Congratulations to the Winners

The giveaways for the launch of Survived are officially over. Over 2500 people entered to win, which is my biggest turnout yet.

So, a big “Thank you!” to all who entered, and the books will be on the way soon. For those who didn’t win, I’m sure I’ll do another giveaway in due time.

Giveaways!

In honor of the release of Survived, I’m doing giveaways for both The Changed and Survived on Goodreads. Check out the details, below:

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Changed by A. Michael Marsh

The Changed

by A. Michael Marsh

Giveaway ends October 10, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Survived by A. Michael Marsh

Survived

by A. Michael Marsh

Giveaway ends October 10, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Survived – The First Review!

Survived_Kindle_Cover

Reviews can be tricky. You need reviews (ideally positive) to get people to read a book, but, you also need people to read a book in order to get reviews. It’s a vicious cycle that is the bane of many an author.

Unless you’re already a powerhouse author, a celebrity, or the child of a publishing executive, chances are that the New York Times isn’t going to come knocking on your door for the privilege of reviewing an advance copy of your latest tale. That’s okay. It’s just life as an author. Everyone has to earn their stripes.

What it means to authors like yours truly is that we have to engage with unbiased third parties to review our books. For the most part these are trade publications that specialize in reviewing new books — folks like Kirkus, Clarion, and Publisher’s Weekly. These reviews, when positive, can let readers know what to expect from a book, hopefully, enticing them to read and leave a review of their own on sites like Goodreads or Amazon.

Which is why I was absolutely stoked to see the first trade review for Survived come back. Foreword Clarion reviewed the novel ahead of its release and awarded it five out of five stars. Check out the review in its entirety here: https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/survived/

I’m setting up a Goodreads giveaway for the book as well, it should be up in a couple of weeks. I’ll also be posting a page for more information about the novel soon.

Survived is scheduled to launch on September 1st.

Almost here!

The edits for Survived have finally been reviewed and I’ve been busy getting the typesetting and other technical crap done. Since art was finished a million years ago, the book is very close to being published. 

Once these last few tasks are completed it will go to a couple of trusted beta readers then it’s off to the presses. I’m not going to lie, it feels pretty good. 

Where the Hell is Survived and What Have You Been Doing?

When was my last post? Over a year ago, or something? I vaguely remember that post being about posting more. Kind of ironic.

Anyway. Survived, which is the sequel to The Changed, has been written and edited for well over a year. What I still need to do is go through the edits, which is a bit of a time-consuming process. After that it will be good to go for release. Why haven’t I finished yet? I mean, it has been a while. The short answer is, time.time

That slippery bastard. I remember being a kid and having to wait an hour for something. Feeling each minute stretch on and on like taffy. These days, I swear I only have to sneeze and a year will have gone by.

Was that a convincing excuse?

Here’s the thing. For the past year and a half I’ve been part of a writing cohort at ASU’s Piper Writing Center. The program is called Your Novel Year, and it’s an intensive designed for writers to hone the craft of writing a young adult novel. Much of the novel writing I’ve done in the past has been speculative fiction. But I had a concept for a story that I wanted to write which was contemporary, so I felt that this would be the perfect opportunity to work on the skills it takes to write in that genre. I applied, was accepted, and had a wonderful experience. I got to learn from and be mentored by authors like Bill Konigsberg, Amy Nichols, Sharon Flake, Lish McBride, and Tom Laveen. Tremendous.

Some of my friends asked me why I wanted to do this program, since I’d already written novels before. “Isn’t that the point?” They’d ask. “To finish a novel? You’ve done that.” I guess that’s true, but a person is never done learning. Seriously, there is no craft that can ever be mastered to completion, and writing is no different. The second we stop pushing ourselves to learn more, we stagnate. I don’t want to stagnate. I want to get better. I want every book I write to be my best book yet. There are still so many opportunities to grow.

So, time. The program was intense and required my full attention. As of this past week, however, it’s over. After a year and a half of assignments, writing, critiques, and working with some of the best writers and people I’ve ever met, we finished. Those of us who live in the Phoenix area met up for a public reading at Changing Hands Bookstore. Despite my public speaking jitters, it was a fantastic experience.

IMG950929

Now I’ll finally get back to those edits on Survived. Then I’ll start working on my next manuscript, because I’ve still got stories to tell.

Cover Reveal: Survived

So the cover artwork for Survived, the sequel to The Changed, has been completed. I’m very excited about how it turned out and I can’t want to get this bad boy on the cover of the forthcoming book. It was painted by none other than the great Kyna Tek, you can see more of his work on his Facebook page.

