Rebranding my first book

After watching Django tonight at the movie theater — oh, and I thought it was epic BTW — I decided that I’ve been pushing my first book incorrectly.

I’d been saying it was a Western, but not a typical one. It was too violent for that. And I think the profanity in it turned a few people off, even though there’s not much. (But let’s face it. Some of these Western readers are super straight-laced. And Louis L’Amour bragged to no end that real men didn’t need to use profanity.)

Anyway, I worked on a new draft description, and hat tip to April for helping me polish it. You all let me know what you think about this… Would it make you want to buy the book? Description begins below the stars…

*    *    *

Did you love Django Unchained, Tombstone or Unforgiven? If so, then you’ve found the book for you. This isn’t a Western as you imagine that genre. Instead, this is a thriller — an epic action book — set in a Western time period.

Little Man, and the Dixon County War begins with action and ends with action, barely letting up from its fast start to its incredible, heart-stopping end. From literally the first sentence, you’ll see why author Stan R. Mitchell’s first book has climbed as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List.

Mitchell often says, “I write books chock-full of shooting and stabbing. Description? Not so much.”

In his first book published, he tears after this theme with brutal efficiency.

Book Description:

Paul Zachary shouldn’t have accepted that badge.

And he certainly shouldn’t have shot down a ruthless gunfighter in front of a crowd of onlookers.

But it’s too late to wish he had backed down. Now that the smell of gunpowder has faded and the blood has been scrubbed off the floor, Zachary is something he never wanted to be: a damned hero.

Young Deputy Paul Zachary didn’t aim for fame, but the papers have written him up and made him a legend after he took down the man with the murderous reputation. His stand for what’s right — regardless of the odds or consequences — is reminding folks that justice is possible in the land with few laws. And not just in Zachary’s town of Belleville.

Unfortunately for Zachary, his fame proves a threat to a cruel cattle baron named McConnell, who’s growing his empire by leaps and bounds. McConnell has bribed or buried every man who’s ever stood up to him and he soon sets his sights on Paul Zachary, now known throughout the West as “Little Man.”

McConnell can’t have some young lawman giving people hope, so he forces Zachary to come after him and all his men as part of a particularly cruel and devious plan. Now, the young lawman will attempt what even the Army couldn’t pull off: Cleaning out the lair of murderers and thieves who answer only to McConnell. [Length: 224 pages]

(Author’s note: If you’re looking for a typical Western, don’t waste your money on this book. There are no cattle drives or beautiful sunsets. No slow scenes with formal manners and tender dames. This is the gritty West. A place where lawless land barons push the weak, and sworn law officers balance keeping the peace and staying alive. Blood flows early and often, and danger lies waiting around every corner. This is not a book for the faint of heart, or for those who want to imagine living out west before the land was tamed. Had you lived in these times and on these pages, you’d keep a gun by your side. Probably two. And you’d damn well better have known how to use them. This book — as you can see — contains mature language and moves fast. It’s a hard, thrilling ride, so if you choose to saddle up, prepare to be thrown off a time or two.) 

*    *    *

So, there you go. What did you think? Love to get your all’s feedback!

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give, a book I believe to be worth $10,000.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novels a success. I seriously couldn’t have done it with everyone’s support. I’m excited to say that Little Man, and the Dixon County War  has gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here). My second novel, Sold Outhas also done well, also, going as high as No. 81 on the Amazon Paid List for the category of War (see here and here). Learn more about both books here.

22 thoughts on “Rebranding my first book

    1. Thanks, Carrie, for looking it over. And if you’re at all interested in my book, I’d be glad to send you a digital copy for free. You could start the sample sometime on Amazon and see if it catches your attn.


      1. I already downloaded it–no need to send me a free copy but thank you for the offer! I’ve added it to my reading queue, but sadly that queue is very long so not sure when I’ll get to it. But I look forward to it when I do. 🙂


        1. Well, cool! Thanks for buying it, and I wish my reading queue was long! I’m am such a picky, picky reader. I’ve spent two days trolling Amazon and still haven’t bought a book yet.


    1. Thanks, Tim. It’s funny how we start to second guess ourselves… Anyway, I feel better know you and these others agree that it sounds exciting and hopefully purchasable.


