Author: Matt Manochio

The Dark Servant, my debut supernatural thriller, will be released on 11/4/2014 through Samhain Publishing, and will be available at brick-and-mortar bookstores, and on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, iBooks, and SamhainPublishing.com, among others. I was born in New Jersey, graduated from Roxbury High School in 1993, and from the University of Delaware in 1997. I worked as a copy editor at the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail from 1997 to 1998, and as a newspaper reporter for the Daily Record in Morris County, N.J., from 1999 to 2011. While I won both South Carolina and New Jersey Press Association awards for my work at both places, the absolute highlight of my journalistic life was meeting and interviewing AC/DC's Brian Johnson for USA Today in 2011. I'm married with a little boy. It is my hope to use this blog to, among other things, discuss the publishing process as I experience it.

Dear Goodreads (Amazon) executive …

Dear Amazon.com executive who thinks it’s a good idea to charge $119 to give away one book on Goodreads.com,

I’m Matt Manochio, a small press author with three novels and one novella under his belt. I like Amazon! I sell my books on Amazon and hope readers review my books on Amazon. I’m an Amazon Prime member (I’m binge-watching Boardwalk Empire now; way better than The Sopranos, IMO). And I plan to Christmas-shop on Amazon in the weeks ahead. I also happen to like Goodreads. It’s a great way to reach to readers and stay in touch with loyal fans and fellow authors. I’ve even given away a book or two on Goodreads through its Giveaway program.

So, imagine my surprise this morning when a writer buddy informed me that Goodreads (which is owned by Amazon) beginning next year will charge authors/publishers $119 to give away a book (digital or print) on Goodreads—which authors/publishers currently can do for free.

I love capitalism. Love it! So do a majority of authors—even the Bernie Bros—who hope to earn money selling books through the United States’ capitalistic system.

Amazon clearly loves capitalism. And what you’re doing with Goodreads reeks of it. Fine by me. You’ll soon be providing an otherwise free service to interested parties in exchange for money. Nothing wrong with that. But $119? I realize Amazon has to pay Goodreads employees’ salaries, and bandwidth (whatever the hell that is) ain’t free. But do you really think it should cost more than an iPhone X to give away 10 books on Goodreads?

Please keep in mind that a majority of your authors aren’t pulling in six-, five-, or four-figure royalty checks every month. Some of us are thrilled by getting a three– or even a two-figure one if we meet our publisher’s threshold to cut a check. And that money goes to pay the power bill or groceries—not an extra Ferrari to make the neighbors jealous.

In case someone reading this doesn’t understand what $119 gets you, here’s a boiled-down version, sans the Goodreads’ fluff: Giveaway entrants have the book automatically added to their want-to-read lists; the author’s followers who have the book on their WTR lists are alerted that there’s a giveaway for the book; eight weeks after the giveaway ends, Goodreads emails and reminds the reader to review the book; and giveaways are featured in the Giveaways section of Goodreads.com. (They’re not already?)

That doesn’t seem like a $119 bargain to me. But wait! You’re offering a Premium Giveaway for—wait for it—$599! Wow! That’s capitalism on East German Olympic swim team steroids! Do you hear that? It’s the sound of authors rushing to their wallets to whip out their credit cards! They don’t care what’s included for $599 (everything in the “Standard” package and “premium” placement in the Goodreads’ Giveaways section; seriously, that’s it), they just know that the return on investment will be worth it!

I’m a bit skeptical. Rather than plunk down nearly $600 to give away one book, I’ll save up my dough for a BookBub promotion (where you usually get your return on investment), and, as another writer buddy of mine suggested, I’ll give away a book for free on Twitter or my website. I’m not at all opposed to paying Goodreads to give away a book. You are indeed providing a service. But my limit would $9.99.

Capitalism is wonderful thing, and one of the good things about it is we don’t have to partake in it if we choose not to. I’ll still buy a bunch of stuff on Amazon (and with Prime, I’ll get it sooner!). But I cannot ever see myself dropping $600 or even $120 to give away a single book on any website, respectfully.

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Krampus Funko Pop! Arrives!

Chim Chim Cher-ee!

Funko Pop! has crafted perhaps the best thing I’ve ever wasted my money on–Krampus! If you don’t know who Krampus is, buy this book and you’ll learn all about him and help me pay my power bill. (I know, totally shameless.)

