Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can This Be True?

Every so often a little news article gets passed to me and I shrug my shoulders and go on with my life but this one stumped me.


Exactly what are the big brick-n-mortar publishers thinking?  Well, obviously they are attempting to shutdown Amazon and all the indie authors.  They can't.  It's already too late and just like the financial loan disaster, this, too, is going to be a fiasco to watch.  You don't shut the barn doors after the horses have gotten out! 

Indie authors are here to stay.  Sure there are good books, fantabulous books, mediocre books and unfortunately, those of miserable consideration.  BUT, in their defense, 'real' books also fall into those categories.  Just because some celebrity or well-known person writes a book, whether it be a tell-all or some made-up memoir, it doesn't guarantee that it will be a best seller.  Sure Stephen King, Nora Robers, Ian Fleming, Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and John Grisham will sell millions of books but really, are we going to wait with baited breath for the memoirs of Kim Kardashian?  Sure, there are those who follow every move of the woman but, in 5 years, when she is a has-been, will her book still be a popular read?  CARRIE was released in 1974 and is still being read today... over 35 years later; not to mention the movies and musicals from it.

But I digress.

For the unknown author, the indie who has sent out hundreds of queries and submissions, only to be rejected - there is hope.  Amazon.com, Smashwords.com and several other locations on the Internet have become a boon to them as a place to get noticed and published.  Sure, some of the stuff is a little rough, a hack, needs serious editing, etc etc etc; but the bottom line is, there are great stories hidden within this great mound of ... dare I say it?  Self publishing.

Sure there are many vanity publishers who will, for the small (ha, ha, ha) to substantial amount of funds, publish your book so you, too, can have a garage full of books in boxes to hustle.  The new upstarts, such as Amazon, allow the author to get the book to the reader without the huge up-front expense or questionable storage facilities.

As I have rambled, you are probably asking "What the hell is he trying to say?"


IF the big publishers are going to push, we, the readers and writers, need to push back.  As writers, we have done so with Amazon and other places.  As readers?  Not too much.  We embraced the Kindle, Nook, iTune, etc technology and now download ebooks to read. 

BUT, if big publishers are going to up the ante on the cost of an ebook, it is time for us, the reader, to look at the future.  SO, I can buy Stephen King's newest book for $19.95 (paperback) or the ebook version for $24.95.  Hmm?  Debating this for a moment.  NOPE!  For $19.95 I can go to my favorite ebook store and purchase TWENTY (20) ebooks at $.99 -- and for $24.95 for ONE ebook, I can get TWENTY FIVE (25) ebooks!  Sure, not Stephen King but ...

Trust me.  Somewhere in that cluster of generic chocolate of $.99 ebooks I will find a gem of Godiva chocolate to satisfy my reading fix.  I might even find 2, 3, or more gems.  Sure, there may be some 'dreck' to deal with, but for $.99, I can easily press 'Delete' and it is gone.  Imagine paying $24.95 and suddenly realizing you don't like it.  Can you return it?  I don't think so.  Can you sell it to someone else?  I don't think so.  And do you really want to 'delete' a $25 book?  I don't think so.

And why would you pay $24.95 for an ebook when you can get the paperback edition for $19.95?  Convenience of having it on your $200 ebook reader -- hmm?  Think about that a little more.  You got that reader so you could get the less expensive (God forbid I would say 'cheaper') versions of the paperback.  Now the publisher is charging you extra for that convenience.  Of course they are; they want you to buy the dead tree version -- their source of milk-and-honey.

Big brick-and-mortar publishers are in need of a reality check.  They think they can stop technology.  Just because they curmudgeoned themselves into this situation doesn't mean WE have to deal with it.

I will always have a soft spot for the touchy-feely books -- and will continue to buy them but I am also moving forward with technology and embracing the ebook format.  Some books I want to curl up in a chair with a fireplace crackling, a hot cup of coffee or chocolate and read a book, turning the paper pages as I go.  Other times I just want to sit on a bus, plane, train, or mall (waiting for my wife to finish shopping) and read my ebook version.

So, if the big book publishers want to play hard ball, remember, the indie is there.  Support your local authors.

If you need a suggestion for an ebook ... maybe I suggest Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold or 2012: Timeline Apocalypse?  BTW, Three Steps is now on sale $.99 -- a savings of over FOUR dollars.

