The World of Genesis Endeavor

The “Blurb” for a book is meant to draw in a reader and get them to buy the book, but it has to be short and to the point.  How do you describe a world with a rich history in just a couple short sentences and still leave room to tell the reader what the story itself is about?  Frankly, you can’t, so I wanted to take a moment to explain the setting for the series, Genesis Endeavor.  This is all revealed over time in the books, but it is a minor spoiler, background history that Jack Taggart will learn in the first part of “The Freezer”.

The History:

In 2012, the next world war began.  Over the next few years, it escalated from military actions to full on war fronts and culminated in an all out nuclear strike. Although the nations survived, they were each severely crippled and living on a planet nearly destroyed by powers they never should have used.  Now driven by revenge and a desperation to end the conflicts once and for all, biological weapons were deployed, and human life was culled down from billions to less than a million.

For the next century, humanity was set back a thousand years, living in a medieval world where only the strong survive.  The world had evolved and left humans behind.  Everything living saw people as food, and with resources so scarce, even fellow humans would sooner kill you for what you have than try to help.  Religion was gone from the world, after all it seemed God had abandoned people.  Some communities rose from the ashes but in desperation anyone with enough to live on was a target and the communities would all fall.

Then seeming to come out of nowhere, a new city sprung up out of the wasteland, run by scientists who had old world technology and the resources to rebuild.  Within a few decades cities grew wildly to eclipse even the greatest civilizations in all of history in every way but population.  They were called the Enclaves of Science and the rules were simple: contribute or get out.  Your contribution was the ticket to a comfortable and safe life and the alternative was trying to survive in the wild, a place not just filled with radioactive waste and devastation, but danger around every corner.  It was a cold world, devoid of any sanctity for life.  But when the founders of the Enclaves found themselves unable to contribute, they faced the very fate they had set up for their people.  The Churches were born and God came back into people’s lives, promising eternal happiness to those who give more than they consume.  Life became sacred, something you can’t throw away just because the person can no longer work. The founders were now safe to retire and enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

With any religion, there are always fanatics, and one group decided humanity should have never risen from the ashes.  They created a biological time bomb and unleashed it on all the known world – a virus that removes the genes responsible for virility in men.  By the time the Scientists of the Enclave figured out what happened it was too late: their male children were all sterile and humankind was doomed.  With no future, the now great civilization devolved into chaos and the cities fell.

A few scientists saw this coming and did their best to prepare, retreating from the cities as they fell to start again.  But the few men they took with them who had shown immunity to the virus and could still produce offspring didn’t always pass the immunity on to their kids.  So a very small percentage of male children would be virile themselves.  It looked like the human species was doomed if they couldn’t find a cure soon.  Due to some major advances in cloning technology, these leaders were able to extend their efforts by several lifetimes, spending over a century and a half renewing themselves and key community members in effort to keep the spark alive.  The gene pool was too thin, the successful birth rate of virile men too low, and each community thought they were the most qualified to lead humans back to a sustainable population.  It didn’t look good.

The Books:

The first book, “The Freezer” opens at this point in the world.  The hero, Jack Taggart, goes under for surgery in 1966 and wakes up over three centuries later. His first challenge is to figure out how this happened and to learn of what the world suffered after his death.  When he begins to understand how important the Freezer is to humanity, he uses all his skill and knowledge from a lifetime as a military soldier, officer, and logistics expert in an attempt to secure the assets hidden in the depths of this 20th century military bunker.

The second book, “Immortal” picks up a few months after “The Freezer”.  Jack discovers one of his old friends was stored in the Freezer, but his remains are missing, which means there is a thief loose in New Hope.  Before he can address the situation, he finds himself the target of a plot to end the involvement of the Reborn in bringing humankind back from the precipice of extinction.  Furthermore, the missing remains could be the key to finding an even greater resource than the Freezer.  If Jack can avoid the wrath of those looking to take him down, maybe he can secure the future of his species once and for all.



Immortal, Genesis Endeavor volume 2.

