Twitter Pitching

I promised a post about my Twitter pitching adventures. Today I make good on that promise.

Keep in mind I pitched a Sci-Fi book for adults. For anyone interested in the book, THE MISTS OF CALTHAR, click the “Fiction” tab above.

I recently participated in #PitMad and #Pit2Pub. #PitMad was for literary agents, and/or editors, to request samples of books based on a single tweet. #Pit2Pub was for editors at small presses. Simple, right? All I had to do was create interesting tweets about my 89,000 word book. You get 140 characters, or about a sentence, and you had to include the appropriate hashtags with your pitch.

My goal was to gauge interest in my new book and possibly get the attention of a literary agent. I’d say I was successful on both accounts.

I’m not going to name names about which editors and agents showed interest. All I want is to provide numbers and data to any writer/author thinking about trying to pitch their books on Twitter.

Here are the numbers…

#PitMad

I tweeted three different pitches (spaced out during the day) and only got likes on one of them. An editor for a small press liked one of my pitches as well as a literary agent. The literary agent wanted a query letter and the first five pages. I sent them. Some time later the same agent requested the full manuscript, which they now have. I’m calling that a win.

#Pit2Pub

I tweeted four different pitches and got likes on three of them. A grand total of four small presses showed interest, one editor even liked three of my pitches. Again, pretty good. I’m calling this one a win too even though I didn’t submit to any of them. Remember, my goal was only to gauge interest.

My most popular tweet got a total of five likes, or requests, from both twitter pitches. For anyone interested, here it is: “Missing astronauts found on another planet. One man will walk into a war to find his missing family, even if it kills him.”

My only other advice is to make sure you follow the rules. The organizers have them for a reason. Don’t be a douche and think you can do what you want. I also made a point to warn my twitter followers that I was participating in these pitch events. That way they could mute me for the day if they wanted. Be courteous. Be polite. Follow the rules.

For more tips, the fine folks at the McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency have you covered. Check out their post The Art of #TwitterPitching.

 

I Finished Writing My Third Book, Now What?

I realize it’s been a while since I posted anything relevant here. There is a reason. I needed a couple of months to iron out the the last hundred pages of my latest book, THE MISTS OF CALTHAR. Then I had to edit and get things presentable for literary agent’s eyes. I officially sent it out into the world this morning.

MISTS is my first sci-fi book. The final word count ended up being a little over 89,000 words. I participated in two Twitter pitches with it to gauge potential interest. One literary agent requested a sample. The same literary agent later requested the full manuscript. I guess that means I’m one for one in the query department. Nice! A grand total of five small presses requested to see more, but I held off sending them anything. My plan all along was to start with literary agents.

So, what’s next?

Now I need to create a synopsis. It shouldn’t be too hard. I’ve tackled them before. I’ll be shooting for a two page synopsis. After that I’ll revisit my query letter. Yep, I penned a query letter for MISTS when the book was halfway done. Then I’ll start subbing to my list of literary agents I’d like to work with. Query trenches here I come!

There’s still life for BSD!

A small press has the full manuscript for BETWEEN SHADOWS AND DARKNESS. I should be hearing something back in around a month. I can’t tell you how happy writing this makes me. I really want someone to love that book and characters as much as I do. More news as it becomes available.

A couple of short stories of mine are under consideration for various anthologies. You’ll know more when I know more.

For anyone interested, I plan on blogging about my Twitter pitch experiences. Stay tuned for that. Expect to hear more about MISTS too. Until then, be good to one another.

 

 

Paying the Ferryman Giveaway: The Stats

I recently put three paperback copies of Paying the Ferryman up for grabs on Goodreads. The giveaway was open to all US and Canadian residents. The giveaway ran from April 11, 2016 until May 31, 2016. Now that the giveaway is over, I wanted to share some numbers with anyone interested.

942 people entered.

Out of those 942 people, 400 added it to their TBR list. That’s almost half. The e-book is only $2.99. If a fraction of those 400 readers buy it, I feel like the giveaway was worth it.

Three readers won free copies of the anthology. If any of those three readers see this, your books were mailed today. You’ll get them soon.

I don’t have the exact numbers, but there were several spikes in sales in both the paperback and e-version (at least through Amazon) of the book during the giveaway period. Since I’m not the publisher, I don’t have access to ALL of the numbers. So make of this what you will.

Considering the amount of people who had Paying the Ferryman on their TBR list was in the single digits before the giveaway, I’d say more readers are aware of its existence. The more readers who know about your book, the better the chances they’ll buy it. I’ll continue to look at the numbers in the coming months to see if we get more sales and reviews.

