Joshua C Cook

Author, Husband, Father, IT Manager

Author Support

Author Support, and why it’s important.

Let me be the first to say, I’m blessed beyond measure to have a fantastic group of family, friends, and others who support my writing endeavors. Contrary to some, writing isn’t a walk in the park easy. Time, energy, money, all of that goes into the creation of a self-published book. Let’s talk about that shall we?

Time: Writing  is one time intensive project. Ideas come and go, thinking and mentally planning out the structure and ways of the story, the actual writing of the draft can take months. Then there’s the rewrite, then editing, then working out covers, back copy blurbs, dealing with and getting feedback from Beta readers, working out when to release, then the marketing work WITH release, etc. And if your an outliner, the actual physical creation of the outline, which depending on how you do things, can take days or even a week or two. This all takes time.

Time that you won’t spend playing a game, reading a book (though you make time for this.) watching TV, it can take time away from family, friends, all of that.

Energy: I’m of the opinion that good writing TAKES something from you. You give up part of yourself to bring a story to life. Mentally and physically writing can be one tiring experience. Yes sitting in a chair for several hours and pouring your self into a draft *IS* physically exhausting, at least it is for me. This is energy that I could be using for playing with my kids, going for a walk, things like that. That’s not to say that I don’t play with my kids (I do, often.) and I do go for walks. In fact, writing USED to be far more tiring, until I about 11 months ago starting working out again on a regular basis, that’s made a huge amount of difference. (I have some blog posts on that.) But the fact remains, writing eats energy. Why do you think so many writers cling to coffee or tea??

Money: No I’m not talking about vanity press, you should never pay money to someone for them to ‘publish’ your book. But covers (good ones.) and if your paying for an editor/proofreader, you can be looking at a substantial amount of $$$. Now I personally defray costs by just doing the cover thing. I use a word plugin, feedback from beta readers, and a few other methods to get through the editing and proofreading stages. Why? Because I’m cheap. I can’t afford to spend 1400$ or more to get those two things done. Nor would I want to.

Sadly, writing doesn’t pay well. There are millions of self published books out there. Millions. I average 20$ a month most months. This is not a money maker! I write because I enjoy creating stories, and sharing them. Sure, I’d love to be the next Hugh Howey, but that’s not going to happen. (For those who don’t know who he is, Hugh Howey is a self-published sci-fi author who hit the big time.)

It boils down to this.. if your an author, get a support group. Get family, friends, others who will give you support and help. Nothing helps more than hearing from someone “I love your writing and stories.. never stop.” Feeling discouraged? Those people will get you back on track.

If your a family member or a friend of an author, give them that feedback, they need it. They may not ask for it, but trust me, hearing things like that always helps, always means something.

Author support. It’s important, it doesn’t cost anything, and in the end, only makes you a better writer.

Bridgebreaker, Where we are now.

Bridgebreaker has come out! It’s out on eBook, Paperback and audiobook. I’m doing some promotion in a few places, plus my first ever blog tour at the end of the month. (Two week blog tour.) I’m not sure what to expect on that, but I look forward to the experience. I’ll be updating the blog with links to Bridgebreaker as well on the eBooks page and the main page link to whatever the most recent book for sale is.

All that being said where are we now?

Bridgebreaker, like every other book I write kinda drained me a bit at the end, so as usual I took a few weeks off, clear my head so to speak, and then to jump into my next project. I had originally thought that this would be Book 3 in the Series. However I’ve got this other idea that won’t let me go, that’s been bouncing around in my head. So I’ve decided to work on TWO books at once. (I’m a fool!) Book 3 of ‘The Echo Worlds’ is very very tentatively titled ‘Bridgemaker.’

This other idea floating around is titled ‘The Green Miles’ and it’s Book 1 of ‘Worker Road’  I’m not saying anything else about it at this point. 🙂

So otherwise, I’m good, and things are moving along. Bridgebreaker is not selling great, I was actually somewhat surprised by the lack of sales on the book, other launches were far more successful. I’m not sure as to why however though. Cover Art? Not sure. Things just seem a bit.. flat sales wise. I’m hoping the two upcoming promo things this month will juice things along a bit.

