author, blogger and book reviewer

Recent Posts

Here Comes Stana Claus: Book Deals, Blog Posts & Newsletters

fat-santaHard to believe there are only two pages left in the 2016 calendar. They say time flies when you’re having fun but it seems to me that it goes by pretty quickly regardless. I officially began my writing career when my youngest child was an infant, I became a stay-at-home dad, and I needed something to do to keep me out of the rubber room. I now have two published novels, a football-themed cookbook that’s complete but I haven’t quite decided what to do with it, and a third novel, my most ambitious work to date, is well underway. I don’t have a timetable or even a title at this point but I know those things will come. Oh, and that infant responsible for getting this ball rolling is now a freshman in high school. Her older brother is away at college. Yeah, time flies and I’m suddenly feeling very old.

A shot at redemption 3d  Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away and that mean Santa will be doing his annual breaking and entering routine before we know it. Being the kind and generous soul that I am, I’ve decided to lighten his load a bit while at the same time giving you a wonderful gift idea for the booklover on your list and at a cheerfully low price to. From now through Christmas Eve, A Shot at Redemption, my debut suspense novel, will be available on all e-book platforms for just $1.79. That includes Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo, Oyster, etc., etc.   You don’t have to deal with the holiday crowds. You don’t have to wrap. You don’t even have to see the recipient which is sometimes a good thing. Just use the gift option at checkout, enter an email address and preferred delivery date, and you’re good to go. It doesn’t get any better than that… except it might because I’m considering lowering the price on Parlor City Paradise too. Stay tuned for more info on that. Hey, it’s the season of joy and I’m just trying to do my part. All I ask in return is that you share this post with anyone you think might be interested, and if you read and enjoyed either of my books, please post a review. It only takes a couple minutes and it makes a huge difference, especially to lowly indie authors like me.

I do have one other small request. If you have not already done so, I would greatly appreciate it if you would sign up for my newsletter. Being a blog subscriber is not the same thing. And actually, I’m pondering some changes to my website and the blog post may go away or at least become a lot less frequent. You may have noticed that I’ve sort of scaled back on that already. I’d like you to stay informed, though, and getting on my email list is the best way to do that. Simply visit michaelsova.com, enter your email address in the field on the right and click Subscribe. You have my personal pledge that I will not fill your inbox with junk. You’ll barely hear from me at all. However, when I do have news on an event, a sale or a new book release, I want to be able to get the word out. Take a second to subscribe and please ask others to do the same. Thank you kindly.

And on that note, it’s time for me to get back to work. I need to finish the new manuscript so I can offer another great book deal at about this time next year. Let the Christmas shopping begin!

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.

 

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

You may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging a heck of a lot lately. Or, maybe you didn’t notice… and that’s sort of the problem.   With about as much fanfare as a passing cirrus cloud, my second book, a suspense novel titled Parlor City Paradise, hit the shelves a little over four months ago. The story is set in Binghamton, New York, a once extremely affluent city which has been grabbing a lot of headlines recently thanks to a group of kids from nearby Maine-Endwell winning the Little League World Series for the first time since 1964. If I’d had the slightest inkling something like that might happen, I could have easily drawn some literary connection. Maybe Skid Row, one of the novel’s main characters, actually played on that team before dropping out of school at a young age. Sadly, though, I lacked the proper foresight and that bandwagon has long since passed me by. I can almost hear the driver, who bears a striking resemblance to Clark W. Griswold, saying,” Let’s burn some dust here. Eat my rubber!”

frontThe point is, I’ve got kind of a bad taste in my mouth because my book, which I’m really rather proud of, did not make the big splash I’d hoped for. I shouldn’t be surprised. The independent publishing revolution is both a blessing and a curse. Regardless of the quality of the work, any author can have his/her novel, memoir, poetry collection or how-to book on the best technique for screwing in a light bulb, not only published but in the marketplace within a matter of hours. You don’t have to edit, proofread, or even run a spell check. That’s the curse. The blessing is that masterpieces such as A Shot at Redemption, books that may not have made it past the gatekeepers of traditional publishing, are now available to the general public. There are, so far as I can tell, somewhere in the neighborhood of two million books currently available on Amazon. A lot of them are really great too. It’s just getting more and more difficult to find the diamonds amidst all that rough.

