Sunday, December 21, 2014

Every book is a new start.

Came up with another idea for a book.  I like the concept, and it might be fun to write.  Really, at this point I'm just going to let whichever story grabs me and go with it for as long it comes.

But I love the title:  "NOBODY KILLED ME." 

I was amazed that no one else has used this title yet.

The idea is a character who is lost between universes, always trying to get home, pursued by enemies. (Odysseus-like.)  Meanwhile, he gets into adventures in each universe he lands in, and so on. Maybe a bit of Doctor Who vibe, which I think I can pursue because I've only seen a couple of episodes so whatever vibe I arrive at probably won't even be close, which is good.  (Only two episodes of Doctor Who?  I know, strip me of my nerd credentials.)

I've written the first three pages, 1st person, with some elevated language.

Which immediately causes me to doubt.  I feel like Tuskers is such a successful effort, that I wonder if I shouldn't try to replicate the straight-forward simplicity of it.  Good old fashioned 3rd person storytelling.

But the other thing that Tuskers taught me is -- try something new, something unexpected.

I certainly had no plans to write about a Wild Pig Apocalypse, but once I did, I realized it was a new start.

It made me realize that every book is a new start.

Well, writing trilogies and sequels is not quite the same thing as a new start, but I'm mostly finished with the sequels I've so far written, so I can move away from that concept for awhile.  There are advantages to writing sequels, too, and I've fully enjoyed doing them.  But I think the time has come to do some one-ups.


It does seem like every time I challenge myself to try something completely new, I make an advance in my writing, going back to Deviltree, which was a purposeful attempt to get away from heroic fantasy, and felt wonderful to write.

If you keep writing, every book could be the book that everyone likes, that catches on.  You just don't know, all you can do is keep writing.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Living in two worlds.

I have a bifurcated vision of writing and reading.

On one hand, I think self-publishing and/or small indie publishing is the way to go.  I really believe the Big Five are dysfunctional.  Agents are worst than useless.  I can't ever imagine ever trying to sell my books into this market.  I'm pretty sure it would stall my writing career, and it isn't necessary to be read or to make money or even to gain appreciation.  In fact, I think the traditional publishing world would actually be harmful to my progress.

On the other hand, I still sort of take my own reading from that world.  I still get my reading material from one of my two bookstores.  I don't own an e-reader.

I'm not sure why this is.  I mean -- how can I so clearly and easily see the advantages of writing digital copy but ignore it as a reader?  Maybe I just haven't gotten around to changing.

I'm sort of like the guy at the turn of the 20th Century who really, really loves horses but recognizes that the automobile is the future and starts selling gasoline.  You know, eventually he probably buys a car for himself.  But until then, he still has his horse stable out back.  He can clearly see the future in one thing, but still want to live in the past himself.

Does that make any sense?

This split vision does make it somewhat hard for me to completely understand Amazon and all the book blogs and all the other social media connections and the rest.  I don't inhabit that world, but I'm trying to sell into that world.

So be it.  I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I had tried the traditional route instead of the one I took.

So I slowly adapt, and I try to keep up. But it isn't natural to me.

When I bought Pegasus Books I wasn't really a comic reader.  I had to fumble my way, much as I'm fumbling my way as a digital book writer.  I could intellectually see the qualities of it.  I could appreciate it.  I could admire it.  I could understand it.

But I couldn't really feel it in my gut.

I kept trying and eventually I found Alan Moore and his stories, and Neil Gaiman quickly followed, and Frank Miller and so many others, and I found myself finally really getting it and even more importantly living in that world. The longer I inhabited that world, the more I found and the more I felt it.

I ended up making a career out of it.

So you can understand something, but not feel it.  You can feel something, and know it's the wrong way to go.

Kind of hard to explain.

I'm a very logical guy in some ways.  But this isn't just logic.  I really do understand that digital is the way for writers to proceed and because of that, the readers will follow.

And yet I still have a nostalgia and a desire to feel the old-fashioned book.

Funnily enough, I'm not worried about my businesses.  I believe traditional publishing will hold on long enough for me to finish my career.  I believe in fact that traditional and digital will co-exist.  But I would advise any beginning writer to forget about the Big Five and do it yourself.

