Dissolution of Peace Spring Blog Tour is official!
I am going on a blog book tour with Dissolution of Peace. The book and I will be traveling through the virtual world to attend various blogs to spread the word about my book. I’m excited about this since it will allow me to share a little bit about me and the book with a new audience. You can visit these blogs and see interviews, guest posts, and book reviews. I will be on tour from April 8th until May 13th this year!
As I mentioned above I will be traveling blog to blog from April 8th until May 13th. There are still a number of dates available so if you would like to get in on the tour, it isn’t too late. There are still several open dates available. If you want one, just go here (link) and pick a date. Then scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see “Would you like to host this author on your blog?“ Click the link and sign up.
The folks over at Orangeberry Book Tours are hosting this tour for me. They’ve taken a ton of the work out of it so I just get to hang out at various blogs. While I will try to keep the listed dates below updated, for the most current dates and locations visit my Tour page.
While I hope you will go check out each blog host before and after my posts, I will be posting links to blog tour posts throughout the tour on my Facebook and Twitter pages. So if you don’t follow me there, please do.
Book Feature: A quick feature just announcing the basics about Dissolution of Peace
Twitter View: A interview with me over Twitter. I’ll be off work so I am going to do my best to answer these questions live.
Twitter Blast: A collection of book quotes sent out via Twitter. Please RT the heck out of those.
Book Review: Just that, a review of Dissolution of Peace
Author Interview: An interview with me, posted on their blog.
Guest Post: This is a post I write for their blog, as a guest.
Tour Dates and Locations:
8th April – Book Feature at Peace from Pieces
9th April – Twitter View with OB Book Tours
10th April – Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours
11th April – Author Interview at Mommy Adventures
12th April - Guest Post at The Bunny’s Review
13th April - Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours
14th April - Book Feature & Author Interview at The Reading Cat
15th April - Guest Post at Blog-A-Licious Authors
16th April - Book Feature & Author Interview at Author’s Friend
17th April – Guest Post at Kindle Nook Books
18th April – Book Feature at Paws on Books
19th April – Guest Post & Book Feature at Anya Breton‘s blog
20th April – Book Feature at Book Professor
21st April – Author Interview & Book Feature at Michael R McDuffee‘s blog
22nd April – Guest Post at Books Are Magic
23rd April – Author Interview & Book Review at Pages 2 Pages
24th April – Guest Post at Disincentive Reviews
25th April – Book Feature at Book Professor
26th April – Guest Post at Quality Reads
27th April – Author Interview at Fantasy Books
28th April – Book Feature at eInk Reviews
29th April – Book Feature at My Love for Books
30th April -Book Feature at Brainy Reads
1st May – Book Feature at Pages to Chapters
2nd May – Book Feature at Living for Books
3rd May – Orangeberry Pick of the Week & Sidebar
3rd May – Guest Post, Author Interview & Book Feature at Talisman Book Publishing
4th May – Book Feature at Gentleman Reads
5th May – Book Feature at Working For Books
6th May – Book Feature at My Love for Books
7th May – Book Feature at Aspiring Book Reviews
8th May – Book Feature at Reading My Addiction
9th May – Book Feature at Imagination in Books
10th May - Orangeberry Book of the Day – Gentleman Reads – Excerpt /
11th May – Author Interview at Up In Smoke
12th May – Guest Post at Richard Stephenson‘s blog
13th May – End of Tour Celebration post! at Flores Factor.
Blog Tour Giveaway!
This book tour will include the largest giveaway I’ve done to date. There will be some great prizes including: Signed Paperbacks, Free Paperbacks, Free eBooks, and an Amazon Gift card. This is hosted by Rafflecopter and there are multiple ways to enter. The giveaway will end on May 19th. Check back with the giveaway often because as more blogs post, more entries will be possible. In fact, you get five entries just by entering this GIVEAWAY CODE: “E.S.S. Australia”
You can find the Giveaway on my Facebook page: CLICK HERE FOR A DIRECT LINK
I can’t wait to see you all on the tour!
April 6, 2013 | Categories: Advertising, Book Releases, Book Reviews, Marketing, Marketing, Novels, Published, Science Fiction, Social Media, Writing | Tags: Amazon, Authors, Blog, Blog Tour, blogging, Book Release, book reviews, Book Tour, Books, Dissolution of Peace, Facebook, free eBooks, Gift Card, giveaway, Kindle, Marketing, Novel, Reading, Richard Flores IV, science fiction, SciFi, Tour, Twitter, Write, Writing | 2 Comments »
If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve undoubtedly seen a few teasing posts about my next novel project. I’ve teased with a few hints, surprises, and more. Well the teasing can come to an end, I have decided to finally let the cat out of the bag.
