4 December 2013

SFR BRIGADE PRESENTS - Codename: White Princess, The Girls from Alcyone III



Posting from my WiP
TGfA III: Codename: White Princess (working title)

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.



THIS WEEK: I'm very excited. This is my first posting ever for SFR Brigade Presents. Andit's my first posting from my new WiP TGfA III

This scene is from the very beginning of White Princess -- though that might change. But then that's why we call it a work in progress.






The gamblers den lay down a narrow flight of stone steps. Water dripped down the length of the stone wall making the stairs slick and treacherous. Suko took care as she made her way down, keeping one hand against the crumbling mortar of the wall. The noise grew louder ahead: the sounds of music, many voices raised, each person trying to make themselves heard above the din.
She counted at least seventy-five persons inside, most of them male, most of them sitting around tables, and engaged in various games of chance. Smoke hung thick in the air, as did the sharp stench of unwashed bodies and spilled ale. And blood.

Pulling back the hood, she shook the rain from her short cloak. Water beaded on the fine black material of her one-piece outfit, dripping down and pooling at her feet. Three men standing by the bar looked up, taking note of her entrance. Suko was in no mood. Casually, she lifted the cloak back over her shoulder to better reveal the large-caliber recoilless holstered to her thigh. The men turned back to their ale, wisely choosing drink over any foolhardy attempts at flirtation.


Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFR Brigade authors here: http://sfrcontests.blogspot.ca/p/sfr-brigade-presents.html?spref=fb!


Cheers, Cary!





3 December 2013

Thank You!

The Machines of Bellatrix went live on Amazon this November (2013). We had an amazing opening month, and sales far exceeded my hopes and expectations. Even The Girls From Alcyone had one of its best sales months ever. So, to everyone who picked up a copy…

Thank you!

I promised myself I would never ask this, but here I am, about to break that promise: If you did read Machines, and if you enjoyed it, I would love it if you could take a moment and stop by Amazon and post a short review (or even a long one!). Good reviews are the lifeblood of books, and we Indy Writers can use all the plugs we can get. So, if you have read Machines, or The Girls, please, please post a review. I'll be forever in your debt - if I'm not already.

Now, back to writing TGfA III.


1 November 2013

Cover Reveal: Wasteland Blues, by Scott Christian Carr & Andrew Conry-Murray


Of Mice and Men Meets The Odyssey in a Post-Apocalyptic Future

Having only ever known the uncivilized wake of nuclear and biological apocalypse, three friends and their wheelchair-bound hostage set out on a perilous fool’s mission--to cross from one side of the devastated United States to the other, in the desperate, half-believed hope of finding a rumored haven. 

Spurred by a dark vision and the murder of their father, rageaholic Derek Cane and his over-sized, simple-minded brother, Teddy, flee the only home they've ever known, a struggling shantytown on the edge of the vast Wasteland. Heading ever eastward, they are accompanied by their friend, John, an orphan brought up by a fanatical religious order, and Leggy, a crippled old drunk who brags that, in his youth, he once traversed the Wasteland as a scavenger.
Cover Art by Bradley Sharp

Post-Apocalyptic novel  coming from Dog Star Books in March 2014
 

28 October 2013

Cover Reveal for S. Craig Zahler Book



Today I'm sharing the cover reveal for S. Craig Zahler's new book: 
CORPUS CHROME INC.
from Dog Star Books


Who should be given a second chance at life? 

Decades in the future Corpus Chrome, Inc. develops a robotic body, dubbed a “mannequin,” that can revive, sustain and interface with a cryonically-preserved human brain. Like all new technology, it is copyrighted.

Hidden behind lawyers and a chrome facade, the inscrutable organization resurrects a variety of notable minds, pulling the deceased back from oblivion into a world of animated sculpture, foam rubber cars, dissolving waste and strange terrorism. Nobody knows how Corpus Chrome, Inc. determines which individuals should be given a second life, yet myriad people are affected. Among them are Lisanne Breutschen, the composer who invented sequentialism with her twin sister, and Champ Sappline, a garbage man who is entangled in a war between the third, fourth and fifth floors of a New York City apartment building.

