I am currently reading…

I am currently reading (and enjoying) Ben Aaronovitch’s novel Rivers of London. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for urban fantasies, where the monsters walk among us!

Rivers of London is good stuff, with lots of supernatural fun and, of course, London. What a super setting. The tone is not quite as zany as Christopher Moore’s Dirty Job (set in San Francisco), but it is amusing in its own right. I love these books that explore famous cities well enough that the city essentially becomes a character in the story. They are eerily like my upcoming novel (summer ’22), which is an urban fantasy that explores the mysterious dark-n-rainy city of Seattle–the U.S. title is MONSTER LAWYER (because, yeah, I’m also a lawyer), and the German title is to be determined. Stay tuned, because I intend to take you on a monster-guided tour through the dark places in Seattle.

But back to Rivers of London. Great book. Check it out if you like urban fantasy.

Click “Home” above to go to Ben Aaronovitch’s page!

My best,

Royce

Authors: Want Sales Traction? Get Out Your Wallet.

Guest Blog by: Cara Landi Buckingham

Authors everywhere please take note. If you want to make writing a career, you might need to pay for it, and not just in blood, sweat and tears. My friends, you are going to need to set aside some cold hard cash to support your book sales, because while it is an honor to be published, it’s even better to be read.

My amazing author-husband (or husband-author), Royce, and I have come to this conclusion after 12 years of watching his books win awards, become bestsellers, get movie deals…or not. We also recently read an informative article about Author James Patterson’s brand-building method.

Writing books is a business, and part of running a business includes effective marketing and promotional efforts–hopefully with backing from the publisher. Reality check: the vast majority of the time (unless written by a celebrity or an author who is already a top seller) publishers don’t put a lot of money or effort into book promos. Support depends on the publisher. It might include a minimal amount of PR and, if you’re lucky, some point-of-sale items for book stores to use. If your book is lucky enough to be a lead title of a new imprint, you will definitely get more support.

I can say this with confidence, because some of Royce’s work has received fantastic support and–surprise, surprise–hit best seller lists, while others were released with little fanfare, resulting in fewer sales. Because of this reality, in one case we hired a PR firm to do a print/radio media and blog campaign to support his book, The Dead Boys. It was effective. Stay tuned for a blog entry with the clearly positive results of that self-funded campaign.

There are all sorts of articles advising authors on marketing strategies and tactics, with a range of costs associated with them. Understandably, in most cases authors take a DIY approach and opt for low to no-cost options. Here are some of the most popular suggestions:

  • Get reviews
  • Do a book store reading/signing
  • Send press releases to local media
  • Create a website
  • Send newsletters
  • Get on social media – you must devote all your waking hours Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, etc. etc….
  • Do school visits
  • Attend writing conferences
  • Present at writing conferences

These are all great, but the ROI on them individually is small. And collectively…don’t get me started. They take a TON of time to do and do well. How are you supposed to get any writing done? Let alone raise kids, have a day job, golf, garden, shower, etc. Additionally, some of them require networking and connections to which authors just don’t have access. Let’s face it, you are an author because you want to tell stories, not take random pot-shots at promotional efforts that might or might not move the needle on sales. And sales is what anyone in the industry cares about when you start pitching your second, third, and fourth books for a deal…if you get to book two.

So here is what Royce and I wish we had done years ago and have committed to as we move forward. We are creating a marketing fund with advances and royalties to consistently build audience and sales. This is essentially a dividend reinvestment model. Our efforts will be targeted and involve partnerships with industry professionals to create effective and coordinated campaigns that get his stories the exposure they need to sell.

Have you had a marketing revelation for your books? We’d love to hear them. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next blog exploring the possibilities of partering with your publisher.

 

Contribute to the Die Klinge des Waldes Wiki Site

“Royce Buckingham creates new worlds in his books as I would have imagined as a child. With attention to detail, very exciting and entertaining – I’ve rarely been able to put it out of my hands.” — Karateka, Reviewer

German fantasy fans love the world building in my newest epic fantasy novel, Die Klinge des Waldes (The Blade of the Forest). Now there is way for English readers to join in exploring it too–the Die Klinge des Waldes fandom wiki site, built by the fans themselves.

Here’s the coolest thing I found out about about the Die Klinge des Waldes wiki site. Anyone can contribute. For German readers, write in your favorite quote, storyline, district–you name it! For English readers, check it out, add your thoughts and questions and tell my agent John Rudolph why you would love to have the novel available in the United States. 

