Saturday, December 15, 2007
I just got back from a 4-hour book signing at Bookmaster in Phoenix. There were about 10 authors there. I only sold 3 books, but seriously there were only like 8 customers the whole day, so it's actually a pretty good statistic. One lady asked for 10 of my flyers and a bunch of bookmarks so she could give them to her friends. I was able to mingle with another author who has the same PR company as me (Planned Television Arts) and she gave me some pointers for radio interviews. My publicist tells me that she has booked me for a national radio interview and a few regional ones already.
Borders emailed me yesterday to confirm to me that they would like to have me on Jan 19th. That's a great day, since I'll be interviewed on NBC Channel 12 in Phoenix that morning. What's funny is that Joe Dana, the news reporter who will be interviewing me, is having a hard time reading my book because his wife has been reading it. And he loaned his copy of Paraworld Zero to his babysitter. I just heard tonight that his babysitter liked it so much that she's been taking it to school and telling everyone to buy it. I sure hope Joe gets it back before our interview!
An interesting thing happened to me this week. On Sunday I prayed for help in getting my book onto the BookSense Picks list. Of course, I was assuming that it would be a few months before that would ever happen. I had checked my book on booksense.com a couple times and it wasn't even listed. The next day after praying, I checked booksense, and lo and behold, there was my book... with a Booksense Picks logo next to it! I couldn't believe it. If it were true, then that would mean 1200 bookstores would be buying my book and putting it on their websites and handouts. Almost a half a million flyers with my book cover on them would be sent out. I was excited but it seem too good to be true, since my book hadn't even come out yet. So I called up Booksense to ask them about it and they didn't know what I was talking about. 10 minutes later, the Picks logo disappeared from all of the bookstore websites. Bummer. It must have been a clerical error. I'm guessing that Booksense has something in their system with a checkbox that says Booksense Picks and someone accidentally clicked it on my book. At least some good came out of this... Now my book is listed on hundreds of independent bookstore websites! And who knows... maybe it'll get that Picks logo again in a few months.
This week, my book was finally listed with Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and Partners/West. Bowker Books in Print also updated their system. Barnes & Noble finally updated the incorrect info on their site (pub date, price, and page count were all wrong), so now that just leaves Borders (their info is still wrong). Oh, and the cover image for Amazon keeps disappearing. It's driving me nuts, so I'll list it here.
P.S. Happy Holidays everyone!
Friday, December 07, 2007
Okay, so I am working like 18-hour days right now (21-hour days for the past 2 days... yes, that's correct... 3 hours of sleep for 2 days straight.), but I need to take a break and share with you four new reviews I got for Paraworld Zero.
"PARAWORLD ZERO is the first in a new series by Matthew Peterson. Its rollicking adventure style reminds this reader of a cross between Harry Potter's adventures and those of Artemis Fowl. Colorful characters, fast-paced adventure, and clever humor make this an interesting read."
Read the full review at Reading Junky
Note: this review also made its way to http://www.teensreadtoo.com/ParaworldZero.html
"Fantasy lovers will devour Paraworld Zero, book one of the series created by Matthew Peterson...
"Matthew Peterson uses descriptive writing and likable characters to capture your attention. I was completely intrigued on the first chapter! The world he creates is incredibly unique and captivating. The only thing I dislike about the book is that I'm forced to wait to hear more about Simon's thrilling adventure. I'll definitely be looking out for more by this author. "
Read the full review at The Page Flipper
"Enticing and very entertaining, Matthew Peterson creates in Paraworld Zero a very engaging and attention grabbing first novel that both me and my younger brother enjoyed, and had us fighting over who's turn it was to read the book. We'll be eagerly looking forward to the next in this funny, unique, and imaginative series."
Read the full review at The Compulsive Reader
"Peterson deftly blends elements of fantasy and science fiction in this action packed romp. Paraworld Zero is a firm foundation for a new fantasy series sure to please young readers ages 10+"
Read the full review at The Faerie Drink Review
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Paraworld Zero received the Flamingnet TOP CHOICE Award (Nov 2007)
"...I greatly enjoyed the story... a must read for anyone who loves fantasy and for anyone who loves a good adventure/coming-of-age novel."
Read the full review
FantasyBookSpot.com Review (Nov 2007)
"This book follows the Harry Potter template of wizards and magic, the discovery of great wizardly power, and likely a secret destiny to be fulfilled. It combines Star Wars aspects as well, as we see space ships, laser guns, and a group that wishes to bend the 'paraverse' to their worldview. These are definitely all elements that a young adult would find very exciting, along with the camaraderie among Simon and the new friends [he] makes, some teenage crushes, and some funny scenes within the story. It's a [fast]-paced story with lots of action and character interaction among the kids. Tonya has hair that changes color with her moods, which is an element that I think can really draw in a child reader's imagination. It has plenty to offer to make it an exciting page-turner for its young adult audience..."
Read the full review
Thursday, November 15, 2007
One year ago today was one of the worst days of my life. My baby was born... normally a good thing... but during his birth my wife was crippled. A few minutes before he was born I had a sudden chill go through my body, and I felt that something was wrong. There was no indication that anything was amiss. I just had this feeling.
