WORLD HORROR CONVENTION
Hazardous Press Table with Jay Wilburn
On May 7th – 10th, I will be co-hosting the Hazardous Press table with Jay Wilburn at the World Horror Convention in Atlanta. In addition to my duties there, I will also be doing two author’s panels and taking part of a mass signing. I look forward to spending time with my colleagues.
|From World Horror Con 2013 in New Orleans, Jay Wilburn and T. Fox Dunham|
Then, after my return, I will be marrying Allison Ledbetter on May 30th in Scotland.
I will be selling my books down there. Promotion is part of my job as a professional, and it doesn’t come naturally to me.
SELLING YOUR BOOKS:
Easter dinner at the Phillip’s. My soon-to-be mother-in-law yells into the living room: “Fox, do you have a copy of your book on you?”
“What do you think?” I yell back and reach for my bag.
Always take a copy of your book with you wherever you go. Every single reader that meets you becomes a life-long fan. Engage them, intrigue and make them feel like that distance between successful artist can be reached. You will change their lives—and propel yourself.
I do my best work face-to-face, hand-in-hand, eye-seeing-eye. Everyday I go to write, treating it like a 9-5 job, though often it is 10-10, since my fiancée works 12 hour days. I setup at Starbucks, Barnes and Nobles or Tabora Café and start hacking away at my deadlines. Always some terrible pressure or deadline I can’t miss that will make or break my career. I take out my laptop, get my coffee, then setup copies of my books in front of me on two racks so they’re standing up. That’s important, otherwise people think you’re just reading books. When you set them up, people know it’s something special, and they will come over to you to ask. Look up from your work, smile and just talk to them. Let them ask the questions. Don’t try to volunteer too much.
“This is your book?”
“Yes it is.”
“You . . . wrote this?”
“I did, indeed.” (They’re always so surprised like published authors are a myth.)
“Can I look at it?”
“By all means.” That’s when I hit them with a bit about the book, a sentence or two, then I let them learn the rest on their own. Let them check out the story. Usually they’ll read the back and the first page. They see it a surprise opportunity and want to get the most out of it.
Then, my favorite part: While they’re reading it, I add, “It’s going to be a major motion picture.” And they just explode. “Really? Wow! Congratulations!” And that’s when you’ve really hooked them.
I’ve had people buy my book without knowing anything about it. They’re not buying the book really. They’re buying me. If I intrigue and engage them, I am promising them a compelling experience if they read my words. Like any classic salesperson, it’s all in the aspect, the look, the sound of confidence in my voice, the charm and spirit. They will expect to find it all in the words.
A few things happen now in the process. They will ask if that copy is for sale or if it is available as an e-book. Sometimes, they’ll have the book bought and downloaded before you answer on their phones. Or they’re handing you cash. Though, it’s good to have a Square with you. Very few people carry cash, and Squares can plug into a phone or an iPad. I’ve made a lot of sales because I had a Square, and they only take like 3 percent of the cost. It’s worth it.
It’s not the mass of readers that’s important. They’ll come if you treat every individual as important. I am fighting for my success and doing well, but I still get a thrill when a single stranger buys my book. I’ll never let myself lose that feeling.
SHADOWS OVER MAIN STREET EDITORS INTERVIEW:
One of the books I’ll be supporting down in Atlanta is a fantastic anthology that’s been topping the Amazon charts, Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror, put out by Hazardous Press. I have a story in this one, and it’s been a recent highlight in my career. I asked the editors a few questions.
SHADOWS WEBSITE! CLICKME!
So what was the inspiration behind the theme of this anthology?
D. approached Doug with an idea for a Lovecraftian mythos-Mayberry mash-up. After much discussion, Doug suggested broadening the theme to be a “small towns vs. cosmic horror” kind of thing. As we started reading the submissions, though, to our delight, we could see this was going to be a very different kind of collection. While there are plenty of mythos stories in the book, there are also some which only suggest the kind of cosmic horror Lovecraft is best known for. They kind of give you a sense of it without being explicit. And some of those tales are among the most powerful in the collection.
How did you start to work with Robert at Hazardous Press?
