Books

The “I Know This Book Will Sell” Myth

Like most newer authors trying to navigate the publishing waters alone, I did something I probably shouldn’t have done. I wrote a book I thought would sell. I convinced myself the book was what agents and/or editors would want! It’s not that I regret writing the book, because having a finished book is never a bad thing. What gets me is the expectations I put on myself and the book.

When we write what we think others will want instead of what we’re passionate about, we set ourselves up for failure. What I mean is we get it into our heads that the book is a sure thing…when we all know there is no such thing as a sure thing.

So why do we do it? Why do we hype ourselves up and trick ourselves into that way of thinking?

While I can’t speak for anyone else, I know I did it out of frustration. I had parted ways with my literary agent and dissolved a three book contract. I had been hurt by the industry and wanted so badly to succeed. I lied to myself.

I’ve learned a lot over the past two years. More than I thought I would, and in different ways. I went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. I sought validation through a project I just knew would sell. And even though I’m proud of the book I’ve written, I don’t think it was the right decision at the time. Plus, putting such lofty expectations on it only left room for failure…because anything other than selling that sure thing would be just that, failure.

Navigating the publishing waters is difficult enough. It’s even harder when we put such ridiculous expectations on our work. There is a difference between confidence and believing you have a sure fire hit on your hands.Every author should stand behind their work. If we didn’t, we’d be little more than frauds. What we shouldn’t do is think we have some kind of golden ticket.

I posted some time ago how I was writing a book based on a successful short story of mine. I thought if the short story sold and was received well, the book most certainly would too. The truth is I never got that far with the book. It never felt right. The timing still doesn’t feel right. After much thought, I decided to write the kind of story that makes my inner geek excited. It’s a sci-fi and horror mash up similar in tone to the Aliens franchise. Survival horror always makes my heart sing. (Believe me, I don’t like talking about doing something without having done the thing first. I think it makes me look like a braggart d-bag.)

Don’t get me wrong anything that helps an author finish a project is a good thing. It simply rings truer when the creator is behind the project body, mind, and soul.

Minor Note: The “I know this book will sell” way of thinking can work. You just need to be a successful author with a proven fan-base first. If you don’t have either of those things, the “I know this book will sell” mentality won’t work because you have no track record of success.

What about you? Have you ever written something simply because you thought it would sell? If you have, let us know how that turned out. We’d love to know. Until next time, thanks for reading…and be good to one another.

Horror Book Giveaway

Just a quick post to let you know a friend of this blog, Annie Neugebauer, is giving away a trio of horror books on her website. All you have to do is go to her site, read the post, and comment for a chance to win.

What books can you win?

blurringtheline

strangelittlegirls

poetryshowcase

Follow this link to enter: http://annieneugebauer.com/2016/09/12/all-the-pretty-copies-giveaway/

Good luck!

New Project

Hey, how’s it going? I hope everyone is doing well.

As the title of this post suggests, I wanted to let you know I’ve started work on a new book. Fans of my short story, COVERT GENESIS (which appears in SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror), will be pleased to know the new book takes place in the same world. I’ve talked about wanting to take that short story and make a book out of it. I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

My previous literary agent suggested I finish a different book because it was more lucrative. I’m not writing this new book because I think it’ll be lucrative (even though I believe it will be anyway). I’m writing this one because I love the story, and world of Covert Genesis. This is a labor of love for me and I believe that love will find its way to the page. I have a loose outline and the first chapter is going well. My goal is to have the first draft done before the new year.

What can readers expect from the new book?

While I don’t have a title for the new book yet, it will explain where the parasites come from. It’ll be a mash-up of horror, sci-fi, and military action. You’ll find familiar characters as well as new ones. The goal is to set the parasite menace free and see how humanity stands up to it.

I’ll be sure to share more details as the project nears completion. Stay tuned. It’s going to be one hell of a ride!

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.

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?

CHARON_FERRYMAN_fulldesign

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.