Showing posts with label William Cook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Cook. Show all posts

Free Horror Book Potpourri

A very quick post today to let you know about a bunch of FREE kindle books of mine that are up for grabs. Head on over to my Amazon Author Page or follow the links below to grab your free kindle copies of some of my best horror short stories. There's also a bunch of discounted books available at the moment. 

While you're there, if you haven't already, why not check out my latest collection/series - Psychological Horror Stories (details/links below).

If you like what you've read it would be great if you could share this post and leave a quick review, or at least a 'rating,' on Amazon.

Thanks heaps.


Will.


Here are the freebies:








New series/collection - Psychological Horror Stories



Psychological Horror Stories: 

A Collection of Psychological Horror Fiction for Adults


This terrifying collection of psychological horror stories will make your flesh crawl.


Enter a disturbing world of psychological horror and paranoid fear from the unique imagination of William Cook.

25 tales of psycho killers, haunted spirits, and evil creatures conjured from the depths of hell, haunt over 350 pages in this latest collection from the author of 
Blood Related.

Disturbing love stories, psychopathic existentialism, spirits thirsty for vengeance, demons hunting for fresh souls and a perverse array of other grotesqueries are the subjects of these twisted tales.

Some are new* stories, while others are readers’ favorites that have been reanimated with fresh edits and, in some cases, rewritten. These vivid and often-disturbing stories reveal the horrors that dwell within the human psyche.

Read with caution.

R18+ Some stories may contain graphic descriptions of psychological horror, violence and/or abuse. Not for sale to minors.


New Release - Psychological Horror Stories: A Collection of Psychological Horror Fiction for Adults


Greetings. This post marks the end of three months of writing, editing, and formatting a new collection that brings together old and new stories. Psychological Horror Stories: A Collection of Psychological Horror Fiction for Adults is a 364 page collection of my best psychological horror stories. The collection is the omnibus edition of a 4-volume series and all covers are illustrated by artist and author, Jeffrey Kosh (see right sidebar for link). Some of the stories are from previous series, Serial Killer Thrillers, which have been rewritten/edited and are now included as part of this series (Serial Killer Thrillers is still available as a single-volume) print/kindle edition collection).

Psychological Horror Stories: A Collection of Psychological Horror Fiction for Adults


Psychological Horror Stories: A Collection of Psychological Horror Fiction for Adults is a collection of dark tales that deal with the horror inherent in the human psyche. Sometimes supernatural or macabre, but always darkly psychological in the effect on the reader, these twisted stories will linger in the imagination long after the last page has been turned. This omnibus edition is available in paperback and ebook format.

Psycho killers, haunted spirits, evil creatures conjured from the depths of hell and disturbed ghouls haunt the pages of this terrifying collection of psychological horror stories.

Disturbing love stories, psychopathic existentialism, spirits thirsty for vengeance, demons hunting for fresh souls and a perverse array of other grotesqueries are the subjects of these twisted tales.

*Note* All volumes contain R18+ material not suitable for minors. Includes depictions of graphic violence and scenes of horror.

Volumes in the series are all available exclusively from Amazon (click on cover image/s to purchase) and are detailed below:

 

Psychological Horror Stories (Psychological Horror and Macabre Fiction V1) 

This volume contains the following stories:

Creep – A dark story of a young woman's date with death! Serial Killers don't always get away with murder, no matter how hard they try.
Blinded by the Light – A teenager discovers his father is someone who he needs to be afraid of. Very afraid!
Pretty Boy – A killer on the loose visits a small town and realizes he’s made a bad decision he might not live to regret.
Legacy – The brutal origin story behind the novel ‘Blood Related. A novella-length dark tale of a serial-killer family and twin-brothers who continue the family tradition with terrifying efficiency.
Singles’ Night – A lonely hearts predator bites off more than he can chew when he unwittingly falls into a web of violence while stalking potential victims.
Time After Time – A drifter with a penchant for alcohol and horse racing tries to adjust to a ‘normal life,’ but fails with horrific consequences.

Psychological Horror Stories (Psychological Horror and Macabre Fiction V2) 

This volume contains the following stories:

The Reader – A tragic tale of obsession and the horrifying fatal consequences that result from one man’s devotion to his hobby.
Axe Man – A surreal nightmare of a tale that recounts the narrator’s experience with a purgatorial harbinger of death.
That Sinking Feeling . . . – A dark story of ‘love gone wrong’ and the jealous rage that fuels the protagonist’s recourse to destructive violence.
Shadows in the Dark – An apocalyptic vision of the brutality of life and the trials of one family as they succumb to madness and death in a harsh rural landscape.
The Kaleidoscope Kid – The hellish story of a youth’s spiralling madness into a world of visions, demons, vengeance and, ultimately, death!
Love Hurts – A disturbing tale of extreme domestic horror and violence, culminating in a blood-soaked ending that will leave the reader reeling or running for the bathroom!

