Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Marketing concerns and self publishing

One of the dangers of self publishing is marketing. How do you get people to hear about a book that you alone published?  I don't have the money to take out a lot of internet ads.  In fact, I have only a Google adwords coupon for $80, so figure that might be it there.

So, with limited amount of funding, and no big names publishing house behind me, now what?

Well, I've got a plan. Sort of. Consider Facebook, twitter, and Myspace (sort of) accounted for. And stumbleupon. And the Catholic writer's organization mailing list.  (Where do you think I met Karina Fabian?). And virtual book tours on blogs.

Celebrities: Anyone I can get my hands on, really. I'm apllying to be a guest at DragonCon in Atlanta, I-Con in New York, and NYComic Con. So, I hope to both talk at large groups of people, and bump into a few people. Peter David checks in at all three Cons, John Ringo is at DragonCon-- I don't intend to harass anyone, but more like say "Hi, I have a gift for you. Autographed. It mysteriously has the author's contact info."

Churches (churches have book groups, don't they?)

Senior groups -- make a large print edition, swing by a nursing home, a senior center, and start speaking like it's a Barnes and Noble reading.

My alma maters. I have people I would like to tell about my success. What there is of it.  This includes my high school, my college, my and those of my family members.

The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Scientists. I know, it sounds strange, but my parents are members of this society, and I have gone to enough meetings to be considered a mascot.

Libraries, of course.

Instapundit.  This one is going a suggestion from my friend Jason over at Axes and Allies.  Instapundit is a massive news site, and the man who runs it is also a science fiction fan.  If Jason gets his attention on my behalf, you will know because my website will crash with the increased traffic flow.

Glenn Beck -- Wait? What? Yes, Glenn Beck, that weird little fellow with his own radio channel. Why?  It Was Only On Stun is not a political book.  All of the politics in it is from Europe, and a lot of those are from the 1990s -- remember them? However, he does read thrillers -- he has interviewed Brad Thor and Vince Flynn, other thriller authors that I also read. He is also a fan of science fiction.  He might like a thriller set at a science fiction convention.  It's possible.

Literotica.com -- After the last one, this is also going to stand out as strange. As you can tell from the url, this is a written erotica website. However, they have a non-erotic section, and I've posted some of the stories from this website there. I figure that if I start posting little slivers, one chapter at a time (or modified chapter -- maybe a few pages at a time, a few scenes at a time), and when I get a few dozen pages into the novel, the last post says, "Thanks for reading. To get to the rest of this story, buy the book, muahahahaha."  Well, maybe without the evil laughter.

These are only some of the ideas I have right now. With luck, I'll have more soon.  If you have some thoughts, let me know.  If you're a publisher with an offer, let me know. :)

Be well, all.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What Happened To A Pius Man?

So, I mentioned the book I'm about to publish, called It Was Only On Stun.  As I said, it's a murder mystery / comedy with bullets thrown in.

After pushing A Pius Man here for years, you would think I would want to publish that first, no?


You see, I'm going to bounce A Pius Man off of one or two more people while I'm at it. There's a small Canadian publishing company with an editor who really wants me to submit it to her.  My first agent (no contract), Joshua Getzler, wanted to use my book to graduate from his apprenticeship (but was too bogged down to follow through) now has his own agency. So I want to see what Josh wants to do, if anything, then try the other publishing company, and then self publish it.  I liked Josh enough back then that I want to see if he's still interested now.

Why self-publish It Was Only On Stun then? Why not wait?  Simple answer: the wait was killing me.

Let me put it this way -- I have been writing since I was 16. I have written, rewritten, spiked, and reconstructed 17 books to the level where I would unleash them on the general public.  Problems include how many are sequels to other books, etc.
In 2007, I started looking for an agent for my best novel -- it was historically accurate, edifying, educational, filled with character and story and explosions and fight scenes .... A Pius Man/ I had Josh by April, 2007; he became "too busy" by that September, and 12 months later, in 2008, told me to move along. 

By March of 2009, I had another agent.. I let him go this month, as I mentioned earlier.
Every book and every author and everyone at every convention I've ever been to have told me that if I have an agent, I have a foot in the door. It's only a matter of time. Be patient. And I did everything that everyone told me to do.
And, following those guidelines, I waited 5 years to publish one book. Playing by the rules, I got absolutely nothing.
I know that other authors have been rejected 27 times by other publishers.  I know that "it's been tough" on publishers. I know that  
Will I try small presses in the future? Certainly. I have other books. I could (self) publish a book a month for the next year and a half before I can slow down. But I'm going to dedicate at least six months per book, possibly more (since IT WAS ONLY ON STUN! is a mystery at a science fiction convention, I'm going to try visiting DragonCon, New York Comic-Con, and I-Con, a major local convention in April).
But, short of someone telling me they want to buy my book with a full publishing contract, I am not going to put my livelihood in the hands of anyone else so I can be whipsawed for another half a decade.

Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. And through the Holy Spirit, patience is probably infinite. But I am 30 years old, unemployed (except for my Ambit Business), and due to some bad educational decisions (degrees in European history when no one is hiring in that field), I am probably unemployable.
Prudence is telling me that patience is going to kill me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

So, now what?

So, I mentioned that I fired my agent, started the process to self-publish my own novel. I have a cover design.  I have a synopsis, a flap copy, and a novel being edited as I type this blog (I have editors, my sister's English degree has to be good for something).

