Casting the Saga of the Redeemed
Every author, from time to time, imagines what their books would look like as a movie of television show. Now, the vast majority of us never have that experience, granted, and an even smaller sliver of those that do actually see the book come to life in a way they imagined it, but that doesn’t stop us from trying anyway. So, I’ve been thinking about how to cast my books, and this is what I’ve come up with.
Ron Perlman (Banric Sahand)
So, first on the list is the big bad from Book I, the Mad Prince of Dellor, Banric Sahand. I needed an actor who was big and an imposing presence, somebody with a big voice and who can be really menacing. I got Ron Perlman, which I think is pretty damned spot-on. He’s been playing a lot of heroes in the movies of late, but this guy can play a hell of a villain.
And that’s just what Sahand is.
Michelle Pfeiffer (Lyrelle Reldamar)
Tyvian’s mother needs to look regal and sharp. She needs to bear her age well and have the Reldamar eyes. This is a tough one – I had a lot of ideas here – but I settled on Michelle Pfeiffer for her ability to command a scene above most other things.
Levi Miller (Artus)
It’s something of a fool’s game to bother casting somebody in their early adolescence, since in two or three years this kid will look nothing like Artus anymore, but this guy (from the movie Pan) is the right age with the right look and so on. Granted, if the movie ever were really made (and I’m not holding my breath, superfans), I’d honestly expect the Artus role to go to an unknown. You’d need somebody to grow with the role, in any event, as those who are reading No Good Deed right now can probably attest.
Charlize Theron (Myreon Alafarr)
Myreon is supposed to be tall, graceful, and no-nonsense, all of which Theron can definitely pull off with panache. She’s also able to effortlessly take Tyvian’s breath away, and Theron does that to me, why would Tyvian be any different?
Part of me, though, would like to see Theron play Lyrelle, though, if for no other reason than her portrayal of the evil queen in Snow White and the Huntsman.
Gwendoline Christie (Hool)
Since Hool is mostly going to be CGI, what I was mostly looking for here would be the voice. Christie’s voice fits really well, but I also gave some serious thought to Viola Davis. In any event, it should be a woman with a relatively deep voice or someone with a lot of vocal force. Plenty of options there, I suppose, but Christie was who jumped to mind first.
Neil Patrick Harris (Tyvian Reldamar)
Took me a long, long time to nail this one down. I went from Damian Lewis to Chris Pine to any number of other leading men, but I’ve settled here, on Harris, because he’s got the best damned smirk in the business, and that is Tyvian’s go-to expression. He’s also got the right build (though Harris is a bit too tall), and we’ve all seen that he knows how to dress, so yeah, he’s got the whole thing sewn up. Honestly, to some extent Tyvian is a weaponized Barney Stinson, so it all makes a perverse kind of sense.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I have ideas for some of the more minor characters in the two books, too, but let’s not get bogged down in minutiae. I’ll let the casting directors have fun with Carlo diCarlo or Gethrey Andolon, Hacklar Jaevis and Maude Telversham. Authors can’t have all the fun, can we?
NO GOOD DEED Excerpt – Read it now!
Hey, folks! Some publicity news, some No Good Deed stuff, etc, today. Check it out:
Read the Prologue to NO GOOD DEED!
It’s up on the Harper Voyager Facebook Page, so go there to read it RIGHT NOW! Yes, NOW! Put down the bagel sandwich, man, and read!
I’m going to be on Grim Tidings Podcast!
I’m recording a podcast with Grim Tidings this coming Saturday morning, so look for it soon! It’s a top-flight interview podcast with really, really awesome guests, hosted by the ever-personable Rob Matheny! I’ve very excited to have been invited and it ought to be just spectacular. If you haven’t listened to any of their other interviews, do so!
Reading/World-building Discussion on June 30th!
If you happen to live in or near the Boston area, I’ll be doing a reading of NO GOOD DEED and hosting a talk on world-building in science fiction and fantasy at the Hingham Public Library on Thursday, June 30th, from 7:oo-8:30pm. I’m going to read a brief excerpt from the book and talk about how worlds can be built, made real, and sustained throughout a novel or series of novels (or movie or television series, for that matter). It’s free, so come on down!
