Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blog Tour

When you self-publish, you have to do your own marketing.  For the modern writer, that means going to a lot of book review blogs and asking them to write about your book. 

You can also go on something called a “blog tour.”  A blog tour is a lot like a book tour, without travelling the country, signing books, or meeting people.  Instead, you answer questions, and they post it their blog.

I recently received an email from a review site saying they don’t know if they’ll review my book, but they wanted me to answer the following questions for a blog tour.  Here are the questions just as I received them, with my responses.

On the Writer's Craft, Storytelling, and the Editorial Process:
Do you think every story has essentially been told before and that today's writers must juxtapose old ideas and stories in new ways rather than worry about originality? If no, what recent speculative fiction story did you find refreshingly original?
Nothing new has been written in a long time.  Also, nothing new has been invented in a long time.  Someone should really shut down the patent office.  It’s a waste of money.

What do you think of plot twists? Are they invariably hokey, or can good writers pull them off well? Do you think too many stories use twists as a crutch? Can a story with no twists hold your interest? Do you ever try to “surprise” your readers without going all M. Night Shyamalan on them?
My novel is pretty much all twists because twists are awesome.  There really isn’t much point in reading a book without a twist.  That’s why Oliver Twist is the best book ever written.  And I never go M. Night Shyamalan on my readers.  I can’t spell or pronounce his last name.  I also can’t stand his last thirty movies.
What do you think is the purpose of Science Fiction? Fantasy? Horror?
You’d have to ask them.  Well, I wouldn’t ask Horror.  She’s a bit creepy.

Now that touchscreens and space vessels are becoming things of science fact, what makes Science Fiction unique?
Science fiction ends where touch screens and space vessels end.  When those things become a reality, there won’t be SF anymore.  I’d LOVE to have a touch screen someday.  I’d tape it to my children so they’d have to follow my commands.
What's your main goal when putting the finishing polish on a story? Maximizing entertainment value? Raising thought-provoking questions? Other?
Getting the freaking thing done.  I want it out of my life as soon as possible.

Do you find it difficult to write in an age of infinite distractions? How do you keep your focus on a story during the writing process?
Sorry, I missed that question.  Someone posted a political rant on my Facebook page and I have to take him down a peg.  By the way Infinite Distractions is the name of my next novel.  You’re going to have to pay me royalties every time you send these questions out.

On Your Stories:
If there's one core, potentially life-changing (or mind-expanding) idea you really want to drive home for readers with your story. What is it?
That they should give me money to write books.

What inspires you?
Power, fame, money, beautiful women.  You know, the intangibles.

To what degree do your stories reflect your reality?
Not at all.  If they did reflect my reality, they’d be about disturbingly handsome men staring at computers all day and drinking diet soft drinks.

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
I can honestly say I would not be a writer today without my childhood.  I learned to read and write in my childhood.  I also learned how to talk, walk, do math problems, and tie my shoes.  I’m still not very good at those last four.

How do you research your novels?
I read The Weekly World News.

How many characters have you done away with over the course of your career? Who had the best death?
I’m a science fiction writer.  I can bring people back from the dead whenever I want.  So, none of them are really dead.  They’re still up in my head.  Whispering to me.  Telling me to kill again…

Ever kill a character and then regretted it?
No.  Killed some people in real life and regretted it, though.

Why are the names of the characters in your novels important?
They’re really not.  If names were all that important, my children would be named “Next President of the Country” and “Disgustingly Rich Guy.”  I hate naming characters.  Why can’t they all be “Drunk #2” or “Brave Protagonist Who Bites It in Chapter 16?”

Why are the titles of your novels important?
Because nobody would buy my books if they were called Please, Please Buy It or My Student Loans Are Killing Me.

Who do you think of when you think of your readers? Are you telling your story to them, to yourself, or to something or someone else?
I imagine muttering the stories into their ears at night when they’re sleeping and nobody knows I’m there.  Then I imagine taping them to the bed and plugging their noses with yellow and green Dots.

How much of your own life do you put into your book?
About 69.32% give or take the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Life, Hypothetical, and Other Stuff:
You believe that information should be free. Does that include fiction, why, and to what extent?
I believe other people’s information should be free.  Mine should come at a severe penalty.  I just charged the woman at the Nike Store $10 for my shoe size.  She did it, and I only had to pay $20 more than the shoes’ list price!

What is the most important lack in your life?
I have a whole group of grunts, underlings, and mercenaries who carry out my nefarious bidding.  Oh, I thought you said lackeys.  Never mind.

What's the most blatant lie you've ever told?
“Sure, I’m happy to answer your questions if you’ll review my book.”

Have you ever been in trouble with the police?
Yeah, Police and I go way back.  Once Police and I got drunk and went cow tipping.  We got caught and totally yelled at by our dads.  Good times.

What are books for?
Er, aren’t you a book review blog?  Shouldn’t you have figured this out, yet?

What's your favorite joke?
The Republican Party.

Who is the one author you would never want to meet? Why?
I hear the author of Mein Kampf was a bit of a dick.

On Being a Writer:
Do you ever wish that you had an entirely uncreative job, like data entry or working in a factory?
Yes.  Every day.  I also dream of working at McDonald’s and getting yelled at by morons because I screw up the orders.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
I find it helpful to already be nuts.  If you don’t take three antipsychotic medications every day, you’re probably better off sticking to your desk job.

While writing, do you take drugs, smoke marijuana or drink alcohol to beef up your creative imagination?
Yes.  In addition to my antipsychotics, I take a handful of psychotics.  I like to balance things out.

How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
Usually I track down whoever wrote it and kill him or her.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?
Tennis elbow.  Falling debris.  Gunshot wounds.  Chemical burns.  Infected bites from poisonous snakes.

What is the hardest lesson you've learned about indie, small press, or self publishing?
Everyone is doing it.

What's the one question that you always want people to ask you about writing that they never do? What's your answer?
Q: How can I give you more money?
A: Just hand me your wallet for a moment.

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