Tuesday Freebie

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Last day FREE: Why Your Pastor Left–go get it now! I appreciate any and all reviews and shares on social media.
https://www.amazon.com/Your-Pastor-Left-Christopher-Schmitz-ebook/dp/B01DTAKGGK
it’s available on ebook, paperback, and audible. There is a paperback giveaway at Goodreads, too. I promise to stop beating this drum after today.

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State of Writing

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So lots of progress over this last week. Why Your Pastor Left went free on Amazon over the weekend which shot it up to the #1 spot in Kindle’s Pastoral Resources book chart ad #2 in Christian Books>General.
I doubled my marks this week, though, and wrote two chapters in Fear In a Land Without Shadows (I’m loving it more with each chapter), kept on pace for my devo, and even recorded my first audiobook (albeit my shortest published piece) as an experiment in learning the ropes in ACX… finally a relevant use for my old band equipment and recording software. I enjoyed it enough I think I might do a couple of other stories as I work towards a killer audio version of Wolf of the Tesseract.
When WotT launches I want to have it in all three formats on launch date which will be easiest if I do the audio recording and then just pass it off to my publisher. (I’ve also discovered how much better the story quality is AFTER an audio recording: when you read your story aloud you find all the little errors that your brain (and your editors’ and proofreaders’ brains) gloss over/autocorrect in your mind. It should make for a more high quality final draft.

Free Book Giveaway This Weekend

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This weekend only, Friday-Tuesday, Why Your Pastor Left will be 100% free on Kindle. Head over there and download it now! I appreciate any and all reviews you might leave after the fact! Please share this free book/resource on all your social media!

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Pastor-Left-Christopher-Schmitz/dp/153083855X

Data, research, and stories about American pastoral decline.
Nine of ten ministers know three or more peers who’ve been forced out of pastoral positions; a third of all pastors serve congregations who either fired the previous minister or actively forced their resignation; and at any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit. American church decline has reached epidemic proportions and in the last century, church influence has waned nearly 60%. Pastoral attrition is either an indicator of that problem or a central part of it. Why Your Pastor Left is full of detailed statistics and identifies the top ten “Ministry Killers” that cause pastoral stress and eventual “burnout.”

Reviews: The Lifeblood of Indie Books

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I read a nifty blog this week from an author named Mary Ellen Bramwell (https://maryellenbramwell.com/2016/05/09/to-review-or-not-to-review-that-is-the-question)… she brings up a good point about our current generation’s shopping habits. We really live and die by reviews.

In telling a brief experience about a wonderful moment she had at a store the manager suggested she leave a positive online review. Human nature kicked in and she held off (apathy, laziness, whatever… we all do it.)

“Everywhere we turn these days we are asked for feedback – from our doctors (necessary with Obamacare), grocery stores, online merchants, mechanics, gas stations, and so on. We are inundated with requests for our thoughts.” It’s so true… everyone wants a little more from you than you give at face value. If you’ve ever bought a cell phone, or booked a hotel over the phone, or purchased insurance you get several follow-up contacts asking you to rate/review/provide feedback–sometimes we just want the stupid thing we went to purchase!

I understand that frustration. I really do. But it’s different for authors and very small businesses (like artisan coffee shops or specialty stores like antique dealers). We don’t have big backing. The single greatest thing you can do to help an author that you do not hate is to leave a great review (even a generic 1-word 5 star review.) For so many of us, it is truly the next breath of air we take.

When I used to do lots of signings for my first fantasy novel (back before Amazon’s review system was much of a thing) I used to tell people this: “If you like it please tell everyone. If you hate it, tell noone.”

State of Writing

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Was up pretty late, but I powered through some writing lethargy this week and finished my weekly chapter–didn’t drop the ball on my devo piece, either. It felt like I was writing in rush hour traffic this week. Every time I got going with my story, something else would pop up and interrupt my free time (right now, a lot of it is end-of-year school stuff like grad parties, etc.) Sometimes you’ve just got to keep writing until its done and fix any lackluster performance in the next draft.

New Title Released!

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Hey guys, my sci-fi novel went live today! You can get Dekker’s Dozen: The Last Watchmen on Amazon for less than 5 bucks! You can also purchase it in paperback! Full details/ordering is available on Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/Dekkers-Dozen-Watchmen-Christopher-Schmitz/dp/1530834384
oh yeah! leave me a 5-star review, too!

There’s also an exclusive ebook prequel/sequel available for free at https://www.amazon.com/Dekkers-Dozen-Waxing-Arbolean-Moon-ebook/dp/B01EKP7IGY

You can find most of my library of print/ebooks at my author central page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01D3ZFGLG (excluding some contest entries and other misc. works).

Caveat Emptor/Caveat Venditor

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It’s no longer let the buyer beware. Nowadays it’s important for sellers, especially content creators, to be on guard.

I often read through my Amazon recommendations in my email–not because I’m shopping, but I like to see how well their algorithms work inn pinpointing suggestions for books I might be into. They’re usually pretty spot on, so kudos there. (This is partly what makes them great–they make me want to buy stuff even when I’m not shopping.) I had to read this email because my short-story/ebook was the top recommendation and I thought that was ironic. I scrolled down and a few books below it and found a book called Superhero X.