The wiki site includes facts about all of the major or minor districts in the far off City of Filth, including primary character bios and quotes, as well as an entire page dedicated to all of the story’s characters. I loved creating this world and am gratified to see that readers love learning about it. Their comments (translated from German) speak for themselves:

“Each district is like a small kingdom with its own laws, customs, festivities, and methods of execution (Royce Buckingham is extremely creative, which is amazingly intriguing in a macabre way). In the course of the plot, you get to know quite a few districts such as the carpentry or the carnival district, but also over the other districts information is scattered over and over again, which I personally found incredibly exciting. This city looks like a mini-universe to itself…”  Miss Page Turner

“With “The Blade of the Forest,” Royce Buckingham reveals a fantasy novel set in a very different world from his trilogy for “The King’s Will” and his followers. And that’s exactly where the great power of the novel lies, you can completely explore the strange world and explore numerous different cultures, locations and connections.”  Poldis Hörspielseite

“World-building really succeeded in this novel. The map on the first page already gives an interesting insight about the individual lands. Among other things, there is the forest kingdom of Strata at the beginning, which impresses by the fact that the rich live in towers, which were built around trees and the simple people, who lives on the ground, are called Grundlinge (Grounders).”  Steffi R, Reviewer

“Let’s get to the world Buckingham created: it’s fascinating. Partly an ancient variant of our world and yet somehow different. On the other hand fantastic and yet not so fantastic that it could not have been that way.”  Daisy D

I’m excited and flattered that fans have created this site, and I’m eager to share it with you! Visit at: Die Klinge des Waldes Wiki.

Alert! Die Klinge des Waldes Author Reading

I recently read from my novel Die Klinge des Waldes at a medieval masquerade party. It was so much fun to play the part of my character, Duke Carni, otherwise known as the Mad Fool and leader of the Carnival District (my favorite district of 35 in the City of Filth).

Click the image and enjoy!

Die Klinge des Waldes Book Trailer

We had some fun with friends and family making this book trailer. Enjoy.

Coming soon – a video of my book reading from Die Klinge des Waldes featuring one of the dukes from the novel! 

Yours,

Royce Buckingham

Click image to start video

Royce Writes: The Skype Visit

Technology is a beautiful thing. In June, I used it to virtually visit students 3,000 miles away from the comfort (and safety) of my living room.

Thank you so much!  The students LOVED Skyping with you!  I’m looking forward to the next discussion…” – Kimberly Bramfeld, Librarian Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence

Skype visits have been a great option for me – a busy writer, lawyer and dad – to connect with fans without a lot of travel. And schools love it, because I offer them for free. The only payment I require is for students and their teachers to prepare by reading part or all of the book and creating a list of questions to ask ahead of time. 

Find out more HERE.

Royce Writes: The School Visit

I am looking forward to an upcoming school visit with students at Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School in Albany, NY next month, but I won’t be traveling there to do it.

Their wonderful librarian, Kimberly Bramfeld, noticed I offer free Skype sessions. Skype is a brilliant and convenient way for me to connect with readers and for schools to give students the experience of meeting a real, live author. Well, virtually live.

I’ve had years of public speaking experience and adapt my presentations to fit any audience – whether in-person, on Skype, or at professional conferences.

To make it the best experience possible, I strongly advise teachers/librarians to prepare their students by having them read, or listen to, the book that is the subject of the visit. In this case, it’s The Dead Boys .

Interested in scheduling an appearance? Please email me via my website’s Contact tab. 

Where would you live in the City of Filth?

My new novel, Die Klinge des Waldes, Blanvalet-Germany, is set in the City of Filth which has 35 districts with very distinct personalities. Take the personality quiz to find out which district is yours!

Click on the image below to get started.

City of Filth
© Andreas Hancock, Bielefeld

The Mapper Series on Paper

Formatting books for print is not for the faint of heart when the author focus is writing stories. It took a few months and some hair pulling. Today we celebrate with all six books in the Mapper Series available for U.S. readers in both print and Ebooks! For some back story, the series did phenomenally well in Germany when Book I: Die Karte Der Welt, hit the bestseller list. Book Two: Der Wille Des Konigs was a prequel to the first and then Book Three: Die Rubinrote Konigin followed. Learn more about the series here.

For the U.S., we decided to re-order the books  and break them down from three 700-pagers to six smaller books. We are incredibly pleased with the results. Self-publishing does have its perks.

 

 

Spark Your Writing Career with Competitions

By Royce Buckingham

My 16 year old son just earned 1st Place for his composition in the Washington State Young Composer’s Project. While I understand that this news is most exciting to my immediate family, it reminds me of how important contests were in building my writing resume and ultimately leading to my first deal.

I started by submitting short stories to contests, wrote and submitted my first novel (which is still in my desk drawer, by the way), and then moved on to screenplays. First, I chose regional contests and then expanded to national opportunities. With each new honorable mention, second place, and outright win, I gained the confidence and inspiration to continue developing my craft.

Eventually, my entry into the Academy Nicholl Fellowships earned a semifinal finish, which led to my first book sale and a movie deal with 20th Century Fox.

Here are the things I looked for when choosing which contests to enter:

Price: Most budding authors don’t have a ton of money to throw around. Make sure the cost is in line with the size and reputation of the contest.

Is the contest reputable? Find out how long its been around. Check out past winners. Research what others have said about it. Review the list of  judges.

Exposure: Make sure success in the contest will get people to take you seriously at the next level. Also, what type(s) of promotion does the contest offer, and is there a solid web and social media presence?

Feedback: You need to hear what others think about your work. Contests that include critiques by judges are extremely valuable to improve your storytelling and evaluate whether to continue developing and marketing the story you submitted or chalk it up to experience and move on to new material.

 

 

 

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