Building a Killer Email List

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

wanted-alt71-200x300There is a lot of upheaval in publishing today and I think that’s likely to increase rather than decrease. The best insurance policy any writer can have against the future is a targeted mailing list.

I’ve written before about how the author with the biggest mailing list wins, and I’ve invited Nick Stephenson along today because he’s got some great ideas on how to boost your list.

The cool thing about his approach is that it’s something anyone can do. And, as you will see, it really, really works. Here’s Nick with more:

Building a Killer Email List

As an author, I try to read as much as possible. I tend to get excited over 8 or 9 different authors across a few different genres, and I always buy their new releases as soon as I hear about them. Whenever I find out there’s a new book on the shelves, I go…

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Episode 29: Ray Vogel and AEC Stellar


Today’s guest is Ray Vogel, sci-fi author and CEO of AEC Stellar.

Now here’s the thing about this guy – he’s my manager and he’s the founder of the publishing house that publishes me. Which means I was very nervous about interviewing him because we had never spoken to each other properly before (other than email).

Ray is the most calming person I’ve ever known. He just sat there laughing throughout most of the show and provided much fodder for banter. The show was originally an hour and sixteen minutes which I managed to cut down to a little over an hour. Don’t worry – I just eliminated some dead air and my bullshit. Since Ray and I clearly have a great working relationship, we tended to veer off on tangents: like when it took us 5 minutes to get through one lightning round question at the end.

He’s awesome and I’, sure, after listening to his interview, you will think so as well.





Rapid Fire

Blue Stahli



Noveltunity – enter promo code AESNOV30 and get a 40% off registration and 15% off from any book in their store.

Mystery Launch Party, 7-9 Central, on facebook, where you can  win a crapload of prices. I made an error on the show and got the date wrong apparently. But the party is on the 27th of August. More details here.

We have a new promo and it’s for HEI!books, the online platform to promote your book  FOR FREE. Go over there and tell them this show (or Ryan) sent you.

OK I’m done.

Peace out, stay cool.


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Interview with Fantasy Author Ryan Attard

Originally posted on obsidianmirrorblog:

Ryan AttardHow many fantasy authors do you know who live in Malta, study martial arts, and write wildly funny, action-packed stories about a wizard who can’t use magic? There’s only one: Ryan Attard, author of the “Legacy” fantasy series.

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Episode 28: Percy Jackson Series


Today on the show I review the Percy Jackson series – wherein I talk about Rick Riordan’s abilities to weave a world together and create some believable characters that we all can relate to in some form or another.

I spend the first ten minutes talking about my current stress management situation, and how I’ve been feeling sick because of overwork. That being said, I am very close to completing Legacy book 3.

I also have some ads – which I do in a funny voice and loose my shit halfway through. So here’s a brief transcript:

- Noveltunity is now expanding into a bookstore. Put in the promo code AESNOV30 and get a 40% discount for one year. Members will also get a 15% off from any book they purchase from the Noveltunity store.

- Mystery Launch party by AEC Stellar. Facebook, 7-9 central. Be there and win prizes: books, spotlights and more.

And now, here’s the show. Enjoy:




Rapid Fire

Blue Stahli

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Episode 27: Andrew Vogel


This is a Lurking Voice first: our first actor on the show and boy what a way to break the mold.

To call actor, director and editor Andrew Vogel prolific is a vast underestimation. Just check out his IMDb page and scroll through that list.

I met Andrew for two reasons: he is Ray Vogel’s brother (Ray Vogel being my manager and CEO of AEC Stellar) and because of project I can’t really talk about yet.

Either way, I saw an opportunity to have an actor on the show and took it.

Andrew’s interview is one of my favorites: we got to explore the ins and outs of an acting career, how to get an agent and start out, we compared notes with regards to our art technique – and then shit got real.

This dude is a deep person. Just his acting technique alone is enough to tell you what sort of mind he has, but we also got to talk about how art, specifically how working in the industry, changes you as a person. I won’t tell you anything – that way you have to listen to the show.

