The Alex Caine Trilogy Launch wrap-up.

Man, what a night I had! We launched The Alex Caine Series in style on Thursday 30th June at Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney, so now all three books in the series (so far!) are out in the wild and on bookstore shelves across Australia and New Zealand. And Galaxy have a bunch of signed copies of all three if you’re quick. I’ve also just learned today that the series took out the 1, 2 and 3 spot in Galaxy’s bestsellers for last week, so that’s just fucking fantastic. The US, UK and everywhere else will start to see their release from December this year, so hang in there, you guys! Meanwhile, I thought I’d post here wrapping up everything that’s accompanied the launch so far.

chatting
Here I am crapping on about something while Garth Nix watches thoughtfully.

Galaxy Bookshop were fantastic, and with the publisher, HarperVoyager, they put on a great event. Garth Nix was a superb MC and official launcher, and a decent crowd turned out to make an absolutely stellar night. I’m so lucky and so grateful to everyone involved that I could enjoy such a great event. This post will collect everything in one place, starting with a video of the launch itself. It’s about 20 minutes and records the Q&A with myself and Garth, then questions from the audience. Massive respect to Alice Wood from Voyager, who I asked to film it and who stoically held my phone steady for the entire time! Also, apologies for anyone getting motion sickness watching this – I honestly had no idea how much I sway when I’m standing around talking.

After the video will be a link to a huge photoset on Flickr, thanks to the amazing Cat Sparks for that. She’s truly the Aussie SFF paparazzi master. After the link to the photoset will be a series of links to all the guest posts about the series so far, where you’ll find interviews with me, with Alex Caine, posts about fighting, writing, psychopaths and more. So enjoy, and thanks again to everyone who made all this possible. This is what it feels like to be living the dream.

Video of the launch, with myself and Garth Nix:

Here, Garth asks me all kinds of questions about the series and its origins, and I talk about favourites, paths to publishing, manuscripts under toilet doors, and more.

Photoset of the launch and the dinner afterwards, with huge thanks to the amazing Cat Sparks:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/42956650@N00/albums/72157669430754560/page1

Blog tour posts:

I’ll list the interviews first. They’re all a bit different, so well worth having a squizz at them all, even if you just skim the questions for things you might be interested in.

Interviewed at Smash Dragons:

http://smashdragons.blogspot.com.au/2016/06/interview-alan-baxter.html?m=1

Interviewed by the wonderful Angela Slatter:

http://www.angelaslatter.com/alex-caine-lives-again-alan-baxter/

Interviewed by the also wonderful Peter M Ball:

http://www.petermball.com/talking-writing-and-the-alex-caine-series-with-alan-baxter/

Interviewed by David McDonald:

http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/2016/06/in-conversation-with-alan-baxter/

Interviewed by Annie Mitchell:

https://annieonwriting.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/alan-baxter-author-in-the-spotlight/

Interviewed by Ian McHugh – this one is just slightly spoilery.

https://ianmchugh.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/interview-with-alan-baxter/

Robert Hood interviews Alex Caine himself!

http://roberthood.net/blog/index.php/2016/06/20/an-unexpected-chat-with-alex-caine/

And the guest blog posts:

At Speculating on SpecFic I talk about why I write dark fiction:

http://www.speconspecfic.com/2016/06/20/blog-tour-alex-caine-trilogy-alan-baxter/

At Book Frivolity I explain that I’m really not a psychopath, honest:

http://bookfrivolity.booklikes.com/post/1420703/author-guest-post-actually-i-m-really-not-a-psychopath-by-alan-baxter

At Kaaron Warren‘s blog, I talk about the spark that started the Alex Caine fire:

https://kaaronwarren.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/alan-baxter-trilogy/

And at the Voyager blog, I talk about fighting as a metaphor for life:

http://www.voyageronline.com.au/guest-blog-alan-baxter/

Signing books, living the dream.
Signing books, living the dream.

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You owe me nothing, but if you’d like to help…

imageThere are loads of memes flying around social media that are some variation of “How to help an author” or “Support Authors” or “Fuck you, reader, dance for me, you monkey!”  The truth is, you owe an author nothing. At all. Just because I wrote a book, and that book got published, doesn’t mean anyone is under any obligation to read it or buy it, let alone do anything else. And even if you, dear reader, did read a book I wrote, and you loved it so much you went around with it stuffed down your pants for a week, you still owe me nothing. Although, you might need to consider getting out more if you really did spend a week with a book down your pants.

Put simply, there is no obligation of any kind on readers. They choose to either buy, borrow or steal a book, or not. Then they get around to reading it or they don’t. That’s it. Finished.