Well, we had an idea but no publisher. So we started shopping it around. A couple places really loved the idea but didn’t have time or room in their schedule. A couple others were very reluctant to take the project on at all, because, as they put it, “Anthologies don’t sell.” Looking at how the book is doing now, and the warm response it’s getting, we’re glad we didn’t listen to that particular piece of advice.
At any rate, when we got to Robert at Hazardous Press, we explained that we wanted the book to be a pro-pay collection to achieve the quality of the stories we wanted. He loved the idea, loved the approach, and didn’t flinch at the terms, so we were off and running. Robert gave us the financial backing we needed and near total freedom to run with the concept, and we’re thankful for that.
Did you foresee the book becoming so successful? Why do you think it’s doing so well?
Since this was our first time putting together an anthology, we didn’t know what to expect, but no one takes on a project of this kind without believing it can soar. Going for the long shot and making a few waves...that was kind of our battle cry throughout the process, so we definitely had big things in mind for the book.
Of course, setting out, we couldn’t have known how many of those hail Marys would actually connect for us. When they did, and the table of contents started coming into focus, though, we knew we had something special going on. From there, we really hoped that we could get it into as many hands as possible (and have hustled relentlessly to that end) because there are great stories in there--a wide range of voices from many, many talented authors.
As to why it’s doing so well, we think people love them some Lovecraft, and (to our continuing amazement) we’ve managed to assemble a ridiculously talented lineup. The concept of small-town America, especially during the 40s through the 60s is something very familiar to a large number of us. Those too young to have lived it were still informed by pop culture depictions of it. The Outsiders, Happy Days, Leave it to Beaver, and...yes...The Andy Griffith Show all are firmly cemented in the American psyche. There’s so much to mine there. Turn over any small town and you get to see the dark side of it all. Introduce elements of horror and existential dread and you’ve got Shadows Over Main Street.
So what’s in the future?
Well, we still can’t shake the feeling that we crashed the party when it comes to producing and releasing this book, so we’re going to try to enjoy the ride because it’s a dream come true for both of us. That said, we’re going to keep co-editing anthologies, and do the best we can for as long as we can before someone taps us on the shoulder and kicks us out. In fact, we had hardly completed Shadows before we started the wheels turning on the next project. We’re still ironing out some details so it’s hush-hush for now. But we can tell you that in the very near future, we will be pursuing the beauty found in horror. It’s going to be ambitious, and we’re going to keep throwing the long ball.
World Horror Convention Schedule:
So here’s a listing of my public appearances with those joining me:
FRIDAY MAY 8th
Panel: WHCFILM: Selling Your Scares To Screen: Ins and Outs of Options in Today’s Film Market – REDHOOK
Selling an option for your novel to be made into a motion picture may invoke visions of big bucks, but what’s the reality? Our panelists have sold at least one horror property or have experience on the development/sales side of the film industry. Hear their war stories and find out what you need to know when to opt in or out of an option deal.
Moderator: Sabrina Kaleta. Panelists: John Dixon, T. Fox Dunham, Brad Hodson, Weston Ochse
6:30PM - 8PM
Mass Author Signing at World Horror Con 2015. This event will take place Friday, May 8 from6:30-8 p.m. in The Barrens, the pace outside the main panel rooms and Dealers Room.
SATURDAY MAY 9th
Panel: TERRIFYING TROPES: Midmorning Madness: Making Insane Characters Believable – SARNATH
From classics like Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” to Stephen King’s Misery, to more contemporary works like Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, both film and literature alike have a soft spot for the insane. But what makes these characters believable and why do readers love a madman or a hysteric woman? Well, say hello to Tyler Durdan and get ready for a trip to the asylum because the first rule of madness is that we don’t talk about madness. And if it’s your first time going mad, well, then you have to scream.
Moderator: Stephanie M. Wytovich. Panelists: Dale Bailey, Nicole Cushing, T. Fox Dunham, Lois Gresh, Sydney Leigh, Brian W. Matthews
So Lamplight Magazine is doing a subscription drive so it can pay its authors professional rates. So few markets are doing that now. Jacob is a buddy, so help out! I’ve got mine.
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