Sunday, June 25, 2017


I posted about authors making minimum wage last week. Mainly, I discussed short stories sold as stand alones at .99 and the stigma some authors get when confronted by readers claiming that that is outrageous. My main points are that authors spend a lot of money and time getting their stories out and deserve to be paid at least minimum wage.

So, carrying on where I left off, what happens if an author works hard writing a great story, is active in its promotion, and she/he still doesn't make much money at it? Don't throw in the towel. There is more to be done.

A lot of authors have numerous stories in multi-author collections and anthologies. This is good in that the author will get recognition. But, it is bad in that the author won't make money at it. Here we go with Math 101 again. Let's say it is a 20 author anthology and that the Press is generous and you get 50% royalties split between all the authors. If the book sells for $3.99, at the standard 70% royalty rate from Kindle, and if the book sells 500 copies, which would be higher than the average book, then the royalties for all the authors would be $697.25 and would be $34.06 per author. Chunk change. Many anthologies sell less than that, by far. An author self-publishing a short story at .99 would do a bit better. However, anthologies do gain you exposure.

I have enough exposure. Except for special anthologies close to my heart, I will not be doing any more. Under my new brand of Blaze McRob, I have 40 titles on my Amazon Author page, but only seven are completely mine. Like I say, that will change. Immediately.

Anyway, what if you haven't sold enough books to get you to the minimum wage point that I discussed last week? Simple. You write more books. The more you have, the greater name recognition you have. What, you say? Isn't this throwing good money after bad? No it's not.Your new story, even a short story, will gain recognition not only for that one, but for the other stories you write.

Okay, you've written more and the money is still not rolling in. Another thing you can do is to put your short stories into collections. Leave your individual shorts up for sale. They are always a good sample place for new readers to find out if they like your work. I would suggest a starting point of around 10,000 words for a short collection, and I think you should sell them at $1.99. Keep an eye on what others are doing with theirs, however. At some point your collections might want to increase in price. Personally, I think it is better to price a book higher when you first announce it to the world. This way if you decide to run a special later you have more wiggle room. Folks don't like to see a book going up in price for no apparent reason.

Unless you also write novellas or even novels, keep writing your short stories. People like them. Add more shorts and collections. You can make your collections larger. When you reach 15,000 to 20,000 words, I would charge $2.99. Once you reach 25,000 to 40,000, charge $3.99. At least. Once you reach this level, you will get the 70% royalty and not the 35%. Big difference. But step things up slowly. You're a little fish in a big sea.

Sometimes the little fish can charge more. I was doing a post the other day for a friend of mine who is doing rather well. Some of her new books are selling higher than I would have priced them, but she has a great following and her tales are super. I want to do a little more research into the subject and find all the pros and cons.

There is a new attitude towards books by a great many readers. If the book is priced low, some readers think the quality must be low. Readers are willing to pay a fair price for a book. Don't undercut yourself in the eyes of your readers. Write a great story and charge what it is worth. I should have a novel of around 300 pages coming out next month. That means I should charge $6.99 or more for the Kindle version. I'm going to charge $9.99 for it. Why? Because it's a damned good book and it's worth the price. This should be your attitude as well. If your stories are great, don't fleece the readers, but don't screw yourself either.

Another thing you must do if you want to sell books is to have a website. And on your website, you must talk about other authors, editors, and others. Mention yourself, of course, but if your website shows folks that you are genuinely concerned about others, people will find you without the chest pumping and you will make a lot of friends. Make certain you post your discussion on Twitter and send it to your Facebook page as well. Spread the word. And, don't worry if everyone else doesn't seem to be spreading your name around as much. It doesn't matter. You are doing what is right. Some people have real life issues eating into their time. Just be their friend. That should be enough.

I know a lot of authors and publishers don't agree with me on my pricing thoughts. That's okay with me. I'm not a god. This post states what I believe. I just can't see giving my stories away. And I won't. There are plenty of books I'm in with other publishers that sell for .99. People have every opportunity to see if they like my writing. Also, my free samples on Amazon are generous. That's another great way to promote you and your books.

That's enough for this post. I aim to make these helpful hints a regular part of my posting schedule. I hope you find some things to answer a few questions.

Blaze McRob

Friday, June 23, 2017


Be sure to mark your calendar. This Saturday, PopViews will be interviewing horror author Terri DelCampo-Nelson. Terri is an accomplished writer and co-founder of Blazing Owl Press. Check out her author's page at Amazon!
Tune in to the PopViews Podcast with Ralph and Damian - every Saturday at 11:00 AM (eastern).

Visit's Terri DelCampo Page and shop for all Terri DelCampo books and other Terri DelCampo related products (DVD, CDs, Apparel). Check out pictures, bibliography, biography and community discussions about Terri DelCampo

This show will be up on the link above. Don't miss it! I have a front row seat.

