Thursday, January 5, 2017

Amazon's Kindle Scout - paperback rights and cover design with CreateSpace

One of the major perks of Kindle Scout is, when you get a publishing contract, you retain the paperback rights. This can be both positive and negative depending on your skill level. If you're not versed in self-publishing, then it might be a headache to navigate a platform that suites you best. Or it might be expensive to find a book cover designer.
I was excited to know that I have full control over the print version of Two Girls. With Severed Books already running for five years with So Say the Waiters, I have nearly all of my properties printing and selling through Amazon's Create Space website.
Knowing I'll get live updates of sales to books that I price myself is a relief. Making a little over $3 on a $11.99 sale through Amazon is a way better deal than any average author would get through a traditional contract. Without an agent in the way, I'll avoid the 10% off the top fee as well.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Amazon’s Kindle Scout – an Unexpected Campaign Success and Book Contract Win

To say I had everything going against me and my Kindle Scout campaign would be an understatement. I launched my campaign during the worst time, got a dismal page view count, and barely hit the "Hot and Trending" list. When I got the You’ve been selected! email, I held my phone, stunned. How did I pull it off? But let me back up just a little and explain how I got to that point.

I’ve been writing fiction for about seven years and poetry for much longer. I've gotten a few local grants and awards for my work, but nothing on an NEA scale. Thought I’ve tried to get an agent now and then, my work usually landed with great indie presses and no agent wanted to take on those projects.

In 2014, after self-publishing So Say the Waiters, I started working on Two Girls. I’d never written young adult stories before, but this felt right—the characters made sense and the semi-dystopic setting was weird and challenging. The story grew into two books—Two Girls = two books, right? I pitched it to over a hundred agents, one of which gave me a sort of half-yes and then, after six months, decided not to take the series. That was pretty disappointing.
Then I put the manuscripts down. Away. Shelved. My creative life did a creative 180. I started making tabletop games, successfully funded a $22,000 Kickstarter by myself, then another for $7,000 while reinventing myself as a game writer. And it was/is fun. Amid all this and also writing the second installment of a complicated role playing game, I decided to submit Two Girls to Amazon's Kindle Scout.
I submitted my novel RIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING. I clearly wasn’t thinking. At all. The campaign for Two Girls literally started on Thanksgiving Day and ended… take a guess… on Christmas Eve. Some people might say, “Oh, that’s great, people are off work and looking for something to read.”
No. People are shopping on Black Friday. They’re scooping up deals on Cyber Monday. They’re scrambling to cook and travel and pack and wrap presents and avoid creepy uncles and everything else that’s holiday related. I knew I had made a massive mistake.
Marketing is something I do fairly well. My Instagram for my game making endeavor has over 3,300 followers after 9 months of posting original content. I’ve been promoting things like night club events to poetry readings to political fundraisers for almost two decades. How did I make this insane timing mistake?

Disappointed in my crap timing, expectations sunk, I posted about Two Girls on Instagram and Facebook when it launched and quickly tried to put it out of my mind.
In the next 30 days, Two Girls had only 330 page views which is around 10 pages views a day. That’s nothing compared to other authors who paid for ads and posted on social networking platforms with Trump-like aggression. And the “Hot and Trending” list? Well, I got a pop at the end and made it on there for 71 hours = less than 3 days.

When the campaign ended, I sighed and thought, “Well, that was a good lesson. Never schedule a month-long campaign between the two biggest holidays of the year… idiot.”
And then the unimaginable happened. I got the email. Two Girls was accepted for publication by Amazon Kindle Press.
So what the hell happened here? I think the new lesson is this. Amazon’s editors are paying attention and they are looking for compelling work. Two Girls is a Young Adult series at its core, but its also difficult to categorize. It's kinda of science fiction, but not really. It's kinda dystopic, but hardly. It's a bazaar teen drama with lots of perspective shifting and questions about American identity. Not the easiest sell.
Admittedly, I had this going for me: I’m an established author with a good presence on Amazon. So Say the Waiters is a 3 book series with over 600 reviews on Goodreads and Amazon combined. It's currently opened for TV. So where does that leave the first-time author with little to no web presence? I still think you've got a decent shot.
Here’s the good news. If you have a strong project, but don’t have a wide social marketing reach, it might not matter. Amazon's editors get paid to find great writers. It's to their benefit because you're a possible revenue resource that takes little to no maintenance after installment: they plug in your asset and hopefully it makes them a 50% profit over the course of months or years.

