Thank goodness for Goodreads. Seriously. I don’t know how else i would keep track of my year long books read without it. Plus, there’s the progress goals that helps you keep on track with reading. There were more than a few times that I had gotten so bogged down in my own work that I needed that reminder to take a breath and read other peoples books. And I have found some good suggested reads on there too. This year, my goal was 12 books, one per month. Kinda wimpy when compared to others, I know. I saw one person with like a 500 book reading goal. Freaking crazy! I guess i’m just a slow reader. I am setting 2019 goals a little higher with plans to read more small press indie books. There year is, though, what it is. Can’t complain. I’ve read some really great titles. So, without further babbling on my part, here are my 2018 reads! Continue Reading
I got my first taste in publishing when I was in high school. Some short story of which I have long since forgotten the title for and have long since misplaced the letter of authentication. Given my moody teenagerism, it was probably something dark and depressing. It would be another 15 years before I’d publish again. In 2014, I put out my second short story, Hobo, and followed it closely with Are You Hungry, Dear?, and then released my first novel, Reinheit. In that very short span of time, I’ve been able to launch 4 more novels in a continuing series called The Subdue Series (Dwelling, Emerging, Conceiving, and Converging), 2 solo shorts, contributed to 7 published anthologies (the 8th to be published later this year), including a serial short story exclusive to the 13: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction series, my first collection called The Hobbsburg Horror, AND 2 novellas, Lanmò and Feast. That’s what? Some 20 published works, most of which are shorts. I’d say I was simply prolific, but I know more authors that do way more than my meager sum.
No, the aim (for me) cannot be about out producing the competition. I’d go nuts trying to keep up. What I can aim to do is provide quality entertainment in the vein of horrifying reads. I want to tell stories, plain and simple. I don’t want to out do anyone. I want to tell tales and get them out there to be read. Easy enough, right? What’s interesting, in this current era we find ourselves, is the constant development of technology that allows schmoes like me to publish our works. Amazon wasn’t around when I was a grump moody teenager. Self publishing was unaffordable. And traditional publishing took knowing someone who knew someone who knew someone. If you didn’t have that connection to your father’s brother’s uncle’s cousin’s former roommate, you were SOL. And the BIG 5? Forgetaboutit.
But now? Man, the entire system has expanded exponentially. With the development of eBooks (and its popularity) which later gave rise to print on demand (I use CreateSpace), publishing became insignificant. Not to belittle it, just that anyone can and many do. In fact, its not uncommon to stroll into a cyber writers group and read at least a dozen complaints about how saturated the market is. Its a favorite word to toss around that makes you sound more knowledgeable than what you really are. Saturated. Saturated. Saturated. Martha. Martha. Martha. And its true, the market IS super saturated. Personally though, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. Now readers have more of what they want. They have options outside of what they thought they could only get from the BIG 5.
But there’s a trick.
You cannot just put something out there and expect readers to flock to you. That’s just insane. Unless you have a known name, readers are not going to flock to you. Connections help; making connections is even better. What I’ve found most appealing with how this publishing world has evolved is how much of a community it has become. Embrace it. There will be some who try to take advantage. Don’t let a few turds keep you from making lasting connections. If people are willing to not only share your stuff, but also interact and maybe even give advise, those are the connections worth holding on to.
Experimenting with marketing can lead to surprising results. Ever heard the phrase, “Put your money were your mouth is?” The same applies to marketing your wares. I think “nut up or shut up” also applies, but its a tad cruder to tell your 80 year old grandma who wants to self-pub her book of recipes. In lieu, sometimes you gotta take a risk. Just don’t bet the farm. Play it smart, ask and listen to those connections, share what has worked or hasn’t worked. A word to the wise, among small press folk, BookBub is a known book promoter that lives by the slogan, money well spent.
Above all this noise, the most important thing publishing schmoes can do is keep writing, keep publishing, keep moving forward. And if you want those quality stories to reach more readers, you need to be willing to adapt to new technology. Last year, I was introduced to a little thing called Audiobooks. This is not new, per say. The spirit of audiobooks has been around a long time, back in the land before TVs and cable networks. Audio entertainment is not a new idea, but the tech behind it has come a long way since The Shadow and Little Orphan Annie broadcasted to delighted listeners gathered around a cherry red cabinet Philco radio. Cassette tapes came, followed by CDs. Nowadays, we’ve got digital recordings. At first, it was new and I didn’t want anything to do with it. I turned my nose up at it. But then Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) made everything so bloody simple its almost scary. I jumped in and released 4 titles on ACX last year and have released 2 titles thus far in 2017.
The idea here isn’t that your putting out even more stories (though you ought to be working on that). The idea is to use the technology available in order to put your work on as many platforms as possible so you can reach readers on the format that suits them best. And you’d be surprised. Audio is a expanding market for books. And the more this tech develops, the more affordable it becomes. Readers are now listeners, tuning in while driving to or from work or school. City and urban consumers plugged into YOUR book from their phones or tablets while they ride the train or bus or even airplane. Times are a-changing, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing unless we let it, right?