Blaze McRob

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Read Dale Elster's great movie review for the movie Logan. Terri DelCampo and I watched this movie the other week and loved it! So does Dale. Read why at
While you're there, read some of his other great posts. All of them are superb!

Blaze McRob

Monday, June 19, 2017


I'm dusting off my previous Minimum Wage For Authors posts and bringing them up to date. Also, I will be doing the same for my Marketing 101 posts. The first one is below. I hope you enjoy these posts and get something out of them.

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I hear from people who ask me why they should pay .99 for a short story because that's highway robbery. Well, besides the fact that a short story can tell you if you would like to buy more of this author's work in longer form or even more short stories, let's go to Math 101.First we'll take the case of a self-published author.

You walk into a fast food place and think about the employees who would like to enjoy a livable wage. Some say $15 an hour is fair. Okay, let's take the case of an author who sells a short story of 3,000 words for .99. Whoah, you say. That is really short. Yes, it is. But is it worth at least what a small order of French fries would cost you?

I say without a doubt.

3,000 words equates to around twelve pages. The author has to pay for cover art for the ebook. Let's say $50 for that, if you're lucky. It could go as high as $500.00. Formatting is $1 a page. Again, that's the low end. Editing at least that. Maybe double. So without the author's time, we're at $74 already: minimum. If the author is a super whizz-bang and can write the tale in three hours, should she/he not be paid at least as much as the burger employee? Of course. Add another $45. We're up to $119 now. And this does not include marketing so someone knows the author's book is out there to buy. Add another $50 at least between the author's time and a paid professional's time.$169 now.

These are rock-bottom prices that you'll be lucky to get.

So how many books on Amazon does the author need to sell? You will get around .35 royalty per book. Thus, the author needs to sell roughly 483 books to cover the $169. How many authors do this with the typical ebook? Not many. 11 hours at $15/hour comes to $165, so we're close here.

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Now lets take the case of an author going with a small Press. There will be only two expense factors here: the author's time, which will be the same $45, and doing their share of the marketing. Add in $25. Total time at $15/hour comes to $70.

At 4.7 hours, the author needs to sell 400 books to reach minimum wage if the Press and the author each share the royalties evenly. Not every Press is as generous as this. The Press needs to sell roughly 550 books to cover expenses. The Press needs to sell 150 more because of the added expense. Of course, once the 550 books are sold, the Press is making money because it is now in the black for this book. Again, the chance is this might not occur. So in this model, the author comes out ahead going with a Press, at least until the book sells a lot of copies. Even disregarding the minimum wage factor for a second, we see that at 400 books sold, the author has $70 and the Press has $70, but the Press is in the red by $29.

At any rate, no matter how you look at it, the author deserves minimum wage.

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So, the next time someone asks you why they should pay .99 for a great story, spout the facts.

It is about time authors started getting fair compensation for their work.

Blaze McRob

Sunday, June 18, 2017


 If you're looking for a big collection of holiday horror tales that cover the entire year and every holiday, Happy Bloody Whatever is for you. Terri DelCampo and I have 46 stories for your ghoulish pleasure. Yes, I realize that not every collection of short stories is this meaty. This tome is filled with the ooky and spooky you're accustomed to getting from Terri and me. You can read it once, and then go back again and again for your favorite holidays. Twelve months equals a lot of holidays. A lot of horror. You can read our free sample on Amazon and see if this tome suits your desire to engage in dark reading with the lights down low. That's the best way, I believe.

Enjoy every holiday, the Happy Bloody Whatever Way!

Don't forget, this being Father's Day, that we have some Father's Day stories in here as well.  

