Actually, I can’t tell you. Goodreads is very big on protecting the privacy of people who enter—let alone win—book giveaway contests. In fact, it’s pretty much fire and forget for an author. Goodreads gave me the names and addresses of the winners so that I can mail out their free copies of Sacrifice the Living, but then I pretty much have to forget that I have the contact information of ten fans. I might as well throw these valuable leads into the garbage, because other than sending their winnings, I’m forbidden to contact them. If I do, I’ll be banned from ever doing a Goodreads book giveaway promotion again.
Category archive: Apocalyptic Fiction
In October of 2011, Hugh Howey noticed something odd when he looked up his sales reports in his Amazon account: a short story he’d uploaded, Wool, had sold twelve copies in the first week of the month. He was pleased and surprised that people would read a short story. By the end of the month, it had sold 1,018 copies. Hugh can be forgiven for thinking this was the pinnacle of his writing career. Who could imagine that it would go on to be a million copy, New York Times bestseller? Wool is now just part of the whole series that he wrote in frantic response to all the positive feedback.
It’s a weird thing because music and my writing are very closely bound. When I write a story, I need the music playing in my head, and when I’m done the story, I know because the two meld. With short stories, this wasn’t particularly challenging, but with novels and their huge scope, it’s intensely sweeping. With novels, I know I’m done when I’ve got the movie trailer in my head.
Just when she thought she and mom were going home, the Redemption Brigade came for them. Margaret didn’t understand who they were at the time because she was only seven, and up until that day she had always assumed that all humans were friends, could never hurt one another or shoot one another. Only the rippers were evil. Only the night needed to be feared.
I have a confession to make. I don’t believe there’s going to be a zombie apocalypse. I do, however, believe in pandemics, floods, hurricanes, huge power blackouts and slow government responses.
A fellow writer once commented on my apocalyptic stories by saying, “It wouldn’t all fall apart so quickly. We have governments that would intervene.” After Katrina hit New Orleans, and the stories of a city in chaos from the flood hit the 24hr news cycle, he apologized. He was amazed that a huge country with an operating federal government couldn’t seem to come to grips with the disaster for weeks. It wasn’t just that stores were looted, it was that people weren’t being rescued, were totally left to fend for themselves.
I also remember the great blackout of 2003. The phones still worked, but I discovered I had no way to get news about the size and scope of the black out. I got lucky and managed to find eight batteries in my “dead” battery bin that had enough charge to power a radio. I had absolutely no other supplies. I was totally unprepared.
But not anymore. The Zombie Survival Crew tweet to me about having an escape route in case of attack, and I think it’s a good idea. Seriously, what if a bigger, longer blackout hit my city? How would I get my family out of the chaos? I’ve come up with a plan.
First, the highways will be blocked. Hey, they’re totally blocked during morning and afternoon rush hour now, why would the apocalypse be any different? So instead of trying to head north out of the city, I’d head south for the lake, which isn’t that far from my downtown Toronto home. No, I don’t own a boat, but if it is a true apocalypse and my family were in danger, I’d either negotiate with an owner, hitch a ride, or liberate a boat. I’ve already picked out a convenient marina. Then I’d head east, making for the coast of Lake Ontario near the Trenton Air Force Base. If there is any order left in the province, it will be there. Trenton also has a power dam and may actually have electricity. If not, there are two highways that head north from that area into very sparsely populated countryside, mostly through farmland at first, but after that rugged cottage country. Yes, remote empty cottages.
But is that enough? People send me stuff, and this one made me laugh. How to survive the zombie apocalypse from your pole barn. Yes, they’re trying to sell prefab barns, but at least they have a sense of humor about it. The best part is at the end, when they list one of their sources as “a coworker who has watched Shaun of the Dead too many times.” I also loved their comments on who you don’t want with you: “People in the entertainment industry (actors, singers, models, etc.), People in useless white collar trades like SEOs, marketing professionals, accountants, and salesmen.” I actually would take one salesman with me, but that’s because he’s family and he’s actually pretty savvy.
So prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse. Keep some water and canned food ready. Plan an escape route from your city. And if it actually turns out that I’m wrong and it is a zombie apocalypse, remember that your shed full of gardening tools like axes and shovels is your best source of anti-zombie devices. Have a great weekend.
The film industry is a great place for a writer who doesn’t want a full time job. I loved it because I spent a lot of time as a daily, going from show to show on a moment’s notice, working on everything from big feature films to YTV kids’ shows. One tradition I noticed was that when the day was over, the regular crew often said to me, “Thanks for a great day.” There was always a sense of relief and it was a sincere compliment. They were happy that I was the guy the union dregged up, and they wanted me to know they appreciated my work. Eventually I did succumb to the lure of money and worked full time on a bunch of shows, and I always continued that tradition when I had extra crew out to operate extra cameras. Thanks for a great day.
So hey, to all you wonderful people who downloaded Generation Apocalypse last Friday during my promotion day: Thanks for a great day! We reached 29 on the free bestseller list for Action/Adventure and 51 for Horror.
But I’ve been reading Cheryl Kaye Tardiff’s book on how she spiked her sales, and she warns that just doing one free day in a row is wasting momentum. She shows that from her experience, it’s best to break up the five free days granted by the KDP Select contract into two promotions-one for three days and one for two days. Full disclosure here: Tardiff was a fellow member of the Crime Writers of Canada, and while we’ve never met in person, I’ve communicated with her in years past via the CWC Yahoo group, and we’ve probably been in the same room a few times at the Bloody Words Mystery Convention.
I’ll learn from her success. My next promotional day will be two days long. I just have to pick the days and start promoting to ensure another great day.
The launch of Generation Apocalypse has been a hectic and exciting time. While we aren’t even close to breaking Stephen King’s average sales for a single hour, it has been a personal best for me, and it was fun to see the novel quickly climb to 15,000 on the Amazon best seller rank. I admit that’s not record breaking for a lot of novels (No Easy Hope, a zombie novel I keep tabs on, has been around the 1500 mark for about a year) but it’s nice to see my sales improving with each launch.
Our bestseller rank has dropped over the last two days, but I still have great hope for this novel. I’m lousy at marketing, but I once heard a marketing guru state that anyone can be good at marketing if they truly believe in their product. I truly believe Generation Apocalypse is a great read. I can’t wait to get deeply into writing book three of the 1000 Souls, let alone book five.
But the fun is not over. We’re going to launch a website for the 1000 Souls where you’ll be able to take the Ericsians determination to find out what soul-portion you host. We’ll have Youtube videos of Bertrand Allan warning of the apocalypse. We’re going to make the books come alive for everyone, whether they’ve read them or not.
They next few months will be a great adventure.
But first, we’re going to fly 3000 kilometers this weekend to Montana to attend a Pearl Jam concert. What’s that got to do with anything? Nothing. That’s the point.