Category Archives: The Body Market

The Body Market Named Notable Indie Read

Shelf Unbound Notable 100 BadgeGREAT News! Shelf Unbound has named The BODY MARKET as a “Notable 100” indie read for 2015! Leine’s in pretty fabulous company, so if you’re looking for an indie book vetted by an award-winning e-magazine, head on over to Shelf Unbound. The BODY MARKET’s listed on page 95.

From their website: “Shelf Unbound indie book review magazine features the best of small press and self-published books. Each issue reaches 125,000 avid readers in more than 70 countries. A 2015 Maggie Award WINNER for Best Digital-Only Magazine, Shelf Unbound is known for its in-depth interviews with authors ranging from unsung talents to Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as to what Publisher’s Weekly described as its rich design.”

Have a fantastic rest of your week–I know I will 🙂


New Interview

Today I’m on the hot seat in the Interview Room over at Terry’s Place–the questions aren’t your usual fare and I had waay too much fun answering them. Stop by and say hello and find out what kind of lingerie my characters like to wear… 🙂

 


Virtual Book Tour for The Body Market

Banner for review tour for The Body Market

So while I’m working on the umpteenth edit for Leine Basso #4 (tentatively titled CARGO),  I’m also taking The Body Market on the virtual road and you’re invited! To join in the fun, just click the links below on or after the dates listed. Aside from discovering some awesome cool reader-centric blogs with fantastic recommendations, you’ll be able to read excerpts from the book and see what they really thought about Leine’s latest case.

But wait! That’s not all! 🙂 If you act now, you can enter for a chance to win a gift card from either Amazon or B&N–and buy more books! Could it get any better???

May 11: It’s Raining Books 
May 18: Archaeolibrarian – I dig good books!
May 18: Unabridged Andra’s
May 25: Harps Romance Book Review
May 25: Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock
June 1: Lilac Reviews


If You’re in the Area…

Come on out and say hello. March 6th, I’ll be signing books at the Boatshed in Manette, Washington from 5-8pm. It’s First Friday ArtWalk and always a fun evening. I thought it fitting that I’ll be sequestered in the bar, signing and sampling their wines-by-the-glass…

Cool poster by Sheli Story

Cool poster by Sheli Story

AND, if you’re going to be anywhere near Portland, Oregon March 12-15th, I’d love to see you at  Left Coast Crime – Crimelandia.  LCC is a reader-writer Crimelandia - Left Coast Crime 2015extravaganza of a conference, held this year at the Doubletree by Hilton, and promises to be BIG fun. And if that wasn’t alluring enough, I’m banding together with three other suspense authors for Criminal Cocktails with the Women of Suspense on Thursday, March 12 from 5-6pm. I’ll be yakking it up with Donnell Bell, Christine Finlayson, and Cathy Perkins and 8 guests in the hotel bar (hurry, only 2 spots left!). The first round’s on us and I hear there’ll be some swag or books or inebriated writers or something…

Hmm. I think I see a theme emerging here…
A man sits by a table and examines a full glass of wine that Wellcome V0019562

If you’re going to attend the actual conference, I’ll be in some stellar company as part of a panel Thursday afternoon and lying about how to keep a series from growing stale.

And there you have it. I’ve been enamored of late with the slow-blog movement (read: haven’t had the time or brain cells to post more often), and am about halfway through the latest draft of #4 in the Leine Basso series, so if you don’t hear from me until sometime in March, don’t be alarmed. It’s just a case of crazy-writer syndrome and I’m sure I’ll be back in form in no time.

Maybe.


Update on The Body Market: Post-Launch

I thought since I hadn’t posted in a while (I’ve been concentrating on researching and writing the next Leine Basso book) I’d give an update on how things are going after the launch of The Body Market. The book’s been selling well and a couple of authors have contacted me privately to ask what I did differently, and whether I think those strategies worked. Since I love to analyze (not in any real scientific way, mind you) I sorted through all the things I did differently and those I didn’t and came to the same conclusion:

I have no effing idea which strategy worked the best.