My next novel, titled Volition Agent, is a fast paced SciFi Thriller set in the near future. The highly secretive Agency has a Volition program. They take everyday people who are physically fit and recruit them as Volition Agents. They are implanted with a control chip so that a highly trained “handler” can control their every action. If a Agent is captured the loss to the Agency in minimal. Agents are sent on missions from intelligence gatherings to assassinations. Volition Agent followed Lexia, one of the agents.
Here is a tentative blurb:
Lexia Santarelli is part of a top secret group of Volition Agents. These untrained, unremarkable, everyday people are recruited by the agency to be literally controlled by their “handler” through a device implanted in their necks. It is an exciting life, and despite some of the annoyances, Lexia enjoys it.
That is until the Agency decides to let Lexia take the fall for a mission gone wrong. Her link with her handler, Lance is severed. Suddenly Lexia finds herself alone, unprepared, and hunted by the very people she trusted.
With few clues, minimal training, and an unlikely ally Lexia sets out to discover what really happened on that botched assignment. Determined to set right the wrong she created, nothing can stand in her way. Not even the Agency itself.
I have some great cover art for this novel, and I can’t wait to share it with you all. So here it is:
The cover art is shot and designed by Kristin Irons (website). I’ve worked with Kristin before, she designed the logo for Plasma Spyglass Press. Kristin is a very talented photographer and when I explained what I was looking for she said she had an idea. The next week was a bit of a whirlwind. Kristin found a model, the very beautiful and talented Joy Anna, to play Lexia in a photo shoot. She then teased me relentlessly with images from that photo shoot before showing me the image she had in mind for the cover art. I am a very picky and hard to work with person when it comes to cover art, but she kept taking my ideas and reworking them until we came up with the cover above. And I couldn’t be more thrilled by it.
Let me tell you why this cover is so special to me. This is the first time I’ve had anyone “play” one of my character in any way. Joy Anna, whose modeling pictures I had only seen briefly before this, jumped into this project head first. I understand they captured a ton of images and I’ve only seen a few of them. As a writer, I was excited to see what might come from this. I’ve never met, or even talked to Joy Anna but I thank her for her time because the results are absolutely amazing.
A big heartfelt thanks to Joy Anna, Kristin, and her assistant William Harris. So many folks use stock art, or stock photos to make custom cover art. But I have a real custom cover for this novel. Please take a moment to check out the people that helped with this cover, give them a like, follow, or whatever else to show them some support. Kristin Irons: Facebook, Twitter, Website Joy Anna: Facebook William Harris: Flickr
This is the first story I have written where it had a title before I ever wrote it. The whole idea came from hearing the word volition and it’s meaning; the ability to make a choice or decision. So Volition Agent was an easy enough title for me to come up with. I think it works well given the themes in this novel.
So when is the release date for Volition Agent? One hasn’t been set just yet. But I have a deadline of the first week of June 2013. So expect to see it no later than this. I hope to have it out a little sooner, but you can’t rush these things. I’ll be sending it out for Beta Readers in the first two weeks of April. Then my editor will get this. I’ll be working with a new editor this time, since Robert is booked up for the foreseeable future. As always, watch this blog, my Twitter and Facebook for updates.
I’ll leave you with a few other images from the photo shoot:
March 27, 2013 | Categories: Book Releases, Science Fiction, Writing | Tags: Agent, Art, Authors, Book Release, Books, cover art, Cover Debut, Cover reveal, eBooks, Facebook, Joy Anna, KDP, Kindle, Kristin Irons, Marketing, model, New Release, Photography, publishing, Reading, Richard Flores IV, science fiction, SciFi, Self Publishing, Twitter, Updates, Volition, Volition Agent, Write, Writing | 3 Comments »
Deep down I think we all seek some type of validation. It could be with a loved one, in our careers, and in our friendship. It can also be with parking. We all need it. I have a confession though, I self doubt a lot. That is to say that I am constantly needing validation that my choices are the right ones. This is true of my writing career as well.
But I think writers are a group that need a special type of validation. There are a lot of people out there that want to be writers. There are even a lot of people out there who say they are writers and really don’t know what they mean when they say that. But deep down we writers want to be validated as authors. Unfortunately validation doesn’t always come.
So at what point are you valid in claiming you are an author. Well, that is a bar that we set for ourselves. Some set the bar really high, claiming they can only be an author when they get that first professional sale. Some claim that they can be called an author simply because they say they are.
But what really validates the claim to that title of author? Well for me it is the recognition of my peers, my readers, and friends.
Last year I felt really good when I took 2nd place in the science fiction and fantasy short story category of the 2011 Preditors and Editors readers poll for “Death Watch”. I felt even better at all the nice comments I received. I even felt validated as a short story author. The sale of my first two short stories in a matter of months helped a lot, but being recognized in that poll was special to me.
