Americana takes home an award from The New England Book Show! 

  
by Rob Watts

Last night I attended the 60th annual New England Book Show at Boston’s Symphony Hall and I’m thrilled to share that my 2016 release, Americana, took home an award. At the time of its release, Americana was produced in a limited run of 50 units. The packaging and design was rare and unique; the book’s cover contained music performed by me, and could be played on a turntable. These books sold out rather quickly and I soon moved on to my next project. More than a year after its release, I’m truly grateful for the recognition it has received via the voting panel of judges, as well as fans and readers of the book. 

“A real novelty that extraordinarily combines a book and playable vinyl record, making it both eye-catching, and ear-catching.” Judges Comments

It was truly an honor to be in the company of such incredibly talented individuals in the publishing industry. I got to see first-hand some remarkable graphic design work. In addition to catching up with some friends in the field, I had the pleasure of meeting some new people whom I look forward to seeing at future networking events. 

  
  
  
  

Authors: Please Stop with the Low-Rent Marketing Tactics

  
Authors: Please Stop with the Low-Rent Marketing Tactics.

By Rob Watts   @RobWattsOnline

As a person who esteems his reputation as a professional, both in business and as a member of the writing community, I beg those who engage in less-than-admirable marketing practices to please tone it down and heed caution; you are in jeopardy of losing readers, fans and any semblance of credibility in the publishing world. 

I’d like to share with you something that happened the other day; it’s not the first time that this has happened, it certainly won’t be the last, but nevertheless, it’s annoying, saddening and induces much head shaking on my part. As I was checking emails the other day, I noticed my personal website had received an email, so I read it, chuckled slightly, shook my head (aforementioned) and then within seconds, my amusement turned to annoyance as I wondered why authors (usually self-published) do this—ever worse, why do they think this is okay? 

  
As you can see in the email above, this “author” took it upon themself to send me an email requesting (BEGGING) me to click their Amazon link and download their book. This individual doesn’t know me, I don’t know them, I don’t know why they believe that this is a legitimate marketing practice but let me tell you, it’s not. I would never reduce myself and engage in such dubious tactics. Whether or not you consider yourself a genuine professional within the publishing community, don’t do things like this—just don’t. You’ll rapidly lose respect and you’ll wind up looking desperate and contemptible. 

While we’re on the topic of shabby self-promotional methods, here are a few more things to add to the list of tactics to avoid at all costs. 

  • Promoting your book(s) on a constant and daily basis on your Facebook profile. This is what a Facebook Page is for. A Facebook profile, our personal account, isn’t really the best venue to ad-bomb your books to everyone. The people we have on our profiles are people who (for the most part) are friends, family, co-workers, some people we’ve never met in real life, and so on. These people shouldn’t be made to feel as though they are only there to be your personal book buying audience. It’s a major turn off and you’ll find yourself falling victim to the unfollow button, or worse, the unfriend button. It’s fine to share your writing accomplishments and it’s certainly okay to share that you have a new book out that’s for sale—you don’t need to post daily reminders though. Don’t guilt your friends into buying your books and definitely don’t beg. 
  • If you work in a customer service-based business (retail, food, etc.. ), don’t—seriously, don’t promote yourself as an author with books for sale to customers in the workplace. Believe it or not, I have seen this and I know of one or two people who engage in this unprofessional behavior (and they think that this is perfectly fine to do), and all I can suggest to you is that you stop. Customers who are seeking help from a salesperson at a Best Buy about purchasing a Flatscreen TV don’t want to hear about your writing ventures and they aren’t looking to have your writing related business card thrown in their faces. Oh yeah, and this is the type of thing that gets you fired, so yeah, don’t do this. 
  • If you’re at an author event and you are exhibiting your books at a booth, don’t—DON’T invade another author’s booth space by forcing your book onto a potential customer of another author. Yes, I have seen this happen multiple times where an author will overhear (eavesdrop) a conversation between a potential customer and author about the type of stories and books that they like, and the stalking author will swoop in on them and suggest something such as “oh, if you enjoy Clive Barker’s books, then you’ll love my book.” This is wrong, immoral, unprofessional and it will put you in a situation where you’ll be unwelcomed at future events. Word travels at the speed of light within the writing community and you’ll be shunned so quickly that your head will spin. Behave yourself and don’t engage in this sort of behavior. 
  • DM (direct message) on Twitter. When I follow another writer, or follow them back on Twitter, oftentimes I get an automated reply (they set these auto messages via social media management apps) with long-winded messages such as “Thanks so much for following me….please click the link and buy my books, yada, yada, yada…” This gets you an automatic unfollow. Buh-bye! This is by far the biggest annoyance on Twitter. For all the good that Twitter can do for you, this is one of the biggest drawbacks. If you are one of those people who bomb people’s inbox with automated DMs, let me clue you in on something; you are annoying, your marketing skills are pathetic and I’d never waste my time reading your books if you’re the type of author who thinks this is a productive method of marketing. It’s not—not even close. 

  
Yeah…good luck with that!!

Super Megafest & The Crooked Roads through Cedar Grove: Out Now on Paperback! 

  
The Crooked Roads through Cedar Grove is now available. Get your signed copy at My Website and it will get shipped right out to you. The first batch of pre-orders were mailed out yesterday so if you’ve already ordered yours, they are well on their way. 

