Interview with Author David Price

by Jason Harris


Author David Price at the 2013 New England Author Expo. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author David Price at the 2013 New England Author Expo. Photo by Jason Harris.

David Price is the author of Dead in the USA. He resides in Massachusetts. His new story, “Necrophone,” appeared in the online sci-fi & fantasy magazine, Buzzy Mag, today.

JH: How did your adventure in writing come about?

DP: Well, I’ve always loved reading. I was a huge comic book fan, and later moved on to Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brian Lumley and many other speculative fiction writers. In my freshman year of college, I absolutely aced Composition 1. I was undeclared, and my professor suggested I become an English Major. That’s really when I first started thinking seriously about becoming a writer.

JH: What was your first published work?

DP: I had a short story based on the haunted experiences in my life published in a collection called Tales from the Grave.

JH: Do you have a specific writing style?

DP: The most frequent comment or compliment to my writing is that it’s “page-turning.” I’ve also been told that I do particularly well with dialogue. I don’t tend to bog down on details or describe a scene for very long. If you like extensive, detailed descriptions, I’m probably not for you. If you like stuff that moves along, I might be your guy.

JH: What year were you published?

DP: 2012 was the first time I saw myself in print, other than an online article or two.

JH: Have any real life instances influenced your work?

DP: Oh sure, I’ve put many of my real life experiences in my work. In my story “Necrophone,” coming out in Buzzy Mag in March, I mention cliff jumping at a quarry.  That really happened. Actually quite a bit of that story is based on my relationship with my grandfather, as I wrote it shortly after he died.

JH: What books have influenced your life the most?

DP: Hmm, my life or my writing? The Stand is my favorite book, so it’s certainly influenced me. The works of Stephen King have changed the way I see the world, at times. Some of the ideas in the Dark Tower series will always influence me, I think. And then of course, there’s J.R.R. Tolkien. The fact that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are the main influence for the Dungeons & Dragons game is important. D & D is the inspiration for the series of epic fantasy books I am currently writing.

JH: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

DP: Stephen King, hands down. Even when his stories don’t quite hit the mark, he has the way of always getting me to care about his characters. I don’t think I write much like Stephen King myself, but I am always conscious of trying to get the reader to care about my characters.

JH: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

DP: Well, J.K. Rowling isn’t that new, but I consider the Harry Potter series pretty much revolutionary. I’m a big fan of John McIlveen, having recently read his collection, Jerks. Bracken MacLeod is an up and coming writer, as anyone who is paying attention to the horror and crime markets will tell you. Kealan Patrick Burke writes so beautifully, that I doubt I’ll ever equal his style.

JH: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

DP: As I said, “Necrophone” is a short story that will be published online in Buzzy Mag on March 27. It’s about a man who discovers a phone app that allows him to communicate with the dead, in this case, his recently deceased grandfather. Other than that, I’m putting some more polish on the first book of my epic Lovecraftian fantasy series: Lightbringer.

JH: What was the last book or piece of work that you had published? What was it about?

DP: Last year I had my essay “Shark Bait” published in the collection, Phobias, from Hidden Thoughts Press.

JH: Do you have a ritual before you write?

DP: Not really. I’ve used music at times, usually Tool or Puscifer. Sometimes I drink coffee, sometimes wine.

JH: Do you have any advice for other writers?

DP: If you don’t have the stomach for rejection, this might not be the business or hobby for you. I wasn’t ready for all the rejection, to be honest. I mean, I knew it was part of the business, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to handle at times. That story, “Necrophone” that I’ve mentioned already? That was rejected more than ten times. I finally sold it to Buzzy Mag, making it the best paying story I’ve sold to date. You just never know. Stick with it and try not to take it personally. Just keep writing, keep improving, and keep submitting.

JH: Are you going to be signing anywhere in the near future?

DP: I will be at Super MegaFest in Marlborough, MA, April 17-19, Anthocon in Portsmouth, NH, June 5-7, Necon in Portsmouth, RI, July 16-19, Granite State ComicCon in Manchester, NH September 12-13, and possibly Necronomicon in Providence, RI, August 20-23. That’s all for now!

You can follow David on Twitter here and find out about David on his website here and on his Amazon page here.

How a Horror Fan became Miss Terror Con


By Jason Harris

Sarah Michelle. Photo courtesy of Sarah Michelle.

Sarah Michelle. Photo courtesy of Sarah Michelle.


Sarah Michelle is a model, actress, and wrestler. She has also been named Miss Terror Con. When she first heard about the newest horror convention in New England, it was as “a fan of horror,” she said.

“I was very excited that there was something like this going to happen in my hometown because it’s the first one,” Sarah said. “This is exactly what Rhode Island needs.”

She wanted to be involve in some capacity whether as a spokesmodel, helping out with flyers, or anything else she could do to help out the horror convention.

“I knew I could be beneficial to them.”

She sent the organizers an email and they responded with the idea of Miss Terror Con.

This isn’t Sarah’s first time in the spotlight. She started modeling about seven years ago when she was helping out a friend who was going to school for photography.

“I was really tomboyish. I still am at heart so the whole fashion, glamour thing was really new to me.”

After Sarah started her modeling career, she liked what she doing and was having fun doing it. Within the last few years, she started taking it seriously, she said. Since she loved horror, she started to wonder if there was anyone who would be interested in taking horror photos.

“I found out that there were a lot of people interested in that.”

