Monday, April 2, 2012

Justin Ordoñez ’s Sykosa whirlwind tour



As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Sykosa eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

        
  1. Purchase your copy of Sykosa for just 99 cents

  2.     
  3. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity

  4.     
  5. Visit today’s featured social media event

  6.     
  7. BONUS:  Leave a comment on this post*


Leave a comment, win $100:

One random tour commenter will win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment on this post, and you'll be entered to win. For a full list of participating blogs, check out the official tour page. You can enter on just my blog or on all of them. Get out there and network!

About the book: YA fiction for the 18+ crowd. Sykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon.

About the author:  Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez's life's work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Please enjoy this guest post by Justin Ordoñez, author of the YA novel (for 18+ readers), Sykosa. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.


Marketing, Or how I Proved the Existence of Hell.


Self-publishing requires either A) no skills and being totally deluded as to the reality of success in the book market, or B) no skills and the reality you’re going to have to learn a lot. And that’s a simple fact. Between writing, editing, formatting, choosing a printer, choosing retailers, web development, content generation, typesetting, book trailers and the fifty other things I’m forgetting, you’re certain to encounter a challenge for which you are in no way prepared, and not only are you not prepared, your desire to become prepared hovers somewhere near the axis of zero.

I discovered mine on January 11, 2012--Marketing.

Marketing’s an entirely deceptive term. When a thing is so multi-dimensional and other-worldly abstract, we expect it come coupled with tongue-tying terminology. I mean, who would touch marketing if it was done by someone called a, “Surpurgodunintrihumanthofeelemo-ologist?” (Stands for: “Surveyor, purveyor, and Godlike understander of all intricate human thoughts, feelings, and emotions.”) No one. And that’s just the beginning! As it’s really only one aspect of marketing. You not only need to communicate with the potential book buyer, but with the many marketing channels available, i.e. book bloggers, book reviewers, book recommendation sites, book social networking sites, and many, many more. Essentially, in order to succeed at marketing, when you’re not busy being a social butterfly, expanding your pool of contacts and showing a legitimate interest in people’s lives, you need to be a socially reclusive, type-A, mega-jerk who produces the stuff that gets sent to all the people who are now your contacts.

As this is seriously an enormously enormous undertaking, I did what I’d advise any author do. Write Novel Publicity and get some help. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Problem solved, right? How could it be that marketing is such a huge undertaking you cannot count on Novel Publicity alone? Unfortunately, while Novel Publicity is your access to the market, you are still your own personal generator of content. Guest blog posts, interviews, all manner of interactions still come from you, and they’re a perspective reader’s introduction to your writing, your style, your passion, and ultimately if they’re interested in your work.

These are elements I’m fine with.

Or…

These are elements I thought I was fine with.

After all, it can’t be that hard, can it? Blog-post-smog-post. Promotional-images-smosional-images. You’re a brilliant author who wrote an entire novel, what can this world throw at you that you can’t beat back with your bare fists? Well, a lot, and way more than you think, too. Do you know how to use Calibre? HTML? Gimp? Neither did I, but thanks to our good friend YouTube, I was able to spend a what-would-be-hilarious-if-it-weren’t-so-depressingly-true amount of time learning them. And it was going fine—sure, I was underslept, over-sugar’d, and had begun to scratch myself so frequently I was breaking skin in more than one or two places, but aside from all that, I was a marketing genius! I was…lying to myself. I was scratching my head frequently, and I was encountering a new, unforeseen challenge at every corner. (Novel Publicity would gladly have helped me, but I wanted their time to be used for, you know, generating publicity, not a grade school-style education seminar for me). Then, it finally happened, I realized what I had needed to realize since the beginning.

Children are evil.

No, seriously, they are. Stay with me on this one.

It happened while I was working on the image below.

Let me preface the story like this.

