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Point of Escape Update

Wow!  What a launch day!

After spending the day posting to dozens of sites, sending dozens of messages on Goodreads and Twitter (and getting politely asked to stop by the former and suspended by the latter!), and clicking on the “Refresh” buttons on the Kindle Direct Publishing sales report and the Amazon book page, I called it quits around 6:30 pm.  I was happy with the results.  Sales stood at 125, breaking the triple-digit goal I’d set.  Comfortable in that this metric had been met, I headed out for a local concert with some friends.

A good time was had by all.

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By the time I got home and checked One Last Time, though, sales were over 200!  That’s twice the goal I’d set.  And, the book stood at #25 in the General Humor category for free Kindle books, just under 2,000 overall.  Not too shabby for first novel.

And then, this morning, this greeted me:

Amazon KDP Sales Sceenshot for POE - 140801 0645

That’s right.  Almost 300 downloads, three times my goal.  Whoot!

Curious, I headed over to the book’s Amazon page and saw this:

Amazon Sceenshot for POE - 140801 0644

#13?!  That’s above the fold.  And teetering on the top 900 overall!  [And the news is even better.  In the time it’s taken me to compose this post, the book has climbed to #12 in General Humor and #863 overall.]

I share all this with you, well, because I’m so excited.  But more so to say thank you to all those who lent their support and spread the word.  Writing the book is only part of the process, and I owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have helped make this launch a success.

And the launch goes on.  Today is The Point of Escape‘s second “promo” day (i.e. it’s free!), so keep spreading the good word, and I’ll keep you posted on how things shake out.

LAUNCH DAY IS HERE!!!

FREE ON AMAZON JULY 31 – AUGUST 1.

point of escape-revised2

What is Suburban Fiction?

Any author worth his salt writes with a genre in mind.  I’ll make no claims about my saltiness either way, but The Point of Escape was written with a couple genres in mind, one of which I’ll discuss today: suburban fiction.

Google “suburban fiction” and you’ll get articles about angst, adultery and ennui.  A 2004 New York Times article that reviews some contemporary works includes this useful description of the genre.

NYT Suburban Fiction Screen Shot

Conversely, the Goodreads shelf for the genre that pops up as the third link in our Google search includes a majority of young adult lit.  OK, teen girls’ lit.  Judy Bloom and the like.  Angst, adultery and ennui writ young.  Not exactly what I’m going for here.

“So,” you ask, “just what are you about?”

Glad you asked.  There are actually several flavors of suburban lit, all of which – unsurprisingly – draw thematic elements from those ubiquitous sprawling subdivisions and side streets.  As you can tell from the brief descriptions above, this can be a fairly dark mode of writing, inevitably contrasting with the cheery stereotype of white picket fences and 2.5 kids.  The darkness can become pervasive, as in subgenres like suburban gothic – which introduces elements of the supernatural and science fiction – or suburban noir – which slides into psychosis and horror.

My current project (yes, I’m writing The Next One even as I steer This One toward launch day) edges into these subgenres.  It’s a three-part series that takes a rather dark look at what the world of cookie-cutter houses and conspicuous consumption can do to your soul.  I hope to have the first installment in beta form by the fall, and to market before Christmas.  Weary food for cheery souls.  Ho.  Ho.  Ho.

Not so much The Point of Escape.  I wrote it with beach reading in mind, and so – though not uncritical of suburban life – its themes are far more uplifting, its trajectory more hopeful.  Jerrod Beams experiences all the aimless ennui of any suburban fiction hero.  But although the ‘burbs in some ways embody the Faustian bargain he has struck with the Federal Mephistopheles – they and the life they promise are the false fruits of his soul-crushing labor – Jerrod is largely happy with what he has provided for his family.  Just not how he has provided it.  That’s what he hopes to change.

The great source of that hope – the ability to take stock and the courage to change – was inspired by a non-fiction work, and places the novel itself into a new genre, something I call entrepreneurial fiction.  Defining this new genre will be the focus of my next post.

Read The First Chapter (and the Prologue)!

point of escape-final
Starting today, you are able to get a sneak peek at the The Point of Escape.  I’ve made the Prologue and Chapter 1 available on the 4-Hour Novel page of this site. Hope you enjoy!