Through her horror work, she started doing fetish work. When she started, she didn’t realize it was fetish work. She was working with the production company, Damsels in Distress Visual Productions. During the production, there were a lot of close-ups being taken of her legs, which were stuck in the mud. All she was thinking at the time was that it was a job and that it would give her a chance to practice her acting. After being told it was a fetish work, she was fine with it.

“I have always been very curious about different fetishes and things like that.”

After that first experience, she found out about different types of fetishes like bondage and vore, “which is essentially someone being eaten by something.”

She focuses mainly on fetish and horror photos and videos now. She handles her own business. She gets projects through Facebook, Twitter, and email. She has a shoot coming up in New Hampshire, which she got after the photographer saw some of her work on Twitter, she said.

“I enjoy doing it,” she said about fetish work. “It’s a lot of fun. I get to travel.”

Her work has taken to different states and overseas to England where she filmed a quicksand fetish for Damsels in Distress Visual Productions.

“I never thought in a million years I would be going to England especially not for fetish work.”

You can find Sarah’s work by clicking here.

You can meet her in person this weekend at Terror Con, which runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

January Sale at Books and Boos


Books & Boos, an independent bookstore in Colchester, CT. is having a sale, which started this past Tuesday and runs through the end of the month. You buy three used books and get the fourth one free (of equal or lesser value). They offer used books of all genres.

The bookstore also sells new books by local, Connecticut, and New England authors including Dale T. Phillips, Stacey Longo, Dan Waters, Jan Kozlowski, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover to name only a few. They carry over 50 plus authors on consignment.

The bookstore also sells Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games bookmarks made by a local company, zombie Poe t-shirts, and other interesting items.

Game of Thrones booksmarks.

Game of Thrones booksmarks.

Hunger Games bookmarks.

Hunger Games bookmarks.

Books and Boos' Zombie Poe t-shirt.

Books and Boos’ Zombie Poe t-shirt.

You can find everything mentioned here in the physical store, but some of the items are available through the bookstore’s website. If you are looking for a particular book, they can work with you through Paypal or put it on the website for you. Just give them a call at (860) 861-6214.

Books & Boos also has an Amazon storefront.

You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Heads Up!

Heads Up!

by K. Allen Wood

If you’re an author with access to the Internet, you’ve undoubtedly been bombarded recently by other authors peddling their books or stories. We’ve all been exposed to this before, but until the past year or so most self-promotion from authors was done in a classier, more respectful manner.

Some still operate that way (and we’re grateful), but others have taken it to a whole new level.

I won’t sit here and tell anyone they shouldn’t promote their work or the work of their friends or authors they enjoy, but I will explain what typically happens on my end when authors do it incessantly.

What’s that smell?

If you follow me on Twitter, I will likely follow you. If you do nothing but post links to your book or books, I will block you and vow to never read your work.

If I connect with you on LinkedIn and you immediately send me a message or an e-mail telling me to check out your book on Amazon, I will “disconnect” from you and vow to never read your book—especially when, as happened yesterday and thus prompted this post, I sample it and there is a mistake three words in. No, thank you!

If we’re friends on Facebook and I’ve “liked” your author page—which is the page I expect to see writing updates generate from—and you go and post daily the same goddamn updates on your personal page, your author page, and every writing-related group you and I (sadly) belong to, even those that are not meant for such updates, I will block your updates, vow to never read your work, and find you to be a total wackadouche.

If you constantly post 5-star reviews on Amazon and then share those overblown, unhelpful reviews loaded with WHIZBANGPOW! adjectives and vague clichés like “it gripped me from the first word and didn’t let go until the last”—which are obviously meant to A) kiss the (undoubtedly more popular) author’s ass, B) hide the fact that you didn’t actually read what you reviewed, and C) use his or her book as a piggyback to your own shitty book or books—I won’t believe a word you’re saying and more than likely will never read that author’s book because your word can’t be trusted.

(That’s right, an absurd run-on sentence in a post where I criticize bad writing. Got a problem with that?)

The fact is, you’re not helping anyone, especially yourself. Most of us promote our work in some regard, but some of you are OUT OF FUCKING CONTROL! I won’t begrudge you your rights to be that way—that pushy, lying kind of self-promoter. You’ll surely fool a lot of dummies out there. But I won’t support you. And worse, I’ll find it very hard to support those other authors that are unlucky enough to be promoted by you. They’re the innocent bystanders in this whole thing. And some are probably damn fine writers, which is a shame.

In the grand scheme of things, the big picture, this post is just one insignificant opinion from a relatively insignificant dude … but rest assured, I’m not the only one with this opinion.

So do as you will, but remember this: You can’t push or lie your way to the top. You can push and lie your way to a top, sure, but it’s most definitely not the top.

Editor’s Note:

This blog entry originally appeared on K. Allen Wood’s website.

Practical PR in Five Steps or Fewer

Practical PR in Five Steps or Fewer Or, I just joined the NEHW … now what?

by Kristi Petersen Schoonover

There’s strength in numbers, and that’s what the New England Horror Writers Association is all about. Through membership, you’ll have access to promotional opportunities—such as selling your books at conference tables and getting yourself out there on the web through the NEHW website—that you wouldn’t otherwise.

That said, we’re all busy people: today’s writers and artists are expected to blog, social network, teach, lecture, promote, critique—never mind create, and that’s on top of our “normal” lives. If you’re in a time crunch, how do you take advantage of yet another opportunity?