If I’m sounding sorry for myself, that’s really not the case. I’m just in a re-evaluation period. Perhaps re-focus is a better term. If I’m going to get my head above water, I know I need a straight and clear path to the surface. It’s simple enough in principle but involves self promotion, marketing and advertising, three things I enjoy about as much as brussel sprouts, Chlamydia and the New England Patriots, not necessarily in that order.  However, we do what we gotta do, and the main thing I gotta do is continue to write and improve on my craft. I’m well into my third novel and, although I’m not ready to share plot details, I can tell you it’s by far my most ambitious and personal endeavor. How’s that for a teaser?

Of course, I can’t just write and publish books unless I can also find some way to let you (aka the entire literate world) know I have these great things available for your reading pleasure.  Ideally, each person who does buy and read one of my books would not only enjoy the experience but post a glowing review and then rush out to tell a dozen friends. That… um… doesn’t happen so much. Plenty of folks have told me they love my books but that’s about as far as it goes. So much for getting you to do my work for me. Unlike Tom Sawyer, it appears I’ve got to paint my own damn fence.

just front coverFor now, that fence painting will mostly take the form of attempting to expand my horizons. As I’ve mentioned before, radio station owner, morning man, voice over expert and blog interview subject Mark Andrews is producing the audio book version of A Shot at Redemption. The recording work is done and the book is now in the lengthy editing phase. Once it’s ready, I will plan some sort of release event that will likely include some radio advertising and/or promotion. I’m also still figuring out what to do with my 21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food cookbook. I think it has definite commercial appeal. I’m waiting on feedback from a couple beta readers and then I’ll decide what the next step(s) should be.

My final effort at horizon expansion is out of the literary realm altogether. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about blogging is getting the opportunity to meet and interview some really interesting people. Thus far, those people have all had some connection to writing or publishing. I guess I did make one exception when I interviewed Fantasy Football Today podcast host Adam Aizer. That was a bit of self-indulgence. I’m envious of anyone who makes a living talking about sports.  And in my next blog post, I will make an even larger exception when I interview Still: The Series creator, director and executive producer Jonathan Holbrook. What happens when an alien infection takes over a small Northwest town? You’ll have to watch the series to find out. You can, too. It’s available now on Amazon Prime . I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout makin’ no movies but I’m very much looking forward to finding out. And if you have any questions for Jonathan, please drop me a line and let me know.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.

July Update: Nothing to See Here

Would you be surprised if I told you the year is already more than half over? We are, after all, well into the month of July. Check your calendar. You will find that I speak the truth. Days are getting shorter, and we are closer to our next new year’s celebration than we are removed from our last one. Hell, at the time of this posting, there are only about 165 shopping days left until Christmas! Hmm…. Is it inappropriate to use the words hell and Christmas in the same sentence? Where was I going with all of this anyway? I’m honestly not sure. And that, it occurs to me now, is sort of the point of this whole thing.

Before I attempt to plow forward, please allow me a few moments to sum up what’s happened over the past several weeks. First and foremost, Parlor City Paradise, my second novel and a work I’m quite proud of, finally hit the market. I’d like to say there was much fanfare but, in actuality, the release of the novel was about as earth shattering as Jimmy McMillan’s 2016 presidential campaign.

radar blip You’ve surely heard of Jimmy. He’s a karate expert, former postal worker, former stripper, and founder of the well-known Rent is Too Damn High party. Oh, and he officially ran for president, not that anyone really noticed.   And it appears James “Jimmy” McMillan III and I have something in common. We both tried to do something significant, resulting in two tiny blips on one big ass radar. Here’s the difference. Jimmy’s political aspirations are dead and buried. I, on the other hand, will continue to fight the good fight in the hopes that someday, somehow, someone will start giving a crap. In the meantime, I would greatly appreciate it if you would do me one small favor. If you read and enjoyed either of my books, please tell a friend and perhaps even post a review. With your help, I can begin to get this ball rolling.

