Online Issue 7

Kevin Wignall talks about his new novel, To Die in Vienna, which is going to be a major motion picture starring Jake Gyllenhaal and I weigh in with my review.

Chris Roy chats about his short story collection, Her Name Is Mercie, and his journey to publication.

Jo Perry has a big author event coming up this weekend – find out more here where she talks about her new work in progress and what Neil Diamond has to do with hell

Or learn more about Jo Perry’s upcoming event here, where she talks about the four-legged friends who keep her company when she’s in the office in her Author Assistant feature.

Plus: Reviews of Cult X and The Shadow Killer.


I could weigh in about the hated book of the week but really, what’s the point? Making posts about how it’s getting all the press and word of mouth just adds to its profile. The simple truth is that I think a lot of publicists and authors are lacking motivation and ingenuity to promote books. It’s easy to be jealous of the name that gets all the attention, but there are venues such as this one, Toe Six, and Underground Book Reviews and more that offer meaningful ways to raise an author’s profile. Would you rather people go to your website and see what you have to say about yourself, or see that you’ve been interviewed in different places? Doesn’t that make you look more important?

I have reached out directly to approximately 60 publishers and publicists asking specifically to interview an author or letting them know about feature opportunities here, which are free. All they take is a little bit of the author’s time.

My return rate for people taking me up on invitations or opportunities is down to about 19%. And the majority are authors. A publicist could get promotion for every book they have coming out in the months ahead. Instead, the odd few who respond tell me to go to NetGalley to get ARCs. (Man, I have ARCs out my wazoo and I can only read a couple books a month. And my priority is authors I’m interviewing here. I think I’ve officially reached the point where I won’t even ask an author for an interview if I have to contact a publicist, because my return rate there is 2% so it just isn’t worth my time.)

So don’t whine about not being profiled. Stop bitching about the lack of attention for small press books when there are places out there trying, and having a devil of a time getting authors interested in chatting about their books. It isn’t just about Toe Six. I was having a hard time getting people lined up for Spinetingler. My return rate there was sitting at about 30% before it ended.

The next time you want to post about how sad it is to lose places that publish short stories and how awful it is that only a few big books get the big press while these other good books get ignored? Places like Spinetingler and Toe Six live or die on the interest level. If nobody wants to be interviewed there isn’t much of a point in doing issues, is there? And if nobody is buying your short story collection when you publish it or investing in advertising on your site then how do you fund the issues?

The question for me is should I invest in promoting someone else or my own book? And maybe all the time I spend doing this is best served sitting on the porch with my dogs. Ultimately, maybe people just want something to complain about. The same people upset about JP and BC’s book could instead be spreading the word about a great book they’ve read and liked, about feature interviews with authors on sites all over the internet.

Or the gripefest can roll on for a few more days.

Practice pitching. That way, when life hands you lemons you’ll have good aim and free ammunition. ~ Sandra Ruttan

In other words, life is what you make of it. And we could take that approach to publishing and turn it upside down. The real reason people don’t do it? I can only guess it’s because they’re still hoping for that mainstream acceptance and their day to have all the attention.

Want to do an interview or a feature? Email toesixpress @ with ‘author feature’ in the subject line.