Remember, I did nearly no marketing to boost my Kindle Scout campaign and I landed a contract.
Here's your Kindle Scout to do list:
  1. Create a great cover.
  2. Have someone proof your novel.
  3. Refine your blurb.
  4. Have someone else proof your novel.
  5. Ready your modest social media campaign.
  6. Have a THIRD person proof your novel.
  7. Post your campaign.
Keep writing. Never be boring. Fill the world with the weird shit.

I'll keep posting about the editing and publishing experience here. I just submitted the updated manuscript to the editors and I'm waiting for their notes/edits.

Check back soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Thursday, July 2, 2015

So Say the Waiters pilot episode - TV

I wrote the So Say the Waiters pilot screenplay last week and submitted it to my producer. It was a furious four days of writing. The pilot is nearly identical to the book’s first episode except for Dani doesn’t get mugged, and I wrote a “teaser” that eludes to Henry’s eventual embracing of his Taker identity.  

The producer suggested some edits that were smart. Rethinking those, I changed the ending to give it some real impact and the producer seemed to love the idea.

I’m editing the mission statement and show bible now.

More soon on another film project in the works with this awesome lady.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Guy's Baltimore Bar-B-Que Joint Menu Leaked

Update: Yeah, I wrote this. There's two So Say the Waiters references in it. ;)
Looks like someone leaked the extended menu for Guy's Baltimore Bar-B-Que Joint in the Horseshoe Casino. I can't wait to get down there and try a few of these.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Last Book of Baghdad coming in 2016

I'm excited to share that Civil Coping Mechanisms will be publishing The Last Book of Baghdad in 2016. This novel is a spin-off of Falcons on the Floor. 

Here's what the publisher has to say: 

In the Last Book of Baghdad, Sirois explores a world where, under desperate conditions, a lost collection of poems might be able to save a person's life. In The Last Book of Baghdad, we see Nisreen Abid robbed of two beloved things: Al Mutanabbi Street—the literary hub of Baghdad—and her husband. With Al Mutanabbi Street in ruins, Nisreen tricks a book printer to help her locate her kidnapped husband while navigating the deadly city. Baghdad is burning out of control. Little does she know, the book she uses as ransom to get her husband back will be the most important book of her life. Justin Sirois is at the peak of his powers, crafting prose inside historical contexts largely ignored by Western media. Sirois is exploring what would easily be hidden, a world that is as real as it is ready to be revealed: In THE LAST BOOK OF BAGHDAD, the power of the written word proves that a dead poet's words are enough transcend war's many tortures. THE LAST BOOK OF BAGHDAD will be released as part of the Quarter 2 CCM 2016 Catalogue. We're coping.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

WIN the entire audiobook series of So Say the Waiters

Want to win 24 hours of audiobooks? That's right, a whole damn day of books. All three So Say the Waiters audiobooks. All you have to do is post this link to Facebook:

and email me to let me know you did it. Do this before January 15th and you'll be entered to win $60 worth of So Say the Waiters. Awesome, right?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

a Serial set in Baltimore

Strangely enough, this Baltimore set serial was written a mile away from where Serial's story takes place. Episode one came out in September 2012. This serial doesn't have murder or drugs or anything that Baltimore is stereotypically known for. In fact, it celebrates Baltimore's art and music scenes as well as the 12 O'Clock Boyz, one of the city's wildest subcultures.

Get most of it for free here (eBook):


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TICKLE TORTURE - Iraq constraint poem - 2005

Originally written and designed in 2005, this map of Iraq was an interactive prose poem. You could click on the provinces and a pop-up poem would be accompanied with the image below. Each province had a poem and an image. To make Tickle Torture complete, I used the name of the province as a constraint in the poems. Each word begins with the letters of the province's name and they repeat until the poem ends:


"acrid legislation again nauseates bachelors and rabble-rousers across lands afar..." 
I wanted to juxtapose images of domesticity with the violent text to show America's apathy towards the human rights violations in Iraq. It was important that these photos mimicked the compositions of the photos that were taken at Abu Ghraib -- pig piles, horsing around, force feeding, and humiliation. Reading the poems now, they seem insane. But I think I was writing from an almost insane perspective. The Coalition was acting in such an inhuman way that I we, as a country, were collectively ill.