Psychological Horror Stories (Psychological Horror and Supernatural Fiction V3) 

This volume contains the following stories:

Hopeless – A young girl must face her biggest fear – her father. As she struggles to protect her mother from the man she once idolized, young Hope must confront her situation and the possibility that they may not get out alive.
Anomalous Perigee – Letting go of the person we love is the hardest thing to do, especially if they haunt you.
Dead Memories – Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true! A man’s enduring love burns strongly for his girlfriend despite her deceit and vengeful cruelty.
Night Walker – Obsession and desire keep one man’s love alive for his cruel mistress, even after his death!
The Dead Avenged – Sometimes the dead come back! A supernatural coming-of-age ghost story that deals with the consequences of bullying.

Psychological Horror Stories (Psychological Horror and Supernatural Fiction V4) 

This volume contains the following stories:

Death Comes Calling – The parents have gone out for the evening and return home to find the sitter and their son missing and a strange child in their house. A very strange child!
A Dream Realized – A young boy living in an orphanage retreats into his fantasy world to escape the cruel taunts of the other orphans and the sadistic brutality of the staff.
The Pale Stranger – A man turns his back on his family as his addictions suck him deeper into a debauched world until he meets a stranger who offers him a way out, but at a terrible price.
Devil Inside – This twisted tale winds itself around a disturbed young boy who discovers that when you make a wish, you better make sure you really want it. After all, monsters are sometimes real.
Conceived By Death – A drug-addicted couple who will do anything to score a fix find themselves hopelessly unprepared for the arrival of a baby with a hunger far greater than their own.
Thirsty Work – A young man escapes from his brutal father and finds work and lodging at a liquor store where the customers have an insatiable thirst for more than just alcohol.
Dolly Did It – When dreams become nightmares and the past refuses to die . . . A young girl’s old dolly, Samantha, haunts her dreams as her family begin to die one by one.

I hope you enjoy the stories. If you are new to my work I would recommend this collection as a good starting point to my dark fiction. For those of you who have read my work before, I thank you sincerely and hope that you enjoy (if you choose to get this collection) the redux versions of older stories and the new ones included.

Best wishes and hope these tales keep you entertained in these weird, uncertain times (please share this post with your networks).






Will

Guest Post = Land of the Long Dark Cloud - Writing Dark Fiction Down Under by Dan Rabarts

Hi all - as you may or may not have noticed I have not been posting much lately. Largely due to the completion of my Masters thesis, my fiction writing and posts have been on hiatus. Now, I am back but this time I thought I'd try something a bit different by opening up my site to some fellow authors. The first guest post I present to you is from fellow countryman and all-around good guy, Dan Rabarts. Dan is a writer of the dark stuff along with excursions into fantasy and further afield. Here he offers us an interesting perspective on his recent work as it relates to possible sources and origins of inspiration, found in the locale and characteristic anomalies of life in New Zealand. If interested, I myself discuss the 'dark' aspects of New Zealand literature here in a recent interview with fellow writer and Dan's co-author, Lee Murray.

Give the below article a read and check out Dan's books via the links - you won't be sorry, he really is the real-deal and his stories will resonate with you long after you've finished reading them.


Also, please make sure to subscribe to this blog/website to stay tuned for the next post (if you subscribe now you also get a free digital copy of my collection, Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Fiction) - links to the right or click here.

Without further ado . . . here's Dan. 

Free Fiction! Dead Memories - a short story

https://parlorofhorror.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/halloween-horror-free-read-2016-best-horror-stories-on-the-internet/

This story recently won 'Runner-Up' in the Parlor of Horror's 2016 short fiction awards and is also part of my collection 'Dreams of Thanatos' - now available to all new subscribers for free - click on the image at the end of this post to download your copy.

Dead Memories

1.

I had a dream on the anniversary of her death. In the dream, I heard her unmistakable voice calling me, then I saw her and she was so real, I could almost touch her again. Everything about her hit me deep in the chest, I sat bolt upright in our big empty bed. My breath gasped, sweat beaded itself on my cold skin. I could still hear her voice in the dark. I rationalized there were only two possible reasons why I could hear such a thing. I was either hallucinating, or what I heard was her ghost whispering in my ear. Then she was gone again.

News and special discounted books promotion

Hi Folks

Firstly, apologies for the lack of posts lately - some of you may know that I recently began my Masters in English Lit. program and it is proving to be the inevitable time-guzzler that I thought it would be! So, less fiction, more academic writing . . . Grrrrrr. Despite the time consuming factor, I am learning a lot as I go and it's valuable information which will hopefully benefit my writing. The topic of my thesis is: American Postmodern Serial Killer Fiction, and I'm analyzing the following select works - Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, James Ellroy’s Killer on the Road, Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, Poppy Z. Brite’s Exquisite Corpse and Joyce Carol Oates’s Zombie. Here's a slice of the intro - as you will notice, the style is not my usual pared-down prose. Bear in mind that this is the first draft, but you get the idea:

"The vast body of published texts, which constitute the genre of serial killer fiction, reveal common narrative technique and tropes that signal a prevalence of clichéd formulaic novels representing the majority of works within this genre. However, amongst this stylistic and thematic majority, works exist that extend the boundaries of serial killer fiction through the import of different genre concerns and attributes. This thesis considers the impact and importance of these works and how they have influenced the stylistic and thematic direction of the genre as a whole. Focussing on twentieth century American post-war serial killer fiction, this study examines select works to exemplify aspects of the narratives that directly, or indirectly, transform, challenge and critique the genre conventions in which they are written. Of primary concern is the charting of the trajectory of the genre as a postmodern phenomenon, the evolution and expansion of the genre in terms of its popularity with the reading public in line with the growth of media interest in factual representations of serial killers, and the growing interest in the genre and its possibilities by those authors who usually write outside of it."

