The time has finally come to get this show on the road! Yep, Vicious Rumer is out THIS MONTH – cue screams even louder than those reserved for Justin Bieber fans. Want to get exclusive interviews, insight into the writing of the book, and more reviews than you can shake a tattered old paperback at? Just follow along with the blog tour, which will be rolling out over the next 20 days at the above locations. Yeah, count ’em!
To kick things off, I have a very special treat – the first three chapters in audiobook form! My very good friend Bobby Brook offered to lend us her rather lovely pipes, not to mention her considerable experience of working in the theatre, to give Rumer a voice! It was pretty surreal watching her record this (I couldn’t help peering over her shoulder a bit, much to her horror), but she made the book sound SO GOOD. Way better than I ever imagined it could.
So, without further ado, plug in, put up your feet, and say hello to Rumer…
Thanks also to Robert Gershinson for his impeccable editing skills.
And now on to the rest of the tour. What terrors will it bring? Well, only one way to find out…
Hey everybody! It’s been exactly a week since Vicious Rumer hit 100% funding on Unbound. I still can’t quite believe I get to write those words. This book has been skulking in the shadows for over a year, so to know that it’s going to be published – and not only published but read by lovely people like you who pre-ordered a copy – is both surreal and unbelievably exciting. So thank you. This only happened because of you. I owe you all alcohol and hugs.
So what’s next? Well, in the past week I’ve been paired up with my Unbound editor (hi Craig!), chatted to him all about Rumer (I’ll admit, the phone call made me shake), and received his feedback on the manuscript (the man’s a power-reader).
As I write this, I’ve just made a start on his edits. I’m refining Rumer’s story to make it as scary, funny and thrilling as possible. I’ll admit, I’ve not read the manuscript in months, and it’s fun getting back into Rumer’s head (although there’s some pretty odd stuff in there). After I’ve made my edits, Craig will take another look at the manuscript before it goes through some heavy duty proofing – the book equivalent of a shave and a haircut.
The timeline on the project remains a bit of a secret, but there’s every chance that this time next year you’ll have a copy of Vicious Rumer in your hands.
If you can’t wait that long for some creepy fiction, here’s a belated Halloween treat – you can read my short story Dead Air for FREE when you sign up to my mailing list at http://joshuawinning.com. (I promise I won’t spam your inbox to oblivion. In fact, you’ll only hear from me when there’s big news.)
Meanwhile, happy belated Halloween from me and Rumer, and thanks again for going on this weird and exciting journey with us.
08.02.18: Amended to change the title of the book to Vicious Rumer, woo!
Your support for Vicious Rumer, which is OUT NOW!, has been truly overwhelming. Between your pre-orders, shares, reviews and lovely words, my shrivelled little heart has been warmed and renewed over the past few months.
A lot of you are asking just HOW you can help to keep spreading the Rumer, so here’s a handy post to give you an idea of what you can do…
If you do even one of these things, from the bottom of my chest cavity, THANK YOU!
Write a review!
The number one thing you can do to help spread the Rumer is leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. That instantly pushes the book up those sites’ mysterious algorithms, thereby letting even more readers know about it.
Don’t worry, a review can be as short or long as you like (sometimes the one-line reviews are the best!), and it doesn’t have to be a work of critical genius. If you fancy leaving a review, here are the links:
If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or even THE MOON, why not spread the Rumer by dropping one of these lovely quotes on your page?
Firstly, if you Tweet or Instagram about Vicious Rumer, THANK YOU. You’re amazing and I owe you a shiny bauble (or at least a social media follow) in return.
If you ARE sharing stuff about the book, please consider hashtagging that mofo to the heavens.
The biggies: #ViciousRumer #RumerHasIt
Others you can try: #YAlit #booknerd #amreading #bookworm #bibliophile #bookstack
And be sure to @JoshWinning so I can retweet you.
The fantastic artist Eli Allison created this really rather brilliant (and only a little bit disturbing) graphic novel-style panel based on the first few chapters of Vicious Rumer. If you like it, show people! And if you’re an artist, why not do a little doodling yourself and chuck the results at me on Twitter! For now, though, really do go check out Eli’s site. She’s phenomenal.
Yes, some people still use email to catch up and stuff. So if you enjoyed Vicious Rumer and you’ve been meaning to email Cousin Gerald in Austin, Texas but you keep putting it off because, y’know, Cousin Gerald can be a bit weird, HERE’S AN EXCUSE TO DO SO! (I mean, I’m sure Cousin Gerald is great, but seriously, what is with that goatee?)
Tell Cousin Gerald this:Vicious Rumer is a YA thriller with witchy elements. It’s a bit Jessica Jones, a bit Lisbeth Salander, and follows a badass teenage girl who’s thrown into a world of gangsters and the occult. HE’D BE MAD TO MISS IT.
Lots of lovely magazines/readers/authors have tweeted about Vicious Rumer (some of them even when it was going by the name Killing Rumer), so pay them back by giving them some support (and a follow!) and retweeting these.