You can. In not even five minutes a day. Here’s how!


Follow the NEHW at @NEhorrorwriters. We’ll follow you back. We often re-tweet your tweets—and you can re-tweet ours. It’s especially helpful when you’ve got nothing to put out on your feed—and a heck of a lot of news goes everywhere and all it cost you was one second.


The NEHW Facebook Group is an easy way to stay informed of upcoming opportunities— and is another place to post your own news and gain exposure. In addition, some pretty interesting posts pop up over there. It’s a cinch to click “Share” or “Comment.”


Friend other NEHW members on Facebook—plenty of our members are active and have lots to share. If they post something interesting, that’s your cue to click “Share” and/or “Comment.”


There’s a near-constant newsfeed—and even older helpful articles—on the NEHW website; in addition, other members’ blogs are pretty active. If I’ve got nothing to post on my blog, I head over, grab a link to something interesting, write a two-line introduction— and voila! Instant post. Just be sure you’re not copying anything verbatim from anyone’s website without their permission; if you’ve got WordPress and so does the poster, you can hit “Reblog” and add a comment, and WordPress will merely show a truncated version and provide the link.


You can add “Member New England Horror Writers” to your permanent e-mail signature. You only have to do it once and it’s there until you take it off. How does that benefit you? Clout, of course. It shows you’re a member of a writing organization and that you’ve got a passion for what you do— especially great for when you’re submitting to editors.

If every member of our group did this, think of how much coverage we’d have…and that’s just the beginning. By participating in these five activities when you can, you’ll help yourself—and our organization—gain the exposure we all deserve.

The Self-epublishing Bubble

This article originally appeared on the Guardian website.

The self-epublishing bubble

In August 2011,  Ewan Morrison published an article entitled Are Books Dead and Can Authors Survive?. Here, he tracks the self-epublishing euphoria of the last five months and argues that we are at the start of an epublishing bubble

by Ewan Morrison

The internet is full of ironies. I, for one, could never have guessed that writing about the end of books would generate more income for me than actually publishing the damn things. I’ve been on an End of Books reading tour since August and it turns out that what the internet gurus say about consumers being more willing to pay for events, speeches and gigs, rather than buying cultural objects, is now becoming true.

At the other end of the political spectrum from me, among the epublishing enthusiasts and digital fundamentalists, similar ironies are playing out: there is now a boom industry in “How to get rich writing e-books” manuals, as well as a multitude of blogs offering tips and services, and a new breed of specialists who’ll charge you anything from $37 to $149 to get your e-book into shape.

This all seems like a repeat of the boom in get-rich-quick manuals and “specialists” that appeared around blogs and e-trading. Did anyone actually get rich from writing blogs, you may ask? Well, according to Jaron Lanier (author of You are not a Gadget) there are only a handful of people in the world who can prove that they make a living from blogging: it’s entirely possible that more money was made by those who wrote and sold the how-to manuals than by the bloggers themselves. But who cares, right? It’s all part of the euphoria of digital change, and technological innovation is as unstoppable a force as fate. Reports show that paper book sales are “tanking” – down a massive 54.3% while e-book sales are up triumphantly by 138%. The revolution will be e-published, and we’re all going to be part of it.

All of this e-book talk is becoming a business in itself. Money is being made out of thin air in this strange new speculative meta-practice: there are seminars, conferences and courses springing up everywhere, even at the Society of Authors (a writers’ union which, until recently, was largely against e-publication). Television and radio programmes are being made about self-epublishing (I’ve personally been asked to speak about it on 12 occasions since August). Everyone can be a writer now: it only takes 10 minutes to upload your own e-book, and according to the New York Times “81% of people feel they have a book in them … And should write it”

But all of this gives me an alarming sense of deja vu. There’s another name for what happens when people start to make money out of speculation and hype: it’s called a bubble. Like the dotcom bubble, the commercial real estate bubble, the subprime mortgage bubble, the credit bubble and the derivative trading bubble before it, the DIY epublishing bubble is inflating around us. Each of those other bubbles also  saw, in their earliest stages, a great deal of fuss made over a “new” phenomenon, which was then over-hyped and over-leveraged. But speculation, as we’ve learned at our peril, is a very dangerous foundation for any business. And when the e-pub bubble bursts, as all previous bubbles have done, the fall-out for publishing and writing may be even harder to repair than it is proving to be in the fields of mortgages, derivatives and personal debt. Because this bubble is based on cultural, not purely economic, grounds.

How do we know if we’re in a bubble?

To answer that we have to turn to respected economist Hyman Minsky. Minsky (1919-1996) studied recurring instability in markets and developed the idea that there are seven stages in any economic bubble (the following terminology is adapted from his Financial Instability Hypothesis [PDF]):

Stage One – Disturbance

Every financial bubble begins with a disturbance. It could be the invention of a new technology; it may be a shift in laws or economic policy, or a reduction in interest rates or prices, or the expansion of a market into an area that has not been open before. Usually several factors come together to make the change – and as a result, one sector of the economy goes through a dramatic transformation.

This has certainly occurred with epublishing. Over the last decade, Amazon has undercut the big global publishing houses through a radical new structural approach to storage and distribution and grown so quickly that it forced them to renegotiate their pricing policies. Then in opening up the long tail market and making hundreds of thousands of lost titles available again for resale, it reinvented bookselling. The creation of Kindle led to a new generation of e-readers which, with Apple, launched an economic boom in a previously non-existent market. It has already become a cliché in all media that digital self-publishing is a revolution comparable to the invention of the printing press. That is a lot of disturbance in a short space of time.

