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Monday, March 29, 2010

National Book Tour--the End

At last I am back in Connecticut. It has been a busy but profitable five months. I drove through NY, NJ, PA, IN, IL, MO, TN, MI, AL, GA, SC, NC, VA, DC, and of course up the rest of the east coast to CT. I spoke to thousands of students at both middle and high schools. I met Suzanne Collins aunt, Michael Jordan's high school librarian, artist Dion Williams, author L.B. Graham, singers Shane & Shane... and made some great new friends in writing circles.

It has been one year since the release of Swords of the Six and we have sold 2,972-copies! In January, while in Indiana, I completed writing my second novel Offspring. And in February I met with AMG Publishers and soon after they offered me a three-book-contract, which I intend to accept.

I'd like to extend a special thank you to the host families and couples who housed my wife and I so that I could avoid hotel costs.

So what is next: First is my least favorite thing Taxes are Due. Then I have to decide what to do for work this summer. God has blessed and I am hoping to find venues to sell my book during the summer. Most schools are going to be out and they are my chief source of income. Also on my agenda, I am continuing work on my third novel The Key of Living Fire and plan to have it finished sometime this summer.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brogden Middle School--Dudley, NC

My final event for this tour is a middle school here in eastern North Carolina. Today I spoke to around 140-students. So far sales have been very light. But I had a fun time and the Librarian for the school took a lot of pictures and some video. Click HERE to see the photos and article.

Monday, March 22, 2010

National Tour & "This's a Messed Up Country!"

I know, the title sounds somewhat fatalistic, but actually I meant it in a positive way. I had a booksigning at Borders-Stonecrest in Charlotte, NC this Saturday and sold another 13 books. Thanks to Lisa for giving me a very warm welcome to her store. That was the last event in the western half of the state. Now I am on the eastern side of North Carolina. Tomorrow I'll be addressing students at Brogden Middle School and I'm really looking forward to it. Not only will this be the last school on this tour, but the media director emailed to say she read the book and really enjoyed it. It's always great to have feedback from my readers. So far out of around (I'm estimating) 1,000-readers, only two have said they didn't care for my novel. Check out this recent email I received from a new fan:
Mr. Appleton,
...I'd like to ask you about your book. More specifically, when will the next one come out? I read the first in one day (unfortunately typical for me), and I'm REALLY READY to read the next. I can't wait!It was very good, a little suspensful, dramatic, etc, etc (i could go on for quite a few emails, but you wrote it, so of course you know). I even cried when
*SPOILER DELETED* I haven't done that since I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. There is no notice in the first book (or at least in my copy) that says if you have any idea when the next will come out, so I was just curious...Thank you, -Emily C.

On another note: I was appauled by the passage of the Health Care bill by the house yesterday. I spent hours watching both sides present their arguments. The result? I learned that much of the hype concerning Obama's administration is based in fact. Between sixteen and eighteen thousand new IRS agents will ensure mandated, government-approved healthcare to citizens of the US. But the illegals don't have to pay and they get the same benefits. Wow! I seriously wonder if it is worth while to have US citizenship anymore. If I became an illegal I'd have the right to choose what I pay for, at the very least.Let me quote from the first "Mummy" movie from the Americans, only I'll say this about America "This's a messed up country!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Most Successful Book Event!

Brown Middle School in Thomasville, NC gave me a wonderful reception. The media center director, Mrs. Murphy, arranged for just about every class to hear my talk. I spent the last two days giving eight separate presentations and then followed up with a two-hour signing today.

My wife and I have never sold as many books as we did at this school: A grand total of 139-books!

In other news: I have over 250 fans on Facebook

Sunday, March 14, 2010

North Carolina tour

Sorry it has been so long since my last post. I've landed in North Carolina and am staying with relatives in Lexington. This week I visited Central Davidson High School. Sales weren't that great (I think I sold around 25-books) but there was a small group of very enthusiastic aspiring authors and writing enthusiasts. They sat around my table and we had a great time. I answered their questions on writing, reading, and publishing, and marketing as well.

Today I visited Waldenbooks in Southern Pines, NC. As it turned out Sundays are usually a slow day for that store. I was only able to sell 7-books. But I was very impressed with the positive atmosphere and knowledgeable staff. I plan to return when I tour this way again... on a Saturday, though, not a Sunday.