If you tweet, be sure to @JoshWinning and use the hashtags #ViciousRumerand #RumerHasItso I can find you!
Want more banners?! Well, if you insist… My good friend and amazing designer Louise Brock created this awesome postcards featuring one of Rumer’s more choice lines of dialogue. Do you love it as much as I do? Feel free to share far and wide!
Hey all! Thought it was probably time I wrote another update on the Killing Rumer campaign at Unbound because (huzzah!) we’ve hit the two thirds mark! Thanks so much to the 146 people who have supported Killing Rumerover the past month, and continue to be calm, kind voices in the dark wilderness of crowdfunding. You’re amazing. I owe you all hugs and pubs.
Innway, yes, we’re at 66%! We’re 44 days in to the campaign, which means I have 46 more days to hit 100%. Can you help? Why, thanks for asking! If you’re active on Facebook and Twitter, why not share some of the blogs that I’ve been squirrelling away at?
But wait, there are other things you can do to help get Killing Rumer in print and put a giant goofy smile on my face:
Share share share! If you have the time to email or message one person who likes quirky crime thrillers and kick-ass heroines to ask them to support the book, that would help HUGELY. One-on-one messages are the best way to tell people about the campaign, and be sure to include this link: https://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer
Upgrade your pledge. If you ordered the ebook but you’ve decided you really want a paperback as well, that doesn’t mean pledging twice. To upgrade your pledge, simply click on the new reward you want, and rather than being charged twice, you’ll only pay the difference for the new pledge: https://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer
Oh yeah, did I mention I WAS IN THE PAPER! There’s my mug there in the Bury Free Press, looking a bit stern and stuff, but secretly smiling on the inside.
Decide what sort of crime thriller you want to write. It sounds straightforward, but genre can be flexible like plasticine; and that’s especially true for the crime genre. Are you writing a murder mystery? A gangster thriller? A heist story? A serial killer potboiler? A mixture of all four?! Knowing what sort of thriller you’re writing enables you to play around with tropes and shape something genuinely surprising.
Don’t JUST make it about crime. Sure, crime is an integral part of the plot, but the best thrillers have a lot more going on than that. Gone Girl is about mistrust and marital crisis. Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is about injustice and vengeance. Aside from a juicy crime plot, what do you really want to write about?
What’s your MacGuffin? That term was coined by screenwriter Angus MacPhail to describe an object or goal that drives the plot. In The Maltese Falcon, the MacGuffin is the titular priceless artefact. In my book, Killing Rumer, the MacGuffin is an occult relic called the Crook Spear; but what is it and why does everybody want it? Those questions keep the action clipping along.
Write what scares you. Clearly, a thriller is nothing without thrills, so think about the things that get your heart racing. If you suffer from claustrophobia, trap your character in a coffin. If you’re scared of the dark, smash all the lightbulbs in your character’s apartment. By writing something that puts you on edge, you’re likely to illicit a similar response from your readers.
Who’s your hero and what drives them? Lisbeth Salander. Sam Spade. Clarice Starling. The crime genre is crammed with memorably flawed and fascinating heroes. What makes yours unique? Think about what shaped your character. Is she headstrong because she’s always had to fend for herself? Is he emotional because he’s lost so much? What is unique about your hero’s reaction to the plot’s sinister events and why are they so determined to uncover the truth?
Spend time brainstorming the title. An eye-catching title is the first battle for any book. Study the titles of books you love and ask why they work. For my book, I brainstormed a dozen different titles before I settled on Killing Rumer, which hopefully asks a question readers want to uncover the answer to. Then consider potential taglines: a title and a tagline should shake hands with each other. Chris Carter’s recent book, The Caller, played with a clever pun: Your life is on the line. If puns aren’t your thing, perhaps there’s a quote in your book you can use.
How will technology factor into the story? In a world of iPhones, CCTV, dictaphones and countless other technological doohickies, how is your story affected by modern life? How does technology limit or enable your character’s actions? Of course, you could eradicate that problem by writing a historical thriller instead, but that could open a whole new can of worms…
Don’t just read crime thrillers. Draw from everything and everywhere. Inspiration often comes from surprising places, so while it’s good to get a sense of genre by reading books similar to the one you’re writing, be sure to read around. Watch TV and movies. Read comics. Learn how to write different types of people and study why a story does or doesn’t work.
Speaking of, what makes your story different? This is particularly important when it comes to selling your book, whether that’s to a publisher like Unbound or to a potential agent. What’s the hook? Why should people shell out for it? What’s the inherent value of your story? If you’re able to pinpoint exactly what makes your story unique (its USP: Unique Selling Point), that’ll make talking about it to other people a lot easier.
Have fun! This crime stuff can get pretty dark, so don’t forget to bring a little levity to proceedings. Even The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo threw in a few snippy one-liners to relieve the tension, and lightening the mood in places can actually have the added effect of making the dark stuff more impactful. Frollo’s line in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame is especially apt: “Wait between the lashes. Otherwise the old sting will dull him to the new.”