For independently published authors, it typically takes a minimum of three books to even begin to establish a brand, a fan base, a following, etc. That’s what I’m told anyway, and that’s the fragile lifeline I’m currently clinging to. If I keep producing quality work, that effort will eventually be acknowledged and appreciated. That, at least, is the prevailing theory. And if it doesn’t pan out, perhaps I’ll go back to cleaning grease traps at McDonald’s. I used to be really good at that. I also once dumped a 55 gallon drum of hot oil right across the drive-thru lane. I probably won’t mention that on my employment application.

Okay, so 3 is the magic number and that means my next book has to really be something special. I’m facing a bit of a dilemma there.   I’ve mentioned my 21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food cookbook a few times before. The manuscript is now complete and I think there’s a lot of commercial potential because the recipes are easy and delicious and the overall concept is new and different. Here’s the thing. I’ve inquired about beta readers in a couple writers forums I belong to and, so far, I haven’t gotten so much as a nibble. Am I reaching out to the wrong people or is my totally awesome idea not so awesome after all? I don’t have an answer to that one and, at this juncture, I’m not sure how best to proceed.  A book such as this would require a fairly significant investment on my part and I haven’t decided yet if it’s an investment worth making.

Rest assured I am not spending my days staring at the computer screen while pondering the age old question of to publish or not to publish. I have started work on a third novel. I don’t have a title and I can’t divulge any plot details just yet either. That’s not because I’m afraid of spoiling surprises. I simply don’t have anything to tell. I’m three chapters in and, although I’ve got a few thoughts, assumptions and disjointed ideas, I have no real clue where the story will take me. Characters thus far include a comedian, an assassin and a fiction author. At least one of those characters will not be around at the end of the book and may not even make it to the end of the current chapter.  That’s all I can offer for now. I might be able to share a bit more in next month’s update… but I wouldn’t count on it.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.

Parlor City Paradise Launch & First Author Event

parlar city paradise 3d     It’s official. For the second time in just over two years, I am very proud to announce that something I created is available for purchase.   Parlor City Paradise, a suspense novel set in Binghamton, New York, can now be found at Amazon and nearly everywhere e-books are sold. That includes Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and of course the Kindle Store.

To coincide with the book release, I have scheduled an author event to take place Saturday, June 11th at SHOP 607 in Binghamton. I will be there from 1:00 until 3:00 to discuss the novel, answer questions and hopefully avoid making a fool of myself. If you are anywhere in or around the Tri Cities and have not yet visited SHOP 607, I strongly encourage you to stop by. Among other things, you’ll find handmade clothing and jewelry, arts, crafts, foods, books, and a whole lot more, and it’s all from vendors based in the Binghamton area.  It’s wonderful to have a retailer that celebrates local goods and I can’t imagine a more appropriate location for my book launch.

I received a lot of wonderful feedback for A Shot at Redemption, my debut novel. I’d love to think all those who bought and enjoyed it have been waiting impatiently for this new release and they clicked the pre-order button as soon as that option became available.   They likewise advised their book-loving friends and family members to do the same. I know that’s how it’s supposed to work anyway. When I read something I like, I always try to spread the word. Incidentally, I’m currently reading Don’t Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz and The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag. Both novels are excellent. Please tell them I said so and maybe they’ll return the favor. Of course, Hurwitz and Hoag are New York Times bestselling authors already and they’ll do just fine with or without my recommendations.

There’s a great deal to be said for name value and name recognition. At this point in my career, I don’t have much of either. I’m still earning my stripes, or whatever the literary equivalent would be. Maybe I have to develop carpel tunnel syndrome to prove I’m dedicated to my craft.   For now, though, I’m relying on creativity to get my proverbial toe in the door. I sponsored a photo contest to increase interest in Parlor City Paradise. And now that the book is out, I am resorting to the exploitation of children.  I’m nothing if not classy.

