By David Niall Wilson
Those of you who follow my antics will be aware that – among the publishing, fictioneering, and other activities that fill my waking hours and dreams, I’ve been working on a book titled American Pies. The book is available in eBook formats now from Crossroad Press, and will be at all eBook sites by tomorrow. The trade paperback is in “production”. This is – sort of – a book about how to bake fruit-filed pies. It is also a commentary on the cookie-cutter, dumbed-down versions of our culture we have come to take for granted – like cardboard-boxed pies at the grocery store, or pre-baked desserts from the freezer you just heat up. What’s up with that? Where did they come from – and where did the fresh fruit, hot ovens, and integrity go?
I don’t know where it went, but I spent my winter gathering up all of it I could find, and baking it into thirteen pies. Twelve of them are just fruit-filled standards, though some with oddball filling choices, like persimmon and nectarine. The thirteenth – the lucky pie? The American pie. Red white and blue with stars…I made it, and I ate it, and it rocked. Now you can make it too.
Along the way you’ll meet my grandmothers, you’ll learn of a tiny town named Flora, Illinois – and hopefully, you’ll catch some of my love of the freshly baked fruit pie. Included are metric and Imperial measurements and oven settings, provided by “The Pie Bloke,” Darren Pulsford from across the big pond.
I hope some of you will check the book out…and if you do, share your photos and stories with me. That’s another thing Americans do, you see. We eat pie, drink coffee (or beer) and tell stories.
Does Amazon’s new KDP Select Program Work?
I don’t know the answer to that. I know it has worked for a number of others. I know that it has – in fact – worked incredibly well for some others. It has also – to my knowledge – worked mediocre, and not much at all for still others, so, like anything – there are tricks to it. Everything has secrets if you dig deeply enough for them.
One person I know has given away incredible numbers of downloads…but ended up with a ton of bad reviews for the trouble. Make sure you have a good book.
One person I read about went from “dead in the water” to selling more than 4k copies of their book.
Several people I know have given away 500-3000 copies and it DID lead to continued sales in every case, but in those cases, not to major numbers, just numbers.
There are some places you can advertise your free promotion days:
You can blog about it (see this blog for a clever example). For instance…MY first KDP Free Promotion runs from 31 January to 2 February. It is for my brand new collection ETCHED DEEP & OTHER DARK IMPRESSIONS – if you are an Amazon.com PRIME member you can already get it for free. If you own any Kindle reading device you can borrow it through the KDP Lending Library. If you go to Amazon.com during the promotion – also free. If you download it, I’d appreciate a review.
You can ask your friends – Authors – Readers – whoever – to download your free book, and to spread the word (please) to everyone ELSE who might want a free book.
HEY! FRIENDS! AUTHORS! Do me a solid? My eBook is FREE! If you could, like, download it..and tell EVERYONE about it…that would be cool.
You could make a Youtube Video about your book (I have not done that, but others have, and you could).
You could make a LOLDOG using the soulful eyes of man’s best friends to draw them in…
I have put together what I think will become one of my most important collections. The title story, “Etched Deep,” is a good example. This is a very short story that originally was published in THIN ICE #7 decades ago. I lost the story, but it stuck with me, and later on I rewrote it from memory, in a more modern voice, and it’s stronger. These are stories that I believe in. Some of them were buried in themed anthologies, or in books and magazines where I appeared alongside much more popular authors and was delegated to the “And Others” land I have spent so many years in. A couple among these are borderline literary fiction, and at least one has been rejected more than one time for being “too literary”. I’ll leave it to readers to figure out which one.
There are also a couple of very old stories in the book. I’ve tried not to change them very much, but when you edit your old work, even trying just to proof read it, there is only so much you can stand. The point is, you’ll find a couple of rougher pieces here, but I wanted to include them to give them another shot at a new group of readers.
There are fourteen stories in this book, and I added fourteen poems as well. These are an even wider variety, spanning many, many years. There is a poem I wrote very early in my relationship with Trish, there is the only known poem by the famous Angus Griswold (as well as one story, “One Off From Prime,” that has never been published prior to this book, and that features Angus as a character. There are some of the poems I wrote for the three-word poetry challenges that Rain Graves invented – I’m given any three words and have to find a poem in my head that uses them all. I love that game.