  1. Stan, I think either description is a good come-on. I’ll have to admit that I avoid Western stuff, and bought the book simply because you wrote it. ❤ So, rather than voting for description #1 or #2, here's a book report.

    I was not disappointed. It's extremely well crafted, excellent logical plot, thoughtful character development, moves at a rewarding pace, and is never dull. I especially appreciated the effort you spent in emphasizing Zachary's fixation on 'practice.' That really gave him a dimensional personality. To me, that was the focus of the book.

    There was nothing in there that jangled my nerves, other than I Don't Like Guns (ever since I nailed a pregnant woodchuck at a good distance when I was 13). I probably swear more than Zachary does. Reading this, though, makes me wonder how much arose from your own experiences. OK, we know you think you're short (you're taller than I am), but the passages describing the smell of intestinal crap when gut-shot, makes me wonder just what you did while in the Marines? Or over at New York Avenue?

    Incidentally, thanks for suggesting the hard copies. I'd rather spend the extra $$ and have something that lasts. But Amazon charged me about 50% of the price, for shipping. Bugger but I'd do it again, and will, when you publish your next book.


    1. Hey Nancy!

      Thanks for the book report! : ) And I’m super glad you enjoyed the book. Maybe I’m a better author than I am a publisher? : ) (Though I’m super appreciative for all your support of the newspaper through all the years.)

      And I’ll tell you in person how I know about someone being gutshot, if you’re truly that interested. (Probably better if we never broach the subject, honestly.)

      Finally, you think there’s anyway you’d be game for throwing this part of your book report up on Amazon as a review?

      “I was not disappointed. It’s extremely well crafted, excellent logical plot, thoughtful character development, moves at a rewarding pace, and is never dull. I especially appreciated the effort you spent in emphasizing Zachary’s fixation on ‘practice.’ That really gave him a dimensional personality. To me, that was the focus of the book.”

      Reviews help so much, so if you’re game, here’s the link you can leave it at:

      Thanks so much, Nancy!


  2. I don’t necessarily dislike Westerns, but I know exactly what you mean when you say you feel your book doesn’t fit the traditional “Western” feel. I dig the description, and I’ll have to add this to my wish list (I’ve already bought Sold Out, just got to get around to reading it some day).

    Good luck with the re-branding – I hope to hear how the book performs after this move.


    1. Jack,

      Thanks for the comment! We’re kind of scary alike, so I subscribed to your blog and look forward to getting to know you better. And thanks so much for buying “Sold Out” and adding “Little Man” to your wish list. You’ll love them both! I’ve also made a note to myself to check out your books when I finish what I’m currently reading.

      I’m sure we’ll chat soon — either on your blog or mine.



  3. One Western I loved a lot was “Deadwood.” A lot of people were extremely turned off by the frequent use of profanity, but the producers of the show defended the use; their research showed the likes of Wild Bill Hickok cursed like drunken sailors, and often. The point: be authentic in your writing. If your subject matter called for violence and profanity, and it’s defensible, then the haters can go suck it. Me, I’m all for authenticity, so I have no doubt you’re working from the same palette.

    Just because John Wayne didn’t call someone a lying cocksucker doesn’t mean the kind of person he would have played wouldn’t have said that.

    I like the book description very much, but if you want my two cents, then leave out the Author’s Note. Let the reader decide if this is what they want to read. Saying “If you’re looking for a typical Western, then don’t bother to read this,” sounds a bit antagonistic, even if you’re not intending to it. Which I know you’re not.


    1. Gus,

      Great feedback all around, as usual. I hadn’t of “Deadwood.” I’ll have to track that one down.

      And I had never considered that sounding antagonistic, so I think I’ll jump on Amazon and take that down. Thanks for your advice and support, as always.



      1. “Deadwood” was the series that ran on HBO for 3 seasons. It was brilliant. Timothy Olyphant, who plays Raylan Givens on “Justified” – and plays the best, most noble badass on TV right now – played an equally badassed sheriff. Great show.


  4. I like the new description! And the “Django” association is a good call. Sometimes those associations can be a bit forced and dishonest, but given what I’ve read so far and seen of “Django Unchained”, I think you’re onto something!


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