Sometimes, the best closure is worth waiting for

Anything you regret doing or not doing in your life?

I’ve got two. Here’s one of them:

In 1992, I attended an out-of-state funeral. Until then, I rarely knew the deceased. My cousin Lizzie died; the one with a mustache who always wanted to kiss me on the lips. That’s not the regret, though I REALLY regret it.

That Sunday, Mom and I dropped off my grandmother (her mother) in New Jersey and we went home. Gram (as I called her) had been coughing a lot the whole trip through Monday. My mom asked my uncle to take Gram to the hospital. He said she was “fine,” and he’d take her to the doctor Tuesday morning.

Still concerned, my mom decided to drive to New Jersey and asked if I wanted to go.

I said “no,” and continued playing my football video game. Monday was the last time I saw Gram alive.

When I was writing The Anarchists, I dug into how I felt about that – just like Damario, Harper, Quinne, and Teanna eventually had to do. For about two years, I was depressed more than a 16-year-old should be. I drank alcohol from my mom’s cabinet and did not want to live anymore. Unlike the first funeral I experienced at 6, or the half dozen or so afterward, this one hurt me to my soul. If I was a character in my book and got the opportunity to “begin again” in 1992, I’d get in that Toyota hatchback with my mom and go to the hospital without hesitation.

If I did, my last memories of Gram might be different. Maybe I needed not to go to get to this kind of closure:

One day, ten years later, I was driving to class in North Philly. The skies opened and shined sunlight through my windshield. Not to sound spooky, but I heard God tell me that Gram was in my life to help raise me, and when she finished, He took her. It was a peace I still carry, don’t understand, can’t fully describe, and wish I could pass on to you.

What’s my other regret? You know what: it doesn’t matter so much anymore. Relax, it’s not like I was going to tell you anyway 🙂



Let love in or shut it out? You decide.

How do you move beyond the pain to start a fresh relationship?

I’m knee-deep in Isoke: a character I’ve known for about a year. Isoke’s background is littered with issues. Her mother, Hawa, left the family to pursue a calling greater than the responsibility of a family. When Hawa was present, she berated Isoke, who had an incurable blood disease. Constant sickness isolated her from everyone, including her husband and adopted children.

Through a miracle, Isoke conceives a son, whom she has to give up to destiny. Alone once more, she combats feelings of resentment and the urge to strike out. Now, the opportunity for love arises, and she has no idea how to accept it or whether or not she should even try.

What do you think she should do?

Brian Thompson’s passion is motivating and encouraging others to write and to pursue Do-It-Yourself publishing. He is also the author of acclaimed Christian fiction thrillers The Lost Testament, The Revelation Gate and the upcoming 2012 release, The Anarchists. 

Virtual Blog Tours: Who Should You Go With?

I searched the keywords “book blog tour” a few days ago and came up with Tywebbin Book Tours, Book Blog Tour Guide (who then referred me to Premier Virtual Author Book Tours) — Diane Saarinen, who runs BBTG, was booked up and does not do Christian fiction — Lit Fuse Publicity Group, Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, and Book Promotion Services.

I approached each as an author seeking information about a book blog tour, which I am: I have a 2012 release I’d like to schedule. . .just not right this second. I stuck to the first page of my search results because, let’s face facts: most people don’t go beyond the first page anyway. I used Tywebbin for my latest release, so to be as unbiased as possible, I put them last.

Here are my results in no particular order:

  • Litfuse Publicity Group: “not accepting any new, self-published clients.” ARGH. No offense if you’ve gone through a vanity press. To a degree, I can understand how an indie author can be considered “self-published” if your press is a sole prop, like mine. But seriously, it’s not the same thing. I digress. If you’re an indie author, you’re as good as self published to them, so. . .
  • Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. Cost: $500. What you get: a three-day slot, “respect and undivided attention” (???), they distribute your contact info for possible interviews (plus an interview on their blogtalk radio station), link to the first chapter, banner ad space.

I didn’t get a response to my questions. However, upon closer inspection of the blogger review list, I found a few tidbits.  Reviewers need to have an “established blog with active readership.” It doesn’t say anything about the size of readership, though that can be misleading. Also, the reviewers don’t have to read every book, and they don’t have to discuss it if they don’t want to.

Remember, you’ve gotta count the cost of mailing the book to people who may not read it or review it. Let’s say you’re really eager and do 20 paperback books at $8 a pop. That’s $160 + the $500 you’ve paid CFBA = $660, or $33 per blogger. That’s a decent amount of money for mixed results.

*What I would do: see if you can get your CFBA bloggers to commit to do reviews in writing, or do an online search for respected book clubs that will review your book for free. Some of them, like Only One keyStroke Away Book Club, will even accept electronic copies. Your review dates will be scattered, but you’ll have them. 

  • Premier Virtual Author Book Tours: Doesn’t handle Christian Lit, and doesn’t know who does.
  • Book Promotion Services: Cost: $697 (lowest cost option). What you get: a 4-week, 15-20 blog tour; Leigh’s “Insiders’ Guide to Virtual Blog Tours” (HINT: You can download it without the tour :); blog visit promotion on social media; a dedicated tour page at the BPS website, a press release, and archived links.
I spoke to Nikki Leigh, who’s very helpful. She even read up about the book blog tour that I just finished! She claims that she “reaches out to a wide range of bloggers” specific to the individual title. Leigh also said that she asks the blogger to commit (review, radio interview, written interview with a character from the book — extremely cool– – guest post, etc.). Very personable. 

*What I would do: Count the cost. 20 stops over 4 weeks is five stops per week. 20 books = $160 + $697 = $857. I would probably do a mix of radio interviews and reviews, and ask Nikki that she only book people who commit to either. THEN, it would be worth it IMO. 

  • Tywebbin Book Tours:  Won’t be doing any more tours until 2012.  Cost: $250. What you get: a flexible tour that can be stretched over as little as a week or a month or more for up to 25 books. Bloggers do some a HTML post of your book’s general info, Q&A’s and/or interviews, and radio and Skype interviews.
I used Ty Moody’s firm for my book blog tour for The Revelation Gate. She books in three different tiers. Out of the ones I’ve seen that would cater to Christian fiction, hers is comparable to that of Book Promotion Services.

*What I would do: If I’m not in a rush, I wait for Tywebbin. For 20 books, $410 is the lowest price option of all the blog tours, but the service doesn’t drop off at all. If I need it this year, and I’ve got the cash, I go BPS. Hope this helps!

Brian Thompson’s passion is motivating and encouraging others to write and to pursue Do-It-Yourself publishing. He is also author of the Christian fiction thrillers The Lost Testament, and The Revelation Gate. You can read more about Brian by visiting his author site.

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