Pre-order the Book!
NO GOOD DEED is available for pre-order now! Also, if you’re new to the series, check out The Oldest Trick, which chronicles the beginnings of Tyvian Reldamar’s journey. It’s James Bond meets a high-magic Westeros in an adventure reviewers have called “a romp in the style of Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss.” For a mere four bucks, you can’t go wrong!
Talk to you all soon – I got a lot of blog-posts to write for my publicity tour. Thanks for all your support!
Get My Book For Free (and Lots of Other Books, Too!)
Quick post today – getting to the end of the semester, and free time is dreadfully rare.
This weekend in my fair city of Boston, PAX East is coming to town! Now, time was I would attend each year to throw down in a 40K tournament, but lately passes have been harder to acquire and I’ve been more and more busy, so I won’t be there in the flesh. I will however, be there in spirit. And also in the form of my book, for free, for you.
Regardless of whether you can make it to PAX, too!
Yessir, my publisher (Harper Voyager), coordinating with Playcrafting, InstaFreebie, and PAX East, is releasing fifteen (yes, 15!) novels for free download starting right now!
So, click on THIS LINK to give you hours and hours of fantasy and science fiction stimulation while you stand in line in the good ol’ BCEC!
In addition to my book, The Oldest Trick, by me, a local author, there are also a ton of different titles bound to tickle at least one of your fancies, if not all of them at once. Chuck Wendig! Lexie Dunne! Dan Koboldt! Elizabeth Bonesteel! Nathan Garrison! Laura Bickle! I could go on, but you get the idea!
Go go go!
Did I mention FREE?
Book on Sale! (+ Miscellaneous Horn-tooting)
Haven’t read my debut fantasy novel yet? Well, you’re in luck: both halves of the novel (The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood) are now available in a single omnibus edition (i.e. “the complete novel I intended”) called by its original title, THE OLDEST TRICK. And there is even better news! The e-book version is currently on sale for a mere $1.99! That’s right – for about the cost of a Gatorade from a gym vending machine, you can get the novel reviewers have been calling “a romp in the style of Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss” and “an amalgamation of anime, grimdark, and the top tier of contemporary epic fantasy. ”
So, go and do it now! The sale won’t last forever, and the sooner you get it, the sooner you will be ready for the next installment, NO GOOD DEED, which is scheduled for release on June 21st!
Speaking of which…
No Good Deed‘s final draft was accepted by my editor on Friday, which means all that’s left is the copy edit and then the thing is off to the presses (errr…or digital formaters. Or whoever handles e-books – it’s an e-book initial release). You can pre-order it now on Amazon, and you’ll be hearing an awful lot about it here over the coming two or three months. Stay tuned for promotions of various stripes, once I figure out what the hell those might be.
Oh and by the way…
This is my final year of eligibility for the John W Campbell Award, which is given to new writers in the field of science fiction and fantasy. After two years you are no longer eligible, so if you think I’m great, now is your last chance to act (nominations for the Campbell end at the end of March, BTW). I have a couple things eligible. My novel (see above) and a couple short stories. One you can read for free right here on Escape Pod. I’m fairly proud of it and it has even received a pretty glowing review from SF Bluestocking which I shall excerpt for you here:
“Adaptation and Predation” is an excellent piece of world building, something that is often lacking in short fiction but which Auston Habershaw accomplishes here with panache. His cast of alien species is wonderfully imagined and described, and this short exploration of life in their highly stratified society is simply riveting.
High praise, yes? I think so – I’m very pleased at the review and, should you find it in your heart, feel free to nominate it (and me) for whatever you feel it deserves.
Okay, so there you have it – horn tooting over. I’ll be back later in the week with something more substantive for you folks to read.
Thanks, and talk to you soon!
Read Campbell Award-eligible Stories For Free!
Do you like scifi and fantasy? Do you want to see excerpts from almost all the new professional writers in the spec-fic field for the low, low price of FREE?
