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Category Archives: self-publishing

2013 Frankfort Book Fair, y’all!

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This blog has been about many things over the last year ever since it’s inception: funny and tragic pet sitting stories, personal health issues, rants about bad California drivers, crappy, crazy jobs I’ve had, classic alcoholic writers, pissing and moaning about moving from the west coast back to the Midwest…I’ve covered a lot of ground since I’ve been writing this. The blog was started because of a suggestion made by Penny Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts, a literary promotional company. She told me it would be a great way to promote my novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World. But the thing is, I’d never quite understood what people read blogs for, and found that the different subject matter I touched upon was hit or miss. Looking around throughout the blog world, I found people wanted sports and news and politics and hard facts, not necessarily silly stories about animals or being inappropriately wasted in a Von’s grocery store and getting into it with the guy outside collecting money for the Salvation Army, subsequently arrested and then getting anally raped in jail by a six foot six black man named Michael Jackson. But be that as it may, I am pressing on. I suppose I could make this entry a rant about how hard it is to push a self-published book to a saturated market where traditionally published authors are fighting to gain ground, about how much money I’ve spent and seen no return on my investment (over $12,000 and counting), or how my novel is actually well written over that of the 299,000 other crappy self-published authors who are churning out zombie novels at a pace that is beyond ridiculous (anyone ever hear of Dave Moody? Hater’s and then his Autumn zombie series? Jesus Christ give me a fucking break (parenthesis within a parenthesis he is NOT self-published)!). Yes, I could go on and on and you (all of my three readers) would think that I am jealous, that I am a bad writer who is blowing off steam making fun of authors who make it onto the bestseller list and don’t have to pay to publish their own work. The fact is you might be right.
So I’ll switch gears here and talk about my latest attempt at publicity: I have my book registered and being presented both in soft cover and ebook at the 2013 Frankfort Book Fair, the largest literary event in the known universe. Folks from all over the world (over 300,000, a quarter of them members of the media) gather in Frankfort, Germany to see what the latest and greatest trends in literature are. Who’s going to be the next Stephen King, the next J.K. Rowling? Inquiring minds want to know! Even better, what the hell are those two promoting as we speak (a sequel to The Shining and a thriller, respectively)? Yes, all in all a bonafide HUGE ASS event in which my novel will be stacked amongst thousands of others in the Combined Book Exhibit bookshelves, vying for attention both in print and digital copy. And will I get any attention, this absolutely fantastic book that has so far been virtually ignored? A novel Kirkus Indie reviews called ‘Visually engaging, an irrefutably intoxicating adventure’ and ‘one big, bad-ass book’ by Kat of Bibliobabes.ca, not to mention many readers on Goodreads and Amazon.com. Every time I do a free give away I run out well before the posted closing (but I am not stupid; I’ve found SEVERAL copies immediately for sale on Amazon, listed as ‘autographed’…fucking pricks).
As no one is clamoring for this blog I can say whatever I want here. I can cuss and scream and shout and call you all a bunch of pussy faggots for not buying my book and it doesn’t matter (although I do apologize to my three readers; I am not talking about you). Because in a world full of books we, the unknowns, can only keep competing for your attention and hoping that we eventually get it. That one day it will click and you’ll say to yourself: “Holy shit! His autobiographical stuff is like David Sedaris and his horror fiction is like Stephen King. I love those fucking writers! Where have you been all of my life?”
And the answer would be: right here, sitting in front of this fucking laptop and begging you cocksuckers to at least read a free excerpt (available on my website http://www.edgarswamp.com or at Bookbuzzr (also known as Freado) or on Goodreads). It is literally everywhere. If you looked hard enough you’d find the whole copy for free somewhere (don’t ask me where, but I know it’s out there. I do a lot of stupid things when I’m drunk, just ask my neurologist).
But readers don’t want good books, they want tired crap churned out by hacks who need money to buy fourth homes in Stockholm, Sweden where they can hide inside by the fire and secretly burn journals they kept while in community college in Andover, Michigan where they had unprotected sex with minors and never got caught because their parents where on the board of review and the city council…
Yet I digress. My book is at the 2013 Frankfort Book Fair in Frankfort, Germany where I hope someone fucking sees it and picks it up, flips through it and reads something that catches their eye (if indeed I haven’t been scammed by Combined Book Exhibits and the book isn’t really there). And then maybe they’ll contact me through my website and ask to see my next book, ‘Denied’, a futuristic take on the American health care system (available in paper back and ebook in April of 2014). And soon enough people will be willing to pay to read this fucking blog but I’ll continue to give it away for free because I’m such a nice guy. Really, honest. Trust me…and buy my fucking book ($2.99 ebook for fuck’s sake available through Amazon.com). Thank you (and sorry to my three readers!).