When Jared was born, they immediately flew him to another hospital because he had a couple pounds of extra fluid in him. We had no warning. He had heart surgery 6 days later and was diagnosed with Noonans Syndrome. My wife couldn't even roll over in bed by herself. She was in a wheelchair for a month and then used a walker. During that same 24 hour period, my youngest boy took some poison and I stayed up all night with him. The previous week, I had taken him to the hospital twice because he was throwing up several times a day. A week or so later, my business took a belly flop and I ended up losing over $25,000. Yeah... Ouch!
It's been a year now and things have calmed down... but I'll never forget that fateful day. My wife had already been in the hospital for a month, which meant I was home with 4 little boys and working 20-hour days. The birth was supposed to be an end to our trials but it ended up compounding everything, especially since I had just recently lost my job and insurance. Jared is a sweetheart. He's now one years old, but he can't sit, crawl, or eat by himself. He has a wonderful smile, and he makes us laugh.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Well, I just got back from TusCon 34 in Tucson Arizona. This was a surprisingly fun convention, despite it being so small. I was on 3 panels:
Chicks and Money and Power and Chicks: What drives you to write?
Matthew Peterson, David Lee Summers & Catherine Wells
Killing Me Softly: Murdering your favorite characters for money and fame.
Matthew Peterson, John Ringo, Frances Robertson & Emma Bull
You made the world now you've got to write in it, important considerations when making a fictional world.
Matthew Peterson, Dennis L. McKiernan & Catherine Wells
The only bad thing about the convention was the short short notice of what panels I'd be on. They posted some info the day before the convention but then they switched it around when I arrived at the convention. I'm pretty good with impromptu discussions, so it wasn't a big deal, but it would have been nice for me to post it on my website so people would know when to go to my panels.
One thing that was amusing to me was the video game room. One of my friends from Borders, Amy Black, was in charge of the game room. There was a game called Guitar Hero. I haven't played video games in many years. At first I didn't want to play, but I decided to give it a try. Instead of a controller, you use an actual guitar with 5 buttons for strings and a knob to strum. It's very realistic. I only played it twice, but on my second try I actually beat the kid who had been playing it all morning. What's funny is that later in the day I wanted to play again. I felt like an alcoholic getting a drink after a long drought.
I used to be VERY good at video games. I was the kid at the arcade that everyone would crowd around to watch play. When I'd go into an arcade, I'd bring just one quarter with me and play for an hour (they don't make games like that anymore). I used to play the arcade version of Super Mario Brothers (much harder than the Nintendo console version) and beat it without dying once or skipping any levels. Oh, those were the days.
Frances Robertson, Emma Bull, Matthew Peterson & John Ringo
Dennis McKiernan, Matthew Peterson & Catherine Wells
Monday, November 05, 2007
Some may question if miracles really happen. If you ask my wife, she would surely say YES! Two or three weeks ago she put her keys on the back of the car, and I drove a few miles away into the city. We searched and searched but couldn't find the keys. This was quite a pain, since she had just gotten some special keys that couldn't be easily replaced.
She and the kids prayed but nothing happened. Then after two weeks I felt this intense feeling that I needed to pray that she would get her keys back. I realized that I hadn't really put any effort or faith in getting her keys back until that point. The next day or two, someone from CSV (a local pharmacy) called up and said that someone had turned in my wife's keys (the pharmacy was able to track her down from a CSV card on the keys). I hadn't driven anywhere near the CSV, but whoever returned the keys, returned them to the one place that could actually track them back to the owner. My wife is one happy woman now. Miracles do happen.
Since I'm a member of NothingBinding.com, I was invited to talk on ALL THINGS THAT MATTER, a radio show by Philip Harris on blogtalkradio.com. I didn't get to talk until 40 minutes and 30 seconds into the show. Here's the link to the show.
FYI: the ads are coming! This is the month that my book will start to be promoted. Next month will be much bigger and then January will be crazy.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I gave a friend an advanced copy of Paraworld Zero. I thought this was a cute email, so I'm posting it here, with permission.
Hayden re-read the book this weekend and then Porter decided to try it last night. He's not a big reader like Hayden is, so I figured he would quit after a few pages. I caught him at 11:30 still reading. I finally made him put it away so he could get some sleep! I did take this picture of him first, though. Thought you might appreciate that both of my big kids are hooked on your book! You'd better hurry up and get the next one done!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Two of my stories were awarded Honorable Mentions in the WritersDigest.com 76th Annual Short Story competition. "Letting Go" was awarded an honorable mention for the Inspiration category and "Playing with Rings" was awarded an honorable mention in the Genre category. They're going to publish my name and story title on their site and in a book.
I actually sent in a few more stories in other categories, but I haven't received a response on those yet. It feels weird to get two honorable mentions in the same contest. There were over 19,000 entries, but it seems too good to be true -- like it's a marketing scheme to get me to buy the book or something.
I'm just a little pessimistic about this because it reminds me of a contest I entered in high school for a poem I wrote. I "won" and they wanted me to buy a $45 book so I could see my "winning" entry published. I realized it was a scheme. Everyone probably "won," and that's how they sold their books. WritersDigest.com has more credibility, but they did include an order form for me to buy the $8 book . . . which popped up warning bells in my head. Regardless, I'm happy my stories did so well.