Blaze McRob



Confetti at New Year's brings meaning to death.
Murder of crows revenge does bequeath
Mass slaughter of family had to be done
Groundhog war on frackers has only begun.
The longer the noodle the longer the life.
Lincoln's tears avenge many decades of strife.
Funeral train glides along without tracks.
To save father and children a young ghost comes back.
Turning death into life calls for special seeds.
Easter eggs tell of mothers' harsh deeds.
Take caution when dating on April Fools' Day.
Mother earth finally has her own way.
Tree takes revenge on corrupt greedy ranger.
Killing killers can carry much danger.
A man just a bit too 'into' his mother.
Soldiers bring honor, one way or another.
President plays with toy soldiers that bleed.
Wipe your ass with the flag and ghosts punish your deeds.
A poacher sees to it his kids will survive.
A girl's selfish need leads to mourned suicide.
Even the angel of death meets defeat.
Wiping out traitors is a wizard's feat.
Fog brings death to green louie's team.
Violent waters with rats do teem.
Violent cult lord controls Clinton Road.
Evil murderer's showdown at cabin abode.
A stalker killer needs much preparation.
Some teachers require bratty libation.
Medicine man sends Columbus a-packing.
Beware a kid's bubblegum after a hacking.
Mother Nature gives thanks to her bees.
Turkeys bring Farmer McRob to his knees.
Elf barters gifts for naughty kid's meat.
This trading of wishes is so bittersweet.
Anniversary of slaughter kicks Vatican ass.
Marionette clown – heed my warning and pass.
How well do you know your partying friends?
Vamp vs Lycan celebrate to the end.
One star reviews end you up in a batter.
Christian rite turns into a whole different matter.
Popeye's deal gives grad party some strings.
Wedding crasher gives murderous bride a fling.
Father's duties trumped by mom's old wedding dress.
Satan's bride punishes hubby with zest.
Animals just cannot let their friend go.
Vincenta and Theone forever linked to Van Gogh.
Terri DelCampo and Blaze McRob
Bring holiday stories to make your heart throb
In anxious terror and dreadful fright
For every celebrant, day and night. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017


You really need to read The Damp Fedora, by Kate Pilarcik! She is one of the swellest moxie ladies around, bar none. She can light up a room without even being in it. Merely the mention of her name will do it. I've known Kate for quite some time now and have always been fascinated by her love of life, and her way with words, words which always remind me of great noir and hard-working gumshoes. I guarantee you will love this book.

Also, today is Kate's birthday! What could be better than to buy a gal's book on her special day? I just purchased mine on Smashwords.

Prepare yourself for a grand adventure as you step back into time, relax, and read this awesome book.

Blaze McRob

Book description:

THE DAMP FEDORA introduces 1940's detective Nelle Callahan, gal gumshoe with gumption, with a case that struts its stuff like the breeze off a good Narragansett sail. Brisk. Brash. Knowing where the wind's coming from, and yet … wondering. Nelle's job? Cut through some slick con's shadow, lift a corner of chintz off the mist, let some truth shine in for the chippies and the chopper squad — you know — menfolk who measure themselves by how big their tommy guns really are.

In this outing, Nelle finds herself helping a damp fedora wearing Harry — who's not a Harry — Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus, MLB pitcher Paul Katcher and her OSS handler-agent, none other than former White Sox catcher Moe Berg.

Praise for THE DAMP FEDORA …

"Original, distinctive, and quirky, there's something legendary about Kate's writing. 'Writing' doesn't fully describe the evocative prose, it sings off the page with the sultriness of a Hollywood starlet and raps with the cool of the Rat Pack. I can't decide if she carries her pen in a holster on her stockinged thigh or in a violin case alongside her Tommy gun." — Matt Hilton, author of the international bestseller Joe Hunter thrillers

"Fair warning — you are about to be enveloped by a whirlwind. A soft whirlwind of words and snappy pat-ter and hoods wide shouldering the front seat of mid-night sedans and a ball player on the outs and back ins and gats and tommyguns of the 45 persuasion ratatat-tating and the best cuppa joe in the world and a rock hard chunk of chocolate that ain't candy and Sinatra croonin' and Wind-song all over your mind and some secret and not-so-secret agents … and … and … and if this all sounds confusing, just keep in mind what Nelle Towse Callahan tells ya right out in front: 'Some-thing's up. Something always is.' Remember that and you'll be all right, bub. You will be exactly all right." — A.J. (Bill) Hayes, revered crime-noir author of our thriller times, who left us in shadows way too damn soon

5.0 out of 5 starsA Bit of Slight of Hand
on November 24, 2016
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
“A Bit of Slight of Hand.”

When we meet Nelle Callahan, she’s waiting in her office for a client when a fella walks in with a damp fedora on his head. Failing to give his name, he just says something is missing and wants her to find it. Well, Nelle says let’s cozy down to the Hill O’ Beans for a cup and Joe and discuss this case. From there things start happening and I do mean fast. Some mysterious fella is sitting in a back booth with a newspaper in front of his face, and Nelle tries to convince her new client to spill the beans – not the café’s beans, but his own. While this is going on a gangster walks in and demands protection money from the owner of the café/bar, but the owner tosses hot grease on him and Nelle shoots him in the leg. This is only for starters. Nelle makes an excuse to call a friend and the fella in the back booth attacks her – well, he lets her go real quick before she punches him out. He also has a case for her.

