News, Interviews and Notes… Or… I Wanna Talk About Me…

News, Reviews and Notes

[[The Before We Get Going Side Note: This blog is all about me and what’s been going on lately. I can’t say for certain if there will be any humor involved, but there will be pimpage.]]

I start this edition of Type AJ Negative with a video clip of a show from my childhood. It is from The Great Space Coaster and it is the Gary Gnu No Gnu show.

That clip is how I’ve often felt when writing. You know, things should go a certain way, but they don’t. Lately, things have gone fairly well in the writing portion of my life.

First, the news:

If you haven’t heard, my three story e-book collection, Along the Splintered Path, is out now. It was published on January 1st as part of Dark Continents Publishing’s e-book release, Tales of Darkness and Dismay, not so better known as: TODAD.

You can find it here: Along the Splintered Path

Also, my short story, In the Shadows They Hide was published on January 16th by Blood Bound Books in their anthology, Night Terrors II.

You can find out more about Night Terrors II here: Night Terrors II

And that is currently all the news that is… umm… no gnus…

Now for the reviews:

Along the Splintered Path has garnered some pretty good thoughts from folks who have read and reviewed it so far. Just a few blurbs:

AJ Brown has a gift for expressing the emotions of his characters. Within the three stories found in this collection, individual journeys are riddled with landmines of torment that lead to discovery. Sometimes the discovery is life affirming and sometimes it is life threatening, but never is it mundane. If you enjoy crawling into the skin of a character and seeing the world through their eyes, no matter how traumatic the view, you’ll enjoy the writing of AJ Brown.

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AJ Brown certainly has his own voice on display with his three stories in Along the Splintered Path. I entered into this one expecting something completely different; tales of rednecks and zombie chickens and banjo-plucking cannibals. I was very, very wrong… This is said by so many people on so many reviews about so many authors… and I think I’m going to say it. Yes, I am. AJ Brown reminds me of Stephen King. ‘Round These Bones especially reminded me of King’s stories of people trapped and simply trying to escape their fate. My favourite was Phillip’s Story. As a writer myself who tries to create completely evil bastards that the reader hates, AJ has the skills to do the opposite: characters that are uplifting and good despite the circumstances.

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If you are looking for something that will keep you on the edge of your seat this is it!

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A fantastic collection and all I can say is I want more from this writer.

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Brown is a writer who does a great job of exploring the reasons why his characters act the way they do. It’s character-driven fiction, and he does it beautifully…

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The author has a unique styling and storytelling that keeps you engaged throughout…

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…therein lies the true horror of “Along the Splintered Path” – in these characters, we can all see shades of ourselves, and all see how everything can come crashing down around us in one moment’s inattention, one split-second mistake, or one crushing pronouncement from a loved one.

Those are some nice words and I appreciate them all. To go with those snippets of reviews is this image of a friend of my sister (We call my sister P-Shorty, by the way. The P stands for Pooky. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) In this image, the young lady is reading The Woodshed, from Along the Splintered Path. It’s nice to see the look of fear on her face… and yes, the image is used with permission.

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Shameless begging time: If you’ve read Along the Splintered Path and haven’t reviewed it yet, would you mind doing so? If not, I understand and will probably only asks another hundred to a thousand times in the future.

Interviews:

If you would like to find out what I’m thinking at any given point, check out these interviews:

AJ’s Back: Announcing Along the Splintered Path at BREATHE

This Is My World Along the Splintered Path with A.J. Brown

I Wasn’t Dreaming: Tales of Darkness and Dismay Series An Interview with A.J. Brown

On the Couch with A.J. Brown

Inspirations Forum’s Our Interview with A.J. Brown

And, finally, but not least, is a couple of Guest Blog Posts:

Scared Little Writer Boy at Exquisite Corpse, Home of author Tracie McBride

Along the Splintered Path at The Writers Block Party

Now that you’re done reading, go check out the links.

I leave you now with Toby Keith’s “I Wanna Talk About Me”

Until we meet again…

Have Something to Say, Why Don’t Yah…

Have something to say. Many ‘experts’ tell you that if you are going to write, have something to say.

They may have a point.

I always have something to say. I’m just never sure who to tell. My mind rarely slows down, much less stops so there are constant thoughts and musings and ideas popping up. The myriad of personalities inside my brain can’t always keep up. So, what do I do? I talk, make jokes about stuff and write. But, do I really say anything worth saying?

I must ponder…

Pondering…

Still pondering…

Yup… still pondering…

I even had to step away from the computer for a few minutes to ponder, finger on chin, squinting up at the ceiling. Sadly, I started counting the ceiling tiles in my office before I realized I’m supposed to be pondering if I really have anything worth saying.

I will say this: sometimes I have something worth saying. All four of you out there may actually hear it.

Okay, let’s stop for a second. Herbie, stop typing. I can’t think with all that tap tap tapping.

Let me explain something: I am notorious for being a thinker. Sometimes I fall too deep in the well and can’t get out without sorting through the BS roaming through the halls of that normally vacant part of my brain.

