Friday, August 26, 2011

"Your Name as a character" contest winner

Congratulations to Thomas Paul Barczak on winning my "Your Name as a Character" contest. Thomas is the author of "Awakening Evarun," part one of a six-part serial available on Amazon here:

Thomas' name was drawn from a pool of entrants and he has been given the option of naming a character in "The Light of Epertase, Book 2; A Kingdom's Fall." Thomas has given me two names to choose from--Orin and Vacha. I have decided to use both.

I want to thank everyone who entered.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Is FaceBook Worthless for Marketing Your Book (and other related questions)?

My friend, J.S. Chancellor, once asked me if I have ever purchased a book from another author I met on FaceBook. I thought it was a good question and one I should open up to everyone.

For my answer, I have to say, rarely. I have so many books waiting to be read and so much writing that I still need to do, I don't have a chance to check out everyone's work. On occasion, I'll buy a book from someone I have made a personal connection with during FB chats, but I never buy a book just because someone friended me and then posted a link to their book on my wall. Maybe some of you have, which is why I'm asking the question. Hey, I'm not knocking trying such a tactic, as we have to do everything we can to sell books, I'm just wondering if it ever works.

After all, I post links to my book and book-related stuff all of the time. But does it actually sell books?

Even with my earlier answer of rarely, as to the question of buying books from new FB friends, I have to say that overall, it doesn't work. Wait a minute, you say. I said rarely, so that must mean it works sometimes, right? Well, not exactly. I have 900+ friends on FaceBook. Out of those 900 friends, I'm guessing 50-100 of them are friends of mine from the "real" world. Then, another 30-40 have become people I enjoy talking with on FaceBook because we've taken the time to engage in conversation for whatever reason. That leaves a lot of authors that have friended me or I have friended who are simply promoting their work, which is the same thing I have done. But out of all of those numbers, I'd say I've purchased 3 books. Yeah. Three.

Does that make me a jerk? Or selfish? I sure hope not. When I started acquiring friends here on FB, I had every intention of checking out their stuff while hoping to find avenues of promoting my own work. I do share other author's stuff on occasion, but only if I was particularly interested in what they had said or if they had made some kind of personal connection with me.

So, that brings me to my next set of questions. In saying all of this, does it mean that FaceBook is worthless for authors? That answer for me is still a resounding "no way." First and foremost, I have made friends on FaceBook and I enjoy chatting with them quite a bit. Second, and more to the point, I do think things I have written have spread by this medium. Blogs, for example. This blog, even. If you are here participating in this debate, I am willing to bet you found it from Facebook, Twitter, or through some other social media. Does that mean you are going to rush out and buy my book now? No, of course not. I've learned that everything doesn't have to be about selling books. I am happy you are here regardless of whether you read fantasy or have any interest in ever paying for what I've written.

The fact that you're reading this and (hopefully) commenting, hint, hint, is enough for me to continue being active on FaceBook and Twitter and such.

Really, I wish I could buy all of your books and you could all buy mine, but that just isn't reality.

Which brings me to my final series of questions today. What is your purpose for using FaceBook as a way to market your work? Is it simply to throw your latest book at the FaceBook wall and hope something catches on? Is it to make friends and build relationships with other authors? How about name recognition? For example, if you've seen my book title a few times and then you are searching WalMart or Barnes and Noble or wherever for something to read and you come across my book again, will you give it a try? Does that ever work?
I'd love to hear your opinion. Have you found something different in your FB marketing? Have you found a place where actual readers go looking for your stuff to read? Like Goodreads, for instance? Maybe you have a different goal or maybe you ARE one of the ones who uses FaceBook to find your next read. I'd like to hear your take.