In the Spring of 2058, Corpus Chrome, Inc. announces that they will revive Derek W.R. Dulande—a serial rapist and murderer who was executed thirty years ago for his crimes. The public is horrified by the decision, and before long, the company’s right to control the lone revolving door between life and death will be violently challenged….

Cover Art by Bradley Sharp

Cyberpunk/Transhumanism novel  coming from Dog Star Books in January 2014
---

  
What They’re Saying About S. Craig Zahler

“Zahler’s a fabulous story teller whose style catapults his reader into the turn of the century West with a ferocious sense of authenticity.”
—Kurt Russell, star of Tombstone, Escape from New York, Dark Blue, and Death Proof

“If you’re looking for something similar to what you’ve read before, this ain’t it. If you want something comforting and predictable, this damn sure ain’t it.  But if you want something with storytelling guts and a weird point of view, an unforgettable voice, then you want what I want, and that is this.”
—Joe R. Lansdale author of Edge of Dark Water

27 September 2013

GEAR UP! It's another edition of SciFi Fantasy Saturday.



Posting from my WiP
TGfA II: The Machines of Bellatrix

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.



THIS WEEK: I haven't posted in a while - I wanted to finish this last draft of Freelancer (now TMoB), but now that that's all done (except for the polishing and the editing, and the...well, you know), I'm back.

I don't think this scene needs a setup. You'll figure it out.







"I think you're rather enjoying this," Suko said. She stood with her arms held out while Sigrid coiled the last of the thermite strips around her midriff. Sigrid then began the meticulous task of stitching the hundreds of tiny pinhead grenades into the seam of her bra, more into the waistband of Suko's pants; a trick Chesna had taught her so long ago. "You sure it wouldn't be easier if I took this all off?"
Sigrid slapped her hand away; though she couldn't help but smile. "Hush! Now do keep your arms out. There, like that. This will go a lot faster if you stop moving."
"But not nearly as much fun."


Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFFS authors here: scififansat.blogspot.caSciFi Fantasy Saturday is a web-ring of fab SciFi & Fantasy writers and posters. All are welcome to join and participate. In fact, join and participate! Ten sentences every Saturday is all it takes.


Cheers, Cary!







13 September 2013

STRANGER SKIES: Cover Reveal & Contest Giveaway


Cover Reveal & Contest Giveaway!
STRANGER SKIES
Book One of The Borderlands Saga, by Katje Van Loon

Available October 4th. Pre-orders September 20, 2013



Synopsis


A goddess' fall from grace leaves her on an alien world, devoid of her followers, trapped in a mortal body. Should she strive to regain her godhood or accept her mortality and find love?

Silva, Queen of Wolves, Lady of the True Woods, seeks her only friend Etan, who, along with other deities of the Council of Divinity, has gone missing for reasons unknown. Her search traps her on a world where the wolves have lost faith in her; she becomes a mortal woman whose remaining powers could brand her as a witch.

Through the chaos of war and the turmoil in her own heart, Silva can't escape a persistent feeling: that her fall was not an accident. 


Excerpt


Heart’s Blood Tavern had indoor plumbing which, according to Scoas, made it a rare building in the town. The toilets were composting toilets, however, and so the scent of human waste combined with peat overwhelmed Silva’s sensitive nose. She entered the stall and did her business quickly, trying to ignore the pong of the room. There was one sink and a small mirror of that same polished stone — while she washed her hands, she noticed she was more fleshed out than she had been the day before. Minae food worked quickly.

She turned to leave, and then stopped dead, horror making her veins run ice cold. Above the door was another animal head as ‘decor’.

Its muzzle was posed open in a silent snarl, its ears were flat back on its head, and it was made to look vicious around the eye’s epicanthic folds — but this was all a lie. She reached her hand up to touch the soft fur, but it was too high up, and she couldn’t reach.

She’d found her first Minae wolf.

