Alien Days: A Castrum Press Anthology

Alien Days: A Castrum Press Anthology

Greetings all,

41ntTIvrguLI was thinking about what to write about for the blog today and remembered my good friend Corey Truax has a new title available. While I’m still pulling out my hair waiting for his own personal book, he and J.R. Handley worked together again for this new story, which comes in an other anthology. This anthology, Alien Days, is available right now!

Here’s the blurb for the anthology:

Alien Days is a multi-author anthology with thrilling tales of aliens, invasions, artificial intelligence, friendship, deceit and extinction. A combination which makes this collection a must-read for science fiction short story fans.
This anthology features Nebula and Dragon award nominees, Amazon bestsellers and award winners alongside rising stars in the science fiction genre. Let the authors take you on adventures through dystopian worlds and far flung planets that will stretch your imagination… Welcome to Alien Days.

photo-for-human-legion
Image of Truax taken from his website for advertising purposes.

I read Corey and J.R.’s last short story in a previous anthology, and I’m excited to have this one on my own TBR pile. J.R. is also a friend, and I’ve read a number of his books. Corey did a blog about this anthology on his page, so you can check that out here.

I can’t say I’ve read any of the work from the other authors, but that’s why I love anthologies so much. They introduce me to authors, and I almost always come away with another author I enjoy reading. I learned about Peter V. Brett from one anthology. I learned about Jake Bible (who I haven’t read more from but intend to) in another.

Anthologies are a fantastic way to get several great stories and meet authors you might not have otherwise heard about. I invite you all to try this one out. I already have my copy.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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Such An Awesome 2019! (convention)

Such An Awesome 2019! (convention)

Greetings all,

AwesomeConSo we got some rest, and boy did we need it. AwesomeCon 2019 was such a wonderful, huge event. As usual, I wanted to take a moment and give you some insight as to how things went.

Last year ended on a high note. We had always planned to slow way down this year to get life figured out and write some more books. The wonderful thing is I honestly thought, “Well that was just an amazing success, but no way do I do that sort of stuff again.”

Well, I didn’t.  In terms of books sold, I did even better. I sold fifty one books! I don’t remember the count from Baltimore Comic Con, but I remember it being in the forties.

The first thing I need to do is praise God for such an amazing blessing! Through four years of work, I’m seeing progress in this business venture, and all things come through him.

The next thing I need to do is thank all of you! If you stopped by and picked up one (or a few) copies of my work, you’ve helped my dream come true. I hope you enjoy the stories. I hope reading them makes you that much more excited for the things I’m working on next.

This wasn’t just a fun day for me though. Steve D’Adamo was right there with me, and he sold copies of his book, The Warden of Everfeld: Memento. He even posted a blog about his side of things.

So I won’t go over information he covered because I frankly want you to read his blog. But I do have some additional insights.

  1. How I measure “success.”

D5nXJwSWAAAHwLwI ran into another author who was a bit upset that sales weren’t there. Now, some authors measure success in terms of profit. I’m not one of those. Even with multiple books, I still don’t have enough products to expect to actually profit. I “made” $289. That’s fantastic. It’s certainly way more than I normally make. It paid for my table ($273.35 for badges and table), but I spent $456.66 ordering books, so I actually lost $441.01. That might lead to a lot of sad faces and discouraged hopeful authors. First, AwesomeCon is a huge event with pretty expensive artist alley tables.  I don’t go to AwesomeCon to make money. I got to AwesomeCon to have fun and meet people. I got to meet new readers who I hope will become loyal readers. My two of my three most loyal readers were all people I met at AwesomeCon. So yeah, I lost money up front, but those people buy my books I later release, even if they wait to do so at the next AwesomeCon.

So I told the author I mentioned above, “I already know I’m going to lose money here. I don’t count success by dollars made. I count it by books sold.” Fifty one is a new record. So I see this event as a huge success.

How could I have done better? Well, I’m still not used to having so many books.  I ordered twenty copies of each of my longer works (Caught and The Journals of Bob Drifter), and I ordered thirty copies each of my shorter works (Repressed & Sojourn in Captivity (paperback) and The Power of Words).  I only sold more than half of one of those. So I just ordered too many books.  If I’d only ordered half of those numbers, I still would have lost $213 (or so), but that’s expected at an event where I still have a very limited number of things for people to buy. This is something I’m going to try to adjust. At Shore Leave, I intend to sell prints as well. It’s a low-up-front cost item that will help me diversify what people can come to my table to purchase. I’ll also be able to bundle them and increase deals for potential customers.

