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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Why I'm offering Variant Covers on John Haynes Books This Year

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Isis: The Beauty Myth Cover Refresh

One of the best books in the Isis series has a brand new cover!

I got in touch with South African Manga artist Muzi Jay Nkosi and he designed a new cover for Isis: The Beauty Myth. And it’s been getting extremely positive feedback from people all over social media. Muzi did a GREAT job with this cover and gave Isis the beauty of a goddess in this powerful image.

In addition to Muzi’s awesome new cover, I’ve also refreshed the page layouts of the interiors for both the paperback and eBook versions of Isis: The Beauty Myth. Both books have new front matter, headers, and footers in the fonts of more recent Isis series books, and they have back matter listing all of the books of the Isis series that were published after Isis: The Beauty Myth in 2013 so readers can get caught up on the series.

Many people complained about the original cover for Isis: The Beauty Myth. Feminists ranted about it and it even wound up on a lousy book cover website. What people who complained back then didn’t know was I was just starting the SJS DIRECT imprint and I didn’t have much money. So I was drawing and designing the covers myself just to get the books to the marketplace. Over the last seven years I’ve been working to improve the quality of SJS DIRECT books and one of my goals is go back to those older books in the SJS DIRECT catalog and refresh them with new images by professional artists and give them more professional looking interiors. So far Isis: All About The Goddess and Isis: The Beauty Myth have gotten refreshes, and I'm hoping I can refresh all the 2009-2014 books with new covers and interiors.

I wouldn't have been able to pay for this cover refresh without the support of all the patrons and donors out there, so I thank you all for your continuing support.
I’m hoping this cover and interior refresh will persuade people to pick up what many call one of the best books in the Isis series. Isis: The Beauty Myth is a story that reveals the beauty secrets of the goddess next door and shows readers what makes her a great Black heroine.

Get your copy of the new edition of Isis: The Beauty Myth on in paperback and Kindle formats today!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Progress Report

I’ve been really busy the last few months so I haven’t had much time to blog. In between making appearances on radio shows, being a guest on live streams making daily videos and trying to finish up the books of the SJS DIRECT 2020 catalog I haven’t had much time to write regular blogs.

One of the reasons I’ve had to repost YouTube videos as blogs is because of how hectic my work schedule has become. These days I’ve been busy doing lots of guest spots to promote my books and my brand.

In July I made my second appearance on the Judge Joe Brown show talking about Woke Black 007 and Halle Bailey as the Black Little Mermaid.

In addition to the Judge Joe Brown Show I’ve made multiple appearances on numerous YouTubers live streams where I talked about comics, science fiction, fantasy and wrestling.

I made two appearances on The Lazarus Pit with YouTuber Soul Provider to talk comics and fantasy, and I was interviewed by Shawn Stewart  from Shawn Stewart In the Morning and discussed men's issues. 

I also made an appearance on YouTuber Dukect Lounge to talk about Pro Wrestling. Got an extremely positive response to those appearances and I’m starting to grow an audience among the comic book and sci-fi crowd.

In Janury I made an appearance on YouTuber Straight Up’slivestream. Straight Up is a brother from South Africa 

Unfortunately, I won’t be doing any more appearances on Obsidian Radio, the show that started me doing guest appearances. He’s going in one direction and I’m going in another. I thank Obsidian for everything he did to help me with the Shawn James initiative and I’m grateful for everything he did to get the word out about my books.

After doing all the comic, sci-fi and fantasy shows I’d love to do a Goth radio show like Cemetary Confessions. If they’d have me I’d be glad to be a guest on their show.

Along with the guest spots, I’ve been doing weekly livestreams on Friday Night. The Friday Night shows have been a hit with my viewers and I’m starting to find my groove going live. Doing streams I have to have my talking points down in my head and I have to keep myself organized mentally as I transition from talking point to talking point.

Along with the streams and the guest appearances I passed 11,000 subscribers on YouTube. Some people say that means that my channel is getting popular, but I’ll believe it when I see the book sales go up on a launch date. 

