Starting Today – Only 99 Cents

I’m excited to announce, for a limited time, my latest thriller, Blood Orangeis on sale for the low price of 99 cents.

Why am I doing this?

Originally, this book was set to launch on November 13, 2015. Promotional events were scheduled. The book was going to be heavily promoted through the holiday shopping season to try to maximize sales.

If you remember that 11/13/15 date, it was also the date that terrorists attacked multiple locations in Paris, France. One of those locations was a sports venue during a soccer match. Blood Orange focuses on a very similar event. I thought it would be in bad taste to launch and promote the book so soon after this tragedy. It was likely devastating to potential sales, but I felt that it was the right thing to do.

I started a much more subtle promotional campaign at the beginning of the year and sales were decent, but I wanted to give it a bit more of a push. I’m proud of this book and want to see it succeed to it’s fullest. Thus the lowered price from the period of 2/21/16 through 2/28/16.

Here is a synopsis of the book:

Blood Orange is a terrorism thriller set in today’s high tension world of foreign and domestic threats against soft targets. The story begins on the night of the biggest game in men’s college basketball. Just as the two rivals are squaring off in the quest to crown a champion, tragedy strikes. A nation mourns as a team of elite specialists searches for those responsible.

Follow Navy Officer Brad Rafferty and his team through the twists and turns of this terrorism thriller to see if you can determine who is good and who is evil.

Here is what readers are saying about this novel:

Very well written plot that could be current. The characters are great and well developed.”

I highly recommend this book and this author. I look forward to more.

Great story, many twists and turns! You don’t want to put it down! Loved the fast pace! Want to see more of Rafferty and his team.

If you find yourself heading into the weekend looking for something to read, check it out. It’s just a $.99 investment (free if you’re a Kindle unlimited member). The most important part of this process for me is hearing what you think. I will keep on writing as long as there are readers that will read my stuff and give me feedback.

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A Special Gift for My Readers and Those Yet to Become My Readers

As I started my writing career, I began as many writers do, writing short stories. About a year ago, I looked back on the short stories that I had written and decided that they might be fun to put in a collection.

I know short story books aren’t as popular to read as full-blown novels, but they do have value as quick escapes for the reader. As a writer, they’re a way to get readers familiar with your writing style and maybe encourage reading of longer works as they are published.

Since writing my first short story, I have published four fiction and two non-fiction books. I published my short story collection, Random Tales, nearly a year ago. I really haven’t aggressively promoted it and I haven’t really been sure what to do with it other than let it flounder on the Amazon virtual shelves…until now.

For a very limited time, during the weekend of January 22nd – 24th, I will be giving my short story collection away for free on Amazon. After that, I will be pricing it permanently at 99 cents. In anticipation of my free promotion of this collection, I will tell you a little bit about how each story emerged over the next four days leading up to the Friday start of the free download.

There are four stories in the collection. They are all very different. Here is a summary of each:

  • Heal Thyself – A man who is in a terrible accident wakes up to find that his life has changed forever in a very unexpected way.
  • August 1963 – A story that was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream’ speech about a young boy transplanted to the South in the early 1960’s.
  • Play It Again Des – A young piano player realizes his dream of being one of the greats, but at what cost?
  • Lucy’s Christmas Miracle – A dog saves the day and makes Christmas memorable.

As I mentioned earlier, I will be telling you a bit about the inspiration for each story in the days leading up to the free book giveaway. I hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as I enjoyed writing them. If you absolutely can’t wait for the book to be free or priced at $.99 after 1/24/16, you can get a copy here.

As always, your comments, questions, and feedback are welcome.

About Don Massenzio:

Don Massenzio was born in Syracuse, New York, to first generation Italian-American parents. He is an avid reader. Some of his favorite authors include Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, and Hugh Howey. His favorite book of all time is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Don began writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate travel. He uses writing as a therapeutic outlet. He recently took the jump to sharing his work with others.

His first published long work is the novel, Frankly Speaking. It is the first of a series of books focused on the character, Frank Rozzani, a Florida private detective. The book is a throwback to the days of pulp detective novels with a tip of the hat to Jim Rockford from 70’s television and The Rockford Files.

The second Frank Rozzani detective novel, Let Me Be Frank is now available. His third book in the Frank Rozzani series was released on April 24th, 2015 and is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

Behind the Story of Blood Orange

I remember reading an interview with Stephen King where he said that the single most hated question that he receives from fans and critics is, “where do you get your ideas?” His snarky answer, after being asked the question countless times was, “I have a big box in the basement labeled ‘ideas’ that I go to every time I write a book or a story.”

