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Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

Book Release Party

This Friday is the book release party for Val Roberts and me at Rediscovered Books in Boise. The event starts at 7 pm, and both Val and I will be reading from our work.

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It takes a different kind of person to make their own dreams come alive. Not everyone is prepared to put in the long hours and hard work it takes to bring a novel to the store shelves in non-traditional ways. I’m one of those crazy, annal retentive, ego centric fools who just has to do things his own way. I’m not content to let others tell me how my books are going to look or even if they get published. That’s just not in my character.

As a youth, I saw the movie Star Wars. Not the Jar-Jar Binks version, the Han Shot First version. It captured my imagination and made me curious about how movies were made. I was all of thirteen years old when I started making my own movies and finding creative ways to reproduce the fantastic special effects showcased in that film. I didn’t just dream of being a film-maker, I rolled up my sleeves, inspired my buddies and together we made movie magic in Super-8 film. Along the way, I learned quite a bit about how films are made, I even majored in Film Production in college. In fact, you can find my name in the credits of some feature films I worked on.

Back when I was a teenager, blowing up cardboard models of space ships that I had designed, I also started writing a story that would languish in my mind for the next twenty years. It was my homage to Star Wars and all the fun times I had making movies as a kid. Eventually, I decided that the only way that story would get finished was to write it as a novel. At least that way I could control the lighting, script, camera and special effects just like a Hollywood director does in a film. After completing the novel, I shopped it around and was routinely rejected from everyone in the publishing business. I felt like I was at the mercy of an establishment that was not really interested in fulfilling my dreams. So I trunked the novel and went on with my life.

Eventually, technology started to catch up with my do-it-yourself attitude. First came the Internet and I saw the potential in HTML to bring my story directly to the people. So I created a website to showcase my novel and all the drawings of space ships and aliens my friends and I made when we were kids. The novel was on display for many years until once again, technology caught up with me. Through Print On Demand services, I could now make my own novel and sell it directly to the people without bothering to go through the traditional publishing process. But there was a problem. I didn’t know how to make a book. I was well versed in screenplays, storyboards and film editing, but I knew nothing about interior design, cover art or copy editing. So I rolled up my sleeves and started to learn.

I’ve now published two books on my own and each new book I write, edit and print; adds to my knowledge about the publishing business. I don’t know everything yet, nor will I ever. But I keep working at it and I keep learning as I go. In a way, it’s no different then when I was a kid and spending my allowance on five minute rolls of film. I was just an amateur back then, and I’m pretty much an amateur now, but I still have that desire to do it myself and make my own dreams come true. My latest book is in the process of being forged into awesomeness with the help of my friends, just like those short films I made as a kid. I have started my own press label to release my books and the books of my friends. Together we will make our dreams come true by taking our publishing future in our own hands. Will we sell millions of books and become house-hold names in the publishing industry. Probably not. But the one thing I have learned is that most of the fun in life is in the journey, not the destination. As long as we have the means to follow our bliss, we should not be afraid of the journey.

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So my challenge this month is to write as many posts as possible across as many of my blogs as possible about the release of my latest novel. The idea is to spark a perfect storm of interest in the novel and in the author. I have decided to serialize the novel on my main blog – MyView, and to do interviews with the main characters. On the web site dedicated to the novel, I’m giving readers a rare look behind the scenes of writing a novel. Where do character names come from? How long did you write each day? And the dreaded, where did you get your idea from?

I’m accomplishing this task by writing as many posts as possible ahead of time and then scheduling them through the blogging program. This actually does work on WordPress and Ning. Another nifty trick is that every time I post an article, WordPress sends my Twitter stream an update. I have the posts coming out at midnight local time. This releases them during the day in Europe. Remember to act local and think global!

I also mention my posts on Scribd which has its own Twitter-like feature. My follower numbers on Scribd are insanely large, compared to Twitter, but they reach a different audience. Most of the people who follow me on Twitter are industry related, where those who are on Scribd are more of a general interest group.

I also do posts on my FaceBook account, although to be honest, I don’t have a big following there, yet. MySpace, you ask? What’s that? Knowing when a particular social network is all but dead, is part of the staying on top of things aspect about being a writer these days.

I will be sending the local papers, Radio Stations and TV channels a press release about the signing and the book, using the angle that the book is set in Boise and written by a local author. TV and Radio interviews would be great, but not holding my breath for that.