On June 11th, SHOP 607 will be offering much more than a selection of local wares and the chance to meet a fiction author most people have never heard of. Many members of the Windsor High School music program will be on hand to show off their myriad talents. They’ll be highlighted by the mixed A Capella group Noteworthy, but you can expect other individual and small group performances as well.   I have no doubt these young men and women will steal the show. Many of them are seniors, and this is likely the last time they will have the opportunity to perform together. They were a big part of an author event I hosted at about this time last year, and I am truly honored they have agreed to participate once again.   I hope to see you there. If you are a music lover, I can promise it will be worth your while. Maybe I’ll even be able to convince you to buy my book. It would make for a great Father’s Day gift.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. Also, please pick up a copy of Parlor City Paradise, my new suspense novel.

The PARLOR CITY PARADISE Cover Revealed!

     Don’t look! Damn. It’s already too late. And that, my friends, is the problem with disseminating information in this particular format. There is a lamentable and unavoidable lack of drama. There is no ballyhoo, no pageantry, no flourish, no fanfare of any kind. How many times have you heard a magician say, “watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat?” And how anticlimactic would the trick be if that classic top hat was see-through? That’s kind of what I’m dealing with here. You click the link and, just like that, all secrets are revealed without so much as a paradiddle.   I’m sorry but that’s just not acceptable. This is a big moment for me and I’d really like a bit of pomp to go with the circumstance. Therefore, I’m going to ask you to do me a small favor. If you would, please clear your mind of any images you may have seen in the last few seconds. Then, click the audio link below, close your eyes, and don’t open them again until your speakers have gone silent. No cheating. And when you do open your eyes, do so slowly and imagine me bathed in the glow of a spotlight as I draw the curtain aside.

 

front     Okay, so that was kind of cheesy but is this cool looking book cover or what? I would again like to thank Kaitlyn Hession, Olivia Kristek and Kaylee Stone, not only for participating in my Parlor City Paradise photo contest but for submitting such awesome pictures. I published a few of them when I officially announced my winners back on May 1st. That blog post did not, however, display the image I chose for the front cover. You can see it here now, and I hope you are as impressed as I am. I tip my hat to Robin Gilbertson at RG Designs for taking an already striking image and making it truly pop. I can only hope the story that unfolds inside the book will be as engaging and memorable as the cover itself.

So, I wrote the original draft, went through a couple rounds of revisions, shared the manuscript with beta readers, considered their insightful feedback, completed a final round of revisions, sponsored a photo contest, inspected all the submissions, chose my winners, consulted with my cover designer, formatted all the necessary files for paperback and e-book publication, uploaded those files and ordered a proof for final approval. In other words, the easy stuff is now done. If you want to put that in mountain climbing terms, I have reached base camp and I still have one hell of a long way to go. The challenge moving forward is to somehow make people aware that Michael Sova has a second novel out. Then, with any luck at all, at least a few of those people will be interested enough to buy the book, read it and, dare I say, post reviews. I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d assist in this endeavor by sharing this post with all the fiction lovers in your life. I need all the help I can get.

back

As for exactly when Parlor City Paradise will be commercially available, how does right now sound? Well, you can’t actually buy it just yet but you can pre-order through the Amazon Kindle Store or Smashwords.  I do not have a pre-order option for the paperback version. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, the official release date is Friday, June 3. If you’d like, you can go ahead and read an excerpt right now.   I’ve got the first couple chapters posted. That will introduce you to Skid Row, Bullfrog, Ricky and Carl, four of the story’s major players. I can’t promise you’ll like them all but I do think you’ll find them entertaining in their own way. And come June 3, the entire book will be available on Amazon and pretty much everywhere e-books are sold. If you live in the Binghamton area, you can stop by SHOP 607 and pick up a copy there. It would make a wonderful Father’s Day gift. Better still, it might be great to have on hand during the 4th of July picnic while you’re trying to ignore your family.

