The book tour in support of my second novel, The Dark Descent, wrapped up yesterday with a signing event at the Dublin, Calif., Barnes & Noble store. Geographically, this store is centrally located and offered the best opportunity for friends and colleagues to stop by. Several did just that. So, thank you to the Cortez family, the Griffin-Bailey family, Wayne Deboe, Bill Soliday and Tony Khing for coming by, picking up a book or two and supporting my writing endeavors.
Since The Dark Descent’s release on April 23, I participated in two panel discussions and four signings. I sold dozens of books, handed out just as many bookmarks and postcards, and met even more folks. During the past two months, my first novel, The Dark Truth, was a finalist for the International Vampire Arts and Film Festival’s Golden Stake vampire literature award.
I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and hang out with some groovy authors – K.M. Riley, Mike Esola, Mark London Williams, and Samantha Heuwagen. It’s been great to get to know folks who share my passion for fiction writing. It’s also good to know that we are experiencing the same trial and tribulations as we begin our journeys, kick start existing careers or change directions along the way.
I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the wonderful folks who have stopped by to chat, buy a book, take a postcard or just say “hi.” If you did take a postcard I hope you do decide to purchase and give The Dark Passage series a shot.
Different things work for different people when it comes to indie or small house book marketing. Some writers buy ads on social media platforms or Amazon, some send press releases to various publications, some make appearances on radio, television and podcasts. Some do readings. Some do all of these things and more. I have explored numerous avenues trying to get my books to readers. I have found that I enjoy book signings at Barnes & Noble stores as part of my marketing campaign.
I’m still finding way through these sometimes murky waters and those of you who have decided to take a chance on me and my novels because of a conversation we had at a bookstore – I thank you. And I’d like to thank everyone who has bought and read the books so far, my friends and colleagues who have come out to support, and those folks who stopped by just to see what it was all about.
You never know, I just may take the next book tour out of Northern California.
After an enjoyable signing event at the Gilroy, Calif., Barnes & Noble location, The Dark Truth book tour has drawn to a close. However, The Dark Descent releases four weeks from tomorrow on Monday, April 23. I’ll post pre-sale information as soon as it becomes available.
I’d like to thank friends and co-workers who came to out to support me, and of course, the people I met at these events – those who purchased on the spot, ordered later, or just stopped by to chat. I have met a lot of great people so far, and I am looking forward to meeting more book lovers.
Details have yet to be finalized, but I have several more events in the works. I’ll be returning to a couple of locations and adding a few new ones for The Dark Descent book tour. I was interviewed for the Write About Now podcast recently. I’ll let you know when the episode is available for your listening pleasure. I am also scheduled for an appearance on Write Now with Sarah Werner in July.
Work on The Dark Terror continues. I don’t know where it’s going to go or how it ends, but it’s been a wild ride to write the first 12,000 words. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to get and read The Dark Truth, and get ready for The Dark Descent. April 23 will be here before you know it. And you don’t want Elizabeth knocking on your window in the middle of the night.
If you have read the book, please drop a review on the web site for the store where you made the purchase. Any and all feedback is welcome and encouraged.
The book tour is starting to heat up. After three radio interviews, a TV appearance, and a signing at Barnes & Noble Arden Fair in Sacramento, I’ll be at Mockingbird Books in Tracy, Calif., Friday night from 7 – 9 p.m. There will be refreshments.
Geronimo at Mockingbird was the first person to schedule yours truly for a signing. I finally got to meet Mark the last time I stopped in. It’s a great local store with an eclectic selection. It’s the epitome of a small town bookstore – new, used, high-end collector’s editions, kids books, graphic novels and more. The only thing the store is missing is a resident cat.
I’m looking forward to seeing my friends, coworkers and neighbors, in addition to meeting some great new people at this event.
Come on out, get a copy of The Dark Truth, and get it signed. Already have yours? Bring it and I’ll sign it for you.
Becoming a published author carries a lot with it. It starts with a tiny seed of a dream, which grows into the dream itself. It doesn’t have to be an honest-to-goodness REM sleep dream. It can be a pipe dream, a daydream, a thought. Hell, King Kong came from a pipe dream. The dream eventually becomes a goal. The goal turns into a story and characters and hours and hours of typing, research, reading, Google searches (some that could land you on a government watch list), more typing, editing, emails, texts, paralyzing self-doubt, more typing, hesitation, trepidation, consternation.
That stack of vampire books you’ve collected over the years that your friends and co-workers made fun of you for finally comes in handy.
More typing. Did I mention typing?