The scent of fear and death hit her then; it had been masked before, but now that she gazed upon the source it was so clear she reeled. She ran back into the stall and vomited what was left of that morning’s breakfast.

This wolf had died in fear and pain, and she hadn’t been here to help.

She hadn’t been able to help so many of her children on Terra, too. The mortal humans had shot them from planes, poisoned them, hunted them near to extinction. The only thing that had saved them from that fate had been constant fighting — from Silva herself, and her one or two human followers. Mortals who lived with wolf-hybrids and knew about her existence, and who wanted to help save her children. Silva had petitioned the Twins to save her cubs, and they had finally listened and moved all the wolves off-planet. She didn’t think they would have had it not been for the strengthening arguments of a few other gods who had a soft spot for wolves — the Morrigan, Hecate, and Odin were the big three who had argued on Silva’s side. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever properly expressed her gratitude to those deities.

On Tau Ceti, the wolves had been placed far enough away from human settlements so as to be relatively safe. But when humans expanded outwards, as they invariably did?

If she never got home, the Cetian wolves might meet the same fate. And this time she wouldn’t be around to stop them from going extinct completely.

She shook with helplessness and fear. There was nothing she could do. She was trapped here in mortal form, and her children might all die. The thought made her sick again.

When finally she exited the bathroom, after having rinsed her mouth thoroughly, she felt scrubbed out, hollowed, empty. A gourd left in the rain after All Hallows Eve; burned on the inside, destined for the compost heap to rot away in ignominy.

She tried to hide her distress when she got back to the table. Their food had arrived by that point, and a man she’d never seen before stood beside the table and chatted with Scoas and Natai, and occasionally giving Brinna a predatory smile. Brinna seemed less than pleased with the man’s attentions, but she was unfailingly polite.

Silva instantly disliked the man. He smelled wrong, and his bearing positively screamed his arrogance.

Scoas noticed Silva’s return, then, and made introductions before Silva could escape.

The man’s name was Kaz, and he gave Silva an exceptionally oily smile. He was a hunter — the best in Heartpin, apparently. “You must have seen my prize trophy,” he said to her, folding his arms over his chest. Silva politely raised her eyebrows even as her stomach churned with dread. “The wolf’s head hanging in the privy. Got that bastard over a year ago. Scoas bought the pelt.”

Silva felt like fainting. She barely heard what Scoas said: “It’s a very nice pelt, too; we simply love it.”

“There’s a secret to get the best pelts, Scoas my man,” Kaz said, winking at Scoas. “Would you like to know it?”

“Excuse me,” Silva said, brushing past Kaz and heading for the door. She knew the secret for the best pelts, and if she heard Kaz tell them exactly how he’d tortured the young wolf whose head hung in the bathroom, she might kill him right there in the tavern.


Enter To Win A Copy of Stranger Skies:

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11 September 2013

FOG LIT SCIENCE-FICTION WORKSHOP


On October 5th, I'll be doing a Science-Fiction Writing workshop for the Fog Lit Festival in St. John, New Brunswick. This is a 'free to attend' sponsored event, so if you're in the area and want to talk Science-Fiction, by all means, come on down. Space is limited, so I urge you to sign up to guarantee a seat.

This workshop will focus on the pitfalls and challenges of writing genre fiction -- in this case Science-Fiction Adventure. Together, we'll discuss typical story elements, world building, and the challenges of dealing with real science in a fictional world.

Participants will be asked to bring in a synopsis or blurb of their current or planned project so that we can spend as much time talking about your characters and ideas as possible.

Ages: All Ages
Date: Saturday, October 5th
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Venue: Saint John Free Public Library
Author: Cary Caffrey (The Girls from Alcyone)Pre-Register Here

NOTE: Later that day (same location), I'll also be participating in the panel discussion on Indie vs. Traditional Publishing. On the panel with me will be Chad Pelley and Laurie Lewis. I'm really looking forward to this. Should be interesting and informative.

Date: October 5, 2013
Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Venue: Saint John Free Public Library – Central Branch, Multi Purpose Room
Cost: Free

Pre-Register Here

1 September 2013

SETTING GOALS AND HITTING MILESTONES


Interesting news? (Kinda. Maybe.) 