How can I make the next giveaway better? For an anthology, I think it would be better if more of the contributing authors were involved. More authors means the potential to giveaway more books, swag, or even more, meaningful interaction with new readers.

All-in-all, I think the giveaway worked pretty well. Almost one thousand readers were exposed to this horror anthology who weren’t before. Almost half of them added it to their TBR lists and are now potential customers. Three readers won a free copy and will hopefully read and review it. I think holding a giveaway for your book, where the giveaway ends shortly after your book releases, is a great way to get readers interested pre-launch. If anyone wants to know more, just drop me a line.

For Grandma, Or Why I’ll Always Write Horror

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As I slog through submissions, rejections, and trying to create something halfway decent to peddle, the process can make even the most positive person wither. After the death of my father a few months back, writing has been difficult. I see so many fake people on social media who will do anything to get whatever they’ve written noticed. The asskissers. The fake-it-till-you-make-its. The phonies. It gets me thinking how much I want to do it any more. Before anyone jumps on me, I know there are some good folks out there. I know some of them. It just seems like there are more and more of the not-so-good folks all the time. And damnit, they know how to trample on anything good faster than a kaiju in the big city!

Some days I’m very quiet. I introspect about what I’ve accomplished and where I’ve come from. There’s hard work. There’s regret. There’s accomplishment. There’s failure. But at the heart of it all are the stories.

I try and be the author who writes the kinds of stories they would enjoy reading. I’m a monster guy. I’ve always loved monsters in some way, shape, or form. Anything from vampires to giant, city smashing lizards. If there are monsters, there are usually people fighting them too. That’s who I wanted to be as a kid. Not an astronaut, or a policeman, or a doctor. No, I wanted to be Van Helsing with his wooden stakes, or Charley Brewster from Fright Night.

I mention this because the other night as I pondered why my books featuring vampires haven’t done so well even though I love the hell out of them, I remembered why I wrote them in the first place. They were for the kid in me. And the kid in me used to devour horror movies with his Grandma every chance he got. We would watch Evil Dead, Aliens, Cujo, or whatever else my Grandma wanted. I was happy just to be around her. The whole monster thing just sort of sunk in while we watched.

Years later Cancer took her and even though I still miss her, a piece of me still belongs with her and those movies. I know that if she were still alive, she’d love my books. She would love them for the monsters and the people who battle them. She’d love them for the same reasons I do.

My Grandma wasn’t the only one in my family who got me on the horror train. I also owe my father a tip of the cap. Early on in my life he introduced me to Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, The Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Wolfman, Salem’s Lot, and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Even though my father and I never had the best of relationships, we always had movies. Whenever I wanted to watch something, no matter what it was, he always said yes. Raiders of the Lost Ark for the 100th time? Put it on. Predator for the 150th time? You bet. John Carpenter’s The Thing for the 1000th time? Absolutely. One of the first grown up books I ever picked up was Jaws and I took it from my father’s shelf. It’s also thanks to my father that I started reading horror too.

Cancer recently took my father too. And I know where ever he is, he’s rooting for my books. He’s a horror guy, and there can never be enough horror.

Like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I keep putting my books with vampires out there in a market that wants nothing to do with them. The answer is pretty simple. It’s because I love those books just like I love my Grandma and father. Those books are so much more than vampires. They’re grand-in-scope stories where good people fight monsters on behalf of the rest of humanity, because there’s something worth fighting for. So even though agents and other literary professionals see the word “vampire” and run for the hills, I know there’s a lot more to those books than that. There’s a piece of my father, my Grandma, and the love we all shared for horror. And someday, someone else will recognize what i see in those books too.

The mind can be a funny thing. When something is clogging it up, we have to figure out why and how to unclog it. If we don’t, we won’t be able to move forward. I know my love for monsters and the people who fight them comes from abuse too, but that’s a story for another day. It’s also something my Grandma, father, and I all share too. Horror, like my family, is a part of me. It always will be.

Enter To Win Paying The Ferryman Anthology

Hey, everybody! How are we all doing today? If anyone is interested, you can head on over to Goodreads and enter to win one of three paperback copies of Paying the Ferryman anthology, published by Charon Coin Press. The giveaway runs from today through the end of May. Winners will be chosen at random and receive their books shortly after the giveaway ends. I also want to mention that the giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only. I may do a second giveaway for my European friends after this one is over. It all depends on how well this one works out.

Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/182184-paying-the-ferryman

So, what is Paying the Ferryman?