Until next I blog...  I wish you a Happy New Year; see you in 2012...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Short and Sweet

First an edit ... this was suppose to self post on Tuesday automatically.  It didn't.  Sorry for delay.

ON SALE: Only $.99.  Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold.  A fast paced Celtic novel about a young man searching for his past where reality and fantasy are opposite ends of the same stick.  With just 3 steps, Harry Corsi moves from one reality to another and which is fantasy becomes a question when he is faced with elves, leprechauns, wizards, dwarfs and a dragon.  Of course, not everything appears as it is - leprechauns are dwarfs, dwarfs are ogres and giants are leprechauns in this tale of who is who.

Welcome friends of the quill.  In the 'olde' days, you'd place an ad like the above in the newspaper to help 'hawk' your book.  I have discovered in the last few weeks a horrifying thing.  Being a writer is not an easy job -- actually, the easiest part is writing the story or novel.  The hard part?  Marketing.

Exactly what does that mean?  It means you have to really understand your genre and the competition and a whole lot more.  Contrary to the popular belief -- if you write it, they will read -- they won't.  That only works in movies with Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones.

So what is marketing?  Is it Facebook?  Twitter?  Blogging?

Sure you can use those but there is more.  You need to connect with your readers.  Touch them, get in their faces and push your book down their throats because if you don't do it -- uh, nobody else is going to.

So now I'm going to ask you... what marketing strategy do you have in place?  How do you get the word out about your book?  How do you get sales?

Share your insight.

I'm listening.

Until next I blog...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Author Interview - Elyse Salpeter

Today I'd like to introduce an author; her name is Elyse Salpeter and she has a new novel which has just been released through Cool Well Press.  She was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her hectic life and give some insights about her and the book.

Q: Can you tell me the title, genre and a little bit about your book?
A: FLYING TO THE LIGHT is a young adult spiritual thriller. The novel is about seventeen year old Michael Anderson and his deaf kid brother, Danny, who find themselves in terrible danger after their parents are kidnapped. Michael discovers Danny has a special gift -- he knows what happens after a person dies -- and now others want to know too. The brothers must outwit and outrun Samuel Herrington, a lethal biophysicist, the FBI, and even fellow Americans in a harrowing cross-country chase because whoever can get to Danny first will have the power to rule the world.

Q: So what makes your book different from others on the market? 
A: With one of the main characters being a deaf six year old boy, I believe it makes for an unlikely hero. The deaf community is seldom represented in mainstream fiction and I believe it is something people would be interested in reading about. The fact the older brother must protect his brother and the challenges he faces is compelling. The book really delves into the relationship between the two brothers and how close they are.

Q: Why did you pick that particular title - FLYING TO THE LIGHT?
A: The novel is about the afterlife and birds; I thought it was apropos.

Q: How long did it take to create this manuscript? Did it go through variations? How many?
A: I initially wrote this novel 11 years ago with lots of revisions. Then, after it was picked up by a publisher, it went through two more revisions, concentrating on "the bad guys" in the book. We finally settled on Samuel Herrington, a ruthless biophysicist.

Q: Who is your favorite and least favorite character?  Why?
A: My favorite character is Michael Anderson, one of the leads. This seventeen year old boy who pretty much led a sheltered, blessed life, is suddenly faced with his worst nightmare: his parents are kidnapped, discovers secrets have been kept from him and he and his brother are in danger.  Michael must find reserves in his character he never knew he possessed, be able to open his mind to things he never knew could exist and really had to mature in order to do the things that had to be done.  By the end, he's a different person than he was only a week before.

My least favorite character is, of course, Samuel Herrington. I find his character terribly intersting with his brilliance, his OCD issues and his proclivities on the afterlife; but he's evil incarnate.  He has no morals, no human compassion and is only after what "is good for him."  It makes for an incredibly complex and ruthless bad-guy.

Q: So why do you write and how long have you been writing?
A: I "officially" started writing my first novel in college.  I write because I have these stories in my head I just must put on paper.  Ideas sit with me and I feel like there's a story I must tell.  There is a great sense of satisfaction when I finish a book.  I know it's not completed and perfect but when I write "the end" on a first draft, it's like a sigh of relief, as if I were holding my breath for a really long time until I could get the words out.

Q: What do you have planned - book related - for the future?
A: I have a lot of ideas in my head for my next book and ways to modify the novels I've already written to make them more marketable.

Q: Tell us an interesting tidbit about you on a personal note.
A: If I could, I'd be a chef. I make wicked soups and stews. I can also wiggle my ears.

Q: Interesting... a chef who can wiggle her ears... sort of a 'Bewitched' + 'Rachael Ray' theme.  So where can we find out more about you and your book?
A: You can go to my website at www.elysesalpeter.com for more information and also to my publisher's site at www.coolwellpress.com.

Q: Do you have any tips or advice to share with other writers?
A: My biggest advice is to write the story you want to write, not write because of what you think will get published.  Get the book on paper and then, when the idea sells, that's when the edits and variations will begin.  Writing is a process but the very first, most important thing in my mind, is to write the story which is in your head. This is the one that is compelling you to sit down at the computer and begging for you to help it come out.

Q: Can you give us a snippet from your book to tease us?
A: Sure, here's a little insight into Samuel Herrington.



Samuel Herrington sat stiffly on the sumptuous leather chair, his bejeweled fingers tented, staring through the massive plate glass windows of his corner office and seeing nothing. The rage blinded him to everything, clouding his vision, making him shake. It was so consuming, it was all he could do not to throw something through those windows.

He quieted his mind, letting it wander back to the woman laying on her deathbed in the room down the hall. Attended by no less than a staff of six nurses who changed shifts every four hours, she had the best of everything, yet she asked for nothing.

The air conditioner hissed, so softly it sounded like a young girl sighing and the man closed his eyes. Anyone else would have been awed at the sheer beauty of the scene outside the windows before him, but to him, it was meaningless. On one side, the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean stretched out for miles in every direction. On the other stretched the village with its white walled houses and red stucco roofs adorned with flowering vines.

He stood up from his granite covered desk, counting the fifteen steps it would take to move through the ornate office, ignoring the sculptures that cost more money than ten lifetime’s of his cleaning woman’s salary. Down the hall of twenty-five steps, adorned with artwork from master painters, past the guards who strolled continuously throughout the property, there solely to protect him. He moved through two fifteen foot chambers, secretaries and messengers shuttling to and from on various errands, each nodding at him respectfully and hurrying on. He opened the door to the suite, and moved quickly the remaining eighteen feet to the bedroom. The nurse glanced at him, and then scurried out.

Samuel stood over the dying woman lying in the stark hospital bed, the white Egyptian silk sheets nearly the color of her skin. Gone was the decadent king-sized headboard with the gold detailing and thick mattress they both had shared. Monitors hummed and beeped, the breathing machine inhaling and exhaling each breath for her. He traced the woman’s fingers with his pointer, her skin so fragile he bruised it with his simple touch. Her hand was black and blue from the IV line. Slowly he pulled his hand away and moved to her face.

Her eyes were half open in a drug-induced stupor, yellowed from her poisoned liver seeping its disease into her being. Her scalp showed through her sparse hair, now just wisps of blonde. More strands lay on her pillow. He remembered once when her hair was so thick he couldn’t run his fingers through it.

He squinted his eyes and the rage started to build again. He had money. He had power. He had means, yet he had no way to save this woman. At least not on this earth. But maybe he could save her soul.

He turned and fled back to his office, forgetting to count, and picked up the phone, dialing the all too familiar number. He waited mere seconds, then spoke, his voice hard.

“Don’t make me ask again. Find me the boy, now.”

He hung up the phone and stared at the window again, this time glancing to the island off shore where soon his men were bringing the couple. The couple he had nurtured in his beliefs, set up with everything they ever wanted, allowed to have the best of everything as long as they followed his agenda. But they had lied to him.

His rage clouded his vision as he remembered the call.

"Samuel, the Anderson's have been keeping secrets from you. They discovered what happens to you when you die. Their boy knows. It all has to do with the birds that encircle their house. We've got hundreds of photographs proving the connection. They've deceived you."

“Get them here now,” he demanded. “And get the kids. Bring them all here.”

No one lied to Samuel Herrington.

No one who lived, that was.


The novel is available at Amazon.com in both ebook and paperback.

I'd like to thank Elyse for taking the time to allow me the interview and I hope you will support her by purchasing a copy of her book ... which by the way, is very good.

Until next I blog...