Archive for 'books'
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 by Bob Mayer
On Monday, my latest novel, I, Judas: The Fifth Gospel was released exclusive to Barnes & Noble via Nook First. Let me tell you a little bit about the book and then talk about where I think the best bang for the time is regarding marketing for authors.
What if Judas is still alive, hidden away in the jungles of the Amazon, waiting for the Second Coming?
As a massive object appears in space heading directly toward Earth, the Brotherhood heralds it as Wormwood, one of the signs the Rapture and it’s just three days away. They have been preparing to implement the Great Commission as designated by Jesus—where everyone on the planet must hear the word of God before the end in order to be saved. They will use advanced technology to send that message directly into the minds of every human on the planet. The question is: will the message kill everyone who gets it or save them?
Believing him to be the anti-Christ, they also send a team of assassins up the Amazon to find the Great Betrayer and kill him before Armageddon.
Opposing the Brotherhood is the Triumvirate of the Illuminati. They believe they must stop the Great Commission and the assassination team. At the same time they rush to gather nuclear weapons and launch missiles into space to divert the Intruder, as they call the object, believing it to be a natural phenomenon over which technology will prevail.
Three survivors do finally make it to Judas, and he tells them a story, the true story of what happened over two millennia ago. And what is approaching.
As the object nears Earth, both sides become locked in a world-wide battle for the future of the human race, as Judas prepares in the jungle for the Second Coming, the fulfillment of his Fifth Gospel.
Which is not at all what anyone expects.
Now, let’s talk about marketing. I believe most authors are spinning their wheels on a lot of social media that has little effect. Often it’s an incestuous relationship. We want to sell books to readers, not writers. Not that writers don’t read.
After several years as an indie author/publisher let me list what I think is effective: commenting on other people’s blogs. They read the comments on their own blogs.
Going to industry events and meeting people face to face. We can become overly reliant on social media. I just took a 6 am flight from here to NYC and caught a 9 pm flight back home just to spend one day walking the floor at BEA. It will pay off big time.
No matter how much and how many you can reach with social media, this is still a people business.
Monday, March 12th, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
“What do you read, my lord?”
“Words, words, words.”
— Hamlet, Act II, ii
I believe it’s safe to say that many, if not most writers get into the business because they love to read. At some point, reading is not enough, and we have to start playing along. We can’t just follow the directions that come with the LEGO set, we have to build a weird Rube Goldberg rocket ship instead of a house. Or something.
So, what do I read? How do I read? How does it affect what I write?
First, I don’t read much urban fantasy. People may be surprised to learn this, given that’s mostly what I write. But I didn’t start writing about werewolves and vampires and magic, oh my, because I had a particular fondness for them. I had a story that happened to fit the genre, which then proceeded to take over my life. I dabble in reading it occasionally, just to see what other people are doing. But really, the urban fantasy I write is plenty for me. I get to do it the way I want to, and I’m not trying to rewrite other peoples’ perfectly decent books as I’m reading them.
I know we’re often told to read within our genre to keep up with trends and stay educated about what the market looks like. Really, though, I’ve found great value in not keeping up with urban fantasy. I’ve never felt constrained by my impressions of what urban fantasy is supposed to be. (I’ve heard other writers agonize over getting their urban fantasy “right,” or worry that their book with vampires and werewolves “isn’t really” urban fantasy for whatever reason.) I just write the stories I want to write, and I’ve never had anyone tell me I’m doing it wrong. (I may not be doing it the way they like, but I’m not doing it wrong, you know?)
So what do I read? Anything good. Kind of wide open, right? Seriously, I’m looking for the stuff, as Emily Dickinson said, that makes me feel as if “the top of my head were taken off.” I find it everywhere. Lately, Steven Erikson’s epic fantasy novels have been scratching that itch. Lois McMaster Bujold and Robin McKinley are two of my go-to, never fail authors. I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction. I’m currently enjoying the space opera of James S.A. Corey. (Full disclosure — we’re friends, and I’m getting to read the books in advance, which is so awesome.) One of my favorite books last year was China Miéville’s Embassytown. (I’d tried reading Miéville for years, without success. But The City and the City instantly converted me into a fan. It’s something of a detective noir thought experiment. Crazy, right? And Embassytown is kind of old school alien/interplanetary SF, with some pretty far-out twists. Love it!) Iain M. Banks’ space opera novels are always delightfully mind-blowing. I feel like I’ll never be able to write books like that — and that’s ultimately why I like them so much. They’re not something I can do myself, they live outside the places my brain generally goes on its own. I really love the stretch I get, reading such beautiful and imaginative books. Maybe someday I’ll be good enough to write something that weird and science fictional and mind-blowing. My favorite books are, ultimately, the ones that make me aspire to do more.
