Monday, September 23, 2013

New Release! A DIFFICULT MIRROR by Benjamin X. Wretlind

Four-year-old Justine has been lost to the world and with her an ability feared by many. But the balance of power has been shifting for years, and Justine may be able to tip those scales for good...if someone can find her in a pitiless place of sorrow and pain.

When Marie Evans meets a strange man on a deserted road and a body is found mutilated in the desert, a deep resentment teetering on the edge of release is about to explode. Someone, somewhere has drawn a line in the sand, and when Harlan Reese, Marie's ex-lover, enters a forest in central Arizona looking for his daughter, that line will be crossed.

In a world between Heaven and Hell, the past becomes the present as Harlan and Marie find each other once again. Their journey across an unforgiving land to find a way home with Justine by their side will be wrought with both pain and triumph.

Life is, after all, A Difficult Mirror.

"Combining horror, fantasy and mystery with elements of the traditional hero's journey, A Difficult Mirror is a doorway into a world where demons and painful memories from the past hold sway. With a unique and detailed plot, rich characterization and a very real sense of danger, it is sure to appeal to readers of all genres." - Amazon Review

Available at:

About the Author

Benjamin X. Wretlind ran with scissors when he was five. Consequently, he likes llamas, although it's widely known that llamas don't care one way or another. He is the author of Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors, Sketches from the Spanish Mustang and Regarding Dead Things on the Side of the Road: Collected Stories.

He lives in Colorado with his wife and kids...but no llamas (yet).

You can connect with him at his website, Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing Contest!

Hello, all! Yesterday, I wrote about swag and how everybody loves it. In the spirit of that article, I'm running a giveaway, and the prizes will include swag packs featuring my books Sullivan's War and Short Stories. To be entered, leave a comment below with the following information:

1. Your name (first name only is fine)
2. A way I can contact you (either an email address or a link to a Twitter or Facebook profile)
3. A topic you'd like you see me write about in my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing series

If you do not provide all three pieces of information, your entry cannot be considered. To see the topics I've covered in the series so far, click here. That will give you an idea of what I'm looking for.

Here's what the winners will get:

1. A Sullivan's War or Short Stories Swag Pack (winner's choice). The swag packs include a signed 4" x 6" card featuring the book cover as well as three bookmarks.

3. An eBook copy of any one of my full-length books (select from Sullivan's War, Sullivan's Wrath, Chrysopteron, Darkridge Hall or Short Stories). If you've read them all, you can instead choose to receive a copy of Sullivan's Watch when it sees release in a couple of months.

I will select three winners based on the topics I find most interesting and that I feel qualified to write about. The contest will be open through October 11th, and I'll select and announce the winners on the 12th or 13th.

EBooks will be sent as either mobi (for Kindle) or epub (for Nook and most other eReaders) files.

I look forward to your entries!

Michael K. Rose

Thursday, September 19, 2013

101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing -- 013: Everybody Loves Swag!

In this digital world in which we're living, much of the promotion a writer does requires nothing more than a computer and an internet connection. It is the best way to reach a worldwide audience, especially since with eBooks, anyone who is online can instantly buy and start reading your work.

But as I mentioned in my post about putting your book in print, having something physical to send out, something people will keep in their homes to be reminded of you, something they can show others, should not be underestimated. Books, however, are expensive to just be giving them out left and right. Plus, it defeats the point of trying to get people to actually buy your books. Assuming that is what you want to happen, read on!

So what is swag? It is literally anything with your name or book title on it that you can order at a low enough per item price to give out for free. Bookmarks, postcards, pens, key chains, thumb drives, coffee mugs, t-shirts, posters... do an online search for custom printing, and you'll find websites with hundreds of products that can be emblazoned with your face, book cover, whatever you want.

And everybody loves swag. It's free! It's cool! It's made in China!

So as writers, what sorts of products do we want to give out to our fans? For me, the #1 swag item for writers is bookmarks. It just makes sense, after all. Plus, they're cheap, they're light enough to mail in an envelope with standard postage, you can carry a stack around with you without too much trouble, you can sign them, you can leave them in library books, you can have a stack of them on the table when you do signings... bookmarks are an incredibly versatile promotional tool.

You also have all sorts of design options. A bookmark could promote a single book, a series or you as a writer in general.