UPS delivered 300 copies of Paraworld Zero on Thursday. The official publication date is January, but I needed a bunch of books for pre-orders, bookstores, and reviewers. My publisher would handle the reviewers, but they're out of town and I just couldn't wait. Pre-pub reviewers want books 3 months in advance, so I'm already late in sending them my book. Plus, I know that I would be able to spend more time catering each press release for each reviewer... which I did. Heck, I wrote the press release myself. It's pretty good, if I do say so myself. I ran it by John Kremer (book marketing guru) and he gave it the thumbs up. I spent all day yesterday sending out about 40 books. I still have more to send, but those were the important ones.
Anyway, it was euphoric to see my book in print after all these years. I literally spent an hour staring at the cover and 30 illustrations. I'm so pleased with how the cover turned out (I did the artwork for my book, but every printer prints differently). I started writing this in 1990 (I wrote 6 chapters and then my computer died on me). I started writing it again in 2002. I finished the first draft 2003 and spent all of 2004 trying to get an agent. No luck. Then in 2005, I tried getting a publisher. The summer of 2006 (one year and one week later), Windstorm Creative called me up and said they wanted to publish my book (they were actually the first publisher I sent my book to and the last one to respond). Well, it's been a year and a half since I signed the contract and I finally have some copies in my hand. Whew! 3 more months and the world will have it as well.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Getting rejections is just part of the game. I got over 50 rejections when I tried to get an agent. In fact, not a single one I mailed a letter to asked for any of my book to read. Only one publisher asked for some of my book to read when I queried them (and that publisher never responded later when I sent them 3 chapters). Ironically, the first publisher I mailed my actual book to (Windstorm Creative) said yes... a year later.
Stories are in the same boat. I've won or placed in several writing contests, but when it comes down to actually getting my stories published, I haven't had much luck. But it's always nice when an editor says something kind about your work. Here's the letter I got from Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine.
"Thanks for letting me see "The Boy Who Hated Water." The writing in this story is lovely, but I'm afraid the tale doesn't quite work for me. Please let me see more of your work when you have it, though."
Well, that's encouraging!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Well, I got an unexpected email yesterday from http://www.teen-age-magazine.com (online magazine for teens). They want to publish one of my short stories called Yearning to Jump. I've never submitted to this site before, so I was surprised at how quickly they got back to me.
Yearning to Jump is actually one of the few non-speculative stories I've written. It's one of those stories that mixes my true high school life with a dash of fiction. So if you want to get a feel for what I was like as a kid, read the story when it comes out in http://www.teen-age-magazine.com.
A quick synopsis would be: A man looks back at his colorful high school life and the apparent suicide of his best friend.
For the record, my best friend did not commit suicide. However, he kind of fell off the face of the Earth in the past few years. I've spoken to his wife and his mom much more than I've spoken with him, so I don't know what the deal is. Anyway, I'm excited that somebody liked it.
Friday, September 28, 2007
The morning after I got home from my grandma's funeral, my wife took my baby to the hospital. They then sent him to a bigger hospital and kept him there for three days. My wife stayed, which meant I was alone with 4 boys. I've also been distracted by lots of advertisements that I'm doing and the deadlines for them. I had to quickly make 250 bookmarks and 2 different color ads for magazines. So my days have been shot. So, needless to say, it's been very hard to get the final proof back to Windstorm. There's a tiny convention tomorrow that I want to go to at a library, but we'll see. I'm half way through with my book. I think I need to get it back to Windstorm by Tuesday or Wednesday. I don't know how I could possibly promote my book and have a full-time job. It's crazy. I really need to get going on the second book!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Well, I just got my final proof back from my publisher, Blue Works (an imprint of Windstorm Creative), so now I have 2 weeks to go over it an send it back to get published. I've already found a few little errors in the typesetting, but nothing too big. My grandma's funeral has delayed things a bit, but I should be able to get it back to them in time. I've been waiting for this to happen for almost 2 years now, but it came at the worst week. Now that I'm back, it should be okay.
Oh, and they really changed the book cover. The blue in the background is all gone now. In its place is a nice swirly orange thing. The book logo is gone and the Parallel Worlds logo has been changed to just text (the worlds around the P and the W are gone). The main picture is still there, so that's really the main thing I cared about. It looks very professional. The art director said that they did this because blue scuffs a lot.
Click Here to see the new front cover of Paraworld Zero.
My grandma died a few days ago and I just got back from the funeral. It was nice seeing all of the relatives gather together. Funerals are a funny thing to watch. Everyone reacts differently to death. My family and most of my mom's immediate family were happy that my grandma was no longer in pain. They all mentioned that they knew where she was and that she is in a happier place. Others, on the other hand, don't have the same opinion and were very heart broken because they don't believe in an afterlife.
My grandma certainly led an exciting life, but she's been dying for 10 years now... longer really. Heart failure, breast cancer, kidney failure, skin cancer, paralysis from a doctor's neglect over 20 years ago (which really caused most of this, since she couldn’t walk, go to the bathroom, and even feed herself for some time). She ha pneumonia several times as well as a ton of other things I can’t think of right now. But she just wouldn't die until she finally decided to die. I’ll miss her a lot. We have lots of videos to remind us of her. One thing that I am very grateful for is that two months ago my baby, Jared, was able to hold her hand for the first time... and the last time... before she left.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
My grandmother will be dead next week... probably. She decided to stop her dialysis, which means her body will produce toxins that will kill her in about a week from now.