Stage Two – Expansion/Prices Start to Increase

Following the disturbance, prices in that sector start to rise. Initially, the increase is barely noticed. Usually, these higher prices reflect some underlying improvement in fundamentals. As the price increases gain momentum, more people start to notice. Speculation thrives.

On first inspection, e-publishing doesn’t appear to fit the model here, as it’s clear that the prices of ebooks are falling drastically (in the week of Jan 1, 28% of the top 100 e-books on Amazon were 99p or under, and 48% were under £2.99). But that’s because we’re looking at this the wrong way round – from the perspective of the consumer. The e-book explosion is coupled with the rise of the e-reader, and the profits there are in the hands of the manufacturers. There has also been a fast turn around in these new technologies from Kindle to Kindle Fire, from iPad to iPad 2; and a brand new market of consumers for these products has appeared from nowhere. The change to cheap ebooks and self-published ebooks is a “change in underlying fundamentals”.

Stage Three – Euphoria/Easy Credit

1. Increasing prices/sales do not, by themselves, create a bubble. Every financial bubble needs fuel; cheap and easy credit is that fuel. Without it, there can be no speculation and the sector returns to a normal state. Speculation takes over and there is a rush to “get in” as newcomers become involved “cheaply” 2. When a bubble starts, the sector involved pushes stories into the media,  and is suddenly inundated by outsiders; people who normally would not be there.

1. “Easy credit” in this case relates to the plummeting costs of digital content. In fact, there is an inverse correlation between the cheapness of digital content and the high cost of e-readers and smart technology. The more ‘free’ or nearly-free content is available online, the more appealing expensive e-reader and iPad technologies have become. Furthermore, “cheaply” here refers to the ease with which someone can now self publish. A decade ago, self publishing could costs thousands of pounds for a mere 100-book print run. Now it is free or almost free.

2. The whole point of self-epublishing is that the market “brings in people who would not normally be there”. Like the promise that we can all have an affordable home with a cheap mortgage, we are being told constantly by digital businesses and the media that we can all be writers and even be successful as writers. Even the tabloids are generating hype, telling the masses that they each can make millions through self-epublishing.  The more traffic there is in self-epublishing the more the hype has ‘evidence’ to support it. According to USA today, it’s a gold rush…get out there”.

Stage Four – Over-trading/Prices Reach a Peak

1. As the effects of cheap and easy credit dig deeper, the market begins to accelerate. Overtrading lifts up volumes and spot shortages emerge. Prices start to zoom, and easy profits are made. This brings in more outsiders, and prices run out of control. 2. This is the point that amateurs – the foolish, the greedy, and the desperate – enter the market. Just as a fire is fed by more fuel, a financial bubble needs a mass of people involved in mass behaviour to fuel it.

1. Since epublishing started, the race to undercut competitors has accelerated at unforeseen speed. Blogs now give advice to start-up writers, telling them to give their work away for free to gain audience share and get reviews, and only then attempt  to raise their prices. The zooming prices here refers to the zooming down of prices. For example self-epublishers are now giving books away for free – see the Kindle Top 100 Free books. Furthermore, in this ecstatic push to self-epublish, there are hundreds of thousands of new ebooks for which there are almost no readers at all because they have zero visibility.

2. Over the last six months there has been a huge growth in the number of people with no former experience who have entered self-epublishing. Taking myself as a representative slice of the public, I can attest, from recent personal experience, to the following: People I know who have been rejected by mainstream publishers have brought out their first ebooks on Kindle; people I didn’t even know had novels under their beds have done the same; friends of friends on Facebook have announced that they too have novels and short stories available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad and Sony Reader. Locally, I have seen two new digital publishing houses born from nothing and paying no advances, operating on “spec” writing. And all of these people are self-promoting their work on what platforms they have: Twitter, Facebook and their blogs. All of this is evidence of a “desperation to enter the market”. I know this because I also felt the pressure to try it (and did: I self re-epublished what was my first book).

People who are self-epublishing for the first time are also buying their first iPads and Kindles, so as to better understand the e-pub technologies and to further promote their ebooks. They may be giving their ebooks away for free but they’re spending between £100-400 on single items of new technology – more than they ever actually spent on books in a year.

Stage Five – Market Reversal/Insider Profit Taking

Warnings sound that the boom will turn to bust; that the models on which success is based are unrealistic and overblown. These arguments are ignored by those who justify the now insane prices with the euphoric claim that the world has fundamentally changed and cannot change back. The fact is that insiders have been pulling the strings all along, capitalising on the hype created by the ill-informed newcomers to the market. 

The model of e-book success that’s held up for everyone to copy is based on half-truths. Even those who are seen as e-book stars are actually transitional figures straddling the digital self-publishing and the mainstream camps.

Take for example digital guru, free culture activist (former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation) and author Cory Doctorow – an SF celebrity and aggressive exponent of self-epublishing who gives his books away for free under a creative commons license (with optional payment). It turns out that Doctorow isn’t just any old novelist: the subjects he and his characters talk about are file sharing, the digital revolution, digital rights management and the oppressive old gatekeepers of the mainstream. His kudos comes from the fact that we are in a transitional period in which “free digital culture” is still an issue. Ironically, if and when self-epublishing becomes the norm, his subject matter will no longer seem so radical and no doubt his reader base will diminish.

