You read comics, right?

I still read them from time to time, which is why I’m thrilled to be a part of two New Jersey events this month.

One is on 3/12/17 at the Clifton Community Recreation Center, 1232 Main Ave, Clifton 07011 http://www.njcomicbookshows.com/clifton.htm

The other is on 3/19/17 at the Toms River Elks Lodge 600 Washington Street Toms River, N.J. 08753 http://www.jerseyshorecomicbookshow.com

As a way of revving myself up for these events, I wrote a superhero vs vampire story exclusively for Wattpad.  (Description Below)

Force – Jeff Beal is unique. Balancing high school and a broken home, Jeff blows off steam jumping rooftops and taking down bad guys under the name Shadow, protege to Macro City’s superhero, Force. And when a string of gruesome murders grip the city in mortal terror, Force and Shadow swear to put an end to the bloodshed. But the Vampire Lavinia is no ordinary killer. Now Jeff must use every resource at his disposal to hunt down the deadly vampire before the sun sets … because he won’t survive the night.

Read the first few chapters here.  I’ll add to it every Friday night at 8pm.  Shoot me an email, post a response, or tweet me @J_Kleckner to let me know what you think.

Thank you again for your support. Happy Reading.

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The Author’s Shakabuku on Audience and Genre

For those of you who don’t know Shakabuku, it’s a “swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.”

It was introduced to me by Debi, Minnie Driver’s character in one of my favorite movies, Grosse Pointe Blank (IMDB).

I have been fortunate enough to have had two experiences with Shakabuku this year, only months apart.

The first one came in August, when my family and I binge-watched Stranger Things (IMDB) on Netflix.

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Stranger Things on Netflix – Photo Source

The second came just this past weekend while I was listening to the audiobook of Ready Player One, written by Ernest Cline and read by Wil Wheaton.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Photo Sources

During each of these experiences, I found myself saying, “At my best, I want to create work like this.”

It wasn’t hard to see the connection between the two.  They were both adventures with heavy pop culture references from the 1980s.  Even Grosse Pointe Blank fits neatly into the center of that Venn Diagram, just without the fantasy or science-fiction elements.

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Venn Diagram of Awesome – JeremiahKleckner.com

The weird part for me was that I never saw my nexus of interest so clearly before now.

Like many writers starting out, I dove into my writing.  I found an idea and attacked it without much consideration for my audience or what genre it would be until after it was done.

It’s worked out okay for me so far.  I have two series (soon to be three) for sale and a ton of ideas.  But I’ve struggled with identifying my audience and I’ve never had the same kind of thrill reading in my books’ supposed genres as I have during these past two months.

Am I nuts or have some of you had the same experience?  Comment below or come out and tell me about it.  I’ll be criss-crossing NJ these next two weeks for books signings and readings.

Here’s my itinerary.  Hope to see you there!

Develop Quality Publishing Partnerships (Part Two)

Last week’s post wasn’t intended to be a multiple-part installment, but I keep running into helpful and honest people.

More books are coming to my self-published list this season and one way that I plan to market them is by getting the first book in a series bundled with other authors’ books in a promotional boxed set.

One problem:  I have no interest in bundling books and marketing them on my own.

After some investigation (including a few recommendations), I messaged a “bundler” on Facebook called Paper Gold Publishing.  In spite of the fact that the company doesn’t plan on bundling any dark or historical fantasy titles this year, she directed me to somewhere I would have better luck.

But that wasn’t the end of it.  The person responding also offered a bit of advice as well.

Paper Gold Publishing: “I know there is a group on FB titled ‘Box Set Opportunities‘ or something similar to that, but I would advise caution in all circumstances. Especially if they request some kind of payment to allow you to take part in a set and offer no (or little) returns. It is customary for the organizer to have some sort of payment. In my case, I take a share of royalties, and for that I provide free proofing for all the titles, all admin (and believe me, reporting to and paying 46 people takes time), and some promo.

Since Paper Gold Publishing didn’t have a need for books in my genre, they could have easily blown me off without the cautionary words or even a response.  Instead, they demonstrated how professionals should behave when they know how predatory others in their position could be.

After some further conversation, Paper Gold Publishing also told me that the company is currently looking to expand its employee base to include an assistant bundler.  It sounds like hard work, but if you are interested, or if you know of anyone who is, please contact them through their Facebook Page.

Meanwhile, I’m going to check out the page that Paper Gold Publishing recommended and report back later.

In other news…

I AM GIVING AWAY FREE STUFF

For those of you who are subscribed to the blog this will sound weird because you already have me in your email, but I am setting up an email list for updates, news, discounts, new releases, and other things like that.  It’ll be short, deliberate, and come with a bunch of free stuff.  For example, right now there are review copies of some of my older books.  There will be more soon and I’ll keep those of you on my list informed. Here is the link to sign up. http://goo.gl/X10pIW

Develop Quality Publishing Partnerships

Some gifts keep on giving.  The same can be said for partners who continue to enrich your professional life weeks and months after your initial meeting.