My family called her today to say goodbye... before it's too late. She will probably not be lucid in the next couple of days.
This is very sad for the whole family. My grandma has kicked death so many times. My mom has called me at least 6 times in the past 10 years to tell me that "this is finally the time. She's going to die," and then she doesn't die. But this, I think, is the real one. Every year for 6 years, we've visited Utah and taken video of her. Every year I tell my boys to remember her because this might be the last time you ever see her. I'm glad that this year we were all able to talk to her, even Jared, while we were in Utah.
For the funeral, I will be the only one to fly down, since my family doesn't need to be there. We've said our goodbyes every year for 6 years.
One of my boys, David, really took it hard and cried a lot tonight when I told them that we were going to call her to say goodbye. We've talked about death a lot in our family, since both of their grandma's have had heart failure. We spent the night watching family videos. I showed them a video of me with their great great grandmother. I remember when she died. I was their age at the time, so I know what they’re feeling.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
I just got back from the CopperCon 27 in Phoenix, Arizona.
What's funny about it, is that I almost missed the convention, because I thought it was next week. By pure chance, I got an email inviting me to another convention. They wanted me to give them a short bio, so I thought I'd take the easy route and just use the same one I gave to CopperCon. When I went to CopperCon's site, I saw that the convention started on the 6th. I looked down at my watch and saw that it was the 7th. My heart sank because I thought I had missed my first panel and reading. Then I realized it was just after midnight and that I hadn't missed it. Whew! So the only thing I can say is that someone up there is looking after me. Thanks!
So I did my first panel and my first reading ever.... and they were great. I knew both of the panel members from previous conventions. There were only 2 people in the audience when we started, but there ended up being 8 people when it was finished. It was the first panel of the day, so a lot of people weren't at the convention yet. I shocked myself by all the insightful comments I had to say about the Harry Potter phenomenon, our topic. My mind was working well.
For my reading, 5 people showed up. That seems like a small number, doesn't it? Well, I was expecting nobody. I've been to readings before where I was the only person in the audience. I was able to video tape the whole reading. I’ll put that on my DVD and website eventually.
I read the prologue and chapter 14 (Magic Lessons). I did all of the character voices and did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. I even had to wipe away a tear when I finished the prologue. After the prologue, everyone commented highly about “what a great prologue” it was. I can't help but wonder if they were impressed because of my performance or because of the actual prologue. I wasn't nervous at all, and, like I said, I did surprisingly well. After chapter 14, the audience commented that their favorite part was the "dog poop" comment that Tonya said to Thorn about being able to use anything (including dog poop) to funnel the magic. I got a couple other chuckles out of the audience from that chapter.
After the reading, one of the panel members was kind enough to inform me (for about 20 minutes) that I messed up on some of the facts of the ER and medical profession. He suggested I fix those parts before the book gets published. I appreciate his advice but I think it’s too late. Also, I really don’t want to bog down the text with technical jargon. Windstorm already told me that it’s too late to make editorial changes. They’re too far into the process for that. Personally, my book is for young readers, so I don’t think they’re going to even care that the doctors didn’t spout off medical terms and procedures. At least, that’s what I’m hoping!
The next day was fun. I had a panel in the morning about the business etiquette. Again, lots of good comments from me. I don't know where I come up with this stuff. My mind was working well. Sometimes I just forget everything and I can't get a sensible thing out of my mouth, but this wasn't one of those times.
I ended the day with a panel about creating realistic aliens in fiction. It was fun and there were quite a lot of people in the audience.
I got some great pictures of me fighting with a light saber. I also rubbed shoulders with a couple New York Times bestsellers. It was interesting, since both of them mentioned issues with paying the bills. I guess even successful authors are still faced with money issues... either that or they have expensive lifestyles. This wasn't comforting to me. My greatest desire would be to be able to write full time for the rest of my life.
As a total side note... I sat behind a woman who I had seen at a previous convention. She is the spitting image of a girl I had thoughts of marrying when I was younger (I don't even remember the girl's name now -- That's how bad I am with names). She looked about 10 years older than me, though, but it was so uncanny I couldn't believe my eyes. She turned around and looked back at me about 10 times during the concert, but I just smiled and didn't say anything. Her name tag said "Cat." I'm sure I'll do a double take at the next convention I see her at.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Prayer - yep it's a good thing.
I wonder sometimes if people realize that prayer is a two-way communication with God and not just a one-way thing.
I spent a full day creating my first magazine advertisement. I even spent $1000 on software just so I could send it to the magazine with the proper CYMK color set (Corel Painter doesn't do CYMK but Photoshop CS3 and Acrobat 8 does). The ad would be seen by 85,000 teachers. I read over it a dozen times. I gave it to my wife to read 4 times. I had my mouse over the send button in my email to the magazine, but I just couldn't click Send. I prayed and felt like I needed to read over the text again. I read it but didn't find anything wrong. I put my mouse over the send button but didn't feel good about sending it. I prayed again and felt that I should read over the text again. I spent a whole hour stalling. Then finally, I caught the error. Right there plain as day, I had misspelled a word in the title of the ad. Both my wife and I had missed it, but I'm sure thousands of the teachers who would read the ad wouldn't have missed it. All credibility of the ad would have been instantly lost as they read the title.
Yeah, prayer is a two way communication. Sometimes the answer is just a quiet feeling: "read over the text again." It's not normally a thunderbolt.
