Why I Will Always Love Sparkling Vampires
I have a confession to make, and I fully realize that once I admit it there’s no turning back. Are you ready? Okay, here it goes (insert deep breath). I love sparkling vampires.
There, I said it. Well, technically I typed it, but you get the point. It’s out there on the Internet and I can’t take it back, not that I’d want to. You see, without sparkling vampires I’m not sure my friend, Faith Hochhalter, would be alive.
When Faith told me that she had stage IV breast cancer but couldn’t afford the treatment, I got angry. She was a good friend who was also the children’s book buyer at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. She not only helped launch my career, but she’s be a champion for authors like Stephenie Meyer, Aprilynne Pike and Lisa McMann.
After Faith told me about the cancer I knew we had to do something, so I reached out to Stephenie and then we reached out to some friends and before long Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, Laini Taylor, Frank Beddor and five other authors had committed to a live event that we were calling Project Book Babe.
Together with dozens of volunteers, our publishers, blogs like Twilight Lexicon and Twilight Moms, and hundreds of Twilight fans from around the world, we were able to raise enough money to cover Faith’s medical care and living expenses while she went through her treatment. So that’s why I love sparkling vampires.
I’m happy to report that Faith is alive and well, but I also know that there are thousands of women who still aren’t getting the care they need.
A New Venture to Raise Money for Breast Cancer Research
I’ve enlisted some of those same authors to write an anthology of short stories set in the world of my Grey Griffins books and 100% of the profits from that anthology will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/) and Kids Need to Read (http://www.kidsneedtoread.org/). These aren’t just any authors, either. Check out the roster:
- Brandon Mull | NY Times Bestselling Author, Fablehaven
- Aprilynne Pike | NY Times Bestselling Author, Wings
- Frank Beddor | NY Times Bestselling Author, Looking Glass Wars
- Michael Spradlin | NY Times Bestselling Author, Youngest Templar
- Dean Lorey | Co-Executive Producer, Arrested Development
- Shannon Messenger | Let the Sky Fall, Keeper of the Lost Cities
- Tom Leveen | Party, manicpixiedreamgirl, Sick
- Joseph Nassise | International Bestselling Author, Templar Chronicles
- Matt Forbeck | Leverage: The Con Job based on the TNT television series
- Janette Rallison | My Fair Godmother, Slayers
Why I’m Self-Publishing the Anthology and My Next Novel
Borders and Walden Books are gone and according to an article in the Atlantic (Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/the-painful-decline-of-barnes-noble/272865/), Barnes and Noble has plans to close 1/3 of their stores. Limited distribution and declining sales (Source: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/55382-rate-of-print-decline-flattened-in-2012.html) means that publishers have been forced to sign authors with massive sales numbers. That means midlist authors are in trouble. And if you’re trying to break in as a new author, you’ll need more than a captivating book—you’ll also need a built in audience who will buy your book (social media fans and blog subscriber).
The Silver Lining
Yet despite all the doom and gloom, there’s good news! According to BookStats, sales of e-book trade titles rose 44% in 2012 and e-books represent 20% of all books sold, which is up 4% from the prior year.
Companies like CreateSpace have made it easy for authors to go direct to market without a publisher, which means we have the ability to take control of our careers. Look at Amanda Hocking. She couldn’t find an agent to represent her (much less a publisher) and yet she went from an unknown commodity to a literary rock star in less than a year.
Amanda isn’t alone, either. There’s Hugh Howey, John Locke, Rachel Van Dyken, H.M. Ward and dozens of others. And let’s not forget Barry Eisler, who turned down a $500, 000 advance.
I’ve talked about publishing my own books for years but I was always worried about the stigma of being a self-published author. I didn’t want to upset my publishers, either. But everything is different now. Self-publishing has changed the paradigm forever and it’s time for me to jump in.
The Drawback with Self-Publishing
Each short story in the Grey Griffins anthology will be professionally edited. It will also have its own cover painted by the incredibly talented Scott Altmann (http://www.scottaltmann.com/). The final product will look every bit as good as what the major publishing houses produce, but there’s a drawback. When you publish your own books you have to come up with the money to pay the artists and the editors. That’s why I’m turning to Kickstarter for Grey Griffins: Night of Dragons and the anthology.
Crowd-sourcing with Kickstarter
Running a Kickstarter campaign gives readers the chance to pre-order the book. In turn I’ll invest the money into making an amazing product. And I know what it means to have a tight budget, so I made sure the pledge levels started at $1.
There are some fun rewards like custom Grey Griffins short stories, collectible character trading cards and sketches from the cover artist. For the writers out there, we’re offering the chance for a query letter review, a partial manuscript review, and even a Skype brainstorm session where I’ll help you come up with ideas for your story.
You can help fund the Kickstarter campaign here.
You Can Even Get Your Story Published in the Grey Griffins Anthology
Because I also have a passion for helping new writers break into the industry I thought the best way to do that with this project was to give someone a chance to get a short story published in the anthology. Your story will end up in the same book with all those New York Times bestselling authors. If it sounds like something you’re interested in, you can find the submission guidelines here: bit.ly/gg-anthology.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your consideration to back the Kickstarter campaign. I’m going to need your help to make this project a reality, and I know that together we can do something incredible!
- Twitter: @jonslewis
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