Right, now my excuse is out of the way we can get down to the good stuff. I have recently discounted a few of my titles so I thought I'd share it with you here before the price goes up again. Here are the bargains:



Discounted to only $0.99 for a limited time - grab your copy now! (U.S & U.K. links below) - Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales. (250 pgs)

Supernatural demons, murderers and ghosts roam these pages although the most horrifying aspect Cook describes, is the dark soul of humanity. Whether writing about the psychological horrors of modern life, or things that go ‘bump in the night,’ Cook’s writing is always “intense” and often “visceral” in his portrayal of the macabre. Included in this collection of fifteen stories is a novelette (Dead and Buried) and the origin story (Legacy: The Eternal Now and Thereafter) behind the novel, Blood Related.

Recommended for adult readers only. Contains scenes of psychological and supernatural horror


This book is also available FREE to all new subscribers of this website - if you are not already subscribed, why not grab a free copy here instead?

The second discounted title is the popular collection I edited, Fresh Fear: An Anthology of Macabre Horror. I have reduced the price and the kindle version is $2.99 for a limited time. 


https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Fear-Anthology-Macabre-Horror-ebook/dp/B01HYASBBI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8#nav-subnav

News and FREE EBOOK giveaways

Hi All - it's been a while I know, so as a way of thanking you for sticking around I've got some free books for you! Things have been really busy lately with research for my Masters thesis well underway. The title of my dissertation is 'The Evolution of a Genre: the Rise and Rise of Serial killer Fiction. As you can imagine, the research and writing on this topic fits well within the scope of my fictional work as well, so it should be an interesting and engaging ride. Let's just hope that my supervisor likes the subject as much as readers of my books do! Other current projects include continued work on the sequel to 'Blood Related' (a novel titled 'Blood Loss'), the second volume of 'Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors' as well as an omnibus edition that collates both volumes (1 and 2) plus additional material. 

In other news, I have recently been interviewed. If you're interested in reading these you can view them respectively, here and here.

The last item I have today is a REQUEST FOR REVIEWS! Sorry for shouting, just wanted to make sure everybody heard (wink, wink). If you have read any of my books, please take a minute to drop a short review on Amazon (author page link) and/or Goodreads. If you'd like to become part of my review team, please send me an email and I'll gift you a review copy of your choice. 


Reviews are what drives new readers to my books and to all the other indie authors out there struggling to make a name for themselves. Believe me when I say that without your help, I am nothing. Sure, I would keep writing nonetheless (without reviews) because it is my passion and I can't seem not to write, but a fair review is what helps me as an author improve and to see what readers actually want to read more of. So thank you to those of you who have read my work and reviewed it and to those of you who will (hopefully) leave a short review after reading this. You rock!!!

Anyway, here they are - today's freebies just for you. Just click on the image or the link beneath to download your free copy/s (U.S. + U.K. Links included)


DEAD AND BURIED

Ever been bullied? Ever been dead and buried? Ever been a ghost?
Donny is sick of everything, at home and at school. Most of all, he hates the bullies who have made his life a living hell. Strange things have been happening in the Cox household – Donny’s mother has mysteriously disappeared and his drunken father has been acting more strangely than usual. Donny’s little brother Max is relying on him to find their mother and to protect him from all the things little kids need protecting from. The local gang of thugs is intent on making Donny and Max’s lives as miserable as possible. They will resort to almost anything to make the Cox brothers’ suffer. What the bullies don’t consider, is the possibility that their cruel actions will have consequences far beyond their realms of imagination.





DEATH QUARTET

DEATH QUARTET (A Selection of Short Horror Fiction & Verse) is an eclectic miscellany of psychological horror stories, poems, and ephemera, wherein the subject matter relates to the study of homicide and the aesthetic portrayal of such an act. In other words, themes of death and murder abound in this horrific collection brought to you by William Cook, author of macabre fiction and the novel ‘Blood Related.’ 





CREEP

Be careful who you get into a car with, even if that car is a taxi!
A dark story of a young girl's date with death. CREEP is a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat until the gripping climax which is unexpected and will leave the reader cheering for more. Serial Killers don't always get away with murder, no matter how hard they try.





ONE WAY TICKET

Fast Train To Hell . . .
From the belly of the swamp issues forth a visit in the middle of the night, from a force as dark and unimaginable as hell itself. Poor pig-farmer Abel Laroux, must battle the demons of his past as well as the nightmarish reality of the present, as he confronts a devilish visitor who has come to collect on an outstanding debt. Grab your ticket now for this horrifying journey into a hellish nightmare!