From 1 Kings 19:11-12 we read
"11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
Saturday, September 01, 2007
It's been a year now since I got laid off my job. I can hardly believe it! A whole year! How time flies. I just looked at how much money my new company made so far (it's been 1 year today), and it's over 5 times as much profit as I made working at my previous job. Wow! So now the other question I have to ask is.... where did all the money go?! I guess I'd have to ask my wife that. She's the one who spends it. We did get a suburban, playground set, swimming pool/spa, vita-mix, extended patio, table set and furniture. I basically upgraded some parts in my computer and bought some software – that's the extent of my personal spending, and that's hardly a luxury, since it was considered a business expense. Oh, I guess I did buy an HD video camera, but, again, I needed it for my book trailer.
Fortunately, we don’t really have anything else to buy. All of our long-term desires have been met. And now there is just one tiny little thing I will do with our money... promote my book. But I suppose we have invested quite a lot of money as well and given quite a lot to charity (12 to 13% of our gross). We maxed out our education IRAs, increased my life insurance, invested in mission funds for 5 boys, added money to our retirement fund and mutual funds. We maxed out our insurance deductibles last year and this year because of Jared. We did pay several thousand dollars out of pocket that our insurance company didn’t cover. We put an extra $500 a month towards the principal of our house and an extra $20,000 to boot. I have two goals now: pay off our house and promote my book.
So, momentarily, this year has been wonderful. Emotionally, it has been the hardest year of my life. I got a couple white hairs in my beard! Arrg! I sometimes wish I hadn’t been laid off my job. Life was simpler back then (I only worked 60 hours a week). But then again, we wouldn’t have any of the things I mentioned that we bought and there’s almost no way I would have any significant money to promote my book. In the end, all is good. My business is coming to a close soon. I can feel it. I suspect we’ll have enough money to live off of for a couple years, but after that.... well, I just hope my book takes off. I have some other more long-term solutions. They won’t bring in near as much money but they should be consistent and less stressful. I lost $100,000 earlier this year from a fluke incident. After thinking about it some more, I probably lost half a million dollars of potential earnings because of the incident. Oh, well. That’s life. I just read online last night of someone who lost $200,000 doing the same business I was doing. It could have been worse for me. I was able to bounce back fairly quickly.
P.S. My wife and I are ultra conservative when it comes to spending. If we can't pay with cash, we don't buy it. We've never spent a single cent on credit card interest our whole lives. That's probably why we were able to bounce back from the "incident" so easily.
Friday, August 31, 2007
I'll be going to the Grand Desert Days Festival in Morristown, Arizona (April 5, 2008)
Here's the invitation I received:
The communities of Morristown, Circle City, Mobile Gardens and Wittmann are hosting a Grand Desert Days Festival on April 5, 2008 at the Western Trails Ranch on Grand Avenue in Morristown. The proceeds from this Festival will go towards a community library and children's literacy program. Along with the normal events, we are putting together a special area to showcase local authors.
It would be our extreme pleasure if we could count on you as one of our local authors to accept this invitation. We could schedule you for the entire day or as long as you would want to stay meeting those that attend the event and autographing your book.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
What's the worst sound you can ever hear when you've just handed over the tile to your van you've just sold.... the engine trying to start. Note the word "trying."
Yesterday we sold our van, but when they handed us the cash and tried to start the car it wouldn't start because the battery had died. Fortunately, their friend jump started the van and they left without a word. I guess it serves us right. We haven't driven the van in 2 months.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Do you believe in divine intervention? I sure do. Yesterday I was praying about what my priorities should be towards my book, Paraworld Zero. Surprisingly, the answer I received was that I should put a shopping cart onto my website so I can take pre-orders.
Today, I mysteriously received two phone calls from two different companies asking me if I am in need of a merchant account so I can take orders from my website. I have never received a phone call like that before, even though I have some websites that have received millions of visitors. On top of that, I just received a newsletter a few minutes ago that just happened to have a tiny section in there telling me what licences I have to have in order to sell books specifically from Arizona.
I'd have to say that God is pushing me in the right direction.
I just got a blurb from Maria V. Snyder. She was also kind enough to invite me to be a guest blogger on her blog in January. I met Maria a couple years ago when Poison Study was just starting out. I'm happy to say that her books are doing very well. I just listened to the first one from audible.com and the narrator did a wonderful job.
"Flame throwing pigeons and demonic dumpsters. Funny and imaginative."
– Maria V. Snyder (award-winning author of Poison Study, Magic Study, and Fire Study)
I got a phone call today from Windstorm Creative. They checked over my marketing plan and are going to run with it, full-force. This is very exciting. My wife keeps reminding me that all my lofty plans might not come to fruition without the support of my publisher. Looks like that will not be a problem. In fact, they're doubling (well, 2.5'ing) the print run. My book will also be their first 6x9 trade paperback as well. They will be supporting my book in ways that they’ve never done with their previous books. That means a lot to me.
The price of the book raised some concerns, but I think they'll find that with a larger print run, the costs per book should go down. I read from at least two publishers' websites, DAW and BAEN, that they do 10,000 print runs because at that price point, the costs go down significantly per book. One other good point about this is that I will now be eligible to enter some of the contests and organizations out there (some of them like the Campbell Award require a 10,000 or more print run). The main reason, for the increase, of course, is to coincide with the huge marketing budget that Windstorm and I have. We expect a lot of sales.