Being an adult means your time getting screwed over on the playground is over. Well, it’s not really over. Adults are as catty as children, but it’s different. Adults are so covert, so pathological, and so politically calculating in their screwing over of others that it trumps all human understanding. Kids simply call you a name and move on, so I suppose I mean to say that, as an adult, your days of outright mockery are over. No longer will you be subject to a choir of second grade girls singing, “Jus-tin, bus-tin, the big fat…” as the song dies since they had called you fat, there was nothing obvious to rhyme it with, and there was no reserve hatred left in them, and since they’re not total nut job psychotics like grown-ups, they move onto the sensitive boy who loves to draw unicorns and hearts.

As you may have guessed, I was talking about myself.

And I was wrong.

My days of outright mockery had only begun!

Why, you ask?

Because I decided to self-publish my novel, and because I lacked skills. The image above did not make itself. In fact, I’m only 20% certain of why it turned out the way it did. Much like a child, I bought in on total faith that the directions I was being given would work, then knocked this “learning comprehension” business aside. And why do I use child in that example? Well, being such an amateur, you won’t know how to correctly ask Google for answers. For instance, in the text up top, a professional knows to type, “How do you create text with a radius of so-and-so so it appears like an arch?” You, on the other hand, type, “How do you make text look like a rainbow?” That’s right. You’re gonna ask as if you were a six-year old, so guess what? You’re gonna get search results from midget-geniuses who’re so young they’re struggling to lose that lisp one gets when learning English.

With your earphones plugged it, that little voice starts at you in much the way that girl (or boy or still girl given your gender and sexual orientation) looked at you when you innocently sat next to her on the bus, that look of, “Who are you and what makes you think you don’t have to maintain fifty feet of distance from me at all times?” “Okay, guys, like, this is simple, like, first thing we’re gonna do is create a path.” Click-click-click-click-click-click! “Okay, looks nothing like what you want, but that’s fine, we’ll fix it later.” Click-click-click-click-click! “Okay, here we go, we color to alpha, create a new layer, color to alpha again.” Click-click-click-click-click! “Take the path tool, debate buying a shotgun now that I’ve convinced you you’ve failed at life, then change the angle, now, if you want to change the color, you use the select tool, but not like you’re used to using it, I’ll now proceed to click around the screen like a swarm of hornets attacking an intruder and not explain a single step.” Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click! “Alright guys, wasn’t that simple? Make sure you submit your humiliatingly easy questions so my buddies and I can laugh at you before we record the next lesson.”

How long did it take you to read that?

Divide that by four, and that’s how fast the kid said it.

(Blood pressure…rising).

In a way, it’s not the kid’s fault. Children have brains that learn everything quickly, effortlessly, and with no respect for it. It’s not till you’re a teenager when you hit places where, despite your effort, you’re not gonna learn it. Rationally, I understand this. But, as a human being, in a dark corner of my favorite local eatery, constantly pausing/playing/pausing/playing/pausing/playing while I toggle between Firefox/Gimp/Firefox/Gimp/Firefox/Gimp in an ever-failing attempt to emulate this six year old Einstein, I realize: It’s kind of amazing such a young kid knows this stuff. Still, I don’t know if I admire this child or I want to punch him in the face. That’s what this child had done to me. That thin line between love and hate, he has blurred it and I can no longer tell the difference between unconditional love and righteous hatred.

[caption id="attachment_11071" align="alignright" width="225" caption="“Wow, mister, I’ve never met anyone as dumb as you before!”"][/caption]

So I add an addendum to my original statement: Children are evil, and so is marketing. And by that I mean: Marketing is responsible for all evil on the planet Earth. I’m serious. It’s hard at its every level. There’s no way to just be “good” at marketing, and nothing will diminish the fact that literal blood, sweat, and tears will be lost to its cause, which ultimately ends up at what we call the “marketplace,” or as I’ve recently been referring to it, “The Death-Vacuum that Took the Giant Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way and Said, ‘Wow, You Look Like a Tasty Candy Bar.’” I hate to use sports analogies since not everyone likes sports, but the only thing more infuriating than marketing may be consistently hitting a baseball.

