Category Archives: Self-Publishing

Leather to the Corinthians AVAILABLE 12/12/12!!!

Can you feel the excitement building or is it just me?

I added a few decorations to the blog today. Notice the nifty countdown on the side panel! The new “Store” page, which will hopefully be a click-fest in the near future!

This is in preparation for the upcoming book launch. Our date with destiny:

The book trailer is in post-production, reviewers have advanced copies (initial impressions ARE AWESOME), and by the end of the week, I will have zippy T-shirts, mugs, and other glorious knick-knacks available. Just in time for the Holidays!

And as a special gift to you, another small preview:

Inside cover art by the astounding Sean Bieri, and yes you will be able to get this on a mug! Tomorrow: Back Cover Art is HERE!

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Hey Everybody, Look Over Here!

I’m always up for a challenge, so I was very pleased when my bloggerverse friend, Imelda Evans, tagged me on Twitter.

I’m not typically a word-sketcher. I don’t take my notebook and sit in the back corner of a coffeehouse, looking cool, writing down random nonsense. If I were though, I know I would rock it.

I am a writer that works best when I have purpose. A mission. A quest. A deadline. I need to be organized, and I need to work my thoughts out in advance before I sit down at the keyboard.

So when someone takes the time to throw me a writing challenge, I’m ready steady go.

This particular challenge is pretty straightforward: It has two parts.

1) Find the first use of the word ‘look’ in your manuscript (whatever that manuscript might be) and post the surrounding couple of paragraphs as a little ‘look’ into your work.

2) Now answer: What makes you excited for this story?

A great idea for a post, and you can read Imelda’s original post here: http://imeldaevans.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/look-its-a-writer-challenge-so-show-me-what-youve-got/

Chances are you’ll spend some time on her site, she’s an extremely spirited writer…so get through this before you shoot over, ok?

Now then here’s my excerpt, from my upcoming first novel — (out Nov 2012) —Leather to the Corinthians:

I know what ails you.

I know what troubles bring you forward in droves to stare at the mighty juice, the glorious oil that transforms the beaten into full-blown raving geniuses. What I offer will not only satisfy, it will fulfill.

I know this because I have looked into your shallow eye sockets and have seen the blood stained traumas and horrors of your ancient astronaut ancestors — ancestors whose bio-seeds gave birth to the many-armed succubae tormentors of your secret psychic souls. Your years of meta-body personal apocalypse, for which no self-help book can assuage, are nearing their end as you drop open drooling jaws to this ultimate, extreme wonder-product of the new and improved age.

A tonic to exhilarate! An oil to lubricate! A cure for all that ails you!

Whew.

It’s very cool that the first instance of “look” in my book comes from this prologue piece. It was not so cool to see how many times I actually used the word “look” in my book. It could potentially annoy me for some time.

I am going forward regardless. I have twiddled the knobs on this damn thing for long enough, and it’s so damn close to getting out in the world that I will have to let that little obsessive detail fall to the wayside. The next book will feature a variety of awesome synonyms for the word “look”. That or I’ll make my main character blind or something like that.

Leather to the Corinthians was a book that took some time to write. Pieces here and pieces there, put together on my summers off (I taught high school during that time). Some elements in the book are from scrawlings I made in undergrad, a million years ago. There have been times when I hated every word of it. Times when I couldn’t believe the genius of it. Nervous moments when handing it over to someone else. Joy from praise from those who read it.

It’s not a neatly placed genre book. If I wrote one of those, I think I would have an easier time understanding how to market it. Leather to the Corinthians could become a major cult book (that’s the dream) or it could be considered pure garbage. Being a writer means being brave in a way that those that do not write will never truly understand. It’s a white knuckle experience. It carries considerable emotional risk.

I’m rolling the dice on it. I’m always up for a challenge.

Come by and visit me before Christmas, my book is the perfect gift for the iconoclast or smartass in your life.

On Self-Publishing: Getting my Novel to the Masses, Part 6

On to the next part of the adventure…the author headshot.

As I continue to march closer and closer to getting my book out there, many exciting pieces continue to fall into place. However, as I am not an aggressive or natural marketer, I find myself flummoxed by many micro-decisions. I am hoping that you might be able to help.

An essential part of an “author’s platform” or online presence is a quality head shot. A professional photo that captures a bit of personality and gives folks an idea of who they are dealing with. Actors live and die by them. Models too.

