Monday, September 9, 2013

Guest Post by Jon S. Lewis

So it's been a while since I had a guest post on Bookfever so when Jon S. Lewis contacted for a guest post and to spread the word I was more than happy to comply!
I also must say that I'm personally also really excited for Grey Griffins: Night of Dragons. Not only because it has some amazing authors but also because 100% of the profits go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. That's just really wonferful! So I hope everyone will support it.

So enjoy this post and let me know your thoughts!





How Libba Bray Saved My Career Without Knowing It
After I submitted the last book, I was ready to walk away from the publishing industry. I knew I had a dream job but the pressure to be successful became so overwhelming that I had to choose between my health and the career I had worked so hard to build.

My first book sold over 600,000 copies, but times have changed. Borders and Walden Books closed their doors and according to an article in the Atlantic (Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/the-painful-decline-of-barnes-noble/272865/) Barnes and Noble is planning to close about 33% of its stores, too.

Limited distribution and declining sales (Source: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/55382-rate-of-print-decline-flattened-in-2012.html) means that publishers are forced to sign authors with track records of massive sales. That means midlist authors are in trouble. And if you’re trying to break in as a new author, you’ll need more than a dynamite book—you’ll also need a built in audience to buy your book (social media fans and blog subscriber).

A Debilitating Case of Writer’s Block
The pressure to match the sales numbers of my first book became paralyzing and I ended up with writer’s block. It was so bad that my publisher nearly dropped one of my books because I was late. If that had happened, I would have lost my house.

I couldn’t go through that again, so I stopped writing and got a job at a digital media agency. I needed it to be around other creative people instead of writing alone in an office for twelve hours a day, seven days a week where it was starting to feel like I was in solitary confinement.

The Blog Post that Changes Everything
I had given up on writing again when I came across a blog post by Libba Bray (http://libbabray.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/on-writing-despair-juicebox-mix/). It was about all the struggles that she went through as a writer and I finally realized that I wasn’t alone.

I decided to reach out to a few of my writer friends and tell them what I was going through. The encouragement I received in response is a big reason that I’m writing again. But I’ve decided to take a new path.

Why It Has to Be Different This Time
For years I’ve talked about publishing my own books but I was worried about the stigma of being a self-published author. Would fans think my career was over? Would my publishers feel betrayed? But authors like Amanda Hocking, Hugh Howey and JA Konrath have paved the way, and now it’s time for me to give it a try.

I’m going to self-publish Grey Griffins: Night of Dragons, but I’m excited to say that I won’t be alone. Those same authors who put their arms around me when I was down are going to be right there with me. In fact, while I write my novel they’re going to write Grey Griffins short stories that we’re going to release as an anthology.

The best part of the entire equation is that we’re going to donate 100% of the profits from the anthology to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/) and Kids Need to Read (http://www.kidsneedtoread.org/). And these aren’t just any authors. They’re some of the biggest names in publishing today…
  • Brandon Mull | NY Times Bestselling Author, Fablehaven
  • Aprilynne Pike | NY Times Bestselling Author, Wings
  • Frank Beddor | NY Times Bestselling Author, Looking Glass Wars
  • Michael Spradlin | NY Times Bestselling Author, Youngest Templar
  • Dean Lorey | Co-Executive Producer, Arrested Development
  • Shannon Messenger | Let the Sky Fall, Keeper of the Lost Cities
  • Tom Leveen | Party, manicpixiedreamgirl, Sick
  • Joseph Nassise | International Bestselling Author, Templar Chronicles
  • Matt Forbeck | Leverage: The Con Job based on the TNT television series
  • Janette Rallison | My Fair Godmother, Slayers
The Drawback with Self-Publishing
Each short story in the Grey Griffins anthology will be professionally edited. It will also have its own cover painted by the incredibly talented Scott Altmann (http://www.scottaltmann.com/). The final product will look every bit as good as what the major publishing houses produce, but there’s a drawback. When you publish your own books you have to come up with the money to pay the artists and the editors. That’s why I’m turning to Kickstarter for Grey Griffins: Night of Dragons and the anthology.

Crowdsourcing with Kickstarter
Running a Kickstarter campaign gives readers the chance to pre-order the book. In turn I’ll invest the money into making an amazing product. And I know what it means to have a tight budget, so I made sure the pledge levels started at $1.

There are some fun rewards like custom Grey Griffins short stories, collectible character trading cards and sketches from the cover artist. For the writers out there, we’re offering the chance for a query letter review, a partial manuscript review, and even a Skype brainstorm session where I’ll help you come up with ideas for your story.

You can help fund the Kickstarter campaign here: http://kck.st/1aXVQQC

You Can Even Get Your Story Published in the Grey Griffins Anthology
Because I also have a passion for helping new writers break into the industry I thought the best way to do that with this project was to give someone a chance to get a short story published in the anthology. Your story will end up in the same book with all those New York Times bestselling authors. If it sounds like something you’re interested in, you can find the submission guidelines here: bit.ly/gg-anthology.

Thank you
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your consideration to back the Kickstarter campaign. I’m going to need your help to make this project a reality, and I know that together we can do something incredible!


Sprig (Welsh faerie) by Imaginary Friends)


Ice Dragon





About Jon S. Lewis:
 Jon Samuel Lewis is an American writer best known for the acclaimed Grey Griffins series published by Scholastic’s Orchard Books. After selling nearly a million copies in the original trilogy, Lewis and his writing partner, Derek Benz teamed with Little Brown to publish the Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles. He is also the author of CHAOS Novels, a young adult urban science fiction series published by Thomas Nelson and has written for DC Comics. Lewis is also a marketing executive and content strategist who works with Fortune 500 companies on their digital marketing strategies.


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