In baseball, if you hit 30% of the time, you’re a legend.

In marketing, I’m gonna say if you hit 5% of the time, you’re a legend.

Sykosa, my new YA novel for which all this marketing is being done, is a work of love, but more than a work of love, it’s a good book. I went to fantastic lengths to ensure this. Like any good character should be, Sykosa is indescribable, but because we have marketing in this evil world, I’m going to do it anyway. Sykosa’s a sixteen-year-old girl who’s struggling to reclaim her identify after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. She’s also kind of a riddle, but that’s alright, because you’ll know—in your gut—this is exactly the decision she would make, even if you can’t articulate why. She likes a boy she probably shouldn’t, except you’re not going to think, “Why is she dating this guy?” because you’ll know—in your gut—this is exactly the guy she would date, even if you can’t articulate why. She’s bright and could do a lot with her life, but she’s letting it slip past her, and you’re not gonna get upset with her, you’re gonna empathize, because you’ll know—in your… Egh, I could go on and on. Sykosa is special, I’m telling you she is, and I’m working this marketing game—which fits me like the worst fitting glove imaginable—to get her an opportunity.

I don’t say that to illicit sympathy. This is marketing, after all.

As I’ve learned, if I wanted sympathy, I woulda joined the military.

Comparatively, they treat you nice there. (I jest).

Still, perhaps you can imagine… What’s it like to watch this child’s mouse clicking about the screen, thinking seven things at once, and me in my chair, unable to eat my entire plate of French fries cause my metabolism won’t allow it, confused cause, as an adult, you need things presented to you sequentially, and logically, and, like, yes, you need people to take at least one breath between sentences! I mean—seriously, when do children breathe? Does it ever happen? Is this one of those things you don’t have to do until you’re grown up?

(Count to ten, Justin. Count to ten… He’s just a child. Nothing more).

Anyhow, Sykosa came out this week, and now she’s finishing her Whirlwind tour. I’m writing this all before it’s happened and I think, I hope, I’ve survived it and things are looking good for the future. For now, all I can say, in my most evening news-ish marketing voice, “Please visit Sykosa.com for lots of Sykosa related stuff, like character profiles, sketches, funny diagrams, a video question and answer blog, and a forty page excerpt.” But, I wonder if it that message can be heard, if amongst this open array of electrical impulses large enough to capture the entire human imagination, and small enough molecularly to be stuffed into box so tiny we lack the technology to even build it, is there room for Sykosa?

Can she break through the mist? Do you hear her?

She’s trying to say, “What’s up!”



As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Sykosa eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

        
  1. Purchase your copy of Sykosa for just 99 cents

  2.     
  3. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity

  4.     
  5. Visit today’s featured social media event

  6.     
  7. BONUS:  Leave a comment on this post*


Leave a comment, win $100:

One random tour commenter will win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment on this post, and you'll be entered to win. For a full list of participating blogs, check out the official tour page. You can enter on just my blog or on all of them. Get out there and network!

About the book:  YA fiction for the 18+ crowdSykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon.

About the author:  Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez's life's work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Please enjoy this interview with Justin Ordoñez, author of the YA novel (for 18+ readers), Sykosa. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.



1. Who or What is a Sykosa?

Sykosa is a sixteen year old junior in high school. She’s the main character of a novel I’ve written by the same name. For a quick rundown, she attends a prestigious preparatory academy, is part of the school’s coolest clique, “the Queens,” and she has started dating the boy she’s secretly been crushing on for a year, Tom. It’s taken a year to start dating him because A) there was this SUPER HUGE thing that happened during her sophomore year, and it delayed things and made being intimate with Tom difficult, and B) she kinda starts seeing stars around him and loses the ability to behave in any type of serious manner.