Hope you enjoy these free reads (download 'em quick - two days to go!). Best wishes and please remember to subscribe (click on image below) for the next post/s and another free book. Have a great day.

 

 

#freebooks, Interview, news, william cook, Dead and Buried, Death Quartet, One Way Ticket, CREEP, Lee Murray, Roadie Notes, Book Review Request, #reviews, 

Discounted holiday price - only $2.99! Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors

Hi everyone. Firstly, I'd like to wish you all a safe and relaxed holiday season and I hope that 2016 brings good things your way. Secondly, I'd like to share with you my latest publication news; Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors is at a special discounted low holiday price - only $2.99! Want to know how indie best-sellers become best-sellers? Want to know whether or not self-publishing will work for you? Want straight-to-the-point advice and easy-to-read tips on self-publishing, book marketing and sales? (U.S. & U.K. links below) Grab a copy quick and please share with your pals.

http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Best-Selling-Self-Published-Authors-Indie-ebook/dp/B019GGBBRO/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1VD9HDV2E9BCM4HKHF94

Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors offers valuable insights and tips for new and experienced self-published authors.

In Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors, William Cook, author and entrepreneur, shares a selection of interviews from his popular online interview series, alongside an analysis of the interviews and two fresh essays: 'Self Published Author VS Successful Self-Published Author' and 'Growth Hacking for Authors.' Along with the interviews and essays, a very helpful and inspiring list of 'Indie Power Tips' is included.
 

Being a self-published author requires a certain skill set. Being a successful self-published author (SSPA) requires an even greater skill set. Just because you are self-published does not mean you are successful or that you will be a best-seller. Common characteristics of successful self-published authors include personality and character traits that can be seen in most entrepreneurs and successful business people. To be a successful independent author, requires an understanding of the business of publishing and an awareness of the complexities and issues facing authors in this highly competitive and evolving world. 

In this volume, interviews with best-selling self-published authors: Russell Blake, Matt Shaw, Mark Edward Hall, Michealbrent Collings, William Malmborg, Matt Drabble and April M Reign, offer priceless insights into the world of self-publishing and how they hit the best-seller lists.

So what are you waiting for? Get inspired and download your copy today.

Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors is a book that provides a wealth of tips and information for authors who are traveling the self-publishing route. This book is not a road-map to success by any means, but you will find inspiration and ideas here to push you in the right direction.

#Selfpub #Indie #amwriting #Publishing #Selfpublishing #writing #Growthhack

AMAZON U.S. - http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Best-Selling-Self-Published-Authors-Indie-ebook/dp/B019GGBBRO/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1VD9HDV2E9BCM4HKHF94

AMAZON U.K. - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Best-Selling-Self-Published-Authors-Indie-ebook/dp/B019GGBBRO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1450397415&sr=8-2&keywords=william+cook+secrets

 

Russell Blake, Matt Shaw, Mark Edward Hall, Michealbrent Collings, William Malmborg, Matt Drabble, April M Reign, Indie, Self-Publishing, Authorpreneurship, Writing, Publishing, William Cook, Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors

Self publishing, How to self publish, self publishing success, Writing and publishing, best selling Indie author, how to become a best selling author, Authorship authorpreneur

#Self publishing, How to #selfpublish, self publishing #success, #Writing and #publishing, best selling #Indieauthor, how to become a #bestsellingauthor, #Authorship #authorpreneur

 

A free gift for you to kick off the festive season!

Here you go . . . a #Free #Book! Hopeless, a supernatural #Horror story. (U.S. & U.K. links below) - Grab a copy now and please share :) Free 'til Tuesday.


Nothing can kill a child's love for her mother . . .

A young girl must face her biggest fear – her father. As she struggles to protect her mother from the man she once idolized, young Hope must confront her situation and the possibility that they may not get out alive. A fast-paced supernatural horror story with a twist, that will keep you on the edge of your seat. From the author of Blood Related and Dreams of Thanatos

*Bonus Features: includes an additional short story and a recent interview with the author.

Warning: contains adult content + themes of psychological horror and domestic abuse.

"William Cook tells a gruesome story with a sense of authenticity that makes you question with considerable unease if it really is fiction, after all."
– Graham Masterton, author of The Manitou and Descendant

“This man is simply scary. There is both a clinical thoroughness and a heartfelt emotional thoroughness to his writing. He manages to shock as well as empathize, to scare as well as acclimatize, yet beneath it all is a well read intelligence that demands to be engaged. I loved Blood Related. Ordinarily I hate serial killer stories, but William Cook won me over. He is a unique and innovative talent.”
– Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Dog Days



#horror #shortstory #scarybooks #horrorshort #Supernatural #Ghosts

AMAZON U.S. - http://www.amazon.com/Hopeless-Supernatural-Horror-Short-Story-ebook/dp/B00VNYPPC0/ref=la_B003PA513I_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449954106&sr=1-11

AMAZON U.K. - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hopeless-Supernatural-Horror-Short-Story-ebook/dp/B00VNYPPC0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449954247&sr=8-1&keywords=HOPELESS+cook

