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Amish Vampires In Space Hits The Tonight Show

18 March 2014

From author Brandilyn Collins:

Here’s a new twist on the old adage “Any publicity is good publicity.” A week ago a crazy thing happened. Within 24 hours of hitting Amazon with an updated CreateSpace version, Kerry Nietz’s indie novel Amish Vampires in Space found itself in the hands of Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show.

Did I mention it was on Fallon’s “Do Not Read This Book” list?

Other books on the list included a napkin-folding title, a self-defense how-to, and a cookbook. BO-RING. They garnered some laughs, but the audience roared at Nietz’s novel. Fallon held up the book—with its cover of a bonnet-clad female vampire sporting long red nails—and deadpanned, “Just what we need. Another Amish-vampires-in-space book.”

. . . .

In October of last year AVIS was released from Marcher Lord Press, a small publishing house for speculative fiction with a Christian worldview.

. . . .

Then in December Marcher Lord Press was sold, and the new owner did not want AVIS in the lineup. So Nietz scrambled to self-publish the novel.

. . . .

In early March, a proofer friend of Nietz alerted him to a few typos in the book. Nietz made the fixes but struggled for a week to get the manuscript through CreateSpace. Meanwhile Amazon took the paper version out of print. The night after the new CreateSpace version went live, Amish Vampires in Space was on The Tonight Show. Which was followed, according to Nietz, by a “dozens of tweets (in seven different languages and countries), and calls and emails from Hollywood types.”

Link to the rest at Brandilyn Collins and thanks to Lynette for the tip.

PG says nobody will ever forget the title.





36 Comments to “Amish Vampires In Space Hits The Tonight Show”

  1. Damn. I wish I’d written that book. 🙁

  2. That lucky bloke! 🙂

  3. Shame on you, PG. 🙂 You left out the very best paragraph from the original article in your excerpt:

    In October of last year AVIS was released from Marcher Lord Press, a small publishing house for speculative fiction with a Christian worldview. Its unique title created plenty of buzz—and some outrage from the Christian community. “I knew what I wrote and why I wrote it,” Nietz says, “so I wasn’t afraid of the detractors. I was confident that when they read it, they’d see. But there are an amazing amount of folks who do judge a book by its cover and title.”

    I’m rolling here.

  4. Kerry and I run in the some of the same writer circles, both of us being Christian writers. Not that we know each other well, but we know of each other, and I’ve been aware of AViS since it debuted, as well as its recent rejection from Marcher Lord Press when it was purchased from the original owner, Jeff Gerke, by Steve Laube, a Christian Literary agent. (Some of our discussions with Steve at Speculative Faith blog centered around conflict of interest he might have owning a publishing company.)

    Steve elected not to take AViS as well as the Hinderland imprint, an imprint featuring more “mature” fiction (cussing, sex, and more extreme violence allowed not normally allowed in most traditionally published Christian fiction).

    My guess is, though he didn’t give a definitive reason for leaving AViS out of his purchase, is that his agency represents authors of “Amish Romance” who perceive AViS as mocking the Amish.

    As it turns out, everyone I know of who has read the book say it is very good, and respectful of Amish traditions and history.

    From time to time we’d joke in Christian writer circles about a book like Amish Vampires in Space being written. Kerry decided to actually write it.

    He’s actually lucky to have his book rejected in the sale of the press and self-publish. He stands to benefit from this publicity a lot more as a self-publisher than he would have at MLP.

    • I know Jeff Gerke from Marcher Lord Press, and Steve Laube as I’m a past member (have to send in my fee to keep me current) of the ACFW and have had meetings with both in regards to my Angel series.
      They are both great guys and well respected in the Christian publishing community.

      Congratulations to Kerry. I hope the publicity leads to lots of sales.
      A while ago, some blog picked it as the worst self published cover of the year. However, the cover was not a self published one (as noted it was part of Marcher Lord Press, an award winning publisher) and done by a respected cover artist.

  5. The no publicity is bad publicity definitely works for me on this one. I’m intrigued enough to have a look at the book. I’m hoping the same is true about my cover (which most people like) being featured on http://lousybookcovers.com/?p=5576. The reviewer thinks it looks like a girl in a world of gigantic horses which definitely wasn’t what I intended. But it’s a great point and made me laugh

    • The gigantic horse eye scared me!

    • Great title, and the cover does convey a certain tone, though I’m not sure it’s the tone you’re aiming for. You might try a slightly different lay-out, without the black bar at the bottom, and definitely a different font (is that comic sans?); maybe a Trajan? I see you’re doing pretty well in the rankings of your genre, which appears to be young adult sports/hobbies–you might check other covers in the genre and try emulating them as possible. Also, Flickr can be a great resource of images free to use under creative commons licenses.

      Good luck with it.

      • Thanks for the advice – very useful. I really struggled to find the right font and used this one at the suggestion of a professional cover designer who thought it made the text look a bit like graffiti. It’s MV Boli, by the way.

    • I think the cover depends on how much you love horses, for me its a bit creepy but still not bad or anything. By ‘depends on how much’ I mean it might not bring in new casual readers. At the same time who knows, I just read Konrath’s new blog post that reminds me of that.

      If there’s a riding stable nearby I’d ask if they would let you show several mockup covers to kids in your target range. Or even show other people’s covers and ask what they like/dislike about them. The stables here have quite a few regular teen girls and casual riders.

  6. More power to Kerry for having the guts to write this!

  7. I told Kerry to make sure and contact Fallon–just in case he wanted to bring on the author of one of the “don’t read list” books as to why it should be read. On a lark. Why not? I hear Kerry may or HAS sent a tee shirt to Fallon. Cool.

    I ignored the book when it first came out as hokey. But it’s wrong to judge by the cover and think it was just campy silliness horror style. The cover is pretty effective in catching the eye, but it might make one think crappy Syfy movie time. It’s a pretty good read. It’s a nicely done mash-up of the Amish fiction and Space Horror. And it’s now on the long list for the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction.

    Mild spoilers: Kerry does some interesting metaphorical stuff–as if the vampire metaphor of “life is in the blood” wasn’t enough–of how someone paid the price to save us before we knew it or were born (ie, the Amish colony is in danger of destruction from their sun going red giant, but one of the colonizers way back bought insurance so that they could be relocated in an event of necessity and set a secretive “watchful” system in place to monitor the sun.) That’s a VERY nifty little tie-in with the gift bought and paid for to bring us salvation. There are other nice ways Kerry ties in doctrinal matters.

    I wrote a Christian SF story of an “Amish-like” group of colonizers that won a contest years ago. No vampires, though. 😀 Nice aliens, instead. (Which I plan to self-pub in a small collection sometime this spring as I try to figure out covers and whatnot on my own.)

    I hope Fallon invites him on. I’d love to see a CSF author get some air-time.

    Very cool.

  8. I’ve got to say that the cover for AViS is far better than I expected.

    Diana, except for the reflection of the photographer in the horse’s eye, I didn’t think your cover was that bad. (I do covers on occasion, but it’s not my main job.)

  9. The cover art is awesome. Lol. 🙂

  10. Well…as of 8:25AM Eastern, it ranks on ‘Zon at just under 65,000. Don’t know where it was last night but it should be interesting to watch the sales rank for a few days.

  11. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” sounds disingenuous. If it weren’t for someone finding this funny, most people in the possible target groups (Amish, Christian, SF, vampire-fiction-lovers) wouldn’t buy this book – precisely because of the cover and title.

    It’s the ‘pet rock’ of the day.

    I hope the author gets to take advantage of the spark of interest – and laughs all the way to the bank – because this notoriety is exactly like winning the lottery: what Joe Konrath refers to as ‘luck.’

  12. I want to read that.

  13. This book sounds awesome. And the cover is first rate. It’s always really cool to see a creator take a ludicrous premise and run with it in an intelligent way, as this author has.

    • I remember talking with some pals on FB when this cover got blasted by some critic as a “bad cover.” I thought it was actually a pretty darn good cover and eye-catching. The book was fun to read and had some good interaction between Amish and “Englisher.” The author gave good thought to justify the vampires (they aren’t just some cursed devil-things) and the resolution was excellent. Happy-ish ending (as happy as it can be given you’ve got dead folks.) I’d recommend it for folks who enjoy mash-ups and sci-fi.

      I hope if someone picks it up for filming, they do a creditable job. I think it would make a very fun space-horror-spiritual flick.

  14. I thought the cover of AVIS was excellent! I totally downloaded the book this morning. I appreciate his desire to literally run with a campy title.

  15. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement everyone. For me the story was always an interesting mental challenge: Can I write a story that blends the three genres and yet attempt to be faithful to them all? And when I’m done, will it be compelling and even have some depth?

    That’s why the furor over the title/cover/perceived intent seemed so strange to me. Like I said in the article, “I know what I wrote, and why I wrote it.” Conscience is clear.

    And while folks my argue with the results, I at least hope they can respect the attempt. I’m proud of it!

  16. The “look inside” drew me in. I almost bought it. Except that I’ve been spending a bit too much on new ebooks lately. Time to lay off for a while.

  17. A couple of months back an acquaintance on Facebook shared AVIS, in the sense of “Can you believe someone wrote this?” Not long afterwards I bought and read “Foxtales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software”, the writer’s first book. It was pretty good!

    I don’t know that I’ll ever read AVIS (so many books, so little time), but I’ll bet it’s far better than most people expect.

  18. Now that’s a mash-up of genres. Love it!

  19. As soon as I saw that book and read that it had been written straight, not as a farce, I thought, It’s the What Does the Fox Say? of books! The song is so absurd, and yet…well, such a great song. And really does make you think, gosh what DOES the fox say?

    And the cover is excellent. I think anyone who said it was bad was actually complaining about the nerve to cross those genres.

    Anyway, I bought it. So the “bad publicity” worked on me! 🙂

  20. So, I downloaded AVIS and it is really good. I’m about halfway through it and I am starting to become concerned. There are Amish vampires running amok on a spaceship. How will they save them? They simply cannot kill them. These are good, decent people caught up in a devilish Rumspringa.

    • It IS good, isn’t it? And the pace in the middle (instead of sagging like so many books) just picks up mad steam and never lets down. I also felt awful for the Amish, cause no one wants to see nice folks end up horribly….

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