by Todd

An update concerning ULT: Volume One.

August 28, 2014 in Blog by Todd

I just sent this out to folks who pre-ordered UGLY LITTLE THINGS: VOLUME ONE, but if you’re one of those people and the email didn’t go through, you’ll want to read this:

Good afternoon, folks.

I’m writing to give you a short update concerning the status of UGLY LITTLE THINGS: VOLUME ONE.

An order was placed with the printer on Tuesday, 8/19, following the close of the pre-order window. Yesterday, 8/27, the books were delivered.

Unfortunately, there was a manufacturing problem with this batch of books. As you will see in the attached photos, the jackets were not folded properly, resulting in some severe misalignment. I want these books to be perfect for you, and in their current state, I can’t justify mailing them to you at this point in time.

I’ve contacted the printer and submitted a claim for the issue, and I expect to hear from my sales rep shortly. The books themselves appear to be fine, so I suspect they will be sending me new jackets to fold myself.

This means there will be a slight delay in the mailing of your books. I’d hoped to have them ready to mail by next weekend, on schedule for the mid-September estimate, but with this setback, there’s simply no way I can meet that.

I’m so sorry for this delay. I know many of you are excited to receive this book, and I feel horrible having to do this. I hope you all understand.

I will update you once I’ve received word from the sales rep on how they intend to rectify this error.

Kind regards,

TK

by Todd

ULT.update

August 23, 2014 in Blog by Todd

ult-cover

I wanted to post this earlier in the week but time got away from me as usual. Last weekend was the pre-order deadline for UGLY LITTLE THINGS: VOLUME ONE, and to say that my expectations were exceeded is an understatement. I didn’t want to talk numbers during the pre-order period because, frankly, I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing until just a couple of weeks ago

I mean, I had every reason to be. Up until this edition, everything that Precipice has put out has been for fair market value. This was our first “premium” item, and I wasn’t sure how well it would go over with readers. Did the first four ULT stories carry enough momentum to propel this print edition to a successful number?

Yes, they did.

My goal for pre-orders was 25; my dream was 50. We hit 25 about a week before the deadline, and by the deadline, we reached 45—which is closer to 50 than I ever expected to get.

Technically there will be 46 copies if you count the galley proof, but I’m not numbering that one. The rest will be signed, numbered, and personalized as advertised. An order was placed with the printer earlier this week, and I expect to have books in hand within another week or two. “The Harbinger” audio book is complete, as is the special website we set up for those who pre-ordered.

As with every project, I’m at that point where I look back to see the road traveled. Just a year ago, I was in a pretty dark place—the ULT stories are a reflection of that—and I was contemplating whether or not I wanted to keep writing. Releasing a short story collection in print seemed like a costly pipe dream. Hitting the bottom of my issues last year put a lot in perspective and forced me to change the way I look at things. The decision to release the ULT stories digitally as separate entries was born from that change, enabling the eventual production of the hardcover which will be in your hands around the middle of next month. And now here we are.

So where to from here?

Two future ULT releases are already in the can, and you’ve possibly already read one of them as it appeared in Robbed of Sleep. Another ULT story will appear in Dead Harvest later this year. I’m also working on a project that I’m calling THE FINAL RECONCILIATION about a prog rock band called The Yellow Kings. I’m not sure what that one wants to be, but it certainly has my attention for now. It may become an ULT entry; it may become something else altogether. I won’t know until it’s finished.

Of course, there’s also the final Monochrome novel. I’m still plotting, still sorting everything out. You know I don’t want to rush this one. I want to do it right, and it will be done when it’s done.

I’ll post an update here once I receive the ULT copies. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great weekend.

TK

P.S. I almost forgot: My back catalog, including the individual ULT stories, are slowly being prepped for launch in other formats, the largest being the Nook. I’ll post here once we get closer to launching those. No time frame as of yet.

by Todd

“Journals of Horror: Found Fiction” is open for pre-orders!