But what I really wanted to do was sell novels. So in 2012, I didn’t work on many short story projects. I put my work towards publishing my first novel, and I did it. My goal was to get a lot of new readers, and I did that. My goal was to get a lot of reviews and praise, but that has not really happened. I’ve had 8 reviews on Amazon US and 2 on UK. Don’t get me wrong, I am very pleased with those reviews. But one of my roll models, the person that inspired me to get Dissolution of Peace out, seemed to get a lot of reviews very quickly. Even a lot of editorial reviews (of which I’ve only had two). It is my opinion that he made a big splash in the Horror scene, while I seem to have made only a slight ripple (like a pebble dropped into the ocean) in the Sci-Fi scene.
So, I started to question the validity of my claim to be a novelist. Some of my role models in the independent scene, including the person above, have not even shared (to my knowledge) the work I have done. I think perhaps I expected too much from those I thought would return the favor. But the point is that I began to question if I was any good at what I was setting out to do. This is that self doubt I was talking about.
The problem not feeling validated, is that you tend to slump. And I did a significant slump. But then the readers poll came around again. I was nominated for best Science Fiction and Fantasy novel. There were also 85 other novels nominated. In the end I took another top ten finish, coming in 5th for the 2012 poll.
There were some great comments in there too. I take great pride in how much people love my work and my characters. I was ecstatic to see some of these things, they mean a lot to me.
I think the important thing that this post should point out. If you are a reader, like I am, you need to set out to review ALL the books you read but especially the ones you enjoyed. You need to make sure to share that with everyone. Because if you want to see writers continue to write, they need to feel validated. And for many of us, your reviews, purchases, and kind comments validates our purpose. I think this is more important than a professional sale, and or even a large book deal, though those all help. After all, it isn’t about who publishes what we write, but about who enjoys what we write.
So to those who continue to buy my books, vote for my books, comment on my books, review my books, and share my stories: I thank you. You fuel my my writing career and make it that much more likely that I will someday reach all my writing goals.
As for the parking, I think I will just pay for it. That is a validation that can be impossible to get.
January 21, 2013 | Categories: Book Releases, Reading, Science Fiction, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: Amazon, book reviews, Books, editors readers poll, Preditors and Editors, reviews, story projects, validation, Writing | Leave A Comment »
Today is Cyber Monday. That means that you are likely out looking for good deals on various gifts for others, and maybe even yourself.
What is a better deal then free?
For today only Dissolution of Peace will be free on your Kindle! You can pick up your free copy here: LINK
November 26, 2012 | Categories: Marketing, Reading, Science Fiction | Tags: cyber monday, deals, Dissolution of Peace, free, free books, free eBooks, free kindle, Kindle, promotions, Reading, sale, Writing | Leave A Comment »
As of this morning Amazon.com has officially begun selling Dissolution of Peace! It is one week early, but I am over joyed to see all this hard work finally amount to something.
I hope people enjoy the book and spread the word about it. I’m still offering signed paperbacks for only $5.99 for the next week. You can get that from the BUY BOOKS tab at the top of my blog.
Here are the Amazon.com Links:
Don’t forget to add it to your shelves on Goodreads!
Here is the trailer again, just to get you a psyched up as I am.
October 9, 2012 | Categories: Advertising, Book Releases, New, Novels, Published, Science Fiction | Tags: Amazon, book, Book Release, Books, dissolution, goodreads, literature, New, New Release, Novel, psyched, Published, science fiction | Leave A Comment »
As Dissolution of Peace gets closer and closer to being released, I find myself with an odd mixture of pride, fear, and anticipation. But all the hard work is worth something in the end. As I see the finished project coming along, I can’t help but be happy to see so much work coming together for this project.
I wrote my acknowledgements section the other day. It is certainly an optional part of a novel. I’ve read plenty of novels that don’t have one. But with this being by first novel, I had to write one. I always enjoy reading other authors’ acknowledgements, and it only felt right that I put one in. It came from my heart, so hopefully it doesn’t come across as too much. Either way, I am happy to thank those people that helped me get this book together.
I dedicated the book to my three boys. They are a huge part of why I followed this dream all the way to the end. I already know who I’ll be dedicating my second novel to.
