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Jump in the pool to mark 2,000 sales

I've wanted to do some different kinds of contests over the past few months as a way to drive sales. Giving away a Kindle and an iPod Touch was just one of the ideas I presented to Lady Estee, but she shot them down. And when Lady Estee shoots an idea down, it stays down and buried. After all, several authors have given away Kindles. I couldn't afford one until I received one as a gift, so how could I justify buying one and giving it away as part of a contest? Have to be practical, of course.

So I went back to the drawing board. I presented idea after idea. Lady Estee took the shotgun off the wall and proceeded to blow those ideas into little bits and pieces. Dejected, I went back to the drawing board until I could come up with an idea that met her overwhelming approval. Besides, she almost shoved the barrel of the shotgun up my ass for wasting her time.

Weeks passed. I gave up shaving. Showering was out. Food? Yes, I ate, but only the crumbs she shoved through the doorflap (Think about how Harry Potter got his meals in Book Three... and if you think I mentioned Harry Potter just because of JK Rowling's announcement today and I'm trying to take advantage of Google, well, you know me way too well.).

And then, as I repeatedly checked sales and noticed I approached 2,000 lifetime self-pubbed sales -- as Daniel Arenson would say, "You can now tell people you've sold literally thousands of books!" -- I had an epiphany. It's summer time. People like pools.

No, I'm not going to give away a pool -- a plastic kiddie pool, maybe. No, I'm joking. I'm going to hold a book pool. Lady Estee liked that idea.

People love pools. Superbowl pools, baby pools (date, gender, length, weight). So how about a pool guessing what day I sell my 2,000th self-pubbed book? Sounds like a good idea, right?

As of this moment, I am 54 self-published books away from 2,000 books (that's 1,946 sold). For the next 72 hours, until 4 p.m. ET Sunday, registration is open for this book pool. To enter, send an email to me at johnfitchv@yahoo.com with "Book Pool" in the subject line. Put down the date you think I'll hit 2,000 books. If there are multiple people who pick the same date, those people will go into the hat and I'll pick the winner. The winner will receive a signed trade paperback edition of the book of their choice: either Model Agent, Rogue Agent, Turning Back The Clock, A Galaxy At War, The Obloeron Trilogy, or One Hero A Savior. I won't personalize it, just in case the winner wants to give it as a gift.

I'll take questions from the audience now.

1. What if nobody picks the correct date and 2,000 books passes without a winner? I.e. no one picks June 22 and you sell No. 2,000 on that day?

Well, I'm still going to pick a winner. The hat will be just a larger hat. Everyone who entered within the 72-hour time frame will be eligible for the signed book. I don't think I'll sell 54 books within 11 hours. If I did, it would be outstanding. I just don't think it'll happen.

2. Is this just a cheap way to drive your sales up?

Not really, no. This is a day that people are picking at random. Pull a date out of your ass if you want to win. Of course, if you pick a date next week and you buy a few of my books, I think that increases the chances of your date coming up, don't you think?

3. What if the winner already has, say, Model Agent in trade paperback? What book should they pick?

Any of the seven I mentioned above.

4. Why are you just including your self-pubbed books in this? Why can't Vuvuzombie get love?

There's a reason for this. a. I don't think Bruce Sarte, my publisher at Bucks County Publishing, would like it very much if I bugged him every thirty seconds for a sales update of Vuvuzombie. He and I are friends, but it's not like we share the same sleep schedule. Remember: the key word is self-pubbed here. And b., as much as I loved writing VVZ and as much as I love Bruce, he published VVZ. Not me.

Of course, if you want to buy VVZ, I won't stop you. It just doesn't count in the drive to 2,000.

5. Are books sold from entities such as the Sony Reader Store, iBooks, or Kobo Books included in this?

There are two answers to this. The first answer is any book that was purchased at these eBookstores and the sales have been reported to Smashwords and Smashwords has updated my dashboard, then yes, they are included in the drive to 2,000; I spent a good hour earlier this week determining how many new sales I had over the past couple of months. The second answer is that books bought there now will not be updated for quite some time and don't count in the drive to 2,000.

Sales have to be reported in a timely fashion in order to count, which is why I urge readers to buy their books through either Kindle, Nook, Amazon.com (for trade paperback), or Smashwords.

6. What's in it for me?

Well, you get to not only be a cheerleader (you look fantastic in a pleated skirt, have I told you that lately?) as you cheer my numbers to shrink and shrink toward 2,000 and your particular day, you also have a chance to win one of my fantastic books, signed by yours truly and mailed by yours truly. I'll go right to the post office when I order the book and send it out. If you are one of my fans, a signed trade paperback would be a nice compliment to the copy on your Kindle or Nook!

7. Do short stories like Sidetracked and Amber Twilight, or The Mastermind count?

Yep. They are only available as ebooks.

8. How about Refugees, which was in David Dalglish's A LAND OF ASH anthology?

I have not yet published that story myself, so no.

9. If we're interested, where can we get your books?

Glad you asked! Here's my bookstore link: Here you go. Have at it.

10. Will you put me in the third AGENT book if I win?

Hmmmm.... you know, that's a pretty good idea! I need someone to kill off in the book; that's fantastic! If you win, you'll be an antagonist character in the third AGENT novel.

OK, it's 4 p.m. Thursday. See you Sunday!




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