News and #FREE book

 Hi there - well it's been a while since my last post as things have been very busy on the home front. I have nearly finished the final edits on my latest book - 'Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors,' and have been working on a couple of other projects (novel, collection etc). SOBSSPA is a non-fiction collection of interviews that appeared first here on my site/blog - (you can find all the interviews via this link) along with an analysis of the main interview points and a couple of essays on Growth Hacking for authors and Self-Publishing by yours truly. All things going well, this interesting little book should be ready pre-Christmas along with a collection of essays and a new collection of short fiction. Meanwhile, here is a freebie for you guys - hope you enjoy it.


http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Buried-Ghost-William-Cook-ebook/dp/B00IJMI8T6/ref=la_B003PA513I_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447366729&sr=1-14&refinements=p_82%3AB003PA513I

#FREE Now! (3 Days only - 12-15/11) Dead and Buried - A Ghost Story (Please share/ #RT) - (U.S. & U.K. links below)

Ever been bullied? Ever been dead and buried? Ever been a ghost?

 
Donny is sick of everything, at home and at school. Most of all, he hates the bullies who have made his life a living hell. Strange things have been happening in the Cox household – Donny’s mother has mysteriously disappeared and his drunken father has been acting more strangely than usual. Donny’s little brother Max is relying on him to find their mother and to protect him from all the things little kids need protecting from. The local gang of thugs is intent on making Donny and Max’s lives as miserable as possible. They will resort to almost anything to make the Cox brothers’ suffer. What the bullies don’t consider, is the possibility that their cruel actions will have consequences far beyond their realms of imagination.

A supernatural coming-of-age ghost story that deals with the consequences of bullying.

Contains scenes of violence and low-level supernatural horror.

“This man is simply scary. There is both a clinical thoroughness and a heartfelt emotional thoroughness to his writing. He manages to shock as well as empathize, to scare as well as acclimatize, yet beneath it all is a well read intelligence that demands to be engaged. I loved Blood Related. Ordinarily I hate serial killer stories, but William Cook won me over. He is a unique and innovative talent.”
– Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Dog Days

#Ghosts #Ghost #Supernatural #Horror #Paranormal #Mystery #Suspense

AMAZON U.S. - http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Buried-Ghost-William-Cook-ebook/dp/B00IJMI8T6/ref=la_B003PA513I_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447286047&sr=1-14&refinements=p_82%3AB003PA513I

AMAZON U.K. - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Buried-Ghost-William-Cook-ebook/dp/B00IJMI8T6/ref=la_B003PA513I_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447286187&sr=1-13

Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors #13 – Michael J Sullivan


Another fascinating interview is in store for you today and this time we have best-selling fantasy author, Michael J Sullivan in the hot-seat. A very interesting and generous writer who has taken the time to answer my questions about self-publishing and achieving success in today's tough publishing market-place. As usual, please make sure to check out Michael's links and books at the bottom of the interview and also take advantage of the subscription offer. His Amazon biography describes him as thus (abridged):


After finding a manual typewriter in the basement of a friend's house, Michael J. Sullivan inserted a blank piece of paper and typed: It was a dark and stormy night. He was just eight years old and mimicking the greatest (or only) writer he knew at the time...Snoopy. That spark ignited a flame and the desire to fill blank pages would become a life-long obsession. As an adult, Michael spent more than ten years developing his craft by studying authors such as Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. During that time, he wrote thirteen novels but found no traction in publishing. He did the only sane thing he could think of (since insanity is repeating the same act but expecting a different result), he quit and vowed never to write creatively again.

Michael stayed away from writing for a decade and returned to the keyboard in his forties...but with one condition: he wouldn't seek publication. Instead, he wrote a series of books that had been building in his head over his hiatus. His first reading love was fantasy, and his hope was to help foster a love of reading in his then thirteen-year-old daughter, who struggled due to severe dyslexia. After reading the third book of this series, his wife insisted the novels needed to "get out there." When Michael refused to jump back onto the query-go-round, she took over the publication tasks and has run "the business side" of his writing ever since.

Michael is one of the few authors who has successfully published through all three routes: small press, self, and big five. Some key accomplishments of his career include:

* Named to io9's Most Successful Self-Published Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors
* Sold more than half a million English copies
* Been translated into twelve foreign languages
* Spent more than a year on Amazon's Bestselling Fantasy Author's list
* His Death of Dulgath Kickstarter is the third-highest funded fiction project of all time.
* Had his books named to more than 100 "best of" or "most anticipated" lists including those compiled by Library Journal, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads.com, and Audible.com

Today, Michael continues to fill blank pages with nine released novels, six awaiting publication, and a new series in the developmental stages. 


 Here he is, folks. The inimitable, Michael J Sullivan:



Do you think that your life experience has gone someway towards making you a successful author in your chosen genre?



Yes, in many ways all that has occurred during my life has been a contributing factor to my success. It’s taken me decades to find my voice and polish my story-telling style, but more importantly the skills related to marketing, design, and promotion also took years to perfect. My “day job” before I became a full-time novelist was running my advertising agency. Doing that gave me experience in layout, design, and marketing.



