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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Who is your favorite sleuth?

Do you have a favorite sleuth, either from television or books? A few come to mind for me. Columbo is my absolute favorite sleuth. He's so unassuming, and yet he always manages to get his man or woman.

Next on my list would be Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote. And if you're as old as I am, you might even remember the old medical examiner show, Quincy. I loved that one!

Who's your favorite?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


If you're in Missouri, as most of our members are, there are at least three conferences you won't want to miss in 2011. First of all, BOUCHERCON is coming to St. Louis next year! As most mystery writers are aware, BOUCHERCON is one of the biggest fan-based writers conferences around. This one moves around a lot, so having it held in St. Louis is a real plus!

Secondly, Missouri Writers Guild's conference always has a great assortment of editors and publishers. This year, an editor from Avalon will be on hand. Get your pitches ready!

While OWFI meets in Oklahoma City, it's close enough that I've included it in this list of potential Missouri conferences for 2011. Editors and agents swarm to this one as well.

For more info on any of these conferences, check the side link on this blog. I've linked to each of these three.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boyd Morrison, The Back Road to Publication

My thriller novel, The Ark, got what I call “rave rejections.” Editors loved the premise, plot, and characters, but they just couldn’t see how it would fit into a crowded thriller market. We went to every major imprint that published thrillers, and all 25 publishers turned The Ark down. Any publishing hopes for it were effectively gone.

In early 2009, I was just completing my web site (www.boydmorrison.com), and I decided, why not try to build up a readership by giving my three unpublished books away? I mean, they weren’t doing any good just sitting on my hard drive. At about that time, the Kindle 2 was about to come out, and Amazon was starting to let unpublished authors put their manuscripts up for sale on the Kindle store.

I figured if people could find my books for free on my web site, I had to set a low price on Amazon. I set the price on my books between $0.99 and $1.99. My only expense was the small fee I paid to a graphic designer to create professional-looking covers for my books.

I was armed with glowing blurbs from generous authors like James Rollins, Douglas Preston, Jon Land, and Chris Kuzneski, all of whom I had gotten to know through Thrillerfest. Amazon let me choose up to five categories under which I could list my books, so I maxed those out (technothriller, suspense, men’s adventure, action & adventure, and thriller).

In the second week of March 2009, I put my books on the Kindle store and on my web site. I had no plans for marketing or advertising. My plan was just to see what happened.

Within several days, readers on web discussion forums noticed the low price on my books (there were very few self-published authors on the Kindle at the time, and the Nook and iPad didn't yet exist). Through the magic of Google, I was notified about these posts, and I went ahead and introduced myself to members of Kindleboards.com, Mobileread.com, and the Amazon discussion boards.

I radically underestimated the power of the Amazon bestseller lists and word of mouth. In three months, I sold 7,500 copies of all three books together. The Ark was the number 1 technothriller for over a month, outselling books by Tom Clancy and Brad Thor, and my books occupied the top three slots in multiple genre lists. By June, my books were selling at the rate of 4,000 copies per month.

Because of the velocity of my sales, my agent, Irene Goodman, was immediately able to take that data to publishers. Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, was just making a transition into the thriller market and was impressed by the reception for my books. Sulay Hernandez, now my editor, loved The Ark and offered me a publishing contract. That phone call from Irene will always be one of the most amazing moments of my life.

As far as we can tell, I was the first author to get a Big Six publishing contract for a self-published Kindle book. Touchstone acquired The Ark and its sequel in a two-book deal. On the strength of that deal, my foreign rights agent, Danny Baror, was able to secure deals in eighteen foreign markets.

Since then, Pocket Books acquired the rights for my first two books, The Adamas Blueprint and The Palmyra Impact, so essentially I have a four-book deal with Simon and Schuster. The Palmyra Impact will be released as a mass market paperback and ebook under the title Rogue Wave in December 2010, and The Adamas Blueprint will be released under a new title in December 2011.

Today, I’m lucky enough—and persistent enough—to hold a book in my hands and call myself an author.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Boyd Morrison to Guest Blog on Thursday

Boyd Morrison guest blogs on Thursday, July 15th. Stop by for a chance to win a copy of "The Ark".

After being turned down by several book agents, Boyd decided to sell his debut novel through Amazon’s Kindle program and on his website and in three months sold 7500 copies. THE ARK
(May 2010) became an Internet sensation and he got a publishing deal with Touchstone Books/S&S!