For most of the year, I have relied on my spunky little avatar photo to do all the heavy lifting in this regard. Anytime I needed a profile pic, I chose “Great Blue” which you can find down there in the lefthand corner of my home page, my twitter page, my facebook, my Goodreads, blah blah blah. It’s served me well, but it’s just a dumb photo from some random night out on the town. It’s time to turn up the knobs on this image shit.

My good friend, killer editorial and fashion photographer Erika Barker, was kind enough to lend me her talents. Thanks to her and my inner Zoolander, I now have some photos to work with. They should last me until I get old and distinguished. By then I’ll need a hologram headshot so you can really see my cybernetic implants. (I’m trying to plan ahead).

Anyway, if you would be so kind to let me know what you think, that would rock. You can leave comments on the individual pics, or use the handy poll tool thingy below that. You can pick as many as you like. Thanks in advance for your input.

Read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5,

On Self-publishing: Getting my Novel to the Masses, Part 3

The book trailer!

If you sit down and research how to promote your writing in today’s techno-web, you’ll need medical attention. There are more words written on this than you’d ever care to read. As I have said before, there’s plenty of great advice out there, and there is also quite a bit of pandering just to get you to click on the stupid link. As I work through my process on this blog, I will spare you all of that, and only share what is relevant to me and my novel. If you want advice, clear your schedule and wind up the Google machine. I’ll see you in 6 months.

Something that is a supposed critical piece to promoting your book is the book trailer. It’s like a movie trailer or commercial that should engage potential readers, excite current readers, and provide any interested parties with a glimpse of what the book is all about.

I’ve watched a bunch of them (of mitigating quality). There are websites devoted to them. I have mixed feelings about them.

However, it’s a nice thing to have. People respond to visuals and video waaaayyy more than the written word. And with shortening attention spans, it’s a good tool to have in your promotional arsenal. So, I’m gonna have one too.

In my research, I found many to be rather formulaic, and somewhat tedious. That’s not going to happen for Tommy boy. Nope, I’m going to put together something special. Something true to the themes I attack in my book. Something satirical. Something funny. It’ll be several weeks before it’s shot, edited, and up on the web. I promise to share with you the process of putting it together in the hopes that it will help  those who are interested in putting one together for their work.

Here is the first draft of the script for the trailer. Please feel free to share any thoughts you may have.

Leather to the Corinthians – the Book Trailer

INT – LIVING ROOM

Kid in living room watching Sat Morning Cartoons, stuffing face with chips, guzzling soda. The cartoon he was watching has just gone to commercial.

We’ll be right back with more adventures with Auntie Nuke and the Fun Bunch right after this! (Still image which I will provide)

Kid starts flipping channels.

Nutritious Breakfast Cereal – vacant family, all prize no cereal

INT – KITCHEN OR DINING ROOM

Family sitting at table eating breakfast. The mom, dad, and one child eat in very robotic fashion, staring out into nowhere.

Announcer:
Hey Kid! Tired of the same old sugary crap that you’ve been eating for breakfast?

Kid:
You betcha!

Announcer:
Well breakfast just got better. Introducing a brand new cereal! Leather to the Corninthians. It’s filled with everything a growing kid needs to survive this cold, brutal world filled with violence and despair.

Kid looks concerned.

Announcer:
And it has a prize inside!

Kid:
Yay!

Kid pours cereal out of box. The book and a handful of cereal slam into his bowl.

Kid looks into camera, clearly displeased. Mom, dad, and other kid have their heads on the table, looking dead or passed out.

Living Room kid changes channel.

Car Dealer commercial

EXT- Car Dealership

Car Salesman:
Are you driving a late model POS? Do you burn with jealousy as you see every knucklehead on the road driving a sweeter ride than you?

Do you feel like you deserve a sweet ride?

I’m here to tell you that you do, and it doesn’t even matter that you can’t afford it!

Here at Everhard Motors, we have a car to fit every budget, even if we have to wedge it in there!

Boy:
Low rates, EZ financing!

Car Salesman:
That’s right. Get what you deserve at EVERHARD motors.

Boy:
Low rates, EX financing!

Car Salesman:
You got a paycheck, you got a car. At least for the moment!

Boy:
Low rates, EX financing!

Come down today, every new car owner gets this special operator’s manual with their purchase!

Car Salesman holds up copy of book.

Boy:
Low rates, EZ financing!

Car Salesman:
Ok, that’s enough. Get back in the box.

Living Room kid changes channel.

Toy Commercial using characters

EXT – Back Yard

Two boys playing with army figures.
Announcer:
Hey kids! New from Sell Inc! Get the new Rebel General and King action playset!

Boy #1:
I’m the King and you’re going to have it my way!