Here are the contents. Starting on Tuesday, January 31st, this collection will be FREE ON AMAZON for three days. It runs from Tuesday through Thursday, and I am hoping the promotion will help find me some new readers for my other books… Also included in this collection is Chapter One of “My Soul to Keep,” the Donovan DeChance origin story.
SHORT STORIES INCLUDED:
Through an Eyeglass, Darkly
Fear of Flying
One Off From Prime
The Purloined Prose
Pretty Boys in Blue, and Long Hair Dangling
To Strike a Timeless Chord
Also included are the poems: The Acropolis, Clamdigger, Cuttlefish Squeezings, Thanatology, A Poem of Adrian, Gray, The Fishmonger, Revelation, Loch Ness, Mirrored Hearts, Dark Man, Banished, End of Days, & Longhaired Puppies.
Today I completed the revisions on the fourth book in The DeChance Chronicles, Kali’s Tale. This book is the one I started, way back at the beginning of November when Nanowrimo began. I got de-railed twice. The first time was when the flashback I’d planned in the beginning of the book got out of control and grew into a novella of it’s own, My Soul to Keep – which tells the origins of the character Donovan DeChance. The second was when in early December our online store crashed, and the back-ups turned out to be no good. I spent most of December rebuilding that..and meanwhile, I picked up a deadline. Kali’s Tale will go live on Barnes & Noble’s online site for the Nook on the 6th of February. It will be exclusive to the Nook for thirty days as part of a promotion they have – Nook First Look. I am happy to say, the book will make the deadline, and the promotion will go on as scheduled. Below is the author’s note from Kali’s Tale…just to get you excited!
This will mark the fourth book in The DeChance Chronicles, which starts with the novel Heart of a Dragon, moves on to Vintage Soul (which was actually written first – long story for another time) and the novella My Soul to Keep which is the origin story for Donovan DeChance, and not to be missed by fans of the series.
This book also accomplishes something I have intended for some time. In this volume, The DeChance Chronicles make a direct connection and crossover to another series I write for, O.C.L.T. In that series, I’ve written the novel The Parting and the novella The Temple of Camazotz. The characters Rebecca York and Geoffrey Bullfinch appear in this novel, as does Cletus J. Diggs, from my book The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature. This book takes place largely in Old Mill, North Carolina, which is Cletus’ stomping grounds. My books and my stories have long shared certain locations – San Valencez, Lavender, and Friendly California, Old Mlil, North Carolina, and Random Illinois. If you enjoy this book, you should look up the titles above – you’ll find some old friends waiting.
If the story The Preacher’s Marsh – which involves a legend mentioned in this book appeals to you, that novella is also available. In North Carolina I’ve found that all roads lead to highway 17, and in my writing, it seems the same may be true.
There will, with the grace of whatever power watches over me, be many more Donovan DeChance books in the future, and many more adventures for Cletus J. Diggs & and for the agents of O.C. L.T. I hope you’ll join me. I’m always ready to tell a story.
David Niall Wilson
Just off to the side of The Great Dismal Swamp
We just finished the basic rebuild of the Crossroad Press online store. In early December we lost it to a server crash, only to find that our backups were corrupt. The most recent good backup we had was from 2010, so I just started from scratch.
This time out, things are better. There is an “About us” page, a contact page, and a symmetry to the layout that was lacking before. Instead of audiobooks and eBooks and print books being separated, there is one page per book, and on that page you can purchase whatever formats are available. The books, instead of being organized just by genre, are separated by author now, making it possible for some coupons and sales we hope to try in the New Year.
We remain a DRM free digital publisher. You can read our books on just about any reading device, and we’ll be happy to help you figure out how to get the books ON your device if you need assistance.
Over at the Crossroad Press blog, http://www.crossroadpress.com we are nos serving up news and updates, including the most recent Crossroad Press bestseller list – the top ten from our 78 Audible.com audiobooks.
So check us out at the newly revamped CROSSROAD PRESS STORE … use the coupon code welcomeback for a one-time 25% off savings.
