Welcome to the A.P. Fuchs 2019 Holiday Gift Guide.
Holiday Season is now in full swing so here’s a list of things that would make great gifts to the A.P. Fuchs fan in your life or anyone who has a thing for superheroes and monsters. While everything I have to offer is available in the Book and Comic Shop (with links to a retailer of your choice), the list below showcases the more unique items from my catalog. All my titles except the second one are available in paperback and eBook.
1. A copy of my latest release, Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm, written by me but with the story by Auroraman creator Jeff Burton and I. Opposite heroes. Cold weather. Snow monsters. You know? The good stuff. Copies are available here.
2. The Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm lettered edition. This is different from the paperback above. The lettered edition is a hardcover edition of Frozen Storm limited to just 26 copies and comes with a special piece of art within the opening pages and the book is signed by Jeff Burton and myself. These are nearly sold out and only 26 copies were produced and will ever be produced. They run $50CAD each with $20CAD for shipping. (We can do a currency conversion to US funds if this item is going to the States.) Please inquire by email.
3. Axiom-man: Tenth Anniversary Special Edition. This book is a celebration of ten years of Axiom-man and includes a revision of the original book, a short story, an essay, and introduction. No collection of The Axiom-man Saga is complete without this special version of the first book. (The short story within is also considered canon.) Copies are available here.
4. Look, Up on the Screen! The Big Book of Superhero Movie Reviews. This title is perfect for the superhero film buff in your life. So far as I’m aware, this is the only film review book out there exclusively dedicated to superhero movies. 100 films are covered. Copies are available here.
5. Book-of-the-Month Club Patreon subscription. On my Patreon page, patrons can elect this tier to join A.P. Fuchs’s Book-of-the-Month Club, in which each month I sign and mail out a book or comic from my catalog. This tier is $30 and includes shipping. It also grants you access to the other tiers, which feature things like an ongoing serial novel, essays on the creative life, behind-the-scenes stuff, and an official membership card. Subscribing someone to the Book-of-the-Month Club ensures they get a signed book from me every month as a surprise in their mailbox. Other tiers for subscription consideration begin at just $1 a month. Please go here to subscribe that special reader in your life.
6. The Undead World Trilogy (Blood of the Dead, Possession of the Dead, Redemption of the Dead). A zombie series unlike any other. The goal with this trilogy was to take what people love about zombie stories to a whole new level and deliver unique twists and turns that you can’t get anywhere else. I don’t want to give anything away, but this series features elements I’ve yet to see in other zombie fiction. But if your reader loves fast-paced, high-stakes stories, then this trilogy delivers both. Copies are available here.
7. Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead. What would happen if you took Bloodsport and The Walking Dead and mixed them together? Zombie Fight Night is what you’d get! This book was an attempt to put everything that’s cool between two covers. A main storyline about a gambler who gets in way over his head anchors the whole thing while the reader is treated to action-packed fights with zombies, werewolves, ninjas, superheroes, robots, kickboxers, sumos, and more! Copies are available here.
8. Metahumans vs the Undead and Metahuman vs Werewolves. Does your Holiday someone like superheroes and monsters? What if you could put the two together? Don’t fear! I’ve already done that for you by editing these two anthologies (which both feature a superhero vs monster tale written by me and starring my superhero, Axiom-man). The stories are about what the titles imply and each book is loaded with creative takes on superheroes vs monsters. And if you’re an Axiom-man collector, these definitely need to be added to your library because the Axiom-man stories within are considered canon here at the Central. Copies are available here.
Thank you for tuning in to the A.P. Fuchs 2019 Holiday Gift Guide this Christmas and I hope that special reader in your life enjoys one or more of the things above. Again, please be sure to browse the Book and Comic Shop for what’s not covered here. I am able to make arrangements with you if you want to order direct in the interest of getting a signature and a personal message (no extra charge for this). Please email or PM to get in touch.
After a hiatus, I am now back in full freelance mode. Book cover design services are my new offering. I have designed 160+ professional quality book covers since I began in this business all those years ago. My rates are affordable and a cover can be designed for your hardcover, paperback, and eBook.
For more information on rates, how the average procedure goes, and samples, please see the My Services tab on this site.
