Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cover Reveal for Indelible Ink

Today is the cover reveal for my next book, Indelible Ink! It's an urban fantasy/science fiction mix due to be released in July. Check out the wonderful sites below to see the full cover by Brad Sharp!

Dirge Magazine

Beauty in Ruins

All Things Urban Fantasy

The Qwillery

Ginger Nuts of Horror

The preorder for the ebook is up on Amazon here.

You can preorder a hardcopy from Dog Star Books and Raw Dog Screaming Press here.

Order today!

Big thanks to all the sites that helped us out!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cover Reveal for Steel Victory

Head over to Dirge Magazine for the cover reveal of J.L. Gribble's debut novel, Steel Victory and a discussion of artist Bradley Sharp's excellent cover art.

About Steel Victory:
One hundred years ago, the vampire Victory retired from a centuries-long mercenary career. She settled in Limani, the independent city-state acting as a neutral zone between the British and Roman colonies on the New Continent.
Twenty years ago, Victory adopted a human baby girl, who soon showed signs of magical ability.
Today, Victory is a city councilwoman, balancing the human and supernatural populations within Limani. Her daughter Toria is a warrior-mage, balancing life as an apprentice mercenary with college chemistry courses.
Tomorrow, the Roman Empire invades.
Steel Victory is arriving in June 2015, but pre-orders are now available!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Selling your book in person – Part Two

Out in the ‘Verse

Selling your book in person – Part Two

This is part II of my quick guide to selling your books in person. You can find the first part here.

Rule #4 Know your Audience

This applies to your book AND the event you want to attend.
We’ve already talked about your pitch and such. You have to know who your book is aimed at: Young Adult, Horror readers, SciFi fans, Romance readers? A combination of genres? That should already be deep in the back of your mind before you go out and sell. If you write urban fantasy and a reader come up and says something like “I love Jim Butcher. Is your book like his?” (It’ll happen.) You should know that Jim writes urban fantasy and his most famous work deals with a supernatural detective series, and you should be prepared to compare and contrast your work with the expectations of that reader. Yes, it’s tough to know EVERY writer in your genre, but you really should know the top 3-5 writers in the field. That way you have a benchmark the reader can relate to.

More importantly here, know as much about the event’s attendees and your fellow authors as you can before committing. Are they a general con with mystery writers next to horror writers, next to poets, next to nonfiction authors, etc, etc? Just authors in your wheelhouse? It’s important to know how receptive the audience will be to your work. Will it work in your favor if you’re the only scifi writer there, or hurt your sales?

Find out as much as you can about the history of the event itself. How many years has the con (or whatever) been going on? How many dealers are usually in the dealers’ room? Can you get a figure on the general attendance at the con for the last year or two? Can you get in touch with an author who attended and sold at the last event? Ask them if they’re going back. Why or why not? Don’t come right out and ask how much they made, that’s not cool. But, most authors I know will be candid with me about whether they “did alright” or if “the whole thing was a disaster.” It’s good recon and you should really listen if someone warns you away.

Did I mention sales? Rule #5 Do the Math

Yeah. I know, you’re an artist and all of this business stuff sucks. But… You still have to pay attention. Is the event you want to attend going to make sense for your bank account? How much is a table going to set you back? Does that table include admission to the con? Will you have to pay for an overnight stay at a hotel? How much will travel cost? Can you/should you drive, or will you have to fly? Food is good. How many meals will you have to pay for?

Yes, as I mentioned, there can be more important things than money involved. Are you meeting new readers/editors/authors that you can learn from? Is that compensation enough? Are you doing a signing for a cause that is more important to you? For instance: Do you want to support libraries or schools by doing an appearance or a signing or something? Factor all of that in, but be realistic.

Bring it down to this equation – If a train leaves Chicago at 30 mph… and a second train leaves Seattle going 56 mph… How many books will you have to sell in order to pay for that trip? It might be an over-simplified equation, but it’s a decent rule of thumb.

Which kind of brings us right to my last rule… The dreaded Rule #6… (Hold on to your butts)… No One is Going to Buy Your Book.

That’s right; no one is going to buy your book. If you’re prepared for that possibility, you should be fine. I’m not saying it’ll happen to you, but it could. You can do all the prep you need, do everything right, have a great book and they STILL might not buy your novel from you. Maybe they spent all their money before they got to your table. They could be saving their $15 bucks specifically to buy the next book in a series from Tim Waggoner or Jonathan Maberry (my money certainly goes there). Maybe they’re saving that $15 to eat all weekend and just want to browse and meet authors. You don’t know. I’ve been to many events with 100+ authors signing and selling their books. An individual obviously can’t buy every book from every author. That gets expensive. Be prepared. And don’t get desperate. You’ll have readers browsing the aisles that will stop and chat, others that won’t say a word, and occasionally the ones who won’t meet your eyes and pretend you’re not there. I’m pretty sure it happens to every author at some time or another. It isn’t because they hate you.

I’ve heard stories from several New York Times best selling authors about signings that were set up and well-publicized, but had no turnout. One author told me he loves personal signings because it gives him a couple of uninterrupted hours to work on his next book. It’s a crapshoot, and it might not be your fault. But it could happen. It’s tough, but don’t let it freak you out. You can go to a con or signing or whatever with hopes of selling out all the stock you bring, but if you keep in mind you many not sell any at all… you’ll keep your sanity a lot longer.

Those are my personal rules for selling at an event. I’ve seen authors at events look for someone or something to blame when their sales suck…

“The weather was horrible and no one came out.”
“The weather was awesome and everyone went to the park instead of to the book fair.”
“The organizers put me way back in the corner and nobody could find my booth.”
“People just weren’t buying.”
“They didn’t publicize the event/me enough.”
“Last year’s event was better organized.”

I can’t deny any of those things could have an effect on your sales. If you step back and make sure you’ve done everything you can to be ready for the event, you can bitch about why your sales were in the toilet. But if you just show up with no plan and no prep, pipe down and use your free time to practice your pitch!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Selling your book in person – Part One

Out in the ‘Verse

Selling your book in person – Part One

Let’s start a conversation about selling your book. I don’t mean online or in a bookstore. What I want to talk about is the in-person, at-a-conference, in-a-dealers room, or however you make off-line sales. If you don’t do live sales like that, or don’t feel like you need to, good for you. Some of us feel the need to get out there and hustle for every book we can. There may come a day when I get over that, but for now I not only like to get out for the sales, I like going to cons, festivals and workshops to meet authors, publishers and readers that I might not ordinarily get to see face to face.

This isn’t about your sales avenues or reasons for doing your sales the way you do, it’s about your game, your talk, your banter, your pitch. This about getting a potential reader to stop at your table and buy your book based on more than just the cover. Let’s assume you’re at a genre conference (scifi, horror, fantasy), you’ve got a table, you’ve got a stack of books, and you’re all set up to take customers. This can work for non-genre books as well, but my books are scifi, so I’m using that example.