But, of course, there is a lot more they can do, should they so choose, and lots of those things really honestly genuinely help authors. And these ideas, while they can be listed in a trite meme, are maybe better explained in a little more detail. This stuff applies to big trad books and indie books, well-known authors and newbies. So here we go. I’m going to start by talking about the buying of books, but it’s not all about money, so read on!

Buy The Book

Well, d’uh! Right? Not entirely. What we really need are readers, but more on that later. However, at the bottom line, book sales keep authors and their publishers alive. It’s especially good with a new release if you buy the books during week 1 or 2 after release, because publishing can be a machine and it doesn’t stop. It swallows authors, chews them up, and spits out their gnarled remains. The way an author survives the machine is if they sell well enough to not be spat out. And the best way for an author to sell well is to start by selling well. Sure, many books are successful on a slow burn, but to sell they have to be on shelves. Bookstore real estate is highly contested space, so if a book sits on a shelf for a while and doesn’t sell, it will be sent back to make space for a new book. But if it shifts several copies, the shop gains confidence in it and gets more copies in. The sales data is good, it might hit in-store bestsellers charts, and stores order yet more. The profile of the book is raised and it gets more traction. That’s momentum happening right there, and that’s what we need. And if your local store doesn’t have them, order them in.

Order them at your library.

But you’re skint? No problem, man, I know those feels. Books can be a real luxury. There are other options than buying, which we’ll cover, but you know who has free books for you to read all the time? Legally? Your local library. Go there and ask them to order the books. When libraries buy a copy, that’s another sale. And authors get a small amount of money for each library borrow their books have, so that’s another income stream for them in the long term. And more importantly, it’s greater visibility of their books out in the world.

(You know what? Even if you do buy the books for yourself, order them at your local library too. Other readers will find them over time. More readers are what it’s all about.)

Buy them as gifts.

Buy for yourself, of course, but if there are any birthdays or other celebrations coming up (Xmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, International Day of the Needy Author) buy another copy to give as a gift. That’s more sales and more readers, who may not have bought the books otherwise. I love buying books for people and introducing them to new authors, and I love it when people do that for me. You can also give your copy away as a gift, and introduce a new reader that way. A pre-loved book is a cool gift: “I just read this and you’ll love it. Here, have it!”

Tell friends, family and colleagues all about them.

There’s much more to a book’s success than sales, and here’s where we talk more about readers. Garth Nix calls it the transfer of enthusiasm. When you love a book, don’t keep that to yourself. Talk about it! Tell your friends and family, talk about books at work, show off the copy you love so people recognise the cover when they see it again. Be enthusiastic and transfer that enthusiasm all around. Nothing works better than genuine, honest word of mouth. That’s what really sells books and that’s where books find success. A successful book is one that enjoys a groundswell of genuine enthusiasm. So recommend them wherever you can.

Lend your copy to a friend.

You don’t want to give away your loved copy as a gift? That’s cool. If you’ve loved a book, lending it is a great way to transfer your enthusiasm, and then you get it back. But that’s another reader, hopefully another fan. That’s another person talking it up to their friends and transferring their enthusiasm. Momentum!

Talk them up (and share the cover images) on social media.

If you only have 14 followers on Twitter and 38 friends on Facebook, don’t think for one second that you lack influence. People will pay attention to your social media commentary if they are your friend or follower. That’s why they’re your friend or follower. Every single eyeball counts. So just like you talk up the books in person, do it online, wherever you hang out online. And again, share the cover image so people can spot it easily in store. It really helps.

Leave a review and rating on Amazon, Goodreads, iTunes, etc.

And when it comes to talking about them online, if you can be bothered, reviews make a huge difference. You don’t need to be a great reviewer. You can write:

“this book was really grate, I loved the action. people will definately enjoy it to.”

Seriously, that’s awful spelling and grammar, but it counts. Because it’s the transfer of enthusiasm that matters, not your writing skills. And the more reviews something has, the more visibility it gains on that site, and the more likely other people are to take a chance on it, because it seems like it’s already popular.

And that’s the thing about getting more readers – the more popular something appears, the more other people will want to check it out. The more other people check it out, the more likely they are to talk about it too. Hopefully they’ve enjoyed it and they’re talking it up, so the more transfer of enthusiasm we have. That means even more readers, that means even more talking and more enthusiasm. It’s a self-perpetuating engine of literary love. The book has a greater chance of being a hit. And you helped. Only you can help, really. Readers and their enthusiasm are an author’s pulse and lifeblood. We love you people.

