"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Down thru the chimney with good Saint...

Okay, I don't know if he's a saint or not, but Nick Valentino is on a whirlwind tour this month to promote his novel, Thomas Riley. Before I met Nick, I had never heard of Steampunk, and now... well, I've heard of it. Seriously, it sounds like a wonderful new genre that I've barely scratched the surface learning and I'd love to jump into all the layers.

Here today, Nick is going to give you all a hint of what Steampunk is all about, along with some of his observations about what it's like to be a published writer in the 21st Century:

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The Extra Twenty Miles

The bane of every writer is the idea that they have to promote their own book. At writer’s conferences, when promoting your work is brought up a huge collective groan rumbles through the audience. We all want to just write… right?

Being a writer without a huge Little Brown contract leaves all of us in the dilemma of promoting your own work. So there’s, book signings, conferences, travel, bank accounts, shipping, print ads, online ads, out of the box promotion, air fare, wardrobe, taxis, banners, flyers, photo shoots, social networking, maintaining a blog (or three), postcards, book marks, stickers, buttons, packing materials, blog touring, contacting bookstores, expense breakdowns, planning meetings, Paypal, pre-orders, posters, websites, con registrations, hotel reservations, contests, wholesale orders, returned books, book reviews and sending review copies… Had enough? That doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

Here I am in the middle of my thirty day blog tour, day seventeen to be exact, and I can tell you this. I’m pretty darned overwhelmed. Keep in mind I like doing a lot of this stuff, so life could be worse. I could be digging ditches in the rain somewhere right? I enjoy making things happen and actually seeing a tangible product when you’re done with each little goal. The problem lies in the fact that there is often simply too much to handle. I have friends and family helping and it’s still not enough.

I promise, I’m not complaining. I’m just trying to say that writing is never just writing. In order to get noticed amongst the other hundred thousand books that were released this year, you the author have to go the extra twenty miles. Nope, one mile isn’t close to enough.

When I was finished writing my Steampunk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk) novel, Thomas Riley, the work had really just begun. I had all of these grand plans for promoting the book, and I’m making those happen now, but it’s so easy to get caught up in one aspect of promotion. For instance, I’ve been breaking my days up into individual goals. Friday I created new “@sirthomasriley.com” emails. I contacted about ten cons around the country and I lined up promotional models to appear at the cons. Monday I created a definitive list with prices and priorities of cons. Tuesday I made a back log of expenses and finalized my company bank account for book sales. It’s hardly the stereotype of a writer, right?

Obviously the most important part of being an author is the writing, but I have to say that your chances of really spreading the word about your book are pretty slim unless you make promoting said book a way of life. I’m like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde… No more like Professor Nerdy and Mr. Hollywood PR Guy.

From all this hard work, comes my obsession, my passion and my first novel, Thomas Riley. I only gave you a Wiki website with the explaining what Steampunk is, but think of it this way: Chill 1 part Jules Verne, mix with two parts Indiana Jones, add a mixer of H.G. Wells and for flavor twist in a little Frankenstein.

Thomas Riley Blurb:

For more than twenty years West Canvia and Lemuria have been at war. From the safety of his laboratory, weapons designer Thomas Riley has cleverly and proudly empowered the West Canvian forces. But when a risky alchemy experiment goes horribly wrong, Thomas and his wily assistant Cynthia Bassett are thrust onto the front lines of battle and forced into shaky alliances with murderous sky pirates in a deadly race to kidnap the only man who can undo the damage: the mad genius behind Lemuria's cunning armaments.

Find out more at:

You can purchase signed copies at:


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Thanks, Nick!


Teresa Burrell, Author, Attorney, Advocate said...

Great description of life after publishing...but what an incredible ride! Hang in there, Nick. The ride is bumpy but better than an "E" ticket at Disneyland.

Very fascinating genre you chose to write. You'll do well.


Helen Ginger said...

Very interesting. I'd never heard of steampunk. Gotta love new genres.

Straight From Hel

Ruth said...

I heard EJ Levy read her essay "Against Talent" the other day and loved what she said, that "talent" is what marketers require, not writers. Writers just need hard work. But someone has to market the books, and yes, I've always thought it would be the tough side of it to have to go on book signing tours.

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