Thomas S. Flowers is known for his character-driven stories of dark fiction ranging from Shakespearean gore feasts to paranormal thrillers. Residing in the swamps of Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter, his debut novel, Reinheit, was published with Shadow Work Publishing, along with The Incredible Zilch Von Whitstein, Apocalypse Meow, Lanmò, The Hobbsburg Horror, and FEAST. His veteran focused paranormal thriller series, The Subdue Series, including Dwelling, Emerging, Conceiving, and Converging, are published with Limitless Publishing, LLC. In 2008, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army where he served three tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2014, Thomas graduated from University of Houston-Clear Lake with a Bachelors in History. He blogs at machinemean[dot]org, where he reviews movies and books and hosts a gambit of guest writers who discuss a wide range of strange yet oddly related topics. You can follow Thomas by joining his author newsletter at http://goo.gl/2CozdE.
Now Available for YOUR earbuds!!!
Following the huge success with 13: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction that released last October (keeping on the top charts for horror anthologies ever since), Limitless Publishing has decided to bring even more dark fiction and horror. 13: Déjà Vu (Thirteen Series Book 2) has just released and as one of the authors in the anthology, I couldn’t be any more excited. The authors you enjoyed in the first 13 book are back with brand new tales, most of which are either sequels or continuations in some way to the work done in the original 13, to include: by
For my part, you will find the next installment in my continuing Twin Pines Hotel stories, completely exclusive to the 13 Anthology Series. You witnessed Will Fenning’s strange demise in Room 313, now bear witness to the story of mass murderer Andy Derek and his confrontation with Room 249. iScream Books had this to say regarding the story:
A disturbing story of a cross country cold blooded murder spree. The murderer hides out in a unique hotel while the man hunt ensues. I found myself cringing and grossed out with this story but I also found it very unique and clever with its plot.
Pickup your copy today on Amazon for only $0.99!!!
There isn’t a real post per say. There is no real discussion going on here. This is just some good old fashion shameless self-promotion!
Besides posting articles on this site, ranging anywhere from history to horror movie reviews and even a random political conversation, besides all that, I also fancy myself a fiction writer. I dabble a little in the dark arts of horror fiction and suspense and while I’m waiting for one short story title to be considered for publication with TOR, I’m biding my time with another short story. For whatever reason, other than just getting this out there for people to read, I’ve decided to self publish this second piece, called “Hobo: A horror short story.”
Here is an exurb for your reading pleasure:
The red glow of the traffic was eternal. Beverly wiped what looked to be a crumb off her Ivanka Trump dress pants, pretending as if the hobo was not there, in the median, next to her luxury car. She said a small prayer of thanks that the valet had stored her shopping bags in the trunk. She remembered handing the young twenty-something a Hamilton as he closed her door. He was handsome and young. She fantasied a late night rondevu, perhaps a bar encounter. “What are you having,” she’d ask. He was silent in her mind; his deep blue eyes did the talking, and his toned arms, and legs…and the tight bulge in his designer jeans. Her smile curved with hunger, but quickly went away. From her peripheral, she could tell that the hobo was talking to her now, muttering something inaudible through her tinted driver’s side window. He began to tilt the sign to give her a better angle. Beverly thought of turning on the radio, but decided against it. She did not want to make any movement that would suggest she was reaching for anything. Her eyes remained fixed on the light.
“Please turn, please turn. Come on – turn,” she breathed.
The man abandoned his resting place and shuffled toward her. Beverly dared a glance. And for a moment they locked eyes. She could see his deep brown irises’ and the swollen blue and purple bags underneath. His cheeks were hollow. Afraid to take breaths through her nose, Beverly swore she could smell his stink of skunk and booze choking through the window. Sneaking another glance, she could see something else in those browns, there was something other than hunger, perhaps anger or resentment because she was well off and he was poor, or maybe she was the only vehicle stopped at the light, the only one he could beg and bother. Or perhaps because he didn’t like women and meant her harm. Or maybe he was drunk, she wasn’t for certain, but whatever it was, she despised those morose eyes. She despised that he was looking at her, judging her for not giving him money.
The hobo was off the curb and in the gutter when Beverly waved her hand, dismissing him with the universal sign for, “Sorry, no money. Please go away.” The man kept coming. Reaching her driver side door, he placed a surprisingly large hand on the dark glass. Smearing dirt or whatever else collected from lying in the street. The hobo smiled at her, exposing gaps where teeth had once resided, and those that remained were both yellow and nasty. He let his sign drop to the ground, moving his other hand up, cupping the tinted window, peering inside. Beverly reached for the locking mechanism, again. The bolts danced back and forth, unable to lock any further. The man opened his mouth wide, brandishing his black tongue, and fogged her window with a long drawn exhale. With one large finger he wrote, “Hungry” in the cloud.
If you are interested in reading more, you can check it out on Amazon Kindle.
Or, if you are interested in being an “not so” advanced reader and receive a free copy (PDF) of Hobo and are able to leave a review on Amazon, just let me know via comment or private message.