This was a year after the sieges of Fallujah which lead to me writing Falcons on the Floor and MLKNG SCKLS.


overwhelmed by a powerful minority in AL-ANBAR

acrid legislation again nauseates bachelors and rabble-rousers across lands afar. Notice barbaric admirals racing aeronautics, launching able-bodied national boys afire, rocket adorned limbs acrobatic northward. Bartenders and repairmen lock and noggin before about-face registration after longsuffering abysmal nightshifts behind archenemy radars. All lame-duck ambassadors negotiate barbarically, abbreviated notations barking at radio announcers, legions anchored near broadcasting affiliates robbing all liberty. Answer no back and river a lie, auspicious Natalie books a room and lights another Newport, bathes and rests as lavender air necklaces ballroom audiences, roaring applause loosen ancient networks. Barely alive, republican and liberals astonish news barons and retired anchors

trounced by youths in BADILONIA

both adolescents darted in, lewd, ornery, naked in army blazers. Armed dandelions ill-treating landowners on night interrogation amiss bastardizing apes dillydallying inflated Legos, opening napes indulgent and bleeding. Anacondas dangle imps loincloth off nearly italicized anuses, bondages adhere dads insecure, leaning over negotiations illegal almost. Barnyard antics do ill, leave organs nearly iconoclastic and badly assaulted, damaged internally like open naves. I’ve analyzed brats after deathblows inserted lovingly on nude inmates, allowed bankrupt anecdotes dagger immunity, lancing opposition nebulas ideology agape. Both adulterated daughters incised letters over nibbled insurgent, abracadabra bad Aladdin, don’t imitate lessons observed. Natalie imitated a bastard and deliberately investigated lampshades, opened naked in armored burkas and didn’t initially let Orin know, implied allegiance, bagged a doozy immoral leech

BAGHDAD, a hotbed for bad guys

baby’s-breathe and gasoline have Dinar accelerating downward, bet all gamecocks helplessly. Doodle aggressive, dangerous bids against heehaw dolts avenging daddy. Begrudge acculturation, God head deities attack downtowns, bridges and grandiose hotels, decimate attractive districts, bombard ambassador’s gaudy harems. Deacon assigned, do bazooka anti-ballistic gallstones halfcocked, directed at dictators baroque and gangly, hanky-panky dudes across dudes, bodies abed gratuitous heads, diptychs as dialog bids “adieu good hero!” Deficits add defense bills and go headstrong, defiling Allah’s daughters, bellyaching annoyingly, “gosh her demeanor ain’t damsel”, boring and grouchy Heathers dodging able-bodied drafts because army galleons head death and dames belong at gated homelands

horseplay in a BASORA Howard Johnson

brawny armadas sashay over ranges and bound across sororities of rose-colored alley. Bloody alamedas surge onward, rouse amassments, boys aiming sabers, ordinary rebels aching beliefs among sisters. Orin ransacked abominable Baghdadians and suffocated opinions, rammed Adam’s beefcake apples, suppressed oral ritual aglow, battered accomplices (so oppressively) rightwing architects boasted alarm. Sorrowful Orin raucously acclaimed, “bastards, amoral Shiites, ostracized rebels all bow, acropolis surrenders, oxblood running aqueducts bleed as syrupy oxide!” Renegades always bounce at signs of retreat, a bomber attaches sizzling oysters, rifles at bureaucrats and storms orthodontists rented asylums, blast apart storefronts, offices, rheumatic apartment buildings. Apostils (so ornate) run away, Baghdad afire so Orin runs after, bayonets another soldier

unidentifiable bodies in DAHUK, stray dogs & no food

difficult axis, hidden underbelly kicked dirty angle, he urinated kazoos despite able husky urbane kidneys, drizzled almond hurl, upchucked knots dipped abnormal hunks. Understand, kids don’t allow humans ultimate kinetic damnation, adolescents hang unabashed killers, deglove appendages, husk up knickers dermis and heckle unsuspected kinder. Dastardly amateurs have unrestricted karate duels, dance around haggard urchins, knuckle down aggressive Hamas uprisings. Known deaths are hidden, umpteen Kremlins debunked and hurry-scurry kerosene dribbled Acura hollows urban Koran dormrooms. AWOL hushpuppies, unarmed knockabouts dissert armaments, happily underhand Kodak debauchery and howl “uncle!”