Blood Orange is my fourth book. My previous three books were detective novels. The ideas for those books mostly came from my imagination with specific real life people forming composites that became each character. With Blood Orange, the story came to me from a different source. A good friend of mine from high school who may or may not admit to being in the marching band with me, but would definitely admit to a long and distinguished career in the US Navy, reached out to me after reading one of my books. He had a story idea rattling around in his head for a while. He went as far as contact Clive Cussler to see if he was interested. He received a handwritten note back from Mr. Cussler telling him that the story idea was a good one, but he did not take unsolicited story ideas and was quite busy with many works in progress.

I was intrigued by my friend, Brian Fogarty’s idea. It appealed to me on two levels. First, we are from the same hometown, Syracuse, New York. Syracuse is known for two things, snow and college basketball. I moved from Syracuse to Florida 20 years ago and I miss one of those things, but the other, not so much. College basketball was a passion that got us through the long winters. We lived and died with our team. The premise in the book, from which I published an excerpt in my previous blog, describes the Syracuse basketball fan’s ultimate dream; Syracuse playing Duke in the championship game which miraculously takes place in the Carrier Dome, the iconic Syracuse Basketball arena. The book builds up this dream and then shatters it.

The second aspect of the story builds upon a factual historical event that took place in Syracuse nearly 100 years ago. At that time, World War I was nearing its end. The manufacture of munitions and gun powder in the U.S. was extremely important to the war effort. In July of 1918, a horrific tragedy took place at a munitions plant called Split Rock in what is now the Camillus area of Syracuse. Brian’s brilliant idea was to take that tragedy and turn it into something more sinister and conspiratorial. Without giving away the premise, we did this and then tied the original, factual tragedy to the modern day potential tragedy.

It involved taking something very positive that occurred in a community and turning it into an unspeakable tragedy. It was both an interesting and painful journey to take. While researching many of the terrorist aspects of the book, I waited to hear the knock on the door from the NSA looking to seize my computers. It was also concerning how much information is readily available on the Internet regarding terrorism tactics.

For all it’s worth, Blood Orange was a very personal journey that was rewarding because I got to collaborate with a distinguished veteran who also happens to be a friend. I also was able to write about my hometown and hopefully jinx any kind of tragedy from happening there by writing about it.

If you want to read an excerpt, just check out my previous blog for one of the early chapters.  If you want to read the reviews and check it out on Amazon, just click here.

As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.

About Don Massenzio:

Don Massenzio was born in Syracuse, New York, to first generation Italian-American parents. He is an avid reader. Some of his favorite authors include Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, and Hugh Howey. His favorite book of all time is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Don began writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate travel. He uses writing as a therapeutic outlet. He recently took the jump to sharing his work with others.

His first published long work is the novel, Frankly Speaking. It is the first of a series of books focused on the character, Frank Rozzani, a Florida private detective. The book is a throwback to the days of pulp detective novels with a tip of the hat to Jim Rockford from 70’s television and The Rockford Files.

The second Frank Rozzani detective novel, Let Me Be Frank is now available. His third book in the Frank Rozzani series was released on April 24th, 2015 and is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

How Doing Time in Facebook Jail Helped Me Rethink My Book Marketing

I haven’t posted a new blog in a couple of weeks. There are a couple of reasons for that. My new book, Frank Incensed, came out on April 24th and coincided with an author event in Jacksonville, FL. In addition to those events, I did a stint in ‘Facebook Jail’. For those of you that don’t know what ‘Facebook Jail’ (FBJ) is, it’s a term I may or may not have coined to designate the restrictions that Facebook can temporarily put on it’s users that aggressively try to market products or services through the various groups that are part of this social media giant. I was prohibited from joining or posting in groups until today, May 4th, 2015.

It’s my own fault that this happened. In previous blogs, I have talked about the automated software that I use to post to Facebook groups while I do other things (like work at my day job and write). The software, when used properly, posts to Facebook in a very natural way that doesn’t emulate the spamming behavior that other social media posting programs emulate. The software is great when used correctly. The behavior that landed me in FBJ was my exuberance over the release of my new book and my gradual pushing of the envelope using the posting software.  I belong to over 1,000 groups related to books and blogs. At the time I was put into FBJ, I was posting from two computers to over 800 groups on each. Bad idea. It caught up with me.

