Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Email Answers

I get a few dozen emails a week from fans and newbie writers, and I find myself answering the same questions time and again. Which means more than one person is interested in the answers.

In case any of my blog readers are interested, I'll repeat some of the most asked questions and answers.

Q: When is the next Jack Daniels book coming out?

A: I'm flattered that Jack has so many fans. The sixth Jack book, CHERRY BOMB, came out in hardcover in July, and the paperback version will come out next June. I'm working on a 7th Jack book called SHAKEN, but I'm buried with other projects and have put it on hold.

SHAKEN is not under contract. Hyperion, the publisher of the other six, dropped their mystery line, me included. But I do plan to complete SHAKEN sometime in 2010, and will either search for a new publisher, or release it as an ebook. If you'd like to read the first few chapters of SHAKEN, they're in my ebook collection PLANTER'S PUNCH.

Q: Will you do a sequel to THE LIST? Will you do a sequel to ORIGIN?

A: Again, I'm flattered people are enjoying my early technothrillers, which are available for free on my website as ebooks, and elsewhere for cheap wherever ebooks are sold. THE LIST in particular seems to have struck a chord with people, and it has sold over 10,000 copies on Kindle alone.

Those who have read these ebooks know they've never been traditionally published. These were the books that helped me land my agent, but they never sold.

It seems pretty silly to write a sequel to books that never sold, and yet I do have an idea that would serve as a sequel for both THE LIST and ORIGIN. It's called THE NINE, and would feature characters from both novels. I don't know when I'll have time to work on this, but I do plan on writing and releasing it within the next year or two.

Q: What's the status of TRAPPED?

A: TRAPPED is a semi-sequel to AFRAID, written by my pen name, Jack Kilborn. There's an excerpt from TRAPPED in the back of the AFRAID paperback. I wrote two versions of TRAPPED this year, and my publisher didn't like either of them, so they passed on it.

TRAPPED is a very intense, gritty, and horrifying book, so I can't say that I really blame them. But TRAPPED will come out, eventually. I just don't know when. In the meantime, Jack Kilborn is almost finished with another horror novel called ENDURANCE which is pretty nasty, and is on track to be released in 2010.

Q: Who is Joe Kimball?

A: I'm Joe Kimball. That's my pen name for a science fiction series I'm doing for Ace. The first book, TIMECASTER, is sort of a Buck Rogers type of novel, with lots of sex and violence and even Harry McGlade. (The hero of TIMECASTER is Jack Daniels's grandson.) It will come out in 2010, with a sequel to follow.

Q: Should I forsake finding an agent and a print deal and release my book as an ebook?

A: I get asked this a lot. I've done pretty well with ebooks, and my sales aren't slowing down. But I also have a known name (two known names if you count Kilborn) and this is no doubt helping my ebook sales. So while I'm able to pay my mortgage with my Kindle profits, I don't know of many other ebook writers who can say the same.

Right now, the best way to pursue a writing career is to find a good literary agent and sell the book to a well-respected print publisher. In other words: DON'T DO IT ON YOUR OWN.

Are there exceptions? Of course. Before you pursue a writing career, you need to clearly define your goals, and decide what you want in order to be happy. If you want your book in stores, you need to go the traditional route.

If you've already gone the traditional route, and gotten rejected, I think ebooks are something you can try ALONG WITH continuing your agent/publisher search, not instead of.

Then again, if your goal is to simply have your book available, and to maybe make a few bucks, then visit Smashwords.com. You can upload your ebooks for free, set your own price, and they'll upload them to Amazon, B&N, and Sony. I recommend keeping your price under $2.

Q: How can I make my ebook available for free on Kindle like you did with SERIAL?

A: Go to Smashwords.com and upload your book, setting the price as free. It will be uploaded to Amazon for free. You can also go to Mobipocket, upload your book there, and charge 1 cent, and it will appear on Amazon for a penny.

Q: Will there be any movies based on any of your books?

A: My novel AFRAID is currently under option with Principle Entertainment. The directors attached are the Dowdle brothers, who made a kick ass horror movie called QUARANTINE and another kick ass horror movie called THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES (which is a lot like WHISKEY SOUR, where a serial killer makes snuff films.) It's a good match and things are moving forward.

Options for my other books are currently available. Contact my agent, Jane Dystel, if you'd like to make an offer.

Q: I read you sent 7000 letters to libraries, signed at 600 bookstores in one summer, toured 100 blogs in a month, and got over 500 rejections before you sold your first book. Those numbers are insane. How am I supposed to do that?

A: You don't have to. You should never compare yourself to any other writer. We all have our own paths to follow, and we all decide what we can and can't do.

Q: I'm a new writer. Will you critique my story?

A: I'd love to. But I can't. I'm ridiculously busy these days. My advice is to join a writing group. Every big library, bookstore, and college has them.

Q: Why haven't you replied to my email?

A: If you've emailed me and I haven't responded, I am still having email issues. Since I have 10,000 people on my newsletter mailing list, certain spam bots have marked my IP as a spamming address. Which means there are some ISPs that don't get the emails I send them. It's annoying, and there's nothing I can do about it until I buy another computer and get a new IP. But I do still love you. I promise. :)