The_Survived_Cover_Final_Kyna_Tek

Some Love for The Changed

Reviews are important. People need a trusted source (not from the author’s homies or cousins) to get more information about a book beyond what they get in the sales copy and flavor text. Sure, not all reviews will be applicable to all readers as tastes vary widely, but overall it’s a helpful tool. When it comes to getting your work into the hands of readers there really is no substitute.

There are some little known nuances when it comes to getting reviews, though. Most readers aren’t aware of this because, well, why should they care, but getting a novel reviewed is actually sort of difficult. If you want a trade publication to review a book that isn’t being published by an already well known author or from a juggernaut publisher, it can take a lot of time and money to make it happen. Because of this, reader reviews become even more important to today’s authors. There are way more books than there are trade publications so we rely heavily on the opinion of readers to help others navigate a marketplace stuffed full of content and find the books they’ll love.

Point is, I truly and deeply appreciate when readers write reviews. It takes their time and attention to do so and it means a great deal to me when they do. Earlier this week I received a message from Hayley Cosgrove, showing me her review of The Changed which appeared in a recent issue of her university’s library circular (on the first page, no less!). You can check it out here: What We Read 201510

So here’s a big shout out to Hayley for sharing her review and pimping my book for all of her university’s reading community to see!

If you’ve ever shared some love for The Changed drop me a line, I’d love to hear about it.

Little Red Exclamation Marks

Last night I was “hanging” as the kids say, with some of my friends of the writing persuasion.

fellow_kids

This is me, IRL

We get together about once a month and catch up. Sometimes we’re good and we trade pages, other times we spend the majority of our time having a beer and talking. Mostly about writer-ish topics. So when the topic of blogs and websites came up, one such friend — let’s call her Shmonica — wasted no time in pointing out that it’s been months since I even tweeted anything.

People pointing towards a senior business man

Guilty.

She’s right, of course. Generating content is a way of letting the people who care know that I’m still around, actively writing and getting a new novel together for them. It doesn’t have to be all original, either, she said. People may want to see the articles and blog posts that I find interesting, since they might enjoy that, too.

guilty_pup

Double guilty.

All good points. I think I’ll appoint her as my social media manager. A position that comes with a less than impressive title, no pay, and intangible benefits to be named later.

"I dub thee, Sir NotBePaid, of the most noble house of FreeLabor."

“I dub thee, Sir NotBePaid, of the most noble house of FreeLabor.”

This did get me thinking, though. I tend to shy away from posting frequently not simply because I’m too lazy to write blog posts (I am too lazy to write blog posts) but because sometimes I feel like we’re just inundated with stimulus, especially on the internet. You know what I mean? Maybe you’re on Facebook and you see some link that seems mildly interesting, so you click. Within two seconds you’re treated to an auto-playing video that blares through your speakers, the screen goes dark and a window pops up asking for your email address or to click some godforsaken “Like” button. An endearing process which will repeat itself every time you click the next arrow seven times on an article so mundane you can’t even remember what brought you there in the first place.

This is the first condition of the modern internet user experience. I just don’t want to be a part of that problem. So I don’t code that crap into my site. I don’t post click-bait. There’s also a less altruistic motive in there, too. See, I want you as a reader to actually care when I do post something.

It’s like this. Ever worked in an office? I’ll assume that’s a yes. If not, just stick with me for a minute. In every office ecosystem there’s this one guy (dude, muchacho, cat, etc.) who manages to over-inflate the importance of everything they do. Every call is so important they’ll ring your desk over and over until they get you on the line. Every visit is so crucial that they’ll interrupt anyone’s conversation to explain their urgent business. And of course, every single one of their email comes through Microsoft Outlook with that goddamned red exclamation point on it, “Marked as important.”

Without fail, this person’s interruptions, intrusions, and emergencies are never important. They never in any way, shape, or form constitute a need for your immediate or undivided attention. This is the second aspect of the modern internet user experience. Every website now behaves like this idiot cohort as they vie for your attention. All headlines are tagged with cliche phrases like:

“…my jaw dropped!”

“10 Things that…”

“I lost it at…”

“You’ll never believe what she/he does next!”

“Oh, the Feels!”

“…and I’m dying!”

Credit to desertbeagle__

Credit to desertbeagle__

clickbait2

credit to collegehumor.com

My motive is to not do this either. Not only because the behavior makes my ass itch, but also because I know that as soon as I do start in with that crap? Not a single person will want to click on anything I post. Eventually, I’m going to post something I want readers to see. The release date of a novel. New cover artwork. A review I’m proud of. Anything else I think you would enjoy.

