Taking a Chance. Giving the Books Away.

I often wonder whether the ball spinning beneath our feet is actually the good earth or a giant roulette wheel daring us to take a chance, beat the odds, go for broke, or sit back, hope for the best, and keep our feet set firmly on square one.

Life is constantly changing.

Sometimes for the good.

Sometimes for the bad.

Everything's a gamble in life.

But one way or the other, we must change with it.  As far as I’m concerned, Yankee catcher Yogi Berra remains as the greatest of the modern-day philosophers. He said, “When you come to a fork in the road take it.”

There is no right way.

No wrong way.

But – whichever fork you choose to take, or even if you plow stubbornly straight ahead – it may take years to find out if you made the wisest choice.

My idea about my life and my profession has always been profoundly simple.

Make a decision.

Go with it.

And figure out a way to make it happen on the dead run.

Don’t ever look back. That’s what Satchel Paige, the great black pitcher of old, always said, “Don’t ever look back. It may be gaining on you.”

“What might be gaining on you?”

“Don’t know,” he said.

“Why not?”

“I never looked back,” he said.

I have never minded taking chances or changing directions on the fly. I always hated the easy way. It never took me anywhere, at least anywhere I wanted to go. I always hated the short odds. I’ve been to a lot of horse races in my time and never once bet on the favorite. I would rather bet two dollars on a horse that pays 25 to 1 and lose than bet on a favorite with 2-1 odds and win.

No risk.

No reward.

And that brings me to the intriguing, frustrating, demanding, tantalizing, and soul-searching illusion of independent book publishing and marketing.

Having been around a long time and written a lot of books, I always thought that the object of the game was to sell them.

No, I’m told.

That’s wrong.

You can’t sell any books until you give away a few thousand or so, pump up the book movement on Amazon, pull yourself as high up on the rankings as you can go, then book buyers will discover you and determine that you just might a legitimate author with a dynamite book. And who knows? You may even sell a few.

It doesn’t make sense to me.

But neither do algorithms, and those who understand computer jargon much better than I say it’s necessary to get in there and manipulate the algorithms in the belly of the beast, known as Kindle Direct Publishing.

So here I am.

Not convinced but willing to take a chance.

On Thursday, April 5, my new novel in eBook format, PLACE OF SKULLS, will be given away in Amazon’s Kindle store.

The book represents a year of my life.

It represents the thousands of hours I spent writing thousands of words to replace the thousands of words I threw away.

And it’s free.

The log line of the novel says it all: “A man with no known name or memory battles a rogue CIA agent and drug lords in the high desert of Arizona to uncover a religious artifact that, if proven true, will change the face of Christianity forever.”

I’m taking a chance on giving it away.

Hopefully, you’ll take a chance on reading it.

I may even order one myself.

If nothing else, the price is right.


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