Right now, as I put family members to work on editing the novel, I'm looking over self publishing companies.  At the moment, I think I have it narrowed down to either lulu.com, or Amazon's self publishing outlet, Createspace.

Now, a little bit about the novel, It Was Only On StunIt's one of my earlier non-science fiction works, though it took place at a science fiction convention.  And, despite that it hasn't been looked at in two years, it holds up.  However, it needed an opening.

Thankfully, you folks have already given it to me.

A while ago, I wrote a short story called One Way To Stay Out of Jail.  It showed Sean AP Ryan, security specialist, and weapon of mass destruction, being booked and thrown in jail by the LAPD.  Along the way, he explains where he gets his toys, meets a former special operations officer, and tries to recruit one of the people interrogating him, during the course of the interrogation.

If you don't remember the story, you can check out the whole story here.  In fact, that is the prologue to It Was Only On Stun. Where do I go from there?  We flash forward to Sean Ryan giving a security lecture to a science fiction convention. Assassin's are coming to murder one of the con's guests -- when she left her Eastern European country, she had pissed off all sides, Serbians, Croats, and the "Ethnic Albanians" (ie: Muslims).  Fringe groups and war criminals who want to get back in the game, terrorist organizations who want to prove they're not impotent ... and someone who thinks he's an elf assassin.

That last part is my father's fault, actually.  During A Pius Man, my father had some fun typing away at one passage in Sean Ryan's resume.  This was after I had written It Was Only On Stun, and he threw in a line about how Sean had taken on Middle Earth's Most Wanted Elven Assassin.

So, I had to go back to It Was Only On Stun, and insert a psychotic stranger with a bow and arrow kit who had to prove to Sean's client that she was really an elf. No matter whose blood he has to spill.

It's coming along well.  I'm just navigating the world of self publishing sites.  At the moment, well ...

There's a story in the Mass Effect franchise, told by an alien, Garrus, about pre-combat rituals among his people's military -- mostly, fighting.  He discussed how one women he fought was a tough opponent.  He had reach, she had flexibility.  Afterwords, they had a rematch in her quarters. He summed it up as "I had reach, she had flexibility."

Amazon has reach. Lulu has flexibility. We'll see what happens. I might be able to use both. But, one thing at a time.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm getting published

So, on Friday, I fired my agent.

Why?  Don't get me wrong, I like Sam Fleishman.  I could talk to him, he could understand what I meant, what I wanted, and what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, he himself told me he had problems selling anything by nonfiction lately. As much as I would have liked to stay with him until the bitter end, it's been three years of my life. There has been no movement. And I'm only going mildly insane. I need to do something, and, even though I have my own business now, it's not exactly going as fast as I would like (granted, if it went as fast as I would like, I'd be going door-to-door, but I'm told that's frowned on. And illegal in some cases).

So, I fired Sam.  He was understanding about it.

So, while this did not lead to a sudden discovery by a publisher, this did lead to a decision.  I'm going to start self-publishing my books.

You read it correctly, books, plural.

You see, A Pius Man was never a one shot; not only was it a trilogy, it was also the last in a series of novels I had written.  Characters like Scott Murphy and Giovanni Figlia had been bit players in two previous novels (though they never met). You can imagine the rewrites I had to put in to make A Pius Man intelligible. It had gone from being the last in a series with people the reader should be moderately familiar with, to a first book published.

For example, Maureen McGrail and Sean AP Ryan had met in a comedy-thriller called It Was Only On Stun.  In A Pius Man, we only know that McGrail dislikes working with Ryan, and we can only imagine why.

Now, you're going to find out.  Yes, I am going to publish my first novel, It Was Only On Stun, through a company called Lulu.com.  Here's hoping all goes well.  I have to do a few things first, like layout design.  And I've got two different versions of the book, which means two different openings.

And, in case you're wondering, yes, I will be writing under an alias. my real last name isn't easy to spread by word of mouth, now is it?

While I am tempted to list this book with a subtitle of A Novel of A Pius Man, I don't think I have quite that many fans.

In short, this is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end.  But we hope, pray God, that this is the end of the beginning.

And now, a flap copy (what you see on the back of the book) of It was only on stun!

When security specialist Sean A.P. Ryan agrees to protect actress Mira Nikolic at a Science Fiction convention, he thinks it can't be all bad. It's only a three-day weekend with some colorful characters in costumes.

But Sean is hardly prepared for what awaits him; the costumes, the fanboys, the freaks and geeks are only the beginning. There are actors with attitude problems, writers with rabies, and how do you spot an assassin when everyone is wearing a mask?

This doesn't even account for the real threats. When his client left Europe, she had been a figure of peace in a region that didn't want it. Now that she's an international celebrity, factions from the old country see her as the start of a reunion tour, with guns. Not only that, but she is being stalked by Middle Earth's Most Wanted Elven Assassin; he thinks that the actress is actually an Elven princess, and will do anything to prove it to her, including murder.

And what is that body doing in the middle of the vendor's floor with a sword-cane through his chest?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Music Blog .... Classical music

I promised after yesterday this would at least be entertaining.

You've probably heard this before without ever knowing the name.

It's called Pachelbel's Canon .... though this version has a few variations.