Signing this Saturday in Layton

I’ll be doing a book signing this Saturday at the Layton B&N along with super author John Brown. If you want to pick up some autographed Christmas copies this is your chance. This will be my last signing of the year.

EDIT:  It officially starts at 2:00 http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/3072955

Just one quick comment on the news. Obama has frozen federal salaries because of the defecit! And the news portrays that as being this totally awesome sacrifice… So let me get this right… You hired more federal employees than ever before, gave them all the highest salaries ever so that they now make way more than the private sector, and then you FROZE the wages there

Oh, but wait. They can still move up steps on the GS system and get raises, so it isn’t even actually frozen at all… Oh wow. Yeah, color me impressed. That blow to the head during basketball must have damaged more than his lip.

MHI audio books are coming!

I just found out that www.audible.com will be releasing audio book versions of Monster Hunter International, Monster Hunter Vendetta, and Monster Hunter Alpha.

The books will be read by Oliver Wyman, who has performed something like 100 audio books. I spoke with him yesterday, and he loves sci-fi, fantasy, all things comic-book and is really into the idea of the MH universe. If you want to check out his work on Audible, try Frederick Pohl’s Gateway, James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, or The Science of Supervillians.

This is pretty exciting stuff. I’ll let you guys know as soon as I find out when the release dates are going to be.

EDIT: And if you do want to try Audible, they do offer a free trail. Do me a favor and use the promo code from the Writing Excuses Podcast. http://www.writingexcuses.com/  They are friends of mine, and Audible is their sponsor. http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse

My geeky hobbies #2

As many of you know, I decided that I wasn’t nearly geeky enough. So I decided to try my hand at making custom MHI action figures. Frankensteining together GI-Joes, sculpting new bits, and painting them to look like various MHI characters is actually kind of fun and relaxing. All of these need some touch up and work still.

Earl Harbinger’s head comes off of a GI Joe Dusty, body off of Recondo, and I made his leather jacket out of something off of Zartan. I sculpted a drop leg to hold the Smith & Wesson. The Thompson and revolver come from Marauder.

Holly Newcastle is a repainted Agent Helix from the GI Joe movie. This was my first attempt at painting and it shows. I need to do a ton of touch up. The MHI patch came out pretty good considering that it is tiny. The holster was my first sculpting attempt also, and it came out kind of ugly. Think I might try to polish it into better shape and repaint.

Julie came out pretty good. Same body as Holly (there aren’t a lot of good GI Joe sized female bodies I’ve discovered). Head is off the Baroness, which is appropriate, since Julie looks like the Barnoness. (also, just like my wife, which means that it is awesome to be me).  The M-14 came from Marauder. The dropleg works with a 1911.

Edward the orc started out as Snake Eyes. The coat is from Snow Job. I sawed off Snake Eye’s visor and painted a proper orc face. Ed’s expression came out perfect. It’s that sorta bored, I’m about to mulch these guys… wonder who’s on O’Reilly tonight face.

Skippy came out really good, considering that I started with a really crappy blue GI-Joe The Movie generic soldier body. I gave him the flight suit. Head is from Beachhead, repainted to proper orcish colors. Vest is from the Snake Eyes I cannabalized for Edward.

Albert Lee came out pretty good. He started as a Storm Shadow. Vest is from Beachhead. I wanted to try some Tiger stripes out on somebody, and then for kicks I decided to construct a 3gun shell caddy. At this point I’m getting a little more confident on the sculpting. That caddy came out good.

Trip Jones also came out pretty good. The head is from Heavy Duty and the body is mostly Snow Job. The vest is Recondo. Everything is repainted. I sculpted the dreadlocks. Before painting it looked like he had an octopus growing out the back of his head. You can’t see from this side, but there is a working tomahawk holder on the other side. You can see the handle at the bottom.

Milo still needs lots of work. Snowjob head on Dusty body. The red beard was just too perfect to pass up.

