I am frustrated.
I haven’t been posting this summer because of family issues with my daughter’s health. But, she is doing very, very well and it is time for me to re-engage the creative side of my brain.
I haven’t been negligent of my writing. I am finishing up the final edit for “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos” and it will be available hopefully by late October. It will not be available in the usual traditional sense but you will be able to purchase it through bookstores, Amazone, B&N, etc. Now that I am no longer beholden to my previous publisher, I have much more freedom to tell the story the way I want to.
For instance, my previous two books suffered from the word limit demon (pardon the pun). I had to constrain my story to fit 75000 words. That required cutting major story elements and, in some cases, entire characters to fit the required word limit. While I don’t plan on going all Harry Potter on my readers and make the next books 700+ words, I have extended the upcoming book from 75000 to 90000 words.
I am back in the world of self-publishing and it is much different from the first time I self-published back in 2006. Self-publishing has gained in reputation since then. To give you an example, I ran my dilemma by Michael Hyatt back in February. If you don’t know who Michael Hyatt is, go to his website. He was former CEO of Thomas Nelson and has launched his own brand teaching authors how to communicate and how to build a platform for their work. I met him at the first annual Platform conference. Michael took one look at my previous two books in the Jonathan Steel Chronicles and quickly, confidently without hesitation told me to self-publish. This came from a man who was once the CEO of one of the largest Christian publishers in the world!
For a while, I pursued traditional publishing for the third book and met with half-hearted response. I don’t want to disparage my previous traditional publisher, but I think today’s tp’s don’t know how to effectively market Christian speculative fiction. Michael Hyatt made the comment this is the fastest growing sub-genre in Christian publishing. I have discussed problems with this genre in previous posts, the least being that bookstores don’t know where to put these books — Christian publishing or secular publishing areas.
So, it is up to those of us who write such books to decide if we cave in to the poor sales and poor marketing and little recognition or do we press on and continue to write the books God has placed on our hearts and minds. Authors such as Greg Mitchell, Mike Duran, Mike Dellosso, Marc Schooley, Linda Rios Brook, and Conlan Brown write speculative fiction and their works are fantastic, awe inspiring, moving, and wildly imaginative. Their books should be flying off the shelves. Instead, like me, they are struggling with balancing day jobs and writing supernatural thrilling stories that are trying to break their way out of our brains onto the written page.
Here is my plea. Check out the Christian speculative fiction market. But some books. Buy lots of books. Support your favorite Christian speculative fiction author and I’m not just talking about the giants such as Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti or Tosca Lee. Look for us little guys and gals who are struggling and promise to give you a good story — a great read that is wildly imaginative, thrilling, and yet, ultimately redemptive.
Give us a chance!
Buy one of our books as summer comes to a close and then post a review on Amazon or on your blog or your website. Help us flood American readers with the kind of thrilling supernatural stories the world is craving but with a different twist — a Christian worldview. Do that, and we will go a long way to changing the world’s attitudes — changing the world’s perception of reality — and showing the world the light and love of Christ!
I ran into Debbie Strang at the Charisma Media booth and she took me over to a shelf and showed me a mockup of my upcoming book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”. I cannot begin to tell anyone what it is like to hold your next book in your hands! It was awesome as you can see by my smile in this picture.
Then, Atalie, part of the Charisma team, told me that Matthew West was signing copies of his CD single RIGHT NOW! So, having just heard Matthew, I followed Atalie and got in line. She had to leave to go meet with the next author for his book signing and asked me to get her an autographed copy. It was interesting standing in line for a short while with her and a team member from Tyndale and listen to their “inside scoops” of prominent authors such as James Scott and lots of romance writers whose names you would instantly recognize. Then Atalie was off and I was standing in front of Matthew West. I told him how much his song meant to me and how I appreciate his desire to tell the stories all around us. He then looked at the card with my book cover on it (12th demon) and asked all about my book. He took a card and said he would read it when it came out. We’ll see!
I then took Atalie her CD and headed over to the FaithWords booth to get in line to see Tosca Lee and Ted Dekker — the biggest names right now in Speculative Christian Fiction.
Now, several weeks ago, I wrote a review of “Thunder and Rain” by Charles Martin. He is, without a doubt, one of my favorite top 5 authors. As I walked up to the booth, I spied a pile of “Thunder and Rain” books. I was stunned! Was Charles Martin here? I asked the man piling up the books and he pointed right behind me. There was Charles Martin talking to his wife. I had just missed his book signing. But, being an opportunist, I grabbed a book and, like a trembling fanboy, asked Charles to sign my book. He was gracious and funny and signed my book while I hemmed and hawed and tittered and giggled. I finally got control over myself and we had a nice conversation about his writing, his books, and the fact I was an author.
Then, heart pounding, I got in line for Tosca Lee and Ted Dekker. I handed Tosca my card with my book cover on it because I had written my name and my wife’s name on the back. At my book signings, I always have people write down the name they want the book dedicated to. This avoids any misspellings. Now, while in line, I spied “The Sanctuary”, Ted Dekker’s newest solo book and the front cover was suspiciously similar to the cover of “The 12th Demon” with an arched doorway just as my book had. I spoke with Tosca and Ted both about my book and when Tosca turned the card over, Ted’s mouth fell open. He jerked the card out of her hand and stared at MY cover. Tosca said something about how much it looked like his newest book cover. Ted looked up at me.
“Who did this cover?”
“The awesome graphic designers at Charisma Media.” I replied.
“This is better than my cover!”
So, here is a shout out to the graphic designers at Charisma. Ted Dekker loves the cover design for MY book! Way to go! I walked away proud to be an author for Charisma!!!
And, at that point, I had to leave and go pick up my daughter at the airport. But, it was an incredibly, unbelievable, fulfilling day at ICRS. And, tomorrow will be better!