My tour is almost over. Seems like only a month ago I left Connecticut. In reality that was in November. Only a couple more weeks and my wife and I will be home. Both of us are looking forward to that.

Well, I'll sign out for now. I'm reading The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (which is very entertaining so far) and I picked up a Star Wars novel that intrigued me titled CROSSCURRENT

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ebooks, Kindle & the Prophets of the Publishing World

Those who know me personally will attest that I enjoy reading Star Wars novels. A couple months ago made the Kindle reader available as a free application for PC. I installed it on my laptop and recently downloaded "Ylesia" a novella available exclusively on ebook. The story continues a thread not quite wrapped up in a paperback Star Wars novel that I quite enjoyed.

The book was super cheap and I am quite enjoying, but I'm finding pros and few cons to reading on the Kindle. On the book's very first page a glaring grammatical error drove me a bit crazy. Editorial oversights is the largest concern I have with digital books. Why? Well, publishers are able to 'skip' several phases of production that, currently, give time for the author and editors to spot and correct mistakes that were overlooked in the first edits. Electronic books eliminate the galley copies that always need approval prior to the final printing.

On the other hand I like the layout of the text, both comfortable to read and easy on the eyes. When I close the Kindle it automatically saves my place. When I open the Kindle book again it opens to the last page I was on, thus eliminating the need to mark my place.

But would I buy a Kindle? Uh, I don't think so. I'd love to have one, but I cannot justify spending $300 on that gadget.

Someone asked me, recently. "Aren't you concerned that digital books will destroy authors' careers?" I answered "No." I'm actually very excited about the digital age of books. If properly marketed a digital book has the potential to reach far more readers than a physical book and in far less time. Let's say an author published a novel digitally. Let's say they had a million orders for their books. Maybe they only make twenty cents off each copy, but that is $200,000 in one shot. Granted, that is a lot of copies, even for a digital sale. But I don't think it is unrealistic, especially for an author who has established their audience.

Now, I do differ with many people in the publishing industry on one important thing: I believe physical books will also remain in demand. I expect to see large print runs of books all but eliminated--but there is a savior for the physical book. That is Print On Demand technology. Many large publishers already utilize POD (not POD Services, but the POD Technology). In all my travels I have found the majority of readers are in love with the physical print. Even if they own a Kindle they still buy a physical copy of the book. For a business trip they bring their Kindle, but for reading by the fire they turn the physical pages of a printed book. Retreats into far-off vacation spots where they don't want to be reminded of technology--there are so many reasons to believe the physical book will survive and thrive alongside the digital version.

Ultimately readers will decide. They created the demand for physical books. If they demand then someone will print. In the mean time I'm enjoying the battle of logic going on in the publishing world. Someway, somehow, the digital reader is going to make prophets out of some of us!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wrapping up GA tour

Well, the time is almost here. Monday my wife and I will be leaving Georgia and heading to North Carolina for the next leg of our tour. I was telling her today that I remember looking at this tour in November/December and the end felt so far off. Time has flown, partly due to the success I've met with.

The last two days I've made visits to Oconee County Middle School. So far I haven't sold as many books as I normally do, but I have met a number of new fans, including readers who raved about Swords of the Six. I've been enjoying my visits there and will make a final stop there on Friday. Tomorrow I have a follow-up visit to Peachtree Charter Middle School (where I sold 71-books in one morning). I'm curious to see how many more kids will stop in and get a book tomorrow. The reception there was quite phenomenal.
On another note, totally unrelated to my book events and writing, I wanted to include this picture of my wife. She is really starting to show now and I'm getting very excited. It'll be nice to have a little one... She doesn't think this is the best phot but I like it! (-:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Hey, readers take note: my blog has 50 followers. I feel like saying it took long enough, but I know that's because I don't spend as much time hunting other people's blogs. I'm too busy writing and promoting my book (-:

Today I went to another middle school. I spoke with a large group of kids (somewhere between 100 and 150, I think). Then the falling snow started sticking to the ground and they cancelled school for the day! I'm beginning to really see that it is true what people say; the southern US is not used to snow. This is at least the second time that snow ruined what could have been a great signing day.

...Ah well, I am back there tomorrow and the weather looks good for it.


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.