Self-publishing has been around for a long, long time. In fact, that’s how writers used to publish their work before the whole big trade system came along. Self-publishing has also always—always—been a viable way to make a living as a writer, but the problem was most writers who tried it didn’t execute it properly and ended up losing a ton of money, were taken advantage of by dishonest companies, or simply sat on a pile of books because they didn’t know how to move them.
Or was that just me?
Nowadays, self-publishing is easier than ever before, but like those days long ago, many writers don’t know what to do or where to start, or if they do find information on-line, it’s not always complete. As a ten-year self-publishing veteran and one who has been doing it full time since the spring of 2009 before the indie revolution, there are several truths about long-term self-publishing that I’ve discovered over the years and want to share here.
My Top Ten List of Truths for Self-publishers in no particular order:
1. Self-publishing is completely feasible to make a living at with the proper knowledge.
When I started, I had no idea about the book business, how it worked, who to talk to or what to do other than knew I needed a publisher. After a string of rejection letters, I ended up putting out my first book through a subsidy press. They call themselves “self-publishing houses,” but they’re not. The moment any “publisher” charges a service for a fee, they fall into the category of a subsidy press with you, the writer, subsidizing them. With that press, it cost me around $2500 and all I had to show for it was a badly-written book—with a good story, but terrible writing—and no audience. Despite spamming the news lists in those days—didn’t know any better—nothing really came out of it. Had I done my research into what real self-publishing was, I would’ve found out that it’s not paying someone else to publish your book, but rather covering all the costs yourself, learning how to produce a professional product, and doing all the tasks of a publisher for your own work.
What I should’ve done was:
– spent several evenings combing the Internet researching self-publishing
– read books about self-publishing and learned the requirements
– discovered what legalities might be involved
– learned software
– researched success stories to learn from those who made a go of it and did well, then applied those lessons to my own career
But I didn’t take the time to learn the ropes and paid a high price for it, not just financially, but mentally and emotionally as well.
There’s a cost to self-publishing, but the good news is this cost becomes less and less the more one learns about it. Though I am a firm believer in hands-on learning, even going through trials for some lessons, research and taking one’s time before jumping into the pool is always strongly encouraged.
I wish someone would’ve told me to do the same way back then, so I’m here to tell you—if no one else is—to research, research, research. You’ll save yourself a boatload of headaches and heartaches later if you do.
It’s important to:
– be ready to listen to others who’ve “been there and done that”
– be willing to hear the stuff you want to hear and the stuff you don’t want to hear
– in short, be willing to learn regardless of the lesson. No one is a master right out of the gate, and even those who seem to have perfected a system of publishing are always learning themselves.
2. You need to work hard.
Aside from catching a break and getting caught in Amazon’s “customers who bought this book also bought this other one” loop, or finding yourself a regular on the bestseller lists thus maintaining your visibility, self-publishing is hard work.
Not only do you need to put in the hours to write the actual book, you need to:
– put in the time to perfect the book during the rewrite stages
– the willingness to listen to and work with an editor
– put in the time formatting the book for paperback, eBook and possibly hardcover
– later, to stand out amongst the hundreds of thousands of books published each year, make a solid effort marketing your title so people know about it while you also write and produce the next book
For many writers, if this isn’t their fulltime gig, they find it difficult to maintain a day job, family and put in the time for their writing career. Many quit along the way because the workload-without-always-an-immediate-payoff gets to them and they get discouraged. Understandable, for sure, but sad when they walk away.
You see, the challenges aren’t always a book not selling well.
Sometimes these challenges are:
– the people in our lives, those telling us to get a real job or “it’s fine to dream but make sure you have something stable”
– those who just don’t get why we spend hours upon hours writing stories [hopefully] first for our own amusement and then for the amusement of others.
Their words cut. Their words hurt. Their words sometimes put a stop to things before they even begin.
Their words—even actions—become the challenge and sometimes make the inherent challenges of writing and publishing easy by comparison.
Going into self-publishing knowing you’ll have to make a sincere effort will help make that effort easier. I know many who jump into self-publishing thinking it’ll be a breeze only to quickly get discouraged and overwhelmed when the workload kicks in. Prepping your mental state ahead of time will help see you through those 3 AM rewrite sessions when the coffee brewer runs out.
The good news is as your career grows, this becomes easier because practice makes anything simpler and less time-consuming (our first go-round is always the longest). At the same time, working hard at the writing and production of a book(s) is usually lifelong for any self-publisher and until one’s name can sell books all by themselves, the marketing work needs to be there, too.
