Category Archives: Soul Broker

Quick Update

 

Hello there. As the title suggests, this is just a quick update. Last week, I wrote a blog entitled Radio GaGa in which I spoke about my experience  doing my first online radio show to promote my book (Soulless).

Well, good news. It’s up online now and will be until midnight tonight at The Authors Show. To listen to it, simply click on this link, and then find my name and click. That’s it. I hope you enjoy it and click around to hear other author interviews.

Thank you very much for your time.

 

 

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Radio GaGa

Hello everyone out there. It’s official. I have become the new and undisputed Prince of All Promoting, excelling in phone interviews, web interviews, newspaper interviews, and now, I have conquered the world of internet radio. Well…maybe, conquered is too strong a word. Actually, ‘excelling in,’ may also be a bit of an exaggeration–by that I mean I’m surprised there was any usable material between all four types of interviews to write a decent tweet. #nervous_interviewee.

In an ever-expanding quest to promote my first novel, Soulless, my publisher suggested an internet radio show called, The Authors Show. I made contact and received my scheduled interview time, which was to be conducted via Skype. I spoke with a wonderful woman named Linda Thompson who ran through what the interview would be like and did her best to put me at ease. I was not at ease.

When the interview time came, I readied myself to sound like a complete buffoon, and dug a little hole next to the computer so I could promptly bury my head in it at the conclusion of what I was sure would be a monumentus–and recorded for prosperity–fail. The interview started out great. Linda was very welcoming. We chatted for a few minutes to break the ice and get to know one another, and just as we were about to start, the internet cut out on me. Once. Twice. Three times. Now I panicked. I hid it well, but probably only because this was an audio only interview. Had it been a video chat, Linda would have seen me pulling what little hair nature has deigned to allow me to maintain, right out of my head.

Unlike my first phone interview with the Bronx Times, I actually remember every  agonizing minute of my conversation. That Linda did not immediately call off the interview and pronounce me a blight on society was a miracle in my mind. She said it went well, and so did my wife who was in the room keeping our son busy while I mimed hanging myself as I stuttered through each answer.

When the interview was over, Linda Thompson did not inform me that I was now added to an infamous blooper reel on their program, but instead went on to tell me more about what her show does and what it offers, and once again thanked me for the interview. I was shocked. Even my son said he liked it, and he’s six, so you know he doesn’t know how to lie without getting caught yet. I guess I had to accept that it was an okay interview.

Later on that week, I received an email informing me that my interview will air on The Authors Show, on May 23rd, 2016. It was yet another sign that the interview went well, as two weeks in not nearly enough time to call my understudy, Jared Leto, to redo the interview as me.

Overall, my first radio interview to promote my book, Soulless, was a pleasant one. I might even try it again with someone else soon; even if two successful Ismael Manzano interviews in a row is one of the most known and often feared signs of the coming of Ragnarok (that’s the old Norse version of the end of the world). So for now, I’ll cross my fingers, pray to Odin, and wait for May 23rd for The Authors Show to air my interview all day long.

Oh, no, that’s not a typo. They said for debut authors, they air the interview all day long on their channel so that no one misses it. Let’s let that sink in a minute. All day. 24 hours. Of me. Holy, Hammer of Thor, we’re all doomed.

 

 

 

And Life Goes On

A year ago I announced that my book series, Soul Broker, had been picked up for publication by Fantasy Works Publishing. Almost two months ago, the first book in the series, Soulless, officially hit the market.Celebrations were had, emotions ran high, and I was elevated to the pantheon of published authors, drinking ambrosia from the chalice of adulation. I quit my job, bought a house and hired a band to follow me around playing “Eye of The Tiger” as my own personal theme song.

Except…nope.

Despite childhood dreams to the contrary, most authors don’t get to quit their jobs, sit back and collect boatloads of royalties. I knew this going in, so I wasn’t surprised by it. I was well aware that as an unknown, first-time author, my book wasn’t going to propel me into the upper echelon of society and literary notoriety.

My life now is more or less the same as it was back then. I still have a day job, I am still blissfully married and still proud as hell at everything my son does. And I still write. The toil never gets any easier, it just gets grittier and the scars get deeper. I’m currently working on book two, while simultaneously deflecting questions from well meaning loved ones who constantly ask me whether I’ve made it rich yet (as if making it rich was ever one of my goals. I never believed financial success to be an accurate measure of a person’s worth).

