Sunday, January 29, 2012

Konrath on Traditional Publishers

Fun post by JA Konrath on how the relationship between writers and big house traditional publishers has changed. Writers got the short end of everything for so long, and now are in the driver's seat-- and publishers are yelling about how terrible it is. Because it's harder for them to make money. Oh boo-hoo. Tough luck fellas--but it's your own fault that you haven't been able to adapt to the new world.

In the new model, the writer controls their career. And it's heady stuff, believe me. A lot of work, sure, but for those willing to do it, a brave new world. Wow- imagine-- the ones who produce the content get the benefit, instead of it going to monopolizing middlemen. Crazy stuff, huh?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chance of a Lifetime

Great post by Seth Godin on the chance of a lifetime:

What will you be talking about in a few years that you could have done? He's saying we can make our future. Change is good, because we're in a time of flux.

Nowhere is this more evident than the field of writing and publishing.

Dream big, then make a plan and make it happen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Featured Today

Terrific post today on the site Do Some Damage, one of the premier crime/mystery sites, run by a group of eight crime writers.

They feature this new writer named Dale Phillips, and his mystery novels A Memory of Grief and A Fall From Grace.

Wow. Getting some notice in prominent places. Let's hope it gets some readers.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Featured on Another Book Blog

Take a look at the fun place Mysteries and Margaritas today, where I'm the featured guest. This is a great group of mystery writer ladies who know that getting together for fun and mayhem is the way to go.

And while you're there, check out their books-- there's quite a selection. For all avid mystery readers, you're likely to find some new favorites.

This kind of event makes it enjoyable to be a writer. Who wants to sit in a solitary room being antisocial? This is the most social bunch I've seen, warm and welcoming. Also sharp and funny.

Part of the bonus of going to writer conferences-- you get to meet the greatest people.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snow on Signing Day Sucks!

The launch for A Fall From Grace was yesterday-- so what do the Fates do? Dump the biggest snowfall of winter on us! Result- almost no downtown shoppers, few customers.

Except-- my friends and family. The team came in, fought the storm, and we had a good crowd anyway. No down time, I was chatting the whole time.

So I feel a lot like George Bailey in the movie "It's A Wonderful Life." No money, but the best family and good, dear friends who pitch in when needed.

10 book sold-- and the cookies were great! So we're declaring victory. Thanks to all who showed, to those who bought, and to the marvelous staff of the bookstore!

Great pics--

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Dang snow! The book launch for "A Fall From Grace" is happening today, and NOW the frigging snow that we haven't had yet comes down.

Have already heard from a few folks who won't be fighting the storm, so we'll have fewer attendees. Wah!

Hope we still get a good turnout, in spite of the Fates peeing on my parade.

For those of you hardy souls willing to wade through an inch of the frosty stuff, we'll be at the UMass bookstore from 1-3, on 151 Merrimack St in downtown Lowell, MA. There will be prizes, refreshments, and-- a chance to meet the author. Wow-- how do you pass that up?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Don’t Wait For the Fairy Godmother to Sell Your Books!

I recently responded to a thread on a writer help site, Absolute Write, where people had asked about Briona Glen, the publisher of my first two mystery novels, A Memory of Grief and A Fall From Grace. So awhile back I posted a few times in the spirit of sharing information. Some took issues with things I'd said, or what they'd thought I'd said. A few were out-and-out idiots, who live in some sort of bizarro fantasy world. Some of these folks had posted hundreds or even thousands of messages on the site. I suggested they should rather attend writer conferences (like I did), and talk to actual working writers (like I did) to get their data, rather than form their beliefs based on outdated paradigms.

But a new posting asked how it had worked out for me, so I responded-- I said I was happy, because I've got my second good novel now out, and am selling books, doing what I want, working hard at promotion, and having great success. I said that as an independent, I'd easily make more money this year than the average lowball midlist advance from a NY publisher-- roughly $5000, minus 15% for an agent, leaving the writer with $4250 (before taxes). So to beat that, I only have to sell a couple of thousand copies, which we plan on doing this year.

Another writer who'd published with a different small press was incredulous that someone could make such kingly sums, since they obviously hadn't. So I explained how and why that would happen, that I was working to sell and promote my books.

And another poster responded thusly:
"Most authors don't have the time, money, or inclination to work that hard at promotion, and they need to rely on a solid publisher who has good contacts, puts a lot of time and money into marketing and promoting their titles."
--Wow. Right to the top of the stupid charts.

Money? I got none, so that's not even an issue-- unless you think an extra printer cartridge and a tank of gas or two is too much for you to spend on promoting your work. (Amazing what you can get done over the phone and Internet.)

So-- writers should wait for a fairy godmother to sell their books? This idiot mindset is what Barry Eisler and Michael Stackpole (Swimming Lessons for House Slaves: No one will swim for you) were talking about in their discussions of certain author attitudes, a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, and another mentality you can read about, on JA Konrath's site.