I’m still working on Owen (lots of sculpting), Sam, Gretchen, and Agent Franks.

New Podcast

http://www.dragonpage.com/2010/11/15/cover-to-cover-431a/  I did an interview with Michael Stackpole and Michael Mennenga. I had a good time.

Signing tomorrow, Eagle Mountain Utah

I’m doing a signing tomorrow in Eagle Mountain, Utah. 5-7. At Dragon & Fairytales.

I’m going to be there with John Brown, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, Eric James Stone, Jake Black, Daron Fraley, Jaleta Clegg, David West, Berin Stephens, and more. So there will be much signage! Yay!

Ask Correia 10: How do you get published?

I saw this question over on WTA, and I started to reply with a quick answer. In usual Correia fashion that turned into a 2,000 word blog post.

If you have a book in your head, and wanted to get it published – what do you do first?

What are the usual type of financial arrangements for the sale of a book? Is it a flat fee or a percentage or both?

 

Okay, here is the simple version.

  1. Write book.
  2. Rewrite book to make it better.
  3. Go pick up a copy of The Writer’s Guide from your local bookstore. TWG is a phonebook-sized compendium of all the literary agents and publishers, as well as a list of what they are looking for/representing.
  4. Pick the publishers/agents that will be interested in your work, and carefully following their submission guidelines, start submitting.

A note on agents. Many publishing houses will not take un-agented submissions. Before signing an agent do your homework. There are many shysters out there that will screw you. NEVER pay an agent. Agents work strictly on commission. i.e., they don’t get jack until you make a sale. Normal industry standard for an agent is 15%.  If they want money up front, run.

I am unagented. There are pros and cons to doing this. Pro: I keep more money, and I’ve already got a relationship with my publisher and don’t foresee wanting to go anywhere else. (plus I’ve got a publisher with a reputation for honesty with their writers).  A bad agent is worse than no agent, because a crappy one will not push your work, and will cost you lots of valuable time. If you get an agent, but you don’t feel like they are working for you, fire them. Fire them HARD.

Con: the agent’s job is to represent you. They will often get you a better deal than you can get yourself, plus they can get you better contracts or deals that you wouldn’t be able to get on your own. (like foreign language sales, that kind of thing). Many of my friends have agents. We’ve had this discussion amongst ourselves a few times. They also help you with the business end of writing. (but me being an accountant, wasn’t too worried about that… more about paying your taxes later)

Agents are difficult to get. You will be rejected by the vast majority of them. They serve as the first layer of defense against bad writing, and are the reason that many publishers don’t read unagented submissions.

5. Submit some more. You will be rejected. A lot.

There is something like a 99.9% failure rate in this business. However, just keep in mind that a big chunk of those rejections are because the manuscripts flat out suck. If you don’t suck, or care enough to practice until you don’t suck, then the main key to success is perseverance.

I was rejected by everyone and their dog. Some of them were rather nice about it. Some were jerks. Most were form letters. That’s life. Don’t let it get you down.

6. While being rejected, go write another book. You will get better with each try.

I’ve got a bunch of books coming out. People have asked me how I write so fast. It isn’t that I’m fast, it is more like I kept working on other projects the entire time I was trying to get published. So I had some backlog that all I needed to do was clean up after I started having success.

7. Oh my gosh, a publisher is interested! Now what?

There are many different publishers with many different deals. Personally, I’m not a fan of many of the tiny publishers because I’ve got quite a few friends who’ve been screwed. Then again, you might do okay. 

Your contract will specify how much you get. Normally it is a percentage of cover price. (6-10%). Hard covers are usually much higher. (15%-25%) Writers aren’t going to tell you what they make because that is secret, and we’re a jealous, petty bunch. So if your contract says (for an easy example) that you get 10% of cover price, and the book is $10, then you would get $1 per book sold royalty.   