Boy #2:
No way, I’m the Rebel General and you are gonna get it! Pew pew!

Announcer:
Now you can play out all your favorite scenes from the smash hit book, Leather to the Corinthians. Remember when the General destroyed the Village?

Boy #1:
DIE you stupid king you. DIE DIE DIE!

Boy #2:
Arrrgh, no I’m escaping in a super rocket thing. You can’t catch me!

Boy #1:
That’s not fair. I hate you!

Announcer:
Now that’s great fun! And cathartic. Find these and other exciting war toys from Sell Inc, at your local toy store and military recruitment center.

Living Room kid changes channel.

Deadbeat commercial

INT – LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

Man sitting in a dark living room watching TV. He’s wearing shabby clothes. Unshaved. Trash everywhere.

Announcer:
Just look at you. Watching TV all day, wasting your life away. Directionless. Just a money mouth, eating and spending what little money you have on useless.

Do you ever ask yourself, “What happened?” Do you wish to do something, anything with your pathetic life?

Of course you do. That’s why you need to read Leather to the Corinthians. In it, you’ll learn why your life is so terrible, so absolutely pathetic and how it was designed to be that way.

You’ll learn how to take the power back, and turn your life around. Once you read it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

So stop being such a loser and buy Leather to the Corinthians today.

Living room kid changes channel

Big Pharma commercial – Dad with kid, Book is the drug

EXT – Suburban Neighborhood Street

Father and son playing football. Kid hikes ball to dad, runs off-screen

Dad:
Go out for the long bomb!

Dad:
You know, it wasn’t all that long ago that I couldn’t even play with my son.
Life had left me feeling listless. All of the problems today – the economy, war, obesity – it was just too much to handle.

I was depressed. I felt powerless. I felt flaccid, impotent.

Then my doctor prescribed “Leather to the Corinthians” and with just one read-through, my life changed dramatically.

Announcer:
Side effects include: total illumination, a complete intolerance to bullshit, the ability to see the invisible strings pulled by our puppet masters, constipation, anger, and a strong desire to riot in the streets. Consult your doctor should any desire to take control of your life occur. Take with a meal or strong drink.

Dad:
Read Leather to the Corinthians today. Your new life is waiting.

INT – LIVING ROOM

Living room kid turns to camera. Blood runs from his nose.

Boy:
It’s so pretty.

TEXT:
Leather to the Corinthians. Available now on Amazon.com and other fine booksellers. (More to come on this end.)

Read the first two segments of this feature: Part 1, Part 2

On Self-Publishing: Getting My Novel to the Masses, Part 2

Continued from Part 1

In preparing to indie pub my novel, Leather to the Corinthians, I did copious amounts of research. It is an incredibly viable path that is continually affirmed by success. It’s never been easier to get your writing out there. The downside is that there is now a lot more competition for readership. The pressure is on, my fellow scribes.

That’s why it’s critical to have pristine copy of the highest quality – even if 50 Shades of Crap is fantastically poor writing. Remove the dollar signs from your starry eyes and examine why it is that you want to write. More than likely, you have a love of literature and have read many fine authors – and would like to join their ranks. Or perhaps you simply enjoy the role of storyteller. Perhaps you are an artist with words.

None of these aspirations can be found in 50 Shades. It’s a fluke.

I have a book that I wrote. There’s a lot of time invested in it. There’s a reason that I wrote it, and there’s a reason that I want people to read it. And I want it to be the best it can possibly be.

So I hired a professional to evaluate, edit, and proofread my manuscript. I met with her yesterday, and at the very least it was empowering.

I have expressed my inner doubts many times on this blog. I was going into the meeting with nervous expectation, and I was not sure what the diagnosis was going to be. Whatever form it would take, the feedback would be coming from a neutral third party whose work will ultimately be represented by mine through proxy. If my book sucked, she was going to tell me – and as all she does is work with writers and manuscripts, I knew that she would have much to compare it to. I did not pay her to tell me she liked it. I paid her to tell me why people might not like it.

I shouldn’t be so tough on myself, because she loved it. She got it. She knew ways to improve it. By the end of the meeting I felt better about my work than I have in a long time. I think I have something here.

The best news was finding out that there aren’t any deep foundational issues with the manuscript. No massive rewrites. If my book was a house, I need to move the furniture a little, hang up a couple of new pictures, and maybe pound a nail or two into a loose board.

I don’t have to tear out the plumbing or replace the roof.

Thank god for that, because I don’t know if I could do it. I have been through this manuscript far too many times. I’d probably just throw it out and start over. Glad that is not the case.