My #2  swag item for writers is a postcard. I personally don't mail them as postcards, although you can if you design it that way. I like postcards that feature the covers of books. For a standard 4" by 6" postcard, the dimensions are going to be close enough to your book cover that you shouldn't have too much trouble converting your cover image. The back of the postcard can have the description of the book, quotes from readers or other authors, where to buy it, etc. They have the added bonus of being mailable and are a neat way to send your autograph out to fans.

Here's a helpful tip: If you're in the US, I've discovered that you can send out one 4" x 6" postcard and three 2" x 8" bookmarks for the price of a single stamp. You might be able to cram an extra bookmark in there, but the weight of your envelope, stamps, and other factors could put it over the 1 ounce weight limit, so have it weighed at the post office if you're in doubt. I and several of my author friends have used GotPrint, and we have all been pleased with the price and quality.

Another tip: you can sign items like bookmarks and postcards, but if they have the gloss coating with UV protection (which I do recommend, because it makes them look nice and flashy!) I'd suggest using a metallic Sharpie. The ink in the non-metallic Sharpies is not as thick and will looks streaky. It's also more likely to rub off over time.

No matter what kind of swag you decide on, there are a few things you should have on it. First, your name. Second, your book or series name, if applicable. Finally, your web address. As I mention in my article on building a website, it helps to have an easy-to-read/easy-to-remember web address, like, for example. Quotes from readers are always good if you have the room and it will work with the design.

Any graphics on your swag can be adapted from your book cover. On my bookmark below, you can see I used a detail of the fighter jet from the cover of Sullivan's War.

I had my bookmarks printed in batches of 1,000, as it was the cheapest option. However, unless you have a big event to attend, or several events, you'll be sitting on stock for a long time. In retrospect, I should have ordered fewer bookmarks of one kind and instead opted for more variety. For future bookmark orders, I'll do this. If you do run out, you can usually reorder from the same company without too much trouble.

As a reader, what kind of swag do you like? Let me know in the comments below!

Michael K. Rose


If you're enjoying the series so far and would like a single page to bookmark, I'll be adding each of my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing here. Also be sure to subscribe by email (see the box in the sidebar) to be automatically notified about my new posts.

You might also be interested in my eBook, Building a Promotional Package: How to Prepare for Your Successful Book Launch. Details about it can be found here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing -- 012: Stagger eBook and Print Releases

Last time, I talked about the importance of putting your book out in print as well as digitally. However, deciding on book dimensions, getting the cover and interior formatting right, going through your proof copy... all of this can take a great deal of time. And it is definitely worth spending the time to get it right. It's frustrating to find an error in a print edition after you've ordered thirty copies.

I would therefore recommend that if your eBook is ready but your print edition is not, go ahead and put out the eBook. As a self-published writer, it's likely that most of your income will come from eBook sales, and there is no reason to delay release if it's ready to go. I haven't done the research to know for sure that staggering the releases is better than having them both ready on the same date, but I don't think it's worth rushing the print edition and risking mistakes.

In fact, staggering the releases of the eBook and print editions could be to your benefit. Marketing works best when you have new content to share with your audience. Talking about the same book release over and over will yield diminishing results over time. By staggering, you essentially get to have two release events, two "new" bits of information to share with readers, potentially doubling exposure for the book. You're still repeating the same basic message--"Buy this book!"--but the new information about the print release makes it seem fresh. You should, of course, also link to the eBook during the print release event, and hopefully by the time the print edition is out, you'll have built up a few reviews to help entice readers.

Until Next Time!
Michael K. Rose


If you're enjoying the series so far and would like a single page to bookmark, I'll be adding each of my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing here. Also be sure to subscribe by email (see the box in the sidebar) to be automatically notified about my new posts.

You might also be interested in my eBook, Building a Promotional Package: How to Prepare for Your Successful Book Launch. Details about it can be found here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Win a Signed Copy of A DIFFICULT MIRROR

My friend Benjamin X. Wretlind's new novel, A Difficult Mirror, comes out on September 23rd, but you can enter now to win a signed copy via Goodreads! I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of the book, and this is definitely one you won't want to miss. Check out my review here, and click below to enter the giveaway.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Difficult Mirror by Benjamin X. Wretlind

A Difficult Mirror

by Benjamin X. Wretlind

Giveaway ends September 23, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win