no hotel to be found in DI QAR

David initiated quiet air raids, deadeye Illinoisian quietly aiming remote darts into quads and rooftops, detonating improvised quakes around rotundas decamping immigrants. Quixotic avatars ramble delirious, imagine quarterbacks arriving, recruits dropped, impacted quadriceps aggravating rural dialects. Interrogating quasi aggressors, rough David implied questions about remote diplomats imitating queens as rouge disguises. Immingling quick arrows, red-blooded David issued quadruple artless roundhouses directly into quarantined Arabs, daylights irradiated quizzically. Ancient rituals do illustrate , quartered and rightly drawn impastos, quaff airy renditions, draft illegal quarrels and rites disrespected invade quant auditoriums, revengeful desert igloos quiver

discontent among the natives in DIYALA

does ibuprofen yield amulets, lackadaisical avocado drowsiness in you? Angry, lazy, and drug induced youths anonymously lambaste archaic democracy. Invalid yoyo attorneys lecture at disorderly, indignant youngsters. Affidavits lie and documents yammer autobiographical lechery as debaucheries yodel, “Allah, let all determined insurgents yap at Louisiana Argonauts, dismantle idealistic Yankees and leave administrations dumfounded. Ignore yesterday’s alert, lynch Americans and damn infidels!” Your Advil lasts all day, into yesteryears as lollipop amphetamine droop irises, yaw apertures larger awesome diameter. Invalid youths, arm-less and diseased, injured Yorker adapting loose appendages, drag itchy yards across long all-nighters drenched in yogurt adrenaline. Lounging anxious dudes, intestines yanked and limbs amputated, don’t interrupt you, artificial Lieutenants aikido downriver, incoherent yelping accent languages abolished

the wounded, IRBIL

intoxicated rebellious boys influence legions, infamous renegades boast inebriated lunacy in rundown bars. I’ve launched incontrollable ribald bursts immixing lampoons, ignorant ruses, balderdash into laugh infusible. Rehashed babble inspires little, irony recycled births insubordinate lords inserting religious beliefs into livers. Injured rangers bubble intestinal liquid, ink, red blood irrupting, leaks informative rumors, ballads inciting linguistic revolutions buried in litigation. Instruments rocket ballyhoo, inspectors lodge in rubble, buildings imploded like inverted raincoats, biographers italicizing liberal

no hallway is safe in KERBALA

kids experiment, ransack babes and love all Kirstens, Erins, Rachaels, Bonnys and Lauras. Anglo-Saxon khaki elites relish barbarically as lesser apes kneel execution ready, bowing at laughing aggressors kicking everyone’s rhubarb, balls and linear algebra. Know-it-alls exclaim, “rejoice boys, Apaches lynched and kvetching extremists run blindly, all lambkill accomplished, kennel each rebel, bastard and librarian!” Kids ecstasy, roll beans and lick acid, knock elixir rounds back as legacy alumni knuckle easel refined beverage artisans, liberals are knapped excessively, republicans bang at lady’s asses, knees, rib bones and lapels, arms kinking evangelists rant Babylonian attractions loudly and keynote excitedly. Ramadan brings awakened linguists ascending Koran eureka, robed Baath allies leaf almanacs, Kafka encrypted right-minded bugs allowing little autocracy

hungry hungry MAYSAN

men avoid you, staying away, never messaging, answering “yup”, sometimes a nonchalant, “mmm” and yesterday saying “ah, never mind” All yahoos, smug assholes, negative misogynists and yuppie sexists alamode nymphs, mayonnaise young silhouettes as night molts and yen strengthens. Absentminded nimrods militarize armored yearlings, students and new medics airlift yellowbellies, sew amber napes mortared after yesterday’s suicide attack. Nibbling man’s agenda yawns satiated and no mouth’s appetite yearns so anorexic, neurotically masticating alien yoke, swallowing applesauce, Nutella, mustard and yellow sauces, Asian nonfat marmalades, yummy sour Anhui nourishment, Mexican avocado yogurts, salsas and naranja margaritas. Appointed yokozunas swell as nations, malevolent and yanked segregated, applaud nomadic militants

happy to have you in AL-MUTANNA

anglophiles lollygag months, uncles toss away nanoseconds, nix and assassinate minutes until time nicknames nine-to-fivers and neurotic nickel-and-dimers, annually annihilating life’s most theological aspects. Nocturnal nationalists, anti academic leaders make uniforms tight around new Napoleon armies, a little man unifying theocracies. Aunts nurture nephews and administer love, mothers unflinchingly toil all night, never arguing about lending money. Underpaid techs abandon networks, news anchors (aplomb lecturers making uranium tattles) arrest nobodies, neutralize adolescents and laser mosques until towers affirm nuclear. Numbskulls autograph amendments loosely, make upheavals totally Alamo, netting nettlesome anarchists and lowbrow media universally to amplify nothing newsworthy. Appointees amputate liberal mouths, usurp teachers and nullify Nietzsche accolades