Also, January 2008 is the tentative production date. So now I have extra motivation to make this happen. I have lots of stress, but it will all turn out okay. I have a sneaking feeling that I’ll be contacted for subsidy rights from all the ads I’m placing. I just placed my first one yesterday, which will help with school and library sales. And, hey, a nice coincidence is that Windstorm is hiring a sales agent who will deal with subsidy rights. They start January, the month my book comes out. The moons are aligning perfectly for my book.
I mentioned earlier that I sometimes have the golden touch. That apparent good fortune that I have isn’t really luck. Much of it comes from faith and prayer, but the rest comes from hard work and perseverance. I make things happen. I was the number one salesman one month for a nationwide MLM. Who in the world ever makes any significant money from an MLM? I was one of the “lucky” few. A significant part of my income when I went to BYU came from an online affiliate program called AllAdvantage (I probably was in the top 5% of people who made money from that). The first month I started my new business (a year ago) I made three times as much money than from my previous job (and it went up from there). I just have a knack for making things happen. I don’t know if my book will be a success, because there are so many variables, but everything seems to be falling into place for me. “Luck” is on my side.
I thought this was newsworthy. Even though my book is not out yet, I will be doing a reading and I will be participating in a few panels at the CopperCon 27 in Phoenix Arizona, September 7-9, 2007.
This will be my first reading and panel. I'm not usually scared in front of a crowd, so I assume I'll do fine. Plus I already know half the people there. Wish me luck!
Here's the schedule
Fri 4p-5p Suite E
THE HARRY POTTER PHENOMENON with Michael Wentz (moderator), Bennie Grezlik and Matthew Peterson
Why does it succeed on such a stupendous worldwide scale? How does it appeal to so many age groups? Will it outlast a generation?
Fri 830p-9p Room 1123
Matthew Peterson Reading from “Paraworld Zero”
Sat 10a-11a Ventanas Room
BUSINESS ETIQUETTE FOR WRITERS with Emma Bull (moderator), David Boop, and Matthew Peterson
If you're interested in writing for publication, you are engaging in a business activity. Panelists discuss some do's and don't's for dealing with editors and publishers, including suggestions of things you can do to help get noticed in a positive way and things to avoid that could hurt your career.
Sat 6p-7p Ventanas Room
REALISTIC ALIENS IN FICTION with Mark Lund (moderator), Lee Hogan, and Matthew Peterson
How do you create a realistic alien? Is that an oxymoron since we’ve never seen one? Why are they typically humanoid in film but anything goes in print?
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
I just watched an interview with J.K. Rowling and I was shocked to hear that she got the ideas for Harry Potter 17 years ago. Holy Cow! That's the same amount of years ago that I came up with the ideas for Parallel Worlds. There must have been something in the water at that time.
I'm constantly frustrated every time I read one of her books, because we seem to be on the same brainwave. I finished Paraworld Zero before the fourth or fifth Harry Potter books came out, although I started writing my book in 1990. And when I read the later Harry Potter books, I found a few similar ideas and characters that I had included in my book.
The other day I was filming a movie trailer for my book and I had the character snap his fingers and then turn his head away. One of my boys said that he was doing that because fire was coming out of his fingers. My boy hasn't read the book, so I asked him how he knew that. He said that he saw it on Fantastic Four. ARRRG! By the time my book gets published it will look like I'm copying ideas from other people!
At least I have video footage of me when I was 14, talking a little about my book. I have the original printed version of parts of the first 6 chapters from 1990, but that doesn't mean anything to most people. I'm sure it will be a battle I'll have to go through to prove myself. As it is, I've already had to change parts of my book after I read the Harry Potter books because they were just too close together.
On a side note: the first book I started writing (even before 1990) was called The Sorcerer's Wand and it was about a boy who discovers his parents (who had died) were magical. He sets off on a journey that would end up with him joining a magical school. No joke. I do have some of that printed out from the 1980s. The computer file died on me twice and I had to rewrite about 60 pages from memory. With so many frustrations, I stopped writing it and then a little later I started Parallel Worlds, which had a similar theme. What a crazy coincidence to Harry Potter! I've said this before that reading Harry Potter (or listening to it, as was the case) was what got me excited to finish my book, so thanks J.K. Rowling for giving me a kick in the behind.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Today my wife turned on the garbage disposal with her hand inside of it. You have to first understand that her fingers are very important because she plays the piano and does many other things with them. The miracle is that the garbage disposal made a sound but didn't spin. She quickly turned it off and practically had a heart attack when she realized what she had just done.
Like most garbage disposals, ours normally starts grinding away the second you flip the switch, so it was definitely a miracle that she didn't just grind up her fingers.
Well, after 6 years of waiting, we've finally decided to get a swimming pool, and we're finally extending our patio. We've had 7 pool companies come and give us their spill. It was pretty frustrating, since everyone had different opinions and many of the pool guys contradicted each other.
Finally, my wife and I went online and did some research to get the real answers from non-biased sources (i.e. from people who are not trying to sell us something).
We almost went with one company who was going to totally rip us off. They sounded good, but upon further investigation, it was all a crock. We found a dozen complaints against them last year as well. Thank heavens that we kept looking at pool companies.