I tell them no, and try to explain that it’s a process that needs to build over time, and that I never expected fame. Quite the opposite. If you’ve read any of my former posts, you’ll probably know that I am a social coma victim, and talking about my work with anyone ranks on same level to me as waterboarding. That’s something else that hasn’t changed.

The only thing that has changed is that now when people ask, “Hey what have you been up to?” I must adhere to the publishing contract that I signed in blood, and shamelessly–and very clumsily–reply with some variation of, “Oh, not much, just working on (insert current chapter here), and trying to make sure (insert random character here)’s voice is the same as it was in the first book. This usually prompts them to question what I’m talking about–or they ignore me–and that prompts me to try to sound nonchalant–which I define as not being a stuttering, sweaty mess–when I explain to them that I have published a book and am working on the sequel to said published book. Sometimes they ask for the name of said book, and sometimes they shrink away like Homer Simpson dissolving into the hedges to avoid Ned Flanders.giphy

If the former happens, I give them the name of the book, hope for a sale, and cease all further communication because I actually have to write book two. They walk away thinking I’m a conceited jerk because I have yet to develop proper social etiquette, and properly never will.

And that’s my life now in a nutshell. Not much different than it was before. Maybe it’ll stay like that forever, with me enjoying my craft while sharing it with the masses. Maybe my stories will one day hit it big, and I’ll be a household name (shivers in terror over that thought). In the meantime, life goes on, and that is great, because I am still working to improve, and grateful for my break. If it goes no further, I’ll still be happy every time I see a good review, because it means that someone had an enjoyable experience reading my book.

Marketing Maladies

Hello everyone, I just popped on to vent a little. No, I’m not angry or anything like that, I just have an abundance of anxious energy surrounding me right now and I feel the need to channel it into something productive. What am I nervous about? Well, I’m glad that you asked. The answer is, I’m nervous about marketing my upcoming book, Soulless (due to be released on Amazon and wherever ebooks are sold on March 8th, 2016). Yes, I’m now trained to say that every time I mention the book. It’s seriously become a Pavlovian response to hearing or speaking the word, ‘Soulless,’ (due to released on Amazon and wherever ebooks are sold on March 8th 2016)–damn it!

Why am stressing this so much, one might ask? Well, it’s simple. As anyone who’s read any of my previous blogs will know, I am not exactly a social media butterfly, or even a social butterfly. I’m more like social moss because I only grow on the side of rock that no one touches or talks to. Once you add some mobility to the rock, I fall off and start anew somewhere else. Okay, so this isn’t an accurate analogy, but you get my point.

Being published by a smaller publishing company means you can’t just rely on name recognition to get your sales up. You have to share the responsibility of getting your name out there.The other day I tried talking up my book to people at work, and the results were awkward to watch and physically painful to endure. I was uncomfortable and gassy, and I couldn’t get the taste of bile out of my throat. Fine, maybe it was acid re-flux, but I blame it all on marketing.

As my release date rapidly approaches, I find that I made a huge marketing error when I chose not to publish my book under a pseudonym or pen name. I mean no one knows who Ismael Manzano is, but if I’d made up a name I could have chosen one that sounded enough like a popular author to have fooled readers into buying my book, Soulless (due to be released on Amazon and wherever ebooks are sold on March 8th, 2016).

I know it sounds crazy, but imagine you’re perusing the bookshelves or the internet and you stumble across a “NEW RELEASE” by Steven King? Or J.R Kowling? Or George-George R. Martin? If you blink or just don’t pay close enough attention, you’ll have purchased yourself part one of my new series Soul Broker, and you’ll probably be halfway through it before you realize your mistake. The hope is that by that point, you’ll be so in love with the book that the incident goes from a clear legal case of false advertising to a comedic story about how you stumbled across your new favorite author, John Clancy.

But even if I had gone with a pen name as unheard of as my own name, the anonymity it would have offered me could have done wonders for my marketing strategy. By using my real name I’ve completely cut off a wellspring of techniques to get my name out there, like randomly talking about my new favorite writer Arthur Cross to every person I meet. They don’t have to know I’m talking about myself. Likewise, my idea for randomly throwing my business cards at people like Gambit from the X-men flies out the window because the card will lead them to my real name and information, and I wouldn’t want a bunch of strangers I’d just thrown laminated piecdes of paper at to know where they can find me. That’s just madness.