 

   

  If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. Also, please pick up a copy of A Shot at Redemption, and look for my new suspense novel, Parlor City Paradise, due out in 2016.

Parlor City Paradise Photo Contest: We Have a Winner… and then Some

DSC_00651  When I decided to sponsor a Parlor City Paradise photo contest, my biggest fear, really my only fear, was that I wouldn’t get any submissions worthy of being incorporated into the book’s cover design. That’s why I snuck in that little rules disclaimer stating that I didn’t have to choose a winner. I needed to make sure I had an out. Well, I’m happy to say my trepidation was entirely unwarranted. I received a number of fantastic submissions and the biggest challenge was narrowing them down to just one. With the help of a few trusted minions, I have managed to do that. However, I had another disclaimer in there too. It was toward the bottom of my contest blog post and it said “I reserve the right to use submissions on the back cover and/or inside the book.” I included that in case the pictures I received were of such quality that selecting a single photo for the front cover simply wasn’t good enough.  I figured I was being overly optimistic but it turns out I was wrong about that too. As a result, I have multiple winners to congratulate.

GeraldineClark PCP bookCoverContest 032916 2 males walking down Henry StreetBefore I go any further, I’d like to take a moment to thank all those who took enough interest in this endeavor to ask questions, submit photos and share my various posts. I am especially grateful to the Press & Sun Bulletin, the Windsor Standard, Newspaper Publishers LLC, and Two Rivers Photography Club for helping to spread the word. Without that assistance, this whole thing would have been as bleak as Skid Row’s job prospects. That’s a Parlor City Paradise reference. I doubt it makes any sense to you now, but you’ll hopefully buy and read the book and then all will be made clear.   Incidentally, I’m looking at an early to mid June release date. More on that in my next post.

pigeons house North Street near Front

pigeons house North Street near Front

Okay, you have, by now, surely noticed the pictures I have included here. You are probably also assuming one of them will be on the front cover of the book. You could be right. Then again….

Untitled-3334I am fully prepared to formally congratulate my contest winners, of which there are three. I am not, however, willing to let the cat entirely out of the bag. That would spoil the surprise and I’m not ready to go there. I will tell you that the winning images are already in the very capable hands of Robin Gilbertson at R.G. Designs. Robin created the totally awesome cover for A Shot at Redemption and I have no doubt the Parlor City Paradise cover will be just as awesome if not even more so. I can say that with total confidence because I’ve already seen a mock up. That’s a technical term that means draft. There are photos on this page from my winners. There are others that, though certainly eye-catching, didn’t quite make it past my minions. It’s up to you to decide which is which.

Olivia Kaylee 2At this time, I would like to officially congratulate Windsor Standard photographer Kaitlyn Hession. She sent in several submissions and one of them will indeed be incorporated into my cover design.   A couple others will most likely be displayed on the back cover.   I say most likely because the back cover design is still somewhat up in the air. I’m thinking there will be three photos there: two by Kaitlyn and a third that was submitted by Windsor High School students Kaylee Stone and Olivia Kristek. Congrats to all of you; and again, thank you. All winners will receive signed copies of the book. Kaitlyn also gets fifty bucks… which she’ll hopefully use to purchase Parlor City Paradise paperbacks for all her friends.   It does make a nice gift. I’m not yet sure when I’ll do the big cover reveal but I promise it will be soon.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. Also, please pick up a copy of A Shot at Redemption, and look for my new suspense novel, Parlor City Paradise, due out in 2016.

 

PARLOR CITY PARADISE Photo Contest

       I’m in the final stage of revisions on Parlor City Paradise, my second novel. About all that remains is to dot a few I’s, cross some t’s and insert those pesky quotation marks I still have a tendency to forget. Once that’s all complete, I can work on my formatting for paperback and the various e-book readers. Kindle, Nook, iBook, Smashwords: they’re all slightly different. Good thing I have so much fun jumping through hoops. However, I can’t even begin that process until I have a cover. That, I’m hoping, is where you come in.