Now, before you give me a ration of crap in the comments, let me clarify: if someone tells you that yes, this one thing they did caused Amazon’s bots to get behind their book, I’d have to call bullshit. Only Amazon knows how their site works, no matter what someone says. We can all try to guess what works until the moon explodes, but NO ONE REALLY KNOWS (and if anyone reading this does, in fact, know please leave a comment 🙂 )

Personally, I think it boils down to a combination of things: pre-launch hype, backlist, cover, genre, description (including using SEO keywords, and tags.), early reviews, press releases, advertising, social media posts, et al. You’ll notice I didn’t list pre-order, per se. That’s because while I expected Amazon’s pre-order option to work similarly to traditional pre-orders, e.g., all pre-order purchases rank on release day and give the book a bump of some kind hopefully onto a list or two, this did not happen with The Body Market. In fact, after all the work I did pushing pre-orders, the day after launch book sales on the ‘Zon dropped 70%.

gif of plane crashing

Blech. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I’d never had that happen on a launch before and I was pissed.

GollemAnd I didn’t know who or what to be pissed at, except myself. Somehow, somewhere, I’d messed up, but I didn’t have a clue what I’d done wrong. I dropped the price of Serial Date, the first book in the series, to 99 cents and advertised the hell out of it the week of the launch (AwesomeGang, EreaderNewsToday, FB, etc.). The Body Market’s pre-order price was 99 cents, which I also advertised with both free and paid options, although not too expensively (in other words, no BookBub ads).

cat on slide

Trying to get traction…

There was one bright, shiny moment on launch day: when a handful of advance readers who had agreed to read and review the book posted their reviews. They were all fantastic and I’m so incredibly grateful for their support. If not for them, I think I would have crawled into a corner, assumed the fetal position, and sobbed uncontrollably into a glass of wine.

Elaine with a bottle of wineI had one more ad coming out the Saturday after launch, a new release post with Free Kindle Books and Tips. I usually see a good rate of downloads whenever I run an ad with this site (not NYT bestseller numbers by any means, but enough to push the book onto some lists). This time, though, something was wrong. I clicked over to the page where the book was listed and realized I’d toggled the wrong genre. Instead of thriller/suspense, I’d somehow chosen history. I sent a message to the owner of the site, but by this time the email had gone out to subscribers and that first flush of purchasers, if they didn’t read the description and figure out the book wasn’t even remotely history-related, had more than likely skimmed past the book.

Okay, so at that point Mark pretty much had to talk me off the ledge (which, in retrospect, wasn’t hard to do since we live in a one-story house). I decided then and there that whatever happened to the book was just meant to be and that I had done everything I could short of dancing naked in the middle of Pike Place Market holding up a cardboard cutout of the book cover and offering free booze to passersby.

Hmmm…maybe…um, nah. Seattle’s too damn cold.

Then, a miracle happened. Somewhere, somehow, something clicked and downloads started to do a kind of a crazy zig-zag on the report page. One day, sales tripled, the next day they sank back to post launch. The next day sales tripled again, but then the weekend hit and sales tanked. By this time, I was feeling all zen about the launch and I figured, hey, sales were sales and I should concentrate on the next book, forget about it all, immerse myself in the world of Leine once again, do what makes me happy. Basically, I adopted a fuck it attitude and let it go (cue song from Frozen)

Frozen gifThe following Monday sales increased seven-fold and have been growing ever since. As I write this, the whole series is selling well. I rooted around to see if The Body Market somehow made it onto any big lists on the ‘Zon, but I couldn’t find it anywhere other than the usual suspects like Mystery, Thriller & Suspense>Crime and Thrillers>Assassinations, so I’m stymied. Now, I’m not naïve enough to believe the rate of downloads will last, but I’m supremely happy knowing the series is reaching more readers than ever and can’t wait to see how far the 4th book in the series will go. I wish I could point to one thing I did right, or even a few things, but hell if I know. I’ll probably do a lot of the same stuff for the next launch, but don’t expect it to follow the same patterns. The timing will be different, for one thing, so who knows what’ll happen?

I think that whole unknown is what intrigues me about this business. Predictable, it’s not.

So how about you guys? What are your launch strategies? Are you doing anything different? If so, what’s working and what isn’t?


Review of ‘The Body Market’

Wow! The Body Market just got its first ever advance review and it’s GREAT! Thanks, Charlie 🙂

Charles Ray's Ramblings

When the daughter of a high powered Beverly Hills couple goes missing after a party in Tijuana, the family hires former assassin Leine Basso to find her. When the girl’s boyfriend is find murdered and mutilated in his car, and a local cartel threatens Leine if she doesn’t back off the investigation, she realizes that she’s dealing with more than a simple carjacking gone awry.

