Jeremy D Brooks

Archive for September, 2010

Guest Spots and a Halloween Preview

by on Sep.30, 2010, under Random Yappings, Writing

I have two guest essays out in the blogosphere this week:

A discussion on self-publishing at the Casa de Mercedes, and my thoughts on self-editing over at Kate Taylor’s blog.

Stop by and say hi…

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Can ya smell what The Rock is cookin'?

As expected, sales are slowly rolling in for the book. Very slowly (I’ll share more when I have relevant data). Right now I’m digging into the stumping part of the show, which for a writer is like going to the doctor for shots with big, rusty needles.

I did get a decent review over at {Indie}pendent Books…very cool of Jenna and company to do that. I really hope to get to their Indie Book event next summer, but it’s in NYC, and the flight and hotel alone would be close to a grand. If you’re in the area, or can afford the flight, it’s a conference to keep on your calendar.

~~~

I have a few more guest blog spots lined up over the next several weeks. I promise I won’t spend every day talking about this damn novel. In fact, I’ll have a new topic over the next few weeks: Halloween props. Think I want wacky with the props last year? Wait until you see this batch.

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Guest Blogger: Kody Boye

by on Sep.29, 2010, under Guests

On this fine Wednesday morning, we have a guest essay from dark fiction writer Kody Boye…have a read, and be sure to check out his current and upcoming works at http://kodyboye.com/

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Why I Write

One of the first things we learn about writing is the reason why people write—to entertain, to inform, to educate. For some, writing is a simple form of expression, something they keep to themselves for fear of being ridiculed or humiliated. For others, writing is so much more. But to those who write fiction—whether it be horror, romance, crime or something else—there is always a set goal a writer sets out to accomplish when setting his pen to paper or his fingers to his keys.

When I first started seriously writing back in 2006, I wrote simply to tell stories and to hopefully have people enjoy them. However, in the past year-and-a-half (particularly since the beginning of 2009,) I’ve been writing for a completely different reason, one that most would probably find noble in regard to the overall creation of my craft.

Why do I write, you ask?

I write to impact those who read my work.

After reading that sentence, you’re probably thinking—Impact? What are you writing that impacts me? That in itself is a question left up for personal interpretation. However, little of what I write nowadays is without some kind of inner metaphor for something much greater in the grand scheme of things.

For example—one of the stories within my collection Amorous Things deals with the process of what happens after death and how, even though you have physically passed on, people still care for you. Crime scene investigators, morticians, grave keepers, preachers—so many people are involved in a process that is ultimately meant to put those around you at ease, yet few ever truly realize this at the time of such happenings. Funerals are events we are quick to put behind us, if only because of the pain they bring, but what about the people who work with the dead? How are they impacted by those they work with, the people they care for after they have died?

That, dear reader, is the question that ran through my head when I wrote my story An Amorous Thing, and that same type of question is constantly floating throughout my mind. There is always a big What if? clouding the frontal lobe of my brain, the section of the human mind that processes emotion and gives life to the personality each and every person on the planet has. When one of these What ifs? run through my mind, I begin to process it like most ordinary people do—I think about it for a long, long time, then try to decide just what it means. When such processes begin to occur in my brain, I begin to relate these ideas into physical or emotional things.

For example, I have an overwhelming admiration and appreciation for mannequins because I feel sad for them. Why do I feel sad for them? Because I believe they lack the human qualities that they are designed to have, such is the reason I get depressed when I see a mannequin without its head. The correlation of having a head/mind and being able to think is a strong visual image, which in turn translates into an emotional one. When I have both a visual and emotional image of something and I feel as though it has a life beyond more than a simple idea, I flesh it into a creature of words and allow it to explain itself to those who may not have realized its story otherwise.

