sentinels

To Don D’Auria, my editor

Don D'Auria, myself, and a really patchy beard, at BEA 2015 last spring in NYC

Don D’Auria, myself, and a really patchy beard, at BEA 2015 last spring in NYC

Tonight I drink to Don D’Auria.

I rarely drink. I originally planned on having a beer tonight to celebrate the release of my newest supernatural thriller, Sentinels, from Samhain Publishing, where Don was my editor. I say “was” because Don informed his stable of writers he’s leaving the company this Friday. Why and how this came about, I can’t say. Samhain turns 10 years old this month, and for a majority of that time has published romance, lots of it, and has even seen a few of its titles make The New York Times bestsellers list. Don was hired in 2011 to start a horror line, and he’s done so quite ably. Three of his edited works have been nominated for the coveted Bram Stoker award presented by the Horror Writers Association. He discovered a bunch of eventual Bram Stoker-winners during his days with Dorchester Publishing, where my history with him began.

Don plucked me out of Dorchester Publishing’s creaking slush pile in 2010. I’d written a straight crime thriller and Don offered me a small advance to make the book part of Dorchester’s Leisure line. I agreed, and then promptly saw the deal collapse—and Don laid off—a few months later because Dorchester went bankrupt. I stayed in touch with Don and heard he’d landed with Samhain. I couldn’t follow him there because my book wasn’t horror, but I kept him in the back of my mind, and when I got the idea for my Krampus novel, The Dark Servant, in 2012, he was the first guy I emailed—Don’s primary method of communication. He expressed a few concerns, nothing major, and was enthusiastic to see what I could do. He encouraged me to write, making no promises, and to send him some sample chapters. A line from his email, which I saved: “I have no doubt the book will be well written, unless you’ve had some serious head injury you haven’t mentioned.”

Don believed in me, and that was important. And what I’d hoped to have happen in February 2011 (a book with Dorchester) happened a few years later in December 2014 (a different book with Samhain). And I’m eternally grateful to have earned Don’s trust. He’s easy to work with, states up front his concerns about a character or a plot point. And he’s an exceedingly nice man. I was fortunate enough to attend BEA 2015 in New York just this past spring, and Don was there. We caught up, discussed horror, the publishing industry in general, and it was simply nice to finally see, after five years, the first editor to appreciate my work and offer to pay me for it.

So what now? Here’s my message to the Big 5 publishers: Hire this man. He knows what he’s doing and will bring talented authors with him. I’m not the only author who’s reeling upon learning about his unexpected departure. But I’m also not the only author who believes that Don will land somewhere else and succeed. I have a feeling I’m going to work with him again.

My beer is Michelob Ultra. Don’s apparently a martini fellow. (Sorry, I can’t do that.) But I will be drinking my beer tonight and celebrating two published novels, and an upcoming Krampus novella, Twelfth Krampus Night, which drops in December. I’m proud to say Don D’Auria helped make them happen.

I have a bookshelf of Samhain Horror works by Jonathan Janz, John Everson, Tamara Jones, Brian Moreland, Hunter Shea, and Glenn Rolfe, and I’ll be adding more in the months ahead. (Russell James, Ron Malfi, you’re on notice.) And tonight I’ll drink to all of them and to the man who edited them—Don D’Auria, who gave me my start. Cheers.

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The ebook promotional numbers are in …

Back in March and April of this year, I embarked on a near three-week-long 99-cent promotion for my debut novel, The Dark Servant. I documented which promotional sites I paid to advertise my book, and how many books, according to those websites, I sold. Here’s the original post, and I suggest you read it to see which sites I plan on using again, and which ones I’ll avoid.

Long story short, I paid $506 to advertise my (discounted) 99-cent eBook directly to readers through nearly a dozen websites. According to my publisher, Samhain Publishing, I sold a total of 1,265 promotional copies through various retail outlets. I don’t mind saying my royalties amounted to $386.10. So, based on promotional copies alone, I came out behind financially. But I don’t mind because I always viewed this endeavor as an experiment for future promotions. I know which sites to use before my next dance with Sentinels (available November 3, 2015). I hope for a 99-cent promotion for that book next spring. But that will depend on one big thing: whether I can land a BookBub slot. BookBub rocked and alone was responsible for moving more than 800 books! It’s pricey (around $280, I think), but worth it. So, as promised long ago, here’s how I got to 1,265.

Retail breakdown:
Amazon: 889
Amazon International: 117
Apple: 39
B&N: 157
Google: 26
Kobo: 33
Samhain: 4

All hail BookBub!

And for anyone out there who reads this and has a question, please, fire away!

Sentinels cover reveal 

Coming in November, my second Samhain Publishing novel, Sentinels. As it happens, it’s set in Reconstruction-era South Carolina in 1872. Someone’s killing KKK members and the Northern Soldiers responsible for helping keep the peace during the rebuilding effort. Who would want to slaughter these two diametrically opposed forces of good and evil, and why? Find out November 3! And there’s not one Confederate Flag mention in the book.