As I gear up my novel writing and publishing (self and traditional) endeavors, I have come to realize that I need some help. Cover design, editing, distribution, sales methods, software subscriptions, social media ads, etc., can be very expensive. Self-publishing has become a viable option for thousands of writers, although I’ll be honest, I resisted this method for the longest time. After going through the wringer with a traditional publisher and narrowly avoiding a few pitfalls that merely delayed my creative output, I’ve decided to self-publish some of my writing.
“But Jerry …” Yeah, I know. I have to actually write and create content. This is very true. I have been an avid blogger since 2013 and I enjoy it greatly. And as many posts as I’ve published, I can still write more and more regularly. In addition to writing full-length novels, I enjoy penning short stories and the occasional poem as well. I have always taken advantage of WordPress’ free blog publishing ecosystem, but in order to take this whole operation to the next level I know I will have to invest some money in this enterprise.
So, my faithful readers, I am asking for your help. I have opened up Buy Me a Coffee and Patreon accounts so you can assist me in getting these stories out of my head. In return, you’ll get exclusive content and plenty of sneak peeks of works in progress. Every little bit helps and I would certainly appreciate your support in keeping the lights on while I craft tales of darkness for your reading pleasure.
As I always say, if you keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them.
I’m not an anxious person. I don’t suffer from anxiety. At least I didn’t think so before COVID-19. I didn’t think so before I lost the day job. I still don’t think I do in the clinical sense. A former coworker of mine, when he texted to wish me well after learning we weren’t coworkers anymore, joked that I probably had written a raft of books during stay-at-home orders. My response was, “You’d think.” But it made me think instead. I had started the fourth novel in my Dark Passage series, I did have a short story burning a hole in my brain. Well, between COVID, the day job, and then the election, I realized I was living with a crippling base level of anxiety.
I have always prided myself on being self-aware, and that was one helluva realization. Since then I have put some serious work in on The Dark Dawn (working title), and I crushed that short story, although it was rejected by two science fiction magazines. So, I think I’ll build an anthology around it.
As I was figuring out why I hadn’t written more with nothing but time on my hands, I took a long, hard look at the traffic on my personal blog and I came to another realization. The more I’ve blogged over the past eight years, the more traffic I’ve gotten. Now, you may be thinking, “Well, Jerry, duh.” A fellow author has been trying to tell me the same thing when it comes to my fiction. It’s not like I don’t have ideas. My excuse used to be that I had a day job to worry about. Writing was a hobby. It was an evening and a weekend thing. Then COVID hit and that crippling anxiety started to set in.
So, what have I done to combat this? I turned to the personal blog and have been posting quite frequently since September. The week before Christmas I wrote more than 3,000 words in The Dark Dawn, so I like to think the blogging helped.
The bottom line is this: I need to write more. That’s all there is to it. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, I set goals. So, I have set the goal to write more and produce more content. Hopefully, this will be met with enthusiasm. I have big plans for 2021 and the overarching goal will be to entertain you with this twisted tales that have been rattling around in my head.
Boy, 2020 has been one … helluva year. Between the COVID-19 global pandemic, the election and a whole host of other things I don’t care to mention in this forum, challenging doesn’t begin to describe what kind of year it’s been.
However, I still find things to be thankful for, and my faithful readers are right there at the top of the list. Three years ago last week, I realized a lifelong dream of becoming a published author. My first novel, The Dark Truth, was published by Trifecta Publishing House (to whom I am eternally grateful) November 17, 2017. It took 13 months to write the book and another six or so to bring it to market. My one-book deal quickly became a three-book deal, and The Dark Descent and The Dark Terror were published in fairly rapid succession. It’s amazing what one can accomplish when on deadline.