You are what is commonly referred to as a ‘hybrid author.’ Can you please explain whether you agree with this and whether or not this was a conscious decision on your part?



Yes, a hybrid is the best description for how I approach publishing. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it’s an author who utilizes both self-publishing and traditional. It would help to explain a bit about my publishing history.



·      2008 – Book #1 of The Riyria Revelations was published by a small press

·      2009  -  2010  Book #1 - #5 of The Riyria Revelations were self-published

·      2011 – 201 2: Book #1 - #6 of The Riyria Revelations re-released by big-five

·      2013 – Book #1 & #2 – of The Riyria Chronicles released by big-five

·      2014 – Hollow World – released by self (ebook) and small press (print book)

·      2015 – Book #3 of The Riyria Chronicles self-published

·      2016 – Book #1 of The First Empire released by big-five

·      2017 -  Book #2 of the First Empire released by big-five and at least one book self-published.



As you can see, I have utilized small presses, the big-five traditional publishers, and self-publishing over the course of the last eight years. It is definitely a conscious decision, as I think it diversifies my offerings and provides for the greatest amount of flexibility. For each project, I determine what I think would be the best for my career and evaluate potential income, and then I decide which route to take.



A common trait I have noticed, amongst the work of some of the biggest and best-selling authors who self-publish, is that they are ‘World Creators.’ You are no exception – your books are set in fantastical and futuristic worlds that envelope your readers. The fact that many of the top self-published authors create and write within these worlds leads me to believe that this way of writing lends itself strongly, to solid story strands that translate nicely into both extended series and devout fans and to a certain appeasement of the Amazon gods in terms of the promotion of those series. Do you write an origin story with a future series in mind or is it more of an organic process because of the way you build such a strong setting/world in the first book?



To date, I’ve written series mostly, but I do so in a very unusual way. I write all the books before publishing any of them.  For instance my first series, The Riyria Revelations was a six-novel story arc, and I finished writing the last book before the first one was published. I just finished a new series, The First Empire (5 books). Even though the first book, The Age of Myth, won’t be released until June 2016, I’ve finished all five books this April.



I do have one book, Hollow World, which is a standalone novel. That being said, I left some room to revisit that world and characters if the readership wanted more. It would appear that they do, so I’ll probably be writing a second story in that universe starting next year.



How important are books written within a series to your success as a best-selling author?



I think series are very important to my success. First, it is common in fantasy and science fiction to create epic tales that require several full-length novels to tell. But more importantly, it’s hard to make a living with just one book. Three seems to be the magic number as far as the number required to start obtaining a substantial readership. When they are all in the same series, it’s easy to get someone to go from one to the next (assuming the first one has entertained and/or touched them).  Otherwise, you have to find a new audience with each standalone book, and that is a lot more work.



Once you have decided that self-publishing might be your route, what financial and artistic considerations should you keep in mind before you begin?



I’m a firm believer that if you go the self-published route, you MUST produce a work that is every bit as good as anything coming from New York. That means an attractive, professional cover and flawless editing. A self-published book has to be twice as good to get half the credit. A typo or two in a traditionally published book is looked upon as a “minor mistake.” The same typos in a self-published book are held up as proof that self-published authors need better editing.  Going self doesn’t mean “taking the easy way.” It means just the opposite. So if you can’t produce a book with exceptional quality – I say don’t bother.  All that being said, you also have to keep in mind budgetary considerations. It doesn’t make sense to spend $2,000 releasing a book that will only net $500.  So you have to spend your money wisely.  If you shop around you can budget around $800 and get good results for both cover and editing. To me, that’s probably the lowest amount you should expect.



What kind of marketing did you do to establish your author brand and what do you think is the most successful marketing for self-published authors? Is there any one thing that you have determined has helped you sell more books – i.e. could you outline your path to establishing your brand and your most successful sales method/s?



It’s impossible to sum up years of marketing experience in a paragraph. But I can point out some resources that should help. One of the areas that I’ve found the best results from is Goodreads. It’s a site dedicated to books and is a perfect environment to find readers. There’s a lot to do there:groups to join, giveaways to run, talking to people who have read and reviewed your books. It can be somewhat overwhelming. I suggest people check out an article I wrote in the Feb 2015 edition of Writer’s Digest as a good place to start. I also have some online guides on the right-hand side of reddit’s write2publish sub (https://www.reddit.com/r/Write2Publish/).



You have some fantastic book covers. How important do you think cover design is to a potential reader and how big a part do you think it has played in your success to date? 



Nothing will hold back a good book more than a bad cover. If someone can tell a book is self-published by looking at it, then you’ve put yourself at a significant disadvantage. Remember what I said about producing a book using the same standards of traditional publishers. That means that the cover of your self-published book has to stand toe-to-toe with anything that comes out from New York. With a bad cover, you have to work so much harder to convince people that what is inside the covers is worth their time. A good cover clears that obstacle and puts the focus on the writing not its package.



Do you think it is important for self-published authors to identify and write in a niche market that they may have an interest in, in order to establish themselves as a leader in that genre and sell more books?