All in all though I think Bridgebreaker is a really strong book, and far stronger story wise than the first book. In fact I reached out to a few people who left three star reviews of the first book, and recruited them to leave reviews of the second book. Interestingly enough, those people gave me far better reviews for the second one, as it hit all the points that they felt like the first one was missing.


So a few blog updates to come, and some promo’s. Combine that with two WIP, and a final read through and notes on another authors work.. busy times!!


Dragonlance – Reading with a Writers eye.

Dragonlance. Good pulpy fantasy. And it is pulpy, as much as I like it. It’s a book series based off a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. There are formulaic parts, and early on, the characters aren’t super well defined. That being said, it’s just good solid fantasy. Now I’ve owned this ‘Annotated’ copy for years now. But it’s been more than a few since I read it. I recently came across it again in my books, and being in between series, decided to pick it up again. I’m very glad I did.

See, the annotations included with the book are by the authors. The last time I read this I hadn’t even begun to start writing, it was only a super vague idea and hint of a thought. Now, after pushing out 4-5 books, picking this up and reading the story AND the authors notes, has made for a very interesting read so far. One, the notes give a great deal of background information, why decisions were made, how the characters grew, and the thought process that went into making various plot points. In short, it’s a view into the two authors mind about the story. And some rather interesting take aways on back story, timelines, and giving the world your creating a history. Giving the readers a sense of time, that they aren’t just being thrown into a new world with no anchors to make it real.

Is Dragonlance great epic fantasy? I don’t know. It’s a little long in the tooth these days, and while some of the characters seem cliche now, I’m not sure how cliche they were at the time. But still, I’m finding this read through, reading with the eye of a writer, a very interesting, and rewarding experience.


In other news: Bridgebreaker, the second book is being released the 12th, so in a week. I have no idea how the pre-orders have gone, I’m not sure there is a way to even see that. I have lined up 5-6 release day reviews as well. I shot for ten, but doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. So I’ll take 5.


Bridgebreaker, the second book in my series, The Echo Worlds, is now out on pre-order! (click that link to be taken to the pre-order page.) And there was much rejoicing. Release date is September 12th, and I’m looking forward to it. This marks the first time I’ve really been able to get a series started, and I’m already mentally laying out the next book. Once I get a good handle on everything I’ll be jotting down main points and getting down to the business of actually writing it out.

Bridgebreaker has greatly improved by the help of my great Beta Readers (who get a shout out in the book.) They all gave great feedback, useful feedback, and I think made the story a great deal stronger. I have heard that so far everyone who has read it feels it’s a stronger story than the first book. Not that Bridgefinders was bad at all, but this part of the series has more emotional ‘oomph’ than the first book did, which was actually by design.

This also marks the first time I’ll be trying two new marketing strats with a book release. Namely pre-orders, AND lining up release day reviews. So far I have 5 or 6 release day reviews promised to me. I’ve given out ARC’s (Author Review Copies) and have given them a timeline to get the reviews done. I’ll be sending out reminders to them a few days before, and the day of release as well, hopefully this will give this book, and of course the FIRST book a bit more viability.

I would be stupid if I didn’t also give a shout out to my cover artist guy, S.A. Hunt, who put up with my last minute requests for changes. I greatly appreciate it, and the issues were totally creations of my own rush to get things done. If your ever looking for a cover guy, S.A. is great!

So Bridgebreaker is being released, I’m starting to work on the next book, I’m accepting auditions for the Audiobook version of Bridgebreaker, the paperback is pretty much ready to go (once I push it out for release) and things are lining up nicely!

Marketing, Bridgebreaker, and Future items

Marketing : It’s complicated. So I did my mega-ultra-super marketing push.. and sold.. 34 units. 34 units at the sale price of 0.99 cents. Which because it was a countdown deal I got 70% of still at least. 🙁 Had a bit of a tail, but not a huge one. So all in all it wasn’t that successful. Looking back I think I made one really serious mistake, with so many services running at one time, I really have no idea which ones were truly successful, and while ones weren’t even close. Lesson Learned! I think I’m going to back off a bit on that, and marketing Bridgefinders in general. As it’s been said before, the best way to sell more books is to WRITE more books. So in that spirit.. I’m close to being down with the sequel to Bridgefinders! The cover above is in fact the cover of the next book, Bridgebreaker!