One of the things that I have come to enjoy is the book signing/reading event. Thanks to the support of Barnes & Noble and several independent booksellers, I was able to host three successful book tours. I met readers and shoppers in Alameda, Dublin, Sacramento, Davis, Modesto, Emeryville, Oakland, Manteca, Gilroy, Antioch, Concord, Folsom, and Hayward (forgive me if I missed anyone). I enjoyed many memorable interactions with hundreds of people. I’m thankful to each and every person who stopped by to buy a book, paused to chat or ask questions, and those who actually came to the bookstore just to see ME.
I’ve also had several opportunities to appear on radio and TV shows and podcasts to discuss the writing craft and promote my books. From Late Hits on SiriusXM NFL Radio to A Little Bit of Everything with Angelica Goncalves, I’ve been given fantastic platforms to discuss my passion.
Each book features an acknowledgements section, you’ll have to read the novels to see who has helped me along the way (wink).
Prior to 2020, I had rarely experienced rejection as a writer, if any. Sure, the redlined edits in the first thing I ever wrote for publication almost made me cry. But I learned. I hustled as a sports writer for a small newspaper in Baltimore covering Canadian football of all things. I learned. I spent 20 years working for a professional football team. I learned. However, this year, I’ve learned the pain of rejection – personally and professionally. I wrote a short story that I submitted to a few magazines that declined. And I experienced a professional setback. But I also experienced a professional writing win recently. So, it’s not all bad. I’m not going to get into detail because it’s not that kind of party. Let’s just say I have learned.
I just wanted to take a few moments and a few words to say thank you to everyone who has bought my books, those who have read or listened to them, the folks who left reviews, those who gave me a chance to talk about my work, the people who visit this website or follow me on Twitter or Instagram, or “like” my Facebook page and follow me there.
I truly hope that as this crazy, tumultuous year comes to a close, you can find something to be thankful for in your life. I hope you have been lucky enough to have not lost anyone close to you this year. If you have lost someone, I offer my heartfelt condolences.
I write for me. I publish and share for you. If my stories or posts have entertained you in any way, that makes me happy. I am truly thankful for all of you who have supported me and those who continue to do so. Thank you all. Rest assured, there is more to come. That’s a promise.
This year has been unprecedented in so many ways, for yours truly as well. The global Coronavirus pandemic rages on, large numbers of people are out of work or working from home, businesses continue to suffer as in-person patronage is restricted or shut-down all together. That doesn’t mean there isn’t optimism or reasons for hope. The holiday season is upon us, and as we have to take extraordinary precautions or cancel plans altogether, we can still find reasons to be thankful and rejoice – hence the proclamation in the headline.
I have never been a particularly optimistic person, and if you’ve read my books, you know that I lean into the darker things in life and entertainment. My escapism leads me into the macabre. It helps me deal with the realities of day-to-day life. My reading and movie and TV watching is on the darker side as well.
But you might be surprised to know that I adore the holidays. It helps that, to me, the holiday season starts with Halloween. One of the areas of the economy that has been hit the hardest are independent bookstores. A GoFundMe was started to save City Lights in San Francisco, and now it’s in the news that The Strand in New York is in big trouble as well.
There is a tremendous convenience ordering from Amazon, especially this time of year. And when it comes to books, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are great ways to order reading material online. However, if you can support your local indie bookstore in someway, I encourage you to do so.
My books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online yes, and many times Amazon will drop the prices (for whatever reason), and Barnes & Noble stores here in Northern California have been tremendously supportive of yours truly. However, numerous local indie stores have been supportive as well. If they offer in-store shopping or curbside pick-up, please try to support them this holiday season. Of course, I’d love for you to pick up a few copies of my writings, but hey, that’s up to you. If they don’t carry my books in-store, ask for them or you can order through their online store (if they have one).
So, if you have a book lover on your holiday shopping list, or just need new books for yourself, try to support your local indie stores.