Case in point: Voice Actor David Stifel

For those of you who remember, Jeremy and I were involved in an ACX promotion this past summer in which we auditioned voice actors.  David Stifel was the clear choice based on the strength of his audition alone, but he didn’t stop there.  Not only did he produce an outstanding audiobook version of our first novel, he has promoted it fiercely ever since.

And now he has done it again.

David participated in The SFFaudio Podcast #357 – READALONG: Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan by Jeremiah Kleckner and Jeremy Marshall (Site Link, iTunes Link)

He and the host of the podcast went into detail for an hour, unlocking many of the “Easter Eggs” that we purposely hid in the book honestly expecting that they’d never be uncovered.

Granted, much of what I believe regarding Peter Pan can be found on my most frequently visited post, Proof that Peter Pan is an Abusive, Child-Murdering Sociopath.

Even so, their analysis of Hook, Smee, Blackbeard, and a myriad of other topics was so involved and on point, that this episode is a “must listen” for any fan of the novel.

Check it out and let SFFAudio know what you think. (Site Link, iTunes Link)

Produce Your Audiobook for iTunes and Audible with ACX for Free

Back in January, Jeremy Marshall and I uploaded Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan to ACX.

Why make an audiobook?

Simple Answer: Audiobooks open new channels of income.

Many people commute to work and listen to more of their literature than actually read it.  I’m the same way with my sci-fi and horror magazines.  (The Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, and Nightmare podcasts are where it’s at!)

More importantly, there is a wide visually-impaired audience who are as interested in entertainment as anyone else.  Audiobooks and podcasts provide that service.

How to Make an Audiobook

Simple Answer:  I have no idea.  ACX handled everything.

The book had already been written and published three years ago.  We just uploaded the manuscript to ACX and waited for auditions.  Once we heard David Stifel, we knew we had found Hook’s voice.

Aside from having an extensive background in narration, David has played a hollywood pirate before.  The first was as one of the live action pirates in the first Spongebob movie.  The other was as a facial and voice capture for a Disneyland audio animatronic on Tom Sawyer’s island.

Stifel Pirate 01Stifel Pirate 03

It all happened pretty quickly after we made the selection, maybe two weeks at most.  David recorded and posted the audio for our approval.  We wrote him back with specifics on how we envisioned certain characters would  behave and speak.  It was a smooth process.

We’re now in the ACX quality review phase.  Once that is done, the book will be priced and posted on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.  It is that simple.

Do you need more information?

The in-depth “technically correct” answer on how to make your audiobook dreams a reality can be found at ACX.

Blogging, Tweeting, and posting to Facebook

I want to start off with an apology. I tried to send a tweet about an hour ago. Instead, I posted a short message to this blog, which gets sent to many of your email accounts. That was a mistake that I made within the program I was using. To my credit, it was the first mistake I had made with social media in that way. Even so, it was an unnecessary communication and I’m sorry. Here is how it should have looked for those of you who follow me on Twitter. 
 
I’ll have more on this after Jeremy Marshal and I comb through our audition list tomorrow.  

Thank you again for your understanding. Until next time…

Outsourcing Jobs to Fiverr Leaves More Time for Writing

There comes a point when you have to admit that you cannot do it all.

Writing.  Editing.  Book Cover Design.  Book Interior.  Sales Copy.  Marketing.  Social Engagement.

The more time you spend on one task, the more you ignore the ones that are actually important.  As far as I’ve figured out at this point in my writing career, there are really only two ways out of this hole…

Get Published in the Traditional Way

One of the ways in which I avoid wasting my time is by submitting stories to magazines and contests.  If they accept your work, traditional publishers will create graphics for covers and do all of the formatting for you.  You’ll still have to market yourself and engage socially, but it beats the hell out of learning new programs.

Not only that, but the lag time that it takes for a publisher to review your work is a good window for you to get more writing done.  Even if they reject it, you’ll have more material as well as feedback on your old work.  There’s really no downside, especially considering that you can always self-publish if you get too frustrated.

Fiverr – A Self-Publisher’s Business Partner

Fiverr is an online marketplace for people to offer their services for as little as $5.  There are add-ons and extras that can bump up the price, but these are optional.  I’m not even going to bother mentioning the types of services, because they range from resume writing to graphics to advertising.  There’s even a whole subset of people who do amazing things with puppets.  (I’m not kidding.)

Recently, Jeremy Marshall and I talked about continuing to work on stories in the Captain James Hook series.  This required me to give our current books a facelift.  We needed covers and new sales copy, so I went to Fiverr.

I got two new covers and copy for both book descriptions for a total of $42.50 (that’s including $5 tips for each job).   I used Book Covers by PixelStudio & Sales Copy by Emmaki.  Samples of their work can be found on the updated CaptainHookNovel.com page.

Even if you have a budget of under $100, you can get some serious work done on this site.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.