Well then have I got a deal for you! The good folks over at Bad Menagerie have put together a staggeringly huge anthology of this year’s Campbell Award eligible writers (over a million words long!) and it is free to download right here. Act quickly, though, because it will only be available for the month of March! I’ve got a lot of friends and colleagues in there, so check it out (yes, it does have a table of contents for easier browsing)!
The first of my two entries is a novelette, “A Revolutionary’s Guide to Practical Conjuration,” which was my winning entry into the Writers of the Future Contest, published just this last May. You can read a lot about the story behind it here.
The other is a short story, “Adaptation and Predation,” which was published on Escape Pod in December. It is an exotic scifi tale set on an alien world and featuring a shape-shifting asexual assassin, a carnivorous businessman and his “feed slaves,” and spider-waiters. It is a story about morality, but not personal morals as much as social morality: what makes a cultural practice evil? What makes it good? Who, ultimately, should feed on whom and why? It’s very noir-ish, a bit dark with a bunch of colonial themes, and it’s one of my favorites – I hope you’ll check it out as well as the rest of the anthology.
A million free words of the up-and-coming scifi authors is hard to pass up, right?
About NO GOOD DEED/Saga of the Redeemed #2:
I’ve received back my content edits from my new editor over at Harper. She’s done a great job and I plan to have this book turned around and submitted for copy-edits by the end of next week. For now you can still pre-order the book wherever e-books are sold. The cover art should be appearing soon, I think (hope).
In the meantime, if you haven’t read the first book (and yes, the first two volumes are one book), you’ve still got time to read The Oldest Trick and be ready to jump into a new Tyvian adventure come the end of June. If you’ve read or read any of my shorter work and think it was cool, I promise you’ll enjoy my longer stuff, too! Go check it out!
Win Free Books! Michelle Hauck’s Release Day Giveaway!
My friend and fellow HV author, Michelle Hauck, is having a release day party to celebrate her new fantasy novel, Grudging. It includes a spectacular raffle in which you could win various copies of great Harper Voyager novels, including my own, The Oldest Trick. Check it out!
It’s finally here! The big day!
You can now officially get your ebook copy of Grudging at your favorite retailer.
A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.
The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.
On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.
The Women of the Song.
But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.
A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.
To celebrate, I’m giving away a huge prize package of books from my fellow authors at Harper Voyager Impulse. I think authors at the same publisher, especially one that features a limited number of genres, should be a big family. We support each other. And we provide prize packs when someone has a special day!
These are super reads in fantasy and science fiction. I have read several of them and can vouch they are great reads!
There are ebooks and paperback copies. All you have to do to enter is use the rafflecopter below. Follow all these generous authors on Facebook or twitter for additional entries.
I’ll have a short blurb about each book below the rafflecopter so keep scrolling to see in more detail what you could win. And don’t hesitate to buy a few if you can’t wait for the rafflecopter! I’m sure the authors will appreciate you for it!
The rafflecopter will determine the winner and each author will send their prize to said winner individually.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Books You Will Win:
Paperback for the Winner:
for clues to her father’s disappearance years before. What she finds instead is
Temperance, a dying Western town with a gold rush past and a meth-infested
present. But under the town’s dust and quiet, an old power is shifting. When
bodies start turning up – desiccated and twisted skeletons that Petra can’t
scientifically explain – her investigations land her in the middle of a covert
war between the town’s most powerful interests. Petra’s father wasn’t the only
one searching for the alchemical secrets of Temperance, and those still looking
are now ready to kill. Armed with nothing but shaky alliances, a pair of
antique guns, and a relic she doesn’t understand, the only thing Petra knows
for sure is that she and her coyote sidekick are going to have to move fast, or
Buy: Amazon|Barnes and Noble|HarperCollins
Paperback for the Winner:
Revenge just got complicated.
On his quest to get even, Tyvian navigates dark conspiracies, dodges midnight assassins, and uncovers the plans of the ruthless wizard Banric Sahand. Tyvian will need to use every dirty trick in the book to avoid a painful and ignominious end, even as he learns to work with—and rely on—his motley crew of accomplices, including an adolescent pickpocket, an obese secret-monger, and a fearsome gnoll.
