Station Identification Time

Who Am I?

I’m a writer originally from Falmouth, MA who now lives in Worcester (pronounced like the name of Hugh Laurie’s dim-witted socialite) with my awesomely talented wife Veronica, who runs a business called Storied Threads.

After 15 years with the Falmouth Enterprise, where I worked as a general and political reporter, blogger, and editor, I left the news industry to focus on my creative writing.

In addition to my novels (more on that in a minute), I am a freelance writer, an occasional contributor to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and I’ve produced scripts for Pastimes Entertainment of Revere, MA and the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.

What Do I Write?

Action Figures is a YA superhero adventure series featuring a team of young superhumans who set out to make a name for themselves in the superhero world and quickly find themselves in over their heads. Fun, full of humor and action, populated with likable characters (including some of the villains), and suitable for teen readers and adults who still love superheroes. Oh, and no love triangles. Ever. The first book, Secret Origins, reached the #1 spot on two Amazon best-seller lists.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot is my response to all the overly serious fantasy novels out there that have forgotten how to have fun. The series follows two hard-luck adventurers for hire with a knack for biting off more than they can chew and their friends as they explore ancient ruins, fight deadly monsters, go on epic prophecy-driven quests for artifacts of great power hidden in highly inconvenient locations, and cross a lot of rickety rope bridges along the way. The first book, Scratching a Lich, received a gold medal for fantasy fiction from BellaOnline, a resource for women in writing, which also recognizes feminist writers and their work.

Cheap Thrills Digest is a short story collection featuring introductions to my two series, plus an original novelette-length horror story, Lost Souls, which is exclusive to CTD. If you’re curious about my writing, you can grab this for just $6 in print or 99 cents in e-book format.

What Will I See Here?

I post weekly updates that include progress reports on various projects, cover art reveals, new release announcements, a schedule of appearances and book-signings, the occasion essay on writing, and whatever random bits and pieces capture my attention.

Where Can You Find Me Online?

Official website

Amazon author page

Facebook

Twitter

BookBub

Instagram

Goodreads

Google +

LinkedIn

Social Butterfly

The bad part of staying home to watch the pets while my wife works the Storied Threads tent at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire is that I spend the weekend alone (except for, of course, the pets). Boo. My bulldog Beatrix tries to fill in as my bedtime cuddle-buddy, but it’s not the same.

The closest I'll come to having a child (thank God).
The closest I’ll come to having a child (thank God).

On the good side, I have plenty of time to work on novel stuff — on draft one of book two of Action Figures (11 pages today!), and on promoting book one so I have a better reason to keep plugging away at book two.

My mailers (previewed here) have been ordered, I received a mention in my hometown paper (I’ll post that here as soon as get my hands on a copy), and — big project for the day — I splattered my name all over the Internet.

Social networking sites are a boon for small businesses — which I am, for all intents and purposes — since they provide potentially limitless free advertising that reaches a literally global audience. There are a lot to choose from, maybe too many, and it’s a daunting task to maintain multiple presences. Fortunately, thanks to networking and synergy and the general over-sharing nature of the Internet, this here blog post can be auto-shared to my many new social media outlets. Hooray for enabled laziness!

So, now people can keep up with me on Facebook, Google +, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and LiveJournal (yes, that’s still a thing!), as well as on my Amazon Author Central page and my Goodreads Author page.

Egads, that’s a lot of pandering…but casting loaves, coming back a hundredfold, etc., etc.

And Now The Real Work Begins

Action Figures has been out for a little less than a week now, and I certainly can’t complain about the response. More than a dozen copies sold in the first few days, and a lot of friends shared the launch announcement, which I hope will generate future sales.

Ah, but this is where the real work begins for me. Writing and prepping the book was the easy part, comparatively; now I need to push it so people outside of my circle of friends buy the thing.

In doing my research on self-publishing, I learned that the publicity phase is where a lot of self-pub authors fall down. Their business plan amounts to: Step One: publish book; Step Two: (mumble mumble); Step Three: profit. Maybe they’ll set up a Facebook page, send some e-mails to their friends and family, but too often indie authors’ attitude is, “If I write it, they will come.”

Fortunately, I have an edge: my experiences in the newspaper industry and in publicity for the renaissance faires at which I’ve worked have prepared me well for the task of publicizing my book, and that effort is now underway.

The first things I did were to create author pages on Amazon.com and Goodreads, which are a bit more passive publicity tools; aside from blog posts that auto-share on those pages, these will sit on the Internet, largely untouched, and show up on searches.

The next step: write up and send out a press release. My former place of employment, the Falmouth Enterprise, got the first one, and as soon as something runs there, I’ll be sending the release out to other news outlets covering my home town.

The more ambitious phase of the publicity campaign is coming up. I took advantage of CreateSpace’s expanded distribution service, which makes my book available to book stores, but how can they order it unless they know about it? That’s where this comes into play:

Buy me!
Buy me!

I plan to print up copies of this mailer in small batches, as finances allow, and send it out to indie bookstores to let them know this book exists and hey, maybe they want to carry it.

All these things have one end result in common, besides selling copies: generating word-of-mouth buzz, which can be as effective, if not more so, than any sort of formal advertising/publicity campaign. Thankfully, my friends are both very literate and very talkative.