Of course, the lightning round (I really should change the name of that segment) was a blast. I think most memorably, I will remember that drunk Wolverine story for the rest of my life.

But enough chatting. Listen to the show and enjoy this conversation I got to have with a true artist:




Rapid Fire

Blue Stahli


That’s it for this week folks. Tune in next week for another episode of The Lurking Voice podcast.

Stay cool,


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Originally posted on Another Bad Conversation:

Is the human race really getting more stupid with time?
I realize this concept goes against Darwin’s theories.  And I realize I’m not the first person to notice these things, but it’s a little scary sometimes.
The complete lack of common sense people exhibit these days would have doomed our ancestors.  The dependence on technology for our every need has taken away our ability to think through simple problems.  Reliance on brain power is at an all-time low.
Our humor has digressed.  Without too much explanation, consider the People of Walmart, Jackass and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  Here to entertain you.  Intelligence not required to enjoy.
A few years back, before the word “dystopian” became commonplace in our vocabulary, I stumbled across a movie called Idiocracy.  If you’ve seen it, you either loved it or hated it; I’ve not found too many opinions in between.  The movie…

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My Writing Process blog tour


Today’s blog post is a little unusual for me. Instead of the usual rant or the occasional marketing tip, this blog is part of a tour. Now, as those of you who listen to my podcast know, I’m not one for blogging – it’s just not my thing. However, this aspect of blogging, I can get behind. I love it when fans reach out and ask me to take part in blog tours. I love it when I can help out someone and maybe have a bit of outreach for the both of us.

And since apparently every blog tour has rules (you all know how I feel about those) I opt to follow the first and thank Jonas Lee for pitching up and asking me to participate in the My Writing Process blog tour. Like most artists I am a narcissistic bastard who cannot stop talking about themselves, so this fits right up my alley.

And so, without further ado:

1. What am I working on? Well, for those of you who follow my podcast, you get a little update about this every week. For the restyou should know that I write as if my life depends on it (which it does since I’m make my living from it). What that means is that I’m constantly juggling projects.

2014 has been my most productive year so far: I just released Book 2 of the Legacy series Birthright, and a free short story called Hammer Time which I’m giving with every review I get.

firstborn front image    Birthright 2

Right now I have the first book of my sci-fi/adventure thriller series, The Pandora Chronicles, currently being torn apart by beta readers. That book will come out sometime next Fall. At the same time I’m currently writing the first 4 episodes of my thriller serialized fiction, Evil Plan Inc., which I wanna release for free in December and then have the full 10 episode pack (the first season) to sell early 2015.

And just before typing out this blog post I finished chapter 30 of the third book in the Legacy Series.

(There are also 2 more projects which I “started” and can’t talk about yet).

I also host the Lurking Voice podcast, where I discuss books, movies and other geeky things which inspire me, give out some marketing advice, and interview authors, musicians, the occasional actor and other artists.


2. How does my work differ from others of it’s genre? This is difficult for me to answer because when I write, categorization is the furthest thing from my mind. The Legacy Series has been described as “Jim Butcher with sitcom-type humor”, and to me there’s no higher compliment. I’m a huge fan of the Dresden Files, but I’m not copying Butcher’s work of course. Again, I love sitcoms but that is so not my writing style. The fact that a reviewer came to that conclusion by themselves makes me think I might be doing something right.

And since neither the Pandora Chronicles nor Evil Plan Inc. are out yet, I cannot properly comment. However that doesn’t stop me from giving a few hints. When I pitched the Pandora Chronicles to my publisher (AEC Stellar) I described it as “Assassins Creed meets Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider/Uncharted/Relic Hunter meets Clive Cussler through Lovecraftian aliens.” It’s a hardcore adventure thriller with deep elements of sci-fi. Oh and the first book has pirates. Nuff said.

Evil Plan Inc. is less complicated. Think Moriarty meets the Mentalist meets Lupin III and you pretty much got it. It’s about this group of people who try to rid the world of evil by creating as much chaos as possible.