I read a lot of nonfiction. The internet is okay for some kinds of research — street maps of foreign cities, building layouts in Washington, D.C. But to really get into a topic, the sustained narrative of a good non-fiction book is still the best way to go. I’m always looking for books that can teach me something about writing, and about the world. If I’m writing about a kind of character or profession I don’t know much about, I’ll try to find memoirs or books written by that kind of person, to better get inside their heads.
Ultimately, reading makes my brain happy. I read to light the fires that keep my brain happy. As a writer, it behooves me to keep my brain fired up and happy.
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 by Bob Mayer
I received a couple of “rejections” not long ago. As a professional writer with over 20 years experience, I’ve had more than my share of rejections. In this case one was from Amazon regarding publishing with their Encore program and something else. The other was for a book we’ve already published but I was looking to see if a major publisher would pick it up considering the success I’ve had the last two years.
My reaction, as is normal for most when they get a “rejection”, was negative. But as I teach in Write It Forward I didn’t respond. I sat on it, thought about it and talked it out with my wife and business partner.
Then, the following morning, I had a moment of enlightenment.
Re-reading Amazon’s response, I realized they weren’t rejecting me. They were complimenting me. They basically were saying the royalty cuts and exclusivity they wanted in exchange for their Encore program were for a long list of things they would do for me; except we’re already doing all those things at Who Dares Publishing. So it made no sense and they understood that.
Jen Talty and I formed the company in November 2009, not long after Amazon had launched their Encore program (and most people hadn’t even heard of it—I hadn’t) and long before there was a Thomas and Mercer. Even before Borders went down the drain. Before eBooks took the publishing world by storm. When people were laughing at eBooks at the January 2010 Digital Book World Conference, saying “Why should we worry about something that’s only 3% of our income?”
I formed it because my experience as a Green Beret A-Team taught me that a small, highly efficient team can do things which larger, more cumbersome, and less efficient organizations couldn’t. An A-Team is a force multiplier, which can have an effect far beyond the scope of most teams. It’s the most formidable military organization in the world.
Jen worked full time for all of 2010 and neither of us were able to take even a single dollar out of the business. We had to put every hard-earned dime right back into it. In essence, working for nothing. Very few people would have worked as hard as Jen did for as long as she did, with little reward and no guarantee it would work.
The first author we brought on board besides my books was Kristen Lamb with We Are Not Alone: The Writers’ Guide to Social Media. I think that’s telling. We knew back then that the key to success in the electronic world was promoting via social media, and it’s the first thing we published. And we incorporated the things she espouses in the book; the primary one is have your content first, before you start blasting things out on social media. The fact Jen and I were able to evolve into the Write It Forward blog we now have here and the new Write It Forward book that was just published this summer is a key part of our success.
Slowly, we brought other authors on board. Amy Shojai, a well known multi-published pet expert and speaker. Natalie C. Markey, expert in special needs dogs and also teaches Writing Mom’s. Victoria Martinez, an expert in unique and unusual tidbits of Royal History. Marius Gabriel, best-selling author of Romantic Thrillers. What we were looking for, besides great content, were authors who were willing to promote, to be part of a team.
We also had some authors shy away, not willing to take a chance with us. Some ran back to their traditional publishers and signed deals with very low e-royalty rates, but they were going for the known, rather than be willing to take a chance. I’ve seen none of those author’s books doing much of anything on Kindle or PubIt, in fact, most have not even been published yet as many epublishers work on almost as slow a process as traditional publishers. I imagine those titles are sitting somewhere in that publisher’s queue waiting for it’s chance. Meanwhile, they are earning nothing.
In the space of 24 hours I went from feeling bummed over a rejection to feeling very excited with the realization that we did it right at Who Dares Wins Publishing and we’re continuing to do it right. That a rejection is actually a blessing, that frees me once more to focus on taking Who Dares Wins to the next level. The key is that we can move to the next level because we’re not reacting to try to achieve what others are scrambling to do right now, because we already did all those things that publishers and authors are trying to comprehend. We’re moving into the future because we’re acting, not reacting.