My next project is to create a one-sheet for the book that mentions the signing, and print up a few hundred copies to distribute throughout the city wherever I can. Coffee shops, telephone poles, whatever and wherever. I may even look into billboards on the backs of city benches. Hey, how far do you go to promote your book?

P.S. Did anyone catch I never mentioned the book by name?

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Okay, I’m getting caught up with some bloggery reading I’ve put off (not because I have the time, but because I get distracted by… Oh, shiny). You never know when the Black Hole of Calcutta will sneak up and devour you. But here is a teachable moment, and the lesson is, “ideas aren’t yours alone.” And, “just because things are similar doesn’t mean they’re the same.” Also, “because another author writes something like your story doesn’t mean you need to get a better tin-foil hat or stop writing your own take on it.” Got all that? Okay, onward.

(my best Lewis Black interpretation including stabbing of arms skyward) Son of a bitch!

Here’s a Genreville review about Harry Connolly’s debut novel Children of Fire “melding of the sensibilities of Dashiel Hammet and fantasy novels.” A starred review in Publisher’s Weekly (you rat bastard). The review then goes on to talk about how this novel is refreshing because, “It’s the dark side of noir fiction, where characters are grim anti-heroes, and the job they’re doing is not always heroic,” and, “The book is a straightforward hunt for an evil magician.” Hmm, sounds awfully familiar.

(sobby voice) I was robbed!

Here’s a Scalzi’s Big Idea post about it. In there he says he didn’t want to write a story with “dusters or trench coats… centuries-old katanas… or all the other trappings that so much of modern urban fantasy uses to signify that characters are seriously kickass-cool people.” Okay, well, I guess there’s some divergence there because my main character does have a centuries-old katana (although he doesn’t use it, preferring a jain sword instead) and he does wear a duster, better to hide the sword with.

Actually, in all seriousness, I do wish Harry Connolly the best with the novel. It sounds seriously kick ass (yet another one on the guilt stack/Xmas list). Once I get through my own novel I’ll need to read it. And I wish him the best, well, because I think every author should have a great career. Especially those that write stuff I like. This stuff is hard enough to finally get to launch only to be heralded by crickets. But I also want his novel to sell like fargin’ wildfire because it’ll help pave the way for mine (bwahahaha!).

And now you’ll excuse me, I have to stalk another writer.

(said with my best John Cleese voice) You Bastard!

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Almost There

For the past few months I’ve been busting my butt over getting out my first Mystery novel. I have not written much at all. I’ve been editing and proofing and fixing that novel to the point of actually hating it. For a while there I was completely indifferent to it. I wrote the damn thing almost three years ago and only now was I getting it ready for publication. It was like looking at how I wrote when I first started writing and trying to not gag at my pathetic efforts.

But I worked my way through all those demons and now as I approve the final, final, absolute final version of the book, I no longer hate it anymore. In fact, I think I may be on to something with the concept and the execution. I always knew that the idea of having a programmer for an amateur sleuth was a good one and I hope that concept pulls in computer geeks to the Mystery genre. The other main thing going for the book is the fact that it is set in my home town and local readers will really connect with it because they will have been to many of the locations in the book. This also makes it easier to sell in local bookstores and gives me plenty to chat to audiences about at signings.

So hopefully, come August, I will be able to report back a launch date and an Amazon Run and signing dates and all that jazz that comes after the book finally gets to market. I’m looking forward to it this time.

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The Future is Coming

Have you seen the Espresso Book Machine is now live at the independent bookstore Northshire? So now a self-published author can sell their books at the Point of Sale in that bookstore. Not that you can just buy self-pub books this way, but that you can buy many traditionally published books this way. Although the self-published local authors are doing quite well with this store, an unanticipated market according to the machine’s creators.

I tell you what, if I can walk into my local bookstore and use this machine to buy any book I can order on Amazon, Amazon is history. Seriously. I don’t need to pay extra for having my books delivered to my doorstep. I retain the community involvement of a local bookstore and I get it now, not a week or two from now. This would also free up shelf space at the bookstore for books that can not be created on this machine.

I have no idea how much this beast costs to install and operate, but this is the future, here and now.

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Via S. Andrew Swann over at Genrewonk we have a link to Dear Author and an article about the doom of book publishing. Okay, well it’s more a “change or die” article.

There are a few pieces I disagree with with the author, such as POD machines in stores (the cost per piece is much higher than even an offset printed book with quantity), but there is plenty I do agree with. I suggest if you’re in this writing business thing you give it a read. Lots of good advice backed up with examples from other entertainment industries.

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