The Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour Day #3 is now a post at Joe Konrath's blog so go over and enter for the Kindles. While you are here, take a chance to sniff some ink and paper.
I was thinking this morning about playing it safe, partly because of some peripheral things in my personal life and partly because of some good comments over at A.P. Fuchs's blog regarding self-publishing. What he says makes sense: if you are just a generic genre writer, you probably won't be able to stand out in any environment, whether in NY or out in the world of readers. I made my original launch of the tour with The Skull Ring, a fairly well-crafted suspense thriller with a few good twists. Satisfying, but nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering, nothing that would have you closing the book and thinking about it for weeks.
Even back when I wrote it, it was more with the idea of writing a popular book, and it has sold pretty well, but perhaps its most damning feature is that everyone likes it. At Amazon, it has nothing but four- or five-star reviews. It's the best reviewed of all my books, and I believe it has the most number of reviews. I don't generally read my reviews though I occasionally check a couple just to see if people are pointing out the same things, which may indicate a problem I can learn from. This book just doesn't make people angry. It doesn't make them want to throw it (or their Kindle) across the room.
I have this novel Disintegration that is bleak, written at a really dark time for me, and I have never done much with it, partly because I am not sure I want that message in the world. The Left-Handed Puppeteer tells me somebody out there might need that message. But I was planning to revise it, to make one or two characters more redeeming or virtuous and have some hope of a happy ending for someone. In fact, I left the original ending--those final five pages--unwritten for months because I knew what had to happen, and I hated to write it. It nearly made me physically ill (and, no, not because it's gross, but just because it felt that intense and irredeemable.)
Changing it would have been artistically dishonest. Sure, change for plot clarity, change for coherence, change for consistency. But never change to please. Because I knew the original ending would enrage a certain portion of the readership. But I've learned over the years that it is better to enrage than have someone close the book and not remember a thing about it, as has happened to me with some commercial bestsellers. So Disintegration will be out in Full Scotty, the way it was meant to be. I still have a final revision pass to make and some beta readers to knock it around a little, but it doesn't need surgery just because someone might not like the size of Frankenstein's monster's ears. Look for it in October.
At times I have tweeted or posted something and lost a follower or two, and I review what I might have said to offend someone. But then I get two or four followers in their place, and I realize what is actually happening is I am losing the people who don't share the message and finding people who do share the message, meeting people on common ground. And I also am a better receiver of their messages, too, because we're talking the same language. We are the people who choose to spend time with one another.
This tour is meant to be The Full Scotty. No hiding, no more playing it safe. It's not even about selling books, though that is always nice. It's about sticking with a vision and being who you are. I've hidden a lot, especially in my personal life, though they say it's all buried in the stories if you know where to look. The writers I admire, and the people I admire, do just that--keep the faith. They lose a few people along the way but were those people really on their side in the first place?
Okay, while we get the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour back on track, let's do a random giveaway here of a limited edition hardcover copy of Brimstone Turnpike from Cemetery Dance. Features novellas from Thomas F. Monteleone, Mike Oliveri, Harry Shannon, and Tim Waggoner, edited by Kealan Patrick Burke. Also contains my novella "Burial to Follow," which is also available as a 99 cent e-book. Signed by all contributors, I believe the market value is $40. Only 600 copies made, but this is a "PC," a personal copy, which is even rarer. If all contributors got four like I did, that means there are only 24 in the world.
EBay here we come. But please, wait until we are dead. Value will increase.
Simply comment below with your email address and I will randomly select a winner in seven days. Good luck!
(P.S. If you ARE into the whole PUSH FOR TOP 100 thing, then tomorrow may be a good day to ask your friends to buy Speed Dating with the Dead for Kindle. That's a hint, not a command!)