Or take Amanda Hocking, the paradigmatic example of epublishing success, who has made $2.5m from selling her own ebook. Hocking writes about the supernatural and teenagers, and her success is due in no small part to what the industry calls “piggybacking” on a mainstream success. Without Twilight, and the popularisation of the teen-romantic-horror genre,  it is doubtful that Hocking would have a foothold in the industry, or that many people beyond her internet friends would have bought My Blood Approves (retailing at £0.72 on Amazon).

The models of Doctorow or Hocking are misleading to say the least. For the hundreds of thousands of newcomers to self-epublishing to believe that they can become as successful as these role models is a dangerous delusion, and one capitalised on by companies who have an interest in maximizing internet traffic and selling e-readers and internet advertising.

The crisis that’s looming is that while the price of e-books is pushed to almost zero by the rush of frantic amateur self-publishing activity, the established publishing businesses will be forced into life-saving cost-cutting.  Again, this is something from which those who have an interest in maximizing internet traffic and selling e-readers and internet advertising will benefit. For a while, all those new Kindle owners will find it liberating to see the prices of all e-books fall, allowing them to vastly expand their libraries, while at the same time, paradoxically, they will wait anxiously for someone to buy their own literary e-offerings online.

Stage Six – Financial Crisis

Just as the euphoria consumes the outsiders, the insiders see the warning signs, lose their faith and begin to sneak out the exit. Whether the outsiders see the insiders leave or not, insider profit-taking signals the beginning of the end.

Already the stars of self-epublishing are leaving the system that launched them. Hocking signed a deal with Macmillan that gave her a $500,000 advance on four separate books in a series – a total reversal from the way self publishing is done (with zero advances being paid and all work being done on “spec”). The self-epublished author has left the glass-ceiling world of .79 cents e-book sales (to embrace the old mainstream model, believing that it is the only system that can elevate her to a higher profile and bring her into an arena where her books can by “synergised” with tie-in products such as films, TV serials, even toys) and the door of opportunity closes behind her as she exits, leaving hundreds of thousands of self-epublishing authors without a model to aspire to.

Meanwhile the mainstream publishing houses have suffered huge losses and now can only publish authors who seem to offer a guaranteed return.  The entire field of publishing has shrunk, beneath what seemed on the surface like an infinite expansion. Publishers have been forced to launch their own e-publishing sites in the attempt to join in the bubble and gain kudos, but they are too late and are wasting resources, and further undermine their old status as market leaders. They in fact turn to the new model of the self-epublishing “star” to get them out of the doldrums. This is the point at which self-epublishing becomes a hall of mirrors and speculation runs in circles.

And what has happened to all those new authors who were told they could make money from e-publishing? Well, they are working entirely for free (on spec) on the promise of those big 70% royalties on future sales. They write their books, they blog, they net-network and self-promote; they could put in as much as a year’s work, all without payment. So much writing-for-free is going on that it upsets the previous paradigm: people start to ask, why should any writers get paid at all? Why should “professional” writers get a wage or advance, when I’ve had to do all this work on my self-published e-book for free?

And then comes the collapse – if you work for free and have to slash your costs to be competitive – to, say, undercut the vast 99p market by going down to 45p or 15p – then your chances of ever seeing a return on all the free labour you’ve put in diminish accordingly. Add to this the fact that hundreds of thousands of others are competing with you in this pricing race to the bottom and the possibility of any newcomers making any money from self-epublishing vanishes. The bubble bursts.

Stage seven – Revulsion/Lender of Last Resort

Panic starts and euphoria is replaced with revulsion. Outsiders start to sell, but there are no buyers. Panic sets in, prices start to tumble downwards, credit dries up, and losses start to accumulate. The market is forced back to pre-bubble levels, with major destruction to its infrastructure. The “Lender of the Last Resort” may step in to save what is left.

1. After a long year of trying to sell self-epublished books, attempting to self-promote on all available networking sites, and realising that they have been in competition with hundreds of thousands of newcomers just like them, the vast majority of the newly self-epublished authors discover that they have sold less than 100 books each. They then discover that this was in fact the business model of Amazon and other e-pub platforms in the first place: a model called “the long tail”. With five million new self-publishing authors selling 100 books each, Amazon has shifted 500m units. While each author – since they had to cut costs to 99p – has made only £99 after a year’s work. Disillusionment sets in as they realise that they were sold an idea of success which could, by definition, not possibly be extended to all who were willing to take part.

The now ex-self-epublished authors decide not to publish again (it was a strain anyway, and it was made harder by the fact that they weren’t paid for their work and had to work after hours while doing another job – and they realised that self-promoting online would have to be a full-time job.) They come to see self-epublishing as a kind of Ponzi scheme – one created by digital companies to prey on the desires of an expanding mass of consumers who also wanted to be believe they could be “creative”. They also become disillusioned with their e-readers, which are now out of date anyway. And so they return to the mainstream publishers to look for culture. Unfortunately, as a result of the e-book market implosion it is impossible for publishers to push their prices back up to pre-bubble levels (from 99p to £12.99), and so their infrastructure continues to decline. And since they have decided to look for new talent in self-epublishing, they are trapped in the very same bubble that everyone else is trying to get out of.