My first reaction was to get mad at Facebook and complain to them. Because they are a giant, multi-billion dollar company and have no semblance of living, breathing customer service, my complaints were basically just a venting exercise. I accused them of clamping down on small business just to drive entrepreneurs with limited budgets toward Facebook advertising. After several similar complaints from me, the parole board remained unmoved and my sentence remained in place until May 4th.

So, why should you care about this? Am I boycotting Facebook? Um…no. Am I going to lobby to have them change their policies? Not a chance. What I did do was take a long, hard look at my marketing strategy and I changed it. Before I talk about what I changed, let me tell you the results that I’ve had since the change:

  • My new book, Frank Incensed, came out on Amazon on the 24th of April with 19 four and five star reviews. This was six more than my previous book achieved over six months.
  • My giveaway on Good Reads of my previous book, Let Me Be Frank, resulted in nearly 1,000 entrants for the prize of 3 signed copies.
  • My two day free promotion of my first book in the Frank Rozzani Series, Frankly Speaking, that ran this past Friday and Saturday resulted in nearly 1,500 downloads.
  • My sales for the month of April are the highest of any month since I published my first book.
  • I’ve added a significant number of subscribers to my newsletter mailing list

These are very interesting results. At the time I thought my most vital marketing channel was unavailable, Then I read about an indie author from the UK named Mark Dawson. Mark is an author of thrillers and has published two series of books, the John Milton and Soho Noir books. Mark is an advocate of two broad strategies, cultivating a mailing list and using social media advertising.

You’re probably saying, “Whatever, I’ve tried those things and they don’t work.” Well, I thought so too until I saw that these strategies netted mark $400,000 in book revenue in one month. Based on that, I thought I would give some of his techniques a try. The results that I reported above show some measure of success…not quite at the Mark Dawson level, but stay tuned over the coming months.

I said these were broad strategies, so let me give you some insight into the specific things that I tried so that you can give them a try if you would like.

  • Targeted advertising for my book release: I ran ads on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. I know this sounds costly, but I set maximum budgets of $10 per day on each platform and ran the ads for three days.

Note: I attempted to run an ad for my book on Amazon and it was rejected. When I inquired into the reason, it was due to my book cover having “blood spatter” on it. I found this surprising since both the Kindle and CreatSpace publishing platforms accepted my book cover, but Amazon ads rejected it. When I inquired, I was told that each of those entities make their own decisions. It was disappointing, but I’m not going to change the book cover.  Here is what it looks like. What do you think?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00069]

  • I leveraged my mailing list. I sent out an email to my subscribers asking if they would like an advanced reader copy (ARC) of my new book. About 15% of my list graciously agreed to read the book and of those that received a copy, more than 50% reviewed the book on Goodreads or Amazon on the day of it’s release helping my ranking a great deal.
  • I used inexpensive Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads ads to promote my two free days for Frankly Speaking. When I looked back at the results, I surpassed previous free book days that were promoted through posting to groups.
  • My Twitter ads have resulted in an acceleration in the number of quality followers that I have picked up.

I will be posting more about this marketing journey as I resume my weekly blogs. Interestingly enough, my blog will be the only portion of my brand that I will continue to post in Facebook groups. I have seen good results from this. I will, however, be more judicious with how aggressive I am in posting. I don’t want to be a repeat offender.

For now, I recognize the methods that I was using, while they made me feel like I was accomplishing something, they really weren’t that effective. If you are an indie author that is continuing to send your posts out to a large number of groups asking people to buy your books, you need to ask yourself some hard questions and reexamine what you are doing. Sponsored ads from social media do get traction. Posting your book to groups where the only audience is other authors, might not get you the results that you need.

As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.

Don Massenzio was born in Syracuse, New York, to first generation Italian American parents. He is an avid reader. Some of his favorite authors include Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, and Hugh Howey. His favorite book of all time is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Don began writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate travel. He uses writing as a therapeutic outlet. He recently took the jump to sharing his work with others.

His first published long work is the novel, Frankly Speaking. It is the first of a series of books focused on the character, Frank Rozzani, a Florida private detective. The book is a throwback to the days of pulp detective novels with a tip of the hat to Jim Rockford from 70’s television and The Rockford Files.

The second Frank Rozzani detective novel, Let Me Be Frank is now available. His third book in the Frank Rozzani series was released on April 24th, 2015 and is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

He has also published a well-received short story collection that is available on Amazon.com.

Find out more about Don at his web site:

www.donmassenzio.com