If that doesn’t differentiate me from the rest of the crowd I don’t know what will.

3. Why do I write what I write? Because I have to. Because I can.

Let me elaborate. I write because everything else is either too boring or too insane. In all of sincerity I can say I truly began living, and enjoying it, on that faithful day when, either due to heat or lack of nutrition, my brain cells clanged together in such a way as to make staying up all night to plot out a book, seem like the best I idea ever had. And it was.

From then on it’s been a slippery slope, ending with a steep cascading waterfall. My own manager has described me as “addicted to writing and somewhat neurotic.” To me that’s a compliment. Heck, even my publisher said I am the most “from the hip author he’s ever worked with.”

I write because I don’t know how not to write. This is not just a job for me – it’s a lifestyle, it’s LIFE.

Here’s an example. For the past two days I’ve been really sick. Nothing serious, just low blood pressure and the heat here doesn’t help. The nausea and headaches drive me up a wall – unless I am sitting down, living in my imagination. As soon as I begin working, be it plotting out a story, writing a chapter or doing a blog post, I feel better. I feel right.

4. How does my writing process work? Well, it usually starts with an idea. I could go on and on about idea generation and what I like to call ‘muse triggers’ but that would turn this post into a 50 page essay and no one has time to read that. The key to it though is timing. Like wine or love, ideas need time to ferment and form in your head. And that’s the trick to idea generation: being aware of when an idea is formed and ready to be made real.

Following that I take out a pen and pack of paper and start plotting out the story (novel). This is a very messy process, with a lot of squiggly lines and arrows, and highly illegible handwriting (which by the way is a sign of high IQ, so get off my back high school teachers who would dock points cos my writing was in hieroglyphic form). I love this part – I get to sit back and live inside the story, getting the first full blast of the world and characters. I become the story and that is an EPIC feeling.

Once that is done, then it’s crunch time. One chapter a day, everyday, until the thing is done from start to finish, from the “once upon a time” to “the end.” Once that’s over then it’s usually off to some beta readers and I present it to my publisher. They give it a yay or nay and if it’s a yes, then it’s off to the editor. Meanwhile I work with a cover designer to get that all important cover done. This is also when I start thinking about marketing.

Once everything is done, all that’s left is to write an author’s note, a few CTAs, and the blurb, and assemble the thing like the Power Rangers and their Megazords (if you got the reference and smiled a little, you are awesome). Then we set a release date and it’s marketing, marketing, and some more marketing until the book is out and about.

Almost immediately after the book is done being plotted and written, I would already have parts of sequel (so far my smallest series is thePandora Chronicles with 6 planned books) novels and I would normally be well on my way into writing (and almost finishing) the sequel by the time the novel is released.

No rest for the wicked. Or the artistic.

Certainly not the insane.

I have reached the climax . . . of my glorious purpose

So as part of the deal I have to nominate 2 other bloggers to participate in the tour. And here they are:

Amber Forbes is a fellow AEC author and writes in the romance fantasy genre. She was one for the first generation authors AEC worked with and I can speak firsthand of her talent. It’s a funny story: I have a very strict selection with regards to my reading. Reason is I don’t have time to read and when I do, I want to read something I know I will enjoy. I don’t like romance – never have, never will. But somehow, through a misunderstanding over facebook chat windows, I accidentally promised Amber a review of her novel. Never one to back down from my word I read When Stars Die from cover to cover and was so impressed by some parts, especially the masterful ending Amber pulled off, that it was one of the first things I ever reviewed on my podcast. Nowadays her blog is reinvented for the LGBTQ community and if that’s something you guys are interested in, Amber’s blog is the place to be.

My second nomination is KD Keenan. I like KD Keenan. I mean, sure she can write a really cool story (The Obsidian Mirror) but she, herself, is an amazing woman. I had the opportunity to interview her on my show and she is funny, intelligent and is a typical lady with a sailor’s vocabulary. I may also be biased in my liking of her provided she is both my proofreader for Birthright and a beta reader for the Pandora Chronicles. But like Amber, she is a brilliant writer, a fellow AEC author and an all round cool gal.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and this little window to my process. You can look forwards to two more blog posts by the above bloggers on the 14th (a week from today) and of course you can always follow my blog and listen to my podcast The Lurking Voice to keep up to date with my writing and my releases.