IMG_5387  They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. True or not, without an eye-catching cover design, it’s unlikely anyone will ever give that book a second glance. With that in mind, I have decided to sponsor a photo contest. The winning entry will be featured on the cover of Parlor City Paradise. In addition, the person that submits that photo will receive a signed copy of the book, a mention on the acknowledgements page and a modest monetary prize. Before you start flooding my inbox with pictures of anything and everything, I do have some guidelines I’d like you to follow.

The novel is set in Binghamton, NY, once commonly referred to as the Parlor City. That was mainly due to the number of large, stately homes. Many of those are gone now, and you don’t hear the nickname so much these days. It harkens back to a time when the entire area was far more affluent. The setting of Parlor City Paradise is contemporary, and most of the characters occupy the lower rungs on the social ladder. Click here to read a bit more about the book. The title has a heavy dose of irony, and I’m looking for a cover design that captures that same spirit. Specifically, I want a single image that exhibits the best and worst Binghamton has to offer. It can be edited or modified in any way. It could be multiple photos morphed into one. I really don’t care so long as the final product meets the criteria. I am collecting photos now and the deadline is April 15th, 2016. I will annonce a winner May 1st. Please email submissions to author@michaelsova.com. Include contact info and a brief description of your photo, and please put PCP Photo Contest in the subject line. I can only accept digital submissions. I’m sure you have questions and I’ll do my best to answer them here. If I fail, you are welcome and encouraged to send inquiries to the same email address listed above. Special thanks to William Bay and the Two Rivers Photography Club for the support and interest.

IMG_5385What are the photo submission guidelines?

 Please submit photos as email attachments. They should be in the jpeg format with a maximum width of 768 pixels and a maximum height of 1024 pixels. This is for a book cover so a portrait-style layout is preferred. File size should not exceed 1 MB with a maximum resolution of 100 ppi (pixels per inch). I will require a larger/higher resolution image for any winning entries.

 

What sorts of things am I allowed to photograph?

In a nutshell, as long as you are in a public place, you can take pictures of whatever you want. That includes people as well as private buildings and residences. That said, I would like you to try to avoid recognizable people and anything demeaning, defamatory or inappropriate. If you are still unsure, take a look at A Photographer’s Right from the Bert P. Krages Attorney at Law website.

 

IMG_5375Can I submit more than one photo?

Absolutely! I want the best cover I can come up with. The more pictures I have to choose from the better.

 

Does it have to be a photo?

 Well, it has to be submitted as a photo. However, if you want to take a picture of some of your original artwork (such as a painting or drawing) that would absolutely get proper consideration. Again, I just want something that represents the best and worst about Binghamton. Beyond that, I’m really not too picky.

 

What if none of the submissions are satisfactory?

In the event that I don’t care for any of the submissions, I reserve the right to not select a winner. I hope it doesn’t come to that because I currently have no other cover design ideas.

 

IMG_5378What if it can’t be narrowed down to just one winner?

I would love to have that problem. If the submissions are so good I can’t select just one, I reserve the right to use submissions on the back cover and/or inside the book. Anyone who submits a winning entry will receive mention on the acknowledgements page and a signed copy of the book. Only the submitter of the cover image will receive monetary compensation.

 

How much money will the winner receive?

You’ve heard of a shoe string budget? I’m not entirely sure what that means but my shoes are held together with duct tape. The winner will get $50. I’m afraid that’s the best I can do.

 

What do you mean by “the best and worst Binghamton has to offer?”

If I knew the answer to that, I’d go out and take the picture myself. Honestly, I have nothing specific in mind. The story is set in October. Trees are bare but there is no snow on the ground yet. Although the novel’s subject matter is somewhat dark and many of the characters aren’t terribly likeable, the overall tone is light-hearted leaning towards humorous.   Ideally, I suppose I’d like a cover image that’s both depressing and hopeful. Good luck figuring out what that means.

 

IMG_5381What happens to photos once they are submitted?