I woke up to realize that I'd sold my 10,000th book last night. I suppose whether or not this is 'big news' is a case of perspective. 10k in book-sales is hardly going to send a ripple through the publishing world. On the other hand, as someone who's doing this all by themselves, I'm pretty darn proud! I may even twerk - maybe (I'll post videos, I promise).

Ten-K is a bit of a milestone (for me). It's the sales goal I set for myself when I decided to try my hand at writing and publishing. Like anyone who's tried writing, I know I got a lot of funny looks from friends when I told them I was doing this - more so, when I announced how many I wanted to sell, so yes, hitting that mark is pretty cool.

The funny thing about targets though, is once you reach them (maybe even before you reach them), you're already thinking about the next target. What's my next goal? That's easy. Add a zero. I've marked my calendar: 100,000 books sold by 2018. People thought I was off my nut when I said 10k by 2014, so I'm sure a few more of you will think I'm crazy or half-baked, but that's my goal.

Is this goal possible? It's hard to say. The marketplace is changing week to week. There's more and more Indy-books out there crowding the web, and rumours abound that Amazon has changed the nature of its search-bots to draw attention away from Indy Books like mine, so who knows. I also haven't helped my cause by taking so long to get my second full-length novel out. Writers who sell produce lots (way more than me). But I'm still learning, and this experiment is definitely a work in progress.

Check back in 2018 and I'll let you know how it's all working out!


22 August 2013

FREELANCER COVER POSE/CONCEPT

COVER CONCEPT:

As we inch toward the release of TGfA II: Freelancer, I thought I'd share this latest pose/concept for the cover (Sigrid & Suko, of course). This is by the very talented Anne Pogoda who did the cover for Merchantman.

FACEBOOK: 

As a side note, I seem to be spending more time on Facebook these days. Stop by and give my page a like and stay in touch!


31 July 2013

RISE OF THE FREELANCER



As I'm on the last stretch of prepping FREELANCER for launch, I'm hunkering down in the bunker, so I won't be posting or interacting much (too distracting) until this book is "in the can."


In the mean time, enjoy this awesome bit of concept art from the cover (hey, come on! It's Suko!). If you're in need of more of a fix, I've posted the first three (unedited) chapters here: Freelancer.

Cary

26 July 2013

UP AGAINST IT (posting from Freelancer): SciFiFanSat




Posting from my WiP
THE GIRLS FROM ALCYONE: Freelancer

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.


THIS WEEK: I've decided to forgo the usual setup and just post the snippet. Sure, it's out of context, and, sure, you won't know what's going on, but this way there's no evil spoilers! And, hey, it's Sigrid. :)



They were troop carriers, Thunderhawks, and they were moving fast, closing on their position, and the rooftop offered little in terms of cover. Twin cannon mounts extended from their sides, swinging into firing position and taking aim.
"Ms. Novak—Sigrid," the agent implored, pulling on her sleeve. "We need to move!"
Sigrid scanned the area quickly; they were outnumbered and the situation was deteriorating quickly, but the CTF agent was wrong about one thing. These mercenaries might not be the men she was looking for, but they were still men, and they still hunted them.
"If you have a plan," Suko said, her eyes fixed on the incoming carriers, "now's the time to share it."
"Plan?" Sigrid unholstered her twin 18 mm sidearms. "We kill them all."


Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFFS authors here: scififansat.blogspot.caSciFi Fantasy Saturday is a web-ring of fab SciFi & Fantasy writers and posters. All are welcome to join and participate. In fact, join and participate! Ten sentences every Saturday is all it takes.


Cheers, Cary!

12 July 2013

OF SWORDS AND SUKO II (posting from Freelancer): SciFiFanSat



Posting from my WiP

THE GIRLS FROM ALCYONE: Freelancer

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.

LAST WEEK: Sigrid came home

Sigrid continues her inspection of Suko's sword.