2. The “Lender in the Last Resort” cannot really step in to save the “investors”, as these are the hundreds of thousands of hopeful and now-disappointed first-time e-publishers. Instead, the government (if we’re lucky) steps in to bail out the publishing industry, and to regulate the digital companies that created the bubble in the first place. Or the government could continue to subsidise these companies, as it does just now, and in so doing create the next bubble.

Of course, none of this might come to pass. Perhaps self-epublishing wont take off, and perhaps people will continue to pay more than 99p for ebooks and paper books. And perhaps hundreds of thousands of new writers will actually taste success. But this, again, is mere speculation.

Four Marketing Benefits of Social Media

This acticle originally appeared on the website,

4 Marketing Benefits of Social Media by Nick Stamoulis

Social media marketing is not a fad. If that’s the excuse you’ve been using to avoid developing a social media marketing strategy it’s time to find a new excuse or finally build that Facebook page. Social media marketing can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be (or as you have time for), but you get out what you put in. 90+% of Americans have at least one social profile, meaning your target market is online and engaging in social networking. Marketing 101- fish where the fish are!

What are some of the benefits of social media marketing?

1. Build brand
Social profiles can rank on their own in the search engines, increasing your online presence. Social profiles are also one more place for you to develop your messaging strategy and connect with your target audience. It’s a place to inject some personality into your brand and let your target market engage with you on their terms. Social networks are the perfect place for breeding brand ambassadors and building lasting relationships with repeat customers.

2. Drive targeted visitors to site
You never want to treat your social networking profiles like the final destination of a potential customer. Your social profile is more like a filter, attracting targeted traffic (that identify themselves as you target audience because they are interested in your brand) and them pushing them over to your actual site/blog. The more targeted visitors your site has, the better chance you have of pushing them to act and increasing your conversion rate.

3. Promote content and get more links (social signals)

The more times a piece of content is shared on a social networking or social bookmarking site, the more valuable it becomes in the eyes of the search engines. From an SEO standpoint, these social signals can impact how well your piece of content ranks in the SERPs. From a more general marketing perspective, the more people who share your content the greater potential reach it has. The average Facebook user has 130 friends which means that if just five people post your content to Facebook it has the potential to be seen by 650 of their collective connections!

4. PR
Twitter has become many people’s go-to source for breaking news. Twitter even created this clever commercial demonstrating the power of “real time” sharing. Social networking has practically revolutionized the way news information is shared. So what does this mean for brands? Social networks allow companies to connect with their audience as a situation develops, meaning you have the chance to tell your side of the story as it is happening. Social networks are also a great place to interact with members of the press. You can connect with journalists and local news sources directly, giving them instant access to a story.

How Twitter is Helping Publishers

This article originally appeared on the website,

#TwtrBkPty: How Twitter is Helping Publishers Reach 100,000 Readers 140 Characters at a Time by Rachel Aydt

Like gallery openings, one might stumble into a neighborhood bookstore only to find a casual book release party. Maybe there’s a few cheap bottles of Chilean red, some chat, and a little reading to go along with it. So what happens when you take away all of those elements, but still call it a party? The Twitter Party!

Virtual book promotions have been around since 2003, but Twitter could be a replacement for the traditional book launch and author tour.

“I got onto Twitter in early 2009,” says Bethanne Patrick, a blogger and writer perhaps best known now as @thebookmaven on Twitter (and contributor to Publishing Perspectives), “after I was in a car accident and had a broken leg. I had to stay put and sit still for so long. The orthopedic surgeon said I had serious ligament damage and so I couldn’t go out for lunch, or coffee for months . . . Twitter became a form of social life for me.”

No matter how and why publishing types find their way to Twitter, there’s one thing that’s certain. They’re there, and it’s burgeoning into a true scene of sorts, where publishers are beginning to throw Twitter party invitation hashtags down like bartenders soaping up their bar for a busy a happy hour.

Attending the Twitter Party for “@WkmnShorts”

“Meet up from 11-1 to celebrate this new imprint! We’ll be serving Twitterinis!”, promised one invitation I stumbled into recently. I did show up, in this case to an event organized by Workman Publishing to celebrate a new online imprint of short-form books, Workman Shorts. The event was hosted by Patrick, a brilliant move by Workman since Patrick could advertise the event among her devoted list of over 50,000 book-loving followers who participate in her popular weekly Twitter event #FridayReads.

Of course, what I found when I “arrived” at the party was myself, in a chair, still in my freelance life wardrobe wearing my “third-cup-of-coffee-pajamas”, waiting for the Twitter event to begin.

At approximately 11 a.m., I typed in the hashtag #WkmnShorts, and suddenly the thread sprang to life. Three authors, Mindy Weiss, author of Your Dream Wedding on a Budget; Anne Byrne, the Cake Doctor herself, and Steven Raichlin, barbeque expert and author of the new Tailgating! book were going to be present to answer guest’s questions and talk about their projects.

“Hello @1000Places! Glad to see you here . . . definitely one of THE places to be! #wkmnshorts”, read one Patrick Tweet to an early arriver to the party’s thread.

The vibe of the party was certainly festive. There were tons of Welcomes and Hellos offered to various Twitter handles by Patrick, and some Workman publicists. Jokes were made about passing around the Twitterinis; there was even a recipe concocted, posted, and linked to in a Tweet posted by a Workman publicist.