But this poster says that once an author passes off a book to a publisher, the author should sit back on their ass and wait for someone else to sell their books for them.
--So where are these legions of do-gooder, fairy godmother publishers scrambling to do all they can for lazy authors? Man, I would love for someone to put a lot of time and money into making money for me.
Volunteers? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Oh, yeah, that's I went with a small press.
Because fairy godmothers are damned hard to find in this biz.

Expecting that you need to do little to sell your books is akin to having a retirement plan that consists entirely of buying lottery tickets. It might happen, but the odds are rather against it, and it may not be the smartest thing to do. On the other hand, if you have a working plan and continue to work at it, it's a wee bit more likely to reach your goals than just sitting and wishing.

Brings to mind a quote by Edison: “Most people don't recognize opportunity when it comes, because it's usually dressed in overalls and looks a lot like work.”

Most of the people who expect someone else to do the work for them aren't going to go very far. And this person encouraging that mindset is doing a disservice. --But it may be even worse than that. The person posting might be a publisher, certainly looks like it from their profile. This goes beyond self-serving to the truly slimy. "Don't worry your pretty little head, author. We publishers will do all that hard stuff for you, so you can sit back and count the money rolling in."
Lot of self-serving jerks preying on gullible, naïve writers. Telling them they "need to rely on a solid publisher." --"Forget all that self-reliance crap, kid-- just sign with us. We'll make you a star!"

Writers do not "need" and should not wait for, a fairy godmother to sell their books. They "should" study the business, find out what efforts make success more likely, make a plan, and do the steps (and the hard work) required. Ain't no guarantees, but it's a hell of a lot more likely than expecting someone else to do it for you.

If that sounds hard, remember the quote from the Tom Hanks character in A League of Their Own-- "Of course it's hard! It's supposed to be hard! If it wasn't, everybody would be doing it!"

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Latest Interview Out

Hello again. Morgen Bailey did a terrific interview with me, now posted on her site. Great questions, and lots of insight and helpful information.

It's great to have people helping to connect writers and readers. I'll pass along others as I find them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First Story Collection now in Print! And Signing! And promo!

Just got the proof copy of my 5-story collection Fables and Fantasies, my first print version story collection. Looks fantastic! Am wicked psyched.

Really needed this, as I was feeling rather low. Have been sick for days, and was letting little crappy things get to me.

Ding-dong! UPS dropped the package on my doorstep, and it was my little bundle of joy.

Thank goodness I'm obsessive about formatting and checking-- it all went through the first time. So I should have copies for the big sales event on the 28th.

But-- before that-- this Saturday, the 21st, we have the official launch for "A Fall From Grace" at the UMass Bookstore on 151 Merrimack St, Lowell. Y'all come down between 1 and 3 to enter to win prizes, nibble refreshments, and meet the author!
Let's rock the house and give Grace an awesome launch!

And tomorrow I'm scheduled to appear on Morgen Bailey's Blog, a great spot to find info about writers.

May appear as a guest next week on the Mysteries and Margaritas blog as well.

So as you can tell, it's a busy time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Data Point for Decision

For any writer trying to decide whether to jump into publishing or wait around to "win the New York lottery" of traditional big-house publishing, here's another good data point from Rob Cornell, on the 5 reasons he went indie.

This is the insanity of the old method-- a writer who is told their writing and manuscript are good-- by the pros, mind you-- who also say they can't make enough money off it to make it worth publishing. WTF? The mystery market is down? On what planet?

Enter the world of Do-It-Yourself. And so Rob did, and now has books for sale. Voila. He took control, and is now published, instead of continuing to wait for supposed professionals to pull their respective heads from nether orifices.

As for the NY big-pub trad world, it's hard to sympathize with someone digging their own grave and who tells everyone they know what they're doing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Second Zack Taylor Novel, "A Fall From Grace" is Out!

At long last, my second Zack Taylor mystery novel, "A Fall From Grace," is finally out!

Buy on Amazon or as an ebook on Smashwords (no e-reader required, PDF and browser also available)

Both places allow you to sample the text first.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bookstores Into Publishers?

Now this is original thinking!

This article suggests that indie bookstores can change the game by becoming their own independent publishers, especially for local authors! This is actually quite brilliant and innovative, part of the new way of thinking in the Revolution!

A local shop for local people (also a fun reference to a British comedy show- extra points if you can tell which one!)

This is the kind of out-of-the-box idea that changes the game, and could make the bookstore a relevant, ass-kicking place to roar back into market-share. I would support a local place that did this, and sell them hundreds of books!

Any hurting retailer listening?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Hey everybody, hope you survived the hangovers and sleep-deprivation.

I've been working all day, and have finally got two more story collections up:
Halls of Horror #1 and Halls of Horror #2, with great creepy covers (from Snapichic) and top-notch stories, including one from the talented Matt Phoenix, and a joint effort by myself and Tom Chenelle.

Moving toward my insane writing goal for 2012. Hey, why wait? There's a lot to do this year!

Let's have a good one, huh? Whether or not the apocalypse is coming!