August 21, 2014 in Blog by Todd

found_fiction

My short story “Human Resources” appears in this anthology curated and edited by Terry M. West, author of the upcoming critically-acclaimed novella, HEROIN IN THE MAGIC NOW (I love that title). Joining me are fellow authors P.D. Cacek, Glenn Rolfe, Robin Dover, DS Ullery, Essel Pratt, Michael Thomas-Knight, John Ledger, Paul D. Mark, Sonja Thomas, Paula Cappa, Stuart Keane, Darryl Dawson, Crystal Leflar, Lori R. Lopez, Michael Seese, Jeff O’Brien, Matt Hayward, Joseph Ramshaw, Michael McGlade, DJ Tyrer, Wesley Thomas, Regina West, Evan Purcell, Robert McGough, Erik Gustafson, Christopher Alan Broadstone and Robert Holt. 

You can pre-order the Kindle book now for just $3.99. Check it out!

TK

by Todd

Support Eryk Pruitt’s latest film!

August 18, 2014 in Blog by Todd

Eryk Pruitt

My pal Eryk Pruitt isn’t just the author of the kick-ass novel DIRTBAGS. No, sir. He’s also a filmmaker, and his latest effort, “The Hoodoo of Sweet Mama Rose,” is currently being crowdfunded over at Indiegogo. If that tickles your fancy, I recommend pitching in a few bucks to help get to his goal!

 

 

by Todd

An Ugly Little Release Party!

August 12, 2014 in Blog by Todd

ult-cover

To celebrate the looming deadline and impending release, I’m hosting an Ugly Little Release Party on YouTube this Friday night. Joining me is a wonderful group of writers: Anthony J. Rapino (who wrote the foreword for the collection), Mercedes M. Yardley, Eryk Pruitt, Nikki Nelson-Hicks, and Glenn Rolfe. They’ll also be giving away books to folks who participate! How do you participate? Similar to past broadcasts, you just need to RSVP on the Event page and tune into the broadcast Friday night. We’ll have instructions for you during the broadcast on how you can win one of the books being given away that evening.

I do hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be a great time.

Oh, and just as a reminder: The deadline to pre-order UGLY LITTLE THINGS: VOLUME ONE is fast approaching. Saturday, August 16th is the last day to place a pre-order for this limited edition collection. This edition will NOT be available anywhere else, folks, so if you want a one-of-a-kind item, now’s the time to act.

More soon.

TK

by Todd

FYI: 13 Days To Go.

August 3, 2014 in Blog by Todd

ult-cover

Heads up, folks. There are only 13 days left to pre-order UGLY LITTLE THINGS: VOLUME ONE. If you’ve been holding off, now would be a good time to decide. And in case you’re still on the fence, maybe this audio sample of THE HARBINGER will persuade you:

Get those pre-orders in by August 16th!

TK

by Todd

Missing in a maze of Monochrome.

July 30, 2014 in Blog by Todd

TLM

For the first time in a great while, I’m going to write about the Monochrome Trilogy for a few minutes. Some of you probably think I’ve forgotten about it, foregoing its story in favor of the shorter, bloody bite-sized chunks that the ULT series has to offer. If you’ve thought that, you’d be half-right. I have been focused on ULT lately—but I haven’t forgotten about the Monochrome.

I wish I could forget about the Monochrome. That won’t happen, though, because these days it’s haunting me. It hangs over my head like a cloud, and any time I get an idea for something else—like the next ULT story, for example—that cloud bears down a little bit, and I feel guilty for thinking about working on something other than the Monochrome.

TLM’s two-year anniversary is coming up. Two years! Can you believe it? It’s been two years since I left Donovan Candle standing at the top of the WBS network building, and in that time, my vision of what would follow has changed dramatically. For better or worse, I can’t say. All I know is that it’s changed, and while I have a much clearer picture of what NONENTITY will be, there are still so many pieces that remain hidden from me.