So in the end, we're getting an 81 perimeter pool with an 8-foot slide. No diving board, but it will have a sheer decent (little waterfall) for the boys to jump off and crack their skulls. Should be fun.
When I was younger I used to jump off of our roof into the swimming pool. Now-a-days, everyone is so cautious about everything. Now that I'm a daddy, I am super protective. The slide we're getting has a special barrier around the ladder so the kids won't fall off when climbing.
So my wife and I spent the whole day clearing out our back yard. It was grueling work. I had to remove a fence and put it back up in a different location to keep our tortoises away from the pool area. We had to make a pathway, clear bricks, cut down trees and the worst part.... I spent hours digging in a place that I could have sworn I put a 4 inch pipe. I flooded the area and will try again. Basically, I put a 10 foot pipe under our concrete. The problem is that the concrete slab is 12 feet, which means, I had to dig 1 foot under each end of the concrete to find the pipe.... I never did find it. ARRRg. So tomorrow I'll try again.
I have seen and heard Jerry D. Simmons speak at several other conventions. He has a lot of good things to say but much of it doesn't apply to me, since I have a small publisher at this time. He tends to feel that knowledge is power... however, I'd rather he spend more time telling us how we can actually apply that knowledge.
I got a lot of good out of this seminar. It was pretty pricey for a 1-day seminar (i.e. $100) and they sent me an email telling me that they weren't going to provide me a lunch because I registered later than everyone else. Bummer. The library doesn't allow you to bring food in, so I sat there while everyone ate their boxed lunches.
The #1 good piece of advice I got was that I can make arrangements with bookstores like Changing Hands and Poisoned Pen for me to buy my own books from them at cost so I can sell them on my own. My publisher gives me a steep discount, but they do charge for shipping. I'm hoping that it would be the same price for me to just go through the independent book stores. Another good thing this would do is allow me to actually get credit for selling my own book. If I bought the books directly from my publisher, the sales wouldn't be recorded in the universal database that many bookstores share.
Here's some info about the speakers.
MONA GAMBETTA, Public Relations Director for the bestselling author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki and the architect for Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki's #1 bestselling book; Why We Want You to be Rich.
CINDY DACH is Marketing & Events Director at Publisher Weekly's 2007 Bookseller of the Year, Changing Hands in Tempe, Arizona. She is the creator of the national author tours including First Fiction, which partners independent bookstores, publishers, and bands together to create unique author events. Cindy is also involved with the Roosevelt Row Arts District and the development of arts as an integral part of the revitalization of downtown Phoenix.
NANCY McCURRY is a freelance editor and founder of ALL ABOUT BOOKS, a Phoenix-based editing bureau. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from the prestigious Goddard College and though she specializes in nonfiction and personal narrative, she is fully versed in fiction and nontraditional learning and teaching strategies. Nancy has multiple publishing credits as well as national awards in short story, short-short story, personal narrative and essay.
JERRY D. SIMMONS is the former Vice-President, Director of Field Sales for the Time Warner Book Group in New York, and has more than 25-years publsihing experience. The author of What Writers Need to Know About Publishing, Jerry is a nationally recognized speaker and the founder of this website, www.WritersReaders.com as well as the recently launched www.NothingBinding.com, an innovative new way for Independent Writers to market themselves and their books.
I only went to the Friday session of Leprecon 33. http://www.leprecon.org/lep33/
It wasn't my favorite convention, since it was more focused on art and music. I think I recognized just about every single person there from previous conventions. Wow! It was a very small convention.
As I attended the panels and got some glimpses of what was in the art show, I was reminded how different my tastes are than most of my colleagues. I have no interest in erotica.
I just got back from the Arizona Book Festival http://www.azbookfestival.org/
I heard about this convention from Amy Black, the Corporate Sales Coordinator for the Borders bookstore in Chandler, a year ago at the Nebula convention. I almost didn’t come but I’m very glad I did. I was able to see Amy again (a very sweet lady) and I was also able to meet Maureen Piano, another author from Windstorm Creative. It was a big surprise for both of us. This is exciting because now I have a fellow author that I can associate and promote my books with at future conventions. Also we can share the costs of a booth in the future. Perhaps Windstorm will pay the costs. So far, my convention excursions have been fairly lonesome. Still, I have learned a lot of valuable information, but I have evolved to the point that the new information I do learn is diminishing, since I’ve heard most of it before.
This convention was for families, unlike the previous ones I’ve gone to... and it was free! I will definitely go to it again next year. A couple people asked me to send a review copy to them. Now that my work is starting to become stable, I hope to devote most of my time writing and promoting my new book.
So we're happy the test came back positive.
He is doing well, except for the feedings. We have to feed him a lot from a tube in his nose and because he's becoming more active (he's 6 months old) he's starting to pull the tube out more and more. This morning it took us about 10 tries to put the tube back in and it was so sad because it hurts him every time. What happens is that he cries and coughs so hard that the tube comes out his mouth as we are putting it in.
He's a sweetheart. He's finally starting to smile and coo and play a little with toys. He'll need surgery on both eyes and a few more surgeries on his body by the end of the year. We're getting a band for his head to form his head properly (the insurance actually approved that, which is great because it was going to cost us $3000).
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Alicia had her baby!