I have finally completed my next novel!  It is available on Amazon in eBook form and the paperback will be available in the coming days.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and I hope it lives up to what my readers were expecting!  The chapter I posted a few months ago ended up as the Prologue and a new Chapter 1 was written.  You can get a ~40 page preview at the above link.

As with all my books, it is available through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime Books for borrowing for free!  (I actually get a larger royalty for a full read through the borrow program than from a sale!)  To use Amazon Prime, you have to use an actual Kindle device (ie Kindle, Paperwhite, or Fire tablet) and search for the book there.  You will have the option to borrow it for free as a Prime member.

Although I don’t want to commit to anything, I am currently planning both a third full volume in this series as well as possibly doing some short prequel books covering both the early wars and the fall of the Enclaves of Science!Immortal_Cover_Small

Genesis Endeavor book 2 update and sample!

Quite a few people ask me how the next book is coming along and usually my answer is simply, “good!”  Here is a little more depth to that answer.

I started writing the second book about a week after finishing the first draft of The Freezer.  I didn’t get far into it before writing in general ended up on the back burner for several years.  When I finally decided to dedicate the time to finishing and publishing The Freezer, I dusted off the old file for book 2 and took a look at what I had.  It was good and I spent a little time refreshing my memory on where I wanted to go with it.  Since then I have added about 50,000 words to this manuscript and I am a little more than halfway done.  I have about 90% of the story written in my head, but putting down another 50,000+ words takes time.

I did hit a big roadblock, however.  Two months ago I had surgery on my right arm and wrist.  I didn’t expect how much it would affect my ability to type.  I am back to about 90% usability of my right hand, and now I can type for more than a few minutes without pain.  Unfortunately, between the summer days calling me outside, my day job, my family, and my other hobbies, trying to get back into writing after so long of a break is proving to be challenging.  I am dedicated to getting this book finished, however, so for those waiting to read the next book, I hope to have something out before Christmas, possibly sooner.  I just re-read the first 10 chapters and made some big changes to one that had been bothering me, and I have to say I am quite happy with the story as it is developing.  I am introducing a lot of new elements to the world I created in The Freezer as well as bringing back all the characters you enjoyed in the first book.

Here is an unedited sample of the first chapter of the new book.  I don’t have an official title yet, but I have been toying with the idea of calling it “The Unborn”.  This first chapter is not a spoiler for those who have not read the first book, just a glimpse of the next saga in The Genesis Endeavor.  Enjoy!

Chapter 1

A snowflake settled on the lacquered casket, the first of many. Black umbrellas quietly opened without disturbing the Eulogy being delivered. Phil didn’t bother to bring an umbrella. It wasn’t that he hadn’t expected snow, quite the contrary. Rain or snow seemed normal at a funeral, almost a requirement for the ritual of mourning to be complete. Weddings should be sunny and warm; funerals should be overcast and cold. When it was the other way around, things didn’t seem right. His fedora was enough protection from the wet snowfall.

A snowflake landed on his cheek, adding to the moisture already there. He was the only man here not swallowing his tears. Even Jack was holding back. Maybe he doesn’t have any left to give, he thought, feeling a fresh wave of sorrow through his heart. Nobody should have to bury their own child.

The turnout was a larger than Phil expected. Jack spent most of his spare time with Jenny and their daughter, not leaving much room for friends. As far as he knew, their only socializing involved him and Barb. He hadn’t expected to see more than Jenn’s mother, Mabel, her farmhands, and perhaps a few neighborhood women Jenn socialized with during the day. Yet the graveside ceremony was crowded, reflecting the respect so many people had for Jack.

One face stood out in the crowd. The man’s full military dress would have caught anyone’s eye, especially against the sea of black dressed mourners, but there were other military men here and even the General’s large array of shiny adornments weren’t what caught Phil’s eye. His very presence here felt disrespectful to Phil. Surely the man wasn’t using such a solemn occasion to meet for business. He resolved to avoid the General today; whatever the man needed to talk about could wait until tomorrow.

