Reviews and the new newsletter

Alright. Welcome back.

I've decided to start a newsletter and reactivate my blog and you may notice, as a steely-eyed observer, that they have very similar content. Not all of you are signed up for the newsletter, which you can do on the contact page. I also don't want to clog Facebook with giant posts about things that are going on with my book and with the next book.

There will be two main things: The Ask and News. You're busy, so the thing I am requesting you to do is right up front and easy to accomplish without slogging through a novella of me yammering on. The News is primarily a catch up of things that have happened that you may have missed. I'm including a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) at the beginning so you can carry on with your day.

All comments and feedback are appreciated. Here we go.

The Ask: 

This will probably stay the same for the foreseeable future.

I need reviews on Amazon. You can click on this link and it will take you right there if you don't want to keep reading. You can write a review on Amazon even if you didn't purchase it through Amazon.

Obviously, I'd like to sell more copies of the book, but I'm talking to a bunch of people that (probably) already own a copy. Tell your friends, sure, but I primarily need reviews from people that have the book already.

Any other place that you can write a review is fine (Goodreads, B&N, Powell's, etc.) but my primary focus is Amazon. Specifically getting to 50 reviews. Unlocking that achievement allegedly triggers free marketing by Amazon. Between the Kickstarter and my book signing (more on that in the News) there are over 100 of you.

The review does not have to be a graduate thesis on the merits of my book versus Brave New World. (Funny story, when 1984 came out, George Orwell sent a copy to his former teacher, Aldous Huxley. Mr. Huxley wrote him a letter congratulating him while at the same time telling him that Brave New World was far more plausible than 1984. Then Huxley re-released Brave New World with an essay called "A Return to Brave New World" where he basically shreds 1984 for 50 plus pages. What was I saying? Oh, right.)

Your review can be as long or as short as you'd like. Even one word is acceptable. 

So, please, write a review. For me first, preferably, then go write a review for any indy author out there. We don't have giant marketing departments or the funds to do giant ad campaigns, so getting to 50 reviews is a nice way to level the playing field for us. 

I appreciate your support.
 

TL;DR: Got featured in a prestigious review magazine, Skyped into a book club meeting, had my book launch / signing in Portland, got interviewed by a different review website, questions for you to answer, and the wrap up.

Got featured in a prestigious review magazine: A large chunk of the money that I raised on Kickstarter went to getting professional reviews. The idea was that I wanted the book to look like a major publisher released it. That means review blurbs. I selected four companies based on research. One of them was Kirkus. Now, Kirkus is more an insider publishing resource and -- along with Midwest Book Review and Library Journal (I think I've got those right)-- is what the New York Times uses to determine their bestseller list. If you have a paperback version of my novel, the blurb on the front is from Kirkus. I was stoked to get an excellent review from them.

Here's the link if you'd like to read the entire thing.

In January, before the book came out, I was notified that my review was featured in the January issue of Kirkus Magazine. Big time publishers can pay to be featured in the magazine. For indy authors / publishers, they are selected by the staff and less than 10% of their indy reviews make it into the magazine. (I would share a link, but they only sent me a preview link, it's been disabled, and to get into the magazine vault itself you have to pay $200 a year.) So, that was pretty awesome.

Skyped into a book club meeting: I have some friends in Colorado that are in a book club. When Mating Rituals came out, they all purchased the ebook at the same time (this is known as an 'Amazon Rush') and put that book in the top ten of satire on Amazon for a few days. I was briefly listed between Joseph Heller (Catch-22) and Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club). That's a pretty awesome thing to wake up to.

When I was running the Kickstarter for LIFE, I reached out to the book club and asked if they would be interested in having me Skype into their meeting after they had read the book. They agreed. I honestly had no idea how it would go and was pretty sure it was going to be a drag for everyone involved.

That said, I think that was probably the most rewarding thing I've ever done as an author. At a book signing, no one has read the book. Or very few have. Talking to a dozen people that have read and enjoyed the book and want to know answers to very specific questions is the coolest. 