Now, Shore Leave is much less expensive to attend. I clearly don’t need to order more books. I took that money I earned from AwesomeCon to pay for my table. If I sell all of those books, I’ll make back that table. Mathematically, I will still have lost $100-something, but I’ll have that many more books out there for people to read, (hopefully) enjoy, (hopefully) review, and (hopefully) recommend to a friend.  

2.  Try new things:

caught-front-cover
This cover gets a lot of looks, so I’m going to try and sell prints of it.

As I mentioned above, I’m always looking to try new things. My biggest mission is to provide low-cost (both to me and the potential customer) products to purchase. Bookmarks did not work. They make great hand outs, but people just don’t want to pay for those. So I looked around and realized that there are a lot of artists in artist alley (go figure). So the new plan is to commission art based on my books to sell prints of at conventions. I don’t expect to do as well as people who sell cool pictures of trademarked characters, but I’m not touching that. But if someone looks at a really awesome picture of Caden or Elele, they may want to buy it. They may want to know about the character. This may work; it may not work at all. The point is you have to diversify your options. Not everyone reads. Most people who go to conventions buy art from someone. Why not art based on my books? Plus, it gets Carlos and Collin some attention. Also, I’m sharing profits with them so I don’t pay up front. It’s a risk on their end, but it’s an investment of time for the potential to profit money.

3.  Sharing is great!

D5Ht92lX4AI4_7MI’ve shared a table before, but I didn’t know how to do it. I’d read both of Andrew’s books (I shared a table with him a few times), but he’d only read one of mine. Also, we thought of our one table as two tables rather than thinking of the table as ours. This might have been something I did wrong. I’m not saying we didn’t try to help each other out, but we were still pitching our stuff more individually.  Steve knew all my pitches for all my books. He understood my work, and he knew how I was marketing. We talked before hand. We also pitched what was right for the reader. If someone said they liked traditional fantasy, I put Steve’s book in his hand. Steve must have sold at least three of my books. I might have sold as many of his. We amplified one another. Now, Andrew is wonderful, and he worked hard for each other. I just lacked the understanding of how sharing a table really works. This is something I really want to continue to try. It brings the up-front costs down for each of us, and it really works when you’re selling the books people want.  In fact, during AwesomeCon, I actually told a reader I probably don’t have a books she likes (she’s a fan of Terry Pratchett). I directed her straight to Andrew’s work. I told her, you’ll love him.

So those are a few insights. Ultimately, I couldn’t be happier. It took Julie and I a week to recover. We were so exhausted, but we had so much fun.

If you were one of the people I met at the event, thank you so much for giving our work a try. We truly hope you enjoy the books.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

99 Cent Deals for AwesomeCon!

99 Cent Deals for AwesomeCon!

Greetings all,

AwesomeCon starts today, and I’m thrilled to say I have three books for just 99 cents each while the convention lasts.

An Unusual Occupation, Repressed, and my newest title Sojourn in Captivity are available at the discount. I hope you’ll choose to give one or all of them a try.

Three_Book_99_Cent.jpg

Thanks for reading,

Matt

A Bad News and Good News Post

A Bad News and Good News Post

Greetings all,

The Journals of Bob Drifter Front CoverI’m a bad news (sort of) up front kind of guy. When I woke up today, I saw a one-star review for The Journals of Bob Drifter.  You can see that here.  You can’t please them all. Still, I’m truly grateful the reviewer took the time to offer not just a rating, but a line of review. Any review is a good review. This reader 1) purchased my book, which supported me; 2) rated my books, which helped my visibility; and 3) left a review, which also helped with my visibility.

To any who might feel compelled to defend me, please don’t. I truly mean that. I ask every reader to offer a review, even if they hate it. It is helpful, and it is kind to leave a review, even if that review doesn’t sing my praises.

Sojourn_Ebook_CoverSo not only is that news not really bad at all, but there is good news. I’m happy to announce that the audiobook for Sojourn in Despair is pretty much undergoing editing as we speak.  Courtney Sanello was selected to narrate the book, and I’m eager to see how she takes her fantastic audition and converts it into a full audiobook. She’s already submitted the first fifteen minutes, and I honestly think she’s about wrapped up with the rest pending my notes on the first fifteen.

