Pathways of the Dead Winter 2014 Tour: Day 3: How to Be an Author in Your Own Life

Welcome back to the Pathways of the Dead blog tour. Today, we have Day 3 and a guest post for Christina Jean Michaels. This is one of my favorite posts of the tour, one centering around the concept of authorship of your life. I’m a firm believer that while many things are out of control in our lives, we can take some measure of control and grab the reins; today’s post talks about how to do it. Here’s an excerpt:

2. Know Thyself. Certainly cliche, and certainly true. This is not a ‘travel-to-India’ edict, rather an encouragement to observe yourself, one that comes from Julia Cameron and The Artists’ Way, where she suggests taking yourself on a weekly ‘artist date’. I took this advice during the early years of my career and discovered quite a bit about myself, chief of them my preferred locations for introspection. For whatever reason, I have always favored the dark places of the Earth: abandoned buildings, empty highways, graveyards. The ghosts of the past whisper in your ear in such places, making them holy to me. For you this might be the beach – whatever, each of us is different, the important part is finding a spot where your mind connects to something larger. Once you’re there, be still and follow the third point.

If you’re interested, hop over to the post and show that blog some love. Go on, do it!

Oh, and did I mention that you can win a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book? Yeah, you can enter on each of the stops over the next two weeks. I plan to post and provide a link to the differing sites each day, so make sure you hop over and enter for your chance to win.

Pathways of the Dead Winter 2014 Tour: Day 2 with Vaempires!

Hello, hello, welcome once again to the Pathways of the Dead blog tour, day 2! This time we have the excerpt from the novel and an interview with the book blog Vaempires. I have to say I really enjoyed this interview, as it offered a chance to answer questions that I don’t often see, including the books that have inspired me, the author with whom I’d most like to write, and whether I think the movie can ever be better than the book. I’m not spoiling a thing, though, so you’ll have to go over and read about it yourself at the site. When you’re done, feel free to give me any comments/questions.

Oh, and did I mention that you can win a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book? Yeah, you can enter on each of the stops over the next two weeks. I plan to post and provide a link to the differing sites each day, so make sure you hop over and enter for your chance to win.

Pathways of the Dead Winter 2014 Tour: Day 1 and a Lusty Penguin

So, yeah, welcome to Day One of the two-week tour for Pathways of the Dead! This one has been in the works for some time now, but first I experienced  production delays on the book and then came the holidays and everything ended up spilling over. I blame myself. Sad, really. Anyway, I’ve been exceedingly busy creating good content for the tour, so I’m hyped up to hype you up, or something like that.

Oh, and did I mention that you can win a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book? Yeah, you can enter on each of the stops over the next two weeks. I plan to post and provide a link to the differing sites each day, so make sure you hop over and enter for your chance to win.

Today’s stop is with Lusty Penguin Reviews (got to love the name), and it features a character interview with Kristy, an excerpt, and other goodies. Go check it out!

Moving in Stereo: Stepping outside of the Amazon Ecosystem

Morning all, and a great Friday and (potentially) weekend to you. This has been a long week, and I’m glad to see its ass-end heading out the door. Let’s just hope all of March isn’t so wild and inconsistent because I may just be forced to drastic measures. Evil measures.

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Today I want to talk about the Amazon ecosystem and why I’ve recently increased my distance from it. Let me first admit to some trepidation at sounding a little out-of-touch with this post, as I’m quite aware that some people out there have come to the same conclusion. That conclusion being that the Amazon ‘game’ that so many of us play either doesn’t work or keeps us from seeing the bigger picture of book promotion. I have no idea how much of a trend this movement may be, but I still see an awful lot of posts about getting reviews on Amazon/Amazon sales rankings/Amazon removing likes/Amazon killing puppies, and I just wanted to say a few things about it.

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Getting this out of the way first: I have nothing against Amazon. In fact, I use it pretty much every day for ordering Kindle books or music or vitamin supplements or what-have-you. I run a thriving Amazon Marketplace business (Brown Pig Brown what) and use Fulfillment by Amazon. This is not meant to be an anti-Amazon post in any way. They’re a pretty spiffy business, and I respect them quite a bit, but let’s face it: Amazon is not – and cannot – be the center of the universe. I suspect not even the company truly wants to be at the center of everything, for all its attempts to carry a broad selection.

Yet for many reasons, some of them valid and some not-so-valid, the indie community has hoisted Amazon as the standard bearer for our movement, the place where you have to succeed if you want to be anything at all. Amazon rankings are held up as the gospel truth and people (even myself) hand over exclusive rights to their works in exchange for a small handful of cash each month, if that. Pretty much all of us have done it, and the Amazon ranking system is set up to encourage it, even if it seems that essentially zero readers actually pay attention to that system. Most that I’ve questioned don’t even know it exists, though it would be fascinating to see a study done on the topic.