I find myself going back and reading through old entries and emails and notes just to see where I was in the months leading up to the beginning of TLM. Although I began TLM in January ’09, I spent most of that year meandering through the first third of the story. I had no idea where it was going, and it wasn’t until I re-thought everything at the end of that year that it all came into focus. Truth be told, TLM’s first draft may have taken 19 months to complete, but the bulk of it was written in seven. I needed the other twelve months to figure it all out.

I’m in a better place this time around—I’m a better writer, for starters. I have a better grasp on the story and its characters.

And yet I keep hitting a wall whenever I work on it. I have a very small portion of it written—those of you who’ve pre-ordered ULT: Volume One will have the pleasure of reading it soon—and I also have a great deal of notes written as well. I have chapter titles, I have themes, I have the makings of a playlist, and I have a chronological history starting with Dullington’s orgins and leading all the way up to the events of ALT. All the pieces are in place. So why am I hitting a wall?

I honestly don’t know. Right now that wall is my biggest obstacle. Maybe it’s pressure? Maybe it’s fear? Who knows.

I just keep thinking about those early days of TLM and how difficult they were, trying to figure out what it was that led to that moment when everything fell into place and the book took off.

Maybe I’m just over-thinking this too much?

Probably. In any case, thanks for listening. I just needed to vent.

Before I go: There are 17 days left to pre-order UGLY LITTLE THINGS: VOLUME ONE. If you’re planning on doing so, but you’re waiting for whatever reason, please let me know so I can plan accordingly.

Cheers,

TK

by Todd

Anthony Rapino’s Freakin’ Magnets: How do they work?

July 28, 2014 in Blog by Todd

My pal Tony Rapino isn’t just a kickass writer; he’s also a bit of an artist. Lately he’s been playing around with sculpting magnets. Like so:

Fuckin' Magnets

As you can see, he’s pretty good at it. You can buy yourself a set of these Trick ‘r Treat-themed magnets right here. They’re $12 for a single magnet, or you can snag both for $20. Supplies are limited, so act fast!

TK

by Todd

[BLOG TOUR] Introducing Jonathan Winn’s MARTUK … THE HOLY: PROSEUCHE

July 25, 2014 in Blog, Interviews by Todd

Author and screenwriter Jonathan Winn asked if he could stop by for his blog tour in support of his latest novel, MARTUK … THE HOLY: PROSEUCHE. I said, “Of course, Jonathan! For only $49.95!” Now that his check has cleared, I’m happy to share some information about the man and his creation, the immortal Martuk.

Proseuche

First, here’s the synopsis for his latest release, MARTUK … THE HOLY: PROSEUCHE:

And cradled in her kindness, I dove back into the blood soaked memories of this, my life.

With those words, the immortal Maruk’s tale continues.

From modern Paris, he speaks of his life in the religious chaos and pagan magic of 3rd century Antioch. Of his friends, a man haunted by grief and regret, and a woman with secrets as thick as the woolen of her constant cloak. Of days marked by the greed of Rome and the ambitions of those driven by dangerous delusion.

He remembers wandering souls who returned with their own stories to tell. Who shared their own memories of blazing deserts and a darkness with teeth. Of being imprisoned in a myth built by the lies of others. And then Martuk recalls a magic so dark it summons demons from a cloudless sky and rips the sleeping dead from their slumber.

The past revisited, Martuk ends his tale with a confession. A modern-day betrayal so cruel, the rest of his life everlasting threatens to be one of searing regret and never-ending shame.

This sequel to Jonathan Winn’s Martuk … the Holy is a tale of stumbling humanity and shocking brutality. Forgiveness and release. Death. Immortality. And the tenuous hope for blessed redemption.

This is Martuk … the Holy … Proseuche.

And now for some questions to get you acquainted with Mr. Winn:

TK: Who is Jonathan Winn?