I hope everyone reading this is healthy and safe during your respective COVID-19 stay-at-home situations. It seems like every network morning show has been chronicling efforts to avoid boredom during this global pandemic. Many people have been locked down with their families, often with small children, and have been finding ways to while away the hours. From binge watching, video games, and Zoom chats to making masks and finding ways to support local businesses – folks have gotten very creative.
The past few years I have made a concerted effort to read more books. I am guilty of acquiring books and not reading them on multiple counts. Sometimes it is the mere shopping and purchasing that excites me. I love books and I loved being surrounded by them. So, a couple of years ago I challenged myself to read more. And as successful as I was in that endeavor, nothing has contributed to my reading fix as this shelter-in-place reality.
I reset the count every January and I started the year off strong with five books completed up until March 5. Since stay-at-home, I have read 19 more for a total of 24 for the year so far. I have never read so much in my life. And my selections have been all over the place. From science fiction, Stephen King, and thrillers to Beat, classics and controversial – I have been all over the place with my selections. Of the 24 I have read, I think I have only disliked four.
I have recently written on my personal blog that I am a fan of Stephen King and I was mortified at how little of his work I have actually read. I list him as one of my greatest influences, yet, to-date, I have only read 18 of his books. As much as I have taken the opportunity to burn through my TBR pile, I have decided to read the last three novels in Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk series, and then binge read King. I have a stack of King’s books, novels and short story collections, at the ready. I won’t have to buy any new ones of his for quite awhile. I only hope I can maintain my current pace.
It is commonly accepted that to be a good writer, one must read and read a lot. I subscribe to this theory. You would think that during this situation I would be writing a lot as well. I am not an anxious person by nature, nor do I suffer from anxiety. However, there is a paralyzing cloud hovering over my creativity. I have written about 9,000 words in my current project, not nearly as much as I probably should have in two-and-a-half months. For those of you who have read my books, and enjoyed them, rest assured more is coming. Once the idea spigot was turned on, it has yet to shut off. I just need to get past the malaise I find myself in.
So, if you are bored and looking for something to do and you have yet to crawl into your preferred reading nook with a good book, might I suggest you do so. And if I may be so bold, I encourage you to curl up with one of mine. Obviously, Amazon is always open, but if you can find a way to support your local indie bookseller, I hope that you would.
Not too long ago I had the opportunity to be a guest on an award-winning podcast – A Little Bit of Everything with Me with Angelica Goncalves. As much I love reading and writing books, I may enjoy talking about them even more.
Unfortunately, these prices are always subject to change without notice. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy of any of my books, now is a great time. Get the whole set or get the one you haven’t read yet.
The second event in The Dark Terror book tour, a signing at the Modesto Barnes & Noble location last Saturday, went very well. I met some new readers, some new Barnes & Noble booksellers, and got reacquainted with loyal fans and friends.
The next event is this Saturday night in San Francisco. I have teamed up with the award-winning Vampire Tour of San Francisco for a very special event in support of my latest release, The Dark Terror. The event gets underway at 7:00 p.m. and the cost is $25 per person (please bring cash).
I’ll have books for sale and a set of The Dark Passage series to give away. So, join me and “Mina Harker” for bloody fun in San Francisco this Saturday night.
On Saturday, April 13, I’ll be at the Dublin, Calif., Barnes & Noble along the I-580 corridor at Hacienda Crossings. This will be my second event at this location. The Dark Terror book tour wraps up Saturday, April 20, at Arden Fair Mall’s Barnes & Noble in Sacramento. This will be my third appearance at the Arden Fair Barnes & Noble.
As I noted on my personal blog recently, there are many steps to the book creation process and there are some more exciting than others. One of the most thrilling is receiving your author copies. The first 15 copies of The Dark Terror arrived yesterday and they look fantastic, if I do say so myself.
It’s like Christmas morning when this package arrives. After months of writing, weeks of editing, reviewing the electronic files and then finally getting to see the physical book and hold it in your hands, that’s exhilarating.
The Dark Terror is available for pre-order, and as I often like to write and say, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.