If you don’t see me, I’m writing – I have a Donovan DeChance novel to finish…
We recently moved most of the Crossroad Press audiobook operation onto the Audible ACX system. This is a very cool interface that allows rights holders, narrators, and producers, and authors to collaborate on audiobook projects. It is easy to sign in and be a part of things, but it is also easy to take that ease for granted. Here’s rule #1. No matter which role you sign in to fulfill, you still have to know what you’re doing. Not all books are eligible for ACX. Not just any old Skype microphone plugged into your laptop with a USB cord is going to make you a narrator. There are other considerations…but I’m going to bulletize most of them, and then give a couple of reasons why having your book done through a company like Crossroad Press – even on ACX – might still be a better option than going it alone.
1. Narration is an art. It requires an ability to act. It isn’t the same thing as a live reading at a convention, and it isn’t the same thing as a radio broadcast or a podcast. It has to be learned, and if you go in with the arrogant notion you can just “do it” you probably won’t get many jobs. As a rights holder and publisher you have to be familiar enough with audiobooks to tell the difference, and to choose a voice that will benefit your project.
2. Sound quality is very important. Your book will be competing for sales with professional studios in the market place. If someone spends a membership credit on Audible, or plops down the money to buy your book, and it’s full of background noise, computer fans, humm, or barkind dogs they aren’t coming back, and you’ll end up with some bad reviews.
3. Presentation matters. Cover art, the intro and outro to the book, and the marketing copy are important pieces of the whole project, and should not be ignored.
4. Note to narrators. The audition script isn’t optional. If you run through ACX and drop your professional demo tape in on a thousand jobs, my guess is you’ll get zero. Take the time to scope out projects that are right for you. Study the script provided and submit an audition that is appropriate and that demonstrates how you are right for “that” book.
Specific to ACX is the royalty share option. I’ve seen sides being drawn on this issue recently. Here’s the thing…while it takes a good bit of time to narrate and edit the audio for a book…as an author I can tell you it takes a good deal of time and work to write the book, and some to publish it as well. Authors and publishers have always had to wait for sales and made their money from royalties. In the new publishing paradigm, I can see this shift happening for voice talent as well. Over time, as you develop a body of work, you begin to receive royalties on all of them each pay period, and it develops into a revenue stream. If you are paid up front, it’s also a gamble. Say you do a project for $150-$200 a finished hour, and you sit back to watch the book sell ten thousand copies. A royalty share contract would include you in that success…and honestly, it seems to me it would give you the incentive to do an even better job on the book. On the other hand, if the book is by an unknown author, the up-front payment might be the way to go. It’s always a gamble, but at least in a royalty share it’s a shared gamble.
My last point here, before I link to a few of our ACX titles, is that there is still value in having someone like Crossroad Press handle your book. For one thing, we work with our own established sound engineer. This adds a level of quality control most authors and agents just aren’t qualified to add on their own, unless they happen to be sound engineers on the side. We provide good quality cover art. We have an established market, growing every day, that draws people to our new titles. These are important, but here’s a kicker.
There are two awards important to audiobooks. The Audie, which is issued by the APA … and the golden earphone, which you get through reviews in Audiofile Magazine. WE have an established arrangement to get our titles into the review process at Audiofile. We are members of the APA. The only way to nominate a work for the Audie is to pay the APA for each nomination, and even as a member we pay $100 a title for those that are included. This can be very important step in getting people to listen to your book.
None of this is to say that you can’t sign onto ACX and make your own book…you can, of course, and if you are careful, pay attention, and listen to advice, you can probably make a quality book. On the other hand, if you’re a writer, you can get someone like Crossroad Press to handle it, and get on with writing, because the biggest problem form writers in this new digitized world is that most of the advice tells you to do everything yourself. It can really cut into your writing time if you aren’t a full-time, stay at home writer, and even then it calls for several unique skill-sets Publishers aren’t dead…they just have to change. Crossroad Press has been dedicated from day one to giving most of the money to the people who create the stories. Being an author, that’s important to me.
If you’d like to check out what we’ve been doing through ACX…you can find all of our ACX titles here:
Here are links to a few of our titles: Just click the images.