In my new career, as a writer, I'm pretty convinced the advantage goes to digital and all its promise.  Because I want to be a writer, I'm following a path that I don't totally understand but instinctively, intellectually, and logically understand is the right way to go.

I'll keep going until I totally feel it as well.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Led to the Slaughter, an Amazon Bestseller.

Books of the Dead Press put a new line on my Led to the Slaughter page.

"AN AMAZON BESTSELLING HORROR TITLE."

Here's what my publisher said,

"Led to the Slaughter has been on the Amazon bestselling horror list. Maybe you didn't know that… Frankly, I should have been bragging about the Amazon ranks for years."

I didn't know that. 
He also put a nice gold digital badge on the cover of my book, that says, "Most Popular Item.  Best Seller.  Best Selling."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My cover artist, Andy Zeigert.

I wanted to give a shout out to my cover artist for The Dead Spend No Gold, Andy Zeigert.  I loved the design on Led to the Slaughter and he was able to replicate it with the followup.

Thank you, Andy. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

So it begins?

I get nervous every year around this time. 

Last year, Pegasus Books did over 70% of our business in the second half of the month.  In fact, the first half of the month's daily average was actually below the yearly average.

Then BOOM!  Best Christmas ever.

I think I understand why this time lag is happening.

First of all, we've gotten to that point in the season where shopping online probably can't guarantee arrival before Christmas.

Second, despite what everyone says, most people do like to experience the Christmas shopping thing, if only for a short time, and the best time is the week before the holiday.  The bustle can be invigorating.

Third, Bend being a tourist town, we get all the visitors and out-of-towners in that last week.  Kids get out of school. Tourists always spend more money than locals.  Everything in my store is new to them.  Downtown fills up.

In other words...it's time.

Makes it hard to plan inventory, though.  If something sells out, we probably can't get it in on time.  So I'll end up with too much of some things and not enough of others. We used to be able to get a read on things.  The big boom on the weekend after Thanksgiving, a lull of a week or so, and then a steady build where we could adjust. 

Now we just fill the store, wait until that last week, and hope we guessed right.

But so far, they haven't cancelled Christmas. 

I think we're flirting with disaster, though.  Every year.  Imagine that snowfall of a couple of weeks ago happening now.  My business dropped to nothing for a few days.  This wouldn't just cost a few hundred bucks, but at this time of year would be thousands of bucks.  Imagine a disaster somewhere in the world where everyone becomes glued to the TV. 

It's scary.  Being a business that depends on Christmas makes the experience different.

Fortunately, I usually relax on Christmas Eve.  Suddenly a pleasant lassitude washes over me.  It's out of my hands.

I can finally enjoy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Columns not about my book, but really about my book.

So that was fun.  I joined a online Christmas party at Ragnarok Publications to talk about Tuskers.

They made the big announcement about the Angelic Knight imprint -- turns out it was an existing publisher they purchased for their Horror line.

Each author had ten minutes to introduce themselves and talk about their book.  I was the last author up, because I procrastinated the longest at answering the invitation.

It was kind of fun, actually.

So a couple of hundred people attended, and the questions came fast and furious.  The pop-up "Likes" every few seconds were a little distracting, and pretty soon I was just grabbing a question at random and answering it.  Totally out of control.

People really do seem to like the idea of a wild pig apocalypse.  Superintelligent pigs on the rampage.  I hope that means they want to buy the book.

I've been lined up to write a couple of columns for writer oriented blogs so far, so that's more outreach than I've done up to now.  Hopefully there will be more of that coming.  As anyone who reads this blog knows, I'm never short of words.

I may take slightly longer on these columns than I do on my everyday blog -- which I have always kept loosey goosey on purpose so that I can do it without pressure.

I need to find interesting ideas that won't be about my book -- but of course are really about my book.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tuskers is the flagship title for Angelic Knight Press! (Ragnarok).

So I can finally announce this.  Ragnarok Publications bought an existing company as their new Horror Imprint, Angelic Knight Press.

And a little title called Tuskers, by someone named Duncan McGeary, is the first title out!

Pretty exciting.