A big thank you to everyone who came out to Super Megafest this past weekend. It was great fun and terrific seeing some friends—old and new. I spent the weekend signing books at the Books & Boos Press booth with friend and author, Stacey Longo. Next to us sat the fun loving New England Horror Writers. Having friendly faces around you at a three day event really does take the edge off. I had a wonderful visit with my friend Marshall and his friend Andrea, and oh—hey, I met Barry Williams, AKA Greg Brady from The Brady Bunch! It was tough topping that experience but I’m always up to a challenge. Thanks again to everyone who stopped by the table. Hope to see you out there at an upcoming book signing! 

  
  
   
 
  

Stills from the scrapped Crooked Roads comic book project. 

  
Stills from the scrapped Crooked Roads comic book project.

By Rob Watts     @RobWattsOnline

As we edge closer to the release date for the paperback edition of The Crooked Roads through Cedar Grove, I’m looking back at some material I have stored for the once-planned comic book that was to accompany the hardcover edition of my novel. The Crooked Roads, a multidisciplinary project which contained the hardcover novel, a soundtrack on CD—composed by yours truly, book trailers and a mini vinyl single, was to include a mini comic book, however, time was receding and the release date was firm. As this was a self-produced and self-financed effort, adding further production costs would have diminished any chance of recouping my investment. I like to keep costs low for the buying public and it had been decided that one more addition would prove to be too costly. In the end, the special edition sold out of its initial run of 200 copies since it was released in June of 2015. If you missed out and would like to order your copy of the paperback edition with a reimagined cover, you can do so right here. 

The following are some images that were to be included in the comic book. They look pretty cool and it’s a shame this part of the project never came to fruition, but I’m happy to be able to share some of them here. Enjoy. 

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

The Crooked Roads through Cedar Grove: Paperback Edition

  
The Crooked Roads through Cedar Grove: Paperback Edition Available April 14, 2017

For those of you who had missed out on picking up The Crooked Roads through Cedar Grove on Hardcover (only 200 books and vinyl albums were produced) well here’s your opportunity to have a physical copy once again. My debut novel originally released in June of 2015 will be available in paperback with a reimagined cover design and will be signed by yours truly. Published by Ocean View Press, this edition will be available exclusively via my website and at book signing events

Pre-orders are now open at My Website. Hope to see you at some upcoming book signing events. 

5 Soundtracks by Tangerine Dream That You Should Hear

  
5 Soundtracks by Tangerine Dream That You Should Hear

By Rob Watts    @RobWattsOnline

As a writer, I find it necessary to have some form of background music playing. I think many of my writer friends will agree that dance music, death metal or gangsta rap blaring from the speakers serves more as a distraction than a soothing counterbalance while concentrating—perhaps I’m wrong, but I know it wouldn’t work well for me personally. While working in the creative realm, I tend to play instrumentals in the background; less distraction, I’m not singing along and losing my concentration and it adds a certain ambience while helping me frame a storyline properly. I usually find my comfort zone in film scores. To those who know me best, it’s no secret that my favorite film scores were produced in the 1970s and early 80s (huh, that’s funny, that’s when the best films were made as well.) Along with John Carpenter and John Williams, my other favorite soundtrack composers are the European synth rock band, Tangerine Dream. While their entire body of non-soundtrack work is amazing, especially Zeit (1972), Phaedra (1974), Rubycon (1975) and Stratosfear (1976), their film scores are equally as impressive and as much as I’d love to list each and every soundtrack release, I’ll whole-heartedly recommend the following five. It will be worth seeking them out, trust me. 

  
Sorcerer (1977)

Tangerine Dream’s first soundtrack album to William Friedkin’s existential thriller, Sorcerer, the music is a mesmerizing mixture of classical music run through a synth-pop blender. Each track truly sucks you in and captivates you with its ominous presence. 

   

Thief (1981) 

The band’s second soundtrack album to Michael Mann’s Thief, this is yet another captivating piece of work. It moves you along, front to back, leaving the listener is a suspended state of ear candy euphoria.  
  
Wavelength (1984) 

Their fourth soundtrack to the little known low budget Science Fiction film, Wavelength, just might be my favorite.  While the film might be poorly produced (look for the boom mic in the top corner of the shot, at least three times), it does have its moments and the film score certainly amplifies these occasions. A high point in the film for me is the scene when the three alien boys are being driven along Sunset Boulevard by their rescuers (Robert Carradine and Cherie Currie) while the hypnotic film score rolls on. 

  
Firestarter (1984) 

While I’m not a big fan of the film, the score is far more memorable for me. It keeps in line with the previously listed soundtracks, especially Thief. 

  
Risky Business (1984)

One might not consider Risky Business’ soundtrack to be very memorable other than the addition of the (ugh—so overplayed) hit song, Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger. No one seems to recall that Prince, Phil Collins and Journey offered their contributions to this bore fest (just my opinion) of an 80s film as well. What enhances any salvageable portion of this film, however, is Tangerine Dream’s film score, once again proving that they truly crafted and set the benchmark for soundtracks for the remainder of the 80s, as they went on to contribute to Flashpoint, Three O’Clock High, Near Dark and Legend.