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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Top Nine Reasons to Buy A Soul to Steal (Revised and Expanded)

By far the worst part about publishing a book is that, instead of leaning back in a comfy chair with a pipe and watching the sales roll in, you have to really hustle to sell it. Sure, Stephen King doesn’t have this problem, but if you are a new author like me starting out, it’s tough to make an impression.

So, at the risk of being crass, I’d like to take this opportunity to convince you to take a chance on a newbie author. I think you’ll like my novel, A Soul to Steal. How can I say that? Why do I think you would like the book? Let me count the ways:

9. You won’t guess the killer
I never set out to write a mystery, instead thinking I was writing a suspense/thriller. But a key question overhangs the book: who is Lord Halloween, the elusive serial killer who targets Leesburg, Virginia? When I wrote the novel, I worried everyone would figure it out. But I’ve been told by virtually every person who read the book that they had no idea who it was (the sole exception is my sister, but of course older sisters know everything). Yet I didn’t pull a cop-out, either. The novel does not end with me suddenly introducing a random new character who turns out to be the killer (“Look Scoob, it’s old man Winters who runs the haunted amusement park!”). Think of this as a challenge: if you figure out who the murderer is, you will be in the top echelon of elite readers.

8. The price is right
I understand that people might not want to take a risk with a new author. When you buy a Dean Koontz or Jim Butcher, you know you are getting quality. But at $2.99, my novel costs about as much as a cup of coffee. And it lasts so much longer! Your coffee is done within 10 minutes. But this book, at over 100,000 words, lasts as long as you want it to. Unfortunately, just like coffee, the novel may keep you up at night.

7. Instant indie cred
If I become a mega best-selling novelist one day, you can tell all your friends you read my book before I made it big. “I discovered him first,” you’ll say. Then you’ll go on to detail all the ways in which I’m no longer as good as I once was and I’ve become too commercial. “He sold out,” you’ll say, with your friends nodding sagely. “He used to be original, but ever since he wrote A Soul to Steal and Zombies, it just feels like his heart isn’t in it.”

6. It’s a fascinating look at your local paper
One thing I’ve been surprised to hear is how much readers enjoy the setting at a local community newspaper in Loudoun County, Va. I’ve been a journalist my entire professional career, including working at several local papers, one in Leesburg. The setting feels authentic because it is. I worked at that paper for three years and learned a lot about being a reporter at a small town newspaper. I also came to love Loudoun County. It is a place rich in history and atmosphere and I wanted it to be as much a character in the novel as anyone else.

5. It has great reviews
Please don’t just take my word for it that the novel is any good. As of this writing, there are 59 great reviews (including 49 5-stars) for the novel on Amazon. Can 49 5-star reviews be wrong? Actually, don’t answer that. I’m sure 49 people have been collectively wrong about lots of things in the past. There are probably 49 people who believe the world is flat and that the Jersey Shore is quality television. But still, in this case, they aren’t wrong.

4. It has the Headless Horseman
Since I was a kid, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow has been one of my favorite stories. I’ve always loved the Headless Horseman, one of the scariest figures in American horror. I’ve built an original novel that uses the Horseman—but doesn’t repeat the characters or plot of Washington Irving’s classic tale. This is not “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Zombies,” though now I would like to officially trade-mark that title for future use. In all seriousness, I’ve found a unique way to use the Horseman. This isn’t a half-baked sequel or knock-off.

3. It’s surprisingly funny
I am not a terribly serious person. So despite the fact that the novel involves a serial killer, the Headless Horseman, an ancient Celtic myth and a bunch of innocent people dying, it also has a fair amount of humor. One consistent feedback I’ve received is that my characters are well-developed and likeable. For example, Janus, who provides much of the comic relief, has proven to be one of the most popular characters in the book.

2. It’s scary, but not gory
The novel is a mix of mystery, suspense and the paranormal, and technically falls under the Horror category on Amazon. If you like thrills and chills, the novel has plenty. But it’s not a gory book. If you are scared of words like entrails, spewing and mangled, you’re in luck! None of those words appear in the novel (although they do appear in this blog post, for which I now must apologize). I don’t like gore. It’s not that it bothers me, I just don’t find it interesting and it can ruin a perfectly good scary scene. Accordingly, you won’t find gore in A Soul to Steal.

1. The ending is “amazing.”
I could tell you a lot of things here, including that the book is an addictive page-turner or the first in a trilogy that promises to get even better as it goes on. But probably the novel’s best selling point is its ending. When I started writing A Soul to Steal, the ending is what I had in mind. Everything builds to that point. Yes, it’s part of a trilogy, but this is a complete book. I’m not trying to hold back for the sequel. This novel is carefully structured to lead to a satisfying conclusion—one you won’t see coming. But don’t take my word for it, read the reviews. Vanessa the Jeep Diva wrote: “When everything came together and all the pieces finally fell into place I was completely shocked. The ending was fantastic.”

So what are you waiting for? A Soul to Steal is a top-rated mystery/thriller with a supernatural twist. Buy it now and see what all the fuss is about.

If you want to find out more about the novel, find me on Facebook here:

Find me on Twitter at @hobbinb


  1. Very clever post, congrats! Makes me want to buy your book - surely you are already selling very well with so many reviews and so well rated!

    The one reason I loved best? #7, LOL!

    1. Thanks, Claude. It has sold very well for an indie, but I'm always pushing forward...

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