The Official Book Trailer is getting a lot more views than I expected, considering how little I have shared it. So I assume that must mean a few of you have shared it. Thank you. So far those who have talked to me about it, like it. Please make sure to hit that thumbs up button and leave a comment if you enjoyed it.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait until October 16th to order your copy of Dissolution of Peace. You can pre-order online right now. Best of all you will save 25-50% off the list price. But, this will only last during the pre-sale period. I’ll also be signing all pre-order copies of my book. You will see I have added a “Buy” tab to this site. This will be a place to buy copies of my book. If you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you should. I’ll be sharing discount codes with my followers there through out the pre-sale period. You can order here: LINK
First, if you visit my Facebook Page, and click on the giveaway icon (see the picture right). You can enter into a raffle giving away one signed copy of my book. The number of raffle entries you have is based on the tasks you chose to complete. If you complete them all, you can be entered twenty times. That raffle ends on November 1st (12:01am Eastern), so hurry to get your entries in now. If a lot of people enter this raffle, I’m sure to do another one. Oh, and you’ll want this giveaway code: Carlson. It is worth one entry into the raffle. Enter the Raffle here: LINK
The second giveaway is on Goodreads. This one runs until November 30th. As of writing this post, it is still awaiting approval from Goodreads administrative staff. So if the link doesn’t work, please try again. Enter the Goodreads Giveaway here: LINK
ATTENTION BOOK REVIEWERS
If you write book reviews on your blog/website or magazine, or know someone who does, get in touch with me. This is another great way to get a free copy of the Kindle version of my book. I will not pay for a review. So if you charge for your reviews, I’ll pass. You can go to the contact me section to contact me about a book review. Just let me know a little about your site, and send me a link.
INTERVIEWS AND EVENTS
If you would like to interview me about my book, and other topics, you can contact me. I’ll be happy to schedule something with you. I’m open for newspapers, blogs, journals, magazines, Television, Radio, Podcasts, and I’m sure many other types of interviews.
If you own a Bookstore, you can contact me for a book signing. I am already working on scheduling a couple of them to be announced soon.
I want to thank everyone who is helping, and I am sure about to help, plug my book. I really appreciate the word of mouth advertising. I’ll keep everyone updated as the book releases.
October 1, 2012 | Categories: Advertising, Authors, Book Releases, Book Reviews, Marketing, Novels, Published, Publishing, Science Fiction, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: book trailer, Books, contest, Dissolution of Peace, giveaways, Novel, pre-order, raffle, Updates, winner, Writing | 1 Comment »
I present to you, the cover for Dissolution of Peace.
As many of you know, I have been waiting on a lot of things before I officially make any announcements about Dissolution of Peace. Some of you may have even been following along as I took each step.
This journey to publishing a novel really started with my first acceptance letter, in August 2011. Followed by my second. After selling two short stories, I decided to open up my original manuscript for the then untitled novel. Perhaps I felt validated as a writer, or perhaps I simply the timing was right. Either way the much needed rewrites began.
My New Years Resolution was to write more. I rewrote the entire manuscript from scratch. And by February I was finished. I sent it out to several beta readers, made changes. And then let it rest for a bit.
I struggled long and hard for a tittle. The original title was going to be: Serenity. This was back when I wrote the first manuscript. But, this certain movie came out a short time later, and of course I had to change it. After some time, and using multiple different random title generators. I came up with Dissolution of Peace. After a good night sleep, I fell in love with the new title. And I feel it describes the novel well.
In May I hired Robert S. Wilson to do my editing after giving it a look over for some time. I followed that by hiring Neil Jackson to do the cover art. And after waiting (rather impatiently I might add) I got both a marked up manuscript and a cover art sample.
I was ready to announce a release date that day. But when I began to work on my edits, I was overwhelmed by it. I was afraid and I had no idea how long it would take.
I got the final cover art. I whittled down those edits. And while there are still edits to be done, I can confidently announce a release date:
October 16th, 2012.
Of course that bars anything else crazy going on. But it will be out and ready before the end of October. After all, you will want to give this as a Christmas present.
Now many of you expected to see my cover art and a release date. But I have another surprise for my blog followers. I have attached the Official Trailer!
Dissolution of Peace will be available on Amazon.com for Kindle and in Print. And I will be announcing a Pre-order sale soon. You will be able to order a signed print copy right from my blog. Details will come on that soon.
When Earth Navy Captain Christina Serenity is brutally attacked by a traitor, her life is saved by Security Forces Corporal Michael Carlson. On the heels of her recovery, her ship is attacked by terrorists, and she is thrown into a difficult assignment. She must chase after the only clue they have, a Martian ship called the Phobos, and find out what secrets it hides. To make matters worse, someone still wants her dead.
Her ship, E.S.S. Australia embarks on a mission that leads Serenity on journey of discovery, friendship, betrayal, and revenge. She quickly learns the only thing harder to prevent than war, is love.
Now Serenity must trust her protection crew to keep her alive long enough to solve this puzzle while trying to prevent an interplanetary war.
The line has been drawn… Who will cross first?
So with out further ramblings from me, I present the trailer for Dissolution of Peace:
September 2, 2012 | Categories: Advertising, Authors, Book Releases, Marketing, Novels, Published, Publishing, Science Fiction, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: Book Release, book trailer, cover art, Dissolution of Peace, New Release, Novel, official, Reading, Richard Flores IV, Writing | 3 Comments »
July has been another busy month for me and I got a lot of things going on that needs updating. Today I think I’ll start with the personal stuff.