Oh yeah, and if you are using FB to find your next read, do I have a suggestion for you ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Scene of the Crime

On Saturday, August 6, 2011, an unspeakable crime was committed at a local comic book store in Newark, Ohio. Here are the facts as we know them. A 38 year-old male snuck into the Comic Shop Plus in Newark, armed with boxes of books, bookmarks, and possibly door "prizes." This individual, along with a rogue gang of friends and family, proceeded to set up tables, give out beverages, and sign books that he eventually sold to the unsuspecting public. This is a strange crime indeed and one that police believe could become an ongoing phenomenon. There are already rumors of this so-called "author" making an appearance at the New Albany street fair on August 20th, between 2-4 PM. Please keep your eye out for this man as, if you get too close to him or his accomplices, they may lighten your wallet of $15.00 in exchange for some made-up story. Please watch the surveillance video below closely as this "criminal" unloaded 56 books before he vanished without a trace.

If you know one of these people, be sure to like Epertase on Facebook, or hurry over to Thank you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Launch Day... Eh.

Last Monday was the official launch of my book, "The Light of Epertase: Legends Reborn." In celebration, I... well I... uh... worked at the fire house. I know, kind of a letdown, huh?

When I arrived at work I was told that a brand new, first-day-out-of-the-academy, rookie firefighter was going to be on the truck with me. What's that mean for a lieutenant? A lot, actually. It means, among other things, on emergencies I have to keep a close eye on what he is doing in addition to my regular lieutenant duties. It also means that I need to sit down with him and explain what I expect on fire scenes, EMS calls, and around the station in general. Sure, he has had wonderful training in Columbus' fire academy, but it's a little different doing it for real.

Unfortunately, I only had an hour with him before I went to a meeting where I discussed my new position as a training officer for battalion four. But in that hour with him, we pulled some of the hose off of the truck for practice (called advancing hoselines) because different stations load their hose in different ways. And then I went to my training meeting.

After my meeting, I met with the rookie again, only this time the battalion chief joined us so he could lay out what he expects of new guys (and gals) at the station. As I went through the day with the new guy, I was careful to remember my own first nervous day and I tried to make him as comfortable possible. By that, I mean as comfortable as one could be with the imminent threat of a life-or-death situation weighing on them for 24 hours. I remember how my mind was racing on my first day and I wanted to give him a sense of calm. If you are excited and high-strung before a call comes in, then when the actual action starts, it'll inevitably get worse from there.

You ever played that game where you hold your hands out palms down and someone else holds their palms upward against yours? You know the one, where they try to smack the top of your hands before you yank them away. It doesn't take long before you are flinching at every subtle movement that the other person makes. Now, imagine that feeling throughout your entire body for 24 straight hours and I think you can understand how on edge he probably felt. The trick to the first few days at the fire house is to get past those feelings and to stop jumping at every crack of the PA speaker. He will; it'll just take time.

Between the calls and the paperwork and the rookie, you can see how I spent most of my launch day, far too busy to think much about my book. Does it sound like the air has been let out of the launch day sails a little? Yeah, probably a bit, but that's OK. My celebration will actually be on Saturday when I have my official launch party. In preparation for that, the local newspaper did a story on me (see blog here: ), I did a radio interview on Tuesday, and flyers have been posted in stores everywhere. So, hopefully, the launch party will be highly successful and a tad more fun than my actual launch day. We shall see.

But my launch day did end better. When I came home from work the next morning, my wife had left me a gift on the table next to a chocolate chip cookie cake as a congratulations. I ask you, what could be better than cake?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Awakening Evarun

My friend Thomas has released part one of a 6-part fantasy serial. I wanted to share my review.

Thomas Barczak writes fantasy like fantasy is suppose to be written. Thomas has a talent to his words and a voice made for the fantasy genre. Passages like, "Talus pulled his knees close and drew the veil of the dying over him" is a perfect passage to highlight Thomas' flair for story-telling.

I can't say a lot about the story as this is the first part of a 6 part serial, but let me just say wizards.

And then there is Thomas' art. Each chapter is highlighted by a sketch from Thomas' pencil and, at times, I found myself anxiously reading through his wonderful prose in anticipation of the next piece of art. Not that I wasn't enthralled in the writing, but I love his art. Thomas is talented in both writing and illustrating and anyone who likes high fantasy would be well advised to give Thomas' serial a read.

Here's a link to pick it up for $2.99 on your Kindle: