I Used BookBub to Promote My Novel, and So Should You

Posted: January 13, 2015 by Jason Kristopher in My Work
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TL;DR – This is a long post about my recent BookBub promotion. If you’re not interested in my results or experience with this promotional site, this is not the post for you. If you just don’t want to read the whole thing but still want to know how it went, BookBub was the best $100 I ever spent on advertising, bar none.

UPDATE 2: This post was written on Jan 13, 2015, just after my first BookBub promotion. I’ve updated the spreadsheet attached with the most recent numbers from BookBub, as of April 7, 2016.

UPDATE: I’ve updated the spreadsheet with some new features. See below.

Many writers have heard of BookBub, the daily email service providing book deals to millions of subscribers. From their site:

BookBub is a free service that helps millions of readers discover great deals on acclaimed ebooks while providing publishers and authors with a way to drive sales and find new fans. Members receive a personalized daily email alerting them to the best free and deeply discounted titles matching their interests as selected by our editorial team.

I, too, had heard of them many times, and though it sounded like a good opportunity, their high prices had made me very reluctant to sign up. As the owner/operator of a small press, every single dollar has to be accounted for, every expense has to justify itself many times over. How could spending so much money without any guaranteed results be justified? And just for one day of promotion? I thought it was too much risk.

I was wrong. So very, very wrong. In the end, my promotion on BookBub was the single most effective advertising I have ever done for my book in nearly four years.

I’ve got some crunchy numbers for you in a second, but here’s some important things to note.

  1. Making your book free is not a good idea for standalone writers. I made my first book ‘perma-free’ because it’s a loss-leader. It’s the first book in a series, so readers get to try the series out and see if they like it, then hopefully buy the others. This doesn’t work for books not in series, so I’d recommend discounting your books to 99¢ in that case.
  2. Not every book gets approved for BookBub. You have to apply, and be accepted by their editors. This means the editors will take into account more than just your star rating (at least presumably), and look at the book as a whole to see whether it will be good for their readers.
  3. Not every genre costs the same. BookBub charges different prices for their promotions based on the genre the book is in and how many subscribers that genre has for them. So, for example, the Mysteries genre will cost you the most, with 2.1 million subscribers, and the LGBT genre will cost you the least, with “only” 110,000 readers.
  4. Nothing is guaranteed. They provide ranges and an average downloads/sales for each genre alongside the costs, but they don’t guarantee that you’ll receive even the low end of the range for your promotion. How could they guarantee that? It wouldn’t make sense. So herein lies the risk.

Do I still think it’s worth it? Hell yes, I do. The truth of the matter is that not everyone will receive the response I did. Not everyone will have a good cover, or an enticing blurb, or any of the myriad of other things. You have to go into this with the right expectation and goal in mind.

My goal with this promotion was to gain exposure, not to sell more books or gain tons more reviews. I knew that more than doubling the number of books previously distributed would lead to more sales of the sequel and add-on, and at least a few reviews. But what I really wanted was my book on 15,000 more Kindles and some Best Seller Lists. And I got that. Eventually, those folks will get around to reading them, and then maybe picking up the second and third (when it’s finished), and leaving some reviews.

But the most important thing was the Amazon Best Seller lists. Yesterday, my book reached as high as #13 on the Top 100 Free Kindle books (it’s still #15 as of this writing), out of close to 100,000 currently listed (I couldn’t find an exact number). Also, and just as importantly, it reached (and is still at) #1 on no less than six different category lists:

  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Science Fiction > Military
  • Science Fiction > Post-apocalyptic
  • Science Fiction > Dystopian
  • Genre Fiction > War

Why is this important? Because the book will stay at that ranking (or close to it) for several days, meaning more downloads and more readers. Given what we know about Amazon’s ranking algorithms, the more downloads over a sustained period, the longer the book stays at a higher ranking. Higher ranking = more downloads = higher ranking… you get the idea.

So from a ‘Did I accomplish my goal’ perspective, this promotion was fantastically successful. But how did it fare in downloads, you ask? Well, here are those numbers I promised.

Since May of 2011 when The Dying of the Light: End was first released, I had sold 11,479 copies. In August of 2014, the book was made “perma-free” through price-matching on Amazon. From September through December, I averaged free downloads of 417 per month. In the year prior, the book was priced at 99¢, and was selling an average of 22 copies per month – a long way from the heydays of several hundred sold at full price every month in the fall of 2011.

I noticed a slight uptick on sales of the sequel, The Dying of the Light: Interval, and the followup short story collection The Walker Chronicles, but nothing to go crazy over. I’ve averaged less than 10 of each sold per month since their release.

Yesterday, January 12th, my BookBub promotion ran. End was in the daily email to all Horror fans, was listed on their website in the Horror section (screenshot here , just in case), and was even included on their Facebook post for that day (something also not guaranteed). The email hits inboxes at different times throughout the day due to the mass volume, but it generally gets there sometime in the morning.

Here are the official numbers from all vendors for sales/downloads yesterday:

  • Amazon (all countries): 14,519 downloads
  • iBooks (all countries): 1,862 downloads
  • Nook: 9 sold

For those playing the home game, the total was 16,390 copies. I also sold 16 total copies of Interval and Chronicles, bringing my total net income for the day to $44.77. The cost of the promotion was $100, so after income from sales, I spent $55.23.

That means for every net penny I spent, nearly 3 copies were downloaded. The math speaks for itself, but I’ll give it a voice: there is simply no better advertising method you can actually pay for. Facebook Ads, Twitter Features, none of it comes even close on a per-copy basis.

There is one caveat, though: my book is currently free. These numbers are based on FREE downloads, not paid sales. Still, with this sort of response, I’m going to be looking at the other books published by Grey Gecko Press to see which ones we can spend the money on. Which brings me to my overall analysis of BookBub and a spreadsheet.

I created a spreadsheet based on BookBub’s own numbers to figure out which categories would be worth a promotion and which wouldn’t. Download that and refer to it, or use it for your own promotion planning, if you like.

Not every genre will be as successful, or as cost-efficient, as Horror was for me. Indeed, using BookBub’s own numbers, their Middle Grade category will actually lose you money if your 99¢ book performs on average. Note: I used current Kindle distribution costs for these calculations.

  • Cost of Middle Grade 99¢ promotion: $130
  • Average Sales of Middle Grade books: 300 copies
  • Net Sales Income: (300 x $0.99) x 35% = $105
  • Total Promotion Cost: $25

Every other category will actually make money for discounted books on average, with the lowest being Chick Lit (net sales income of $137 on a $130 promotion). Of course, this assumes your book is 100% average according to BookBub’s numbers. If your book doesn’t perform to average, things start looking worse for more categories, as you would expect.

I suppose they have those ranges for a reason – someone’s performance has to suck, after all – but by and large, most folks that I’ve talked to have seen, at worst, slightly-less-than-average results. Some categories are surprisingly profitable, at average numbers.

The LGBT category is the best performer (by percentage of net income), with a 288% increase for $2+ books. 510 sold on average at $2.99 gets you $1,067 – a net income of $792 on the promotion price of $275. More appropriate for Grey Gecko Press is the Science Fiction category, earning a 255% increase for $2.99 books. 1,610 sold gets you $3,370, netting $2,420 on the $950 promotion price tag.

NOTE: These calculations are performed using BookBub’s provided data. This doesn’t mean that a $2.99 book will sell 1,610 copies. It means that, with their data, discounted books (meaning those from $1+) sold that many copies on average. The lower the price, the more you’ll sell.

Included on the spreadsheet is a section for you to enter your own actual numbers and see how you did. I hope my readers find that useful. You can also see estimated numbers by tweaking the “Estimated Performance” number at the top left, and enter your own custom price if you don’t use one of the standards price points.

UPDATE: I’ve added a section to the spreadsheet called “Breakeven.” This shows you how many books you have to sell at the various price points to pay for the promotion with net profits from those sales. Next to each item is the percentage of the average required to achieve that total. Here’s an example:

The Mystery category requires a $700 fee for listing a 99¢ book with their service. To earn $700 from sales of the book, you’ll need to sell 2,021 copies. (2021 x 99¢ = $2000.79 x 35% [Kindle distribution fee] = $700.28.).

The average copies sold with a Mysteries promotion is 2,960. 2,021 copies (your sales) / 2,960 (average sold) = 68% (rounded down).

Also the most profitable by percentage, the best performers in terms of this percent-of-average were Religious/Inspirational, Horror, and LGBT. Indeed, in Horror, you only need to sell 65% of the average for 99¢ books, and an astonishing 27% of the average for books at $2.99.

The only categories that don’t break-even are Middle Grade and Children’s, requiring 125% and 102% respectively of average sales to break-even, with their 99¢ discounted copies. Their $1+ promotions are profitable though, according to the sheet.

That’s it, kiddos. To sum up, BookBub gained me 16,000+ new readers yesterday, and was worth every dime (and then some). I’m going to be taking a hard look at promoting other books, too. If you’ve had experience with BookBub – good or bad – I’d like to hear about it! Let me know in the comments.

The Pentagon Has A Zombie Apocalypse Emergency Plan

Posted: October 31, 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Zombies
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From iflscience.com:


You read the headline right, The Pentagon has created a plan for what to do in the zombie apocalypse. We’ll leave it up to you whether you now feel safer, or a whole lot less safe.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t something the US military establishment is keen to talk about, butForeign Policy Magazine dug up the document, which helpfully tells us, “Because zombies pose a threat to all non-zombie human life, [Strategic Command] will be prepared to preserve the sanctity of human life and conduct operations in support of any human population — including traditional adversaries.”

CONOP 8888, as the document is known, is dated April 30, 2011, not 29 days earlier (or 28 days later for that matter). The authors are keen to assure us the document is not a joke, but nor is it entirely serious, saying, “The hyperbole involved in writing a ‘zombie survival plan’ actually provided a very useful and effective training tool.”

Read the rest.

Covers Are Important… Case In Point

Posted: October 28, 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Everything Else
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We all know covers are important for books. Here is a fantastic site that shows what can happen when publishers don’t take that to heart…



See the rest of the mess over at Good Show Sir!

The Map of Zombies by Jason Thompson

Posted: September 29, 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Art, Zombies
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Seriously, this may be one of the coolest posters I’ve ever seen. I will be framing it for my office as soon as it gets here. I got the PDF too, which is very awesomely annotated and noted by the artist with lots of cool tidbits… and it’s HUGE. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of movies, books, comics, and what have you’s listed on this masterful piece of artwork.

“This map is a must for any zombie aficionado. The detail is impeccable, the artistry awe-inspiring. I used to think I knew a thing or two about zombies, but now I see how much more there is out there for me to discover.” — Alden Bell, author, “The Reapers are the Angels”

For handy reference in the laboratory or in the field, the Map of Zombies categorizes every imaginable type of zombie in a visual format. Drawn in the style of a 24″x36″ (61cm x 91cm) vintage medical chart, shipped in a stout 26″ long (66cm) poster tube, it identifies over 350 different types of zombies from horror movies, books, video games, comics, manga and TV. Whether they’re fast or slow, voodoo-spawned, alien or fungus-infected, friendly or cannibalistic, vulnerable to headshots or only to complete dismemberment, the Map will help you identify the hideously rotten creatures before you. Plus special icons for Romance, Comedy, Animal Zombies, Secondary Apocalypse, Zombires (zombie/vampires) and more!


Not only will this be a great piece of art for me to hang, but it’s also a great reference guide for zombies of all types and kinds.

Sadly, my own books aren’t listed, but I choose to believe it’s because Thompson wanted to give them a poster of their own (but really, he probably just hasn’t read them).


4 Stars: “Mervidia” by J. K. Barber

Posted: September 27, 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Books
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From Amazon.com:

Mervidia (cover)Deep in the ocean’s darkness live the Merwin, sinister sea creatures who have never seen the light of the sun. As the city of Mervidia flourishes, its inhabitants scheme and grasp for power. Queen Beryl, the last of the royal bloodline, has been brutally assassinated. The High Houses scramble to seize Mervidia’s crown, posturing for rank and the possibility of having a race other than the ethyrie wear the Fangs for the first time in Merwin history. The blood of a nation is spilt, turning kin on kin and house upon house, all in hopes of sitting on the throne and ruling the Deeps.


If you’re my age, or maybe a bit younger, that word conjures up images of red hair, mean octopi, vocal Jamaican-accented crabs and some songs you will never get out of your head. Ever.

Let me help you with this: read Mervidia. You will never look at mermaids merwin the same way again. This is a tale not for the faint of heart, nor for those who like a little light reading before bedtime. What it will do is completely change the way you think of deep water – or should I say The Deeps? – and what lies beneath us.

Mervidia is the tale of a time of upheaval in the underwater city by the same name, a hodgepodge collection of seven different races of merfolk, all managing to survive in the crushing depths of the ocean through manipulation, coercion, deception, and more than a little backstabbing, both figurative and literal. In other words, this ain’t no Disney movie.

The book grabbed me from the very beginning, when I saw the amazing cover. The story itself opens with a bang, or rather, a slice, with the assassination of Queen Beryl, of the beautiful and angelic ethyrie race, and takes us on a roller-coaster ride until the very last page. It’s a complex story, with many characters, a rich, diverse political and social structure, and well thought-out characters. Characters who, one is sure, could provide entire additional volumes of backstory, sidestory, and… well, you get the idea. The tight grip on the reader continues throughout, with twists and turns coming at you hard and fast around every corner. Literally until the last pages, which completely blew me away (more on that later).

It’s merfolk, people. I’ve read, quite literally, thousands of books and stories in virtually every genre, and only a paltry handful have even included merfolk of some kind. How could you not want to read a whole book about them? These crafty and wily creatures don’t disappoint, either, with political machinations aplenty for readers who like that sort of thing, and enough action to keep those who prefer more fast-paced books interested. There are a couple slowish spots in the book where the authors could’ve used some quicker pacing, and I did find myself reading some chapters more quickly than others to get back to the characters who interested me more. This is natural, I think, with a book this complex, so I don’t count that as a bad thing. Indeed, I’d say it’s a good facet of this work: there’s something for everyone. I waited quite some time to read this book, being as patient as I could until it was released, and it did not disappoint.

So why not 5 stars? I can’t answer that fully without spoilers, so suffice to say that there is at least one sideplot that’s not wrapped up by the end, and that bugs me. Additionally, I felt that the last quarter of the book read much faster than the previous parts, and not in a good way. It wasn’t rushed, because everything happened with good pacing, but the pacing was so much faster than the rest of the book that it felt off, almost as though the authors were trying come in under a specific word count. Also, and though I have to grudgingly admit it fit with the rest of the story and made sense when it comes to the way things are done in Mervidia, I didn’t like the ending at all. I can understand from an author’s perspective why they would make that choice, and it does make sense in the grand scheme, but I would probably have worked to find a different way to do it. That’s purely a personal choice, though, and should in no way detract anyone from wanting to read this wonderful book.

Summary: I thoroughly enjoyed this book, despite my normal reticence for politically-oriented stories. Surprises in spades, fascinating and mesmerizing worldbuilding, and the clear and precise vision of the story the authors obviously had make this an excellent book for anyone looking for a very different sort of fantasy novel. Highly recommended.

Note: I’ve also read and reviewed two other titles by these authors, Fallen by Katie Barber, and Spellbound, the first in the Chronicles of Aronshae trilogy, by the duo.

Jay and Katie Barber combine their names to write under pen name, J.K. Barber. The couple lives in Roswell, GA with their children, Maya and Gabe, as well as their four rescue cats. Jay graduated from The University of Georgia with a BA in English Literature, and Katie graduated from The University of Colorado at Boulder with a BA in English Creative Writing. They combine their educations, writing together as a co-author team for projects such as the Chronicles of Aronshae and Mervidia.

In addition to their collaborative work, they also have individual titles: Hidden Path, a prequel to their trilogy written by Jay, and Fallen, a post-apocalyptic angel novel written by Katie. The Barbers enjoy being parents, table top gaming, reading, mixed martial arts, riding motorcycles, and PC gaming.

From the science-fiction giant of a writer, David Gerrold, comes this post from his public Facebook page (note: the title is of my own creation). Take it to heart, screenwriters.

When I was teaching screenwriting at Pepperdine, I used to warn my students that their friends were going to stop watching TV with them, and wouldn’t go out to the movies with them anymore.

They’d give me the look.

Then four or six weeks later, one or another would raise her hand and say, “My friends won’t watch TV with me anymore,” or “My friends don’t want me to go to the movies with them anymore.”


Because once they were aware of basic story structure (person has a problem, problem assaults person, personal assaults problem, triggering insight, person transforms, handles problem), they saw that essential structure in every good story and complained when the structure was violated in a clumsy story. So in the after-show conversations, they were able to point out why they felt dissatisfied — which tended to annoy others at the table, because it was either arrogant or erudite, I’m not sure which.

That was a problem I experienced as well — the awareness of structure, characterization, dialog, etc. was getting in the way of enjoyment. There was also, for a long time, the curious phenomenon of what I called “the Siskel-Ebert moment” — as the lights are coming up in the theater and the audience is soberly filling out, you can hear snatches of conversation, “there was a continuity error in the first act that put me off,” or “the editing of the montage was sloppy, they didn’t need the cutaway to the door,” or “the dialog was too on-the-nose in the cute meet,” or other remarks from the 101st Chairborne that indicated that they hadn’t watched the movie, they’d only judged it.

How often do you hear people get up and say, “Wow, that was fun!”

Maybe not that much because most movies these days aren’t much more than dark rides — you get in a little theme-styled vehicle that takes you past one display after another that gives you the illusion of a story. Summer movies aren’t written for stories, they’re written for moments. First we’ll have the spaceship crash, then we’ll have the robot dinosaur attack the city, then we’ll have the enraged zombies charge the UN building, then … you get the idea. And while any one of these set pieces, these big-budget effects sequences, might have significant emotional impact — mostly they don’t. Because there’s no story — just a lot of connective tissue to get from one gag to the next. (“Gag” is an industry term for a stunt or a big moment.)

Jar Jar Abrams has trained a whole stable of writers to write big moments — without a lot of real story, no emotional development, no moral dilemma, no transformation — just lots of big action moments. And that attitude has infected the industry. Worse, too many producers, having read “Save The Cat” think that it’s a blueprint, not an analytical tool.

Which is why I’ve skipped most of the summer blockbusters. (Unless Joss Whedon is involved.)

Real storytelling happens when writers forget the “rule book” and write to the characters. They get inside the people in the story and experience the sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions, and they let the reactions of the characters drive the incidents of the story. Yes, there’s still opportunities for big moments — the 1953 version of “War Of The Worlds” is a perfect example of character driving plot and plot driving character.

And if sometimes a writer breaks the rules — it’s because that’s the place where it’s necessary, because it works, because it makes the audience gasp. Best example of that is Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” He kills off Janet Leigh halfway through the picture and leaves the audience emotionally adrift — who the hell is the movie really about now? It’s part of the impact.

About thirty years ago, I heard an est trainer remark — “When I pay six dollars for a movie, I’m going to get my six dollars worth of good time, I don’t care what they put on the screen.” He explained, “How many times when the movie is over, you get up and grumble, ‘We paid six bucks for THAT?’ Stop and think about it. The movie is what it is. You’re the one who’s deciding how to react to it.”

Shortly after that, I — and several friends — had the opportunity to test that. I think the movie was “Suspiria.” Or maybe it was some other godawful thing I wouldn’t have paid to see — but someone we knew had a bit part in it so we felt obligated to go see it. Knowing ahead of time that it was going to be an awful movie — something about vampires in a girl’s school, an excuse to have young women in almost-revealing lingerie running around and screaming about bats — I was the one yelling, “cut the strings!” — but, knowing ahead of time it was likely to be an awful film, we made up our minds to go and have a good time with a bad movie. This was before MST3K or “The Creeping Terror” or “Manos, Hands Of Fate.”

We had a good time. We knew it was a lousy movie. We could have spent the after-movie coffee-shop discussion picking it apart. Instead, we all agreed we’d had fun and instead of having a conversation rooting in negativity, we had a much more interesting and upbeat conversation. We got our six bucks worth of entertainment.

Eventually, I learned how to turn off my inner critic. (He’s in there with my inner child, my inner dirty old man, my inner mom, and probably my inner lunatic as well.) Now, when I go to the movies or turn on the TV, I’m going to let them tell me a story. At the end of the show, I don’t have to log onto Facebook and nit-pick the damn thing to death. Yes, I found the Robin Hood episode to be lightweight, less than I expected, but I enjoyed the moment of truth at the end, so the journey was worth it. Yes, I liked the Under The Bed episode a lot, I loved the way it tied its various moments together (although I have two unanswered questions). But no, I do not feel obligated to explain why Capaldi is better or worse, why the writing is this or that, or speculate on the ultimate direction of the storylines.

Why not? Because of the profound realization that those kinds of judgments are too often the ego in disguise. It’s not about what was on the screen — it’s an opinion about what was on the screen. And unless the opinion is an informed one, it’s worthless.

If I watch a show or read a book or go to a movie, it’s not because I want it to be written or directed the way I think it should be done — it’s because I want to see what another creative mind has come up with. It’s because I want to see where James Cameron or Steven Moffatt or Joss Whedon is going to take me this time. I go for the ride. When one of those fellows picks up the phone and calls me and offers to pay me for my professional analysis, then I will be happy to do the whole critical judgment thing — but when I invest my time in any entertainment, it’s to be entertained, so I’m going to appreciate the ambition, applaud what works, and be charmed by everything that succeeds. If a series doesn’t hook me by the third episode, I stop following it. If a movie leaves me feeling “meh,” — yeah, that happens sometimes, but if it’s a big “meh” why should I invest any more of my time picking it apart?

See, I think this is part of authorial maturity.

You start out as a fan. Every horror, fantasy, and SF writer — the good ones anyway — started out as a fan of the genre.

As a fan of any genre, first you’re excited — ohboy, more stories about lesbian leprechauns fighting zombie sasquatches in medieval Switzerland. Then, as you become better read in that genre, you become the expert fan, the experienced fan — they say that taste is the product of a thousand distastes — so eventually, you reach the point where you’ve read so much in that genre that you begin to recognize all the tropes, all the mechanisms, all the devices, and you start to compare one against the other — and that’s when you turn into Comic Book Guy, issuing pronouncements: “Worst. Zombie. Sasquatch. Ever.” Or “Worst. Lesbian. Leprechaun. Ever.”

For a lot of fans, that’s a dead end, there’s no place left to go. Wander the halls of Comic-Con, you’ll see what I mean.

But there’s the next place — the rediscovery of enthusiasm.

You don’t have to like everything in the genre, you begin to recognize the prevalence of Sturgeon’s Law. And that’s when you learn how to select for quality — but after that, there’s another place — it’s called appreciation of the effort. Even if an author or filmmaker stumbles a bit, you appreciate the ambition, the challenge, and all the parts he/she got right.

Eventually, you can go back to being an appreciative audience — but now as an informed reader or filmgoer, you can appreciate the skill of a job well done. Or you can understand why something is “meh,” or you can recognize the parts that worked and the parts that didn’t. But you don’t have to invest a lot of time and energy being Comic Book Guy.

And that’s my point. Comic Book Guy isn’t having any fun. He’s bored — and he’s boring. Bart and Milhouse are having fun. They’re excited and interested. They get it — it’s about being a kid again. The whole point of a comic or a book or a movie or a TV show is to be a kid and have fun. It’s about trusting the author/filmmaker to take you on an exciting journey — not a dark ride, but a journey of discovery. You can’t do that if you’re watching the lighting, the editing, the camera angle, the dialog, the acting — you gotta let go and be a kid again.

You want me to be a big bad grownup and analyze it critically? Pay me. I don’t work on spec.

100 Greatest Movie Threats

Posted: September 14, 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Everything Else
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A little different from my post about the 200 greatest insults of every time, but again, as a writer, threats are very useful. These are some of my favorites from the video below.

Needless to say, NSFW.

  • “Whatever you’re reaching for better be a sandwich, cause you’re gonna have to eat it.”  — Laughing Policeman
  • “I’ll kick your ass so hard you’ll have to unbutton your collar to shit.”  — The Dead Pool
  • “I will put my foot so far up your ass the water on my knee will quench your thirst.”  — Major Payne
  • “Say ‘what’ again! Say ‘what’ again! I dare you! I double-dare you, motherfucker! Say ‘what’ one more goddamn time!”  — Pulp Fiction
  • “You’re gonna die screaming, and I’m gonna watch.” — Long Kiss Goodnight
  • “Sit your five-dollar ass down before I make change.”  — New Jack City
  • “Come quietly, or there will be… trouble.”  — Robocop
  • “You’re a funny guy, Sully. I like you. That’s why I’m going to kill you last.”  — Commando
  • “Listen up, you little spazoids. I know where you live and I’ve seen where you sleep. I swear to everything holy that your mothers will cry when they see what I’ve done to you.”  — Tommy Boy
  • “You move, you make one sound, I’ll snatch the life right outta ya, understand?”  — Man on Fire

200 Greatest Movie Insults (in Two Parts)

Posted: September 14, 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Everything Else
Tags: ,

Insults are something we’ve all experienced at one point or another, and usually they’re not very pleasant. But in the movies, it’s a completely different story, and as a writer, I find a well-written insult extremely useful. As useful as threats, I’d say.

Here are some of my favorites, from a couple different Youtube videos. What are your favorites?

My favorites from the 1st video:

  • “I don’t like your jerk-off name, i don’t like your jerk-off face and i don’t like you. Jerk-off.”  — The Big Lebowski
  • “You know, in the short time we’ve been together, you have demonstrated EVERY loathsome characteristic of the male personality and even discovered a few new ones. You are physically repulsive, intellectually retarded, you’re morally reprehensible, vulgar, insensitive, selfish, stupid, you have no taste, a lousy sense of humor and you smell. You’re not even interesting enough to make me sick.”  — Witches of Eastwick
  • “You despise me, don’t you?”
    “Well, if I gave you any thought, I probably would.”  — Casablanca
  • “What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”  — Billy Madison
  • “You climb obstacles like old people fuck, you know that, Private Pyle?”  — Full Metal Jacket
  • This one doubles as my favorite insult of all time, ever:  “Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?”  — Christmas Vacation
  • “Why don’t you go back to your home on Whore Island?”  — Anchorman

Part 2:

  • “Where you always this stupid, or did you take lessons?”  — Long Kiss Goodnight
  • “Hey, Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?”
    “No. Have you?”  — Aliens
  • “Look, I think we got off on the wrong foot here.”
    “That’s all you got, lady. Two wrong feet in fucking ugly shoes.”  — Erin Brokovich
  • “Selveridge, you’d need three promotions to get to be an asshole.”  — Biloxi Blues
  • “You know what I’m going to get you next Christmas, Mom? A big wooden cross, so that every time you feel unappreciated for your sacrifices, you can climb on up and nail yourself to it.”  — The Ref
  • “You’re gonna pay full price rummy. I don’t believe in no serviceman’s discounts.”
    “Too bad, your old lady does.”   — Heartbreak Ridge

The Beauty of the English Language

Posted: September 12, 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Everything Else
Tags: ,

Credit to one of the coolest guys I know for this post, because he posted this picture on his Facebook page. Thanks Christopher–and y’all should check out his books, they’re great.

I’m looking at this like a writing exercise. See my notes below, but feel free to come up with your own–and share them in the comments! Note, for variations that mean the same thing, I’ve combined them.
The Word Only

“Only she told him that she loved him.”

Sad, poignant, and yet uplifting at the same time–as it should be when anyone tells you they love you.


“She only told him that she loved him.”
“She told him only that she loved him.”

If you’ve gotta be told one thing, that’s not bad…


“She told only him that she loved him.”

I’m getting the sense of a ‘working woman’ here, but possibly something different.


“She told him that only she loved him.”

This could be quite a nice sentiment. I’m thinking that scene from Notting Hill–“I’m just a girl…”–for some reason. But it could also be pretty creepy, giving me a serious Misery vibe.


“She told him that she only loved him.”
“She told him that she loved only him.”
“She told him that she loved him only.”

Very similar to #3 up there, but not exactly the same. In this variation, she might actually love only him, but she might’ve told others that, too.

You Can Join BLACKGUARDS! Yes, You!

Posted: September 9, 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Everything Else
Tags: , ,

Okay, writers all, time to take out those quills and bring your dastardly devilish and deplorable doom-bringers back to life for a chance at stardom… well, for a chance at a paying gig at industry rates that’ll have you published, anyway.

Blackguards is a Kickstarter project for a collection of 20+ stories by… well, I’ll just let their words speak for them. If you’re already familiar with the project, hit the jump to find out about the paying gig.



Coin is their master, and their trade, more often than not, is blood. Something about these nefarious types appeals to the fantasy reader. Perhaps it is that they have abandoned the moral set that dictates what is socially acceptable in our world. In these tales, we live vicariously, intrepidly, and by our blades or our wits or a culmination of both to some degree. These are BLACKGUARDS.


What we at RAGNAROK PUBLICATIONS want to do is offer a premium collection of 20+ short stories by popular writers set in the worlds of their own making. The authors we’ve enlisted are all known for writing some roguish types in their respective series, and here we will be illuminating them just a bit more by dusky moonlight. We have Michael J. Sullivan’s RIYRIA, Carol Berg’s DUST AND LIGHT, David Dalglish’s world of DEZREL where his SHADOWDANCE series is set, Mark Lawrence’s BROKEN EMPIRE, and many more.

Now that the project has hit one of its stretch goals, they’re inviting ANYONE to submit their work to the collection. More on this from Shawn Speakman:

You’ve really done it this time. The wall has been scaled, the castle raided, and the ancient library plundered to make room for more words. Words of your making.

With the latest stretch goal ($22,000, can you believe it?) Blackguards is now open for 1-2 lucky authors to step into the lineup and be paid the same wages as the rest of the authors slaving away behind the scenes. Seriously. From now until OCTOBER 11th, 2014, you (yes, YOU!) have the opportunity to pen a tale for Blackguards. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Deadline: October 11th, 2014
  • The opportunity is open to EVERYONE regardless whether you’ve pledged to Blackguards or not.
  • Theme: Grimdark, sword & sorcery, alternate history, etc. Must include either an assassin, mercenary, or rogue (i.e., thief, cutthroat, brigand, highwayman, etc.).
  • Word Limit: 3,000-6,000 words (No more than that please.)
  • Format: RTF, DOC, DOCX, double-spaced, in a legible serif (such as Times New Roman) Send To: publisher (at) ragnarokpub.com as a file attachment (replace (a) w/ the @ symbol, of course). The subject line is important! It should read: BLACKGUARDS SUBMISSION
  • Limit one submission per author.
  • No simultaneous subs.
  • No reprints.

This is a paying gig. Professional rates (7-9 cents a word depending on where the campaign lands at close). Please don’t email and ask if editor Joe Martin has read your submission. He will choose the best 1 or 2 stories by OCTOBER 11th, 2014; if you do not hear from him by then, assume he still likes you very much and he likes your story, but he has chosen another that had a better fit for the book.

The winning stories will be announced shortly after.

That’s it. Go forth and submit, all my fellow writers. I shall see you on the field!