Help Selling More Books – To Con or Not To Con? Part 2 – Fandom Cons

Last time I talked about Industry Cons, like World Fantasy Con, World Horror Con, RWA Nationals, and other pro-centric cons. The greatest benefit of these cons is often the networking, as they are light on fan attendees and heavy on pros. They can be a great place to make or renew relationships, to meet people who can have a real impact on your career long-term, but you should never go into a conversation with someone just thinking about what they can do for you. That’s not networking, that’s being an asshole. Real networking, the kind that will actually do something […]

Ladies and Gentlemen, Simon Cowell!

Not really. But I have begin referring to myself as “Simon Cowell of small press publishing.” If you’d really like to see why, you can go check out the finalists of Son of a Pitch, an online query contest that gets things read by actual publishers. My pal Samantha, she of the menopausal superhero novels asked me to participate, so I read the 20 finalist queries, and the 250-word samples they submitted. Out of the finalists, who had been winnowed down through two previous rounds of judging, I requested three submissions. Despite the rapidly growing size of our Falstaff Books catalog, […]

Help Selling More Books – What Good is a Publisher Today?

Yeah, it might seem like an odd question for someone who runs a small press to ask, but bear with me. It is easier now than it has ever been to make money self-publishing. There are more ways to dissect the market, more tools to create and distribute a quality product, and more people making a solid living self-publishing their own work than ever before. So why would you want to work with a publisher? Particularly a small press, which might not be able to do anything better for you than you could do yourself. I teach classes on this […]

Help Selling More Books – Don’t Forget, it’s the long game.

You’ve heard me say it – write more shit. You’ve heard a lot of people say it – write more shit. You’ve heard people more famous and touchy than me say it – write more shit. But sometimes you might need to hear somebody say this, too – Slow the FUCK down! Last week I saw a guy post something to a FB group that I’m a member of about his new book being basically dead after 30 days, because it’s no longer “new” in Amazon’s algorithms, and should he make it permafree to bring in readers, or just ignore it […]

Help Selling More Books – The Write to Market Concept is Crap

So yeah, that’s a total clickbait headline. It’s also not true. But it kinda is. Like so many things, the concept of Write to Market has diverged from its original core values into a set of weird “truths” and market and career advice ideas that it has turned into a whole messianic movement. Let’s start with a basic question – What is “Write to Market?” Chris Fox, a successful midlist genre fiction author, wrote a series of books about how to be a successful author, focusing on many of the things that I tell new and aspiring writers to focus […]

Help Selling More Books – Part 3 – Building an Email List – Incentivized Subscribers

Last time around, we talked about the two types of email list subscribers – incentivized subscribers and organic subscribers. Organic subscribers are the ones that come to you naturally, they are interested in you or your work, and they seek you out and sign up of their own free will. These are the unicorns of email list subscribers – they’re lovely, they’re beautiful, and may very well be mythical. Nah, not really. But while they are the best type of subscriber, they are also the toughest to acquire, and the ones that require the most effort to cultivate. They are […]

Help selling more books – Part 1 – The Mailing List

This is not going to be exciting. None of these posts in this series are going to be exciting. I’m not going to tell you how to jump up the bestseller lists and go from selling five books each month to 5,000 in the span of thirty days. I’m not going to tell you The Secret To Becoming An Amazon Bestseller. I’m not going to tell you how to Make A Million Dollars Selling Ebooks. I’m not going to do any of that crap. Because those posts are bullshit. The only people getting rich off the words in a bunch […]

Manuscript Format Guidelines and Why We Care – A Letter from an Editor

As a lot of folks here know, in 2016 I started a small publishing company, Falstaff Books. As such, I look through a fair number of manuscript submissions. I don’t read all of them at first, there’s a team of slush readers that do that. But I sometimes poke my head into the slush pile, and I read everything that gets kicked up the food chain to me. That means I see some truly interesting things done with formatting of documents. Despite the fact that we publish pretty clear submission guidelines on our website (click the big red button that […]

Why I Rejected Your Book, Part 2

 Part 1 of this post got a lot of traffic, generated a fair amount of Facebook discussion, pissed some people off, and hopefully was useful to some of you. It also spawned my new podcast, Writing Rants, which is coming soon right to this here web space. I do want to clarify one thing about these two posts – if you are a multi-published author, most of this isn’t going to apply to you. If you have been working in the business for a while, you get to use adverbs, you get to start a story in the wrong place […]