When the second casket finished its final descent the crowd slowly dispersed. Phil stuck around, quietly waiting for the funeral attendees to leave. He knew most of them, but there would be time to socialize at the reception. He purposefully didn’t make eye contact with the General as the man left. Jack stood at the smaller grave, staring at the casket down in the hole. Not wanting to rush him, Phil walked over and put a hand on the man’s shoulder. “Jack, take all the time you need, I’ll be in the car with Barb.” Jack nodded but never looked up.

In the back seat of the limousine, Barb was still sobbing. There was nothing to say; it was a time for silent reflection. He took her hand and held it, patiently waiting for Jack to come to terms with the double funeral.


There wasn’t enough room for all the food, let alone the guests who occupied nearly every inch of the living room and kitchen. Unaffected by the pallor of grief in the house, a few children weaved their way through the adults, bored and looking for something to keep them occupied.

The condensed moisture on the windows sparkled with sunlight, spraying golden rays through the haze of tobacco smoke. Making its first appearance of the day, the sun managed to draw some of the guests out into the yard, relieving the congestion in the house. Phil made his way through the rooms, making small talk with each small group of people, even shaking a few hands and thanking them for coming. He spotted Mabel, sitting alone in the living room, and empty chair nearby. He grabbed it, pulling it over next to her then sat down. “Mabel, can I get you anything?”

She looked up at him, managing to put a fake smile on her heavily lined face. She wasn’t very old, he recalled, barely in her fifties. After burying her daughter and grand-daughter, however, she could have passed for eighty. “No thank you, Phil. This is a wonderful reception. I can’t thank you and your wife enough for the help. It’s been a difficult week.”

“Come on, Mabel, you did most of the work, we barely got the opportunity to help.” The compliment brought another fake smile. “If there’s anything I can do for you, please, don’t hesitate to ask.” He started to rise, not expecting a response.

“Actually, Phil, there’s one thing.” He sat back down, giving her his full attention. “Take care of Jack. He’s really hurting and doesn’t want me around to remind him of Jenn and Ally. He may try to act strong, but this could destroy him, and it wouldn’t be fair if that happened. He’s a good man.”

Phil swallowed a few times, holding back the tears that welled to the surface. Clearing his throat, he said, “I promise you, Mabel, I’ll be there for him. Don’t you worry, though; he’ll come around and realize he needs people like you in his life.” Her smile reached her eyes this time.

When they had arrived at the house, Jack had headed upstairs to his room without a word, ignoring his guests. He had yet to make an appearance. Phil noticed a couple heading for the door and decided it was time to get Jack down here to at least acknowledge some of the fine people who had come to pay their respects.

Heading toward the stairs, he tried to pass the General and his entourage unnoticed. Despite his efforts, the General spotted him and called out, “Phil, can I have a word with you?”

He let out a sigh. As he had feared since first spotting him at the burial, the tone in the man’s voice suggested he had business to discuss. Impatiently he said, “Can it wait until Monday? I was just heading up to convince Jack to come down here before all his guests left.”

The General put his arm around Phil’s shoulders, guiding him toward the front door. “This will just take a moment.”

The air was brisk but not too bad for early January. He pulled his wool jacket close and watched his breath turn to fog as he said, “What can I do for you, Ed?” The General shot him a look of annoyance, probably at the lack of formality and respect in Phil’s tone. Phil pretended not to notice. He didn’t have to pretend not to care.

Narrowing his eyes at the slight, the General said, “Before you jump to any conclusions, let me say I did show up here out of respect for Jack, not to do business. I still need a quick word.” Looking across the street to an empty park, he said, “Walk with me.” It wasn’t a request, and he didn’t wait to see if Phil would follow.

As the sole owner of his contracting firm, Phil was his own boss. Unfortunately, most of his business came from the military, and that meant he couldn’t just blow off the General. Even so, he nearly turned back to the reception, regardless of the consequences.

“How do you think Jack’s holding up?”

Rolling his eyes and following, he responded, “Well, his wife and child died less than a week ago, how do you think he is?”

Again unfazed by the sarcasm, the General said, “I can’t imagine how difficult that would be to go through. I have three children of my own, and even now that they’re grown up, I can’t imagine losing one of them.”