I’ve decided to make my second run for Vacaville City Council. I ran in 2010. Though I didn’t win, I felt like I put a good run together. Now, before you all un-follow my blog, understand I won’t be talking much about that on here. This is my writing page. If you care to know more about my campaign you can visit www.electflores4.com or flow my twitter account @electflores4. I may make mention of it again but my focus on this blog is my writing.
On the topic of writing, I am happy to say the Issue 1 of Plasma Frequency Magazine is out now. You can download a free copy or purchase the print version by visiting the website. We have stories from O’Neil De Noux, Michael Andre-Driussi, Nyki Blatchley, Gary Cuba, John H. Dromey, Michael Hodges, Spencer Koelle, Greg Leunig, and James Valvis. We also have art from Tais Teng, Richard H. Fay, and Laura Givens. In this issue we reviewed To Die a Stranger by Jilly Paddock. We also have some great advertisers. My advertisers are what pay for the magazine. They are how I am able to pay these authors and artists for their work. Our Issue Sponsor was our parent company Plasma Spyglass Press. We also had Author Robert S. Wilson advertising his excellent book Shining in Crimson. Author Martin Vavpotic advertised his Steampunk novella Clockworks Warrior. Nightscape Press had their newest release Worlds Collider: A Shared World Anthology advertised in our magazine. I might add that Worlds Collider is rapidly climbing the US Amazon Rankings. Last but not least, Artkitty.net and Senior Beauty Consultant Alica Howell advertised in Issue 1.
Everyone from the authors, the artists, and the advertisers deserve a huge thank you. Plasma Frequency Issue 1 is racking up the downloads. I am even more pleased to say that people are purchasing the print copy almost as fast. It is really great to see that people still appreciate the print edition. I don’t make any money off the sales of the print issue, the cost covers the cost of the printing service. A big thanks go to my fellow editors. My wife Amy Flores and my friend Lara G. Carroll have been great at helping me get this off the ground.
If you go check out Issue 1, I highly recommend you get a print copy. But if you can’t afford the print issue or just want a sample of it. Download the PDF. The PDF copy is the closest representation of the print edition. The Kindle and ePub versions had to be dramatically modified to work of those devices. But they are handy if you’d like to take the issue along on your eReader. Since it is free, I suggest you download both and eReader and a PDF version.
We’ve already accepted the stories for Issue 2. We are working on Artists and have already began reading for Issue 3. It is a never ending cycle.
My own writings:
I have good news. My editor has told me that he will have the edits to me for Dissolution of Peace. He has told me no later than Friday (though I hope he has them to me today as planned). I have to admit I am starting to feel nervous about what he has to say. This novel, these characters, and the story they have to say is very important to me. Every character I create holds a special place in my heart, but these characters are the first I have put together. My hope is my readers will love them as much as I do. But, that may be a standard that is set to high. There is a sequel planned, should my readers like it.
Yesterday I took a little breather from my writing and played around with my picture editor. I still don’t have cover art so, I put together a little teaser for you guys in the form of part of the uniform my main characters wear. It isn’t top notch, but it was just a little something fun for you to see something from the novel.
Two of the Main Character are Officers with the Earth Security Forces. When the world united under one government, the Earth Security Forces was put in place as the world’s sole law enforcement agency. They police cities, military bases, protect dignitaries, and keep the world in order. Corporal Micheal Carlson and Officer Janice Kanter are two of those Security Forces Officers.
My other writings are also going well. My next novel is well on its way, nearly half finished now. My short stories are still making their way around. And everything else is going well on that front. My time is always limited with all these projects. But I enjoy the work I do.
I hope your own projects are moving along nicely. Until next time.
Here we are pushing the halfway point of the year. I’m having trouble believing this fact, but unless the calendar has adapted a mind of its own, June is almost here. What is even crazier is how much has happened since my last set of updates.
I finally crawled out from under my rock and picked up a copy of The Hunger Games. I don’t know why I stalled on it for so long. I think it has to do with the fact that I typically don’t read books that have suddenly jumped into popularity solely for the fact that everyone else is reading them. I have not read one Twilight or Harry Potter book. I was over at Costco and saw a copy of it sitting on their book display. I decided to give it a read. I won’t go into a review of it here, there are plenty of those around, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll likely pick up Catching Fire soon. I’ve added a “What I am Reading” box to the side bar on my website, thanks to another Goodreads plug in.
There are some other books I have on my to read list: Horror for Good: A Charitable Anthology is one of those books. I’m not a huge fan of Horror, that has to be said. But, I am a huge fan of what this anthology is about: giving back. There are some big names in the Horror community that have shared their talents with the Editors for the purpose of doing good. Put out by Cutting Block Press, they are taking net profits and donating them to The Foundation for AIDS Research. In my opinion $5 for the Kindle version is money well spent. I’ll be likely to order the print edition, as most of you know, but either way I can’t help but support this. Pick up your copy here: LINK.