Industry standard is that you get an advance against royalties. This can range anywhere from $1,000-$10,000, to one guy I know who got $280,000 for his first 3 books, to a friend of mine that got 2.5 million for a 4 book deal. There is a big variance. The bigger the publishing house, the bigger the advance usually. The advance is yours to keep. Period. You must earn the value of the advance before you begin actually getting royalties.  i.e. If they give you $10,000, and you are getting $1 per book royalty, you have to sell 10,000 copies before you would see any money above and beyond your advance.

The big advance is awesome, but if you’re not living paycheck to paycheck, I wouldn’t worry too much about the size of your advance. If you get an epic advance, but then your sales choke, that publisher may have lost money on you, and then they might not buy any more books. I’d be more worried about the quality of my publishing house and how hard they’re going to work to push my book than how big my first advance was. The plus of the super huge advance is that the publisher is now heavily invested in you, and that means they are probably going to push/market you that much harder.

Publishers don’t pay like a regular paycheck. You usually get paid every 6 months, though I’ve heard of some that pay quarterly and some that pay annually.  You will be a 1099. Which means DON’T FORGET TO PAY YOUR TAXES! Seriously, don’t. You’ve got to do your own personal withholdings. Many authors have never worked for themselves before they get their big break, and then a few years after their hit novel came out they are working for the IRS and living in their car. The IRS loves to audit 1099s.

Now, getting back to business. Do not expect to be able to quit your day job based upon selling one novel. Unless that book is a super big hit, you’re not going to make buckets of money. The average mid-list novel in the US sells something like only 15,000 copies in its life. If you’re making like 8% on a $7 paperback, that’s not a whole lot of cash. Normally authors will have several books out first and a new one coming every year, before they quit their day jobs.

My first two books have done really well and I’ve got 8 more under contract. I probably could quit my day job and be fine, but A. I’ve got a super awesome day job that pays good and loves me, and B. I’m an accountant and I’m too darn cheap to quit yet. (plus, if Mrs. Correia is reading this C. I can’t quit until I pay the new house off!)

Small presses are nice, but if that company has bad distribution, it sucks. I’ve got a few friends who have been absolutely shafted by their publishers, because stores can’t get their books or the chains won’t stock them. Big houses are good for distribution, but they can suck too and I’ve seen a few of my friends get mistreated by big houses. Keep in mind that this is a business like any other, and your publisher is your business associate. Personally, I think I really lucked out.

8. Nobody wants to buy my book. I’ve been rejected by everyone. I suck and am lame.

Yes. So buck up. You’ve got two possibilities. The book is not that good. Michael Jordan didn’t dunk from half court the first time he played basketball either. Learn from your mistakes, write a better book, and try again… OR let’s say that you’re super confident that the book is AWESOME and that customers will buy and love the heck out of it, and the publishing industry is just a bunch of poopy heads for not understanding your brilliance. You can always self-publish, which is how I got started…

BUT I don’t recommend it. If you are going to self publish you’ve got to be a self-promoting son of a gun. You’ve got to figure out who your market it, exactly how you are going to reach them, and then you’re going to have to work your butt off. Most self published books are badly written. Most readers know that. So you’ve got a huge handicap starting out that you’ve got to overcome. In their minds, self published = crap.

For example, I was reading some reviews of MHV over on a forum. I had just made the NYT bestseller list and a bunch of forumites were talking about how great this book was. Somebody who hadn’t heard of me went over to Wikipedia and read the entry about me there. He came back and posted “I don’t know… The Wiki says he was self-published. That’s never a good sign…” Yes. Even after selling a ton of books, getting tons of good reviews, and making the friggin’ NYT (which is like the writer’s equivalent to getting nominated for an Oscar to an actor’s career), this guy wasn’t interested because that’s how negative an impression self published works have had on him. That is what you are up against if you self publish.