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From the publisher: Death. Just the word can trigger gut-wrenching fear. The kind of fear causing the heart to pound, cold sweat to run down and burn the eyes, and fingers to tremble with a loss of strength. Is our fear the realization that from the moment of conception, the clock starts counting down until we come face to face with death? More likely, it is the fear of what comes after the moment our last breath escapes. The exploration of this fear is contained within these pages. Join us as we follow a serial killer who tries to outrun the minions from Hell. Meet a man forced to relive his past hoping for redemption. What if your destiny begins after your death? Death is truly just the beginning. After death has occurred, what could be worse? Paying the Ferryman answers the question of what comes next in twenty imaginative tales. Foreward by Bram Stoker Award nominated author, Hal Bodner.

Good luck to all who enter! If you don’t win but would still like to read the anthology, the Kindle edition is only $2.99. The paperback is $13.99. You can grab either here: Paying the Ferryman on Amazon.

The Aliens Franchise Is Expanding

If you’re a fan of the alien franchise, you know Ripley, face huggers, and LV-426, then you probably know that there are a plethora of new media offerings either out now, or coming soon.

AliensOmnibusCover

Titan Books is in the middle of bringing every book set in the Alien franchise back into print. I recently bought Aliens Omnibus: Volume One. This omnibus collects Earth Hive, Nightmare Asylum, and The Female War, all written by Steve Perry (The Female War was co-authored with his daughter, S.D. Perry) in the 1990’s. I had never read any of these books so I was happy to grab it. The second omnibus releases June 28, 2016.

alienoutoftheshadows

Last year Titan Books released a trilogy of new books set in the Alien world with Out of the Shadows (by Tim Lebbon), Sea of Sorrows (by James A. Moore), and River of Pain (by Christopher Golden). I’d recommend two out of the three books. Check me out on Goodreads to see which ones.

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Titan Books also released movie novelizations of all four Alien feature films too.

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Tim Lebbon has a new trilogy with Titan Books featuring Aliens, Predators, and the human race, titled The Rage War. The first book, Predator-Incursion, is out now and the second book, Alien-Invasion, releases April 26. The final book in the trilogy, Alien Vs. Predator-Armageddon, releases this September. Once I learned this series existed, I immediately ordered the first book and pre-ordered the second. Tim Lebbon is a fantastic writer and I trust he’ll deliver.

Aliens Defiance

Dark Horse Comics releases Aliens Defiance #1 on April 27. I’ll put this nice little link here so you can go and read what series creator, Brian Wood, has to say over on Comics Beat. Here’s your link.

I’m not going to get into plans for another feature film and the recent Alien Isolation video game because I don’t know much about either. You have to admit it’s a good time to be a fan of the Alien franchise. Kudos to Titan Books for all of the new and re-released Aliens books. If you’re a casual fan of the franchise or more hardcore, there’s something for everyone. Grab your plasma rifle and lock and load!

 

Back To Business

Death can be a difficult thing. The recent death of a parent certainly had me wondering about many things. It made me appreciate a short story I wrote a while back called, Death Blossoms. The story explores a group of people’s greatest fears while in purgatory. One character in particular is afraid he’ll end up like his father, who was an abusive alcoholic. The character wonders if those traits are apart of him no matter what he does.

I’ve wondered the same things. That’s why I included that story line into that particular short story. (Which is available now in Paying the Ferryman, an anthology published by Charon Coin Press, for only $2.99!) While the story isn’t biographical, I did share some of my experiences, hopes and fears, with certain characters. That’s something I try to do with everything I create. If you look hard enough, you’ll find a piece of me in each story. Sometimes it’s something small. Sometimes it’s something more major. Hopefully it makes for a more realistic read.

This past year and a half has been difficult. My family watched as a loved one wasted away. For those of you who don’t know, Cancer is no joke. I watched two Grandparents succumb to it, and now a parent too. What all three had in common was cigarettes. Take that how you will. ‘Nuff said.

Anyway, this week I made myself open my WIP and get back to work. At first I didn’t know if I’d be ready. After I read through the first ten pages, I found that I missed writing more than I knew. Even if I was only re-familiarizing myself with the story and characters, it felt good to make some kind of progress. Finishing the book won’t be easy, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My recent experiences should help make my characters more three dimensional. Death affects everyone differently. Something I got to see firsthand with my brother, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

In my latest book, one of the main characters believes his mother died twenty-five years ago. He later learns she’s alive. Recent experiences really got me thinking how that revelation would affect a person. How far would we go to see our loved ones again? What would we say to them if we could see them again? Those are some of the things I want to explore in my latest piece of fiction.

Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time email, comment, and/or offer their support. It meant a lot to me. I want you all to know I’m okay and back behind the keyboard doing what I love. I’m taking it slow, but making progress. I will hopefully have the first draft done and edited by the end of March. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a book to finish!