I also plan to read Exit Reality by Robert S. Wilson once that is released. I don’t think an official release date has been announced yet. Some other titles I hope to read soon: Fading in Darkness by Robert S. Wilson and Death on Zanath by Lee Gimenez. Of course this is all money and time permitting.
Besides reading and blogging you may have heard that I am a writer. You may have also heard some rumors about a Novel I have coming soon. Since I will be virtually self publishing Dissolution of Peace, I hired an editor to review it. So right now it is over at Wilson Book Service awaiting editor mark ups. I think this is an important step serious self publishers should consider. A professional editor is something that is lost when you self publish. No matter how good you are, self editing is always bound to miss something. In any case, I’m expected to get his mark ups by mid-July. I will certainly be diving right into fixing what needs to be fixed and getting that out to you.
I have also hired the talents of Neil Jackson at Pig and Cow Design to create the cover art for Dissolution of Peace. I’d hoped to have some cover art to show you for this post, but good art takes time (It has only been a week or so). I most certainly will have it up for your on Facebook and Twitter when it comes out.
I do have something to share with you. A little update and tease to novel. Below is the blurb for Dissolution of Peace:
“The people of Earth have enjoyed centuries of peace under one global government. They’ve made great strides in space travel and planet colonization. The colonies on Mars wanted independence and Earth granted without a fight to preserve the peace.
When Earth Navy Captain Christina Serenity is brutally attacked by a traitor, her life is saved by Security Forces Corporal Michael Carlson. On the heels of her recovery, her ship is attacked by terrorists, and she is thrown into a difficult assignment. She must chase after the only clue they have, a Martian ship called the Phobos, to find out what secrets it hides. To make matters worse, someone still wants her dead.
Now Serenity must trust her protection crew to keep her alive long enough to solve this puzzle while trying to prevent an interplanetary war.”
On the topic of things taking time, I realize that for… well hell almost a year now, I have been telling you that Daddy is Tired will be coming out soon. So far I’ve been embarrassed with every false promise I have made in hopes this would be coming out soon. As you know this is a children’s picture book my son and I wrote together, that has been at the illustrator for a really long time. Sadly, it is now well below his reading level. So my hopes of he and I reading it together have been smashed. I am utterly disappointed and have tried very hard to be understanding of every delay. I did warn her that I would like to see it done before she had a baby because life would get hectic after that. She assured me that wouldn’t change things. Unfortunately it has been one life event after another. That being said, she is doing this for free. But, I am learning, somethings are worth the price you pay. And the Artwork will be great once it is done, so don’t get me wrong when I speak of worth, it is the delays that are maddening. I’ll hold off on announcing a release date until I have the illustrations in hand. While my wife and I will be happy to see it published, my six year old son probably doesn’t even remember writing it.
In other news, I’ve become involved in a project I am really excited about. I am the Editor-in-Chief for a new Speculative Fiction magazine called, Plasma Frequency. I am excited about this project for several reasons. One, it is a paying market. We are seeing a ton of new markets pop up, but rarely do they pay. Eventually, depending on the readers and the advertisers, we plan to grow to a pro-rate market. We offer both print and electronic forms. We also provide something different to the writer. We provide editor feedback. There are two things that always frustrate me with a rejection letter. One, I never know how far they read in my manuscript. Two, I never know why they reject my manuscript. Plasma Frequency‘s editors changed that. They are sending out letters telling authors they don’t accept just how far they got in the process and at least one line as to why the editor did not send it on. When I agreed to this project, I built the process to be transparent. Writers have a right to know just a little bit about what happens to their manuscript when they click submit.
Another great thing about this project is that they plan to review books that are published by Independent Presses and Self Publishers. For now I will likely be the one to review them, but I think this is great news. These two groups need a bit of the spotlight. Surprisingly though, we’ve only received one book review submission. We have received a steady stream (10-20 a day) of fiction submissions. Artists and Books to review are just starting to trickle in. So if you have one of those, now is the time to submit. Our fiction submissions are open continuously. If you don’t make the flagship issue (currently set for Sep 2012), we will be publishing bi-monthly.
If you are a self published Author, we give you 15% off our advertising rates. Right now these rates are already really low compared to other magazines. But, as our readership goes up, so will those rates. Of course, anyone can advertise (within our standards) in our magazine. Our electronic issue is free, so we expect a lot of downloads.
For submission details, advertising details and subscriptions, visit: plasmafrequencymagazine.com
So what else is coming down the pipeline? I have a new novel in the works, maybe I will have some announcements on that in the June or July updates. The sequel to Dissolution of Peace is also in the talks. I have two new short stories out making their rounds at the various markets. And, of course, I will have my weekly blog posts for you. I don’t have any new topic lined up, but subscribe to my blog to get alerts for my new posts.