After all that, and 59,000 words later, you write “The End” and try to figure out how to get this masterpiece you’ve spent 13 months composing published, so you can share this story with more than your wife, your editor and your friends.
More research, more reading, more typing, more email.
You get lucky, or experience serendipity or divine providence (if you’re into that kind of thing), and get offered a contract from the first publisher you query. More typing, re-writes (6,000 more words), more editing, beta readers, cover concepts, release dates, pre-sale.
Along the way, you achieve certain milestones and new dreams form or come to the surface.
I have idolized writers my entire life – the Beats, Shelley, Poe, Stoker, King, Koontz, Lovecraft, Rice. I have been fascinated by the men and women who have been able to tell tales via the written word. I write for a living, but this is different. Books are extremely valuable to me. I can’t bring myself to throw books away. They must be donated or passed along. Books helped make me who I am, what I am.
And I have grown to love bookstores. I could live in a bookstore. I’ve been known to crawl around on the floor of a bookstore. I could live in an Irish pub too but that’s a story for a different day. As much as I have an affinity for musty, dank indie bookstores, I don’t mind the big chains either. If they sell books, they’re okay with me. Now, if someone were to combine a bookstore with an Irish pub …
Becoming a published author has given me a seat at a table where I’ve always wanted to sit. I’m in the company of people I admire and envy, yet to whom I now feel somewhat equal. Those new dreams start to materialize and take shape. First, write a novel; second, get it published; third, put it on sale. Ah, there’s the rub, right? Where? Online, of course. Amazon. Smashwords. iTunes. Barnes & Noble’s web site. My publisher, Trifecta Publishing House, handled all of that. Boom, done. However, bookstores are the Holy Grail to me. If you are on the shelf in a bookstore, you’ve made it. That’s rarefied air.
My publisher has a major distributor. However, in today’s day and age, you, the author, must do a fair amount of hustling. So, I have sent hundreds of postcards and e-mails, and I have personally visited several bookstores. Some clerks look at you like you have three heads. Others promise to give your information to those who handle such things.
My local bookstore, which I adore, ordered two copies and sold them before I could see The Dark Truth on the shelf. I don’t know if they have ordered any more. I have a signing scheduled there in five weeks. My local Barnes & Noble ordered four copies right in front of me. They were gone by the time I went back, if they ever got them in.
My cousin Jason is a student at State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo in Geneseo, New York, near my hometown of Rochester. My father played college basketball at Geneseo. My friend John Tournour (also a published author), “JT The Brick” on the radio, went to SUNY Geneseo. If you have read The Dark Truth and got to the acknowledgements, you know that Jason’s constructive criticism was a big help to me in the beginning. He told me that he was a valued customer at Sundance Books in Geneseo. He said he would talk me up to the proprietor. He did. He suggested I call the store. I did. I spoke to the second in command. She said they were looking forward to the book’s release. She said they’d be happy to carry it.
Jason sent me a photo of The Dark Truth at the checkstand when he picked up the copy Sundance had ordered for him. There were none for the shelves. This was several weeks ago. Before the holidays.
My cousin tweeted a photo today. It’s a picture of two shelves at Sundance Books. The upper shelf is all Stephen King. The lower shelf is mostly Dean Koontz novels. Koontz happens to be my favorite author. Nestled between several Koontz books and a novel by Marko Kloos is The Dark Truth by Jerry Knaak.
This is the first time I have seen my book on a shelf in a bookstore. This may not be the first store to carry it or shelve it, but this is the first time I have seen it. I got chills seeing my volume on the shelf next to The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz. It is fortuitous that my last name begins with a “K” and that my work will be placed among stories by two of the best-selling authors, let alone two of my favorite. I staged a photo of The Dark Truth with my own copies of IT and The Silent Corner just to see how it would look. It looked pretty good. But to see it on a shelf among the greats – it looks like it belonged.
As a former U.S. Navy sailor and Navy journalist and broadcaster on AFRTS, it was a thrill for me to talk about my profession and my endeavors with this audience. It was during my time with AFRTS in Iceland that convinced me that I had a future in sports media. Twenty years later, I have carved out a niche for myself in the industry and started a new endeavor as a novelist.
I’ve known Rick for a number of years and I am grateful for his support and this opportunity to discuss my passions with a worldwide audience.
I had the opportunity to do two radio interviews recently in support of The Dark Truth – my good friend JT the Brick’s Las Vegas show on FOX Sports Radio, and Late Hits with Gil Brandt and Alex Marvez on SiriusXM NFL Radio. Thank you to JT, and Alex and Gil for their support and taking the time to make me look like a rock star. Listen in.