Archive for 'Riverwatch'

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 by Joe Nassise
Freebie Alert

Over the last few months I’ve begun making some of my work available through the Kindle Store at Amazon.  Right now I think I have four novels (The Heretic, A Scream of Angels, A Tear in the Sky, Riverwatch) , a novella (More Than Life Itself) , and a short story collection (Shades of Reality) available for sale, all for under $2.00.

For the first couple of months, I sold an average of five copies.  And let’s be clear – that’s not five copies of each, that’s five copies total.

Obviously, something needed to be done.

So I decided to start letting folks know the books were out there by posting about them on the various blogs I write for, making an occasional Tweet on the subject, and participating in various message board discussions.  My sales started to climb and in the last few months I’ve sold an average of 100 copies per month.

I’m still nowhere near the range I’d like to be in and am certainly not bringing in the kind of sales that folks like Joe Konrath (180 books a day!) or Karen McQuestion (30,000 books this year) are, but its a start, right?

Riverwatch by Joseph NassiseIn my continued quest to increase sales of those ebooks, I’ve decided to try a new tactic.  Taking my cue from people like Joe Konrath, Cory Doctorow, Scott Sigler and J.C. Hutchins, I’ve decided that I’m going to offer the complete text of my debut novel, Riverwatch, for free from my website.  Each day, starting today and continuing for the next 42 days after that, I’ll be posting a new chapter from the book for your reading enjoyment.

Riverwatch was nominated for both the Bram Stoker Award and the International Horror Guild Award when it was published back in 2003 by Pocket Books.   Here’s the jacket copy:


When Jake Caruso and his construction team find a hidden tunnel in the cellar of the old Blake mansion in the sleepy hamlet of Harrington Falls, Jake can’t wait to explore its depths. There, he finds an even greater mystery: a stone chamber that’s been covered up for hundreds of years — sealed shut by some long-forgotten warden.


When the ancient seal is broken, a reign of terror and death consumes the town’s residents. Something is stalking them — something that strikes in the darkness without warning or mercy, leaving a trail of innocent blood in its wake — and Jake comes to realize the nightmarish truth of what he has set free. It is an evil born of ages past. A creature of eternal bloodlust. And it has risen to continue its endless slaughter….

My hope is that people will discover my work and enjoy it enough to go check out some of the other material I have available, particularly the ebook versions in the Kindle store.  I’ll be adding links to the bottom of each chapter to encourage people to do so.  I have no idea how well this will work, if it will work at all, but I feel it is worth a try.  I’ll come back and do a follow up post in thirty days to allow us to examine the pros and cons of the process.

You can find the first chapter here.

So what are your predictions?  Will it work?  Why or why not?  Perhaps more importantly, what would you suggest to improve the chance of success?

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009 by Joe Nassise
Of Beer, Books, and a Touch of Fate

Original small press edition

It’s first sale week here at Genreality and it’s my turn to tell you how I managed to get that first big break.  So let’s step aboard the wayback machine and turn the dial all the way to the left, back in the dark ages, you know, before they had electricity and running water?  Yep, all the way back to 1988.

I was in college at the time, getting a degree in Soviet Studies at Fordham University in New York.  (Yeah, I know – Soviet Studies?  Don’t ask.)  As most of my classes that semester were independent studies I had some free time on my hands and I did my fair share of reading. After finishing the latest book by a hot NY Times bestselling mystery writer I was so disgusted that I wouldn’t shut up.  The entire novel had been so damn predictable that I was actually insulted that it had been published, never mind that my fellow readers across America had bought enough copies to make it the author’s Nth bestseller.  It seemed like such a travesty to me.

Apparently not to my roommate, who quickly tired of hearing my tirade.  In his usual laconic way he calmly suggested that if I thought I could do better maybe I should give it a go.  He even put a case of beer on the line, a case of Bass Ale no less, betting that I wouldn’t even finish the book.  Forget whether it was any good or not – all I had to do was actually write one that made some coherent sense and was long enough to qualify by current publishing industry standards.

That was all I needed.  He was dangling liquid gold in front of my face and I was enough of a cocky sonofagun to think I could pull it off.  So that afternoon, never having written much of anything else before that, I sat down to write a novel.

I had no idea what I was doing.  I had never taken a fiction course.  I was a voracious reader but I’d never had any thoughts of being a writer.  I probably never would have either, if I hadn’t been dared to give it a try.

I quickly settled on a genre (horror, which I had been reading a lot of at the time) and got to work.  I wrote long hand on yellow legal pads, working during the day and often at night.  I worked several days a week at campus security, sitting alone from midnight to seven am in a little booth on the far side of campus, and it proved to be a godsend for getting some writing done.  It took me three months, but by the end of that time I had four hundred some odd pages of hand written manuscript and pronounced it done.

My roommate and I consumed that case of beer rather quickly and I soon forgot about my little experiment as a writer.  Like I said, I really didn’t have the drive to want to do that for a living; I was just curious to see if I could do it at all.

Fast forward twelve years.  I’m on the other side of the country, married, and my wife and I are moving into a new house.  I’d been carting boxes of junk around with me ever since college and we finally decided that this time we were going to get rid of some of it.  At the bottom of one carton, nestled in an oversized shoebox, my wife discovers that original, handwritten manuscript.  She begins to read it, finds that it isn’t half bad, not half bad at all, and suggests that maybe I might want to do something with it.  After a bit of hemming and hawing, I agree.

I knew a bit more about writing by then, having had some passing interest in it in the years since college, and spent some time knocking that old manuscript into shape before typing it all up on my computer.  Once I was finished, I set about trying to find a home for it.

As fate would have it, I lucked out.  One of the publishers I discovered was a small indie publisher out of Florida that was just getting started.  Another writer I knew had mentioned my name to the publisher and she wrote to me, introducing herself and her company.  She asked to see the manuscript, which by then finally had a name – RIVERWATCH – after a family estate that plays an important role in the story – and I promptly sent it off.

Three weeks later I had an offer of publication.  It was for trade paperback publication and was royalties-only.  Knowing the publisher wanted to make a legitimate name for herself in the horror and dark fantasy genre, I negotiated with her to pay me a few thousand dollars advance so that she could meet the novel requirements that the Horror Writers Association (the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers) expected publishers to meet.  She agreed and I soon had a check in my hands.

I had done it.  I had made my first sale and gotten some decent money out of it in the bargain.  I was pretty darned pleased with myself.

But that, as it turned out, was just the beginning.  The members of the Horror Writers Association went on to put that little book that could on the preliminary ballot for

Riverwatch - Pocket Books version

Pocket Books mass market paperback edition

the Bram Stoker Awards, one of the highest honors given in the genre.  Figuring it would end there, given the competition I was up against, I was pleasantly surprised when it made it to the final list of nominees.  In the end, I didn’t win the award, but as they say, being nominated is an honor in itself.  And in this case, it truly was, as that nomination led to my landing an agent (who still represents me today) and in selling the rights to RIVERWATCH to Pocket Books, the mass market paperback division of Simon & Schuster.

My career was off and running.

So there you have it.  Eight years after that initial sale I’m still writing.  In fact, I’m about to sell novels ten, eleven and twelve.  And it all started with that lousy book and a case of beer…