May 23, 2012 | Categories: Art, Authors, Book Releases, Children, Marketing, Published, Publishing, Science Fiction, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: Dissolution of Peace, Fantasy, Magazine, new magazine, Plasma Frequency, science fiction, Updates, Writing | 3 Comments »
Every time I blurb, my wife gets mad and opens a window. All joking aside, blurbs are an important part of selling a book. But, I find it rarely discussed in writing groups. This is because in a traditional market, blurbs are often left to the Editor to write. So, with my recent post on book covers, it seemed important that we discuss the back of the book.
Blurb Versus Synopsis
A synopsis is a very important part of pitching your book to traditional publishers and markets, but it is not a blurb. If you want to sell your manuscript to a publisher you need a synopsis. A synopsis is a summary of your story including key plot points and the ending. You provide this to editors and agents in an attempt to get them to read your manuscript (and hopefully sign it). It is not something you would use for marketing your book.
A blurb is that teaser you find on the back of the book. Think movie trailer in written form. It is a quick teaser. It provides just enough plot, character, and scene to entice someone to read your book. It is a tool for marketing your book quickly and effectively.
A self published author will find themselves writing more Blurbs. Where as traditional publishers will usually write the blurb for the Author. This goes back to what I have talked about in my post on self publishing, marketing is left in the hands of the author. But really blurbs are not that hard. In my opinion they are a bit easier, and certainly more fun, then a synopsis.
How to Write a Blurb
I mentioned this already, but you need to think movie trailer in a written form. You need to construct your blurb in a form to sell your book. Entice an audience. Get them to take your book home (virtually or physically).
The blur should be short, somewhere in the 250 to 300 character range. After all it has to fit on the back of the book but it also needs to be a quick “PICK ME” type of a sale. A short quick description will hold the reader’s attention long enough for you to finish. After all you want them to make a decision based on your whole sales pitch, not half of it.
Blurbs have three parts. You can divide these parts up as paragraphs if you are looking for a simple formula for an effective blurb. Obviously these would short paragraphs just giving a quick taste of what they can expect to read about. Or, you can use the parts in your own way to make a blurb that fits your style and book. Either way, you need these three elements to have an effective blurb.
Part 1 is typically a quick introduction to the setting and the characters. The “In a world” line we’ve heard so many movie trailers start with. The first line needs to hook them. Some blurb writers suggest starting with controversy or even asking a question. But a hook is more then a punch in the face. Sure a punch in the face gets your attention, but it would also piss you off. Think of it more as a tap on the shoulder. Get their attention, while giving them something to look forward to. Don’t give away too much plot and certainly not any twists. A question may work. Think about every time some one has sold you something. Most of the time they start with a question. Questions call for an answer. There is no formula for the perfect hook. Establish setting and character in a way the interests the readers.
Part 2 is typically where you introduce the conflict, the major one at least. Remember you are not highlighting plot points. This is where you want to introduce the same conflict that got your story going in the first place. Do NOT reveal the resolution to the conflict. Why read if you already know how it ends? Have you ever watched a movie trailer, thought it was great and went to see the movie? Only when you saw the movie you realized all the best stuff was in the trailer. You felt a bit disappointed with the movie, didn’t you? Use some good stuff, but save the best stuff for the book.
Part 3 is the hardest of the part. You need to lead the reader to the resolution with out giving it away. Leave the reader wondering: Will he escape? Does she defeat the empire? Is is possible they could fail? In fact many blurbs end with a question. Because once again our brains are wired to want an answer to a question. The only way to get the answer is to read the book.
- Read a lot of blurbs. Get some of your favorite books and read the back of them. Go to the book store and read the blurbs on books you’ve never read before. Take note of the blurbs that make you want to read the book. What was it about that blurb that hooked you? Identify it and learn from it.
- Make the reader care. Give them characters they can relate to and a plot they want to read. Provide an element most people can relate to. A tough work assignment, a romantic crush, a victim of something out of their control, an injustice, or anything else a reader can relate to.
- Use riveting words but use them the right way. Victim, hate, Peace, conflict, war, hopeless, are all words that bring a certain emotional impact. Find strong words that invoke the emotional impact you want your story to have.
- Suggest all the possible outcomes. You don’t want to give away the ending. The key word here is “suggest”. You don’t need to say: “Will she win the war? Will she die trying? Will she lose everything for this one cause? Or, will she triumph over all in everlasting glory?” First, saying all that is a mouth full. I got lost several times just writing it. But, you can hint that all these possibilities could happen.
- Shout lines. This is a term used to describe bold text or other text that is distinguished from the other text. It could be a short line that lets the reader know the type of book they are reading. Personally, I haven’t seen much need for something like that. But, if you are going to highlight a part of our blurb, make sure it is a strong part. A defining line.
- Look at your manuscript. Is there a great line in there that you think sums up the book well. The blurb I am putting together came from the lines I had written. Give you manuscript another read before you put together the blurb.