People commented back and forth about one another’s locations, strangers chatted about the weather — envy aimed toward the guests from the south; a little peacocking from Southerners chatting with Tweeters from up north.


It was a crazy cold February, after all. Then came the book talk with the writers, who were systematically rolled out by the half-hour. By this time, my brain started to feel crowded and overstimulated . . . come to think of it, in the same way that I feel at crowded cocktail parties.

All of these new names swirling about, making my acquaintance, looking over my virtual shoulder to sidle up to the next new acquaintance. “Hey, don’t I know you from CosmoGirl?” I found myself Tweeting to a publicist I thought I’d worked with at one point in my former life as the magazine’s Research Director. She didn’t know me; that conversational thread dropped abruptly.

Social media as a marketing tool . . . since 2003

I’ve written about the social media life of authors before, for Publishing Perspectives. It comes as no surprise that authors have to get with the marketing program and jump into the virtual mix. As publishers continue to slash their marketing budgets, doing a “virtual book tour” can make a lot of sense. The idea goes as far back as 2003, when online marketer Kevin Smokler (@weegee — with 50,000 Twitter followers of his own) claims to have inaugurated the virtual book tour, then conducted through blogs.

Of course, it now seems obvious. Using social media is simply cheaper than sending someone out on the road, or if there is still an actual book tour, it can be an effective addition to the marketing plan. It creates a different kind of buzz: a community can gather no matter where they are. Maybe their newborn is sleeping and they live in Kansas. Or maybe they’re taking a lunch hour from a cubicle in Des Moines. Whichever it is, the long reaching connectivity makes throwing events on Twitter extremely attractive, not only for drumming up book publicity, but for creating a loyal following to an imprint.

That said, the idea — at least on Twitter — is a relatively new one and still needs some smoothing out. “Because this was the inaugural one, we had a few glitches,” said Patrick. “It’s a different set of technical process requirements in the virtual world; it’s not like, ‘What if the caterer doesn’t show?’”

Susan Orlean, @bookbday, and YA phenoms

Other writers who Tweet have jumped on the bandwagon. Susan Orlean (@SusanOrlean), who has nearly 110,000 followers, threw a Twitter party a couple of weeks back for her new book Rin Tin Tin. When I contacted Orlean via Facebook about her party, she described Twitter’s appeal. “The limits of 140 characters can be sometimes maddening but I was surprised by how complete my answers could be. I think Twitter has engendered a new compact way of communicating — not a perfect substitute for fuller conversation, of course, but you can be very efficient and actually say something. I like that challenge — to craft something in such a short space.”

Most writers are still in the dark about the Twitter party, but as they learn of them seem keen for their publishers to take a stab at it. Candace Walsh, co-editor of Dear John, I Love Jane (Seal Press, 2010), wants to get Seal Press on board sooner than later. “The next generation of book publicity is so plugged in to social media, and Twitter parties need to be a part of that strategy,” she told me.

That said, a few tech savvy publishers and writers have been on Twitter for ages now. Young adult author Mitali Perkins (@MitaliPerkins) is one of them. Over three years ago she launched (@bookbday) after realizing that social media could create a more festive environment for book releases.

“When my book Secret Keeper came out in 2009 (Random House), I realized that it was a big day but nobody really knew it.” She decided to pull together her large network of YA authors and illustrators to change that. She’s now created a huge base of Twitter followers who celebrate books’ releases on Twitter the day they’re released — she calls this the “book’s birthday.”

Her model is slightly different than Workman’s; rather than set up specific times where writers interface with readers, she simply sets up auto Tweets that announce new books on the day that they’re released, subsequently creating a rippling retweeting frenzy (RT’s, for you Twitter newbies). “We probably have hundreds and hundreds of people who RT new books on the books’ birthdays now. I always try to send them to or to the author’s website to support the writers. But if the authors only list Amazon and not any other indie bookstore, I’ll link to the publisher’s page. I don’t want to become an Amazon portal.”

Publicists are realizing that they can also drum up more sales and boost the event’s festivities by Tweeting links during the party to previously planned external pages — in Workman’s case, to recipes from their new books, essentially offering bite-sized excerpt teases — or drive them to an e-commerce purchase point.

Says Jocelyn Kelley, a book publicist who is a frequent book commenter on The Oprah Winfrey Show, “Twitter parties are a relatively new strategy but are proving fruitful in both generating more followers and increasing your book’s exposure on Twitter. For example, bestselling young adult author Lisi Harrison is hosting a Twitter party for her newest release, A Tale of Two Pretties. She is cross promoting the Twitter party on her highly trafficked blog as well as through her publishers site.”

Patrick, who is working with other publishers to set up further Twitter Parties, is striving to find a way of making the experience even more social, but is a natural hostess. In one of her early-in-the-party Tweets, she posted:

“I’m chatting with w @sraichlen, but @annebyrn, @mindyweiss, and @1000places are all here — keep mingling! #wkmnshorts.”

Read a couple of those per minute and you may find yourself either down with the party — or sporting a headache, depending on your TT — an acronym I just coined for Twitter Tolerance.

“Ultimately, we all want the same thing, to get our books into the hands of readers,” says Perkins. “I feel like in this day and age we have to celebrate each other’s books. It has to be about each other.”

How to Meaningfully Grow Traffic to Your Site/Blog

How to Meaningfully Grow Traffic to Your Site/Blog by Jane Friedman (an article from

It’s a problem that every new blog or website faces in its early days—or every day (!): How to get readers (also called traffic).