In The Body Market, D.V. Berkom takes Leine and the reader into the dark, dangerous world of human trafficking. I’ve read several of the Leine Basso thrillers, but this one sets the standard for adventure thrillers, and is in my humble view, the best yet. Biting dialogue and gritty descriptions are hallmarks of Berkom’s fiction, and she writes action scenes that are as brilliant as freshly spilt blood.

Leine Basso is one tough cookie, capable of inflicting pain or withstanding it, but in The…

View original post 61 more words


New Book Trailer and Excerpt for The Body Market

After the rousing discussion yesterday about tough women characters in thrillers, I was inspired to finish the book trailer for The Body Market. Using the pre-order capability actually got me to prepare ahead of time for the launch–usually I publish as soon as the book’s ready and then end up playing catchup with everything else. Which works in its own way, I guess.

And no, I’m not the most organized (or patient) individual. Thanks for asking 😀

Anyway, here’s the trailer (an excerpt from the book is below):

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER 1

LEINE BASSO CROUCHED in the shadows next to the hulking metal shipping container. The odor of oil mixed with hydraulic fluid and diesel clashed with the briny sea air. Bright spotlights pierced the darkness casting a harsh yellow hue over the container yard. Leine checked her watch: eleven o’clock. Only three hours before the China Blue Star was scheduled to leave port for Hong Kong.

Three hours to find one shipping container in a massive sea of identical containers.

Lou paid off the security guard, which gave Leine only a short window to find the container before he released the dogs.

She adjusted the fit of the pack, tightening the straps so it molded to her body. She’d pared down the equipment as much as she could, but it was never enough.

C’mon, Lou. Give me some good news.

She closed her eyes and imagined the young face in the photograph. A lead from the trafficker’s hard drive had led her to a seaport currently run by cartel thugs on the west coast of Mexico. She hoped she wasn’t too late.

Three hours.

“Leine.” Lou’s voice came over the wireless earpiece.

“I’m here,” she replied.

“Left, three aisles, number fourteen-thirty-four-twelve.”

“Got it.” Gun drawn and keeping to the shadows, Leine moved along first one aisle, then another, searching for shipping container 143412.

There it is.

Stacked three high, the 40 foot-long steel boxes loomed above her. The one she was looking for was stacked 40 feet in the air on top of two other boxes. She moved to the end of the bottom container and reached for a handhold. Before she could grab the next one, someone seized her pack and yanked her off, slamming her back-first into the pavement. Her nine millimeter skittered across the asphalt, disappearing in the darkness between two containers. The impact took her breath away, the pain from a recent rib injury spiking through her like a spear.

Leine rolled, narrowly missing a kick to the face. She grabbed her attacker’s foot and gave it a vicious twist. The assailant corkscrewed and landed on his side with a grunt.

Ignoring the deep ache in her side and with adrenaline fueling her, she sprang to her feet and kicked the gun from his hand.

The weapon pinged off the side of the container and bounced into the shadows, out of sight. Before she could get clear, he scissored his legs and caught her at the knees. She sprawled forward.

This time she couldn’t ignore the pain.

Winded, she slid a knife free from the sheath attached to her leg. She pushed off the ground, rolling to a crouch as her opponent climbed to his feet, a knife in his hand. He lunged forward. Leine parried with a thrust to his throat. At the last second, he ducked.

They circled each other like roosters in a cockfight, both acutely aware of the weapon in their opponent’s grip. Leine feinted left and rushed forward, scoring a direct hit on the man’s shoulder, slicing through the black fabric of his shirt and drawing blood. He pivoted and came at her from the side but she rotated her torso, narrowly missing a slash to her kidney. She turned to face him as he came at her again. At the last second she stepped wide, allowing him to slip past her. Using his own momentum, she shoved him forward. He stumbled a few steps, recovered, and spun to face her.

Leine swept her arm forward in an arc and released the knife. The blade buried itself in his eye socket, a scream dying in his throat as his hand flew reflexively to his face. He collapsed to the ground as he exhaled his last breath.

“Leine. What’s going on? Are you okay?” Usually unflappable, the sharpness in Lou’s voice betrayed his concern, even over the radio.