If you submit a photo, you agree to give Michael Sova royalty-free exclusive rights to that photo for the duration of the contest. Submissions can be used on blog posts, websites, social media platforms, or in any other promotional capacity. You also grant Michael Sova permission to use your name in connection with the contest and photo. If your photo is formally honored as a winner, you grant Michael Sova royalty-free exclusive rights to that photo in perpetuity. For non-winners, all rights revert back to the submitter once the contest has ended 4/1/216.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. Also, please pick up a copy of A Shot at Redemption, and look for my new suspense novel, Parlor City Paradise, due out in 2016.

 

February Update: Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

question mark book coverFirst and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to offer a large and heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of my Parlor City Paradise beta readers. Your feedback thus far has been invaluable and absolutely spot on. I haven’t heard from everybody just yet, but the comments and criticisms I’ve received are sufficient to allow me to soon begin what I hope will be a final round of revisions. Overall impressions have been extremely favorable, which is certainly reassuring, but some changes to dialogue, character development and plot structure will be made. I can’t go into detail because, obviously, most people haven’t read it yet and I don’t want to give anything away.   Maybe I’ll post a brief excerpt soon so those interested can read a bit and begin to get a feel for the book. All I will tell you for now is that, in terms of tone and literary style, it is a fairly significant departure from A Shot at Redemption.

When I first began researching how to become a successful independently published author, it immediately became clear that it really can’t be done. Okay, that’s not entirely true but most self published authors, heck, most authors in general fail to achieve commercial success. That was the case even before publishing became so accessible; and now that book publishing is only slightly more complicated than registering for a Netflix account, you can take the old failure rate and multiply it by a few million and that’s probably low balling it.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic that anyone and everyone can get their work into the marketplace. However, how can an author even hope to stand out when the shelf he or she is fighting for space on is expanding at a universal rate?

In case you’re wondering, that question has no easy answer. There are plenty of books on the subject, as well as blogs, forums, podcasts, etc. Curiously, the majority of those authors and podcast hosts are struggling for a little elbow room on that very same shelf.  In other words, despite all the expert advice, they don’t know either. The industry is changing so rapidly that nothing is tried and true, at least not for very long.  I did a lot of reading, listening and thinking and I came up with three simple rules.

Rule #1—Produce

A Shot at Redemption took nearly a decade to complete. That is, to put it bluntly, unsatisfactory. I needed to get a whole lot more efficient or find something else to do.

A shot at redemption 3dRule #2—Do Good Work

That may sound overly basic but it’s absolutely critical. I purchased a book by a self published author not long ago. It was so full of punctuation errors, grammar errors and generally poor writing that I couldn’t make it beyond the first chapter. Needless to say, I will never buy from that author again. No author has ever gotten rich by selling one book. You get my point? Sure, I need to increase my production rate but it’s equally important, probably more important that I maintain a certain level of quality. That starts with the book cover and carries right through to the final page. I know I will never be incredibly prolific. I just don’t work that way. That means my books have to be worth waiting for.

Rule #3—Develop a Brand

Unfortunately, this is where things begin to fall apart for me. My first novel came out in early 2014. I could conceivably release two new books this year. I don’t want to break my arm patting myself on the back but I’d like to think each book is as good as the others. So, to the best of my abilities, I have covered Rules 1 and 2. However, many of the more successful fiction authors built their foundation on a popular series.  In essence, they created their own niche. Do that well and you’ve got yourself a loyal fan base. Not only are all three of my books stand-alones, they are not even in the same genre. A Shot at Redemption is a mystery or thriller. Pick whichever label you prefer. Parlor City Paradise is suspense. Okay, they’re different but also sort of similar. Then I go completely off the reservation with 21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food. The labels most suitable for that are nonfiction, humor, sports and cookbook. Most of those things don’t even go together. So far, the closest I’ve come to developing a brand is injecting my own personality into everything I do. Will that be good enough? Time will tell.

 

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. Also, please pick up a copy of A Shot at Redemption, and look for my new suspense novel, Parlor City Paradise, due out in 2016.