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Maybe I should be flattered, I thought. This guy stole a book cover that I designed and made in photoshop–although his/her rebranding was poorly done. I clicked the ad and read the info/blurb… this was MY book. I wrote this cover text for a version of this book at a different, popular website! I opened the “Look Inside” feature. It was a copy and pasted, blatantly thevious steal. Whoever this Alexandr Shishkov is, they didn’t even bother fixing the margins that they’d messed up with a poor format job. He/she also sold it for triple the price and enrolled it in Kindle Unlimited (which means they were making 70% off each sale, or $2.10 whereas I was selling it for .99 and making about thirty cents per sale.)

I wouldn’t really mind if my books were stolen and shared on Pirate Bay or the like… as long as it was my name on the title! I bled for this thing; don’t go watering it down with your crappy apathetic formatting. After opening the Look Inside feature I just about lost it when someone else claimed they held the copyright… the first line says “Thank you for downloading this ebook. Thank you for your support.” If this guy was here I don’t think I could remain civil (it’s not that he stole from me–it’s that he claimed the work was his. That’s a slight against my honor and that would demand fisticuffs.)

Thank you Alexandr Shishkov for teaching me how to fill out copyright violation paperwork. And now I now. I’ve heard about things like this happening before… I guess that I always thought someone stealing my blood, sweat, and tears would try to be a little more coy about.

Sellers beware. There’s always a new scam right around the corner–and some of those thieves likely think that this is a victim-less crime (similar to the KU scam I wrote about a few weeks ago). I Never really thought something like this would happen to me… at least not until I had gotten a bigger following.

If you want to check out MY story, visit https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Superhero-Christopher-D-Schmitz-ebook/dp/B01ELXRAFE

Free (non)Fiction Tuesday

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So I deviated from the plan. Pretty typical for me. I wanted to share this free book (it’s available on kindle) because this is a subject that is very dear to me–living one’s faith authentically. The last thing the world needs are insincere people who try to flatter with both tongue and body yet cling to hate or apathy in their hearts.

Whenever people find out find out I’m a credentialed minister (like, a real one that I studied years to become–not the kind of license you get on the internet/ebay like they did in Friends and other TV shows,) people often backpedal on the conversation. “Sorry all my cussing and shit–I mean crap!” I’d much rather be a genuine person and also see the real you. I don’t have time for masks and all this posturing nonsense. I also don’t lead with “I’m a pastor.” I rarely bring it up because I’d rather other people organically realize that there is something positive inside of me. It’s that old attribution to Assisi: Preach the Gospel always, and when all else fails, use words.

I’m not sure how long it’s available for free, so get it now:
https://www.amazon.com/Get-Real-Sharing-Everyday-Faith-ebook/dp/B011MP1R4Y

State of Writing

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So I expect my editor to have more pages for my by this afternoon. Dekker’s Dozen is half-way done on that account and the story should be uploaded and ready for purchase next week if we make our deadlines.

I wrote two chapters last week in Fear in a Land Without Shadows and wrote two devo pieces… I didn’t sleep much. When I did I kept dreaming about things to write.

I also worked a lot with photoshop and feel like I designed a pretty amazing cover for Wolf of the Tesseract. I may post something about that later. I’m just happy that I hit my marks, although last week was fairly light as far as work goes. This week, not so much (several meetings, deadlines, and  two youth events on top of my regular 3 youth meetings).

Thursday Recommendations: The Right Way to be Wrong

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So romance has popularized the “love triangle” to a huge degree (thanks, Stephanie Meyers.) It’s always been a big deal, of course and was a plot point in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with Elizabeth Bennet’s choice between Wickham and Darcy layered upon Wickham’s pursuit of both Elizabeth and Kitty Bennet.

Today I thought I’d share a book that is way outside my genre norm: it’s a romance (and doesn’t feature the undead). Honestly, sometimes books are just a good escape into a fun adventure, and one person’s sci-fi is another person’s romance… I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve escaped the doldrums of my life with a good (or even not-so good) space adventure or epic quest of adventurers. This isn’t my kind of story–but I’m not everybody and I know this will click with many of you and the premise is interesting, especially given the well-rounded nature of the author, Tracy Ball who knows people who have committed murder and knows people who have dined with the Pope.

The Right Way To Be Wrong, Tracy Ball’s 2nd novel, is a feisty tale about a bad boy trying to do better versus a good girl who isn’t. Being in love with Holden, one of the notorious Latche twins, has freed Cherry from her ghosts. Now, she wants to help everyone -with or without their consent. Her unyielding opinions influence every relationship on the Latche family farm. While her involvement may not always be welcome, at least her intentions are pure. And that’s a problem. Purity doesn’t work for Holden. Abstinence is not a part of his womanizing agenda. Besides, Cherry has two secrets too many as far as he is concerned. The lack of information about her family, and her intimate exchanges with Eric– the other notorious Latche twin.

Check out this book here:
http://www.amazon.com/Right-Way-Be-Wrong-ebook/dp/B0189YRC04