Opus XXVII has a title…

Opus XXVII has a title…

A book’s title is its calling card, a two-second elevator pitch

A lot of work has been done on my coming novel in the first couple of weeks so the new year. I pretty much finalized the manuscript and finally sent it off to the publisher. I also had a long conversation with them about the book. A book without a cover is almost like a product in a plain box. You might be able to tell what it is, but still, is it for you? Would you like it? Do you desire it? Want it? A book without a title is not much to publish. Then again, a book with a bad title isn’t much better. I recently read an interesting post on the subject, I won’t have to do so. Read it instead. It’s really good. So after a lot of back and forth, we did come up with a title that encapsulates the essence of the story without giving away anything in terms of the plot. This is a crime novel after all and we don’t want people to know whodunnit until the very end.

Our ancient cemetery, a fitting image given the book's about crime...

Our ancient cemetery is a fitting image given the book is about crime…

Next steps

The road from manuscript to book is long. Not necessarily in terms of time, as small publishers can work a lot more nimbly than the big publishers who are driven more by stock prices and quarterly results than the creative outcome from their authors. Publishing a book is a complex endeavor encompassing the following (not an exclusive list): editing, proofing, typesetting, formatting, cover creation, marketing & PR plans, metadata uploading to the countless sites that will be selling the book (from Amazon, Apple to Smashwords and then some.) Some of these are works of love, others are tedious chores, yes metadata, I’m looking at you. But without all of that stuff in place, a book will never be sold. We also had to decide on a date of publication and we ended up finding a great compromise that will allow me some extra special marketing.

Marketing of a book

So… I don’t have a cover yet, although it’s on the publisher’s to-do list. Without a cover, it’s going to be difficult to start marketing efforts. Sure, I can plan events but anything that’s visual requires a cover, as it is the book’s face and calling card. As you may know, I’m a bit peculiar about my covers, and I’m really curious as to what the publisher comes up with. We’ve discussed an option or two, but I haven’t seen anything yet.

The next aspect of a book’s marketing is about events, launch events. I have a few planned already. I’ll be in New Orleans before the book’s official release for The Tennessee Williams Festival’s LGBTQ SAS Fest. We’ll have copies of the book on-site for sale prior to the official release date. That’s a really cool thing. Also, I will be reading from the book at the festival. On the actual release date, I’ll probably organize something here at the house again. Since the book plays out on the island where we live, I assume there will be some interest to attend. I for one can’t wait. But we’ll see. I may also do an event in the city at our house of literature and hopefully do something with our local English bookstore.

What's plausible to happen on the streets here?

What’s plausible to happen on the streets here?

After the official release, I’ll travel to New York for the upcoming Rainbow Book Fair. I’ve been to that event every year since 2016, and I look forward to the afternoon. It’s the world’s largest LGBTQ bookfair and always attracts huge crowds. I missed it these past years as it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Events aren’t everything

But I won’t just do live and physical events. There are blogs (including this, my own), podcasts, and social media. Every time we put out a book, you have to tell people you have another one out there. Amazon will alert you if you follow an author, but otherwise, any new book is going to drown in the thousands published every day. People often ask me why I write in English, being a Swede living in Sweden. That makes marketing here really difficult. Libraries won’t be interested, nor will schools or book clubs. I wish I had an answer except that English is the language where. feel most comfortable writing fiction. I couldn’t do it in German and I’m not sure I could in Swedish. I just haven’t felt it, but alas, what do I know? I’m certainly not saying “never”.

The page for the book is ready but won’t be published until I have a cover. Watch this space, the news section, and feel free to follow/friend me on Facebook. I guess that’s where most of the news will be published. There might be a trailer on YouTube, but my presence on social media is fairly limited these days.

Now that you’ve read this far, here’s what you really want to know, right? The new book’s title is “Anna and the Lost Zorn“. It will be available as an eBook and paperback on April 6, 2023, coming from Beaten Track Publishing.

My Fallen Angel of Paris: You Know How He Died, Learn How He Lived!

My Fallen Angel of Paris: You Know How He Died, Learn How He Lived!

Michel, My Favorite Fallen Angel is Yours to Enjoy!

Why Fallen Angel? The idea was first born in 2014 when we were discussing concepts for the novel about Haakon. Fallen Angels of Karnataka was born out of the idea to name the foundation that Mahender was already running, a foundation rescuing children from slavery in Bangalore (Bangaluru.) I’ve always considered children to be angels, and fallen angels would thus be children who died or who are sold into slavery. Sadly this is a reality for countless children in India, and without claiming to be a prophet, one of India’s most famous campaigners against child labor and slavery, Kailesh Satyarthi, was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize along with Malala Yousafzai. I might add that was AFTER my novel had been published that year. In a way, part of Mahender embodies Kailesh. Michel is also a fallen angel, and if you read the book, you will understand why.

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The grieving angel from Wuppertal is also adorning one of our living room walls.

The cover for Michel

The hunt for Michel’s cover began last fall before I was finished with the manuscript. Based on the angel on the cover of Haakon’s novel, which is a grieving cherub from a graveyard in Brussels, I wanted an angel on the cover of Michel as well. My publisher and I decided early on to base the cover on the design for The Fallen Angels of Karnataka. We just needed an angel that reflected who Michel was. Several ideas were tossed around but I didn’t like any of them. I began a search and low and behold, “my” angel appeared on top of the search results. I don’t recall the exact search phrase, but I can still find the angel easily.

However, after researching for the photographer to try and secure the rights to the photographs, we learned that he was a conspiracy theorist and a big fan of people I personally dislike. Instead, I did further research into where the angel comes from and secured help from a local photographer to take pictures of the angel in the cemetery in Wuppertal, Germany. One of the photos was chosen for the cover, another ended up on the wall of our living room because we love the expression of the statue so much.

Based on the image, my publisher created the covers for all three versions of the book, and I love all three of them! The cover has been finalized for almost six months, which is an oddity for my work.

Michel–Fallen Angel of Paris

Michel is all yours now!

As a writer, we live very closely with our characters, for months on end. I’ve lived with Michel for over eight years, and ever since I wept after writing the following line, I’ve felt I need to redeem myself in his eyes:

“Michel’s head was starting to feel heavy on Haakon’s shoulder.
“Michel, do you mind?”
There was no response. Michel was no more.”

In The Fallen Angels of Karnataka, I had to move on. This was, after all, only page sixty-four of a book of almost 300 pages. But Michel never let go. Of all the characters who pass away in my books, he was undoubtedly my favorite one. I don’t say that lightly. It took me six years to come back and write his story. It took another two to finish it

Parting is such sweet sorrow

It’s never easy to publish a story, and I’m not just referring to imposter syndrome or failing sales. My characters come to me from the depths of my subconscious, and even though I can see parallels to people in the real world every now and then (Claude, a character in the novel, is partially based on someone I once knew in Brittany), Michel is the construct of countless experiences, people, emotions and I have no clue where he came from. Both he and Haakon are complete enigmas in terms of origins. But I feel very protective toward them, and releasing Michel’s story to a broad public is a scary prospect. What if people don’t like him? However, to be an author means letting go, putting on my big boy pants, and getting on with it. Shakespeare’s wise words do ring true!

Michel–Fallen Angel of Paris is available as a paperback, ebook, and audiobook starting today from bookstores, Amazon, and other online resellers. The audio version is narrated by my friend and amazing actor Michael Bakkensen.