Fun Things To Read On Your Summer Vacation

Read to the end for a glimpse inside the book promotion business!

I know we’ve spent a lot of time flogging our books recently, but (1) Jim and I have been working hard and the books are good enough and they’re smart enough and doggone it, people like them; (2) getting people’s attention requires repetition; (3) getting people’s attention requires repetition; and (4) it’s our newsletter, dammit, and if we don’t promote our books, who will?

Indulge us for a little while longer. We have a few more rounds of promotion, then we’ll be working on new books and we won’t have anything to bother you about for a year or so.

Reading books in 2024 takes time that’s hard to come by. I get that. But what would you rather do – read escapist SF thrillers or doomscroll the news? I thought so. Read our books, we’ll keep you distracted until November.


Jim’s noir SF mystery The Avatar Murders can be pre-ordered now on Kindle. It will be available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle soon.

Watch for details next week!

The Kindle edition of Veilpiercer will be free on July 17. Mark your calendars! That’s free, as in, go to Amazon, push the button, it’s downloaded to your Kindle. No catch.

Why would I do that? Interesting question. I’ll describe this kind of promotion below.

If you love me, or if you enjoy the book, leave a review on Amazon! The page is bare even though readers have told me they thought it was joyous and life-changing. (Not a direct quote.) It helps other people decide if they’d enjoy it.

Uncommon Scents got a “RECOMMENDED” rating from The US Review of Books, which called it “action-packed and deeply humorous.” Read the review here. Click here to buy your own copy.

The Logic Behind Free Books

If you’ve created anything in the last few years, you’re probably aware of the difficulty of being discovered. Writers have to compete for attention against thousands of books published each and every day on Amazon. Musicians have virtually no chance of being noticed on Spotify. The dream of being an Instagram or TikTok influencer quickly fades for most people because it’s so difficult to be seen.

Naturally, huge industries exist to sell picks and shovels to creative goldminers. Amazon’s influence in the market for self-published books is so outsized that everything else is a footnote, much like Spotify’s control of recorded music.

Amazon has a couple of tools for authors to use for promotion. If you’re a Kindle reader, you’re probably aware of the deals that turn up periodically – best-sellers for ninety-nine cents, say, and the occasional book that’s free for no apparent reason. The screen shot above is the Amazon dashboard where those are set up.

When I give away Veilpiercer on July 17, I won’t make any money, but I might get some readers. Maybe you’ll make a note on your calendar and grab it that day. I hope so! That would be cool.

The real reason, though, is that it will appear that day in a newsletter sent by FreeBooksy. They have a total mailing list of over half a million people. Every day the newsletter describes a few ebooks that are free or discounted for a day.

Freebooksy newsletters are targeted at specific genres, so Veilpiercer will appear in the mailboxes of about three hundred thousand people on July 17. With any luck a few thousand of them will download it for free.

No money! But there are several reasons to do a giveaway promotion.

Some of the people who download Veilpiercer will read it. (Perhaps not many – anecdotes suggest there are a lot of book hoarders who download everything and read almost nothing.)

Everyone who reads it will enjoy it, by definition. A few of them may want to read another book like Veilpiercer and they’ll buy Uncommon Scents.

Some readers may leave reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. The reviews may tempt the next people who see the page.

A free book promotion is particularly effective for authors who have written a series – give away the first book and with luck the audience will pay for the others in the series.

And there’s an intangible benefit. I want people to read my books because I think they’re funny and they’ll make people happy. I’m not trying to make a living. I write stuff that makes me laugh and that’s reward enough, but everything is more fun if it’s shared. If I can kickstart that by giving a book away occasionally, I’m happy to do it.

Go ahead, make me happy. Download Veilpiercer for free on July 17. Read it. Leave a review on Amazon about your newfound feelings of peace and joy. Read more books!