2. Why is Sykosa different from other novels?

It’s different because youth driven literature has become full of metaphors for danger that seem to have split into either science fiction or fantasy. (Before I go any further, I like both genres, so I’m not being a snob!) Sometimes, it feels like instead of dealing with real problems, it’s easier to have kids use magic. And instead of facing real contemporary issues, kids should fight aliens or something. These metaphors are meant to represent real life, but I fear they’ve slightly crossed over into a bit of denial about contemporary Americanism, which is a hard topic to write about since our country is in an identity crisis, and has been for about 11 years. Sykosa is an attempt to counter-act this trend. When I was young, I read books about young people that blew me away like One Fat Summer and The Outsiders. These books felt real, and it felt like I could slip into them at any moment. The writing was gritty, it was unapologetic, it was brilliant. I just don’t see many of those around, and I wanted to write one, and I wanted to write one with a female protagonist.

3. Why did you chose cross-gender writing?

Toward the end of the my high school education, I was allowed to split my school day from my normal, traditional education and a newer style, self-directed educational program. I took an English class where my English teacher, someone who I’m still friends with to this day, gave me only one assignment for an entire semester, and it was, “Perform a deep self-evaluation of yourself and your writing and come up with one goal for what you’re going to improve on.” At the time, I was seriously into writing, and had taken to writing a few books per year, but most of them were in the first person, and they were just me talking about myself. The issue was that I had been in a serious car accident the year prior and I had injured a friend in it. (He fully recovered, but never forgave me). I had tried to write a first person story about myself many times since the accident, but I was constantly failing because I was dealing with some lingering self-loathing and guilt. As a way to get away from it, I decided I wanted to work on a story I had been thinking about for a while, but that I never started writing for one super scary reason.

The main character was a teenage girl.

Odd as it might sound, I was intimidated by the fact that the main character was a woman. So I faced my fear and said my goal would be to write women better, and I proceeded to work with several teachers and several female students to help me craft a female character that was realistic, yet met my vision of her as well. This challenge stuck with me into my adult life, and it eventually found its ultimate form in Sykosa.

4. How will I know I’m a fan of Sykosa?

I’m glad you asked! Sykosa.com has tons of stuff to help you determine if this book is right for you. Below you’ll see some humorous diagrams I’ve made, but at the website you can read an excerpt of the book, watch the book trailer, read character profiles and really get a solid understanding of Sykosa’s world.

5. What kind of stuff influenced you to write Sykosa?

The primary motivators for Sykosa were Buffy The Vampire Slayer and It by Stephen King. It so happened, in 2001, I moved in with a woman I was dating. She was a fan of Buffy, so I had to watch it and became a fan myself. While most people were probably drawn to the vampire killing, it was the last thing I was interested in. I thought Whedon created an interesting cast of personalities and analyzing them was something I enjoyed. At the time, I was reading It. What I liked about It was the small town, insular feel to the novel, and how the inhabitants of this town were able to show a “front” of values, but were secretly hiding and allowing evil to proliferate all around them. From these two things came Sykosa, a girl who does not have any super powers, nor does she kill any vampires, but she did have a traumatic event happen in her life, and she’s struggling to deal with it, and its made no easier by the fact that her small, insular parochial school has decided to ignore the incident.

6. What is your most favorite and least favorite part of Sykosa?

The most favorite part is easy. It’s Sykosa’s best friend Niko, who just gets my blood pumping every time I have to write her. I love Sykosa, she’s definitely the main character and the story would never work without her, but I could sing Niko’s praises all day and all night. She’s such an interesting young woman and to see how she’s developed over the years as I’ve written the story has been a real treat. When someone first reads Sykosa and then decides to talk to me about it, I’m secretly waiting to hear them mention Niko. It’s never the first thing they say, it’s never the last, it’s always sandwiched somewhere in the middle, “By the way, this Niko—I love her!”

My least favorite part… Wow, that’s hard to answer, isn’t it? In the middle of the book, there’s a section called an Interlude, which is a story structure that Stephen King used in It, and that I borrowed as an homage to it. There’s a section where Sykosa, Niko and her mother are driving in a car together. I swear, I rewrote it fifty times—maybe more—and it’s never read right to me. It just never has.

