When Fiona Mcvie asked if I’d like to be interviewed for the blog, Author Interviews, I expected the usual round of questions, but I was in for a surprise. The interview forced me to think about how all this writing stuff began and why I can’t stop. It’s the first time I’ve ever considered what motivates and influences me.
Tag archive: Blogging
Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
Blogging requires commitment, and all the experts warn me that abandoning a blog for a month or more is the kiss of death. Stupid experts. Okay, maybe they’re right, but last month I had to decide how long I was going to make my fans wait for book two of the 1000 Souls series. I was overdue, buried with work, and the kids were getting out of school for the summer.
So I decided to stop blogging until the novel was finished. It was ‘finished’ on July 4th, but I’ve been in editing and re-writes since. Now it’s so finished that it’s off to the editor and out of my hands until he’s done. Alas, my editor just gave his publisher two weeks notice and (being the conscientious guy that he is) he’s busy wrapping up his day job until July 27th. The good news is that means he can edit like crazy the next week, no day job in the way.
But that means that I must again push the publication date, this time to mid-August, a month and a half late. The good news is the cover artist is just about ready, and the cover looks great.
The other good news is that I’ll have lots of time to blog, and I’ve lots to tell you about, actually warn you about, regarding one too many free days and Amazon’s promotional algorithm.
Good thing I’ve got another novel coming out.
All the great success stories on Amazon–from Amanda Hocking to John Locke–have one thing in common: multiple books. Joe Konrath says that writing multiple books is the most important thing a writer can do to advance her/his career. John Locke also warns that there is nothing more frustrating than to have a product’s sales take off and not have anything else for an interested customer to purchase. In the case of novels, it means that mountain you’ve climbed to promote one novel will have to be scaled again a year later for the next novel.
So I have to examine whether blogging, twittering and promoting is time well spent when I only have one novel and one anthology (in very different genres) up for sale. What if I get lucky and people start buying Vampire Road in big numbers rather than the steady trickle of sales I get right now? They might be ready to read more, and if there is nothing to buy until next year, they might forget my characters and move on to something else.
Time pressures are different for everyone. I write quickly, but I can’t write a book in fifteen days like Amanda Hocking. My kids eat up a lot of time in the evenings and on weekends, and I’m not going to short change them. That’s a choice I’ve made. But if I’m to finish The Book of Bertrand by mid-October and get it off to my editor, something has to give.
So I haven’t been blogging or twittering for the last couple of weeks, but I have been writing. It’s been fun. My editor and a couple of reviewers want to know more of the back story to Vampire Road, and The Book of Bertrand delivers. The progression from computer nerd to saint is a torturous path with euphoric highs, desperate action and unintended consequences that will reverberate down the century to Vampire Road.
But I’m not stopping there. There are four novels in this series, and I’m going to try and get as many of them up in the next few months as possible. It’s a lot of work, but I believe the best thing I can do to promote Vampire Road is to have all the other novels in the series available for purchase.
I like blogging though, so I will try to post quick notes on Fridays, but I won’t be posting three of four times a week. I’ve had to decide whether I’m a blogger or a writer, and novels are my preferred form of expression.
So I’m logging off to write, but I will keep you posted. See you next Friday.
The customs officer looked up and shrugged. No, really, he truly looked apologetic. “I’m sorry,” he said, “But I have to send you to immigration. There’s a Michael McPherson with the same birth date wanted by the US police.” He wouldn’t elaborate.
The last thing I wanted after a cramped plane flight was to line up at immigration in order to get back into my own country, and luckily I was pushed to the front of the line by the security guard because of my Canadian passport. Membership has its privileges.
The immigration officer was just as baffled and called his manager, who stated that it was a long shot hit. They let me go. That was my first clue that there are just too many Michael McPhersons.
But it gets weirder. I decided to go with Michael A. McPherson as my author name, but yesterday I read his obituary. For the family’s sake I won’t link to it, but safe to say he’s African-American and from the south. He was pretty close to my age too. Eerie.
Another Google result turned up a university professor named Michael S. McPherson, which is too close in the search to Michael A. McPherson, and because he has several published books it could cause a little confusion.
So how about M.A. McPherson? Just forget the first name. Then I discovered that there’s a poet, again of African-American heritage, who goes by Kuwme M. A. McPherson. That’s going to cause a lot of confusion, because I’m definitely not a poet. Even my mother laughed out loud at one of my poems. It wasn’t meant to be funny.
So I’ve decided to re-brand as Michael Andre McPherson, using the full middle name. A quick check of my birth certificate and passport show that I don’t need to worry about the accent over the last “e” in Andre, although I was taught to use it as a kid.
And since I’m re-branding: notice I’ve changed the name of the blog? That’s where I’m going. No more blind submissions to busy agents. I’ll stand or fall on my e-book sales. Besides, I really like the domain name.
Rebecca Senese and I shared a strange place in the history of Storyteller Magazine before we even met. I’d finally snagged the cover of Storyteller in the winter 2006 edition after many attempts, so my mother proudly purchased a subscription for every member of the family, including my aunt.
Unfortunately, I had decided that for my story White Metal I’d let construction workers speak like construction workers. The F-bomb fell more than a few times, and Storyteller chose to stick it right in one of the teaser lines. My aunt, horrified by the profanity, refused to even read her nephew’s story and instead carried on to read the next story in the issue, Brother’s Under the Skin by Rebecca Senese.
It was like pouring gasoline on fire. My aunt, the very committed Catholic anti-abortion activist, read a story about parents who clone their murdered son and try to relive his childhood through the clone. Boom!
Terry Tyo, the owner of Storyteller, got a nasty phone call demanding that he cancel my aunt’s subscription and never send her a copy of his sick magazine again. Terry was gun shy of controversial stories for months. Between us, Rebecca and I had rocked Storyteller’s world.
Now Rebecca is out to rock your world. She read my first post about planning to e-publish all my out of print short stories, but she ran where I walked. I’m still trying to pull together the other stories, get them up with Smashwords for the Sony and Nook, and put together my anthology. But in the last two months, while I was off in another world, Rebecca’s done it.
I’d better hurry. A year ago I was in the middle of the e-book revolution, now I’m playing catch up. So watch here for more announcements and e-publishing. First my Storyteller stories, then my contest winners, then my novel and then…write till I die. I finally have a market, however humble. It’s there for the bold.
I’ve turned into one of those bloggers. You know the kind: they start up, blog excitedly every day for a few weeks, then slip to twice a week, once a week, and stop all together. I guess they thought a massive following would be instantaneous, or was deserved.
Believe it or not, I’m not one of those bloggers. But a monster did eat my life. I’d tell you all about it, but I learned from a wise man in the film industry that I don’t have to.
His name is Frank Polyak. I was his camera trainee back in the early 90s on a show called Top Cops. After I’d upgraded to Second Assistant Camera, he called to see if I could come out on Forever Knight. I couldn’t make it and babbled my excuses. He called me again a different night and I joined them for some fun film making. He called me over to the camera during a break in shooting and said, “You know when I called you last time and you couldn’t make it? Well, I don’t give a damn about your girlfriend or your promises or anything like that. When people call you and you’re busy, you should just tell them you’re not available. Excuses are boring and it’s none of our business as to why you’re not available.”
So here it is: I’m not available until January 7th. This blog will be idle until then.
But I’m not one of those bloggers who fades away. I like my writing too much.
Okay, if your dying of curiosity here it is: MY DOG ATE MY BLOG!
Happy New Year!