But there has to be a middle ground, doesn’t there? Some place between prolific click-baiting and the dead air that normally permeates my little slice of the blogosphere. I can do that. I can do better. And with the help of my new, unpaid social media manager, I can get started right away.

Book Pirates! Yarrg!

Yaaarg!

Yaaarg!

So, here I am, cruising around teh interwebz and I find this lovely site called “booksweeks“, which has apparently made The Changed available for download or online review to it’s subscribers.  Obviously, this is some shady business because the only place legally authorized to sell the digital version of that book is Amazon.  I’ve given Amazon exclusivity so that my book can be shared by readers with the Kindle lending program.  Since Amazon has the market cornered as far as eReaders go, it seemed like the best deal for people who wanted to read the story.

Needless to say, the guys running this site are assholes.  I didn’t bother trying to create an account to see if one really can get the book or if it’s just phishing, and I really don’t recommend you try, either.  A friend asked me if I was mad that people are getting the book for free.  Funny thing is, I’m not.  Not at all.

The way I look at it, if you bought a hard copy of the book and then handed it off to a friend after you were done, that’s basically the same thing as you making a digital copy and giving it to a friend.  Sure, there might be a legal grey area there, but as far as I’m concerned it means that you liked the book and you want your friend to read it.  To me, that’s actually a huge compliment.

I swear by my pretty floral bonnet...

I swear by my pretty floral bonnet…

What puts a bee in my bonnet is that these mugs are taking what isn’t theirs to begin with and then attempting to make money off of it.  That’s just straight up theft.  It’s no longer giving a book to a friend.  That’s stealing a book from a stranger, making photocopies, and hawking them on a street corner.

Trust me, I have no illusions that this practice will discontinue anytime soon.  And the money?  I’m not losing sleep over the few dollars in royalties I’m getting cheated out of.  I’ve just always viewed books and reading culture as a sort of sacred experience.  Predatory people like those who run this site are taking advantage of both readers and writers, which is kind of like smearing a big turd on something I hold dear.

TL;DR If you’re an author, your work might be somewhere on that site, too.  If you’re a reader, please, for the love of all that you consider holy, don’t give these guys a shred of your personal information.

First Post in Forever!

Yes, I know… I’ve been a bad, bad writer. I’ve written exactly zero-point-zero posts in over a hundred days. But let’s be real here, I don’t think there have been any hurt feelings over it. I’m sure that the readers I do have are okay with a little quiet from me and I don’t need to pretend otherwise. Despite what I’m constantly being told by other writers, and social media “experts.”

See, there’s a sentiment in the author community – specifically in the indie circles – that you have to “fake it ’til you make it.” Meaning that even though you’re new and unknown as an author, you should act that part of a best-selling writer so that readers will take you seriously. Kind of like how some salespeople will wear expensive watches or drive cars they can’t really afford. It’s all done in an effort to convince people that they are successful in their profession and therefore should be trusted.

"You see this watch?"

“You see this watch?”

I get it. But I don’t like it and I’m not going to do it.

For me to pretend that I have a larger reach than I do, or that there are throngs of salivating readers trying to get a piece of my time seems to insult the intelligence of my actual readers; people who have been good to me. That’s not what I’m about. It’s more than enough to know that there are people who have read my stories and enjoyed them. Getting a message or a review from a reader who liked the novel I wrote is all I could ask for. Pretending that I’m the next Stephen King or J to the K. R. feels to me like I’m diminishing those folks. It’s like saying, “Hey, having you as a reader is cool and everything…  But, I’m destined for much greater things, kid.”

Tacking “Kid” at the end of the sentence makes it so much more condescending.

To be fair, I can understand the intense drive to sell books and make money if writing is the heart and soul of your financial planning. Many moons ago I accepted that writing will probably never pay my bills, and that’s not a bad thing. I have a career that I’ve worked hard for and love. That’s what pays my bills. So, when I write I get to create the stories that I want to tell without worrying about publishing potential at a big six house, which makes the content in my stories and communication with readers much more honest.

Anyway, I’m working hard on my next novel, the sequel to The Changed, which I have, like, six working titles for right now. Production went a little behind schedule on this one. Life was a bit nuts these past few months, and while I’m not a big fan of excuses I did want to let those who are interested know that the novel is definitely still happening, it’s just a bit delayed. Let’s go ahead and blame life, work, and DAI. As of now it’s looking like it’ll be spring before the novel is publishable.  I’m really excited to get out to you all though.  The story is much larger than what happened in Center City and I can’t wait for readers to see the bigger picture unfold.