“Jack’s a strong person, he’ll get through it. If you’re worried about how this will affect the job, don’t be. He already offered to be at work tomorrow, but even with him taking a few weeks off to grieve we will meet our timeline.”

Finally the General stopped, the look of irritation on his face suggested he was no longer going to ignore Phil’s insolent tone. “Did you ever wonder why I told you to hire Jack when he retired?”

Phil shrugged, “I figured you wanted an experienced man who was good at quickly cutting through all the military bureaucracy running these projects.”

“Did Jack ever tell you about how he became an officer?”

“Yeah, something about covering up for an idiot colonel who eventually returned the favor by nominating him for OCS. Why?”

“That idiot colonel is my son.” Whoops. Phil looked off in the distance, not wanting to make eye contact at the moment. “Don’t worry, I know he isn’t the brightest boy, but every father wants to see his children succeed. When Jack covered for my son and kept a potentially career ending mistake off the records, I was the one who pulled the strings to get him into Officer Candidate School. See, that was my way of thanking him for his discretion. However, I never got the opportunity to thank him for saving my son’s life that day. For that I’m eternally grateful and have the utmost respect for the man.” He paused, allowing his words to sink in. “Despite your dislike for me Phil, at least give me the benefit of the doubt for why I’m here.”

Phil felt a pang of guilt. “My apologies, General.” However, he wasn’t about to let the General off the hook that easily. “So why am I standing in the middle of a park and not tending to my grieving friend?”

“I needed to have a discrete word with you, away from certain ears. When I spotted you inside it dawned on me that we wouldn’t have a better opportunity.”

Despite his annoyance, this piqued Phil’s interest. “Go on.”

“There’s another job, and I want your crew to do it.”

“We just started the one here.”

“I understand, this will take some time to plan, and the sooner we start planning, the better.”

“And what makes this different from any other job?”

“Well, aside from me and a couple other Generals, the military won’t be aware of this one. We need to keep it that way.”

This came as a surprise. What other interests could the General be serving? “Who’s funding it then?”

The General laughed. “The military.”

“I’m confused, Ed. What are you saying?”

“I’m saying we’re putting together a very large project, funded with money Congress earmarked for defense, but without anyone’s knowledge.”

Several alarms went off in his head. The last thing he wanted was to get involved with anything illegal. “You’re going to need to be a little less cryptic here, General.”

“I can’t offer a whole lot at this time, but I can tell you this much: the project is coming from the NSA, and despite not even the President knowing of its existence, it is perfectly legal.”

The wind picked up, cutting through the heavy wool jacket. He shivered and said, “Before we start talking specifics, I’ll need a little more reassurance before we get started.”

“I understand, don’t worry about that part now. We need to establish a way to discuss this outside regular channels. I’m pretty sure my office isn’t being watched, but I don’t want to take any chances. I can almost guarantee the NSA watches you closely, and wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that other agencies were keeping an eye on you and maybe even tapping your phones.”

None of this surprised Phil. When a civilian is privy to as many secrets as he is, someone is going to be making sure he isn’t talking to the Russians. It didn’t bother him all that much, they paid him very well and he didn’t have anything to hide from his government. “What do you suggest?”

The General smiled. “How about an occasional trip to Las Vegas?”

Phil chuckled. “I can make that work. Barb loves playing the slots. When do we go?”

“I think next month would be good. I’ll have all the initial information ready to go. This is going to be huge, Phil. I mean it will make the project here look like you’re playing in the sand at the beach. The money will be good too, the kind of money you could retire comfortably on.”

Boosting sales for your eBook

As of this blog entry, there are over 3.4 million eBooks available on Amazon. Each week, approximately 20,000 new eBooks are added.  If you publish an eBook as an unknown author, you will quickly learn just how invisible you are to the millions of customers who visit Amazon each day.  Even with a good book cover, a blurb that intrigues the customer, and a story that can hook the reader immediately, more than likely you won’t see more than a few sales unless you can figure out a way to promote your book in a way that leads to lasting sales.

