Andrew Peterson

All posts tagged Andrew Peterson

Why the Christmas Season is Important to Me

If you know me, you know I believe in God and my faith is important. As a young child, Christmas was mostly about getting presents. Now in adulthood, Christmas is not about getting presents, it’s about reinforcing and confirming my belief in something much bigger than myself. Funny how things change. I still love the Christmas season with its special music on the radio, our home filled with decorations, and the seasonal fragrances that perfume the air. Oh, and let’s not forget the roast beast!

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It’s easy to forget how blessed I am. I have a loving wife and family, a beautiful home, a writing career, and a wonderful pooch – a giant schnauzer named Lilli.

Christmas is that time of year when I’m fortunate to spend time with family and friends. We share memories, joy, and happiness – which are far more precious than wrapped gifts under a decorated tree. Because of my faith, Christmas is the ultimate reminder of the most priceless gift I’ve been given.

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Thank you President Ulysses S. Grant for making Christmas a national holiday in 1870!

During this Christmas season, it’s my sincere hope everyone will remain safe and well, be with the ones they love, and have a very Merry Christmas!

 

Now as we start 2017, we look back and say, “We made it another year!”

 

 

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Andrew PetersonWhy the Christmas Season is Important to Me

Days I Don’t Want to Write – An Author’s Journey Part 2 of 2

Writing, like any other job or career, comes with days when working is the last thing I want to do. I don’t have a structured writing schedule, I work when the creative process is flowing. On days when it isn’t, I fall back on editing. I love to edit what I’ve written.

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Then there are days when I’m sick and just getting out of bed is a chore. Thankfully, I’m rarely that sick. My issues have been surgeries and I’ve had a slew of them. Even though I haven’t yet reached my sixtieth year, both of my shoulders have been replaced, my right knee is artificial, and my lumbar is fused at L3-L4-L5. I’ve had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands. I’ve endured over twenty-two surgical procedures. I’m no stranger to pain! Despite all of that, I have to be disciplined, even when I’m not in the mood. I haven’t been able to write manuscript while recovering in hospital beds. If someone’s figured that one out, please share your secret!

On a serious note, it’s not unusual for a writer to stare at a blank page on the screen for a while. Guess what? I’m no different, and it’s normal. It’s okay to draw a “creative blank.” Making matters worse, there are tons of distractions: The lure of Netflix. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Email and blogging. At times, the eWorld is overpowering and writing becomes a grinding task.

But, (you knew there was a “but” coming), I have man-up and force myself to pound something out. Even if I just write one scene or finish one thought, it’s a moral victory. Lately, I’ve learned to dictate manuscript into my phone using the Siri feature of Notes. It’s crude, with lots of misspellings and missing punctuation, but it’s something I can edit later. And edit I do!

There’s always research as a fallback. If I can’t be creative, or get any serious editing done, I’ll dig into story elements online. I’ll research stuff – all kinds of stuff. And by “research” I don’t mean binge-watching Criminal Minds. I use the Internet to further my story, even if it’s reading from Wikipedia about Pandas or listening to audiobooks on how to improve my craft. Here’s a writing tip: Google Earth is a great source for scene/site research. It will never replace a physical visit, but I can get a pretty good feel for a place I’ve never visited.

My advice to aspiring writers? Invest in your career in some way, each and every day. There’s no shortcut or backdoor. Hard work is never time wasted.

 

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Andrew PetersonDays I Don’t Want to Write – An Author’s Journey Part 2 of 2

Keeping it Real – An Author’s journey Part 1 of 2

Taking yourself too seriously is a surefire way to lose sight of what’s really important. I make time to enjoy life, find something fun to do, or simply hang out with people who inspire me to laugh and be part of something bigger than my everyday life.

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Fun with dogs!

If you’ve met me, you know I’m an easy-going guy. I love meeting new people and learning new things. Being a novelist is rewarding in many ways. Talking in person with readers who’ve enjoyed my series is humbling, especially when they encourage me to: “Hurry up and release the next book!” I wish I could write faster.

Self promotion is something I find awkward and difficult. I’ve been taught humility is a good trait, so I’m uncomfortable talking about myself or my books. If you’ve ever seen me at a writers conference, I’m terrible at doing my own introduction or endorsing my latest novel. I’d rather talk about the craft of writing, editing, and polishing a manuscript. I enjoy giving back what others have given to me. I wouldn’t be published without the help of Ridley Pearson. He offered encouragement early in my career, something I’ll always cherish.

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Ridley Pearson

I love supporting other authors, but I also support my family, my church, my community, and especially my wife Carla. My passions outside of my writing career center around helping organizations that help animals, our veterans, law enforcement officers, and first responders. Doing so brings balance to my life.

