and helped by one of the protagonists. It added a little compassionate depth to his character and allowed me to honor the support and help she’s given me over the past few years.

This review is located on goodreads.com.

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This is the fourth book in the Traces of Treasures series, and like the first three, it did not disappoint!
Sam and Smidgeon, along with their friends, are at it again on the hunt for a treasure, but who’s the true owner of the much sought after cache?
Friendship and faith collide with evil as the mystery unravels in this page-turning story.

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Short and sweet.  More to come.  Penumbra is available for pre-order at Amazon!

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.
You can get more info at http://thefensk.com

Countdown to Penumbra-6

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Six Days to Go!

With less than a week to go before publication, I’m going to let you in on a few of the surprises in my August release, PENUMBRA.

For the first of these surprises, I’d like to introduce you to a new character, Ximena.  Well, actually, she’s not quite a new character. We’ve met her twice before, in the first two books of the Traces of Treasure Series. She was a young girl in The Fever, a passenger in a car Sam encountered at a gas station in Fort Stockton Texas. She served as a translator for her aunt, an old bruja woman who discerned the danger surrounding Sam’s life and gave him a small stone that contained the power to help protect him.

After surviving the troubles in The Fever, Sam managed to lose track of the stone and danger followed him again in A Curse That Bites Deep because of its absence. The old woman sensed this and perceived the peril that Sam faced, so she looked him up to warn him. The young girl, now a few years older, served as the driver for her aunt.

In Penumbra, this girl is now a young woman of about nineteen. Her aunt recently died, passing the torch of responsibility to her young charge, who we learn is Ximena (pronounced Hi-men-a). Although new to brujeria, she does not take this duty lightly.

Brujeria is a form of spiritual belief akin to witchcraft in Latin American cultures. Ximena has been well instructed, and as we will find out, possesses perceptions and powers that go far beyond even a loose interpretation of normal.

Consider this passage from Penumbra, when Sam is about to encounter some of the bad guys unarmed.

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..the phone rang again.
“Smidgeon?”
“Sam! Where are you?”
“We just pulled into Carlsbad. Ximena made me stop and call you.”
Smidgeon’s heart skipped a beat. “What?”
“She suddenly pointed at a payphone on the side of the road and said I needed to call you right away. Is there anything wrong?”
“I just got off the phone with Holly. She told me that Earl called and let her talk to Dave. He’s in Carlsbad with Earl and Ding. She is supposed to come by herself along with the paper and meet them at a small store on Lea Street at 5 in the morning. She said it is on the west side of town.”
“I have the paper.”
“I know that. I was just fixing to call Mule to ask him what we should do when you called.”
“Call Holly, and tell her to stay put. I’ll handle it.”
“Sam, how can you face off with Earl and Ding? You don’t even have a gun.”
“I have Ximena.”

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She’s young and she’s short, about five feet tall, but she’s already proven that she can handle herself in a tense confrontation.

What can she do?  What does she do?  Well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

Penumbra, the fourth book in my Traces of Treasure Series, is an adventure mystery that continues the adventures of Sam, Smidgeon, and Lance, along with a few other friends and characters.  Yes, the ghosts are back as well, more ghosts than you might expect. The first three books in the series are basically a trilogy, but this continuation of the series is quite capable of standing alone.  But I have to warn you: after reading this one you will be hooked; you will definitely want to go back and read the other three.  Just saying …

It will be available on August 1 at Amazon in Kindle, KindleUnlimited, and paperback.

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina. Find out more at http://thefensk.com

Weekend Coffee Share Musings

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A tranquil moment at Reed’s

If we were having coffee today we’d probably still be relegated to sitting six feet from one another at some outdoor venue. These are sad times for coffee shares. Actually, I just got the news that Reed’s Coffee & Art, my favorite local coffee spot, is closing this weekend. It is another casualty of the ongoing pandemic.

If you think about it, coffee shops, despite the huge markups for fancy drinks, struggle to make any money anyway. Locally, they didn’t have to close like bars were forced to do but that difference of people hanging out seems to have tipped the scales against them. I feel guilty that I haven’t been a good customer the past few months but then again, I’m pretty much a medium cup, black coffee kind of guy.

I may have mentioned before, I was a part-time barista for about eight years so I am pre-disposed to not spend the extra money on … oh, how can I put it … extra milk. But, that’s just me. I made awesome lattes and cappuccinos. I occasionally bought pastries from this shop, but not since my diabetes diagnosis. Basically, I had become a low-end customer, but they still treated me like I was one of their best and it was a welcome quiet port in the storm of daily life. Oh, and they had good wifi. I even managed a bit of writing and revision, sitting and sipping.

Here’s to Reed’s Coffee and Art, in Mebane. Adios, you will be missed.

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Thomas Fenske is an author living in NC. You can find out more about him and his books at http://thefensk.com
PENUMBRA, book 4 in his Traces of Treasure series will be published August 1!