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Thinking about this led to something of an epiphany toward the end of last year: a lot of people out there don’t use Amazon, or don’t want to use Amazon. Hell, plenty of people refuse to read eBooks. I know, I know. This should be self-evident, and I knew it on an intellectual level, but the consequences of that state of affairs didn’t truly settle on my bones until just then. Even with that revelation, it took quite a bit more time to understand that my target audience might truly be comprised of a lot of those folks.

With that in mind, I reworked my approach to marketing. I eased off of the online marketing gas and put more into personal appearances and sales to test this theory. I came away with some surprising data from my first appearance in December. Did I sell hundreds of copies? No, but then it was a small local craft show and I only attended for two to three hours. I did, however, totally blow away my online sales for January in the matter of a few hours.

Encouraged, I booked time at a convention, which has also been covered on this blog. The first few days were bleak, no lie about that, but I matched my total from the December show and outpaced online February sales by a decent margin. As surprising as this might have been, it fell right in line with my experiences to date: I’ve always sold more copies in person, face-to-face, than online, and with a much higher profit margin. Unfortunately, those “didn’t count”, as they didn’t show up in the Amazon rankings.

It sounds stupid. Hell, it is stupid. Money is money, and readers are readers. Who cares if a number on Amazon goes up?

Well, I did. I still bought into the Amazon ecosystem myth, right up until a few days ago, when it became crystal clear that my audience might not be on Amazon after all. So many people who buy my books in person seem less tech-savvy and show a much greater appreciation for the works once they’ve finished them. I don’t understand the connection as I guessed that my books appealed to a more tech-savvy populace, but whatever. I’ll go with what works, and I’m especially ready to cast off the chains of what has become a traditional online marketing approach.

Could this real-world success translate to online success? Haven’t a clue, but I’m not going to worry about it. The only real metric to success is finding an audience and then focusing on it, and those folks seem to be sliding into view, one by one. I hope that more authors realize this and get out there to pound the pavement. I know it’s easier to do this stuff from behind the keyboard, but I fear that the personal appearance and real-life book tour may fall by the wayside, replaced by canned guest posts and purchased reviews. That’s a damned shame because it’s a vital part of our cultural heritage as authors, Amazon ranking or not.

This post may not be for every one of you. I know lots of people who are walking the same path that I’m walking, and I raise my glass to you. I just think that it’s time to broaden horizons and maybe incorporate older approaches with the newer approaches. Have you been pursuing this path? I’d love to hear from you and share what works and what’s proven to be a blind alley. Every writer’s path is assuredly different, and it’s always fascinating to see what folks have dug up. Let me know in the comments.

Room 3 Web Tour!

Hello again, readers…still here, still not feeling GREAT, but I’m pushing forward anyway. I have a few theories about what’s going on with me physically, but have to wait for the doctors to figure it out. In the meantime…

It’s time for Room 3’s web tour! And so far the book is getting great reviews. My personal favorite is from Lizzy’s Dark Fiction (and there’s a site I need to follow – so much of what she reviews speaks to me): “When the ending finally came, I was shocked.  Totally did not expect that ending, but looking back it explained everything.  Every doubt I ever had in the sincerity and plausibility of the story explained within a single scene.  You won’t guess the ending, but if you read this book, you’ll be happy you stuck through it the entire way.”

Now THAT is a review! Very pleased. Go on over there and check it out, and in the process, you can sign up for the giveaway. I’m giving away a $20 Amazon gift card and a $10 Amazon gift card – I imagine you could think of a few ways to spend that this time of year.

I have so many things to share with you. It’s really frustrating that I can’t concentrate enough to give it to you guys. Look for a flood of content once I feel better – including the next part of Open Slay.

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Room 3 Launch Winners, Holiday Crush, and Planning a Tour. Whew!

Evening, readers. First of all, congrats to Cinta García de la Rosa for winning the $25 Amazon gift card in the Room 3 launch. If you missed this one, don’t worry – we’ll have a tour in early December for the rest of you folks. I’ll talk about that one shortly.

In the meantime, of course it’s a holiday week, and I’ve decided to take this week off from my day job. We’re heading out of town on Thursday to visit my parents and spend time with friends, so I don’t know how much I’ll be updating the site. Hopefully “enough” will do the trick? I don’t know. I’m focusing especially hard on City of the Dead right now, in hopes that I can get the first draft of that completed before the end of the year. Can it be done? I don’t know. I’m about halfway through, but it’s flowing out in a fairly steady stream, and it seems pretty good so far.

Fans of the series (all five of you) should enjoy it, based on how things stand now, and it’s far from having the early problems that I experienced with Room 3. The new characters are a lot of fun, and I’m enjoying spending some time with them. I’ll talk about them sometime in the future, but for now…a slight teaser: I think that the cover weapon (as it was a pistol for Corridors of the Dead and a sword for The Station) will be a scythe. Consider what that one might mean. Continue reading

Room 3 Launch – Get the Details Here!

Hi readers! I am proud to announce that Room 3 is now available on all major eBook and print platforms – and coming to many more in the near future (including an audiobook that’s in the works).