Well, any more and I’ll spoil the whole case for you. First, this is a fun novelette, written with humorous dialogue between fast action spurts. The author has a way with words that will make you smile, or even down right giggle a time or two. Nelle is an OSS agent, and being a private detective is a cover for other activities. In fact, this whole case could be labeled as one of her OSS cases, as the reader – or her clients – don’t see what’s coming before the cases are wrapped up. I found the story a lot of fun, especially the author’s writing. I was reminded a bit of an older pulp series character by the name of Dorrit Bly that appeared in the late 1940’s issues of DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY. Dorrit Bly was an ex Army G2 agent, and had a photographic memory and was highly intelligent. After the war she couldn’t get a license as a private detective, so had to do other things. She met a fumbling gentleman office worker who dreamed of being a detective, but didn’t have the mind for it, so Bly did the investigation using him as a front man and foil. She also was witty and solved the cases for her male counterpart. The author of the series was Frank Bunce. Nelle Callahan is in the same mold of the earlier series, and I think the reader, and especially pulp fans, will find Kate Pilarcik’s writing a delight. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5starsNot since Chandler
on October 7, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Friday, June 16, 2017


Notice the two handsome guys above with the manly beards. They look like normal, cheerful lads. It's all a façade. Zack Kullis, the young guy, and Blaze McRob, the old fart, write some nasty tales of horror. Club Blaze, coming out soon, will show you just how nasty.

Club Blaze, published by Arcane Whispers Press, is in the final stages now. Zack Kullis, owner and publisher of Arcane Whispers Press, and yours truly, will be co-authoring this bad boy of extreme horror.

Nothing is sacred in this tome. The world is filled with horrific bastards. You will find out about them when you read Club Blaze. This collection of short stories will be novel length. Read a tale or more before you go to sleep for the night. Sleep is over-rated anyway. Make certain you have plenty of fresh linens for your bed because cold sweat will permeate every fiber of your sheets. Your mind will shudder in fear, while at the same time begging that you read more.

Get ready, those who lurk in the dark!

Blaze McRob

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Monster Brawl, from Sirens Call Publications. Read about monsters killing other monsters! Great stories from super authors. Twelve in all. Read. Enjoy. What's not to love? Find some new monsters to love or hate!

Blaze McRob 

Book description:

It's time to let the monsters loose!

For this book, we collected stories of monsters doing epic battle with other monsters! The beasts could be classical by design with a unique twist, or they could be spawned straight from the author's imagination. The only rule: there must be a clear-cut winner at the end of each story; one of the creatures had to die!

Some of the stories in this collection pit a single monster against another, while others are all-out gang warfare. Some are campy, some serious, but all a fight for the ages!

It's time to get your game face on for twelve tales worthy of the title Monster Brawl!

**No monsters were hurt in the writing of these stories**

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


There has been a lot of controversy lately with artists of all kinds, and that includes authors, of not being politically correct. I have been wondering about that myself. I've been reading a lot of Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler detective novels lately and find that they were not kind to various races and sexual preferences. Probably, they would not be written the same today. However, they were a product of their times - 30's, 40's, and 50's for the most part - and that's the way people were in those times. Their stories were honest representations of the way many folks thought and spoke back then.

Mark Twain was often chastised for his use of certain words in his writings. Some were on and off the banned list because of his use of the N word. Once again, Twain wrote in the vernacular of the day.

One point to get straightened out before I go any farther, I do not in any way show disrespect to anyone based on any part of who they are. It's not my style. I believe we're all equal. But, should I present a story full of fluff to my readers, one that has been watered down to the point where it is comparable to Dick And Jane? No. No matter what an author writes, someone will find fault with it.

So, what is an author to do? First of all, write what you want to write. Be true to yourself, and, as Stephen King says, never censor yourself. Use real words. The thoughts are yours. Don't pollute them according to what other people think.  

Zack Kullis and I have a collection of extreme horror coming up soon: Club Blaze. I believe there are tales in this tome that will piss off many people. But, it's our book and we wrote it as we wanted to. No holds barred; no punches held back. Many, people, I'm sure, will love it. Others, not so much. Does it matter? No. There's a lot of shit going on in the world. Evil stuff. We write about that. That's our job. To write in any other way would tell the world we're fakes, writing to the ever changing climate of social justice.

Probably some time next year, I will be writing some hard-boiled detective stories. I love the genre. Always have. Which way I go, as far as the language is concerned, depends upon the time frame I put it in. I remember many of the areas of New York City which Spillane wrote about. I was born in the forties and remember the street language in the fifties and early sixties. Obviously, going along with what I wrote above, my wording would have to be true to those times, if that's my choice of setting and time. I might decide on post-Vietnam days in Oregon and Colorado. Those were entirely different times. I lived those days and remember them well. All of them. That comes with life experience. And since I never forget anything and hold a grudge forever, I will be certain to vent a lot. I'm entitled. It's my book.

So, my friends, if you write a book you love, others will love it too. Not everyone, but that doesn't matter. Your story will come from your soul and will ring true.

Happy writing!

Blaze McRob