8 lbs 1 ounce. 19 inches. His name is Jared William Peterson. He was born yesterday (Wed) at about 6:40 PM--4 weeks to the day of Alicia being in the hospital on bed rest. She was 34 weeks along.
This was supposed to be a release from the stresses we've been going through, but it looks like we now have a whole new bundle of issues to deal with. First off, Alicia separated her pelvis during the birth. Last time she broke her tailbone, but this pelvis injury seems to be a much worse issue than the tailbone. She's basically incapacitated and can't leave the hospital (Arrowhead hospital) until she can walk. She is in a lot of pain.
And now for the bad news . . . Jared was flown to another hospital (St Joseph's, which is about an hour away from us) because he has a heart condition (pulmonary valve is too narrow) and other issues. The doctors are running a bunch of tests but it could be Noonan's Syndrome. He seems to fit the profile (i.e. Pulmonary Valve Stenosis, undescended testicles, perhaps a pound or two of excess fluid in his tissues, extra skin around his neck, lower ears, etc.). The best news is that he's going to live and that the main issues are reversible through surgery. The one thing that worries me is that there's a 25% chance that he could be mentally retarded. If he is, then it probably won't be too severe. Many people with this condition live normal lives -- some don't even know they have it. IQs have been reported to be as high as 130. But if the Lord wants to give us a special spirit, then that is fine with us.
Last month I felt like Job from the bible . . . before all of the problems he went through. Today I feel like Job the day he went through the first onslaught of problems. I find out that my boy might have Noonan's Syndrome, will need multiple surgeries, will probably raise our future private insurance to be more than our house payment, and will be in a far-away hospital for "many many weeks." I find out that Alicia separated her pelvis and won't be coming home as expected (she's been in the hospital for over 4 weeks now)--and when she does come home, probably won't be able to drive to the hospital by herself to see her new son. I spent half the day at the doctor's office to find out why my 2-year-old won't stop throwing up (it's been a month now). I got a scare tonight that he might have poisoned himself with Alicia's iron supplements (I'll be up all night checking him to make sure he's still alive. Poison control has been calling me every few hours). Dean just had a night terror. Oh, and my twins stayed home today from school because of throw-up sickness. Our house hasn't burnt down yet, but there are still 2 more hours in the day. Whew! What a day!
But through all of this, we are still positive and happy. We feel peaceful that everything is in the Lord's hands. He has really guided us and prepared us for this event. My new business is booming (I got laid off 2 months ago, which has allowed me to stay home with the kids). We're going to have a baptism this Saturday (I'm the ward mission leader). I just found out that my books will be published earlier than expected. Good things are happening. Family and church members have been a huge blessing.
Jared had heart surgery 6 days after being born. We almost lost him after the surgery. He went without oxygen for a while, so I’m scared for him. He’s a sweetheart. After 5 months, he’s finally starting to smile (a little) and react to toys.
By the way, here's a website about Jared's condition, Noonan's Syndrome: http://www.specialchild.com/archives/dz-033.html
Alicia was crippled for a month and required someone to drive her to the hospital to see her baby every day (2 hours of driving!). She used a wheelchair for a while and then a walker.
A week or so after sending this email, my business tanked. I worked extremely hard to get it back up (which I did), but in Feb of 2007 I basically lost all of the money I had worked so hard to earn... literally in one fell swoop. My biggest affiliate accused me of something I didn’t do and said they wouldn’t pay me one red cent. I was flabbergasted. In one short email, my business was over.... or so it seemed.
Don't worry, the Lord has blessed us immensely and I'm now back in a similar business with less stress, more stability and more time on my hands. What's interesting about this is that at the beginning of November I was praying and felt an impression that if I didn't do a certain thing in my business, that it would fail by the end of the month. This was a surprise, since the business was going so well (I was making more money than I had ever made in my life).
One by one, my colleagues' businesses started dropping off like flies. Mine was the last to go. Sadly, my hands were tied. My wife was in the hospital, I had 4 small boys to take care of, and I had pressing issues with some other crises in the business that arose suddenly. I could see it happening before my eyes. I was warned in a prayer. I knew my business was going to go under unless I did something specific, but there was nothing I could do, other than drop all of my family and church responsibilities and focus on the thing the Lord told me I’d have to do to prevent my business from tanking. I wonder if it was a test, to see what I’d do. As a side note, my new "similar" business is doing better than expected and is adhering to that spiritual guidance I received in November. It’s almost like my previous venture was meant to be the catalyst to get my current business going.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with business. I just wanted to mention it because it really makes the “Job” story complete. Job had medical problems and lost all that he had, but later on he gained it all back with some to spare. I now feel like Job AFTER the trials.
One more thing . . . Many people asked me how I could still be cheerful after all of my trials. Two people told me they’d be throwing dishes and yelling. Several people told me with tears in their eyes that they respected me for the way I handled everything. I truly felt peace throughout this whole ordeal. I learned something from all of this that I will treasure my whole life. When your happiness is securely founded on the Lord, it doesn’t matter what happens to you. No one can take away that inner peace... that inner happiness that the gospel brings... not Satan ... not even God himself. There is only one person that has the power to remove the happiness and peace that I feel from the gospel and that person is me. I alone have the power to move myself away from God (by disobeying his commandments) and thus lose that peace and happiness that he freely offers. That is the lesson I have learned, and it gives me strength to endure to the end.