Buy: Amazon|Barnes and Noble|Kobo|Google Play
assignment for the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, a death knell for her
career. But then Sam catches a break—a murder—that could give her the boost she
needs to get her life back on track. There’s a snag, though: the body is a
clone, and technically that means it’s not a homicide. And yet, something about
the body raises questions, not only for her, but for coroner Linsey Mackenzie.
case is what it seems … and for Sam, nothing about Mac is what it seems,
be in a bodybag.
Day Before will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning what it
means to be human.
Marci feels possessed by what she perceives as shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she’s confronted by the leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and shows her the awful truth.
Half of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind themselves to the human brain and replace the pathways for all thoughts and actions. The creatures then morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse.
She’s infected. Buy: Amazon|Barnes and Noble
Dante, Regent of the fae’s Rogue Court, has been receiving disturbing reports. Human children are manifesting magical powers in record numbers. Shunned and forgotten, they live on the streets in ragtag groups with the already-booming population of homeless changelings. But the streets aren’t a haven; someone, or something, is hunting these children down.
Wraith, a teenage spell slinger, has no home, no family, and no real memories of her past. She and her friends SK, Fritz, and Shadow are constantly on the run, fleeing from a dark and unknown enemy. But when her companions are taken by “the snatchers,” Wraith is their only hope. Her journey to find them will test the limits of her magic–and her trust. A dark force is on the rise, and it could spell the end of our world as we know it.
Yet her half-brother Myrren hasn’t inherited the family’s ability to shapeshift, so their father, Florentyn, forces Ayla to take over as heir to the throne.
When Ayla is accused of Florentyn’s brutal murder only Myrren believes her innocent and aids her escape. A fugitive from her own guard, Ayla must now fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.
But does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?
full of sumptuous characters, rip-roaring adventure and dark deeds…” Harper
Voyager, UK 2015
Devin Roché has just taken his finals at Coreé prestigious Académie. As the
sixth son of the ruler of Llisé, his future is his own, and so he embarks on an
adventure to memorize stories chronicling the history of each province.
begins his journey with only his best friend Gaspard and their bodyguard
Marcus, he hears rumors of entire villages disappearing without a trace and of
Master Bards being assassinated in the night.
companions get closer to unearthing the truth, they can’t help but wonder
whether it is their own quest that may have set these events in motion. But if
that is the case, what do Llisé and Devin’s father have to hide?
Paperback for the Winner:
It frightens me, knowing the One has called up two such strong individuals. It means that there are troubled times in our future, and you must prepare yourselves.”
The Temple at Illian is the crown jewel of life in the Northern Territory. There, pledges are paired with feli, the giant sacred cats of the One god, and are instructed to serve the One’s four capricious deities. Yet Sulis, a young woman from the Southern Desert, has a different perspective – one that just might be considered heresy…
Sulis’s twin Kadar, meanwhile, is part of a different sort of revolution. When Kadar falls in love with a woman from a Forsaken caste, he finds he’s willing to risk anything to get these people to freedom. But with Sulis drawing a dangerous level of attention from the deities, and war about to break out on two fronts, the twins find change may not come without great sacrifice.
An astonishing debut, Kelley Grant brings to life a powerful new epic fantasy tale of determination and self-discovery.
Buy: Amazon|Barnes and Noble|HarperCollins
Ebook for the Winner:
Buy: Amazon|Barnes and Noble
Proof I’m Not Crazy: Reviews!
I have a book signing tomorrow at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, MA (7pm-9pm). Please come!
Associated with such an event, however, is the permanent and paralyzing fear that no one, in fact, will show up. It might seem like, outside of a few friends and family who might pop in, nobody much cares about my book or my career or the fact that the fantasy genre exists at all. All of it, ultimately, must be some kind of consensual delusion on the part of myself, my publisher, and the bookseller.
