Do I Really Need a Reader Magnet?

Of course you do! So let’s talk about reader magnets today!

A reader magnet is a piece of writing – either a whole book or a short story – that you offer for free on a site such as BookFunnel or StoryOrigin or any other number of sites. In return for this free story, your audience hands over their email address in signing up for your newsletter.

I see a lot of people asking whether it’s worth it to give away something you worked on for free, and it might seem to go against everything you’ve been told (“Don’t give away your first book for free!”). But it’s a fantastic investment.

It’s best if you can write a reader magnet relating to your book that you’re putting up for sale. You can write a prequel, or write from the point of view of a character that isn’t the book’s main character. For my reader magnet, I did both – it’s the story of Sam (The Fallowing’s secondary character) before he meets Faye (the main character). I wrote this short story so that the reader can jump into it whether they’ve read book one or haven’t read any of my books yet at all. It explores the world I’ve created, and lets the reader view that world through a set of eyes that they won’t see through in the actual series, without giving anything away.

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Get Some Horror Freebies

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My prequel chapter to The Fallowing is just one of the horror freebies in the Critters and Jitters promo. Click above to check it out, as well as 50 other free books and stories.

“Perhaps I’m going mad. All the sleeplessness and fear of what’s coming have gotten to me and I’m seeing monsters everywhere, even right next to me in a tent.

My mission was hopeless to begin with.

Night approaches, and I haven’t slept at all. And I’m freezing, lying here in my travel clothes. I need to get inside and produce some heat. The thought fills me with terror… the idea of going into one of those buildings with all those ghosts inside.

I am going mad. There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

Read the rest of Distorted Darkness here!

Distorted Darkness – a Fallowing prequel

BookBrush_ReaderMagnetThe prequel to The Fallowing series is available now! I’ve been keeping this one under my hat, so I’m excited to finally share it with everyone.

“There’s a haze over New York City as I approach it, making it difficult to pick out buildings. But I know it will be in ruins. People have idealizations of D.C. bouncing back, but no one has idealizations of New York. It’s a wasteland, and no one wants anything to do with it. No one visits and no one thinks of moving there. The bombs hit it hard, the radiation hit it harder, and the survivors basked in the hell that was the shelters – surrounded by thin air, decaying bodies, and hunger. The last two complemented each other. When the surface was traversable again, every New Yorker unfortunate enough to still have to traverse it fled the city and never looked back.

There’s no fence around the city, no signs save the ones on the highway stating how many miles to go. No caution tape. But there is a desolation to mark its boundaries. Houses slowly grow abandoned as I trudge into the area and the number of cars increase, halted in the jam that was the exodus, draped in a thousand layers of snowfall. I check a few for gasoline, digging tunnels through the snow to the tanks, but they’re all sucked dry, either by the owners as they fled or scavengers later on, after the radiation settled and the snow showed no sign of stopping.

It doesn’t matter; I’m not here to scavenge.”

Read the rest for FREE by clicking here.

The Story of My Editing

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I’ve talked about getting a good book cover. Now I’m going to talk about editing.

Here’s a fact you aren’t going to want to hear: you need an editor. A good cover will make readers give your book a second glance, but you need to keep those readers once they crack open your book. It doesn’t matter how good a writer you are, how proficient your grammar is, or how many times you’ve reread your work. You’re going to miss things. You’re going to not know about some tiny grammatical issue. You’re going to have a sentence that makes perfect sense to you, but won’t to your audience. These are things I suspected before I hired an editor, but the edits I received cemented that fact. The thing is, you don’t know what’s gone wrong in your book before you have an editor comment on it.

First thing you need to determine is what type of editing you need. My stories are already highly fleshed out, finished, and complete. I’m concerned about word usage and repetition, so I looked for someone who could do copy editing on my books. Here’s an edit-rich section from my first book for an example:

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If you have concerns about your story itself more than the grammar, you might need a developmental editor. Once you figure out what you’re looking for in an editor, it’s time to find one!

I wanted one with experience in the horror genre, and you’ll want one experienced in your genre. I posted for recommendations in a horror writers group on Facebook, and contacted several with requests for an edit sample, usually a page or two that the editor goes over and returns to you with comments. These help you pick someone who clicks with you and really gets what you’re looking for. One editor I contacted that came highly recommended refused to do a sample. I didn’t go with them.

Now you have an editor! They’ll cost a lot of money! Be prepared! As I’ve said, you’ve chosen an expensive hobby-turned-career. You’ll have to throw money down before the dollars flow back in.

My finely edited series The Fallowing is going up for pre-order, and will be available starting March 12th. Check out the first in the set here!

Covers: Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

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Okay, I’ll admit it – I made a mistake on my covers. But I’m not so proud that I can’t admit it.

I thought it would be really cool to have the series listed as “The First, The Second,” and so on, rather than “Book One, Book Two,” and so on. It seemed to fit the series and it would make it stand out, right?

Wrong. Continue reading

Beta Readers Wanted!

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I have a huge backlog of books and stories that I can’t publish yet, and I’ve set up a beta readers group with free stuff to read. All I ask in return is some words on whether they suck or not.

Join Sawicki’s Beta Readers on Facebook for free books and stories before anyone else gets to see them. There’ll be horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and the occasional twisted romance. It’s just started, but I hope to have giveaways and other fun stuff eventually as well. I just need to share what I’m working on!