When I began having such emotional attachments to the work I create at the beginning of 2009, I knew I wanted to use my ability as a storyteller to open someone’s eyes to the possibility of something in a way that it is normally not represented. Whether I’m comparing the idea of sentience to something that does not have it or demonstrating the human quality of love to those who work on and around cadavers, I’m attempting to enlighten people to a different way of thinking. When I’m not attempting to enlighten someone about something, I attempt to explain it in a way that might make it more understandable. With that in mind, you could consider the way I write a form of brainwashing, as I attempt to paraphrase something in the form of something else to make you believe it in a certain way, but for the sake of this article, I’ll simple say that I attempt to teach things when I write, albeit in a more rewarding format.

You’ve asked me why I write. I’ll respond with this: I write to teach. I write to enlighten. I write to understand.
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Kody Boye
Dark Genre Writer

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Amity Paperback Release

by on Sep.27, 2010, under Writing

OK, this is the big swing I’ve been waiting for…

AMITY IS NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK ON AMAZON!

To recap the formats we have it in:

Amazon–paperback

Amazon Kindle Store–Kindle ebook (also Kindle PC, Kindle iPhone/iPad, Kindle Android)

Amazon UK–Kindle ebook for UK readers

Barnes and Noble–Nook ebook (also Nook PC, Nook iPhone/iPad, Nook Android)

Smashwords–other ebook formats, including PDF and HTML

It has been submitted to the Sony Reader bookstore and the iPad bookstore, so if you’re holding out for those, check back often…I’ll post if I hear of them going live.

Run—don’t walk!—to your booksite of preference and pick up a copy or seven. Or just one.

And as always, thank you all so much for your support as I try to stand this self-funded book up in the big, scary publishing world. Every book you buy helps, and every person you tell helps even more…and every review, rating, comment, or tag you leave on Amazon helps even more.

Whether you love AMITY or hate it (I suspect there may not be a lot of people on the fence about this book), your support helps continue the push to legitimize independent, self-funded literature—not just for me, but for all of you as well.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish my fetal-rocking and nail-biting.

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Amity Ebooks are Here

by on Sep.17, 2010, under Writing

I’ve been holding back on making a big stink over this, but, as most of you probably already know:

AMITY is now available in e-book!

Hot damn on a biscuit.

I have a dedicated Amity page set up (top link or the banner on the right side) with details, but, to save you the click:

Amity ebook is available at

Amazon–Kindle ebook (also Kindle PC, Kindle iPhone/iPad, Kindle Android)

Amazon UK–Kindle ebook for UK readers

Barnes and Noble–Nook ebook (also Nook PC, Nook iPhone/iPad, Nook Android)

Smashwords–other ebook formats, including PDF and HTML

…and is in the queue for Diesel, Sony, and the iPad store. For all of the electronic versions, you can download free software to read it on your PC and most iPhone/Blackberry/Android phones.

I’m targeting 10/1 for the paperback release, so stay tuned if you’re holding out for a physical book. I just got a proof from the printer but had to send it back for some changes. The final book will look great…very happy with the layout.

Last but not least: I’ve been sitting on the book trailer until the paperback release, but what the hell…since it’s delayed a couple of weeks, I don’t want to wait any longer (click through to YouTube to watch in HD).

Enjoy…

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Amity Cover Art

by on Sep.09, 2010, under Writing

…and, without further ado, the front cover for Amity:

This is what all the fuss is about. This.

So excited…

The Smashwords version is already up and looks great, much better than I expected. The Amazon DTP (ebook) link should be done processing tonight or tomorrow, and I’ll do an official announcement with links then. The Amazon paperback release will probably be a few weeks—the content and artwork files are processing, and I’m hoping to get my mits on a proof and approve it for release by 9/24.

WOOT

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Because I Can

by on Sep.07, 2010, under Writing

Obviously, one of the great risks of self-publishing is that you are leaping without an editor to tell you if you’ve stepped off of the right part of the cliff. The world’s editorial experts explore those cliffs daily and, although no less subservient to gravity than the authors they represent, are probably in a better position to combine and assess the relevant variables of success than an average writer preparing to make the leap alone.

But jumping without a diving coach doesn’t prevent one from falling; it just increases the odds of landing on something harder and sharper than water.

I’m not Emily Brontë, and I’m not Aristotle, and I’m certainly not Leo Tolstoy. Some writers’ work could scarcely be improved with editorial oversight. I, rest assured, am not one of them. Neither are you.