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It’s a highly competitive industry, but I believe you can be successful if you’re willing to work hard and never give up. I’ve wanted to be a traditionally published for many years and indeed it took many years for that to happen. I attended dozens of conferences where I sought the guidance and advice from editors, agents, and other authors. Being a novelist isn’t a glamorous life, but it’s fulfilling. My writing is my career and I hold myself to high, professional standards.

To those of you who are aspiring authors I say, “never give up.” If you’re passionate about your writing, keep at it! Always look for ways to improve your craft. Don’t work in isolation – go to conferences to hone your prose. Yes, this might mean ten more re-writes. Take this to heart: Writing is the art of rewriting. On average, I do 15-20 editorial passes through every book.

If you enjoy sharing your stories and want to earn a living doing it, there’s no magic pill, shortcut, or back door. Join a writer’s group, attend conferences, and ask lots of questions. Put yourself into the professional mindset of a novelist and write!. That’s how you get your book published. I’m living proof it can happen!

 

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Andrew PetersonKeeping it Real – An Author’s journey Part 1 of 2

Tracey Reader Dad Thriller Blog Interview with Andrew Peterson

Join Andy over on the popular Tracey Reader Dad thriller blog!

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Andy’s Interview on the TRD Blog

  1. What is the story behind the Nathan McBride series? Where did the idea come from?

It would be easy to write several thousand words on this subject, but I’ll spare your blog readers!

My inspiration for creating Nathan McBride comes from my respect and admiration for our nation’s veterans. I’ve always wanted to make a Marine the hero of my stories, but I wasn’t sure what his role or background would be.

READ THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW HERE. 

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Andrew PetersonTracey Reader Dad Thriller Blog Interview with Andrew Peterson

RT Booklovers in Vegas…What a Whirlwind!

 

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RT Booklovers Convention is always a whirlwind experience. Meeting readers, discovering new authors, getting together with friends, and attending parties is always a great time. I attended many workshops and panels that kept me up to speed on new trends in the industry and what readers are interested in. Being Las Vegas for all of this was like icing on the cake.

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I’m not a gambler, but there’s an air of excitement to the city. There are so many amazing shows and so much to do. When I learned over 3100 attendees participated, and even more the day of the book fair, I was pleasantly surprised. When competing for entertainment attention, books rank up there with new movies, proving once again that people love good stories. I get a special feeling when I’m talking to enthusiastic readers.

It was fun running into several friends when I arrived. James Rollins, who recently made #1 on the NY Times bestseller list, received an award from the book review magazine. My good friend Anderson Harp was busy with the thriller panels, but made time to meet up for lunch.

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James Rollins, me and Anderson Harp

I also got the opportunity to meet Christine Feehan, another #1 New York Times bestselling author. We participated on a panel together about the military hero and his love life. Needless to say, Christine stole the show! She’s a super talented author and an equally nice person.

 

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Christine Feehan, me, Anderson Harp

On Thursday, I was interviewed for some videos about my books. I was later interviewed alongside author Pat Simmons as we talked about RT. This interview will be part of a promotional video that will launch online later this year.

Participating in the big thriller panel on Saturday night was an opportunity to sign books until I thought my pen would run dry!IMG_7223-e1462569679556-150x150 - RT Booklovers in Vegas...What a Whirlwind!

Toward the end of the week the annual Military SOS event allowed me to give free books to the troops and their families.

I had lots of fun. What happened in Vegas, actually came home with me, and for that I am grateful.

Next year’s RT Convention will be in Atlanta (May 2nd – 7th) and I hope you’ll join me!

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Andrew PetersonRT Booklovers in Vegas…What a Whirlwind!

Taking Chances Part 4 of 4: Adventures of the Ghillie Suit

Taking Chances Part 4 of 4

“Adventures of the Ghillie Suit”

I’m sure you can think of a movie you love that was based on a book, but on the other hand, I’m sure you can name some movies that aren’t as good as the books. And even one or two you wish had never been made. It happens. I think THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris is a classic example of how to do it right.

Although somewhat different, but in the same train of thought, I thought it would interesting to take a new kind of chance. Why not try a video series promoting the Nathan McBride series?

Since Sheila English (Circle of Seven Productions) is a good friend and colleague, and together we came up with a plan to create an episodic web series as opposed to a traditional book trailer. Sheila’s worked with most of the publishers in New York and she’s produced a highly successful web series for #1 NY Times bestselling author Christine Feehan. But, my idea wasn’t to do a series touting my books, but to do something fun and humorous with the goal of introducing people to my website and social media pages.

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The series is called, “The Adventures of the Ghillie Suit.” It’s a fun and whimsical story of a young man who’s reading the Nathan McBride series and comes up with a great idea. The audience was tasked with figuring out what he’s trying to do by analyzing clues contained in the video episodes.