I’m not trying to sell some surefire method for successfully marketing an eBook.  In fact, I’m not selling anything other than my book, The Freezer, so you can take this article however you want.  What works for one person may utterly fail for the next.  I suppose you could say that this article is more about what generally works best, and specifically about what has worked best for me.  I am far from a professional when it comes to marketing, but I have learned quite a bit about promoting eBooks both from personal experience and from what others have shared.  Hopefully this article will help other struggling authors to improve their sales.

Amazon sells approximately 5.4 BILLION dollars in books each year, 30% of which are eBooks.  I don’t know the average price of an eBook exactly, but if I were to guess, I would say it is right around $3.00 each.  That would mean approximately 1,400,000 eBooks are sold EACH DAY!  In other words, the market is nearly infinite compared to the few customers you have reached, so you are just looking for a way to catch the attention of those millions of customers.  You could spend thousands of dollars on advertisements trying to catch their eye, but books are a low price sale that yields low dollar per unit returns, so you can’t afford to spend even a few dollars to get one sale.  In order to remain profitable, you simply have to find a way to put it in front of those customers for as little money as you can.

You might think social media would be the best way to accomplish this, and to some extent that is true.  However, social media is fast paced, and even a post that goes viral is forgotten within a short period of time.  Unless you have a half million followers, chances are your efforts at exposure will only reach a few thousand people at best, only a fraction of who will be looking to buy your book.  In the long run, social media is more important because you’re building a brand name and looking to add followers to your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, but unfortunately, in the short term it won’t do much to improve immediate sales.

On the other hand, word of mouth is perhaps the most effective way of getting sales from exposure.  See, books take a long time to read, and nobody wants to spend several hours of their life only to be disappointed.  Readers also don’t want to spend a lot of money on a book they aren’t sure will be good, so even if you can put your book in front of them, they may be hesitant to buy it just because they’ve never heard of you as an author.  But if a friend recommends a book to them, they now have a trusted source telling them it is worth their time and money.  So all you have to do is get your book in front of a LOT of people so they can spread the word for you, right?  Of course, if you knew how to get a lot of sales in a short period of time, you wouldn’t be here reading this article.

EBooks don’t cost anything to make, so it goes to follow that you can give away a lot of books for free at no cost to you, and what better way to get books in front of readers than by giving them away?  Unfortunately, it turns out that giving away a book for free is not all that effective when it comes to boosting sales in the short or long term.  See, if you offer your book for free, a lot of people might download it, but most of them do so simply because it was free, not because they were passionate about that genre or interested in your story.  If they ever actually read it, they may even hate it for no other reason than they don’t like that kind of book!  In fact, most of the people looking to get books for free will automatically assume it is of lower quality (See my last blog post, “You Get What You Pay For”.)  If they don’t see much value in it, they probably aren’t going to tell their friends about it, and more likely they will just be telling their friends where to get other free books.  After all, these aren’t people who like to spend money on things, so why would they tell their friends to spend money?  To make matters worse, usually readers who get free books don’t leave reviews, and if they do it is just as likely to be a bad review because they didn’t really like that type of book to begin with and the only reason they read it was because it was free!  So while you might reach a lot of people with a free giveaway, it usually doesn’t benefit you to do so (unless you have a lot of books in a series that aren’t free, but that is something I’ll cover later.)

On the other hand, discounting your book can lead to more sales.  At a discount, the reader is still paying for your book, so while they got a good deal, they still perceive a greater value and will take the time to spend their money wisely.  These readers are the ones you want to reach because if they like what you wrote, they will tell their friends and family.

So you put your book out for a discount, but the original problem still exists:  you are invisible on Amazon.  Now what?  Well, there are a number of really good websites that will advertise your discounted book.  Some are very inexpensive, and some are not.  BookBub is considered the best.  They’re expensive, but they have a mailing list of millions of active readers.  Furthermore, they focus their discount book lists on what their subscribers want.  For example, if I could run a Sci-Fi ad for The Freezer, I would reach about a million readers interested specifically in discounted Sci-Fi books.  The average Sci-Fi book advertised for one day on BookBub at 99 cents will sell 1500 times!  Unfortunately it is very difficult to get accepted (they turn away about 80% of all submissions) and if you do get in, it is expensive so you have to sell a lot of books to pay for it.  The upside is even if you only break even on your ad, you have hundreds or even thousands of books out there in the hands of paying customers, and some of them will spread the word.  Most authors who have tried BookBub had several weeks or even months of greatly increased sales following their promotion.  Most of the top Independent Authors on Amazon can attribute some (or all) of their success to BookBub.