3. Diversify, diversify, diversify.
I’ve been self-publishing for ten years and I’ve seen trends come and go, markets come and go, and formats come and go. For the longest time, hardcopy books were all that were available so that’s what people bought. Later, as the Internet grew, non-fiction PDF eBooks were a big deal and folks were making a mint off them while paperbacks were a steady seller. Then—at least in the small press—things were paperback-focused again barring a few markets, but now eReaders have come along and eBooks have taken over. Truth is, this stuff is cyclical and things will either balance out and paperbacks will gain ground again, or might even become the norm once more. We really don’t know, and that’s the truth. This business changes like crazy and has been changing more rapidly since Joe Author has been able to keep up with the big boys with greater and greater ease. What happens next, only time will tell.
And as a self-publisher, you need to be ready for it.
In the realm of independent publishing, the self-publisher needs to diversify their distribution and take advantage of all the outlets and not just focus on one or two. I know those who put all their eggs into the Kindle basket and now their sales have dried up because the market’s flooded. They didn’t diversify and are paying for it. On the other hand, those I know who have their books available via more than a couple channels are just fine because they can afford it when one channel lags behind for one reason or another. It’s like your book(s) is riding a series of rollercoasters simultaneously: some go up while others go down, but at the end of the day, you’re still moving books because readers buy their books from more than one source in more than one format. The more sources and formats you’re in, the more consistent your paycheck will be at the end of the month thus making it easier for you to put in the time to keep the self-publishing machine going.
Case in point, I do the e-market, sure, but also do comic conventions where I net $8-10 a book and sell a lot of books. I can’t hand readers eBooks, but I can hand them paperbacks, and since I use an affordable printer, my per-unit cost is very low and thus make out well come time for direct sales. And I print on demand, too, by the way.
I also had a couple eBook channels go out of business on me, but that was okay because my eBooks were available elsewhere and not just at those two places so the hit wasn’t all that bad.
Bottom line: your paperback venues, eBook venues and even hardcover ones, if you go that route, need to be available in as many places as possible so that when the market fluctuates for good or ill, you’ll still be able to pull through. I’m not suggesting to stretch yourself too thin either and sign up with every distributor on the planet. If you’re a one-person-band, your time and attention only go so far so keep things reasonable, of course, but certainly keep them varied.
4. Write a good book.
The biggest book marketer of all time is word-of-mouth. That’s why when a certain book or series gets popular, it suddenly sees a giant spike in sales: everyone’s talking about it. Sometimes a book is popular because it’s popular since people generally ride bandwagons for their entertainment, but other times it’s because a book is genuinely good that word spreads. Writing a good book helps increase the chances of that and helps encourage those who’ve read it to tell others.
It also serves as a resume of sorts for your other titles.
– if a reader likes Title A, he/she is more apt to try Title B because Title A was written so well
– if you turn them off the first time because of bad writing, then you’re only shooting your backlist in the foot
There is so much to choose from in this competitive market that the reader will move onto someone else in the hopes of a better written book. And let’s be honest, writers—or any artist—are a dime a dozen. You need to do well to rise above the crowd.
Simply put: write a good book, and if you’re thinking of self-publishing your first book, make sure it’s objectively good and isn’t just good because you and your mom think so.
– see what other seasoned writers think
– see what a beta reader group thinks
Most people’s first novels aren’t that great as the writer is still learning their craft. I know mine was a stinker. Great story, but terrible writing.
Best to put a strong foot forward and take your time learning your craft before getting all excited and jumping into the self-publishing pool. That’s one of the reasons the market is so painfully flooded right now. Everyone’s publishing everything. The idea of publishing whatever and finding your audience doesn’t hold any water and the current climate proves that. Publish “whatever,” sure, but make sure it’s a good whatever, you know? If you’re serious about this business, you’ll want to be in it for the long haul and being known as the writer who consistently writes good books—regardless of sales volume—can only help you in the long run.
This business is a marathon, not a sprint.
5. You need to be attractive on the inside and on the outside.
And, no, I’m not talking about your looks.
An exciting and attractive book cover will make your book stand out amongst the rest. Don’t know how to make an attractive book cover? Either learn how or hire someone who does.