I guess, when all is said and done, I’ll just have to stick to less outlandish marketing strategies like joining writing groups and tweeting, facebooking, and just generally talking with like-minded people about my work and see if I can generate buzz about it. It seems impossible, I know, but I’m willing to give it a good go. Wish me luck, and I hope you’ll check out Soulless (due to released on Amazon and wherever ebooks are sold on March 8th 2016).

 

We Have A Cover

fullcover

Okay. Just wanted to give you all a quick update on how things are going. Unless there’s a natural disaster, some form of Ragnarok, or a ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart,’ this will be the full cover of my first novel. See, it has my name on it. No, no. It’s not a mistake. I checked. It’s really my name and it’s really going to be on the cover of a book–my book. What a coincidence, right? I’m as shocked as you all must be.

But wait! It doesn’t just end with the cover! No, it’s true. I can promise you words inside sentences, inside paragraphs, inside chapters. No I’m not kidding. It’s the damnedest thing I’d ever seen, but it’s there. Pinkie promise.

As I stated before, it becomes available on March 08th 2016. And I’ll keep everyone posted as any new updates occur.

Speaking of new updates. This just in:

Fantasy Works Publishing is opening its own Facebook group, for readers and potential readers of our work. You can get to know the wonderful authors here at FWP and the projects they’re working on. Every month we’ll have some games and giveaways, so join up and stay informed.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1674693329417893/?pnref=story

 

Crossing The Finish Line

Last year I put my foot on the literary starting line, lowered myself into position and waited for the pistol to signal it was time to run. Now, I don’t know how many months later, the famed and fabled publishing finish line is within my sight, almost close enough to touch. Just a couple of good long strides and I’m there. Victory! Applause! Confetti raining down like the blood of the enemies who stood in my path.

The fear. The worry. The griping of the guts. The sudden loss of hair.

I’m calm. I’m not panicking. I’m not. Who’s nervous? Why? What did you hear?

In simple terms, I’m nearly done with my first publication. The edits are done. The proofs are done. And my work is currently being formatted for Ebook layout, etc. Promotions will be starting soon. And I have a release date, and it’s not very far from now. March 08th, 2016. Not only is it not far, but it’s rapidly gaining on me. This is becoming a reality faster than I’d expected. I even have a hashtag (#SoulBroker). I wanted my hashtag to be #pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplasereadmybookthankyou. But for some reason my publisher wouldn’t go for it.

So all that’s left to do is fret and fuss and drive myself nuts thinking about all the stuff I hadn’t really had the time to think about before now. I may have mentioned this before, but when I first dreamed of becoming a writer, I pictured something akin to Thoreu’s ‘Walden,’ living by a pond in the woods, with nothing but nature and my typewriter. Just me and my work and nobody else. I imagined solitude and anonymity.

Hahahaha! Boy was I wrong. Now it’s promote! Promote! Promote! It’s schedule a book signing, talk yourself up and spread the word. It’s advance read copies and amazon reviews and trying not to shudder in fear whenever you hear that someone might actually read your work.  The further along this process goes the more I contemplate purchasing land in a swamp somewhere just so I have a viable rock to hide under. But unfortunately, until I make the New York Times bestsellers’ list, I won’t have the capital to purchase said swamp, and by that time hiding underneath my comfy little rock would be pointless.

So from this moment forth, all comfort zones get expanded or utterly abandoned, and I couldn’t be more petrified. I actually think I am more worried to succeed than I am to fail. That may seem counter-intuitive, but when I think about my release date, I don’t think, “What if I don’t make any sales,” I think, “Crap, what if I do?” I guess I got into a comfortable niche in my writing where I would write a story, send it in to a company, get rejected and then go back to the same grind with another story. After a while, I got used to the cycle and now that I’ve broken out of it, I have no clue what to expect. It’s all foreign waters under a starless night. If there’s a waterfall up ahead, will I even see it? Probably not, but in the end, it’s probably better  than being stuck in a loop for the rest of my life. So here’s hoping for a safe landing.  I hope everyone will take that journey with me.

And for those of you that are interested, my story, Soulless, is currently available for pre-order on amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Soulless-Soul-Broker-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01ATYM5XQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453305363&sr=1-1&keywords=9781944281083

You can also add it on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28637495-soulless?from_search=true&search_version=service

It will also be available on paperback, Nook and all other ebooks formats through Smashwords, on the aforementioned released date. That’s March 08th for those of you that don’t want to scroll back up to check.

I will keep everyone update as the book becomes available through other outlets.

Thank you everyone.