I'm telling you this because if anyone else has a book club, I will totally Skype into your meeting.  

Had my book launch / signing in Portland: April 13th I had my book launch / signing at Mother Foucault's Bookshop here in Portland. (Yes, in case you were wondering the name of the store is pronounced "Mother Fuck-o.") This is where I had the book signing for Mating Rituals (you can write a review for that as well if you're feeling saucy) in 2014.

I wanted to do something a little different this time. Standard book signing template is: Talk about the book, read chapter one, possibly answer questions, sign copies of the book, stand around awkwardly chatting. I once saw Sir Terry Pratchett do this in Denver. There were more laughs per minute than a George Carlin show. Other than that, it is generally a little painful for the audience.

So, I wrote a dystopian novel. There's a vodka company in Portland that supports the arts (or whatever you want to call what I do) called Dystopia Vodka. Mother Foucault's often has music events and I know some guys in a band and all their songs are coincidentally about their favorite science fiction novels. And, I wanted to give part of the proceeds to Planned Parenthood, since Orange-45, Cheet-o Benito, Mango Mussolini, is trying to make my novel a documentary. (As a friend said on Facebook the other day, "Quit non-ing my fiction!")

The book signing went like this. $20 cover at the door ($10 of that went directly to the awesome volunteers from Planned Parenthood), the owner of Dystopia Vodka made everyone Moscow Mules, I spoke for a few minutes about the book, then Menin played an awesome acoustic set. During their last song, I read Chapter Zero over their accompaniment. Books got signed, then we went next door to Dig A Pony and had some more drinks as we'd drunk the Dystopian dry.

I think it was good fun. PP raised about $400. A lot of people found out that Mother Foucault's was there and Craig, the owner, did a very brisk trade before and after the event. I feel that everyone involved would be willing to do it again for the next book and possibly we'll get more people to turn up.

Interview from a different review website: One of the other review sites I used, City Books (also known as Manhattan Book Review and San Francisco Book Review, two of the blurbs on the back cover) started a website to help authors promote their books. They reached out to me and asked what I did promotion wise. I told them about the book signing. Perfect, they said. Here's some questions that we'd like you to answer. I'm long winded (clearly) and wanted to give them as much information as possible, thinking that they would pare down my epic screed. 

Nope. They published everything, verbatim. The only thing they did was add links to the different websites I mentioned.

Here's that link if you'd like to read the interview. 



Questions for you: Here's a few things that I'm thinking about doing and I'd like feedback.

1. Would you be interested in a Q&A on Goodreads? I've done one before and it was good fun. Very little of it had to do with my novel because I am willing to answer any and all questions. Do you really want to know why a guy named Sameer shows up in both books? Are they related? Are my novels linked in any Tarantino-esque way? Who the hell is Herb and why does is the line "You're thinking about this one-dimensionally" funny?

2. Would you be interested in an Easter egg hunt? Let me explain. There are a lot of inside jokes in LIFE. One of them is spelled out for you near the end of the book: Fitness Enforcement Agency, FEA. "Fea" is Spanish for ugly woman. All the FEA agents are huge, ripped female body builders. Other than that, there are numerous references to Monty Python and The Prisoner. There's "some assembly required" acronyms. You could email me at DiskordianPress at Gmail dot com with the answers and I could list them on my website with your name (or initials) as to who found them first. One answer per email. Any takers?

3. Any feedback (on the newsletter or anything in general)? What would you like to see on my website? Should I resurrect my blog and include the blog entry in my monthly newsletter to you? (I'll take the lack of response, that you'd love to see this.) I don't tend to go to author's websites, so if you do and there's a reason that keeps you coming back, I'd like to hear about it.   


4. How are you doing? We good? 

Wrap up: Hey, thanks for getting this far. Hopefully you aren't just scrolling to find the unsubscribe button (which you can totally punch at your discretion). I don't intend to do this more than once a month. This is primarily so I can get you onboard when the next book is coming out or when the next book event is happening.

I've got nothing but love for you. Thanks for putting up with my shenanigans.

Cheers.

J.