In October I started making the move from social media to socializing with the public face-to-face. Chris L. Brown the creator of Omega Black, a regular viewer of my videos and livestreams invited me to attend AnimeNYC, the biggest Anime, and Manga convention in New York City. As his guest I got to meet him personally, and sit at his table. Chris wanted to meet me personally because he said I was a major influence on him. I was glad to get the opportunity to meet him, he’s a great guy and what he showed me at AnimeNYC helped me see the growing market for African-American fantasy sci-fi and Manga. 

And while I was there I ran into quite a few viewers who watched my channel on the regular. I was surprised to see so many of my viewers at AnimeNYC, and I was surprised at the positive reception I was given at the show.

 After the extremely positive experience at AnimeNYC I’m working towards the goal of getting my own table at a con or a show and selling SJS Direct books like the Isis series, E’steem series and John Haynes series at a comicon or a Manga show. So if I can make things work out logistically and financially you may get the chance to meet me in person and buy SJS DIRECT books and get an autograph!  

Along with the appearances and social media, I’ve been busy working on the books of the SJS DIRECT 2020 catalog. 2019 marked the 10th year SJS DIRECT has been publishing, and I wanted to celebrate that milestone with a bang.  

That bang starts with John Haynes: The Man With Nothing to Lose, which will be coming out March 10th. To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of SJS DIRECT, the next John Haynes series book will feature two covers. A regular by Mike Williams, and a Variant cover by Josh Howard. While Regular and Variant covers are something that’s done with comic books, I wanted to see if paperback readers would be interested in picking up books with variant covers. 

There’s buzz around the variant covers, but I need to see the sales in order to continue producing them.

Isis: The Main Event is the next book to come out and is scheduled for release on April 6th, just in time for Wrestlemania. Bill Walko designed a MASTERPPIECE of a cover for Isis: The Main Event and captures all the ENERGY and EXCITEMENT of the world of wrestling in a spectacular image.

The story where The Goddess next door takes on The Beast From The Bowels in steel cage carnage means a lot to me. With me being a wrestling fan since the days of Hulkamania in the mid 80s I wanted to pay tribute to the superstars of the squared circle with this story and give readers an insight into the world of wrestling. Pro wrestlers, superheroes and mythical gods share a lot of traits with each other and I explore the similarities between them and their struggles in and out of the ring. 

Readers will definitely want to pick up Isis: The Main Event because this one is the turning point in the second story arc that started in Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess and is the turning point for the overall Isis series!

Both Isis: The Main Event and John Haynes: The Man With Nothing To Lose are edited and uploaded to Amazon. I’m just doing some final edits and tweaks before the official release.

For the second year in a row I’ve got books up ready for the Spring Catalog ready pre-order with completed covers 90 days in advance. That’s right in line with trade publishers who advance solicit 90-180 days before release.

I’m working on a FUN surprise for the next E’steem book. E’steem: Blast From the Past will follow up on the story in E’steem: The Sands of Time and will feature Hell’s aspiring angel and John Haynes teaming up to take on the evil version of E’steem from the past in a Time traveling E’steem series adventure! However in addition to that story, Blast From The Past will also feature the first E’steem comic! E’steem: No Good Deed will be a 9-page comic by Bill Walko and will be adapting the popular E’steem: No Good Deed story into a comic!  

Thanks to all the Patreon donors, Paypal donors and Superchats from Livestreams, I was able to raise enough money to pay for this strip, and I’m hoping it’ll be a great teaser to the Isis Graphic novel!

I wasn’t able to raise the funds to publish the Isis Graphic Novel last year with the indiegogo, but I’m working to get it done. I’m just hoping God works a miracle out so I can publish my first comic book.