Other than the Living Dead Doll, there aren’t many Krampus things you can display on your desk or hide in your bedroom closet because you’re a 42-year-old man and you feel strange keeping it on your nightstand. But what Funko has done is magnificent. Here he is:

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First, this is one hefty hunk of plastic, potentially an interesting paperweight in the right hands or a spiked weapon in the wrong ones. He’s holding a ruten (i.e., birch switch to swat bad children), he has a basket (pictured below) chained to his back, and his long, snakelike tongue is slithering! And the best part?

img_0005  There’s a (presumably) naughty Funko Pop! kid in his basket! It doesn’t come out, but damn! What an awesome touch.

Once you hold this piece of plastic in your hot little hands you’ll say to yourself, “Wow! I wish I there were other Funko Pop! Krampuses I could buy.” Well, you’re in luck! Funko is out to squeeze every last buck out of you that you really should be stashing away into your kid’s college savings plan. Funko is producing 5 of them! There’s the basic one above, and which is the best of the lot, in my book. But you also have ….

A red “Chase” variant. Meaning you have a one-in-six chance of plucking one of these out of the box:

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What this means is this one will run you a lot more than the basic one on eBay (curse you secondary-market sellers!). Now come the store exclusives! Hot Topic will have the following “Flocked” offerings. I honestly have no idea what that means. Is the fur designed differently? It’s not a fuzzy action figure, is it? I don’t know. But here’s the basic one, followed by the white “Chase” variant, meaning this one will cost even more than the Red “Chase” figure pictured above.

I love the white one and not just because he reminds me of my former father-in-law (and I adore the guy, who’s 6’4 tall). Hopefully the next time I swing by my nearest Hot Topic and feel awkward walking by all the sex toys (wait, that’s Spencer’s, never mind), I’ll see if they have the white critter.

Now, fifth and finally, is the FYE exclusive “Frozen” Krampus. (I pre-ordered one. Seriously. I’m 42 and I did that.)

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I think he’s the bees knees. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking the following: Will this guy actually seek out all five of these Krampuses when he could just as easily donate the money he’ll use to buy them to the needy? Yes. But I’ll be sure to put one in the Toys for Tots bin, too. Thank you, Funko, thank you! Happy hunting to all, and to all a good night!

As if the Weinstein saga couldn’t get worse …

Oh no! A photo of the late Carrie Fisher has emerged of her being harassed by Harvey Weinstein in 1983!

A quick Harvey Weinstein thought …

Now that we regular, non-Hollywood, normal people know what a devious swine Harvey Weinstein is, we are faced with a question:

Are we still allowed to enjoy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when Harvey Weinstein makes his appearance?

Aaron Judge/Jose Altuve Halloween costume!

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who is 6’7, and Astros infielder Jose Altuve, 5’6, square off in the ALCS tonight!

I think we can all agree that win or lose, these two budding MVPs should team up for the best Halloween costume ever: Master Blaster from Mad Max fame!

Two men enter, one man leave!

Joe Girardi’s new hat!

The Yankees manager might as well be wearing one of these from this point on …

Lingerie Football League Responds to NFL: ‘We Stand!’

This is not an Onion story.

(Courtesy: The Internet.)

It seems the ladies of the Lingerie Football League, which I knew existed in my dreams if not in reality, has literally taken a stand.

Whenever and wherever it is they play football, they’re standing for the National Anthem. I say God bless America and them and not just because I’m a 42-year-old single dad.

I was raised to stand during the National Anthem, remove my hat, put my hand over my heart, and to pay my respects to the American Flag. This was taught as far back as the 1980s and I cannot say with any degree of certainty whether that is still the case today. I’m pretty sure the San Francisco Public School System teaches its kindergartners to burn the flag while wearing Che Guevara T-shirts, but I could be off on that, too. I mean, if Alex Jones says it, it’s true, right?

(Courtesy: The Internet, and I pray this isn’t actually a child wearing a Che shirt and that the image is doctored.)

Back to the LFL. Let’s put the sophomoric jokes aside. This decision is to be respected and instills hope in me that America hasn’t completely lost its mind—a conclusion almost anyone could jump to given the current occupant of the White House and because the show Survivor is somehow still popular.

There are athletes of several ethnic backgrounds (don’t believe me? Follow this link) in the LFL and it’s reasonably assumed that some of them share concerns over police brutality against minorities, and want to call attention to it. But somewhere, somehow the League must’ve been educated in the 1980s and not in San Francisco:

“The LFL recognizes everyone’s First Amendment right to protest, but our nation’s flag and anthem are far too sacred,” the league said. “Too many fellow Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that our flag and anthem continue in all its majesty.”

Leave it to the ladies to show the men how it’s done. There’s a time and a place for everything, and perhaps the LFL realized that performing an act that is clearly offensive to a majority of Americans might not be the best way to draw people to your cause, no matter how noble.

Go team.