But I’m not crazy. For one thing, there’s Kameron Hurley’s lovely post on how our work matters. For another, there are reviews of my book, which, but for a singular exception, have all been simply lovely. Also, here’s the best part: I don’t even know all of those people.
So, as an effort to pump myself up AND as an effort to drum up attention for my novel, The Oldest Trick, just now released in paperback, let me collect for you a selection of review highlights.
Habershaw has a deft, sure touch and his characters are delicious. This is a well-crafted, gripping adventure.
~Samantha Murray, Amazon, 5 Stars
The Oldest Trick is a stand-out debut from talented new writer, Auston Habershaw. Intricate and deft world-building, strong characterization, a wry sense of humour and satisfying twists all infuse this novel. Well worth a look.
~Charcoal Chicken, Amazon, 5 Stars
Auston Habershaw’s attention to detail in creating his world of Alandar is nothing short of stunning (care to take a ride on spirit train anyone?).
~Steve Pantazis, Amazon, 5 Stars
Alandar is, quite simply, unlike any other place I’ve visited in fantasy. Habershaw tears down well-worn tropes and builds them into something new and unexpected.
~Daniel J Davis, Amazon, 5 Stars
An epic fantasy rollick in the style of Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch...Richly envisioned without getting bogged down in exposition, and bursting with action.
~John Perich, Amazon, 4 Stars
Alandar, the world of The Oldest Trick, is awesome. It’s dark and fantastical, full of magic and assassins and pickpockets. To me, it’s an amalgamation of anime, grimdark and the top tier of contemporary epic fantasy. The characters are slick, and not without motivations.
~ChappyZach, Amazon, 5 Stars
Auston Habershaw’s The Iron Ring is an explosive debut by a talented new voice in fantasy. It is remarkably well-written, fast-paced, and highly entertaining. The main character evokes images of Scott Lynch’s Locke Lamora, quick-witted, charming, and rogue-like, while the worldbuilding is as deep and complex – yet logical – as any Brandon Sanderson book.
~Nathan Garrison, Goodreads, 4 Stars
I freaking love this series. This is how high-fantasy should be done. Can’t wait for the next one.
~Brooke Johnson, Goodreads, 4 Stars
Compared with The Lies of Locke Lamora or The Name of the Wind, this book should only get 4.35 stars, compared with pretty much every other fantasy novel it’s 4.68 stars, rounded up to a well-deserved five. It’s been some time since I have read a fantasy-trilogy/series? that had me this excited. Most highly recommended.
~Tom Loock, Goodreads, 5 Stars
So there, see? I’m not a lunatic. This book is worth your time. Either the world is crazy, or I’m pretty good at this. So get out there and meet Tyvian Reldamar, scoundrel extraordinaire, as he struggles with his cursed ring and tries to get revenge without being bad.
And if you do, leave a review when you’re finished, okay?
Events! News! Books! Yay!
Exciting news, friends and stalkers! Thanks mostly to the Writers of the Future Vol 31 Anthology (to buy your copy, click on the picture on the sidebar), I am now ranked as an Amazon bestselling author in Science Fiction and also in Fantasy.
Pretty wild, no?
Those winners of my little giveaway for a signed copy of The Oldest Trick now, finally, after long ages of waiting, have their books in the mail. If the postal service is smiling upon you, you should have it within the week. Just in time for release day.
Which reminds me…
The Oldest Trick, first installment in my fantasy series, The Saga of the Redeemed, is releasing tomorrow in paperback for the first time. If you too enjoy the smell of a good book and the feel of smooth paper in your hands or just viscerally enjoy folding the corner over of a saved page, then go online and order! Available online wherever books are sold!
BUT I WANT IT IN MY HANDS NOW, HABERSHAW!
Never fear, my irrationally angry friend, this week there are not one, but TWO opportunities to not only acquire the book immediately but also to meet my stunning personage and have the opportunity for me to vandalize your newly bought property!
I am holding two book signings this week.