I don’t know that I’m expert on selling books across a broad spectrum. All I can speak to is what has worked for me. First and foremost I think you have to write what you love. Otherwise, the lack of passion will show in your work. For instance, erotica has always done well in self-publishing, and if I cared only about money, I might consider writing for that audience. But I’d fail in that genre as (a) I don’t know the market well and (b) they aren’t the stories I want to tell. The people who do well in that market do so because they are passionate about those stories. There are going to be writers whose books are going to be “too niche” or “too broad” and they will probably struggle, and may never be commercial successes. It’s just a fact of life. If that describes you, then you need to find your rewards by the journey rather than the destination, and there is nothing wrong with that.



What avenues of self-promotion did you find to be most effective and affordable? What’s the best ‘bang-for-your-buck’ advertising you have employed?



Without question, a Goodreads Giveaway is the best “bang-for-your-buck.” For the cost of printing and shipping a book you can get hundreds, or even thousands of people to know it exists.  I just concluded a giveaway for my new novel, The Death of Dulgath which had 4,186 people interested.  The one before that (The Age of Myth (previously called Rhune) had 9,243 people sign up.  Now, a new author can’t expect that kind of result. But even when I was an unknown author, I was pulling in 500 – 800 readers. That’s quite a bit, especially considering that I could message each one afterward and offer them a free short story. Doing that was very successful in getting people into my series.



In your opinion, is traditional publishing on the way out? Do you think that traditional publishing can continue to keep up with the rise of self-publishing?



No, I don’t think traditional publishing is on the way out, but I do think self is now just as viable as traditional. It depends on what your goals are and what capabilities you have. If, for instance, you can’t put out a high-quality self-published book, then I think you should go traditional. Yes, you’ll lose a big cut of the profits, but the book will be professionally produced, and you have to start with that or you have nothing.  As for traditional “keeping up” with self-publishing…the answer is they can’t...but they don’t need to.  Let me explain. “Keeping up” implies they can match the output of self – and that’s just not possible. There are only so many books they can curate in any given year, and it will always be a very small fraction of the self-published books released. Traditional publishing’s business model is much different than self. It has always had a limited bandwidth, and that works for their model. The bigger concern to traditional publishing isn’t an influx of self-published titles. If anything, that helps them out.  The danger is a decrease in readership as people turn to other forms of leisure…video games, television, movies, etc.



Would you ever consider signing all your books to a traditional publishing house or will you always manage some of your titles yourself through self-publishing?



I would like to have more self-published titles then I currently do. There were times in my career that I was 100% self, and that provides a great deal of freedom and a lot fewer hassles. When I sold my first self-published works to the big-five, my intension was to self-publish all future books. So far, that hasn’t happened. The first offer I got on my second series had me heading for self-publishing, but then an offer came in that made traditional a better choice.  For my third series, I also intended to take that self, but again another offer came along that I just couldn’t pass up.  Still, my most recent work is going out the self-published route and I do have several new projects I plan on self-publishing. Whether they will or not will depend on many factors including how my career is progressing and which route I think will make the most amount of sense.  But no, I don’t suspect I’ll ever be 100% traditional.



Have you ever used free book promotions? Do you think they are a worth-while marketing tool for self-published authors? If so/not – why?



There was a three-week period back in 2010 when I put my second novel to free. In general, I’m not a fan of free novels as it is a large potential loss for the author.  What I do believe strongly in is free short stories. I have two shorts free on Audible (The Jester and Professional Integrity). And I have some free shorts in ebook (including the Riyria Sampler, which has four little shorts in it).  But I say all that with regards to my writing. For some authors, the free first book is essential for their careers, and it works well for them. Each author is going to be slightly different. The best advice I can give is to be self-aware about your audience and what you need to do to lower the barrier for them to try your stuff. At the beginning of your career, free books may be a needed incentive, but as your readership grows, you should be able to go without it.



Do you feel there’s a good sense of community within the self-publishing industry?



Absolutely. I find the self-published authors are extremely open and share a great deal, something I’ve not seen much of with traditional authors. In particular, the Writer’s Café of Kindle boards (kboards.com) is especially helpful.



Many self-published authors (and many traditional authors) have a strong support network, the most important member usually being a spouse or partner who provides financial stability in the early stages of the author’s career. Your wife has been instrumental in handling the publishing tasks and runs the ‘business side’ of your career which gives you the freedom to write. Do you think this is an essential aspect of successful writers’ careers and do you think you would have the success you have enjoyed to date without such support?



There is no doubt that I couldn’t have been successful without Robin’s support.  Does every author have that? Sadly, no. Can you be successful without it? Yes, but it will be harder. I find the “business side” overhead to be about the same in self and traditional…the tasks are different, but the time away from writing is about the same. So, it’s not like there is more burden with self than traditional on that front. I’m fortunate as I don’t have to concern myself with agents, publishers, publicists, etc. Robin handles all that. It puts me in an exceptional position for writing. Bottom line. I wish every author had what I do, and no you can’t have Robin. She’s mine.



What would you say is the single biggest advantage of deciding to self-publish?