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New Reviews For The Gyre Mission

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I have waited quite some time to hear what people think of my debut novel The Gyre Mission, and it is with great joy that I see the reviews are not only good, but totally freakin’ great! Check out http://www.kirkusreviews.com to read the praise they heaped upon my disgusting disasterpiece, as well as http://www.bibliobabes.ca to read what the illustrious (and ever amusing) kat thought of it (see photo above of the very lovely and talented kat). In a saturated market where everyone and anyone is publishing a book, there are actually GOOD ones out there. Mine is one of them! For a measly $4.99 you can own the book (ebook) that will be a bestseller by this time next year, and for a lousy $19 you can have the JUMBO paperback. Come on people, I know you can get free ebooks from Kindle but if you have any taste whatsoever you will realize you get what you pay for. As soon as Stephen King tells you to buy my book you’ll do it, won’t you? And then you’ll say to yourself: “Damn, this book is freakin’ awesome! Thanks for cluing me in Stephen!”
I understand it takes a lot of convincing to make a purchase, especially from some jerk-ass you’ve never heard of before with an author photo that looks like a mug shot, but simply read the free preview and see for your self if the writing is any good. And leave me some feedback. Tell me what you don’t like about it and I’ll send you something free (like a bag of burning shit!). Tell me you like it and I’ll autograph the cup I used to wear in football and send you that (limit one per household). As casual readers you have choices, millions and millions of choices. Do you want to continue giving your hard earned money to writers who’ve sold their souls for the corporate dollar (please contact me if you know who to sell my soul to) or do you want to take a chance on an unknown who might someday be seen in your town, wearing an orange jumpsuit and picking up trash alongside the road? Don’t answer too quickly, take your time. And remember, strangers are simply friends you haven’t made yet, but don’t trust them with your children or the keys to your car! Peace!

 

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Official Kirkus Review of The Gyre Mission or Who Do I Blow To Show My Thanks?

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You tell yourself that whatever they say it doesn’t matter; whomever they assigned to read your book just didn’t ‘get’ it. Fuck ‘em. Who are they to judge my talent?
‘They’ of course, is Kirkus Indie Reviews. You pay them $$$ and they’ll give you an unbiased opinion of your novel. Don’t like it? No problem, they’ll bury it as if it never happened. Find a line in there that you can use? Example: ‘Although it seems as if the author sincerely tried, this isn’t the most interesting book I’ve ever read.’ Translates into: ‘…most interesting…’ All you have to do is agree to it being published on their site and you can use some or all of it.
So, with baited breath, I awaited my fate. I wrote the review in my head many times. Sometimes it was fair, other times it slandered me, my book and my mother in one fell swoop. I was simultaneously anxious/enraged. ‘No one gets me!’ I’d rage to myself. ‘No one understands!’
And then one day it came, my review from Kirkus. I didn’t have the guts to look at it for a couple of days, certain that I was going to be enraged. One morning, after a refreshing night of sleep plagued by myriad nightmares, I thought ‘to hell with it, let’s get this over with.’ I clicked on the link, opened it, read it very slowly…
And found out it was GREAT! The reviewer not only ‘got’ it, they really must have enjoyed it as well. I danced around my trailer like a man who owned the world, swinging my arms in the air, shaking my fist, yelling ‘I told you mother fuckers! I told you!’ I was simply bursting out of my skin. The tag line they gave me at the end to use is: ‘A visually engaging, irrefutably intoxicating adventure.’ They compared me to H.P. Lovecraft, said my writing had the ability to make even the most steadfast readers squirm. For the whole thing go to this link: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/edgar-swamp/the-gyre-mission-journey-to-the-sshole-of-the-worl/ and see for yourself that the reviewers at Kirkus are absolutely the best at what they do! Thanks guys (and gals)! You really made my day even if it doesn’t help me sell a single copy and I’m sucking cock for crack money behind the Greyhound bus terminal on 55th (right behind the dumpster, you can’t miss me. I’ll bring my own chapstick). Peace!