Since I’m just posting some updates, AwesomeCon is next week, and I’ll be there with Steven D’Adamo and Jessie Gutierrez from Red String Paper Cuts. I’m stoked to see how the new titles (two new books from their point of view), do. I’m also thrilled to market alongside two friends. I’ve read Steven’s book, and I’m hoping it does well at the convention too.

Those are some bits of news from my neck of the woods. I’m always happy to share with readers. You all really do make this dream of mine possible.

Thank you, always, for reading,

V/R
Matt

Cover Reveal! Smoke and Mirrors by C.L. Schneider

Cover Reveal! Smoke and Mirrors by C.L. Schneider

Greetings all,

C. L. SchneiderIf you’ve been following my blog for long, you’ll know that Cindy (C.L. Schneider) is a dear friend of mine who has been incredibly supportive. Today I have the distinct privilege to offer her my support.

Her Nite Fire series has a new edition, and I get to show you all the cover!  I read Flash Point, and you can see my review for that here. As I usually do, I’ll wait for the saga to end before I jump on any other books in that series (unless the audio books come out when I have a credit or two). But I am excited to see where the series goes.

Without further delay, I present to you the cover for Smoke and Mirrors, the third book in the Nite Fire saga.

Smoke Mirrors FINAL

 

I love the color of this image. Backs of heads are usually a no-no in the image business, but given the cool dragon in the mirror, it works. The warm of Dahlia’s hair (the fire is so well done) contrasts perfectly with the cooler surrounding colors.

Here’s the cover blurb:

Secrets are a dragon’s best friend. Deception is a close second. Both provide a sturdy armor, allowing half-dragon shapeshifter, Dahlia Nite, to live undetected among the humans. Walking in two worlds, belonging in neither, she wraps herself in a shroud of lies to hide in plain sight. But nothing stays hidden forever.

When dismembered bodies of multiple species are dumped on the riverbank, the case falls to Dahlia and Detective Alex Creed. Backed by Sentinel City’s new task force, the pair find themselves urged along by clues that seem too good to be true. Bouncing from one crime scene to the next, they hunt for a clear motive in a murky sea of conflicting evidence. Already on edge from the recent string of unexplained crimes, the city begins to unravel.

Drowning in missing creatures, slaughtered remains, masked men—and the search for her sidekick’s missing sister—Dahlia burns the candle at both ends. Seeking answers, she employs her empathic abilities, and uncovers something deeper and more sinister than a simple serial killer’s web. As the dots connect, and worlds collide, she struggles to shields her friends from the truth. But secrets can be deadly. And Dahlia’s not the only one who keeps them.

Smoke and Mirrors is scheduled to be released in May of 2019. So if you’re interested, and you want to catch up, you have plenty of time (especially since book one is on Audible).

Cindy truly is an amazing author, and I’d recommend her book to just about any fan of fantasy, but her books are best suited for fans of dark fantasy with some steam (if you catch my meaning).  She doesn’t get graphic though.

Please check out her work; you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Reviews Make Authors Happy!

Book Reviews Make Authors Happy!

Greetings all,

I get to share a few reviews with you all today, and I don’t know that I’ll ever get tired of that.

caught-front-coverThe first is an extensive four-star review on Goodreads for Caught. J.M. actually has a Twitter account in which she does these super awesome book-quote pictures. It’s a clever idea, and I encourage you to give her a follow. I saw a quote from Caught and realized she was reading it. It was a thrill to see those, and this review is everything an author could ask for: praise for things she liked and honest clarification on what she didn’t like.

Next there is a new five-star review for The Power of Words.  The last two reviews were from the same individual.

 

Sojourn_Ebook_CoverThe next (and final) review was special because it’s the first review for Sojourn in Captivity.  It’s nice to start off on a strong note, and you can’t get better than a five-star review.

I’m always thrilled to see feedback, and it’s that much sweeter when it’s positive. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you to consider leaving a rating and review if you’ve ready any of my work. Even if you hated it, I still value the feedback. If you haven’t tried any of my books yet, I hope these reviews motivate you to give one (or all) a chance.

Thanks for reading,

Matt