Interview with Art Lasky, Author of “Faith, Begorrah, and Oy Gevalte!”

Mt. Misery Press

The following is an interview with Art Lasky, author of the short story “Faith, Begorrah, and Oy Gevalte!”, which appears in Neon Druid: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy (available now on Amazon in digital and paperback).

1) What inspired you to write your Neon Druid story, “Faith, Begorrah, and Oy Gevalte!”?

My story starts with a little boy falling down a coal chute. Shortly before my second birthday, it was traumatic enough to remember. When a workshop prompt called for a story about a trip I had taken, well…

2) What’s something that always seems to pop up in the stories you write?

My stories always include humor and a sharp turn into weirdness.

3) Which book/story has had the biggest influence on your writing?

Winter Warriors by David Gemmell, showed me that sword & sorcery heroes need not be dour, irresistibly powerful characters. It is okay for them…

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Interview with Ed Ahern, Author of “Cave Canem”

Mt. Misery Press

The following is an interview with Ed Ahern, author of the short story “Cave Canem,” which appears in Neon Druid: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy (available now on Amazon in digital and paperback).

1) What inspired you to write your Neon Druid story, “Cave Canem”?

I wanted a supernatural figure with provenance who wasn’t already a beaten-to-death trope.

2) What’s something that always seems to pop up in the stories you write?

I have a snarky sense of humor and if I’m not careful I’ll stick in a zinger that spoils the mood I’m trying for.

3) Which book/story has had the biggest influence on your writing?

Several books by Ray Bradbury. He’s a little out of vogue now, but he’s able to generate a delicious sense of wonder in even scifi settings.

4) Excluding your Neon Druid story, what piece of writing are you most proud of, and…

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Interview with Alexandra Brandt, Author of “The Flat Above the Wynd”

Mt. Misery Press

The following is an interview with Alexandra Brandt, author of the short story “The Flat Above the Wynd,” which appears in Neon Druid: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy (available now on Amazon in digital and paperback).

1) What inspired you to write your Neon Druid story, “The Flat Above the Wynd”?

My whole family has been pretty obsessed with all things Celtic since I can remember. My obsession turned into its own special brand of nerdery when I went on an archaeological tour of Scotland in 2015…wait, there is nothing archaeological in this story.

What DID inspire me was the time we spent in Edinburgh, exploring Old Town and discovering all the little alleyways (wynds and closes) and side courts along the Royal Mile. (We were absolutely the idiot tourists trying to climb the stairs of a private residence.) That’s where “The Flat Above the Wynd” came from.

2)…

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Interview with P. J. Richards, Author of “The Lady of the Lake”

Mt. Misery Press

The following is an interview with P. J. Richards, author of the short story “The Lady of the Lake,” which appears in Neon Druid: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy (available now on Amazon in digital and paperback).

1) What inspired you to write your Neon Druid story, “The Lady of the Lake”?

I found the submissions call on Twitter, and really liked the theme but (as is always my instinct) wanted to drag it from the streets and back into nature – Central Park with its beauty and dangers sprang to mind, and when I found The Lake, everything fell into place.

2) What’s something that always seems to pop up in the stories you write?

I always end up exploring the liminal places between the mundane and the Otherworld.

3) Which book/story has had the biggest influence on your writing?

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. I aspire to create…

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Read a Free Sample of NEON DRUID (Now Available on Amazon)

Mt. Misery Press

The monstrous spreadsheets have all been laid to rest.

The wordsmiths have all been paid.

The stories have all been edited, proofread, and edited again.

The requisite sacrifices to Ogma — god of eloquence — have all been made.

Neon Druid is here.

Cross over into a world where the mischievous gods, goddesses, monsters, and heroes of Celtic mythology live among us, intermingling with unsuspecting mortals and stirring up mayhem in cities and towns on both sides of the Atlantic, from Limerick and Edinburgh to Montreal and Boston.

A collection of seventeen short stories, Neon Druid mixes urban fantasy and Celtic mythology, creating a universe where lecherous leprechauns and debaucherous druids inhabit the local pubs, and where shapeshifting water spirits from Scotland and sword-wielding warriors from Ireland lurk in the alleyways.

Read your free sample right here:

Thanks for dropping by!

P.S. The paperback version will be available in…

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Welcome to NEON DRUID, Here’s What’s on the Menu…

Mt. Misery Press

Please, come in from the rain and pull up a barstool. Pay no mind to Jimmy over in the corner there, he’s always makin’ faces at people when they walk in. There ya go. Alright, now that you’re settled, allow me to formally welcome you to Neon Druid: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy. Rest assured that this is, indeed, a fully licensed anthology, serving only the finest in handcrafted short fiction.

On the menu tonight we have seventeen tales set in a world where the gods, goddesses, heroes, and monsters of Celtic mythology live among us, stirring up mayhem in cities and towns on both sides of the Atlantic. Here, take a look at our comprehensive Story List and pick your poison. You can enjoy these stories in any order.

neon-druid-story-list

NEON DRUID will be available for purchase soon! Follow @MtMiseryPress on Twitter for launch updates.

 

Thanks for…

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I Spent $100 on Amazon Ads and All I Got Was This Lousy Blog Post

My fellow writers, let me be clear and unequivocal in this declaration:

Promoting books is the worst part of a writer’s job.