Control. I just spoke about the “overhead” being about the same between the traditional and self. A lot of that has to do with constant conversations Robin has with the publisher about things we would like to do but can’t.  Want to lower the price temporarily?  The publisher says no.  Want to distribute the books free of DRM? The publisher says no.  Would you like the book included in a Humble Bundle? Nope. Don’t like the cover created?  Too bad, you don’t have a say.  Would you like a different format (say hardcover or mass market paperback)? Again you don’t have any input into such things.  When you are with a traditional publisher, there is a lot of “hoping” they’ll do things you want them to do. Sometimes they do, but many times they do not.  And it can be extremely frustrating.



You have successfully used crowd-funding (Kickstarter) to drive some of your projects forward in the past. What are the main pros and cons for a self-published author in using such platforms to fund their projects?



The pros of Kickstarting is the sense of “community” that the backers generate. They feel a part of the creation process and are as proud as I am with the success of the book. They are enthusiastic, and it’s great seeing everyone pulling to meet that next stretch goal. They also provide early reviews and help with generating pre-release “buzz.”



The cons are that it won’t work for everyone. People who have no audience will find it difficult to fund. So, my suggestion is you shouldn’t Kickstart your first novel.  Once you get a few under your belt, and you have a following that’s when you should consider one.



You have many of your books available in audio format – do you think audio books are worth investing in for self-published authors? I.e. is it a revenue stream that pays dividends in your opinion?



Again, it’s hard for me to discuss generalities, as I’m only an expert with regards to my books and my career. For me, they surpassed my wildest expectations, but I’ve also been on the top of the bestsellers there and one thing about the top – is not everyone is going to get there. The best thing I can say is if you have a good strong ebook/print audience the chances of a good audio audience is good as well. But when you do it, do so with that same attention to professionalism I spoke of elsewhere. That means hiring a top-notch narrator and using a professional studio for recording and mastering. If you try to do it “on the cheap.” I don’t think it will be successful.



How important do you think social media and a strong active online presence is, to becoming a success as a self-published author?



It depends on how you define “social media” – if you define it as having a Facebook page and tweeting to “buy my book” I think that will tend to be counterproductive.  If you mean having tools that help you connect with your readership…well that’s a whole different story.  I think authors today are fortunate in that they have so many ways to CONNECT with readers. To me, such venues help to do that, and I think making connections is just as important to a self-published author as it is a traditionally published one. It comes down to what you do with those tools.



Are you in regular contact with other self-published authors and how important was any input you may have received early on in your career?  Do you have a mentor in terms of your self-publishing success – someone who may have inspired you to ‘give it a go’?



There are a few authors I’m in touch with regularly, some are self-published, some are traditional, and a very few do a bit of both.  All of my contacts came after I started publishing, so it didn’t help build the career…but now that I have a career it’s nice to chat, compare notes, and talk about what’s going on in the industry. As for mentorship, it has tended to be the other way around. I mentor a lot of people, but I was a bit of a trailblazer, so my work was pretty much on my own.



Do you think self-published authors need to become effective business people, by treating self-publishing as a business, in order to succeed and secure their financial independence?



Yes, I do believe self-published authors have to concern themselves with both the “craft of writing” and the “business of publishing.” As I said above, you have to put out something with every bit of quality that “real” publishers do – so you need a bit of entrepreneurship in you. Those that prefer “working for the man” probably will never be a good fit for the type of maverick nature that good self-publishing requires.



Where to from here? Are you currently represented by an agent and are you working with any publishers on future projects?



I recently changed agents, and am currently represented by Joshua Bilmes’ JABberwocky Agency. Just prior to signing on with them, I sold four books to Del Rey. This includes the first three books of The First Empire series (Age of Myth will be released in June 2016), and one more yet to be determined book to be set in my fictional world of Elan.  That could be a fourth Royce and Hadrian Riyria book or one of about a half-dozen other books I already have planned out in that world.  Del Rey will be releasing my books yearly, so I’ll be writing (and probably self-publishing) other books as they do their releases. As I said, I have all five of the First Empire novels written, and I’ll have plenty more finished over the four years of that contract.  Currently, I’m in beta with my third Riyria Chronicle (The Death of Dulgath) which I plan on having out before the end of the year via self-publishing.



Can you offer any advice to fellow writers if you could go back in time and “do it all over?” What’s your top tip for other indie authors?



The only thing that I think I did wrong was when I gave up. I had spent about a decade writing and had thirteen completed novels. When I couldn’t find any traction in publishing, I quit.  I didn’t start writing again until a decade later, and I only did so with the belief that I wouldn’t be publishing. Ironically, it was those books that put me on the map. So I guess my best advice is to realize that the only way to ensure failure is to quit trying. If something doesn’t catch…write something else.  Keep working on improving your skills and keep telling stories, and that will significantly increase your chances of success.



Finally, thanks for sharing your thoughts on self-publishing. Where is the best place for readers to find your books?



Thanks for having me, and for asking such great questions. This is where people can connect with me.



Website: www.riyria.com
Social media: Facebook • goodreads • wattpad


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