(And yes, there was much rejoicing.)

Currently the book is being read by Beta readers. Once I get that back, and ponder all of that input, I’ll be making changes, tweaking things, some more minor edits, then, publish time! I will again be doing an audiobook as well, so that will be going on, etc. So yeah, busy!

On future items.. I’m mulling over an idea of a story I sort of started once, and never finished. This is going to be a “I have nothing to work on so let’s work on that” project. So I don’t expect this to be something I’ll be pushing super often or super quickly. Who knows if I finish it, and polish it up I might do #pitchwars next year for it. Maybe not. I’ve discovered that while I love self publishing books, and find it fun, the idea of being ‘commercially’ published doesn’t really appeal to me much. I dunno. Maybe it’s because I am not fond of putting myself out there in that manner? Who knows.

Beside the point though. The real point is the coming of Bridgebreaker! Keep it tuned here to find out when it’s out. And as always remember to subscribe, join, follow, and all the above to see where I go with all this next.


— Josh

E-mail list Marketing

E-Mail list Marketing seems to be the holy grail of the self published author marketing world. And I can understand why, a dedicated list of readers who sign up to find out when you have a new book out. That usually means they will at some point buy it. More sales lead to better rankings, better rankings lead to more people seeing it, which leads to more fans, more e-mail list sign ups and so on.

It’s a great and wonderful thing.. Assuming you can get it working right. I’ve talking about what a pain book marketing is in the past, and it is. I’ve tried review stuff, and tried the free book promo. I’ve tried twitter storms, and ads. Ads on Facebook, Ads on Amazon. None of it has been particularly effective. Now, there are services that use e-mail lists and send your book to their sign ups. The downside is of course that your book is competing with everyone else’s book on those email lists, which is one reason I’ve been a bit turned off from using those services.

But as I work on the last chapter or two of the sequel to Bridgefinders, I’ve decided to try things a bit differently.

The ‘best’ service for this kind of thing is Bookbub. The problem is of course, that Bookbub is both very pricey and VERY hard to get into. Yes, getting lots of sales or downloads is nice. Very nice. And when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. For a reduced price book (down to 0.99 cents.) I’ve read of authors making 300-400 even up over a thousand sales in a single day or two. That is crazy to think about. Free book promos do even better, sometimes cracking 30,000! Of course it costs the author over 400-500$ sometimes to run on Bookbub as well.

Based on the fact that Bookbub has turned me down (again.) I’ve gone instead for the following approach.

On August 8th-10th, I’ve got a book countdown deal running. For those two days, Bridgefinders will cost 0.99 cents, down from 2.99.

Bridgefinders will be featured in newsletters going on to e-mail lists from the following services:

Book Barbarian

Books Butterfly

Bargain Booksy

Book Goodies

Book Scream

Fussy Librarian

Yes, I’m using the shotgun approach. 🙂 About the only one missing from this list is Book Gorilla, who I wanted to use as well, but I miss clicked and selected a promo I didn’t want. By the time I got it fixed I couldn’t run with them in the time frame I wanted. So, not using them. I’m not going free for the simple reason that I’ve done free, and not seen free turn into a lot of sales at this point. As I come out with more books in the ‘Echo Worlds’ series, I think running a free book promo on the first book would be worth doing, but at this point, it doesn’t help.

I’ve been investigating creating my own E-Mail list, but haven’t really taken that step yet. But using all the above services, for a fraction of what it could cost to run this on Bookbub, I’m hoping will pay off. I’ll update after the promo has run!

Forward, Onward, or where have I been?

Forward to the light! Well, almost. OK, so my updates to the blog have been in fact fairly sparse lately, I will try to work on that in the future, and hopefully I will. I’ve got a LOT of irons in the fire as the saying goes right now, and all of that is taking up time. First off, I’ve been writing, and writing a lot. A lot. This of course is a very good thing, as I had hit a bit of a wall mentally, and wasn’t sure where I wanted to take things. I’m sure the wall was also partially getting out of ‘writer’ mode as summer time activities with the family took precedence a lot, and I don’t begrudge that.