Over the next several weeks I will continue to reveal chapters for those who want advance access to the novel.

And, for those of you who don’t want to wait a week for Chapter 2, I have a special deal.  Just sign up for my mailing list by clicking here.  Fill out the form and I’ll send you a PDF of the first four chapters today.  I’ll also be sure to send you periodic updates and information about upcoming projects (and I promise not to flood your inbox!).

But don’t wait.  On launch day (July 31! tick…tick..tick…) I will be taking down all advance chapters and ending the mailing list offer.  Amazon rules.  So, happy reading, and don’t forget to sign up for email updates!

Full Cover Reveal…..and a Launch Date!

Point of Escape-Full Cover Final - Crop

Here it is!  When I decided to offer hardcopies in addition to ebooks, I went ahead and asked my cover designer to work up the spine and back cover.  I think I said something like, “I have no idea what this should look like!”  No problem.  Less than a week later, this image arrived in my inbox.  True to form, Ares had produced a beautiful design with minimal guidance.  Perfect.  And thanks again, Ares.

And it arrives just in time because………..the release date has been set and is fast approaching.  Yes, folks, at midnight on Thursday, July 31st, The Point of Escape: A 4-Hour Novel will be available for purchase on Amazon, either as a Kindle ebook or in hardcopy.  Yay!  Between now and then I will share with you more about the book and the deals I’ll be offering.  In the meantime, enjoy this new visual and mark your calendars!

We Have a Cover!

Thanks to graphic designer wiz Ares Jun, “the novel” now has a cover:

point of escape-final

He banged out this cool design with only this to go on:

Ares,
Here’s what I have in mind. I’ve attached a document that describes the novel’s plot in detail. What I can add here are some of the major themes and images.

Themes:
Escape
Self-direction (versus taking orders)
Challenging rules that we or others impose.
Finding purpose

Images:
Office cubicles (grey and anonymous)
Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Work Week, second (2011) edition – the cover is orange and red.
Jerrod releasing from a trapeze bar

I imagine a cover with a color drawing of a typical office full of grey cubicles, but with the one in the foreground somehow glowing with the colors of Ferriss’ book, the light perhaps coming from something that could remind a reader of its cover, such as a palm tree.
Please let me know what you think about the concept and the timeline for completing a cover.

Best,
J.F. Hussey

I tell you, the man’s a genius. From the grey anonymity of the cube farm, to the hopeful glow emanating from the background, to the subtle nods to Ferriss’ own cover, I’m very pleased with the outcome. Thanks, Steve Konkoly, for the introduction.
So, you’ll be seeing lots more of this graphic from here on out. And – with any luck – you’ll be seeing it on Amazon very soon!

Progress and Good News

First the Progress

Just yesterday I completed the editing process for the first draft! It came in at just over 68,000 words and 270 pages, about right for suburban comedy escape-reading. I immediately sent out the text to my intrepid readers, one of whom replied by attaching the memoir she’s working on for me to edit. Fair enough, and a really interesting story – about adopting five girls from the Ukraine. I can’t wait to wade in.

In the meantime, though, I have some non-writing tasks to tackle, including updating this blog (you’re welcome!), getting together with a cover designer (I have several I’ll be exploring), and coming up with a bloody title for the book (which I’ll have to do before said cover is designed). It’s been a challenge – and a daunting one – trying to encapsulate the essence of the novel in a few words. All I know so far is the subtitle: A Four-Hour Novel. Which brings me to:

The Good News

I heard back from Tim Ferriss’s people, namely Donna, his assistant. Apparently adding “Copyright Question” to the subject line gets people’s attention.

Anyhow, the short version is that I’ve asked permission to quote from The 4-Hour Workweek, that Tim makes these calls personally, but that he is out of pocket for the next few weeks – apparently filming a new TV series. Donna promises news as soon as Tim emerges and has a chance to wade through the stuff that’s piled up in his absence. Glad to be part of that problem.

So, fingers crossed and prayers, please! With a little luck – and maybe some Divine intervention – I’ll be able to report an important green light in the coming weeks.

Cheers,
JFH