JW: Let’s just go ahead and get the blah blah blah stuff out of the way. Born in Seattle, grew up in a very small town in WA State along I-5 smack dab in the middle between Portland, OR, and Seattle. Moved to Los Angeles after graduating high school and then, a decade later, to NYC. Now to the good stuff. I’m a writer. Books, short fiction, film scripts, teleplays, plays. Have some film and TV projects working their way slowly to production in LA. More books in the pipeline. A new one — Martuk … the Holy: Proseuche, the sequel to my debut novel Martuk … the Holy — out right now with the third, Martuk … the Holy: Shayateen, scheduled for Spring 2015. Plus some contemporary horror planned as well.

TK: What inspired your “Martuk” series?

JW: It was less being inspired — you know, where I watch a sunset and go ‘Oh, I should write about a guy who’s watched nineteen hundred bazillion of these’ — and more having this idea just drop in my lap. I mean, I was happily writing screenplays and plays at the time and the last thing I needed was something else, something new, on my plate. So when Martuk showed up, sat himself down, and basically took over, I had little choice but to A) figure out what his story actually was, and B) figure out how to transition from a very rules-oriented, the-briefer-the-better world of screenwriting to the more … how shall I say this … verbose land of fiction. Actually, the dishonestly verbose land of fiction. You think you have the whole dictionary to play with, but, really, you don’t. That was Lesson One. Anyway, once all of that was sorted, I kind of let Martuk take over and do what he wanted to do.

TK: Why should people read your work?

JW: Several reasons. First of all, the series centers around a complicated, vicious, altogether too human immortal in a genre that is still awash in sparkly vampires and stumbling zombies. Secondly, there aren’t many around today — at least that I’m aware of — who are writing the kind of evocative prose I write. Evocative, but still sparse. If I can cold clock a reader with three words instead of seven, I’ll do it. Actually, that’s what I aim to do. And third, Martuk’s story spans millennia yet still feels immediate and very much Here and Now. The problems, the issues, Martuk faces in 3rd century Antioch or wherever he is at the time are very much the same issues we, here today, find ourselves dealing with. The world changes, but stays the same. Always. But one of the best things about my work, in my opinion, is that although it’s rooted very strongly in Horror and Dark Fiction, it isn’t gory. It’s brutal, it’s evocative, it’s sometimes upsetting and disgusting, but it’s not gory. For some reason, that’s the thing people appreciate most about what I do. They disagree strongly with how vicious Martuk can be, and how cruel he is, but when it comes to the specifics of his brutality, I trust my readers’ imaginations to fill in the blanks more effectively than I could.

TK: Where can readers find more of your work?

JW: Well, of course I’m on Facebook and Twitter and have a blog they’re welcome to visit for news and excerpts and whatnot — mainly whatnot. But the new release I mentioned above — Proseuche — can be found on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords

Thanks for stopping by, Jonathan! For more information, check out any of the links mentioned above. MARTUK…THE HOLY: PROSEUCHE is available now!

TK

by Todd

Why I’m leaving Amazon’s KDP Select program.

July 22, 2014 in Blog, For Writers by Todd

kindle_unlimited

On Friday, Amazon launched a new service called “Kindle Unlimited.” It’s a subscription service where, for $9.99 a month, a consumer can have access to over 600k Kindle titles, as well as their audio equivalents. You can get up to 10 books at a time. Authors who have titles enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select program (which allows for free promotions, inclusion in the lending library, countdown deals, and matchbook prices) had their titles automatically enrolled in the program on Friday.

I am not a publishing guru or pundit by any stretch of the imagination. I only know what works for me, so if you are looking for guidance on this new program, allow me to point you toward Chuck Wendig or Dave Gaughran.

That said, I’m writing this post to voice my opinion on the matter, as well as to outline a direction I’ve decided to take going forward.

Simply put: I opted out of KDP exclusivity on Saturday. After August 15th, A LIFE TRANSPARENT will no longer be a part of the program. THE LIMINAL MAN will follow in mid-September.

What does this mean for you?

It means that if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you will not be able to borrow those books for free. It also means that if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you will not be able to download my books for free.

Why?