Some things that she identified that might help you as well:

Back-story – my characters need a bit more context. As surreal as the story’s world setting can be, my cast needs some support for motivation and action. Not much, just a few nuggets here and there will do the trick.

Repetitive language – I use “he said” and “she said” too much. I need to get more descriptive with my language when it comes to the dialogue. I heartily agree, my journalism background and my time in education (writing feedback) have caused me to be concise and efficient in my writing. It’s very difficult for me to switch gears for fiction. Prior to my work experience, my writing was very whiz-bang and super snappy. I’ve somewhat strangle that muse with my career path.

Syntax – a few times I took the hard road. I get awkward. Gotta tune that up.

With regards to the target market, much of what I listed yesterday ended up in her list as well. I took this as a sign that we are literally on the same page.

For Genre Categories, she identified the book as:

Truly, it is all of these things…which may be why I always have a hard time explaining it to people, ha!

With the genre and demographic information in place, I now have to plan for how the marketing for the book will go down. More research ahead for me, I’m afraid. I’ll be documenting my process here.

So now, I have go and pound a few nails in. Once I have the new content and the proofreading is done, we’ll shift to an administrative phase, and get all the paperwork in place. I’m also setting myself up as a publisher and I need a logo. If anyone wants to help me create it let me know. I’m going with ROOM 1331 for my publishing imprint. Please send me some sketches! I might be able to throw a few bucks your way.

On Self-Publishing: Getting My Novel to the Masses, Part 1

Tomorrow I will be meeting with my manuscript evaluator to go over any final tweaks or content revisions that need to take place before moving forward with a production schedule for my first novel.

Writing is a vulnerable art. It exposes you utterly and completely to your audience. Your mastery of the craft, your intelligence, your operating vocabulary, your beliefs – it’s all there. You can’t hide behind it.

I have many members of the blogging community who support my writing, and previous to that I have often received praise and positive feedback for my work. Still, there is the shitty committee that whispers “you’re a fraud with no talent” in my ears as fight for a good night’s sleep.

So it was with a bit of trepidation that I turned my novel manuscript over to an impartial third party – my hired gun editor and publishing guru. This was a key step. Indie and self-publishing suffers from a lack of professional eyes on the material and if you want to have a successful book, it is paramount that you pay for service. DO NOT edit your own work. For blogging, yeah whatevs – put it out there. For the big show, get as much consultation that you can.

The emails that came back as she read the book were very encouraging, and I am ready to sit down and put the final polish and shine on this puppy. Fingers crossed, it will be a very empowering conversation.

But there are questions, and these questions will benefit any of you out there who are on the same path. Here are some things that I must address:

This is how to use Twitter.

Who is my target audience?
So here’s the thing…I didn’t write a nice genre piece. It’s a slippery thing that I’ve got. Who would enjoy it? Let’s see:

  • Gamers
  • Comic book readers
  • Humorous Sci-fi peeps
  • Literary, I’m-cooler-than-you kids (SLAM DUNK WITH THESE FOLKS)
  • People who like pop culture references
  • People sitting in waiting rooms for a long time
  • The disenfranchised
  • The 99%
  • Old Punk Rockers (the DIY crowd)

Ok, not exactly the YA crowd. Or the straight Sci-fi fantasy crowd. Or thriller, romance, mystery, etc.

Pretty much a Kurt Vonnegut and Phillip K. Dick have a baby book. It’s going to be tough to market. Apparently I like things to be difficult.

Competitive Titles:
Is it a good or bad thing that I can’t think of too many books that I will be competing with? At least nothing that was published recently? When I cruise the stacks, everything seems so neatly bundled up by category and type. Makes me wonder if I had any plan at all when I started writing this thing.

Marketing and Promotion:
Yes, I have Twitter, a blog, Facebook, Google +, and other building contacts. The amount of approaches and strategies that are available are overwhelming. As I have a history of doing incredible amounts of research and then making the wrong choice, I have no doubt I am going to screw this up. I need some serious help here. More than likely, the book will take a few years to build up momentum as I think that word of mouth is ultimately going to be my best bet. Good thing I’m patient.

I have some other things to consider such as the purpose for writing this book. That’s an easy one. I want to burn the palaces down. The goal for the book? To give everyone that is as frustrated as me a chance to laugh a bit. I think much of the world sucks, that people and human nature have ruined so much of it. As I am not a member of the Star Chamber, my only option is to satirize it to the ground.

So I’ll have the meeting tomorrow. Let you know how it goes.