But anyways, I’m shooting for mid august (or sooner) to be done with this draft of the next book in the Echo Worlds series, Bridgebreaker.  You will know by now I’m not an outliner, and I’m still not, but to help me get past the wall I took 15 minutes (yes only 15, I set a timer.) and jotted down everything else I wanted to happen in the story.  Not chapters, but just single compact sentences about what else needed to go on. This seems to have helped me a great deal, as I’ve plowed through a great deal of it already. Once I get done with the draft I’ll send a few days crawling over it with the help of my word add on ProWritingAid. I got it and hated it at first. Then as I learned to use it more, I’ve gotten to love it. No, it’s not perfect. And yes, it makes mistakes sometimes. But it’s really helped me with my addiction to commas as well as pointing out where I repeat myself often.

Embarrassingly enough I tend to use the same phrases rather often and close together to boot. The add on does a very good job of finding those, so I can modify the flow a bit. Once I’m fairly happy I’ll be passing the draft on to.. BETA READERS! (yay, and there was much rejoicing!) I have, currently, 4 very good, through, Beta readers on point. I’d like to have an even five, so if anyone wants to put their hat in, PLEASE let me know via contact me here on the blog. After beta reader feedback, or possibly during that phase I’ll get a cover made by the ever talented S.A. Hunt, who did my cover for Bridgefinders.

Then a few more tweaks, and the next step forward! 🙂

Other updates coming in posts: A new video on my quarterly goals (bleh), a before and after on marketing Bridgefinders, and a few useful links I’ve been hitting often. So basically, stay tuned!

Busy Month

Busy Month, June. Very busy. It’s summer in Florida. My wife is a teacher so she’s home, the kids are out of school, so it’s trips, going places, doing stuff. This is all good, not complaining at all! However it has made me rather busy, and while I’ve been writing, social media (twitter, Facebook, blog..) have all suffered somewhat. I just haven’t updated things as much as a should have. I was out of town with the family for a week at the beach, which was a blast, but didn’t get anything done writing wise.

But I’m back now and going strong! I’m pretty happy with the sequel to Bridgefinders, at least in terms of a first draft and where it is now. I have it laid out somewhat in my head, though the story has taken me places as I’ve gone along to things I hadn’t planned on, but that’s the life of a Gardener. (Gardener = No Outline, let the story guide you.) On the Marketing front I’ve tried various different things to little success for the most part sadly. I got turned down by Bookbub again, the heavyweight in that area, but I’ll try again sometime, once I get a few more reviews down. I’ve managed to get to 14 so far, should get to 15 before to long. I also got the coolio banner made for free for Bridgefinders that you can see above.

What else is on tap? Hmm…I published an older book of mine, Canitus on Draft 2 Digital as a test. I took it *off* Amazon’s select program, meaning it’s not eligible for KU anymore, but that’s fine. It wasn’t doing anything anyways. Draft 2 Digital puts it on 6 different other eBook sellers, though truthfully, it won’t sell anything there either for the most part. The ugly fact is that Amazon is and will continue to be the gorilla in the room when it comes to eBook sales. No one else even comes close to it. But I figured, why not?

On the positive side, the audiobook stuff! Bridgefinders is still selling OK, got some reviews. People love the story, but aren’t overly happy with the sound production it appears. I also have approved the audio for Project: Perception, read by a gentleman who was my almost choice for Bridgefinders. That should be for sale *soon* I’ll update things when it’s done and ready.

So all in all, things are going well, though I’m a bit behind the curve in some area’s. Updates should happen a bit more often as I move forward from here and now.


Contest! (Plus other things)


No, I’m not doing a contest (yet) but I’ve entered one. See, I really like my cover to Bridgefinders. I think it’s awesome. Lets look at it again, shall we?