 

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Buy My Book Or Everyone Dies! And Other Clever Ways To market Your Book

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This blog is generally about humorous pet sitting stories but I am going off-topic momentarily to write about something that may be of interest to writers, both fiction and nonfiction. As you’ve no doubt found out, experts in the publishing industry will always go out of their way to tell you that to professionally publish you need a ‘platform’, which is industry jargon for a way to garner an audience. Without some professional achievement, award of merit, or other endorsement you have no clear way of reaching readers, and that is what a publisher will want to establish: whether or not you are going to sell books. Talent is secondary, and if you don’t believe me pick up a copy of Fifty Shades Of Gray and marvel at its literary prowess. Writing is a business, like anything else.
So in these modern times we now have POD, or print on demand. Nowadays, anyone can publish a book. No longer does your manuscript have to sit in the drawer, languishing after each failed attempt at getting a professional to read it (someone you haven’t paid to read it). Now you can take matters into your own hands and get it out there into the market, selling it on Amazon.com or any other place that accepts self-published books. And if you look at the bestseller lists there are indeed self-published books on them, doing quite well.
Okay, now that we’ve established that, I have some words of advice. Eight months ago I finished a novel I planned to self-publish. I’d done the traditional route for many, many years, finding that publishers were looking for more reasons to say ‘no’ to my manuscripts than they were to saying ‘yes’. I figured I would bypass them and release and market my own book. I did my research, picked a publisher and established a marketing plan. I will say this once but I may repeat it later: nothing can prepare you for the journey, what it may actually hold for you and your book.
I worked my ass off for years, saving my money. By the time my book, The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World was ready, I had about $12,000 set aside to invest in it. Publishing the book isn’t where you are going to spend much, it’s the advertising. All tallied, I spent under $2000 on publishing, copyrighting etc. I went the cheap route and edited the book myself (not recommended) so I could save around $3000 (professional editors charge by the word, and my book was about 280,000 words. At twelve cents a word…you do the math). So with publishing and editing you are looking at around $4000, give or take. Next I hired someone to create a website. This cost me $1000. Then I hired a marketing firm to the tune of $6000 for a three-month advertising campaign. Acting upon their advice I then spent two to six hundred dollars a month for four months on other promotions (they did not tell me where to spend my money, they simply gave me ideas and I made the decisions myself).
I learned many things. Firstly, I’ve only just begun; five months of promotions is merely the beginning. Secondly, you are going to realize how many human parasites are out there, ready to try and con you out of your money and/or book rights and/or dignity. In order to get book reviews I pitched it to many blog sites, book review sites, etc. Maybe one in ten replied to queries. Beware of sites that want money for reviewing your book; they are most often a scam. One in particular, Review The Book, required $25 for ‘site maintenance’. They looked reputable but turned out to be thieves.
I joined book-reading sites such as Goodreads and Librarything and entered my book into free giveaways. In a certain period of time (a week, a month) people enter the contest and when the time expires winners are picked, addresses are sent to you and you send them the books. Great idea, good promotion. The idea is they will read them and offer feedback on the site, book reviews that will help you to sell more copies. The downside is that there are many professional booksellers that lurk on those sites, vying for free merchandise they can sell. It was barely two weeks after I’d sent books to ten lucky winners (taking seven days to ship via ‘Media Mail’) when I found them for sale on ebay and Amazon.com. Right now you are saying to yourself: ‘your book sucked and they wanted to get something out of it. Maybe they were too lazy to burn it’. As you may recall, the book is 280,000 pages. Of everyone who read it, the fastest anyone made it through was in three weeks. I read it in eight days once, but I really dedicated myself to it, and I know the story. These books were for sale, used, after less than a week of arriving at their destinations. Think what you will, but their profiles (I know these peoples names; I was, after all, given all of their info to send them the books) on ebay and Amazon.com are professional sellers. And go to Amazon.com and simply try and sell them a used book. You have to set up an account, blah blah blah. They don’t just throw away cash on used books, especially one from an unknown author. But the joke is on them: I’m having a hell of time selling it. Good luck!
At this point, all told, I’ve given away more copies than I have sold, and the books that are selling used I don’t see a profit on. Again, you may be thinking: ‘This guy is a shitty writer and his book sucks ass’. Go to my website http://www.edgarswamp.com and read a sample. I think you’ll be surprised.
My main point with all of this (besides bitching about the vultures on the reading sites), is that yes, you can self-publish to get your work out there, but if you don’t have an audience have at least $10,000 you can invest. If you don’t have any marketing money, it isn’t worth it. 300,000 books were published in 2012; yours will merely be one of them, vying for people’s attention.
All this said I’m glad I did it. I don’t learn anything unless I do it myself. And I haven’t given up hope; I know it’s a good book and it just has to find its audience. That is my biggest piece of advice: believe in yourself. At the end of the day that might be the only thing you have left.

 

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