Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Introducing the UK-Only Audiobook Giveaway

Good evening, readers!

If you've been tuning into this blog over the past year, you may have spotted some of my earlier audiobook giveaways. These giveaways were open to residents of the US and UK, yet all of the winners resided in the US! I feel like I'm a fair person, so this time I'm giving away free audiobook copies of Servant, Sacrifice, and Ordinary Souls to TWO lucky winners who reside in the the United Kingdom ONLY.

To enter, send an email to with Audiobook Giveaway as the subject. I'll choose the lucky winners on the 31st of March!

(Note: Entries from non-UK residents are not valid. The promo codes won't even work outside the UK, so don't think about cheating!) ;)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

No New Ideas?

Happy Belated New Year, everyone! I hope 2018 is finding each of you well!

I've already had five author events this month (no, I don't have a lot of free time!). I talk to lots of people at my events, and I happened to have two people at two of these events mention the same concern to me:

That there are no new ideas.

In the first instance, the man who mentioned this to me was worried because he'd always wanted to write a novel, but ended up reading another novel that turned out to be nearly identical to the one he'd been working on. In the second instance, the man who mentioned that there are no new ideas said that his daughter liked to write--I suppose he was concerned for her since all worthwhile ideas seem to have already been taken.

I told both of these people the same thing: there AREN'T really any new ideas.

But that's not something to be feared. The important thing to do is to put your own spin on an established idea. Make it yours, and it will feel original to your readers.

For example:

Some number of years ago, I read a short story by Oscar Wilde called "The Canterville Ghost." In this story, a loud and boisterous American family moves into a ghost's estate. The ghost doesn't like it and makes many attempts to scare the family away. Part of it was told from the ghost's point of view, which I thought was so neat that I wrote part of Rage's Echo from the ghost's point of view.

(As a side note, the movie Beetlejuice borrows heavily from Wilde's story, as it's about two ghosts trying to scare away the family who moves into their house.)

Another example is my short story "The Mirror," which appears in Ordinary Souls. If you haven't read "The Mirror" yet, it's about Elena, a wealthy divorcee, who collects antiques and discovers that her "new" antique mirror sometimes chooses to reflect her future self's reflection back at her. Elena begins to fixate on what her future self is doing--who wouldn't?--and then tries to avoid what she sees happening in the mirror.

Enchanted mirrors are by no means an original literary phenomenon! Think of the magic mirror on the wall in Snow White, or the Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter, which shows you your heart's deepest desire when you look into it.


So, don't worry if an idea you love is already "taken." Work with the idea and shape it into something new! Just don't ever plagiarize, because THAT is illegal.

What about you, writers? How have you reworked established ideas and made them your own?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Trapped Inside the Internet

It was September 2005. I was 16 years old, a junior in high school, and I was talking to my good friend Jennifer on the phone in my basement bedroom that was always too cold regardless of the time of year.

I don't remember why we were talking on the phone. I guess that's what we did back then. I don't remember who called who, or what we'd even been talking about at first, but suddenly Jennifer said something to me that would change my life forever:

"So-and-so told me about this website called MySpace." She emphasized the second word, calling it "mySPACE."

She told me a little more about this website I'd never heard of. Intrigued, I visited MySpace and signed up. I discovered that a few other people from school had profiles, and was astounded to see pictures from the recent school dance displayed on people's profiles for anyone to see.

It was beyond my comprehension that someone could put pictures of me and my friends online without my knowledge. It was like this whole little world existed that I hadn't known about. Sure, I'd been lurking online for a few years at that point, mostly hanging out in the forums on the official Star Wars website. (My screen name there was, for some reason, Darth Gurshellewarn, or something like that.) People did not post pictures in the forums. This was entirely new territory for me, and I took to it with overzealous fervor.

One of the photos from my MySpace profile.

Fast forward twelve years.

It's hard to imagine what life would be like today without social media. It's even what I do at work: I manage many social media profiles a day, and when I get home in the evening, I get in my daily word count and then hop on over to my own social media profiles to post things there. I'm generally on social media about eight hours a day.

I've made so many friends online during the past twelve years. I love the opportunities that social media has given me. Without it, I never would have found my publisher, and I wouldn't have been able to meet some very dear author friends at writing conferences.

Despite this, I'm starting to miss the olden days.

I'm starting to miss them BAD.

I sit and try to remember what I did before the dawn of social media. I remember crocheting a lot, and I wrote stories in notebooks, and I scrapbooked my photographs in albums. Of course I had homework, too, which I don't miss at all--but I miss the simplicity of it. I miss the quiet evenings hanging out with my friends, watching movies and writing goofy stories that we'd pass back and forth. I miss a world that lived without daily outrage. I miss a world that was more civil, more polite. Part of me wishes that I could go back in time and revel in the silence.

Of course, I'm not going to ditch social media. I love you all too much! But I think it's time for me to step back a little bit and try to regain some of what I have lost.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Epic Holiday Audiobook Giveaway

2017 has flown by, and once again it is the holiday season! Oh, where has this year gone?

In proper gift-giving fashion, I am giving away free Audible copies of Servant, Sacrifice, and Ordinary Souls to FIVE LUCKY WINNERS. Entries are open to residents of the US and UK only. Each winner will win all three audiobooks.

How do you enter? 

1. Send an email to stating whether you live in the US or UK so I can send you the correct code if you are one of the winners. Please put AUDIOBOOK GIVEAWAY in the subject line.

2. Comment on this blog post answering the following question:

What is the best audiobook you have ever listened to?