See, that’s awesome 🙂 So being rightly proud of it, I have entered it in a contest for a Facebook group called ‘Book Viral’. The winner of the contest gets 500$ worth of credit towards book marketing with them. Now, given that they have a pretty nice plan, and it’s not cheap, 500$ would really help. So I entered.

The link is HERE.


All you need to do is click the heart under my book cover, and fill in the form. (Book Name: Bridgefinders, etc.) Now they WILL ask for an email address, and yes they will email you at whatever address you put in. It’s book suggestions really, but if you were to put in something other than your normal address I don’t think it would really matter. So if you read this, a vote for Bridgefinders would be appreciated. And if you click the link and you see a cover you like more, well.. I understand, vote for them! (It pains me to say that.. *heh*)

So what other things are going on in my world besides contests?

Hmm.. The audiobook for Project: Perception is moving along, I’ve joined a review group on Goodreads, and I’m writing. I believe my next post will be about PoV (Point of View) changes, and why/how I do them, as this seems to be a subject of some debate I’ve unknowingly discovered. The Goodreads group is an interesting thing that another author got me started on. You get into a review ‘circle’ and your book is reviewed by 4 people, and you review 4 DIFFERENT peoples book. They can either send you an ARC (Author Review Copy) but I prefer if I can to get the book via Kindle Unlimited. I prefer it for two main reasons, one, it gets the author a tiny bit of money, since Amazon pays them per page read, and it also shows up as a ‘verified’ review, since I downloaded it from Amazon. And since Amazon weights verified reviews a bit differently, it helps.

Being the overly fast reader I am, have torn through and reviewed 2 of my 4 books already since I started, 2 days ago. I’m loving it. Both books I’ve gone through so far have been very good, and I recommend them.

The two books in question are: The Midnight Land: Part 1 and White Serpent, Black Dragon

I’ll post links to the next two when I’m done with them as well.

So that’s it for today, I’d love your vote for my book in the cover contest.

Book Titles

Book titles are one of those things that I struggle with sometimes. Trying to find the right balance of being interesting, but not giving to much away is not always easy. Take for example my current work in progress. At the start I was going to name it Grellnot, after one of my antagonists. I liked the idea of it, and the mental image I had of the cover was really cool. However, as I began working on the book, I realized that the title, as cool as it was in my head didn’t accurately describe what the book actually was about. So I made the decision to change it. As the first book was called ‘Bridgefinders‘ I based on the story so far and thinking I knew were it was going to go, I came up with ‘Bridgebreaker.’

Which is a bit self-explanatory, but still it works. All that being said, with the work taking a decidedly different turn than I had originally thought I may revisit the name again. Remember as I’ve said before I’m a ‘gardener’ as the might George RR Martin describes it. I have an idea, a single sentence for the start of the book and let it grow, I don’t outline, create flash cards of notes or plot points, none of that. Which again knowing me is rather amusing, I’m a logical person and love structure and systems, but not here, not in this.

As a result sometimes the writing takes me in a totally different direction than I had expected. In the book under development, the Bridgefinders find themselves and Cendan in particular in a very bad place. Unexpected allies, new knowledge, and somewhat dangerous characters have appeared in ways I hadn’t even thought of before.

I guess the questions are:

  1. If your a writer/author/indie, whatever you call it.. do you title the book when your all done? Maybe in progress? Does it it even matter to you?
  2. If your a reader, how much do you want the title to ‘give away’? Have you ever not bought a book because of the title?


Other News:

After some success with the audiobook for Bridgefinders, I decided to go back and put up Project: Perception as an audiobook. Now, for Bridgefinders I had a bear of a time getting people to audition for it at first. I’ve not had this issue at all for Project: Perception, in fact my main issue is I’ve had 7 auditions so far. One is someone I reached out to personally as they auditioned for Bridgefinders but I ended up going with a different reader. It was a very close call between the two of them, and I wanted to give the guy another chance.But some of these auditions are really really good. So it’s going to be interesting picking one!

That’s all for today, need to write some more of the sequel, and work on a few other things. I’m very curious as to how other’s deal with book titles, so please leave a comment below!

« Older posts

© 2016 Joshua C Cook

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