(And incidentally, if you don’t go to libraries, you can’t afford the book, and you don’t know anyone with a copy to borrow, you’ll be able to find it online somewhere, you naughty pirate. You know, I’d rather you didn’t, but the only thing worse than piracy is obscurity. So if you’re motivated enough to pirate a copy, do the author a favour and talk about it to friends and other readers! Transfer your enthusiasm too, with a bottle of rum and a yo-ho-ho.)

So you owe an author nothing, but if you do want to help, buy, borrow, lend, order at the library, talk, review. Be part of that great word of mouth engine. If you do any of that stuff, I genuinely can’t thank you enough. You totally rock!

Transfer your enthusiasm!

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Primordial sells to Cohesion Press

A little bit of awesome news to share with you all today. Primordial, a giant monster thriller co-authored with my podcast buddy, David Wood, will be published in early 2017 by Cohesion Press as part of their new Natural Selection line. It’s exciting stuff. After Dave and I wrote the horror novella, Dark Rite, together, we knew that we could work well as a team, so we decided to take on a full novel project. Primordial is the result and I’m so happy it’s sold to Cohesion Press.

If that name is familiar, it should be! They’re a small press making great waves lately and they’ve published me a couple of times before, with stories in their anthologies Blurring The Line and SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest. I’ve also got another story with them soon, coming out in their next SNAFU anthology, Future Warfare.

Here’s a little blurb for Primordial about it to whet your appetite:

Sometimes, the legends are true.

When eccentric billionaire, Ellis Holloway, hires marine biologist Sam Aston to investigate the legend of a monster in a remote Finnish lake, Aston envisions an easy paycheck and a chance to clear his gambling debts. But he gets much more. Something terrible lives beneath the dark waters of Lake Kaarme… and it’s hungry. As the death toll mounts, Aston faces superstitious locals, a power-hungry police chief, and a benefactor’s descent into madness as he races to find the legendary beast of the lake in PRIMORDIAL.

So we have nefarious Australian marine biologists, lunatic American billionaires, a mysterious lake in Finland, myths of a giant monster, missing people, blood, suspense, even frickin’ Nazis, dude! It’s a great book with loads of action, so I hope you’ll pick up a copy when it comes out. I’ll be sure to keep you informed of progress as things move along. Now please excuse me while I happy dance.

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New Alex Caine Series covers revealed!

This is so very exciting! The entire Alex Caine Series will finally be available in print everywhere in Australia and New Zealand in July. All three books will land in bookstores and you can at last get the whole set in paperback. And they’ve got these amazing new covers. The ebooks are out now, so get on board at your favourite ebook retailer if you can’t wait for the paperbacks. Check them out:

postcards copy

These covers are so much better, really conveying the dark thriller style of the books. What do you think of them? I can’t wait to see them actually for real, all papery and solid and in my greedy little hands! In the meantime, we can enjoy the dark awesomeness of these new covers. Magic, monsters, mayhem and martial arts, coming your way in just a few short months. Tell your friends!

And for the rest of the world, you’ll remember a little while ago I revealed in the international cover for Bound: Alex Caine #1, which will be available in the US, UK, Canada, etc. Well, that should drop in December this year, with Obsidian and Abduction hopefully not too far behind. Sorry you have to wait a bit longer, but it’ll be worth it!

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International Cover Reveal for BOUND!

So for people who have been paying attention, the Alex Caine train is still rolling strong. All three books in the trilogy (Bound, Obsidian and Abduction) are being re-released in print by HarperVoyager in Australia and New Zealand, with new covers, in July this year. That means people in the ANZ region will finally be able to have all three books in paperback on their shelves. I can’t wait to show you those covers, hopefully sometime very soon (they’re fantastic!).

Meanwhile, the series is being published around the rest of the world by the brilliant folk at Ragnarok Publications. Things are running a bit later there, but Bound will be released in the US and everywhere else in the world other than Australia and NZ during the northern Fall this year, with Obsidian and Abduction hopefully not too far behind. Ragnarok have a whole new swanky website here: http://www.ragnarokpub.com/ that’s well worth a look.

In the meantime, they’ve revealed to authors the covers for all their Fall new releases. That means we have an international cover for Bound, by the fantastic Shawn King. And I get to reveal it here today. So here it is, in all its muscly, magical glory! (And I do dig that review quote in the top right.)

bound-ragnarok

So what do you think? I hope you like it – I certainly do. It captures the gritty, urban, magical, violent nature of the series beautifully. I’ll hopefully be able to give you guys an actual release date very soon. And watch this space for the new ANZ covers any time now.

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