I turned Sheila loose to write the script, direct the videos, and market the series. She masterfully created scenes in the videos that have elements from the books subtlety placed throughout the sets. She hired actor/model Scott Nova and his wife Lesley Verbus to star in the six-episodes. It was a significant financial investment, but I’d not seen anything done exactly like this, so it was worth taking the chance.

Once the episodes were completed, we shared them with my publisher. The marketing team at Thomas & Mercer was so impressed with the professional quality and overall entertainment value, the publishing team helped promote the series—exactly what I’d hoped would happen. Not only did it give the Nathan McBride series more exposure through Thomas & Mercer’s sphere of influence, but Circle of Seven also released it to its huge distribution base.

The video series was well received, but did it have a direct influence on sales? Yes. But increasing sales wasn’t the primary reason I had the series produced. It was produced to show my publisher that I’m willing to invest in my own career. I don’t expect APub to do all the heavy lifting. It was also a gift to my readers, a fun way for them to see a lighter side of an otherwise intense thriller series.

 

Seeing the video series led me to thinking about the silver screen, so I was amazed at the synchronicity when Scott Miller of the Trident Media Group called me. We talked about the viability of pursing a film rights deal for the Nathan McBride series. Scott and I had worked together in the past and I felt quite comfortable working with him again.

Scott approached Jon Cassir of CAA (Creative Artist Agency) the same agent who sold the book-to-film rights for THE MARTIAN. A few weeks later, I was thrilled to hear Jon loved the series and wanted to represent it.martian-150x150 - Taking Chances Part 4 of 4: Adventures of the Ghillie Suit

Many people have expressed interest in seeing Nathan McBride on television or the silver screen, and with Jon Cassir representing the series, it’s a whole lot closer to becoming a reality. Whether or not one or more of the books becomes the basis for a TV series or a film, I feel the experience of working with Jon and Scott is invaluable. I’m a good listener, especially when the subject of the conversation is outside my comfort zone—and Hollywood fits the bill. I have no idea how Hollywood works and can’t devote the time it would take to learn Hollywood’s unique and celebrated culture. That’s Jon’s role, he’s firmly plugged in.

I hope this blog series has inspired you be unafraid and take chances. Without a doubt, your experiences are, or will be, different and I invite you to share them. Be sure to always calculate the pros and cons and be able to live with your worst case scenario. Don’t risk money you can’t afford. You should always be prepared for frustration, but you should be equally prepared for success!

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Andrew PetersonTaking Chances Part 4 of 4: Adventures of the Ghillie Suit

Taking Chances Part 3 of 4: To Serial or not to Serial

Taking Chances Part 3 of 4

“To Serial or not to Serial”

Every new chance you take is an opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t. Some of those opportunities come from your publisher. Thomas & Mercer approached me with an idea to release my third book, OPTION TO KILL, as a serial novel. The book would be released in episodic format every two weeks, similar to the classic serials of yore.

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It was a big leap of faith.

Serialized fiction surged in popularity during Britain’s Victorian era, but that happened a longtime ago. The question was: could modern-day readers embrace the concept? In the age of fast food, fast cars and fast Internet, could people slow down and enjoy a novel over time, like a good bottle of wine? Many people don’t have large blocks of time to read. They’re busy with work, recreation, and family. I asked myself if these serial installments would appeal to them.

The answer was overwhelmingly no. Very few readers liked the episodic format, in large part because they didn’t fully understand what they’d purchased. It wasn’t a money issue. APub didn’t charge per episode. The book was sold at a huge discount upfront and the episodes automatically downloaded every two weeks.

It seemed our fast-food society wasn’t willing to wait. But I’d taken the chance.

Negative reviews hammered OPTION’s rating. I felt like a punching bag. All of the early one-star reviews criticized the episodic format. I remember an email exchange I had with Jeff Belle, Vice President of Amazon Publishing, in which I said, “Well, I guess the pioneers take the arrows!” He agreed and told me not to worry too much. Still, it was difficult to see. Don’t get me wrong, people liked the book, they just didn’t like the serial format. I responded to every email I received. The best advice I could give them was to wait until all the episodes had downloaded to read it.

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Although the serial novel project couldn’t be called a huge success, I really admire Amazon Publishing for giving it a try, and I’m glad I took part in it. It reflects APub’s forward and innovative thinking.

It was a challenging writing experience, to say the least. OPTION wasn’t a complete book that we broke into episodes. I wrote OPTION as a true serial novel—10,000-word episodes every two weeks. Needless to say, it took a toll on me. Overall, I’m glad I tried it.

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Andrew PetersonTaking Chances Part 3 of 4: To Serial or not to Serial

Taking Chances Part 2 of 4: Self-Publishing and Traditional

Take Chances Part 2 of 4

“Coming full Circle”

Yesterday we talked about how I released my second book in audio format for six months prior to the print release and how that worked for me. Today I’m going to talk about going from traditional publishing, to self-publishing, and back to traditional publishing.