NAYAF, I saw you and you was I

neighbor aftermath, you all-out falling naked, arriving yellowy and fearing nucleuses. A yearbook autographed feverishly, names and youthful amendments feature nerds, athletes, yahoos and freaks nervously appeasing yuppie American figureheads. No-good arithmetic, you and favorites (necklaces and yarn) always failing notebooks, armoire years and filth novelty, atom yielding and fire noxious. All your afternoon friends napalmed, archways yoked and fortitudes nebbish after yea-sayer arm frigates, navy aircraft, yawning, “apprehend foreign nationals, artillery young arcade fire, now and years after freedom!” Necking, apprehensive youngsters applaud fighters, ninja appareled yowling antipersonnel, Fidel nameless and yes

NINIVE party

no, I’ve never invented villains, evildoers, nobody ignitable, neurosis institutional, veiled enemies negotiating injustices narcotic. I’ve violently emptied nines into neighbors, injured veneer executives, needled infections, nuked invalids vaulting excrement, neutralized intelligent neoconservative idiots voting excommunicative. Natalie interviewed nicotine insurgents voicing expressive nuisance, innocent nationals interpreting vesper eagles, nitrogen incumbents nonchalantly invoking volatile explosives. Natalie’s introspection never involved very elaborate notes, internal networks intervened verbatim executions, nihilistically inserted nickelodeon ignorance via electronic news

food fighting in AL-QADISIYAH

automatons love quaaludes and drug intoxicated soldiers, Icarus yokels arson hash and light quaffed aerosols dizzying inoculated sons. Ill-mannered Yankees appropriate homemade apparatuses, lick quality acid disguised in sculptured insignia. Yummy anniversaries, holidays about liberty, quaint ale dowsed inebriates squeal illiterate yaaahs and hurrahs at lily-livered Quebec. Atomic deserts implode states, injure young action heroes and liquefy quartz appendixes, decompose intestine, soften impregnable yacht aortas hiccupping acrid Listerine. Quiche (anthrax dusted in suitcases) infiltrates yet another homestead and lieutenants quagmire a desert in shambles

SALAH-AD-DIN, crawling with the appalling

sovereign alliances liquidate and hostile antiheros declare death. Inebriated national security ack-ack long-range as happy adversaries detain delirious infidels, notorious sheriffs and locust ameba. Hallelujah and dusted disease, infants neck soothing at lounging apron handlers and dribble drool, inking nasty snot and loogies at headmistresses. Assassin dwarfs, dainty in navy suits, assault lips and heads, avenge dad, dig inside nose sulfur and livers. Angled henchmen arrive, delivering documents into Natalie’s suitcase and leather attaché, hearsay aluminum diskettes declassifying internal nodes so alleged. Leaked attachments headline all day, developed infectious negatives sail across lagoons, assailing horizons and Demerol democracy in newsstands satiated.

forced to feed in SULEYMANIYA

stateside universities lament, educated youths mobilize and network, initiating yes action, solidarity understanding, liberating everyone yawning motionless and napping. Institutional yolk and saucy urban language exclaim yards, miles and nations in yellowing anguish, swollen ulcer lips eat yogurt militarism and nude interrogation, yelping agents suture ultraviolent lashes every yonder Monday and night. Intestinal yarn and stomachs upchuck empanada yoyos, meaty albatross, narratives inside your appendix solidify, urns leak enslaved year memory. Aggravated Natalie immigrated yesterday and sat unfazed, left exercising yoga methods and nice insurance, yerba antidotes, safe utopian lodges, elite yachts, majesty and notoriety. Incubating Yankee armaments safely umbrella literary embedded younkers, maids and newsy interviewers yap apprehensively. She uses less, eventually yashmak masked and nightly incognito, yowling at soldier’s uniforms leaking extremist yuck