Thursday, 10/1, 7pm-9pm at Pandemonium Books and Games
Come to this cornerstone of the Boston Scifi and Fantasy world, nestled in the heart of Cambridge’s Central Square (and easily accessible via the T). Come meet me, come let me sign my book for you, and also peruse the many other wonders this hidden gem holds. Here’s the public facebook event, too!
Saturday, 10/3, 5pm-8pm at On the Dot Books
At this event in Dorchester, not only will there be books to buy and sign, but there will also be food and a cash bar (I think–still hashing that out). Join THAT event either here or here!
So, a busy week ahead! Please come see me! Amazon says I’m good, dammit – you should believe them!
Book Signings for THE OLDEST TRICK!
Release day of the paperback version of The Oldest Trick is fast approaching! On September 29th, my debut novel (err…novels) will be available in physical form for you to annotate, smell, and hurl against the wall in a fit of anger at Tyvian’s latest act of douchebaggery.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, I’ve got a pair of book signings planned that you are all cordially invited to attend.
Signing the First:
Where: Pandemonium Books and Games, 4 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA
When: Thursday, October 1st, 7pm-9pm
Pandemonium is one of my favorite book stores/gaming spots in the Greater Boston area – I’ve been going there for years. Nestled in the heart of Central Square, it’s easily accessible from the T. It should be a really fun time. What’s more, people will be playing my favorite game, Warhammer 40,000, in the basement while the signing is going on! (I realize this might not be a draw for everyone, but, well, that’s too damned bad.)
Signing the Second:
Where: On the Dot Books, 1739 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester MA
When: Saturday, October 3rd, 5pm-8pm
On the Dot is a little independent bookstore in Dorchester that takes a special interest in local authors and, as luck would have it, is attached to a café (which I am renting out). There will be some food (though what and how much is still being hashed out) and probably a cash bar. This is more of a signing/release party kind of thing, and should also be a giant blast. Please come if you can!
About Those Giveaway Winners
So, some months ago now, I had a little signed copy giveaway of my book, as I was under the impression it would be released in paperback in July. Well, then it turned out to be August. Then they pushed it back to September. I’m just here to tell you guys: I haven’t forgotten and, yes, you will get a book. There is a crate of them being shipped to my house as we speak (well…hopefully). I should have them by the 29th at the latest and I’ll be putting them in the mail just about as soon as I have them in hand. Thank you all for your patience.
There you have it! Book signings and events! (Also, don’t forget I’ll be at the ITVFest in Vermont next week! Come on up and have fun in the beautiful Vermont countryside!) Come and meet me! Have me scribble on your book! I’m looking forward to it!
E-books Don’t Smell (and other Revelations)
Recently, I said I was hoping to do a Goodreads giveaway as a promo for the paperback release of The Oldest Trick. I’ve got a bunch of electronic contributor copies burning a hole in my pocket at the moment and nothing much to do with them, so I thought giving them away would be pretty cool. Giveaways I’ve hosted here on this blog haven’t worked very smoothly (mostly because there isn’t a good system in place here to trade contact information, track entries, and so on), so Goodreads seemed a natural alternative. There’s just one problem: They don’t run giveaways for e-books. Bummer. Back to the drawing board.
This disappointment is just the latest in a long line of troubles facing the author who publishes only electronically. Now, don’t get me wrong – having a novel out of any stripe is pretty damned exciting and I love that there are people out there who have read and loved my books and I’m immensely grateful to Harper Voyager for publishing them. That said, I’ve found it much harder to promote and sell an e-book than I thought.
At the Writers of the Future Workshop (enter the Writers of the Future Contest, budding SF/F writers!), I had the unique privilege to listen to Tom Doherty of Tor speak about the publishing industry as it exists today. The basic theme of his talk was this: the primary difficulty for new writers and for publishers is the issue of discovery. “The Internet,” he said, “is great if you know what you’re looking for. It’s a really difficult place to discover new talent.” So, for already established authors – folks with back catalogs and name recognition – the Internet is wonderful, since people who like your work can find everything you ever wrote and buy it (a great improvement over bookstores which would only be intermittently stocked with older titles). But for the little guys (like me), I’m just one very tiny mote in an endless sea of book titles from relatively unknown authors. Many of these books are wonderful and an equal quantity are, well, not. It is very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff for anyone, editors, agents, writers, and fans all alike.
