What's going on?

Updates For February

So February has rolled around, and it’s as good as time as any to see where I am for this years goals so far, and what has been getting in the way of making more progress, if anything.

  1. Blood of a Fallen God – This is moving forward, though not quite as fast as I’ve hoped. The main issue though is just day to day life has been a bit busier than I thought it would be. But I AM making progress on the first draft.
  2. Bridgemaker – The third book in the Echo Worlds series. I’ve really fallen behind on this one. I’m not good at working on more than one book at a time I’ve discovered, so I think I’ll pause on this one until I get the first draft of BOAFG done.
  3. Outline for other book. – I’ve worked out a short outline for a story called ‘Timetable 93’ I’m really not sure if this will be a short story, or something longer, but we will see.

 

On top of working on the first draft of BOAFG, I’ve been brainstorming cover ideas. I THINK I’ll need to work with an artist to get what I want for the actual art though, so looking into that. If anyone reading this has any suggestions please (like really, please!) reach out to me.

Other news:

  1. The scammers I mentioned so many times before had another run in with a different person, and lo and behold I got mentioned and had a huge spike in blog attendance, though it was short lived.
  2. Unsure if what happened after was related, but I found it amusing. I got a message via email, through the blog from someone claiming to be another author. This person said they had read some of what I’ve done and had a suggestion. The suggestion was to give up. Stop writing, pull what I had written off Amazon, and stop pushing ‘total crap’ so ‘better authors than you can get attention.’ They also proceeded to say that people like me were what was causing them to sell less by flooding the market with junk, and it was making it harder for ‘True talent’ like theirs to get noticed.

 

I have no idea if I’m talented as a writer. I don’t think in those terms, and never have. I write for me. I write because I enjoy the act of it. I write because I like sharing the stories. Sure, I’d love it if they sold better, who wouldn’t want another income stream? But that’s not WHY I write. So no, I won’t give up and go away.

That’s all for now, and I need to go work on BOAFG, I’m behind for the  word count for the week. 😉

Goals

2017 Goals

2017 Goals. Weird thing to be saying to me, if only because of the year. Like most kids I wondered from time to time what the future would bring, and here it is, 2017, and I still am not sure what the future is bringing! It’s a new year though, and so, new resolutions. Before I jump into this years goals, I’m going to look back at last years. in 2016 I had three main goals in terms of writing at least.

  1. Get two books out – I did this, Bridgefinders and Bridgebreaker.
  2. Do more YouTube videos – Forget it. I just hate doing them.
  3. Learn Photoshop more – Successful, and redid my covers for the aforementioned two books.

So 2 outta 3. I’ll take it.

2017 Goals are somewhat different, but only somewhat.

  1. Get two books out. – Working on it. I’m currently working on two books. The third book in ‘The Echo Worlds’ series, and a stand alone book.
  2. Get the standalone book accepted on Kindle Scout – I’ll write on this more later on, but I’ve decided to try for a chance to get a book published under the Amazon publishing arm. It can’t hurt, and it would be very awesome to get it.
  3. Control costs. – I picked writing as a creative outlet at least somewhat because I didn’t see it as a costly thing, financially. But it can be, and can add up quickly. In 2017 I really need to control costs and not throw good money away. the primary question ‘Is this going to have tangible benefits?’ before spending on it.

So those are the three 2017 Goals. Let’s see how it goes!

And remember as always, follow me on twitter, sign up for newsletter, like the page on Facebook, all that stuff. That way you’ll know what’s going on in my writing world.The icons to take you to those places are right there on the main page. Thanks!

 

Support

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 Cover

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!!

 

Annotated Dragonlance

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 Cover

Bridgebreaker

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!

Forward

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!

Banner for Bridgefinders

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.

Book Titles

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!

Bridgefinders Cover

Bridgefinders updates

Bridgefinders

Bridgefinders updates

Bridgefinders has been out for a little over a month now, so I wanted to do an update post on where everything is with the first book in the Echo Worlds series. It’s been an interesting road so far, learned a HUGE amount from the release of this book, stuff I’ll keep using and doing moving forward.

So far Bridgefinders has been an ‘OK’ (for me) seller. Not that I got into writing to make money, I actually enjoy just making up and telling the stories, but hey, some financial reward is nice, right? I say it’s been an ‘OK’ seller as it’s sold more than my other books, that that’s not saying much. *grin*

  1. Marketing is a pain. Everyone said it was.. and you know, they are right. Figuring out what works for YOU is hard. Period. The key word there is YOU. Some writers are better at You Tube and Periscope than others. Some are masters of the blog and Facebook, some have large budgets to blow on advertising and know how to craft a great hook. I’m learning in this area. I do have, thanks to the very talented @creativ_writer team some very nice marketing mock-ups, just don’t know where to use them! (One is at the top of this post.)
  2. Reviews are still hard to come by. I’ve gotten 6 reviews so far on Bridgefinders, I’m still hunting for more.
  3. Audio books are cool. For the first time I had a book made into an audio book via acx.com. While the process was long, I’m happy with it. I know the audio book is on Amazon and Audible, not sure if it’s on iTunes yet, anyone care to check and let me know? 😀
  4. I need to be more patient. (Badly.)

 

I’m working away on the sequel to Bridgefinders, tentatively titled ‘Bridgebreaker’ at the time I’m writing this. The story has taken an interesting twist, one I didn’t see coming. Remember I’m a ‘Gardener’ I don’t outline really. I plant the idea and just let it go where it takes me. Which I know sounds kind of weird, but that’s how I do it. As a result it’s taken me to a very interesting place.

As far as feedback on Bridgefinders goes.. some good, some bad.

It seems the biggest complaint is that the book is ‘too straightforward’ that there isn’t an emotional connection with the characters. Point taken, maybe I should have fleshed out the cast a bit more. For those who feel that way, I think you’ll be happy with the second book. I once told someone I was approaching this series with a ‘Star Wars’ mentality. Meaning, the first book was straightforward good guys win kinda thing. The second book is more complex, more conflict, you learn a great deal more about who these people are. We will see where it goes after this one is done. I don’t have a timeline for when it will be finished, I’m just writing it and moving forward day by day. I will say my goal is to put out 2-3 books a year. So Bridgebreaker will come out before the end of the year, but when exactly is unknown.

So that’s where things sit at the moment.