autoclaved teeth touch aluminum metal, incisors meet and tin topples atmospheric monuments in memoriam, abominable totems tremble as men ignite mortars at them, trashing and maiming iconography. Media archetypes tell tall apocalyptic misleading information, morbid accounts tickle torture audiences mesmerized in motels, apartments, twixt towers and mansions. In-between mouths, air transmits tabloid atrocities, message instant memos across talky telephones and mimeographing internets mail attachments that tantrum adult men in Maine and Tennessee, Texas and Massachusetts. Inert maws anoint tongues tapping at mammary italics, malleable amorphous teats, touching and massaging intelligent minds as theories terminate and mingle idealistic meat and tofu

just a taste in WASIT

white and satiated imperial teens, washed-up abolitionist savages imitate totally wasted animatronic soldiers, it’s their whatever attitudes soaked in Tylenol water and sashaying ideology that wanes Arab salutation. Information tasting watchdogs attack sitting inmates, tare wall-to-wall arm sockets, incapacitate tendons wiggling apart, snapping innards, taunting warlords and suiciders. Immigrants trade wampum and swap indigenous tales, waist armed saints ignite TNT widows and strap imploding totes while atoms sail into train wharfs and slam inside transit ways. Autos swerve, idling towards workplaces and subway inmates, tunnels wigwag and shutdown into twilight walking and suits imitate tourists, wordless and speech insipid

Friday, November 14, 2014

Free - So Say the Waiters

eBook 2 is free. eBook 1 is $2.99 for Kindle and FREE for Nook and iBooks. That's 600 pages for $2.99 or totally free. Go get taken

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shadow of Mordor - The Nemesis System will change the RPG industry

Let me say this: the Nemesis System will change the RPG industry
You won’t find a more engrossing open-world next-gen action game than Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. I’m having as much fun with it as Dragons Dogma, which is to say, a lot of fun. It’s got all the elements to make a successful RPG—upgrades galore, loot finding, varied action, good pacing, a compelling story—but where the real world-building begins is in the Nemesis System. This is one of the smartest and nuanced mechanics I’ve ever seen in a game. Other writers have described it before, and probably better than I can, but I will say that it adds a level of realism and player investment that I’ve never seen before.

Dying by the hands of an Orc that killed you before and leveled up in the Orc ranks (because of your death)… that’s humiliating. I wanted to hunt down that rhyming, spitting butthole-eyed toad and turn his throat into a sprinkler. In time, I did. And man, it felt good.
Mastering the controls takes a little while if you aren’t familiar with other fighting games like the recent Batman series. In about 2 hours, I was grinning with every beautifully choreographed execution kill. So yeah, the developers mashed up the best of Assassin’s Creed and Batman, blended together tried-and-true RPG elements, and worked hard to make this world real. What did they get? A hit. They hit it out of the park. I’ll go as far as to say that the Nemesis System has raised the bar and will set a standard for AI and new types of storytelling.
I can’t wait to see where they take this in the inevitable sequel. Hats off to WB Games.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

So Say the Waiters book 3 release party

So Say the Waiters book 3 release party
Thursday, September 25th 7pm
Baltimore MD

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Beta Testing Popular Discussion Topics


Because I am serially checking in on the progress of So Say the Waiters, I noticed that Amazon just launched a tool that organizes reviews by popular topic. You can see that “Characters”, “Writing”, and “Action” are highlighted in the screen gab above. I like this for a few reasons. A savvy reader will know what kind of fiction they enjoy—be it character driven novels or action packed plots. This lets a new reader filter hundred, sometimes thousands of reviews into manageable blurbs. Alternatively, it can show faults in the novel. Some action-based books have flat characters because the author is relying too much on plot. Consumers can quickly (or, more quickly) see if that’s something that reviewers have pointed out.
I also like it because I can quickly see trends in my fans’ (or haters’) reviews. It’s an effective tool for understanding your work on a popular level. The internet, if anything, is honest. Anonymous reviewers, as I’ve quickly learned, do not hold back. Hell, they’re downright mean. They told me that Henry is a crybaby in the first book of So Say the Waiters. They’re right. I overdid that part and regret it a little.
I hope Amazon keeps experimenting with features like these. They helpful not only to the consumer, but the content creator. I’d love to see what topics Amazon filters out, though. What key words will never pop up in the topic menu.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