If you can’t get into BookBub, there are several other sites who will advertise similarly, although the next best ones down the list are 1/10th the size or less.  Ereader News Today (ENT) is probably the second largest with about 100k mail list subscribers.  They also have almost a half million Facebook followers, but I found that the Facebook posts aren’t nearly as effective as the mailers.  As I mentioned earlier, usually Facebook and Twitter posts get buried too fast to get great exposure.  I ran an ENT ad last month during a 99 cent promotion and around 200 sales could be attributed to the ad.  It was a mere $15, about 25 times less than a BookBub ad.  There aren’t too many sites that will give you as good of a return as BB or ENT, but you can still hit several of them during a promotion and get good results.  I used ENT, BookSends, and Fussy Librarian for my last promotion (over 3 days), sold around 370 books at 99 cents (total advertising cost of $61), and increased my sales for the next 5 weeks by over 250% from before the ad.  In the first 80 days my book was on the market, I sold about 340 copies.  In the next 45 days after that promotion, I sold another 700!

So finding companies like BookBub and ENT who have readers subscribed to newsletters is the most effective way of promoting a discounted book, and the effects can last for a long time.  But what then?

Well, my strategy has been to continue to try to get my book exposed to new customers and keep the momentum of sales going until my next big promo or until my next book is out.  You can’t advertise on places like ENT or BB every month.  In fact, even if you can get your book on their site, you can’t repeat that for another 90 days at the least, and even then you will be hitting the same audience, so it will not be quite as effective the next time around.  So every week or two I try to get some kind of exposure, preferably on a Friday because people like to buy books on Friday for the weekend.  Without a price promotion, the places that will advertise my book don’t show fantastic results, but exposure works, so even if I get 10 sales from an ad, I might get 5 or 10 more in the following week on top of my regular sales.  At regular price, 20 sales is like 90 sales during a 99 cent promotion, and being in Kindle Select, I get a lot of borrows from these promotions as well!  Mostly though, I’m waiting for the next opportunity to run a 99 cent promotion, and if I can’t get accepted at BookBub, I will hit a half dozen or so of the smaller sites to see if I can get another big boost in sales.

Every author who has been around for a while will tell you that the real secret to becoming successful is to write more books.  Books have a shelf life (pardon the pun) and even a wildly successful book will show lower returns each year.  But it goes far beyond just refreshing what you’re writing and keeping your sales up.  Readers love to read books that are in a series and in many cases will avoid single books, particularly in popular fiction genres.  For an avid reader, single books are a lose/lose situation – even a good one means they have to look for another author when they’re done and that means taking another chance at mediocrity and disappointment.

Here is what has propelled most of the top Indie authors to the top:  Combine the two strategies.  Write more books, preferably in a series.  Promote your first at a discount to gain readership, and those who love your book will not only spread the word, but also buy your other books in the series at regular price!  Now you have a win/win situation!  For some, as I mentioned earlier, free promotions on the first book can be very successful if you have several books in a series, but this is not a guarantee and it is just as likely the free promotions will result in bad reviews as in more sales.  Some successful authors swear by it and some just swear about it.

I didn’t title this post “Marketing your eBook” because there is more to marketing than just promoting and selling.  Marketing is about making your book appeal to as many customers as possible.  Perhaps I will write a post in the future about the basics of marketing your book.  Even with good marketing and the promotion techniques I describe above, if your writing isn’t great you probably won’t sell very much.  If that is the case, you’re far better off working on those issues before you try to get your work in front of a large audience of customers.  However, if you think you have a good product and you really believe in it, the two most effective things you can do to achieve higher sales are writing more books and doing discount promotions to get that first book in front of the largest audience you can.  Good Luck!

