Writing through fear

I’ve said this in a bunch of interviews but: I originally got the idea to write The Warehouse back in 2012. Then, it was a little seed of an idea that needed time to grow, and part of the process was letting it take root, letting it suck up water and nutrients, and letting it blossom. I didn’t start writing it in earnest until something like 2015. And I had three or four false starts before I really cracked it.

But part of the reason it took so long was that I was afraid to write it. I didn’t think I was a good enough writer. I didn’t think I was smart enough. It was economic policy and criticisms of capitalism wrapped in the blanket of a thriller.

I thought to myself: I’ll get there eventually. One of the things I do when I feel challenged by something is, I go bigger. Maybe so the thing that’s actually scaring me seems less scary. So I came up with this idea for a novel, that I don’t want to completely give away because it might be salvageable at some point, but it was a horror novel, wrapped in a memoir of the author who is writing it, and the way fiction and reality influence each other. It was a very meta, very risky narrative, and I wrote 70,000 words before I realized I’d hit a wall. Continue reading

My favorite reads of 2019

It’s that time of year again, when I have to list my five favorite reads for LitReactor and I feel like an asshole because I read so many good books and how in the wide world of fuck can I possibly narrow it down?

I tried my best. My top five is:

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson, Recursion by Blake Crouch, Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, Three-Fifths by John Vercher, and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. You can see my reasoning here.

BUT there were a whole lot of books I read that I really liked and I am going to list some more of them here because this is my site and I can do what I want. This is for books released in 2019 (some of which I really struggled about including in the top five).

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Italy/Germany/Holland

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I’m back from Europe, having spent a week shuttling from Milan to Munich to Hamburg to Amsterdam. And it was a trip. Not just because I covered so much ground, or ate so much food, or wandered through not one but two famous red light districts. It’s because I got the chance to see the kind of impact The Warehouse is having in other parts of the world and the entire process was humbling and surreal.

I also learned some fun stuff about the weird cultural differences of book publishing and promotion in other countries. Which I thought it might be fun to talk about here.

(Oh, and before I left, I went to all the Hudson News stands in Terminal 4 at JFK and signed their copies of The Warehouse… so if you’re flying through there soon and want to get one, there you go.)

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Finances for Authors

So we’ve all seen The Piece. You know the one. About the advance. I’m not getting into judgement one way or another except to say that it was bold to share that and it got people talking. And talking is good because in publishing there’s a whole lot of not talking because it’s considered… I dunno, uncouth or something.

And yes, you have to arm yourself with knowledge. It’s all out there on the internets. The problem is that the good advice is really very often nestled amongst bad advice. A lot of people are ready to tell you how publishing works, despite having no idea how publishing works. Some people consider this “branding,” like if you present yourself as an expert you’ll be taken more seriously.

I have shot from the hip with advice over the years and some of it has been good and some of it has been bad. I’m still learning. No one has it all figured out and anyone who says they do is lying. I do feel like at this point I know a little about a little–I’ve worked as a publisher, published seven of my own books at both small and large presses, co-authored a book with James Patterson, and navigated the weird and winding road of a bananas book deal with The Warehouse.

And one thing that was really hard to figure out–because there’s no guidebook!–is the financial end. Chuck Wendig touched on it briefly in this very good article about the overall tomfuckery of publishing. It’s a must-read. It also made me think I had some information to share about navigating the financial end of things. Continue reading

Pitch Wars mentor wishlist

2019-Adult-Mentor-SQUAREHey everyone! So, Pitch Wars. I’m a mentor this year! I’m excited. Don’t know what Pitch Wars is? Click this link. Or, here’s some sample text I copy and pasted because I’m a little lazy!

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more.

I am looking for books in the adult category, and in a broad sense, in the crime-thriller and/or sci-fi-speculative realm (we’ll get to that…), and here is some relevant info that you will hopefully find helpful: Continue reading

WAREHOUSE invades your television + Italian cover, German publication

69705652_10219053267505269_5906834961314349056_nThe Warehouse train keeps on rolling. This week I was on TV twice! First on NY1, where I fulfilled a New Yorker bucket list item: getting interviewed by Pat Kiernan, who is just as nice in person as you would imagine. Then today I was on CBS This Morning talking to the fantastic Michelle Miller, and I was dreading both pieces because I hate watching myself—especially watching myself speak—by they came out pretty good!

There was also this great Associated Press piece that I saw in the Washington Post, that put me in the company of authors like Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, which is just completely ridiculous, but ok. I did a deep-dive interview with Ryan Steck over at The Real Book Spy, which is a fantastic site that should be in your regular rotation if you’re looking for book recommendations.

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WAREHOUSE week 1 recap

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So… everything seemed to go okay?

I did two release parties for the book—at The Mysterious Bookshop with Miami Midnight author Alex Segura, and then by myself at the Staten Island Barnes & Noble. Both were standing room only, which was really encouraging. Especially for end-of-summer events.

USA Today gave it a lovely review, saying that “its interplay of taut action and incisive cultural commentary gives it shades of Fahrenheit 451 and Jurassic Park.” The Associated Press review… the first paragraph is just so god-damn lovely it took my breath away. My local paper and former employer, the Staten Island Advance, covered my release party. I spoke to Forbes about Maria Fernandes, the woman I dedicated the book to. Me and Alex did a fun Q&A for am New York. The Wall Street Journal highlighted The Warehouse in a roundup of novels going after big tech. SYFY ran a brief interview and excerpt. NPR called it an “outstanding read” (this hit literally as I was writing this post).

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