I have a fun promotion and giveaway going on this week, but first, let’s look at the current lay of the land with where you can pick up my second full-length novel:

  • Smashwords is my current favored e-store for purchase, just because you can get it in so many formats with such little fuss. I’m offering a 10% off discount if you purchase it through Smashwords, in fact; use PL77Y as your coupon code at checkout and you can knock a little off of the price.
  • I’m sure many of you are looking for the Kindle version, and you find it at Amazon. Go go go!!
  • Barnes and Noble also offers the print edition and the Nook version, if that’s your cup of tea. I can’t offer you a discount there, but you’re welcome to check it out.
  • You can also purchase signed and unsigned print editions through my site.
  • The print edition is also available on Amazon and Createspace.
More editions are coming soon (I’m trying to work something out with Google at the moment); it’s just taking some time to get them into the pipeline, as usual. In the meantime, I’m offering a special 2-for-1 deal and giveaway. Here’s how it works:
  1. Purchase Room 3 between now and Midnight on November 18th on any qualifying site. Really, I’m happy with anything, even through this site.
  2. Send me an email at crimnos@gmail.com with the receipt and/or screenshot of the receipt.
  3. Indicate your preferred eBook format and preferred eBook (The Corridors of the Dead, The Kayson Cycle, or The Station).
  4. I’ll send you a copy of that eBook for free! I’ll also give you two entries into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. Pretty straightforward, right?
Now, I know – I’m not just using the giveaway as a tool to puff up my sales. Since memory is so important in Room 3, all you need to do to gain one entry is comment on this post and share one of your favorite memories. That’s it! I look forward to seeing what you have to share.
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The #TESSpecFic Weekly: A Short One

It’s been a little while since I’ve done an Emissaries update; we’ve all been a little distracted, and I suspect the Summer and vacations and whatnot are to blame. I mean, I’ve even been insanely busy, between finishing up a short story, creating the shorts on this site, and editing Room 3. Thankfully, it seems like things are beginning to heat up once again, so I figured it was time to get this thing going.

 

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Indie-Pendence Blog Hop Day 5: The Emissaries of Speculative Fiction

Welcome to the final day in Shaggin the Muse’s Indie-pendence Blog Hop Blowout. First things first, to those of you who commented: thank you. I fully intend to join in the conversation once I get a free moment. It’s been quite the week with the holiday and pushing to get both a novel and short story finished on top of five blog posts. Spinning plates, my friends, spinning plates.

Next order of business: be sure to check in tomorrow, when I’ll be announcing the winners of this week’s book bonanza. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, we’re  giving away loads of books for free. Let’s review what you stand to win this week:

-eBooks of the Corridors of the Dead (limit 5)
-eBooks of the Kayson Cycle (limit 5)
-eBooks of the Station (limit 5)
-Advance eBook of Room 3 when it releases (limit 2)
-eBooks of the Newfoundland Vampire (limit 3)
-eBooks of Marie Loughin’s Valknut the Binding (limit 5)

That’s 25 free books ready for folks to win. And all you have to do is comment. Once you’ve commented, you’ll go into the drawing spreadsheet. On Friday, I’ll draw your number from the hat (a random number generator), and notify you of what you’ve won. Your odds are really, really good, and I know the involved authors would love your comments on our posts. I’m hoping this will be fun for everybody and spur some discussion.

Now, then. If you’re a new reader, I’d like to introduce you to our writers group, the Emissaries of Speculative Fiction, also known as TESSpecFic. The concept behind our group is very relevant to the Indie-Pendence Blog Hop, as it was originally created to bring together like-minded indie authors in not just marketing, but also supporting one another, whether it be through beta reading, editing, formatting advice, or just support when things suck. It’s the embodiment of the idea that I’ve pressed a few times here: that we, as indie writers, need to find ways to present quality and add value to works for readers. I had thought of guilds as a solution, and this is similar in nature. Each week, I typically handle a week-in-review retrospective showing what our team has been up to, but I think this week I’d like to take a look at each member. Continue reading

The #TESSpecFic Weekly (With Special Guest): Fire Evacuation Edition

Hey hey, another week up. It’s been a busy one on my end, as I’m shifting into the final phase of editing Room 3 and firing up the bellows on City of the Dead. Oh, there’s also a short story or two digging in there somewhere. Next week should be a lot of fun, too, as Shaggin the Muse will be a stop on the Indie-pendence Blog Hop celebrating and discussing the state of indie publishing. This will mean some interviews, some in-depth posts, and free copies of books that I’ve recently read, including free copies of my own works. Be sure to check back in!

But, of course, we have to talk about this week for the Emissaries of Speculative Fiction. I realize that I haven’t defined the nature of our group yet, and need to clear up some of the confusion. Simply put, we are a small group of like-minded authors who write things such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all blends thereof.

There, simple enough, right? Now let’s talk about this week. I’m spotlighting another deserving blogger this week, Amberr Meadows. She writes in a slightly different vein, but I enjoy her stuff. Without further ado..

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