7. What kind of writing schedule do you keep?

Let’s put it this way:  I recently heard a story that there are “cat writers” and “ox writers.” I’m an ox writer. I put in the time, every day, whether I’m feeling it or not, whether its terrible or not, even if I know I’ll just end up deleting it, I push through it and I do it anyway, and somewhere along the way, it ends up coming together as a story.

8. What’s the coolest story you have from writing Sykosa?

Sykosa is interesting in the sense that it took me a long time to finish it. The first couple years I was writing it, I was really just writing stories about the characters, feeling everyone out, figuring out how they fit together, but there was no plot holding it together or pushing anything forward. In 2003, I seriously debated quitting, as it had been the hardest piece of writing I had ever taken on, and to be honest, I was somewhat used to overcoming challenges easily and without a lot of adversity. And while I usually worked on the book on my bus ride to and from work, this one beautiful, sunny day, I decided not to. I sat on the bus and kept the binder of writing closed on my lap. When the bus stopped at Pioneer Square, a homeless black woman sat next to me. She noticed the book, then said to me, “So you’re writing a novel?” I couldn’t tell how she knew that, but I said, “Yes, I am.” She asked me what it was about, but I’m terrible at talking about my work, so I gave her the gist, “teenage girl” “high school” “likes her boyfriend” etc, etc. The conversation lasted one stop, when the bus opened its doors, the woman reached out with her hand, put it on my own (which was clinging to the book like I was protecting it or something) and she said, “Justin, I want you to know, God blesses this book. He blesses it, and you can’t quit.”

I had never mentioned to her that I was quitting it.

I started working on it after she left the bus, and I never spoke or saw her again.

True story.

9. Do you have any tips for people who are struggling with writing or want to take it up?

I do. First off, keep struggling. It’s a worthwhile struggle. There’s a lot of be gained from writing. And for those who want to take it up and for those who are already writing, I can’t stress this enough:  Draft. And by the I mean, write in drafts, don’t sit in a chair and challenge yourself to make it perfect now, write it perfect now, but instead write in drafts. If something only gets 5% better, that’s fine, cause it’s just one draft of what will be many, and eventually, that 5%, that 3%, that 7%—it adds up and you end up with a really good story. But, if you try to knock it out of the park every time you step up to the plate, you’ll swing the bat a whole lot, and you’ll be tired and exhausted when you’re done, but you won’t have a ton to show for it. That’s when most people quit. They think, “I can’t do this” or, “I don’t have the talent.” They don’t understand they’re doing it wrong, that’s all.

10. When you’re not writing, you’re…

Singing karaoke. I go once a week with some close friends of mine. It’s a fantastic release, also you get feedback from an audience, which you sometimes miss from writing, and you can forget how exciting it is to share your work with others. My favorite song to sing right now is Gaga’s “You and I.” Gaga has got a great voice that she can make raspy if she needs to, and I’ve got a voice that can match the raspier songs, so I think I do her proud. Otherwise I’m singing the Killers, Kings of Leon, Oasis or Lauryn Hill.



As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Sykosa eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

        
  1. Purchase your copy of Sykosa for just 99 cents

  2.     
  3. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity

  4.     
  5. Visit today’s featured social media event

  6.     
  7. BONUS: Leave a comment on this post*


Leave a comment, win $100:

One random tour commenter will win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment on this post, and you'll be entered to win. For a full list of participating blogs, check out the official tour page. You can enter on just my blog or on all of them. Get out there and network!

About the book: YA fiction for the 18+ crowd. Sykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez's life's work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.





1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for your interest in Sykosa and your participation in this tour. Sykosa’s a totally cool girl who can also be super shy at times, so having everyone's support really makes her feel special and comfortable. She wishes your blog many happy tidings, and she hopes you’ll invite her back sometime (wink)!

    www.sykosa.com

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