Pic related.

So, you ask with a twitching eye and tilted jaw, why are you still screwing around with that book—the one that no agents in Manhattan would represent? You don’t have an editor.

Two reasons, I reply as I pull on my high-test, impact-absorbing, Styrofoam-lined diving shorts.

First: I have a completed story, and I like it. I’ve spent months cleaning and tightening and tweaking; I’ve gotten feedback from several readers, and have made the right edits. I like what’s left.

Second: Ultimately, I don’t need anyone’s goddamn permission to publish my book, and that’s essentially what you’re asking for when you query agents. Editorial oversight has value, to be sure; but the business side of publishing has rejected my book (and I’m certainly not alone), and the risk-taking literature-loving side of the business couldn’t pick up the slack even if it wanted to (assuming that my book isn’t complete garbage).

As I mentioned over at idealog this morning: you’re going to lose 100% of the races that you don’t enter. Will my book only sells ten copies? Will every Amazon reader review declare it to be the Waterworld of literature?

Only one way to find out.

So, I’m trying. And studying. And working my ass off.

And killing myself trying to write a synopsis (sweet Zeus, that’s hard…)

But I have it whittled down to a basic strategy:

1. Focus on Amazon DTP and Smashwords for epub

2. Try to align a CreateSpace release as close as possible to the epub release

3. Try and get copies into the hands of people who may like it and may talk about it

4. YouTube trailer, bookmarks left all over the world, whatever kind of collateral I can get out

5. Socialization…this is really a weak point for me. As much as I’d love to have people helping spread the word, the honest truth is that I don’t have a strong network. If I was a salesman or MLM marketer, I would have starved to death a long time ago. But, still, I’ll do what I can. Anyone need guest-posters for their blogs? :-)

I’m getting excited as I move closer. Depending on how long the DTP and CS review processes take, I could be selling books by the end of next week. Next week!

Hot damn.

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The Rumblings of OCD

by on Sep.03, 2010, under Music, Reading, Writing

Heathcliff…it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home
I’m so cold, let me in your window

God, how chilling.

I’ve never read Wuthering Heights, but for some reason I remembered this song from the 80s (I had never heard Kate Bushes original but my sister drilled Pat Benatar’s version deep into my head when she was in middle school). I made the mistake of looking it up on YouTube today, and I’ve probably listened to it thirty times since noon. The lyrics are the very definition of haunting.

Now I find myself drilling through The Shipping News as fast as I can so I can read Wuthering Heights this weekend. Yeah, I’m obsessive. Good thing, too, otherwise I’d never finish writing a book.

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Oh, if only I could brood like Ralph Fiennes...Catherine would be mine.

As of tonight, I have gone through Amity a tenth time stem-to-stern, and it is officially locked for edits. There is nothing I can do at this point to improve it (for better or worse), and I think I’ve caught all of the little spelling and grammatical issues.

During my last copyedit, I put some effort into formatting as well—preparing it for ebook release. That’s been an interesting process, as there are so many different requirements for different ebook formats.

If you have an ebook reader (or plan on releasing an ebook), do yourself a favor and download Calibre. It has been very valuable. It takes your input file (HTML works best) and converts it into epub, mobi, RTF, or whatever format you need. Keep in mind that most sites like Smashwords and Amazon DTP won’t accept pre-formatted ebooks and you’ll end up uploading a .doc or .html file. And, it isn’t good for advanced editing for tables, graphics, or tables of contents. However, Calibre has served two great uses for me in marching toward self-publishing:

  1. You can save your book as an ebook to get an idea of what will happen to the formatting when it gets spit out of the other end of a meatgrinder. I re-formatted and saved five times before I was happy with the output.
  2. Reading your book all the way through as an ebook gives you a totally different dimension than reading it on paper or on-screen. I caught some editorial things that I may have missed—the look and feel is so different that it’s like reading someone else’s book, and that can help you assess it with a bit more objectivity. Of course, that requires an ereader in addition to Calibre. Something to consider.

I’ll go into some detail on the benefits on the various formats soon. I also want to spend some time dissecting the benefits and best ways to get out to the various resellers. Soon. Next week, probably.

Also: I have cover art!

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