Of course, the author must promote his work. This – what you’re reading right now – is one author’s attempt at promotion (I hope that, by reading this blog, you might become curious about my work and buy it without me having to sling mindless Twitter ads at you day in and day out. I have no idea if it works). While the internet is a powerful promotional tool, the e-book is still a harder sell than a physical copy. According to Forbes, e-book sales make up 30% of the market and sales have risen sharply over the past few years while independent bookstores have dropped by more than 50% in the past twenty years. While those are harrowing numbers for print, the fact remains that 70% of books are still sold in print and, while you might not be buying it from an indie bookseller, there are good odds the book is still made of paper, no matter its place of origin. The age of the e-book is very much here, but it isn’t the lion’s share of the market by any means. And it’s worth noting that the 30% of the market that is occupied by e-books, is very much swamped with a vast array of traditional and self-published titles alike. Getting recognition from that 30% is very difficult. Print, a full 70% of the market, is somewhat more rarefied air, if you will.
I have tried to think of ways to effectively promote my e-books beyond simply shouting into the Twitter-Void, annoying people on facebook with ads, and writing blog posts. Here are the things I’ve tried:
- Blog Tours, which are the equivalent of book tours, but online. You go around and ask blogs to feature your book on their blog, interview you, or let you do a guest post. It works okay, but it is frequently impersonal and you need to be careful setting them up. The most successful ones I’ve done have been when I got writer friends of mine (in the same genre) to let me post on their blogs or asked them to feature me.
- Giveaways are possible, but getting an e-book to somebody as a gift is technically complex, involving codes and programs to download and passwords to submit and so-on.
- Getting Reviews has also been a significant part of what I do. I bug people I know have read the book to write me a review on Amazon or Goodreads or wherever. This helps my visibility, which helps me gain recognition, which helps me sell books. It is very slow, very incremental work though. A lot of people don’t want to write a review for some reason, even if they do like your stuff. Also, badgering people about it won’t get them to do it any faster. It is likely it will turn them off to doing it.
And…that’s it. I’m stumped after that.
A real book, though, still has a number of other options available to it – options that authors have been wielding effectively for years. Observe:
- Book Signings: People like signed books. People like meeting authors. Sit at a table with a stack of books to sign and you’ll make new friends, new fans, and so on. You won’t always be successful (my second WoTF book signing was pretty much just me sitting at an empty table talking to one guy who didn’t end up buying a book), but you’ll encounter and engage with more people you’d do otherwise.
- Book Readings: Yeah, you can read your e-book, but not as many people are likely to whip out their iPhone or Kindle and buy it right there. If you’ve got a stack of books and you’re reading from that book and all these people have come out to see you, odds are you’ll sell more. I’ve gone to book readings, and I feel weird if I don’t buy the book. It’s almost as though I’m insulting the author if I don’t.
- Book Giveaways become easier with a paperback. You just stick it in the mail and off it goes. Maybe even with a nice, personalized message or something.
- Impressing Guests is an underrated part of book promotion, I think. Some guy asks you what you do, you answer with writers, and he says “what have you written” and bam, there’s a book in his hands with your name on it. Your friends and family get to do the same thing – your book on their shelf. With an e-book? It’s always an explanation as to why your book is currently invisible.
- Bookstores, while dwindling, still sell a lot of books and are still the best places to browse for new titles. There you are, on a bookshelf alongside the greats, cover art on display.
All this, coupled with the fact that traditional books still control the balance of the market (I have people asking me when the print version of The Oldest Trick is coming out every day; it’s September 29th, by the way), means there is a lot to be said for the paperback, even now. Certainly, e-books are key, but they aren’t perfect yet. They don’t have that feel, that smell, that weight that makes it seem like somebody’s work and effort means something more than just the words on the page. E-books are whispers in the air; the physical book is letters on stone tablets. I, personally, cannot wait to have both at my disposal.