Carefully, Sigrid withdrew the blade. The steel was now fully restored by Suko; oiled, polished and powdered, it gleamed in the dark. Suko had taken care to repair the leather handle and restore the gold inlay that had worn away, returning some of its lost majesty. She swung the sword now, felt its weight in her grip, and marvelled at the balance. It was a weapon that begged conflict, deadly in the hands of one trained to use it.
"Now, there's something you don't see every day."
Sigrid spun about, nearly dropping the sword; Suko stood behind her, leaning in the doorway--Sigrid realized how silly she must appear swinging Suko's sword about dressed only in her undergarments.
Walking toward her, Suko took the sword from her hands and placed it back on the shirasaya.
"You want to be careful with that. My girlfriend gave it to me."




Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFFS authors here: scififansat.blogspot.caSciFi Fantasy Saturday is a web-ring of fab SciFi & Fantasy writers and posters. All are welcome to join and participate. In fact, join and participate! Ten sentences every Saturday is all it takes.


Cheers, Cary!

5 July 2013

OF SWORDS & SUKO (Posting from Freelancer): SciFiFanSat


Posting from my WiP
THE GIRLS FROM ALCYONE: Freelancer

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.

THIS WEEK: I'm leaving Merchantman behind. Many of you have read the whole story by now. If anyone else is curious to see what happens, you can read the whole thing here.

So, I'm moving back, or forward, into Freelancer. Here, Sigrid has just arrived back at her home on New Alcyone. It's late, she's very tired, looking forward to seeing Suko, and she's still very preoccupied with what happened with the Merchantmen.




Sigrid undressed in the quiet of their sitting room, removed her holsters and pistols and placed them on the weapons rack next to Suko's. Suko's collection of katanas sat mounted on the shirasaya above the mantle. Two of the swords were new, unsullied, pristine in their composite scabbards. But it was the other blade that caught Sigrid's eye. She reached for it, caressing the smooth lacquered surface of its simple wooden saya. This weapon seemed odd, out of place, an antique lost in the sea of advanced armaments that littered their home. The katana was very old, that was certain; some might consider it obsolete, only worthy of being discarded.
But Sigrid knew better. For this was the very same katana she had found on Vincenze, bought for Suko with the first of her earnings as Mercenary. The sword and Suko would not soon be parted.


Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFFS authors here: scififansat.blogspot.caSciFi Fantasy Saturday is a web-ring of fab SciFi & Fantasy writers and posters. All are welcome to join and participate. In fact, join and participate! Ten sentences every Saturday is all it takes.

Cheers, Cary!

28 June 2013

BAT OUT OF HELL: Freelancer. SciFiFanSat!



Posting from my WiP
THE GIRLS FROM ALCYONE: Freelancer

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.

THIS WEEK: I'm skipping way ahead. Here, Sigrid finds herself back on board the Ōmi Maru, and in pursuit of the fleeing Merchantman. The Ōmi Maru is an unarmed freighter. With no weapons or torpedoes on board they need to find something else to launch at their enemy. 

Of course they choose Sigrid.



Sigrid zipped up the pressure suit; every light blinked green. She had pressure; she had air. She also had a plan.
"Help me with this, Chief."
Together, they slid the freshly stolen joy-rocket on a skid toward the cargo airlock. This one seemed a particular nasty piece of engineering. The hybrid rocket motor had clearly been salvaged from a thruster pylon from a much larger vessel. Two meters wide and five long, it took up much of the space in the hold. A simple acceleration couch had been laser welded onto its fairing; her only controls were a throttle lever and a kill switch.
Once launched, she knew it would have one basic maneuver—straight ahead.


Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFFS authors here: scififansat.blogspot.caSciFi Fantasy Saturday is a web-ring of fab SciFi & Fantasy writers and posters. All are welcome to join and participate. In fact, join and participate! Ten sentences every Saturday is all it takes.

Cheers, Cary!


23 June 2013

GREEN SHIFT COVER REVEAL

To celebrate the cover reveal for Greenshift, the e-book will be temporarily 99 cents at Amazon!