There’s a lot of talk about self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and which is best. I’m here to tell you that “best” is relative to your situation. Both are good choices.

When FIRST TO KILL debuted, it was published by the largest trade paperback house in New York, Dorchester. Unfortunately, those were tumultuous times for the industry and the Dorchester soon succumbed and closed its doors, leaving me without a publisher.

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My agent at that time was Jake Elwell of Harold Ober Associates and he did a good job negotiating with Dorchester. We ended up foregoing the royalties owed to us in exchange for getting my rights back.

Since my second book, FORCED TO KILL, was scheduled to be released as an exclusive audiobook for six months, I was contemplating all my options. After the exclusive period ended, I didn’t want to delay getting FORCED in print, so I opted to self-publish. At the time, it was the right choice for me and I have no regrets. I’ve learned a great deal along the way.

I was fortunate to catch the attention of a newly formed publishing house, Thomas & Mercer, an imprint of Amazon Publishing Inc.

Alan Turkus made an offer to purchase the rights to the entire Nathan McBride series. Once again, I was faced with some career-changing choices. If I signed with APub, my books wouldn’t be carried by brick and mortar bookstores and they wouldn’t be sold by other eBook retailers. My books would be sold exclusively by Amazon. Weighing my options, I concluded that signing a contract with the world’s largest book retailer outweighed any potential negatives. And there were some risks. Signing with Amazon wasn’t a slam-dunk path to success. I worked very hard to produce the best product I could. It’s a highly competitive industry.Thomas-and-Mercer-300x67 - Taking Chances Part 2 of 4: Self-Publishing and Traditional

In hindsight, it was the right decision top make, but at the time, I didn’t know that with certainty. I took a chance. All of the Nathan McBride books have become #1 Kindle bestsellers in genre subcategories and they’ve all reached the top ten in the entire Kindle store. Amazon Crossing has translated FIRST TO KILL into five languages and other others are in the works.

Self-publishing or going the traditional publishing route is a choice. Weigh what you gain or lose and make the best choice for yourself. Some advice: Don’t be impatient. I believe many authors self publish because they just want to see their books in print. That wasn’t my goal. I wanted to keep the momentum going after the exclusive with Audible.com ran its course.

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Andrew PetersonTaking Chances Part 2 of 4: Self-Publishing and Traditional

Taking Chances Part 1 of 4: Audiobook First?

Over the next few weeks I’ll be blogging about some of the chances I’ve taken throughout my writing career and how it’s worked out for me. From releasing a book in audio format first, to releasing a book as a serial novel, to having the Nathan McBride series represented by Jon Cassir at CAA—a Hollywood powerhouse, it’s been an interesting and challenging journey. I hope my stories will inspire you.

Taking Chances Part 1 of 4
“Audiobook First?”

I’m a fairly conservative guy when it comes to business. I like having all the facts and working with experts before making big decisions or investments. But, I’m careful to weigh “safety” versus “potential” and I believe you have to take chances in order to find the bigger opportunities.
I’ve done quite a few things that were, at the time, new and untried. For example, my second book, FORCED TO KILL, was released as an audiobook with Audible.com before it ever went to print. Audible had a six-month exclusive and I feel that decision really paid off. The Nathan audiobooks have all become bestsellers and more importantly, this decision created a wonderful relationship with Audible that’s paid off in more ways than just book sales. I’ve met wonderful people at Audible who freely give me advice that has stayed with me throughout my writing career.

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Dick Hill, the golden voice of Nathan McBride and Jack Reacher, has become a trusted friend. Few people know this, but when I write manuscript, I have Dick Hill’s narration in mind. If I don’t think it will sound right with Dick Hill reading it, I edit the manuscript until it does. My goal is to deliver the smoothest, most polished book as possible because I have the reader’s best interest in mind.
In a good movie, you don’t notice the directing. Similarly in a good book, you don’t notice the writing. It just flows.
When I teach workshops at writers conferences, I always ask students to be unafraid and confident. Being an author means being a business person. They go hand in hand. I also ask students one simple question: “What business can you start that doesn’t involve some degree of risk?”
I believe taking chances can be more important than the outcome. It shows a willingness to think outside the box and take risks. To make money, you generally have to risk money. Making the decision to launch FORCED with Audible.com as an exclusive audiobook was risky, there was no guarantee of success. It turned out well, and FORCED TO KILL became an Audible bestseller, but had I not taken a chance, I would’ve always wondered if I should’ve.
No matter what profession you’re in, take some chances, seek people you trust, and invest in your career!ForcedToKill-689x1024-202x300 - Taking Chances Part 1 of 4: Audiobook First?

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Andrew PetersonTaking Chances Part 1 of 4: Audiobook First?