You MUST complete both steps in order to have a valid entry! The deadline for entry is December 31, 2017. Good luck!

servant the chronicles of servitude book 1 j s bailey supernatural suspense

sacrifice the chronicles of servitude book 2 j s bailey supernatural suspense

ordinary souls j s bailey supernatural short stories

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Surrender Book Launch

The moment you've been waiting for has arrived at last...

surrender the chronicles of servitude book 3 j s bailey supernatural suspense

I'll be the first person to admit I'm a slow writer. Between my day job and marketing the books I've already published, it isn't always easy to squeeze in my daily word count. Factor in that plus the fact that I suffered a crippling bout of writer's block while working on the first draft of Surrender: The Chronicles of Servitude Book 3, and now you understand why it has been two long years since Sacrifice: The Chronicles of Servitude Book 2 arrived on your bookshelves.

I am deeply sorry for leaving you all hanging. I'm happy to say that Bobby Roland is back, all safe and sound (a.k.a. In Constant Danger), and now you have the opportunity to read his latest exploits as he battles his new nemesis, an individual you will learn much more about in Surrender:

Bobby Roland has spread himself too thin.

Bobby has finally found a demoniac to cleanse. Before the exorcism is complete, he learns that someone is plotting the assassination of a local humanist leader.

When Bobby’s enemy, Thane, appears at a party with threats to kill everyone, Bobby realizes he can’t save them all on his own. But Bobby doesn’t give up easily. He flees town to find help and discovers it in the most unexpected of places.

Can Bobby and his new friend save everyone before it’s too late?

Surrender may be purchased in the following formats:

If you haven't yet read Servant: The Chronicles of Servitude Book 1 or Sacrifice: The Chronicles of Servitude Book 2, they are available here in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats.

ALSO, if you happen to live in or near the Cincinnati area, I'm having a Surrender Book Launch Book Signing on Saturday, October 21 from 9:30am to 1:30pm at Everything Bagels in Eastgate, Ohio, located at 792 Eastgate South Dr. Suite 200 Cincinnati, OH 45245. Everyone is more than welcome to attend!

As usual, happy reading!

--J. S. Bailey

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fear is Just Around the Corner

Surrender: The Chronicles of Servitude Book 3 will be releasing on October 20, but for those who absolutely cannot wait another few days to get some new Bailey stories in their hands, you're in luck!

I contributed three all-new stories as well as some backstory to the horror/comedy anthology The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove, which is available now in hardcover, softcover, and ebook formats! Proceeds benefit Reading is Fundamental, so be sure to get your copy today!

Graves Grove isn’t your ordinary town…
Nestled within the folds of the Canadian Rockies, Graves Grove probably isn’t the picturesque place you’d like to stay for long. Peculiar things happen here. The citizens seem normal superficially—they function well enough. But each one is deeply disturbed, wrapped in secrets and neuroses which drive them to strange behaviors.
And then there are all the missing children. And why is everyone afraid of that sycamore tree?
The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove is an anthology of stories taking place throughout the history of this mysterious town, from its founding to its future. Read them…if you dare.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Cincinnati Comic Expo: A Recap

It's been two weeks since the start of the Cincinnati Comic Expo, which was held at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Downtown Cincinnati from September 22-24. It was my first time attending, so I wasn't sure what to expect, especially since I was a vendor selling my own books. Would any attendees be interested in supernatural suspense novels? I figured they would be, but I didn't know, so some risk was involved there. I did split the cost of an exhibitor booth with fellow author A. Charles Ross, which turned out to be a splendid idea since one of us could hold down the fort while the other went exploring the rest of the Expo.

As it turned out, I sold enough books to cover the cost of my half of the table (but not the exorbitant cost of parking--alas!). Overall, it was a great investment. I came SO CLOSE to breaking even, and since I'll have a new book out soon, next year I will probably do even better.

Here are a few things I did that I think helped with sales.

1. I marked down the cost of my books.

I normally sell my trade paperbacks for $17, which includes sales tax. For the Comic Expo, I marked the price down to $15 including tax and had signs clearly stating that this was a Special Convention Price. This gave people a reason to buy my books right then and not later.

2. I made signs summarizing each book.

I typed up a brief summary of each book I had for sale and listed authors and TV shows that were similar to each story. This helped tell people about the books for those times when I couldn't be in the booth to talk about them myself.

3. I bribed people with cool bags.

I ordered a hefty batch of reusable shopping bags with my name and website on them (Big shout-out to Uncover Creative for designing them!), then made a sign telling people that they could get a free bag if they bought three or more of my books. I had at least five people take me up on the offer, which amounted to quite a few books sold!

4. I handed out bookmarks.

Foot traffic was a little slow during certain times at the Expo. During those instances, A. Charles Ross and I stood out in front of our booth passing bookmarks out to the few people passing us by. One man who would have passed us by without looking ended up buying ALL of our titles after we gave him free bookmarks. Not too shabby!

5. I had clearly-marked signage.

I recently had my publisher, BHC Press, design a table drape and retractable banner (a.k.a. My Giant Face) for my events. The table drape and banner clearly state that I write supernatural suspense, and My Giant Face on the banner was so captivating that one girl saw it from across the room and thought it was her own face that someone stole off the internet and turned into a banner. (She had brown hair and glasses, too.) Another woman noticed My Giant Face and said that I looked like I could be one of her sisters. My doppelgangers didn't buy any books, but at least I know that my retractable banner is noticeable!

6. I talked to lots and lots and lots of people.

In fact, I talked to so many people that my throat was raw and rasping by the time the Expo was over. I used about 70,000 cough drops over the weekend just to maintain the ability to speak. I still sounded like a frog as the event came to a close. But that's good--that means so many more people know about my books now!

In all, I sold 15 copies of Ordinary Souls, 10 copies of Rage's Echo, 6 copies of Servant, and 5 copies of Sacrifice. I can use these numbers as a benchmark to surpass at next year's Cincinnati Comic Expo.

Have any of you sold books at conventions? What tips would you add here?