So Say the Waiters update / TV option / audio book / box set

Wow, haven't posted here in a while. So, big updates. Firstly, the audio book is 2/3s finished. Midnight Treehouse in NYC is producing the entire series and I couldn't be happier. It's really weird hearing a narrator bring all of these (8-10?) characters to life. After listening to about twelve hours, I'm absolutely convinced that Pete, the narrator, is the best guy for the job.  
Book three is finished and with my editor. I never imaged I would ever write a 900 page novel, but there it is. I'm planning on publishing the last book of the series, book three, this summer.
Nolen Strals of Post Typography is drawing illustrations for the three covers which will essentially rebrand the entire series. That's exciting for a number of reasons. 1. I never loved the covers I designed. Book two looks pretty cool with the twisted tire, but people who aren't familiar with the series have no idea what it means. 2. Nolen is an old friend from college and a local Baltimore punk / graphic design hero. He's perfect for the job. Plus, his old band is mentioned in book three.
This brings us to the box set. All three books, now that they will be rebranded, will make a nice box set. I'm trying to figure out how to package them together in an inexpensive way. A zip-tie binding all three together? I don't know. No matter what, when all three books are lined up, they will look awesome.
Lastly, and this is the big one, I finally signed the final, final draft of the option. Word is, my producer has another high profile producer/actor on board, but I can't name who it is yet. This positions us to pitch to major cable networks with a good chance at filming the pilot. Keep checking the So Say the Waiters Facebook page for more info. We are already talking about who will make the best Dani and Henry.  

I'm also keeping the price of book one really low to get new readers into the series. Spread the link around if you have a second.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cat Hole (autographed)

102 pages / perfectly bound / matte cover / $9.99
most of these poems were originally published by Newlights Press.

The tattoo / underneath the tattoo / speaks the language I want to learn.”  Justin Sirois has always been one of my favorite living poets.  “You have / everything you need / when you’re naked”, I trust, I trust ALL his discourse with our throbbing excitement for communion.  His poems are our best possible use for ears.  If I don’t know you and you LOVE these poems as much as I do, let’s get together to read them out loud over a delicious slice of something.  “Lick the window / & your reflection licks back” is a delicious something we all love.  It’s important they know to have a copy of this book resting on my heart when they cremate me.



The poems in The Heads by Justin Sirois make me feel so many things. They are not “temples,” but “squishy” things that “I love to put my face in.” I like it that way. These are poems that are part of life, constantly affirming and reaffirming it. A life that greets you with its magic. As when "What fits in the hand/ grows into armfuls." Or when you "sex this bathroom until the bathroom ain't for/ bathing no more." Everywhere is the “imagery” of life that “repeats in heaps of beauty." These are also poems that are part of the digital America we live in now and so they make that alternate existence beautiful. I hear echoes of Walt Whitman, Eileen Myles, and Blake Butler in these poems. I hear echoes of old folk songs. Most importantly, I hear the breathing of an indefatigable in these lines. One that is living and listening. Let's follow it.

Dorothea Lasky


"When you realize the new Old Spice ads might be working on you, when you're trying to split the difference between desk jobs and shoulder licks, when you're old enough for raunch to go holy but still young enough for GIFs to go infinite—that's when you know you're in the LoS of Justin Sirois's barking and bounding poems. The Heads are singing to the super ugly animals that pace the medians. They are twitching to put back some magic. They are winking that the word "okay" is the most useful word in the room, and they are hoping to be together with you because the only way a head gets a name is when another takes it in."

Mike Young

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and Falcons on the Floor

A literary critic and professor at SUNY Buffalo is writing an article contrasting The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and my novel Falcons on the Floor. The Yellow Birds is a well respected novel with multiple awards and it was put out by a large publisher. It was short listed for the National Book Award and it got the PEN/Hemingway prize along with The Guardian's First Book Prize. Authors like Tom Wolf blurbed it. It has over 11,000 ratings on Goodreads. 

On the other hand, a small press published Falcons on the Floor. It had no agent or publicist. All the promotions were done by Adam Robinson or me. Although it got a lot of praise by magazines and journals and even Dahr Jamail (Al Jazeera producer and author of Beyond the Green Zone) and Alphonso Lingis. It received no prizes. Compared to The Yellow Birds, almost no one outside the indie lit community read Falcons on the Floor

From what I know of the article, it's pretty critical of The Yellow Birds. I'm curious to see what it says not just about the novels, but about Kevin Powers who is also a poet. I know these are two very different novels, but they do have similar motives.