There are a few well-worn pieces of advice in this area, such as:

  1. Comment on other people’s blogs. Virtually all comment systems ask you to leave your name and site URL. If you leave valuable comments, people may visit your site.
  2. Link to other people’s blogs frequently and meaningfully. If you link to someone, and you send them
    significant traffic, they’re going to notice! They might link to you
    one day, or pay attention to your work if you’re within the same community.
  3. Add your URL to your e-mail signature, business card, book, etc.
  4. Offer guest posts on sites/blogs with more traffic than your own.
  5. Be active on relevant community sites, which can interest people in what you’re doing, which can lead to visits to your site/blog.
  6. Ask for a link trade, where others agree to permanently link to your site/blog in their blogroll, and you return the favor on your own site. (This is by far a less popular method nowadays; it’s pushy and can damage credibility if you don’t believe in the links you’re sharing. Better for this to happen naturally, over time.)
  7. Be active across social media and alert people when you have a new post. (And/or make sure your URL is clearly listed on every social media profile.)

Your mileage will vary on No. 7 depending on your social media presence, how savvy you are, and if you’re reaching out in the right areas.

But I’m a strong believer in the breadcrumb method, where you have accounts on multiple community sites. That’s because you never know how people might find you, and the more doorways you have leading to your site, the more traffic you will get over time.

Even if you’re not active or devoted to a particular community site or social media channel, you can still appear to be active if you adjust the settings in your favor.

To help explain, let me show you where my site or blog traffic comes from, then explain how that traffic happens.

Here are 5 key, continuing sources of traffic for this blog (No Rules) in the past year—aside from search engines and direct traffic.


Both Writer’s Digest and I have active presences on Twitter (130K and 50K followers, respectively). When a link is broadcast that a new post is up, it reaches thousands of people initially, and then thousands more through retweets and mentions.


New blog posts are automatically fed onto my Facebook personal page, as well as the Writer’s Digest fan page (without any help from me, because it works through NetworkedBlogs). Other people also commonly post links to my blog content on their own Facebook walls.

There’s a permanent link to all Writer’s Digest blogs on the homepage, and it’s a consistent driver of traffic to No Rules.

4. BLOGGER MENTIONS (and permanent bloggers’ links)
When taken individually, one person’s blog or site may send just a handful of visits per day or week. But when you multiply that effect by dozens or hundreds of bloggers, that’s a huge impact. But you only get to enjoy this dynamic if you’re blogging for the long haul. It rarely happens overnight.

To tell the truth, this is one site where I am not active, and only recently did I even start an account. But over time, this site has started sending MORE traffic my way as my most popular posts are tagged and catalogued. (Right now, this controversial post that’s tagged is sending me a few dozen visits a day from StumbleUpon.)

Some other important sources of traffic this past year have been Writer Unboxed (where I offer guest posts) and Alltop, where this blog is catalogued as part of the writing and publishing pages.

Here are the top 5 sources of traffic for my personal site ( in the past month. They constitute about 80% of my traffic.

1. THERE ARE NO RULES (this blog)
This make sense since NO RULES is where I focus most of my time and energy in producing new content. I rarely link to my personal site in my posts. Instead, it’s a static link on the lefthand sidebar if people want to know more about me.

2. GOOGLE (organic search)

The No. 1 search term that brings people to my site is “Jane Friedman.” I am probably attracting a considerable number of visits from people looking for The Other Jane Friedman.

Traffic from Twittercomes from 3 areas:

  • from the static URL on my Twitter profile (see above)
  • from the tweets I send with links
  • from the retweets and mentions from my followers

These visits are from people who have bookmarked my page, click on direct links from e-mail notifications, or otherwise type in “”

Traffic from Facebookcomes from 3 areas:

  • from the static URL on my profile page
  • from the links I post to my site
  • from the links other people post to my site

Some of my biggest traffic bumps happen when a major Facebook group posts a link to my series, When Mom Was My Age—which shows you the value of consistent series or features on your site/blog.

If you look at the long tail of my site traffic—on this blog as well as my personal site—I’m getting a significant number of visitors, over a year’s span, from:

Does it take me any effort to get this traffic?

No. I simply make sure that I use all settings and opportunities for auto-updating, when applicable.

Take my LinkedIn profile as an example. I don’t spend time on this site. But I’m “active.” See below; the top red arrow points to my Twitter updates, which are automatically fed into my profile and provide constantly refreshed information about what I’m doing. I don’t lift a finger.

The bottom arrow points to a mash-up of things I’ve told LinkedIn to report, based on my other activity online.

On LinkedIn, I also feed in my blogs, which appear under my profile summary.

This keeps me active on the site without requiring my time. Look for these types of feeds and settings on every site you use!

This is why I give the appearance of being everywhere at once, while really just focusing my energy on a few things: my professional blog, Twitter, Facebook.

Why those 3?

Because those places give me the most return on my investment of time and energy. Everyone’s results will be different, though, which is why you absolutely must find out where your site traffic comes from. (Use Google Analytics to get started.)

People will find you in a hundred different ways, and it’s more important than ever to have your own site—so you can direct people to your “home,” where readers and community influencers have an opportunity to find out where you’re most active, and choose their preferred means of staying updated.

I can guarantee that after this post, I’ll have a lot of people joining me on Facebook or LinkedIn because they didn’t realize I was there!

And that’s a good thing.