Write It Forward!
Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Candace Havens
In August I had an email from a fellow writer who told me about a young adult anthology where they needed 13 ghost stories from various authors. She asked if I might be interested in donating story. Mind you, this was in the middle of my TV Critics Press tour, and I was a little busy working 18 hour days. And they needed the story in less than a month.
I’m Candy Havens, so of course I said yes. First of all, except for a short bit in one of the Charmed & Dangerous books, I’ve never written a ghost. That was a challenge I was excited about. But I had to write a 6000 word story in less than a month and I had no idea what I wanted to write about. They had requested that perhaps I write about something in a different culture. That was something else that was exciting.
But what culture? I investigated Egypt, various Asian cultures and could have spent the next month doing research. But my oldest son told me he had been talking with one of his friends who lives in Finland. Boom! I started researching various mythologies in Finland and Norway. Well, Norse mythology has lots ‘o fun stuff to play with and that’s how I ended up writing a story set in Finland about a young girl from Miami who sees ghosts.
Of course, I twisted the mythology to fit my story but it involves the girl, a Viking, a scary dead grandma and a hot guy named Riku. It’s a story I enjoyed so much, that some day I hope to turn it into a full-length novel. While it almost killed me to get it done by the deadline (don’t forget I’m working on a thesis, taking my last graduate class and working full time as an author, TV columnist and film critic), I’m glad I did it.
The thing is, pushing myself to do that story helped me creatively on some of the other projects I was working on. I felt stifled with one project in particular. Writing that story and coming up with something completely new, helped me to get a second wind with that other project. It also, in a weird way, gave me a different viewpoint with my heroine in that other project.
I’m the first one to admit that I take on too much at times. But here’s what a lot of you don’t know. I’m easily bored with life, so it is important that I always have many irons in the fire. I like switching hats fifty times a day. I’m never bored. Exhausted. Overwhelmed and sometimes sick, but never bored.
I’ve done that with something new I’m working on that I can’t talk about. Something that is due on Dec. 15. But it is an opportunity that is so exciting, I will make it happen. And as soon as the contracts are signed, I will tell you all about it.
This is my long-winded way of telling you to step out of your comfort zone and take on new challenges. Those scary roads you are afraid to traverse could result in amazing opportunities.
To help a great cause, please check out Spirited at http://www.candacehavens.com/
Thursday, July 7th, 2011 by Candace Havens
I get asked about why I chose to go to grad school when both of my careers, as an author and entertainment journalist, are doing so well. There are some personal reasons that I won’t discuss here, but the most important reason is that I wanted to open up my world. I think sometimes we get into life ruts and we don’t even realize it. I thought expanding my world through great literature, philosophy and art would be a good way to keep that from happening.
Turns out I was right. But there’s been an added benefit. Studying these disciplines has also helped to make me even more creative. Exploring new ideas has tapped into parts of my brain and sent it whirring into motion. These days I never lack for ideas, just the time to get them all on paper. I’ll read something by Rollo May about the nature of creativity and realize there’s an idea lurking in my brain that I need to get on paper. Or I’ll be working on a paper analyzing Frida Kahlo’s art through a Freudian prism and come with an idea for a book about an artist who is overcoming a complete mental breakdown. Two semesters ago I took a class about feminism in art, and that’s where the idea for my new idea for the young adult was born.
But what happens if you don’t have $25,000 to pay for grad school or classes? You read.
I hear people say all the time that they can’t read books while they are writing their own. For me, reading a book is the only way I can get out of my own head. I need that break, even when I’m writing. I have my bathtub book, which is currently Jodi Thomas’ Welcome to Harmony. My going to bed books have been Harlequin Presents lately. I really want to write one of those. I’m calling my obsession with the Presents line research right now, as I’m also learning what works and what doesn’t. My waiting at the doctor’s office/for movies to start book is Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement Moore.
Some people say they can’t read in the same genre they are writing and I understand that. But if I gave you an assignment to write a story about a kangaroo and her lover, it would probably be quite different from the kangaroo and her lover book you just read. I think writers are hyper aware about copying someone’s work, so I don’t think you have to worry about that as much as you might think. Still, I don’t normally read in whatever genre I’m writing. Usually because I’m kind of burned out on it, if my head is in that type of book all day.
