Guest Post // Jeff Bond, Author of Anarchy Of The Mice
Thank you, Jeff, for stopping by and sharing your insight into your new series, Third Chance Enterprises.
I’ll start with a confession: the Third Chance Enterprises series is designed, from the ground up, to sell. When I began drafting Anarchy of the Mice five years ago, I had been writing more slice-of-life/literary stuff and wanted to move in a more commercial direction. I set out to craft a premise with the broadest possible appeal, to pull in readers from a range of subgenres. I had the idea to include multiple protagonists, each belonging to a distinct mystery/thriller archetype: the Stephanie Plum-style single mother-private investigator, the Jack Reacher ex-military type, and the handsome wisecracking womanizer. A little something for everyone.
If I was going to write genre fiction, I wanted to go whole hog. Exciting plots. Once-in-a-lifetime characters. A setup that could generate story upon story upon story of drama, romance, danger, fun…just all-around awesomeness.
I knew I wanted to do the books as indie titles. I had just committed to releasing Blackquest 40 that way, and from conversations with literary agents about my previous book, The Winner Maker, I knew traditional publishers were moving away from genre debuts. This opened up the promotional possibilities. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, short stories—I wasn’t sure quite what I’d do, but I went ahead and registered www.thirdchancestories.com and settled on the site’s subtitle: “Heroes too big to stay inside a book.”
At the time of the site’s launch, I was still six months from releasing Anarchy, so I had time to experiment. Nobody would realistically be paying attention to a website about characters they hadn’t read about yet. I created social media accounts for all three protagonists (@mollyMcGill3rd, @quaidRafferty, and @durwoodOakJones) and started trying different things. Stray observations that fit their personalities. Image posts in a similar style to the Third Chance retro-pulp covers.
One failed effort was to post real-time stories, in which the characters would tweet out scenes in 280-character bursts. I thought it could be cool to have followers glancing at their phones, experiencing some minor caper over the course of forty-five minutes or an hour. This proved hard to pull off, though. It required special scheduling apps…the real-time requirement was confining from a storytelling standpoint…the whole exercise started to feel like a chore.
This will sound obvious, but it’s important with social-media content that you enjoy what you’re creating. All authors are advised now to have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and if you’re not a natural sharer like me, it can be tough. I have zero interest in enlightening the world with my own opinions about politics or social issues, and even feel squeamish telling others what movies to watch or books to read. Part of what I like about my Third Chance promotional strategy is that it allows me to share regularly on social media—observations, pics, small snatches of writing—but in a way that advances and ties in with these characters I’ve created. Because they span the political spectrum (Quaid liberal, Durwood and Eunice McGill conservative) and have a range of experiences (Molly wrangling kids, country-boy Durwood, Quaid a jetsetting mover and shaker), the source material is virtually endless.
Lately, as the launch of the first two Third Chance books approaches, I’ve settled into a decent groove. I’ve been sharing short scenes featuring popular secondary characters like Molly’s grandmother and Durwood’s neighbor, Crole. I’ve started a few long-running (but not real-time) tales linked by hashtags, which get their own dedicated page on thirdchancesstories under the “Recurring” tab. In one, Quaid is contemplating getting a pet parrot. In another, Molly is stuck in lockdown and horrified by a neighborhood dad’s day-drinking on their daily Zoom meet-ups. I’ve done more retro-pulp pics. I’ve linked news stories that one of my heroes would have strong opinions about. I’ve done a handful of videos that feature me reading these shorts in character.
Some days I’m excited to do it. Other days I’m too swamped with the kids or writing actual books—which of course is my primary focus—and it’ll be a few days between posts. I don’t put pressure on myself about it.
I’m hopeful that as the books get out into the world, readers will follow my characters on social media and perhaps even guide the content. Thirdchancestories.com has a section where you can actually submit a mission to any of the three heroes, and I’ll write you into their mini-adventures. Beyond that, I expect that likes and retweets and all those other social voting mechanisms will tell me which direction to take it. Will Crole gain a following? Is Quaid popping off about politics too touchy? Honestly, I’m just feeling my way through it all. I’d happily take any feedback or thoughts you have through the Contact page of my main author site, jeffbondbooks.com.
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Bond. There will be Two (2) winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2020, and runs through September 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jeff Bond is an American author of popular fiction. His books have been featured in The New York Review of Books, and his 2020 release, The Pinebox Vendetta, received the gold medal (top prize) in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards. A Kansas native and Yale graduate, he now lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters.
Click here to view the Anarchy Of The Mice by Jeff Bond Participants