You get what you pay for

I’m a frugal individual. While I firmly believe that you get what you pay for, it doesn’t mean you can’t spend the time to shop for the best value for your money. So these days when I am going to buy something, I take my time, find the balance between quality and price, read the reviews, and then find the least expensive place to buy the product I’m after.

I wasn’t always this way, in fact I used to just be plain cheap. If I needed a vacuum cleaner, I would buy the cheapest vacuum cleaner I could find. Hell, I would hit the garage sales and see if I could find one for just a few dollars. This was before Craigslist of course, and if I were the same now as when I was young, I could probably find one for free. Cheaper is better, as long as it works. At least that was how I felt about things.

Unfortunately, I got lucky once in a while, which perpetuated that notion. I found that vacuum cleaner that worked better than any vacuum cleaner I had ever owned. Not only was it reliable and worked well, I only paid a few dollars for it. So if a $3 vacuum was every bit as good as the $200 model at the store, why should I pay $30 for a steak when I could get one for $5 that was “just as good”? And why should I buy a $40,000 luxury car when my $5,000 Toyota was every bit as reliable?

The problem, of course, is you usually get what you pay for, and eventually I found myself “saving” money at the cost of getting a product that failed to do what I needed, or just didn’t live up to my desires. Most of the time a $3 vacuum cleaner is going to suck, and not in a good way. Your $5 steak is probably a half inch thick and served with au jus to cover up the fact that it really tastes like a piece of old shoe leather. And that $5,000 Toyota is a great vehicle if all you care about is getting from point A to point B, but once you drive that $40,000 luxury car for a while, getting in that $5,000 Toyota feels like getting into a toy go-cart.

So I decided that sometimes if you want to be wise with your money and get what you want the first time, you have to spend a little more. Being frugal means I don’t spend what I don’t need to spend, but I can still have some of the finer things in life.

When buying a book, I am the same way. I tend to go for the authors I am either familiar with or were recommended to me by someone who I know has the same taste in books as I do. If I can’t find something new by one of those authors, I will shop around a little and do some research. In the end, I am willing to spend $10-$15 on a mass marketed eBook or $4-$5 on an independently published eBook. I am okay with that because chances are good the book will meet my needs and expectations.   (Indie authors don’t have to pay off the agent, publisher, editor, or marketer, so they can make more per book and sell for less.)

There is a growing trend for independent authors to publish their works on Amazon and just give them away for free. Amazon doesn’t normally allow this, but some other eBook publishers do, so these authors publish on other outlets for free then request Amazon to price match the book. This is allowed with Amazon because like any retailer, it is a “loss leader”. A lot of free books will attract buyers to purchase Kindle devices so they can take advantage of all the free books. Of course, like any loss leader, the free product is usually inferior and underwhelming. The authors claim to just want people to read their books. This is all well and good, but you have to ask yourself, if the author is doing this for free, how much time and effort will they put into making it a good book that is worth your time to read?

Writing a book is not an easy task. It takes many hours (sometimes many hundreds) to write even a first draft, and often twice that to edit that story for content and then grammar. Then there is formatting it properly, coming up with a good cover and blurb, and finally marketing the finished book. My book is around 160,000 words, about 400 pages in a typical mass market paperback size (318 pages in my larger 6”x9” paperback), and took me well over 1000 hours to write and edit. There aren’t many people who will willingly spend a thousand hours of their life creating something they just want to give away for free.

It is true, sometimes these hobbyist authors are extremely capable writers who take pride in putting out a good product but just want to write and have people read their works. Sometimes they are using free giveaway promotions to generate interest and hopefully sell some books by word of mouth when they raise the price back up to normal. And sometimes an author with an entire series of books will set the first one to free so readers will get hooked and want to buy the other books in the series. However, these are the exception – the garage sale vacuum cleaners that actually work well.

Currently Amazon has around 1.4 million eBooks available, with 20,000 new eBooks being added every week. While you could correctly point out that pricing doesn’t guarantee quality with any product, in general you do get what you pay for. That being said, will you spend several hours of your life hoping a free book will turn out to be worth the time to read, or play the odds and spend a few dollars on what is more likely to be a well-rounded product?

Utopia or Dystopia?