It’s been a really long time since I posted here. I know this, because this blog posts on to my Amazon author’s page, and they sent me a note saying if I didn’t start updating soon they would deactivate it. This is what happens when you diversify and spread out too far. This has always been my personal bully-pulpit, and also the place I focused on updates to my own writing. It will be that again.
Currently I’m novelizing KILLER GREEN – the first ever screenplay conceived on Twitter, posted as blog-posts, starring Twitter celebrities (and others) and then optioned right back there on Twitter. It’s not produced yet, of course, but we all know how those things go. It’s still “in the works,” and I’m ever hopeful.
In the tradition of this particular story, if you want to read along as I write it, I set up a blog. The chapter posts are private, but all you have to do to read along is register and login. I have fifteen chapters posted so far, and I’m well into the next one, so get on over and catch up at the KILLER GREEN READ-ALONG BLOG.
My novel MAELSTROM is due soon for Kindle and other eReaders. I have also recovered the trade paperback rights to this title, so it will be coming out from Crossroad Press in the next year. This, of course, will join the so far unspectacular sales of other trade paperbacks we’ve done…there was a lot of grumbling about books coming out digitally that you couldn’t buy in print. I set up the print line and priced it about five dollars cheaper than anyone else doing it…and no one is ordering. Not a great argument for the hardcopies, but we persevere. So far from Crossroad Press you can get a number of books in print, including original novels from Aaron Rosenberg, Chet Williamson, myself and Steven Savile, as well as an original collection by Jo Graham. If you buy these books straight from the Crossroad Press store, you will receive the eBook for free with your purchase. Many are also available in audio (with more to come)
All of this, of course, is available through CROSSROAD PRESS and also on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
More specific updates to come, and I’ll be fleshing out the books pages.
My new collection, The Call of Distant Shores, is out now in digital. You can buy it already at Crossroad Press & Smashwords, and it will be live in the next 24 or so hours at Amazon & Barnes & Noble. I thought I’d post the Author’s Introduction here…
A lot of authors of dark fantasy and horror will cite H. P. Lovecraft, William Hope Hodgson, Hugh Cave, and Manly Wade Wellman as influences on their writing. Clark Ashton Smith is another name you’ll hear, and in this volume, you’ll find my tribute to that great talent, as well as a number of others that dip into the wells of darkness and magic – a world I’m familiar with from endless hours of reading, dreaming, and spilling my own words onto the page.
I have never considered myself a huge fan of Lovecraft. Pulp writing, in general, appealed to me when I was much younger, and in the middle years of my writing career, I pushed it aside. I was, of course, deluding myself. When someone pointed out to me that I actually had a body of work loosely fitting this sub-genre of horror / dark fantasy that was probably enough for a book, I laughed. Then I looked. Then I stopped laughing. What I found was that these writers – these storytellers I grew up with and believed I’d left behind me – were responsible for a huge chunk of my output as a writer. There are elder gods, ancient evils, and everything that attends them walking the corridors of my creative consciousness, and that reader was correct. There was more than enough to make a book.
I also note that, of all my works, most of my favorites, and some that have garnered critical notice, are among the stories you are about to read. “The Call of Distant Shores,” the title piece of this collection, is one of my most popular stories to date, and Cockroach Suckers, which is more recent and set near my current home town in the fictional Old Mill, North Carolina, could not be more Lovecraftian without being set in New England.
Anyway…there are a lot of words ahead – a lot of images – a lot of nightmares. I hope you’ll enjoy them, and I dedicate them to those authors who have gone before, paving the way for an ever-widening realm of new worlds and deep-rooted fears.
Welcome to my nightmares.
-David Niall Wilson
SUNG TO THE TUNE OF ROCKSTAR – by Nickelback
I’m tired of writing for publishers who never give in,
I’m a genius, they don’t see it and I just can’t win
this famous writer gig ain’t turned out how I thought it’d be…
I want a mega-best-seller on the New York Times list,
with some killer cover art no one could ever resist,
and a glass-fronted shelf for my books so everyone can see…
I want a new bookcase full of old first editions
and a Mont Blanc pen with some gold ink in it
and a hot librarian to keep it polished up for me…
I want to sign some books, and trade ’em for money,
and a bunch of author groupies who will call me honey,
and my whole life’s work made available fully digitally…
I want to trade this life for fortune and fame,
I’ll even comb my hair and dress up lame,
Cause we all just wanna be Kindle Stars
and write a pile of bestsellers from the stools of bars,
Every new ereader’s gonna have my books,
and I’ll be on the menu of all their Nooks
And I’ll hang out in the coolest blogs,
with their kid’s bat mitzvah’s and their cool loldogs,
every avatar you see will be my cover art,
while they’re waiting for the day when the blog tour starts…
and we’ll cruise You Tube and the Web-TV,
Fill everybody’s monitor with videos of me,
hit the Twitter and Facebook and the online mall,
everybody has my address saved in Paypal…
oh yeah, I wanna be a Kindle Star.
