Blarney Rubble: Cover reveal!

Cover reveal! I had hoped to release it today, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, but the cover will have to do (courtesy of Mike Sottong). With a little “luck,” the book will be available very soon. If you’d like an Advance Reader Copy to review, let me know and I’ll add you to the list!

Blarney Rubble: Humorous Suspense from Bill Cokas

Can he keep quiet enough to hear destiny calling?

For a local politician in the North Carolina mountains, Frank McCarthy has been remarkably good at keeping his mouth shut. His soft-spoken ways got him elected to the school board and helped him overturn a longstanding zoning policy. At home, though, his wife yearns for more conversation, compliments and compassion.  Read More…


Selling my soul might actually be easier.

I have been doing a TON of reading, research and “gathering of best practices” lately, including poring through blogs and absorbing hours upon hours of podcasts. Of particular help are Joanna Penn’s podcast (The Creative Penn) and the Sell More Books Show. I’ve also listed to quite a few Author Hangout episodes and Rocking Self-Publishing. The prevailing wisdom is to start marketing your books (or at least your “brand”) long before their release, so in a sense, my marketing efforts should always be “on.”

What I haven’t been doing a lot of is writing. But there’s a good reason–after hearing Shawn Coyne interviewed by Joanna Penn, I picked up his book The Story Grid and thought I might be able to figure out where the missteps are in my WIP. It has changed my thinking–it’s really inspired me to go back and re-map out the entire novel (word-count-wise, I’m about 2/3 through, but in reality, I’d say only about 50%). Yes, it’s more work, but I will feel so much more confident when it’s done. I’m out outliner anyway, so I always like to know “where I’m going,” even if my characters pull me off that path now and again. Read More…


When everyone is super, no one will be.

I listen to Joanna Penn’s podcast regularly. She’s a certifiable success and role model when it comes to indie publishing and attracts high-level talent for her interviews. I’ve broadened my network and likely improved my craft just in the short time since I discovered her.

In one of her recent episodes, she interviewed the designer of her fiction book covers, Derek Murphy. By all accounts, Derek seems like a very nice guy and is indisputably talented. He’s designed hundreds (thousands?) of covers in the past few years and has no doubt enhanced the appeal of books that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Read More…


I’ve (almost) reached the halfway mark!

Now of course, this refers to a first draft, and we’re talking ten chapters of a first draft that may ultimately have more than 20 chapters, but that’s all I’ve outlined so far. So this is a very qualified celebration. But it feels like progress nonetheless. As avid readers of this blog know (Lock him up! He’s referring to imaginary people!), I was well into (probably halfway, ironically) a middle-grade adventure novel (working title: Opposite Day) when I decided to shelve the whole thing. One day, I might pull it back out, and one day it might actually be shelved in a physical library, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I’m not sure if it was the voice, the “reining Read More…


KDP Select update: promotion helps. But not a ton.

Just finished my third and final KDP Select giveaway for Ring of Fire, with abysmal results. It was really just a test. With the first giveaway, I spent a large chunk of time pre-promoting it and even spent a not-insignificant amount of money getting it listed on other sites. Downloads were upwards of 6K, but ensuing reviews were nil and sales didn’t even cover the cost of the promotion. Second giveaway was nearly identical to first, except I spent a little less money, the same amount of time, and got slightly fewer downloads (5K+). I hit #3 in Suspense Thriller, for Pete’s sake, so I definitely got exposure. Again, sales and reviews afterward: nil to nearly nil. SO, I thought for my Read More…


Mixed–but better–results with second KDP giveaway.

My second Amazon KDP Select giveaway of Battle Axe is winding down after three consecutive days, and I must say, it’s changing my mind about the program. I still don’t know if it will boost my reviews or sales, but the activity has blown away that of my previous giveaway over Easter weekend.Here’s what I did differently:1. Three consecutive days vs. two non-consecutive days (last time I skipped Easter proper).2. Used only these paid sources: Freebooksy.com Thedesertgirl on Fiverr.com bookblast.co Here’s what I did the same: 1. Picked a holiday weekend 2. All the same Facebook and Twitter sources But this time, as of 4:30 on the third day of the promotion, I’m looking at 5700 downloads vs. the meager 710 Read More…


Pinterest: I’m doing it, even if I don’t get it.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I get it, but I have to admit it’s not my thing. Which is fine–there are plenty of things that aren’t my thing. In fact, there are probably way more things that aren’t my thing than things that are my thing. I’m a man of particular interests. And you can find a selection of them here. A note: most of them relate to my novels, because I have to weave my interests into my novels, so I can experience them more often.


Amazon KDP Select Giveaway Part 1: The numbers are in.

As I gear up for another giveaway for Battle Axe–this time for three consecutive days–I wanted to share the results of my previous giveaway, which was two non-consecutive days over Easter weekend. I spent a lot of time in the preceding months reading blog posts and advice from other KDP participants. I boiled their tips down to a “best of” and that was the extent of my plan. Here’s a rundown of the “marketing” I did to announce the giveaway: The Marketing: 1. Posted on my own Facebook page 2. Sent out periodic tweets from my Twitter account 3. Sent an email blast to relevant people in my address book 4. Created an event on Goodreads and invited my friends 5. Sent a Read More…


So many books, so little time.

I know it sounds like a pity bumper sticker or t-shirt slogan, but that really sums up the loss of Randy Rohn, an outstanding writer and even better husband, father and friend. A prolific advertising writer for more than three decades, he had only recently moved into publishing short fiction and even a novel. I know for a fact he was working on another one, and who knows how many more he would have produced had he not been cruelly removed from this life. When I first turned to long-form fiction myself, he was one of the few I trusted to give me feedback, even if his feedback amounted to “It’s the best book about jazz and lesbians I’ve ever Read More…


Gearing up for Amazon KDP Select Giveaway

When I first published Battle Axe and Ring of Fire simultaneously last year, I enrolled Ring of Fire in Amazon’s KDP Select program on the promise that it offered more exposure via its lending library and ability for Amazon Prime members to download such titles for free. The downside? It’s a 90-day arrangement that makes your digital (not print) title exclusive to Amazon, so I was forbidden to make it available anywhere else. The upside? None, at least that time around. I saw no discernible difference between the purchase/borrow activity of Ring of Fire vs. Battle Axe. The other (and potentially huge) alleged asset of the program is that it offers up to five “giveaway” days where you can offer Read More…