There are certain elements that need to be in play in order to hook the reader’s attention, everything from:
– color choice to graphics
– eye flow
– font size
– other items
If you don’t understand these items and how they apply to your genre(s), you need to learn how. This is why you see so many books out on Kindle and elsewhere that have terrible covers. The author cheaped out and didn’t put as much effort into the cover as they did into writing the book. A book’s cover is part of the creative process of a novel. It’s its “clothes,” so to speak. You can have the greatest book in the world, but if the cover stinks, then odds are you and possibly a few others will be the only ones who’ll read it.
Assuming your cover has interested the reader, they’ll pick your book off the shelf or “search inside” it via an on-line retailer, so having an equally nice interior is also important. It’s about creating the whole package for them and a properly formatted interior makes a better reading experience for the reader and, later, will make them more likely to check out your other books because they had such a pleasant experience with that first one. It also demonstrates you take your fiction/non-fiction seriously since evident care was put into the book’s presentation. People pick up on it whether consciously or otherwise.
There are those on the planet who enjoy making things. I mean, really making things, going from mere idea to its actual physical reality. There’s a sense of pride in seeing something through start to finish, crafting something with your own hands, making something that wasn’t there before.
Our world wouldn’t be where it is if not for those who saw it fit to make their ideas a reality, for others to see, feel and experience those ideas and, hopefully, make the world a better place as a result. Sometimes we’ve succeeded at that, others times not. Regardless, bringing something into existence that wasn’t there before is incredible.
That’s what self-publishing is: an incredible way for writers to bring their ideas into physical reality for a reader. And while before it was a joint effort between a publisher and writer to do that, taking the path of self-publishing enables the writer to be the sole creator of a book.
The reasons people take the self-publishing route vary from individual to individual, but there has to be a few positive reasons behind doing it for it to be a viable option and worth the writer’s time, effort, and money.
Self-publishing puts the success or failure of a book on the writer’s shoulders. By them being the publisher, it rests on them if the book succeeds or not, and by walking the book from conception to finished manuscript to formatted and printed paperback/hardcover and eBook, they can oversee each step in the process to stack the odds in their favor for a successful outcome.
Why should anyone self-publish? I mean, it is an awful lot of work. Some, like me, would argue that the writing of the book is the easy part, but turning that manuscript into a published book is where the challenge is.
It’s not for everybody and is certainly not for those seeking a get-rich-quick scheme, but it is for those who are entrepreneurial by nature, are very hands-on, enjoy a great deal of control, and even are lone wolves at heart. Writing itself is a lonely job, sitting there for hours on end typing on a computer or writing a book on a legal pad. Throw taking that manuscript and turning it into a published book into the mix and you’ve just added even more hours spent by yourself.
For me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my alone time and prefer to spend the majority of my time that way if it can be helped. Ever since I was a kid I enjoyed time by myself, with time spent with others more of a chore than a joy. Nothing against anybody; just how I’m wired. But if this is you, too, then you’ve already got the makings of a writer and a self-publisher.
To see a book through from start to finish, there’s an immense amount of control. Unlike the traditional publishing model where things like the cover or even the book’s title are under the domain of the marketing department, everything is up to the writer if they self-publish. The beauty of this is you can not only call the book what you want instead of giving your baby another name, but also decide on its presentation.
When writing the book you no doubt had the story’s different scenes playing through your head. I’m sure there was at least one moment or two where you thought, Man, if only this scene was on the cover. Well, self-publishing gives you that chance. You can be very specific with the artwork and hire someone to bring to life that image you saw in your mind’s eye. Likewise, the book’s interior can be presented the way you want. Do you want spot illustrations in it? Hey, hire and artist and put them in. A traditional publisher might not go for that if you asked because it’s an added expense for them and an additional hassle in terms of coordinating with the artist for those images. Same with even font style, or simply labeling your chapters as “Chapter One” or “Chapter 1” or “1.” However you want it is how it’ll be which, to me, brings an added level of artistry to the book. Not only did you write the story, but you also designed the canvas for it to be presented on. Self-publishing is the only way to have this kind of control.
Same with picking the price point. Traditional publishers have a bottom line they’re trying to feed and, depending, that bottom line might not even be dictated by the company owner but by others with their fingers in the pie. After all—and as I’m sure you’ve experienced if you’ve ever worked for a big company—the almighty shareholder comes first and who cares about practicality, right? By being in control of the pricing, you get to decide how much you make as the author/publisher and have the ability to experiment with different price points to see which one yields you the most earnings.