“I’m fine.” Her hand supporting her now-throbbing rib, she leaned over the body with a grimace and extracted the knife, wiping the blade on the dead man’s shirt. The tattoos on his forearm suggested cartel affiliation. Leine doubted he was working alone. “Just some unexpected company.”

“Did you find the container?”

Leine scanned the metal boxes above her.

“Got it.”

“I don’t have to tell you to be careful, right?”

“No, but it’s nice to know you care.”

Leine grabbed the man’s legs and gritted her teeth as she dragged the body into the dark gap between containers. She removed his transmitter, turned off the voice activation, and slid on the earpiece. She didn’t want the next gunman to come along and sound the alarm before she had a chance to subdue him. After she retrieved the weapons she checked to see that the body couldn’t be observed from the aisle. Satisfied, she walked back to container 143412.

With a quick glance to be sure the fight hadn’t attracted company, she latched onto a vertical handle at the end of the first container, wedged her toe onto a hinge, and began to climb.

As she was preparing to hoist herself up and over the top of the container, she heard movement below her and froze.

“Where are you?” the voice muttered in Spanish, clear enough for Leine to hear through the transmitter.

She craned her neck, trying to catch a glimpse of the man below her. Compact in bearing and dressed in black like the man she’d just killed, instead of a knife he carried a modified sub machine gun.

“Answer me,” he snapped into his earpiece. When he received no reply, the man stepped over the smear of blood left by his compatriot. It looked like he might continue on when he abruptly stopped. Leine held her breath. If he glanced down, he’d notice the blood. With her left foot wedged onto the barest of toeholds and gripping the top of the container with her left hand, Leine slid her gun out of its holster, ready to fire—something she was loath to do since the sound would bring others.

The man pivoted 180 degrees, scanning the area, his gun in front of him. Leine ignored the muscles screaming in her left hand as the metal cut into her flesh.

He stood still for another moment, observing his surroundings. After a few seconds, he touched his earpiece.

“He’s not here.” The person at the other end acknowledged the transmission. “I’ll keep looking,” the gunman said as he moved out of Leine’s line of sight.

She released her breath in a quiet sigh and slid the gun back into her shoulder holster. With her right hand now free, she grabbed onto the top of the container, relieving her left hand. She waited a couple of beats to make sure the gunman was clear and then pulled herself up and over.

The higher vantage point worked well to monitor the yard. When the other gunman had traveled far enough that he wouldn’t hear her, Leine shrugged out of her pack and set it aside. She stretched flat onto her belly and put her ear to the container. There was no discernible movement inside.

That didn’t mean much.

“I’m on the roof,” she said in a low voice.

“Hear anything?” Lou asked.

“No.”

Leine unzipped the main compartment of the bag and pulled out a battery pack and a mini plasma cutter and placed them on the roof beside her. Next, she reached into another compartment for a fiber optic night vision camera and a collapsible light hood.

She deployed the hood and marked the area to be cut, then flipped the plasma cutter’s switch to on and adjusted the amps. Angling the tip as she cut, the small hole took only a few minutes. Turning off the cutter, she stowed it back inside the pack along with the hood.

Alert for movement on the ground below her, she activated the camera and fed the probe through the hole, watching the video feed on the small LCD monitor as she did. At first, all she could make out were the metal ribs of the container. She fed the line further into the dark interior and a moment later the camera swept past an object. Leine pulled up on the scope to get a better look. The object moved. Two tiny light circles appeared and blinked off and on.

As she angled the camera for a better view, she realized she was looking at a dark-haired girl huddled in the corner, her eyes glowing dots in the camera’s lens. Leine pulled back for a wider shot. Dozens of bodies came into focus, placed side by side on the floor of the container with no room between them. Most were lying prone—except for the young girl.

“I’ve got something,” Leine said into the mic.

Lou let out a sigh as though he’d been holding his breath.

Another girl, this one with light-colored hair, sat up and looked first at the girl in the corner and then at the camera.
Leine’s heart beat faster. From what she could tell, she matched the picture.

Amy.

“Is she there?” Lou’s clipped tone gave away his anxiety.

“Yeah. I think so. And she’s not alone.”

Leine relaxed her shoulders, relief flooding through her.

“Let’s get them out of here, Lou.”


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