You can learn technique by reading and finding out what you like and don’t like in books. My friend Rosemary Clement Moore talks about this in one of the classes she teaches. She tells writers to put on paper the things they do and don’t like about books. In order to do this, you have to read. My mentor Jodi Thomas read and re-read romance novels when she was first starting out. She dissected them and highlighted things she wanted to remember to do in her work. She just won her fifth RITA and has published more books than I can count, so she must be doing something right.
Reading can also help you ask the right What if? questions. With grad school, I end up reading a lot of non fiction. I’m not going to lie, if I didn’t have to read it for class, I wouldn’t. But those books often send my mind into new worlds I want to explore. You never know what will make you ask the question What if… The more you know about a subject, the easier it is to answer that question. Most often reading is the way to find out your answers.
Reading can also keep you on top of trends. You can see what is selling in the marketplace. Though, I caution writers not to follow trends. Many times by the time you write the book to fit the trend, it’s gone. But I think it’s a good idea to know your marketplace.
Reading is fun. I’m so grateful to the authors who really can get me out of my head for a few hours. It is no easy task these days as I am always working on something.
I’d love for you to share some of your favorite books you’ve read this year… And what books have you read that are out of your comfort zone?
Sunday, May 8th, 2011 by Sasha White
From Candace Havens
Forensic anthropologist Patience McGee doesn’t play games. So when she offers to investigate the death of businessman Cade Randall’s father from twenty years ago, Cade’s ambivalence is nothing short of frustrating. Well, she’ll show this mouthwateringly hot man exactly who he’s dealing with….
Cade had made up his mind to walk away from the case—until Patience dared him to help her investigate the murder. And as they immerse themselves in the mystery, it isn’t long before the vibe between them goes from civil to sizzle. But what will happen when Cade and Patience realize that the most dangerous dare of all…is the truth?
From Charlene Teglia
From the jungles of South America to a big city high-rise, where there’s trouble, you’ll find…MEN OF ACTION.
Shoot to Thrill
Gabriel Everest had a simple plan; infiltrate, attack, exfiltrate. Unfortunately, he encountered a major complication in Dr. Miranda Gray. Blowing the target would have to wait until he could rescue the hostage, but saving the girl and getting away without alerting the opposition is harder than it sounds when she’s determined to take direct action of her own.
Third Time’s the Charm
Loving a cop isn’t easy. Faced with an emotional distance their physical attraction couldn’t bridge, Lynn Taylor walked away. Twice. But Nick Logan isn’t ready to let her go. When an elevator mishap leaves them trapped together in the dark, can two lovers find a way to make the third time the charm?
Originally published in The Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance and Passion: Erotic Romance for Women, these stories have been revised and expanded for this ebook edition.
Released in April
Can an accountant defeat a supervillain? Celia West, only daughter of the heroic leaders of the superpowered Olympiad, has spent the past few years estranged from her parents and their high-powered lifestyle. She’s had enough of masks and heroics, and wants only to live her own quiet life out from under the shadow of West Plaza and her rich and famous parents.
Then she is called into her boss’ office and told that as the city’s top forensic accountant, Celia is the best chance the prosecution has to catch notorious supervillain the Destructor for tax fraud. In the course of the trial, Celia’s troubled past comes to light and family secrets are revealed as the rift between Celia and her parents grows deeper. Cut off from friends and family, Celia must come to terms with the fact that she might just be Commerce City’s only hope.
This all-new and moving story of love, family, and sacrifice is an homage to Golden Age comics that no fan will want to miss.
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 by Sasha White
WINNER…..Suzan H your number was chosen by hte random number genrator, and you get to pick a book from the Genreality Bookstore on Amazon. Please use the CONTACT link on my website to email me your choice. You have until Monday Night to collect your prize or I’ll choose a new winner for Next Tuesday’s post.
I’m a big fan of using Quotes to get myself hyped up and focussing on the right things….I’ve posted them here before, and thought I’d do it again…so here are some more that I hope will inspire you to go after what you want out of your career, and out of your life.
Which ones speak to you? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win any book you want form the Genreality Bookstore on Amazon. Be sure to use the menu on the right side of the bookstore to see ALL the books available by clicking on each authors name.
“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.”
— Erica Jong, Author
“Don’t play for safety. It’s the most dangerous thing in the world.”
— Hugh Walpole, Writer
“I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.”
— Jonathan Winters, Comedian
“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.”
“It only takes one person to change your life – you.”