A tale set within the world of Ambasadora.


Mari's rare eye color makes her a pariah within Upper Caste society, which is why she prefers plants to people...except David, the former Armadan captain who shuttles scientists around on a refurbished pleasure cruiser.


But someone else is interested in Mari and her distinctive look--an obsessed psychopath who tortures and murders women for pleasure.


When the killer chooses Mari as his next victim, the soldier inside David comes alive, but it is Mari who must fight for her own life and prove she isn't as fragile as the flowers she nurtures.


Greenshift by Heidi Ruby Miller


Cover Art by Bradley Sharp


Foreword by Dana Marton


Space Opera/Science Fiction Romance paperback coming from Dog Star Books in August 2013








21 June 2013

A PROPOSAL: Week Five of Merchantman/Freelancer. SciFiFanSat!


Posting from my WiP
THE GIRLS FROM ALCYONE: Freelancer

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.

LAST WEEK: Sigrid shared a drink with the trader, Corbin Price. This week, the Merchantman offers something to Sigrid: a job that will make use of her unique talents.



"There is a man arriving at the station tomorrow - he has stolen from us. I want to see that he is hurt in return."
Hurt.
Sigrid considered the simple command, and inferred the meaning behind it. All her life she had been trained as a mercenary, as a soldier, and yes, an assassin; she had taken lives and done so without hesitation. But that had been her choice, her duty. Until this moment she hadn't truly appreciated how it would feel to have someone ask her to kill another. What was it the mercenaries said? For coin and contract?


Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFFS authors here: scififansat.blogspot.caSciFi Fantasy Saturday is a web-ring of fab SciFi & Fantasy writers and posters. All are welcome to join and participate. In fact, join and participate!

Cheers, Cary!



19 June 2013

SELL YOUR BOOK! Luck Factor and "The List."

One of the best things that happened to me after I published The Girls from Alcyone was getting to meet all sorts of new writers. Those of us who attempt to write love talking with other writers - for the simple reason we're the only ones willing to put up with each other.

I was extremely flattered when writers started to ask me questions about writing and publishing. And when my book started to take off, I was even more flattered to have people ask how I'd managed to sell it.

My first answer is always, luck. I know I got lucky.

If you've been on Amazon then you've seen that thing on every page where it says, "People who bought this item also bought..." (let's call it the List for simplicity) Well, when my book first started to take off I noticed the book at the top of the list was a best seller. In a few days, there were two best sellers, then three and then four on the list. I started following those books and saw my book was at the top of their lists as well.

The significance of this is pretty clear. And This is why I know I got lucky.The more best sellers you have on your list, the more readers you've got seeing your title. My book was selling because people were seeing it. A lot of people. Were they seeing my book because of the other books on my list, or were those books selling because people were seeing their titles on my list? I think it's a bit of both. It's the 'chicken and the egg' factor.

I tell everyone about this phenomena. I think it's important to understand how Amazon works if you expect to exploit the workings of that giant-mega site. And it is a giant. Amazon still claims 90% of the eBook market.

So, yes, I admit to a huge amount of luck. On the other hand, I know I made an effort to use this list and these best sellers to my advantage. At least, I know I did what I could to get those specific books on my 'List.' Here's what I did:

Before publishing, I took a long hard look at the independent books that were having success in my target market of Science-Fiction Adventure. My specific target market was readers who wanted books featuring female heroins, guns and adventure, with a bit of space opera thrown in. I specifically researched best selling independent titles that fit that criteria.

I looked at everything from the quality of their writing, their covers, their titles, the authors' websites, how many books they were selling, their blogs and their twitter strategies.

When I released The Girls from Alcyone, I had those books squarely in my sights. I wanted the readers of those books to be my readers too. I did my best to understand what those authors were doing right, and where I thought they failed or missed opportunities.

These books had several things in common. They were in their top 100, and they featured original covers and compelling titles. It was for that reason I decided to invest in a unique and original cover (no stock photos!). The books I mentioned didn't do that, so neither would I.