Sung to the tune, you know? Maybe I’ll get the guitar out someday and record it … Meanwhile, you can go to AMAZON.COM and the DNW LINKS and make it happen for me…
Now in digital, books I and II of The DeChance Chronicles. For those who were around for the first iteration – Vintage Soul, which was originally the first book, is now Volume II, following Heart of a Dragon. Chronologically, it’s the correct order, and a lot of the complaints I had about not developing Donovan and his supporting cast I think I answered in Heart of a Dragon...it seemed the proper shift. Volume III – Kali’s Tale- will be written sometime in the next year, if I can keep my schedule properly aligned.
Anyway…here are short synopses of both books. Heart of a Dragon is on sale from now until May 25th as I discuss it for my “Book of the Week” on my Official Facebook Page. Vintage Soul has just been released at $2.99, also in digital. Both are in production as audiobooks, and both will be in trade paperback by the end of the year.
Donovan DeChance is a collector of ancient manuscripts and books, a practicing mage, and a private investigator.
When Anya Cabrera, a Voodoo Houngan in San Valencez California’s Barrio, tampers with the ceremony that draws the Loa to possess the faithful, Donovan DeChance, book collector, mage, and private investigator is contacted immediately. Donovan helps to maintain the balance of supernatural forces in the city – and that balance is in serious danger.
The Dragons, a local motorcycle gang, live under a shaky truce with a neighboring Hispanic gang, Los Escorpiones, who are now aligned with Anya. The two groups face off in a battle that becomes more than the Dragons expected. Los Escorpiones are faster than they should be, and stronger. When they are stabbed, or shot – they get back up and keep on fighting.
Old Martinez, a local sorcerer and medicine man who has helped maintain peace in the Barrio for longer than anyone else can remember stands with The Dragons.. A young man he has been slowly mentoring, Salvatore Domingo Sanchez, joins him. Salvatore, is an artist, and he dreams of dragons. When Salvatore begins to paint the dragons from his dreams on the leather jackets of the Dragons of the Barrio, the balance begins to shift.
Can Donovan, his lover and partner Amethyst, Martinez and Salvatore find a way to stop Anya Cabrera from unleashing a demon army on San Valencez – or will their efforts release an even greater danger into the city? HEART OF A DRAGON is the story of an artist, ancient evil, dragons, voodoo and men. It is a story of courage, brotherhood, and other worlds.
When, despite the finest in natural and supernatural security, a sexy and well-loved, three hundred year old lady vampire is kidnapped right out from under her lover’s nose, Donovan is called in to investigate.
He soon finds that there is much more to the case than a simple abduction when an unknown intruder invades his home and steals a very rare, very ancient manuscript. There will be no ransom for the kidnap victim, and if Donovan doesn’t prevent an ancient, forbidden ritual from reaching its culmination, far more than a single vampire’s undead existence will be at stake.
Calling on his lover and partner, Amethyst, and an odd assortment of contacts, informants, and connections, Donovan follows the ghostly trail of the kidnapper through a winding maze of intrigue-always a step behind-through magical battles, murders, and confrontations with a rogue band of young vampires intent on beating Donovan at his own game.
Vintage Soul is a dark urban supernatural mystery with a hint of romance. Set in an underground society, a city within the city of San Valencez, California, it opens portals to the unknown darkness that surrounds us. Fast-paced, strewn with clues, investigation, and magic, this is a book sure to slake the appetites of fans of mystery and the supernatural.
Follow the conversation about Heart of a Dragon this week on FACEBOOK.