Eyeing the Backlist

I’m reading Chris Fox’s book, Relaunch Your Novel: Breathe Life into Your Backlist.  With The Unity Wars launched, and so far doing just about as well as Brannigan’s Blackhearts (rather than exponentially better, as I’d hoped), I’ve started thinking about the fact that my backlist isn’t quite earning as much as it should be.

I’ve already done a little bit along these lines, with the new cover for Kill Yuan.  Reading Chris’ work, however, it could probably use some more tweaking, mainly in the blurb, keywords, and marketing aspect.

American Praetorians and Jed Horn get a bit thornier.

At this point, I think that a full relaunch of both series would be in order.  Jed Horn hasn’t ever done as well as the Praetorian books, in no small part because I simply marketed it to my fans, such as there are, and they were looking for military action.  It didn’t really make it in front of the more MHI/Repairman Jack sort of audience.  So, in addition to new covers for the first two at least (and probably new type for all four), it would benefit from a full relaunch.

The Praetorian books get a little more complicated.  Task Force Desperate was my first novel, and even going over it for the audiobook, I was seeing some of the rough spots.  Even worse, it has become dated by my use of real organizations and a geopolitical situation that was current in 2011, but has faded into the past.  It could do with a bit of a rewrite.  Similar problems apply to Hunting in the Shadows and Alone and Unafraid, especially since Daesh is currently on the run.  That problem wouldn’t be too hard to fix; simply rename ISIS in those novels to a fictional resurgent Sunni insurgency (which is inevitable, especially given the current Iranian domination of Baghdad).  I was getting my feet under me by the next two, so they shouldn’t need much.  The first two also definitely need new covers; Derrick was learning at the same time I was.  All of them are definitely going to need new blurbs and keywords.

The trouble with this idea is the fact that it is going to take time, time which will have to be carved out of an already busy writing schedule.  Not insurmountable, by any means, but it would take some extra scheduling.

What do you think, readers?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Quick News Update

That’s Mickey Spillane, not me.  But that’s a manly writer photo, right there.  Seemed fitting.

So, I’ve been busy.  Really busy.  Too busy to do much blogging, either here or over on The Unity Wars.  Going to try to start picking up the slack on that soon, once I get draft writing somewhat stabilized.

Given some market research, and seeing how the last book has done, The Unity Wars is moving somewhat to the forefront for the moment.  That doesn’t mean that Brannigan’s Blackhearts is going away anytime soon; it is, however, going to slow down just a bit.  Probably going to be four books per year, rather than six.  I’ve barely scratched the surface on High Desert Vengeance, Brannigan’s Blackhearts #5, but I should be able to hit it hard after the next couple of weeks.  Look for it in August.

I’m also working on a pitch for another project that hopefully I’ll be doing with another author and good friend of mine.  Can’t say much about it yet; we’re still hashing out the details, and he’s got to sell it to his publisher.  Keep your fingers crossed.

And with that, back to the word mines with me.

The Key To Authentic Combat Action Scenes

What’s the key?  What makes a combat scene really “authentic?”

Pain.

There’s an old saying in the Recon community: “Recon ain’t fun.”  It’s pain and agony and suffering, only faced with the grit and perseverance to get through it and survive, to kill the enemy before they kill you.

Over on Tom Kratman’s wall on FB, the subject has come up of a young woman on a panel at Life, The Universe, And Everything 2017.  She claimed at one point that “gamers can write good action scenes, because we’ve experienced that.”  No.  No, you haven’t. Continue reading “The Key To Authentic Combat Action Scenes”

Overtaken By Events

“Timeliness” is a temptation that I think most military/spy fiction writers have to deal with.  “Ripped from the headlines!” and “Prophetic!” are compliments that reviewers have used for works in the genre going back to Tom Clancy, at least.  Those same phrases have been applied to some of my own work, and I’ll admit that it can be somewhat affirming (though often in a grim sort of way) to see events move in a generally similar direction to that predicted in one of your novels.  It shows you that you read the situation fairly accurately. Continue reading “Overtaken By Events”

On Gun Porn

No, this isn’t about InRangeTV opening an account on PornHub.  (Yes, apparently that’s a thing.  No, I haven’t gone looking for it, nor will I.)  This is about the facet of much Action Adventure writing known colloquially as “Gun Porn,” wherein the author includes (and often lovingly describes) various cool and interesting firearms in the story.

This isn’t particularly new; a lot of Louis L’Amour westerns describe interesting (and sometimes obscure) weapons that aren’t commonly found in the run-of-the-mill western (particularly on screen).  But as with any element of storytelling, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Continue reading “On Gun Porn”

Rest Is For The Dead

That’s right.  I’m already hammering away at Brannigan’s Blackhearts #4 – Frozen Conflict.  If you’ve finished Enemy Unidentified, you might have a bit of a hint of what this one’s about.

I’m trying a bit of an experiment this time around; I’m working on this one simultaneously with working on The Unity Wars.  Write Frozen Conflict four days a week, work on The Unity Wars two days a week.  We’ll see how it works out.

Now, back to the word mines.

The Line Between Real and Rambo

I got talking action movies with a buddy recently, and we got on the subject of where the line of realism versus entertainment lies.  We’re both combat veterans, and we’ve both seen long periods of mind-numbing boredom and moments of chaotic weirdness that happen in combat.

There are often comments on action movies, and action novels, about how “realistic” they are.  And while some things are easy to quantify, some elements aren’t so much.  Including the question, “Just how ‘realistic’ should a piece of action entertainment be?” Continue reading “The Line Between Real and Rambo”