And, I put a lot of thought into my title. Which leads me to the other question I get asked by writers (all the time!): Why are their books not selling?

My first answer always focuses on the cover - it's the first thing readers see. I won't go into covers here (I wrote a HUGE post on that already, so if you're interested, go check it out on Kathryn Hogan's site).

The second thing that catches my eye is their title.

I think titles are hugely important and drastically underrated. And, after the cover, the title is where I see most writers fail (as marketers, not writers).

Writers have a tendency to create titles based on some aspect of the book; a theme, a place, or an event. This approach makes perfect sense - from a writing perspective. But it has absolutely nothing to do with marketing, and it has nothing to do with creating a compelling moment - the moment where the reader first reads the title and thinks, hey, I want to know more about that! That's "The Hook." This is marketing at it's most basic: creating an emotional response with a potential reader. Ask yourself, does your title have a hook?

Your book might be about a guy named Trent, but calling the book "Trent" won't do you any favours. It's not going to sell your book. Especially if the cover features yet another stock photo of a shirtless underwear model showing off his six pack. *ducks* Sorry, I wasn't talking about your cover. I was talking about the other cover with the model with the six...well, you get my point.

This exact same example came up in a conversation with a writer (okay, I changed the title to protect the innocent). After I told him what I thought, the writer said, "I'm not sacrificing the integrity of my book to change the title just so it might sell."

I think he missed the point. It doesn't matter what he thinks about the title - he's not the one buying the book! If I thought I could attract twenty-thousand more readers by changing my title I'd do it in a heart-beat. I want people to read my book. I write the content. I'll let the wizards in marketing worry about the title.

This example is especially true in Science-Fiction. Science-Fiction is all about creating new worlds. This makes titles even more of a challenge, not less. Your book might be about a new world called Rangathragar or Broomsplendor, or who-knows, but using that as your book title is going to leave most readers out in the cold. Why? Because, WTF is Rangathragar?

"But, my book is about 'Rangathragar,'" you might say. "It's the perfect title."

Well, from a thematic point of view, you're bang on. From a marketing point of view, you're missing the point! On its own, out of context, it means absolutely nothing. It's not going to sell your book. You can't expect readers to have an emotional connection with a title that's meaningless to them.

Imagine if 'Lord of The Rings' had been called 'Sauron.' Or worse, 'Rings.' Sauron means nothing if you haven't read the book, and rings - well, rings could mean anything. Both choices amount to zero emotional response. That's all I'm trying to say. Did you know that 'Alien' was originally called 'Star Beast?' Blech. Sometimes writers are the last people who should be choosing titles.

I almost called my own book 'Alcyone.' Why not? It makes sense. But, I knew it was meaningless if you weren't familiar with the context of the book. For the title to be effective I had to give the reader context. Thus, I chose 'The Girls from Alcyone.' This gives a much stronger hint to what the book is about. It means something. Put in context with the cover - two girls, armed and standing alone on an alien world - creates a far more compelling picture than 'Alcyone' ever could. The weapons speak to the fact that it's an adventure as well. Sure it's pulpy. The book is pulpy. I'm pulpy! It all has to work together.

Why did I choose those elements? Because I had a specific target market in mind. As I mentioned earlier, I was aiming directly at readers who wanted books featuring female heroins, guns and adventure, with a bit of space opera thrown in. I wanted the title and cover to hit all those marks.

What does your cover and title say about your book, and who does it appeal to?

Lastly, when considering a title, make sure you do a search of that title! I'm amazed this doesn't occur to more writers. If you do a search of your title and four, six, twelve other books come up, well, perhaps you might want to rethink using it. It doesn't matter if it fits perfectly. If there are already two hundred and fourteen other books out there called 'Bloodletting' (honestly, I lost count) then perhaps throwing your book into this confusing mix isn't in your best interest.

Is your book not selling? Maybe consider a new cover. And, yes, maybe even consider a new title. What's the worst that can happen? Nothing. But - you might find your book finally finding an audience.

Let me know what you think. But more than that, let me know what you think about your book's title and cover!