While a Utopia is an idealistic society where everything is perfect, a Dystopia would be the opposite; a miserable place where nobody is happy and everyone is oppressed. In fiction, the Dystopian Story has been around for centuries, but in recent years has risen to be one of the most popular genres. The formula is simple: Take a society that is miserable and oppressed and have a hero rise to break free from that oppression, usually returning to free everyone. I can’t argue that it doesn’t make for a good story, but as a fan and author of Post-Apocalyptic fiction, I also can’t help but wonder at what really defines a Dystopia. It might seem simple since they are opposites, but I believe the line is not so clear.

In my book, ‘The Freezer’, I have created what could easily be considered a Utopian setting. Here is a community that is well protected, has a bountiful supply of food, water, shelter, and energy. The people are healthy, free from disease, and if they are near death can even clone themselves to continue their lives. In comparison to the rest of the scarred world, they are living in luxury. Beyond survival and maintaining their existence, they have an ulterior purpose: to repopulate the earth with humans. The need to procreate has created a culture in which sex is as common as a handshake, and the result is absolute acceptance of sex in everyday life. Everyone shares themselves with everyone else, not just in carnal terms, but in every aspect, from work to play.   In a Post- Apocalyptic world where everything is about hardship and survival, these people are living in the closest thing to a Utopian community one could imagine.

Then I introduce the ‘Reborn’ into this society. The Reborn grew up in a world where sex was something you kept exclusively between two people, barely accepted outside the bedroom. They are people who did not grow up in a desolate and scorched world, struggling to simply keep humanity from becoming extinct. In their world, they were free to travel, settle where they desired, and to pursue happiness however they saw fit; a freedom they and their forefathers fought and gave their lives to protect. Now they are thrown into a world where they have no real choices. They are under pressure to copulate, and while at first this might seem great to some, eventually moral and religious issues will create untenable situations. The native population will see them as outsiders, and in some cases treat them as inferior people. But they can’t leave, and they don’t have a say in what they should be allowed to do on their own. To many of the Reborn, this community is an oppressive Dystopia.

The lines between the two are blurry; more a matter of relativity and philosophy than anything else. People will always disagree, based on all the criteria that make up their culture and individual personalities. Human beings are not capable of being perfect, which is why a Utopia is defined as an idealistic but imaginary place.

As for the Genesis Endeavor, I will continue to show the perspective of the characters introduced in The Freezer as well as introduce new characters and show how they view their world. Ultimately, it will be up to you, the reader, to decide what kind of society these people have created.

Genesis Endeavor

Since this is my first blog post, I figured I would talk about the meaning behind the title of my first book series, “Genesis Endeavor”.

In literal terms, “Genesis” refers to the beginning, a creation, or a birth.  “Endeavor” is basically an effort, whether used as a verb or a noun.  So a “Genesis Endeavor” could easily mean the beginning of a great effort.  While this literal translation certainly fits my story, it isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

I think of “Genesis” as the creation of something, and in this case, it is the creation of mankind.  However, mankind already exists in my story and is on the verge of extinction, so in effect, “Genesis” is referring to a rebirth, a revitalization, and a new beginning.

An “Endeavor” usually involves a journey of some kind.  Not necessarily a journey measured in distance, but rather a journey to attain knowledge, experience, enlightenment, or even something as simple as a material object.  A journey means overcoming challenges, and striving to reach a goal.

In my mind, the Genesis Endeavor is a journey toward the rebirth of humanity.

My first story has a lot to do with rebirth, or being given a second chance at life.  The greater motive for bringing back people from the past, who I refer to as “reborn”, is to revitalize humanity and bring it back from the edge of extinction.  Regardless of that greater motive, each character is given a second chance at life, quite a gift considering their first lives were cut short.  Their challenge doesn’t just lie in repopulating a devastated planet, but in finding a way to live this life without forgetting the lessons they learned the first time around.

This series is not just about the journey toward the rebirth of humankind, it is also about the journey toward rebuilding a culture that will not ultimately destroy itself by repeating history.  To me, that is what a “Genesis Endeavor” really entails.

I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have.