9. Yay. I got a publishing contract! Puppy dogs and rainbows forever!

Nope. Once you get a publishing contract, you now need to promote the heck out of your book as much as possible. You can sit on your butt and hope that it becomes the Oprah book of the month and that your publisher will do all that hard marketing stuff, but that might/probably won’t happen.

You need to market yourself. You need to get fans. Be cool to them. If they really like you, they’ll tell their friends. There are many writers with far more literary skill than me, that sell a lot less books. (on the other hand there are some really terrible writers that sleep on giant piles of money, so go figure) For networking, I love the internet. It lets me interact with people all over. I love blogging, but then again I’ve got a gregarious personality. I love you guys.

On the other hand, if you hate people and have a lot of dreams involving clock towers and high powered rifles, then you probably don’t want that public interaction because then the word of mouth about you will be about what a jerk-psycho you are. And yes, I know a few authors like that too.

10. Write more books.

You don’t want to be that guy who wrote one or two absolutely brilliant books and then faded into obscurity. Writing is work. It is a job. You have to keep at it. Even once you’ve had some success, you’ve still got to keep it up.

You should totally buy this book

The following message is from Kathy Jackson:

Hello friends,

I’m so excited I can hardly stand it: Cornered Cat is now available as a book!

Just like the original website, www.CorneredCat.com, the book offers practical, down-to-earth advice for women interested in concealed carry. The book tackles topics ranging from ethics to fashion to gun selection and use — and everything in between. An extensive glossary at the back of the book extends the learning experience.

Unlike the original website, Cornered Cat in book form can be toted with you to the range, loaned to friends, marked up and passed around. You can read it in your bathtub or while waiting for the orthodontist to finish taking care of the kid. And you’ll find many, many pages of new and updated material to enjoy.

You can order your copy at www.WhiteFeatherPress.com — and if you order right away, you’ll get 10% off the cover price and FREE shipping.

Stay safe,

Kathy Jackson
www.CorneredCat.com

PS ~ I don’t think the 10% off offer will last very long, so you’ll want to step over to www.WhiteFeatherPress.com to order your copy of the book as soon as possible.

 
I’ve known Kathy for a very long time. We were mods on THR together. She started up Cornered Cat to be a collection of essays about women and guns, then it turned into probably one of the greatest single resources about self defense and concealed carry on the internet. Kathy is a knowledgable, honest, and humble, and those three things rarely go together. She went on to become an accomplished instructor and editor for a gun magazine.
I got to see the rough draft of this book in order to come up with a cover quote. It is great. I do recommend it. It was written primarily for a female audience, but it is broader than that. If you are a guy and you’re trying to get your wife into guns, this is the book. If you are a lady, this is the book for you. And guys, don’t be surprised when you find yourself reading it too.
For those of you that don’t know Kathy from the internet gun world, you may recognize the name from the Thank You page in the Monster Hunter books. Kathy is the original member of Reader Force Alpha. She’s a master proofer/editor.  So it’s only fair that if she gets to see my early stuff, I get to see hers.

Sold another book – DEAD SIX

Well, it looks like Baen is going to publish the thriller that I wrote with Mike Kupari. It is called Dead Six.

There’s actually a very fun story behind the creation of D6. Mike (who goes by Nightcrawler on gun forums) had started a little online fiction thread called Welcome Back, Mr. Nightcrawler. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=207390&highlight=corriea  I started reading it, enjoying it, and got the crazy idea that it would be fun to jump in on his story. So I asked permission, and wrote a single stand alone part from another character’s perspective of one particular scene.

People loved it. So we said, what the heck, and kept it going. Somehow it turned out really good. I used the traffic from the Mr. Nightcrawler thread to promote the original self published release of MHI. The rest of that is history.

So about 2 years ago, Nightcrawler and I decided to write a sequel to the Mr. Nightcrawler thread. (called Swords of Exodus) We were just going to put it online, but after I put 100,000 words into it, I figured that we should just clean up the first one and then try to get the whole thing published.