Oh, and hands off Rangathragar! I'll be using that. Just not as a title.

17 June 2013

BOOK: Alone in the Crowd by Patrick Stutzman

Thank you so much for participating in the blog tour for my third book!





ALONE IN THE CROWD by PATRICK STUTZMAN
 Available on 15 June 2013 on Amazon


Cover Art by Tomomi Ink

Alone No More?

Earth has finally sent a colony to the moon where Anna has been stranded, bringing with it hope of rescue. Although some are not quick to trust her, others welcome her with open arms, and she finds an unlikely friendship in a young colonist named Jason.

As Anna teaches the settlers to survive, the looming threat of the aliens' return casts a dark, foreboding shadow over the colony. Can she earn the colonists' trust and prepare them in time for first contact?

LINKS
Visit the author’s website at The Worlds of Patrick Stutzman

See what other works are available from the author at Amazon’s Patrick Stutzman page

Visit the cover artist’s website at Tomomi Ink


14 June 2013

Odd Drinks With Dangerous Men. Week Four of Merchantman: SciFiFanSat!


Welcome to another edition oSciFi Fantasy Saturday - our little web-ring of fab SciFi & Fantasy writers and posters. Check out snippets from other SFFS authors here: scififansat.blogspot.ca.

Posting from my WiP
THE GIRLS FROM ALCYONE: MERCHANTMAN
(a novelette from the world of Alcyone)

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special girls who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.

LAST WEEK Sigrid was introduced to Corbin Price, the merchant trader. Some readers seemed concerned that Sigrid might share a drink with the fellow. I can't imagine anything remotely close to that happening. Let's find out.


read part one here
read part two here
read part three here

Part Three of Merchantman: 


Corbin Price snapped two pudgy fingers and signalled over a server. The rail-thin girl, no older than fifteen, leaned over, her flimsy garment giving the trader a generous view of her wan flesh, much to his delight. Sigrid felt her fists clenching her nails digging into the palms of her hand. Corbin Price retrieved one of the little glasses from her tray. 
"A little lubricant to smooth negotiations?"
With all eyes on her, Sigrid realized she was to take one, perhaps as part of some social ritual. The contents registered as tequila; the black worm seemed an odd thing, but her database confirmed that this was done. After a cautious sniff, she downed the shot and wiped her mouth on her sleeve. Her eyes never wavered from the fat trader across the table.



If you're curious to read more, I've posted the entire rough draft of Merchantman here (notice the link up top!). I'm also happy to email you a Kindle copy.

Cheers,
Cary!

7 June 2013

Week Three of Merchantman: ScifiFanSat!



Welcome to another edition oSciFi Fantasy Saturday - our little web-ring of fab SciFi & Fantasy writers and posters. Check out snippets from other SFFS authors here: scififansat.blogspot.ca.

Posting from my WiP
THE GIRLS FROM ALCYONE: MERCHANTMAN
(a novelette from the world of Alcyone)

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special girls who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.

LAST WEEK: Sigrid was just pulling up to Konoe Station in time to see the very swanky freighter arrive. Now, Sigrid visits a Gentleman's club where she comes face to face with the Merchantman himself, Corbin Price.


read part one here
read part two here

Part Three of Merchantman: 


Sigrid scanned the room. The man they sought was here, this trader, leader of the Merchantmen. He occupied a table on a raised platform to the rear overlooking the club. He was fat, rolls of pudgy flesh billowed out between the folds of his trousers and his shirt. The vile cologne he wore threatened to overwhelm her sensors from across the room. Worse odors lingered.
Two girls sat to either side of him, barely aware of their surroundings; drugged, Sigrid knew. The morphgesic cocktail in their bloodstream registered heavily in her PCM. It was a miracle the girls were conscious. Tired eyes looked up at her as she approached, suspicious, leery, their thin hands clinging to the fat man at their side and the coin he promised.



If you're curious to read more, I've posted the entire rough draft of Merchantman here (notice the link up top!). I'm also happy to email you a Kindle copy if you'd like.

Cheers, Cary!