Who in their right mind enjoys pestering friends and family — and, of course, strangers — with promises of dazzling plots and paragraphs? Who enjoys reminding readers to leave you reviews on Amazon and Goodreads?

At the same time, you know there are at least a few people, somewhere, who share an affinity for your particular brand of weird; people who would appreciate and enjoy your work and take pleasure in leaving you a review. How do you reach those people?

On October 1st, I launched a week-long promotion for my short story collection, The Woburn Chronicles, to see if I could crack the code.

What follows are the true accounts of my follies, foibles, failures, and ever-so-occasional bouts of good fortune, which I encountered while carrying out a multi-pronged promotional offensive.

Continue reading at your own peril.

Prong 1: Spend $100 on Amazon Ads

woburn-chronicles-amazon-ad

Okay, so to be fair, I’ve only spent $8.09 of that $100 so far, but I had to commit to spending the full $100 upfront (otherwise they won’t let you create an ad).

I had always imagined that running ads on Amazon would be like pulling a magic lever, and that downloads would skyrocket.

That’s, uh, not how it works.

I’ve been running an “interested-based” promotion, where I’m targeting the following interests (based on the format and genre of the The Woburn Chronicles):

  • Literature & Fiction:
    • Anthologies & Short Stories
    • Mythology & Folk Tales
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
    • Horror, Paranormal
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
    • Myths & Legends

After 13 days, the ad for my book has been displayed 3,196 times, which sounds impressive … until you hear the second half of the story: Of those 3,196 impressions, only 10 have resulted in clicks. 10! That’s a 0.313% click-through rate, which is positively atrocious.

The possible explanations:

  • My ad was crap. Definitely a possibility.
  • Nobody clicks on Amazon Ads, at least not for books. (I know that for me personally, I see them on my Kindle every day – and I almost always ignore them.)

Prong 2: Facebook Ads

woburn-facebook-adsThe two best things about Facebook Ads:

  1. They’re cheap.
  2. You can get super-specific in regards to the people you target.

In my case, I displayed my ad only to people who A) listed ebooks, Kindle, reading, etc. as hobbies/interests AND who B) listed sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc. as their preferred genres.

The results? My ad was displayed 1,524 times and 204 people watched at least 10 seconds of my book trailer. More importantly, those 1,524 ad views resulted in 17 clicks, which means this ad had a click-through rate of 1.12% (not great, but way better than what Amazon has been yielding me).

Prong 3: Posting on Personal Twitter/Facebook Accounts

I try to do this sparingly. I posted once back in March, around St. Patrick’s Day, right when The Woburn Chronicles originally came out.  FYI: The 3 stories that comprise The Chronicles are interconnected and follow an Irish immigrant family (over the course of a century) as they encounter strange phenomena in the blue-collar suburb of Boston that they call home. Hence, the St. Patrick’s Day promotion made sense.

Likewise, given there is a strong horror element running through all of the stories, I thought running a promotion at the beginning of October, just as people were getting pumped up for Halloween, made sense. (In retrospect, a million other horror writers probably thought, and did, the same thing.)

woburn chronicles personal facebook

At this point, I should probably mention that as I was doing all of this promotion, I was also running a free book giveaway on Amazon. That is to say, yes, I was paying for ads and reaching out to friends and family in order to drive people to my Amazon listing so they could download a free copy of my book. 

Why the hell would I do that? Probably because I majored in Humanistic Studies in college. (Business has never been my strong suit.)

Also: I didn’t want to make money from this promotional campaign, I just wanted more exposure, and I wanted reviews. (I had screwed up back in March by not putting any energy into getting reviews. So I viewed this October promo as a “relaunch” of sorts.)

From a vanity perspective, of course, I also just wanted to see my book climb its way up Amazon’s best-seller rankings.

Mission: Accomplished…ish.

Prong 4: Riding the Wave

woburn chronicles facebook riding the wave

This was definitely the funnest part of doing all this promotional stuff: Being able to share my book’s progress as it climbed Amazon’s rankings and use it as social proof.

At first I only did this on my personal accounts, but once I managed to crack the top 10 in the Sci-fi & Fantasy short reads section, I felt worthy enough to share the news on Book Twitter.

twitter woburn chronicles

Then I got all jazzed up and experienced what can only be described as an “advertiser’s high” and ran another ad on Facebook.

woburn-chronicles-update

The Facebook ad above proved to be the most successful ad I ran as part of this multi-pronged promotion, yielding 393 views and 13 clicks. That’s a click-through rate of 3.3%.

Total cost: $3.

Not too shabby.

I also ended up walking away with two reviews on Amazon, which is considerably better than receiving zero reviews. And, hopefully, there are more on the way.

My Biggest Takeaway: More Abs Needed

Screen Shot 2018-10-05 at 5.53.13 PM.png

While tracking my book’s ascension on the 90-Minute Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Reads list, I made a startling realization: The books that were immediately ahead of me on the list had one of two design schemes:

  • Design scheme 1: Blue with something shiny in the middle.
  • Design scheme 2: Muscular man-body.

What you choose to do with this knowledge is up to you.

As for me, I’m going to redesign my cover. I’m envisioning a blue background with a six-pack — no, eight-pack — of shiny abs in the foreground…

P.S. If you found this post insightful, enjoyable, or even remotely not-terrible, please consider dropping a buck for a copy of The Woburn Chronicles and leaving me a review. 🙏