I finished the first draft for my eighth novel Eternal Night. This one is the origin story of Lilith Graves, who made her first appearance in Isis: Night of the Vampires. Eternal night details how Lilith became a vampire and her first days in the vampire scene of the SJS DIRECT Universe in 1994. It delves deeper into the Vampire Lore I established in the Vampire arc and lays the foundation for everything related to the undead. Dracula and Doc Flowers from the Isis series and Spinsterella make cameo appearances in this story

Eternal Night was a tough story to write and took me a YEAR and a half to complete. I had to do a LOT of research into the Goth Subculture Goth music, The Black Church, vampires, vampire lore and The Bible. I Also had to research the story of Lilith, Adam’s first wife who was presented in the Talmud. I wanted to explore vampires from a spiritual perspective since Dracula is known for getting his powers from The Devil. Most writers won’t acknowledge that aspect of Dracula and vampires, but they’ll show him running away from crosses.  

Writing Eternal Night made me thankful for my mother teaching me about Christ and his sacrifice on The Cross. Writing about Lilith’s journey into darkness made me realize how easy it is to take life on this earth for granted and how someone can wind up on the road to becoming spiritually lost. People don’t understand how many evil spirits are out there and how those dark forces of The Enemy are working behind the scenes to take a person’s soul straight to Hell. Writing this story made me realize those who are taught the Word and to come to understand Christ’s sacrifice to save mankind’s one’s soul are truly blessed to know Him and to get an opportunity at God’s gift of Salvation. Writing Eternal Night put my relationship with Christ in perspective and made me realize how important it truly is in my life.

I’m hoping to have Eternal Night out in October of 2020. I’m in the middle of editing the second draft and I’m about to sketch up a concept for the cover. I would love to have Josh Howard design it because it was his livestream with Bryan Baugh that gave me the inspiration to write the novel.  

On the sales side, THE MAN CRISIS is inching towards 300 sales. The book has received critical acclaim from men all over the world and has transformed lives all across the globe. Over the last six months THE MAN CRISIS has sold in the UK, Germany, France, Australia and Canada. I have received numerous messages and e-mails from readers on social media telling me how the book has changed their lives and helped them move forward.

The John Haynes series continued to do well in the summer and fall with Dark Succubus being one of the best selling SJS DIRECT Universe books. One of the reasons why John Haynes: The Man With Nothing to Lose is getting a variant cover is due to the ongoing popularity of the character. Dark Succubus had several international sales in the UK, Canada and in South Africa.

I was FLOORED when I heard that people were buying John Haynes books in South Africa, I never thought my stories would reach readers that far across the globe. 

People are coming back for John Haynes books like The Temptation of John Haynes and The Man Who Rules The World.  

E’steem: The Sands of Time also continues to sell well. People seem to love the teen time travel romance and they’re telling their friends about it. Also sold some copies of E'steem Ascension and E'steem: Goddess of? So people are coming back for other E'steem series books. 

Several Isis series books continue to sell decently. Isis:All That Glitters, Isis: Imitation of Life and Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddesscontinue to pick up readers.  I’d like to see Isis series books sell as brisk as John Haynes and E’steem, because the stories are that good.  

People picked up Spellbound and the books of the Spinsterella Trilogy. Spellbound had several sales in Germany and Australia which was a big surprise to me. Seeing the global reach of the Spinsterella trilogy has me thinking about writing my next Goth novel, Spinsterella’s Summer Vacation. 

To my surprise I sold some copies of A Recipe for $ucce$$ during the fall. That was a book I thought was dead. But people started picking it up later in the summer.

Stop Simpin and the Simp books continue to sell well.

I had to relaunch Misadventures of Cap’n Save Em with a new title. It’s the same conclusion to the Simp Trilogy. I’m hoping the book can pick its momentum up with a new title, it’s a book that

Unfortunately, sales have slowed on most of my titles over the holiday season. So I’m trying to find new ways to get sales and find new readers. I really want to see more of the SJS DIRECT fiction find an audience. Because there’s a lot of great stories in the SJS DIRECT Universe I’d love for readers to discover.  

I’ve made a lot of progress with promoting and marketing myself and the SJS DIRECT imprint. And my goal for 2020 is getting the social media and the marketing to increase the sales of SJS DIRECT books. I want to do everything in my power to get sales of SJS DIRECT books back up. I’ve made more steps towards the next level, I’m just trying to get a second wind so I can make those steps there.