Thank you for reading.

Peace out, stay cool,


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Gatecrashing the Cosy Consensus on Amazon

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

amazonhachetteA group of bestselling traditionally published authors – including James Patterson, Scott Turow, and Douglas Preston – engaged in an act of breathtaking hypocrisy on Thursday with an open letter calling on Amazon to end its dispute with Hachette.

The letter is incredibly disingenuous. It claims not to take sides, but only calls on Amazon to take action to end the dispute. It also makes a series of ridiculous claims, notably that Amazon has been “boycotting Hachette authors.”

Where do I start?

The Phantom Boycott

First of all, refusing to take pre-orders on Hachette titles is not a “boycott.” Pre-orders are a facility extended to certain publishers – not all publishers. Many small presses don’t have a pre-order facility. Most self-publishers don’t have a pre-order facility.

I don’t know why Amazon has stopped taking Hachette pre-orders, but both sides have stated that negotiations aren’t likely to be resolved any…

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Enough is Enough. I am not ashamed that I read Manga.


I like manga. So does Shannon. Here’s why.

Originally posted on Shannon A Thompson:

Two announcements before I begin today’s post about reading Manga:

The Nerdy Girlie is giving away two journals along with an eBook of Minutes Before Sunset to one lucky winner. You can join the raffle until July 10 so click here, join, and good luck!

I’m also going to start putting the title at the top of my post after the separation between announcements and the articles, so they are easier if you don’t want to read my announcements. (But please do!) Being able to share my author life with you all means a lot to me, and your kind support is the extra boost of energy I need when the author life gets tousled around in chaotic troubles.

Enough is Enough. I am not ashamed that I read Manga.

So – originally – I was hoping to upload a new video to my YouTube Channel Coffee &…

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Episode 26: Rick Karlsruher and Noveltunity


Today’s guest is a whirlwind of adventure. Talking to him was like sitting in a 50′s bar, listening to a master raconteur telling his life story, to a mesmerized audience. I don’t usually do extensive research on my guests beforehand and in this case, I am very glad about that, since I could enjoy the fill Rick-Life Story experience.

We talked about his life – from the time he wrote a screenplay and accidentally harassed Dick Martin into reviewing it, and getting the comedian in his corner. He would have produced the play had it not been from that one benefactor that was being chased by the IRS.

Following that Rick found himself in the company of scam artist, with whom he toured South Africa to play music with black people and rid the nation of apartheid. The trip ended badly when Rick ran to the American Embassy for safety, thinking he was going to be arrested.

Once he got back home, he finds his girlfriend had left him flat broke. Cherry on the cake: she sells his original custom made golf clubs for a pittance.

Meanwhile Rick was busy compiling his life in a memoir which spent a sojourn at the top 10 list on Smashwords. He tried getting an agent and a publisher, only to be told that he needs a platform. Adamant to have his way, Rick funds Noveltunity, a platform building website, with the model of book club, where readers vote for the books they want to read, as opposed to having an algorithm tell them what they should be reading.

Don’t believe me? Check out our conversation:



Now I have a question – after listening to Rick’s life story, how awesome is your life be comparison?

I choose to take two things form today’s episode:

1. NEVER go to South Africa with a scam artist, or take money for a screenplay in cash, or leave your gold-digging girlfriend with your expensive golf clubs.

2. Life is short. Live to the fullest. CARPE-fucking-DIEM.



July 24, 7-9 Central, AEC Stellar will have it’s Mystery Launch Party. Be there, win stuff. Some of it may be my stuff.

Should you visit Noveltunity (and you should), enter the code AESNOV30 for a 40% discount. Don’t forget to email Rick at for questions, concerns or to submit your work to this awesome platform

That’s all folks.

Peace out, stay cool,


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