So we took Mr. Nightcrawler and tweaked the living crap out of it. I mean, we really really really worked that thing over. By the time we got done, it was twice as long, way more complex, and much better. I’m please to announce that Baen is going to publish it. I don’t know when the release date is going to be.

So now I’ll have 4 different series (assuming D6 sells well enough to warrant the sequels, which is up to you guys): Monster Hunter, Grimnoir, Untitled Space Opera with John Ringo, and Dead Six. So I’m now a fantasy, sci-fi, thriller writer. This will be my 10th book under contract.

So this is how it is stacking up now:

1. Monster Hunter International. 2. Monster Hunter Vendetta. 3. The Grimnoir Chronicles: Hard Magic. 4. Monster Hunter Alpha. 5. Dead Six. 6. The Grimnoir Chronicles II. 7. Monster Hunter Legion. 8. Ringo Project. 9. Ringo Project. 10. Monster Hunter Nemesis.

Those are the ones that are sold.

After that I’ve got plans/outlines for (not in any particular order): 11. The Grimnoir Chronicles III. 12. The Grimnoir Chronicles 1908. 13. The Grimnoir Chronicles 1870. 14. Monster Hunter VI. 15. Monster Hunter VII. 16. D6 2: Swords of Exodus. 17. D6 3: Project Blue. 18. A stand alone epic fantasy novel that is epic badass. 19. A stand alone sci-fi thriller I’ve been calling the Africa book.

In addition I’ve been commissioned to write a couple of shorts. I just finished did the entire Tanya MH short story, then I’m going to do a TGC short, and I’ve been asked to collaborate on another anthology for a short and I’ve not even had the time to look at that one yet.

Whew! That should keep you guys entertained for a bit! :)

Article about me in The Blue Press

There is going to be an article about me in the December 1st The Blue Press.  The interview was done by gun writer and all around good guy, Duane Thomas. 

For those that don’t know, The Blue Press is put out by Dillon. It is part catalog, part magazine, all fun, and FREE. It has hundreds of thousands of subscribers (literally).  If you want to get a free subscription all you have to do is call 1-800-223-4570 or you can request it here http://www.dillonprecision.com/

And no. I will not be on the cover. That is reserved for good looking women, rather than large, lumbering, James Gandolfini look alikes. The Dillon cover is always an attractive girl with a gun. (running joke, if you identify the gun on the cover of The Blue Press before you notice the girl you might be a gun nut). I’m sure that this helps keep the subscriptions up. :)

Monster Hunter for Christmas

It is that time of year again, and what makes a better present than a copy of Monster Hunter International or Monster Hunter Vendetta?  (well, a new Ferrari, or an iPhone, or some really good cheese ball… well a pet hamster would be pretty sweet… okay, never mind. You get the idea)

MH novels are the ultimate stocking stuffer. You know that one guy that you feel like you kind of sorta should give them something, but you don’t want to spend too much, but you don’t want to look like a cheap bastard. MHI is only $8! That’s in that happy medium grey area. You can’t possibly go wrong. So get to your local bookporium of choice and buy lots of copies of MHI! Yay!

If you want something autographed by me (for that special someone), click on the Buy Stuff tab for details.

I’ve got to take a bunch of books and patches to the post office this afternoon, and while looking at the pile of packages here it made me think of something that I totally forgot about last year. If you want to get any autographed copies of MHI or MHV or patches to give as Christmas presents, order them SOON.

I’m slow. (not in the dimwitted congressman way but in a kind of lumbering large-mammal way) Plus, I’m a one man organization (except for when I draft my daughter to be my “administrative assistant” but that usually means fetching Daddy more Coke Zero) so going to the post office to mail stuff is a pain. I usually procrastiante it and do it about every 2-3 weeks. Going to the post office really really sucks in December, but because I love you guys, if you are ordering anything to give as Christmas presents, please let me know when you order and I’ll try to get the stuff out in a timely manner.

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