The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Saturday, November 23, 2013


           It’s a strange and incomprehensible world out there when you start wondering how Amazon’s computer decides what category to put your new novel into.  Sometimes [cue the Rod Serling music], that pesky computer can do weird things.   Let me give you a couple of examples from real life.  Of course, this has implications on whether real book readers and buyers will find your book.

Because “The Deadly Dog Show” has a dog in it (actually, several dogs), the Amazon computer decided the right category for the book is “Mystery-Cozy-Animal”.   I wouldn’t describe my style as cozy---especially as we examine body count, violence, the slightly dark world things are happening in, and other parameters that make me call it “Hard-boiled” or “Noir”.   But what do I know?  The book is selling very well in the cozy category and there really haven’t been any serious complaints about the excessive violence for the genre.   Although a couple of reviews have mentioned one particular scene!

            "The Surreal Killer" is currently ranked #19 in Books > Travel > South America > Peru, and #27 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Travel > Latin America > South America as I’m writing this paragraph.  It has consistently ranked high in both of these categories since it was first published 1.5 years ago.  What makes assignment of the book to these two categories worthy of note is that it’s a novel, as in a work of fiction.   I haven’t hid that fact from Amazon; in fact I emphasized it in my selection of categories and keywords.   There’s that Amazon computer overruling the author again.  

            Does it matter?   It probably does not in the cosmic scheme of things.  But maybe it does, and it seemed a fun thing to highlight for this week’s post?   Does anyone else have some strangeness by the Amazon computer to share?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


            Amazon KDP recently announced a new book promotion opportunity.  For up to seven days you can reduce the price on your KDP entry to any amount you want on any kind of staggered schedule you might care to try.   The incentives are (1) there’s a special promotional page on Amazon where your book is announced as a participant, and (2) you get the full 70% royalty on sales, even if the price is below the normal threshold for the 70% royalty.   It seemed a fun thing to try---the worst-case scenario was nobody would be interested in a book I put on this promotion.   That would have been OK, as I chose a book with low sales at this time but one that is an excellent entry point into my series because it features pretty much all of the recurring characters in five shorter stories.

            The new promotion started on a curious date, 11/12/13.   I announced the promotional price, $0.99, a substantial reduction from the normal price of $2.99 for this novel-length anthology, on a couple of dozen Facebook sites and on my own Facebook page.   The promotion was set to run for seven days, through the 18th. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Today's guest blog is by Henry Forman, who has just published a new mystery novel I think many of you might enjoy reading.   Henry's plot dramatizes a real issue in contemporary scientific research, so there's some real food for thought in this novel.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Starts tomorrow!  Special Promotional Price on Amazon KDP ---Nov. 12-17, 2013.  Thousands of readers have enjoyed a series of mystery novels set in South America and California featuring Los Angeles-based private detective Roger Bowman and his wife biochemist Suzanne Foster.   “Five Quickies For Roger And Suzanne”, a novel-length anthology of five stories---three short stories (including “The Dog With No Name” for dog lovers), a novella, and a novelette---features the regular characters from this popular South American mystery series.  Enjoy the quickies, which introduce several of the recurring series characters from this series and are a great place to begin it!  Normal list price is $2.99; Promotional days only, $0.99.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


The current Work In Progress is almost completed through the first draft stage.   I don’t have a title yet.   Here’s the set-up.   Roger and Suzanne, along with Robert and Bruce, are taking a long overdue vacation tour though the Galapagos Islands.   This is another fascinating piece of South America Elaine and I have visited that I wanted to share with my readers.   On the second day of the tour, as their Zodiac raft motors towards one of the islands Suzanne finds a dead body floating in the ocean just off the beach.   And we’re into another South American mystery novel starring my favorite couple of detectives.   And there to help are Eduardo Gomez, his wife Sophia who we'll meet for the first time, and the mysterious General Vincente Aleman.