Back in 2012, I enrolled my first novel in KDP Select because it wasn’t selling anywhere else. Upon re-release, ALT was initially available on Amazon and Smashwords—which also distributed to B&N, Sony, iTunes, Kobo, Diesel, etc. However, sales through all of those other channels were surpassed by Amazon. At the time, going exclusive with Amazon made sense.

The free promotions were working for other authors, so I gave them a try. I gave them a lot of tries. While they were successful in getting my novels into the hands of a LOT of readers, they were not successful in converting into new sales. For all the times ALT was downloaded, almost no one bought TLM despite significant hype, promotion, award nomination, and price experimentation.

This leads me to one of two conclusions: either all of those people read ALT and hated it, or they simply didn’t read it at all. Knowing how vocal people can be when they don’t like a book, and considering how few negative reviews of ALT there are on Amazon, I’m inclined to believe the latter: no one read it.

Other benefits of KDP Select (lending library, matchbook pricing, and countdown deals) have not yielded much better results. Although I haven’t compiled the metrics, I’m inclined to say that my two novels have been borrowed fewer than 20 times over the last two years.

Meanwhile, since the release of my second novel and the ULT series, I’ve heard from readers asking if they can get my work on the Nook. This is the risk of exclusivity with any retailer. Two years ago it made sense, because I had a year of sales data to show that my book wasn’t selling anywhere but Amazon.

Now things have changed.

Amazon’s free promotions are far less effective now, for starters. The way their algorithms have changed in the last two years has, in my opinion, completely negated the point of doing a free promotion. The other features never really had any bearing on my sales in the first place. In all honesty, I’ve been questioning the point of KDP Select for a while now, and this new service they’re offering has left a bad taste in my mouth.

As a consumer, it’s a great idea—all the eBooks and audio books I could ever want for $10 a month? Sign me up. But as an author/publisher/content creator, it worries me.

The way authors/publishers who opt into the program are compensated for downloads is similar to how things have worked with the KDP Lending program. With KDP Lending, Amazon sets aside a pool of cash every month, and every author is compensated from that fund each time their books are borrowed. So far it’s worked out to be about $2 a download. That’s great if you’re selling a 99 cent eBook, and it has parity with the royalty for a $2.99 sale. But what if you’re selling a book that’s more? Yeah. You lose money. I mean, on one hand, it’s better than nothing at all, right? Sure it is.

Kindle Unlimited works sort of the same way. Amazon added an additional $800k to their fund for the month, topping it off at an even $2 million. If someone downloads a book through that program and reads more than 10% of it, the author will be compensated from the fund.

Here’s what worries me about that: The KDP Lending program was only available to Amazon Prime members. Kindle Unlimited is available to anyone with $10, month to month. Consider the potential influx of new subscribers downloading books—and look at the hit that fund is going to take. More readers and downloads will diminish the fund and reduce the amount paid per download. Suddenly authors are losing more than a couple of dollars per download on their eBooks.

Is there an argument to be made about volume? Absolutely. There’s a possibility that the number of downloads will make up for the lost revenue, but I think the authors who are already struggling to maintain consistency with their sales will have an even harder time trying to bridge that gap.

I know this is all conjecture, and that there’s really no true way of knowing how this is going to shake out until it actually does shake out. However, based on my previous experiences with KDP Select and the potential losses that could result from this new program, I think it’s time I part ways with the program for a while, get my books onto the shelves of other retailers again, and test the waters. Being able to re-launch these stories in new markets may garner a whole new crowd of readers. Who knows?

What I do know is that, for me, the benefits do not outweigh the cost right now. And if it doesn’t work out, I can always re-enroll. No harm, no foul.

So that’s why.

It doesn’t make sense to me anymore, and this new direction scares me a little. That being said, if I’ve missed something, or if there’s an alternative I haven’t considered, please speak up. Civil discourse is always welcome.

TK

P.S. Yes, this means my novels—as well as the ULT series—will be released on the Nook platform in the near future.