Recently, I thought of putting together a marketing group–which would essentially be a group of eight to ten committed individuals who would cross market each others’ works as they are published. I thought it was a good idea. I still do. However, a friend of mine brought up a good point: With all the cross marketing many folks would probably just get sick of it and avoid the individuals in question. He has a point. Though I’ve never thought of individuals putting out a lot of information for their wares as annoying, others might. It’s a drawback to a very simple marketing plan.

With this new kink thrown into the plan, I’ve been doing that thing I really need to stop doing: thinking. I don’t know about you, but that has really become a foul word in my dictionary.

Are you still with me? Wait. Hold on. I lost someone just now. We’re down to three folks reading this. I guess I’ve said a lot of nothing in the last four hundred words.

With all the ways to market your wares online I can see how an over-marketing campaign can both help and hurt your career. The problem is what is too much and what is too little? Maybe my plan was a little too much, even though it was very simple. On the flipside, how often do folks NOT say anything about their work and then wonder why no one is reading them?

Let me give you an example, one that I think speaks for itself:

I LOVE doing interviews, finding out about people I am interested in. No, not in a stalker sort of way, but in an ‘I hope this person is cool’ sort of way. When finding out they are indeed cool, I want to help them, want to let the world know about them, their books, short stories, art, music, whatever. Okay, that sounds stalkerish, but you get what I’m saying. I do the interview, post it up, spread the word on my Facebook page and a couple of places I frequent where I know it’s okay to post this sort of information.

However, some folks don’t repost it on their blogs, FB pages or websites, so sometimes the interviews don’t get read by that many people. For those that do repost links at various places, the reads are significantly higher. They help themselves by spreading the word about something they were involved in. In fact, the interviews that have the highest hits at Type AJ Negative are the ones that have reposted a link or information about the interview.

So, this makes me believe that if only two folks putting out the information generates more views than one person, how many views would be generated by six people? Or eight? I would think that it would be a win-win situation where all involved would get significant exposure in circles that they don’t frequent. This was the basis of my original plan.

Some sort of marketing has to happen in order to get someone–anyone–to view your work. To me, it makes sense. With the help of a handful of other folks, readers who wouldn’t normally see you will have the opportunity to read something you wrote. Simple.

To go with that, how much exposure is too much? I have friends that blog every single day, including on the weekends. This allows people to constantly go back to their blog/website and read fresh material on a daily basis. I think this is a good practice. Others do not. Sadly, I don’t have that many intelligent things to say, making me one of those who do not post regularly.

I presented my idea for the marketing group to some writer friends. Most of them had things to say, but none were willing to commit to it. A couple of them shot holes into the logic of the plan. Others who thought it would be a good idea wanted to change it, make it more elaborate, in turn, making it require more than a commitment from a small group. Interestingly enough, I am fine with that. I’m always willing to listen to the ideas, but in this case it’s not what I wanted. Selfish I know, but I didn’t want folks to be burdened by having to put a lot of effort into it, thus taking away from their own works and pursuits.

This made me think even more and I came to a conclusion. It’s the same thing I have often thought about folks with major addictions: if you’re not willing to help yourself, then no one else will help you either. If you’re not willing to market yourself, then why should anyone else do it for you?

Like so many other things in the writing/publishing business, the onus of everything has and will continue to fall back on the writer. We can control which way our careers go if we are willing participants in all facets of the game. That includes marketing ourselves, something I, admittedly, have a hard time doing. Not that it’s hard, but for me, it feels like bragging and I was raised NOT to brag about things. Is it really bragging, or is it trying to put your name out there? I think there is a difference.

I am a small fish in the rather large ocean that is the publishing world. I guess I can understand if others don’t really think my association with them is of any benefit to them. I could argue that all day long, but I won’t. I’ve figured out if I want to get anywhere, then I’m going to have to rely on the two brain cells I have and market the stories I put out there. I cringe at the thought of self promotion, but it is a must if I want to ever break out of my small world.

I will continue to help those who want to be helped. That includes doing interviews (if I approach someone for an interview, I honestly wish to know more about them, their process of writing and publishing. I’ve only turned one person down that has asked for an interview and I did that with good reason, which I won’t get into here).

At my former blog, The Odd Ramblings of AJ Brown, I posted little funny things that have happened with my kids or with life in general. Sometimes those posts would be serious. At the end of most of those posts I would put some bit of advertising for something of mine or of a friend. That formula seemed to work. When I created Type AJ Negative, I strayed from that and, for the most part, became a little too serious. I think I should go back to that tried and true formula, but ramp it up a bit; posts more often, which some would consider overkill. I’m not one of those people.

Let’s go back to that opening sentence. Have something to say. Do I have anything worth saying? Maybe I do after all. If I say too much, well, I apologize to those who feel that way. Like I said, I’m a little fish and I’m trying to keep from getting swallowed by the bigger ones. In order to do that, I have to open my mouth and shout from the hill tops–or at the very least, from the coral reef–in order to be heard. I encourage you to do the same…