- Give your blurb the same love and care as the rest of your manuscript. Edit it, read it over. Give it to trial readers, and then edit it again. It is okay to start with more that 250 words. You can cut out what you don’t need. But look over your blurb carefully. Make a bad impression here and your book will sit. Remember you can have gold written on the inside pages, but if no one ever opens the book they will never know.
The cover of a book is important. The back cover may be even more so. The blurb is your chance to tell a reader why your book is worth their time and money. Sell them on your book with an effective, well thought out, attention grabbing blurb.
May 2, 2012 | Categories: Advertising, Authors, Marketing, Marketing, Novels, Publishing, Science Fiction, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: Blurb, Blurb Tips, Blurbs, Books, how to write a blurb. writing tips, marketing books, Write Tips, Writing | 5 Comments »
I have spent so much time writing helpful posts, I had nearly forgotten to get my monthly updates out to all of you. Luckily April isn’t over just yet, and I have some great updates to share. So without holding things up too long, lets get started.
When it comes to short stories, I haven’t had really any new updates. Both short stories are out to markets and only time will tell if either of them will get picked up. According to Duotrope one story I could hear back on any day now. The other, it will still be 25-75 days before I could hear back. You can always watch my Twitter Feed or Facebook Timeline, I am sure to post something there the moment I get an acceptance letter.
Looking at my site traffic and link clicks. It appears many of you are still checking out my story “Death Watch” in Liquid Imagination Online. I love that this story has some staying power in all of your minds. If you haven’t checked it out, you can here. It took Second Place in the Preditors and Editors 2011 readers poll.
I have two new novel ideas in the works. One brings back Samantha Baxter, the GPA Agent in “Dream Job”. (read it here) It is still very early in the planning, in fact I haven’t written a word of it yet. I’ve got another story to tell first.
Which brings me to my current work in progress: Volition Agent. This story is a Science Fiction story that will likely be my second novel. I will be making great strides in this novel over my weekend (tomorrow and Thursday). I had trouble starting it, because my first novel was stuck on my mind. I couldn’t think of a dang title for it.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I was having some trouble with a title for my nearly complete novel. It was on my mind so bad that I couldn’t think of much else. When I wrote this Novel in it’s first draft (and very rough form), I have planned to call it Serenity after one of the the Main Characters. Of course, all of us Science Fiction nuts know why that would likely not work now. Firefly and the Movie Serenity have saturated the market with that name. Since my book has nothing to do with the Firefly franchise, I thought it best to change the name. When I underwent the significant rewrites I had hoped a title would jump out and bite me. It didn’t even take a nibble.
Now that trial readers are looking at it, I felt I really needed to get a title. So much so that my mind was stuck on it. So stuck on it that I couldn’t write. I clicked on the random title generator about 300 times. And it sparked 25 titles that I liked but didn’t really work. Then finally one hit me. Looking over all those titles and playing with the words gave me the title. After sleeping on it last night, I’ve finally got a name for it: Dissolution of Peace.
I have set a tentative release for early August. The trial readers are almost done. I will then be sending it out to for final thoughts and proofreading. Once that is complete, I will make the final tweaks and it will be ready for publication. I will announce an official release date once I know when it will be done. However, you can expect to see me begin marketing it very soon. I’ll be working on cover art next. I have an idea of what I want to see, but I’m not an artist. If you know a good cover artist, let me know. As always, for up to the minute updates on my book (including release dates, giveaways, and more) follow my Twitter or Facebook.
The last thing I’ll address is my son’s and my collaborative children’s book, Daddy is Tired. For my new followers, Daddy is Tired is a book my son and I worked on when he was in Kindergarten. I was writing during “quite time” and my son said he wanted to write too. So together we came up with a story that he wrote down on scratch paper with a crayon. After a few months, I took it and edited into what we will see published soon. I tried not to make to many changes (it was pretty good), and sent it out for drawings.
I know the original release date was the first part of 2012, but we are now a third of the way through the year and the artist isn’t done yet. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, but sometimes one delay follows another. At this point I have no updated release date. The artist underwent surgery and the timeline is now up to her body’s healing process. You can’t always put a timeline on that.
It had been my hope that it would be released while it was still at my son’s reading level. But, it has already passed that. He doesn’t know it is getting published (in fact by now I think he forgot he wrote it). I only hope he is excited about it by the time it comes out and hasn’t lost all interest in writing by then. I doubt that will happen since he loves to practice his words and his imagination is very strong. Perhaps we can come up with a few more children’s books to share.
So, with two book released hopefully coming in 2012 I’ve got a lot going on. Personally I am glad because my family hit quite the financial speed bump when my wife lost her job. She was the sole provider for our family and my income doesn’t even pay rent. Some happy news will be welcome this year. While she tries so hard to find work in this slow economy, I’m trying to relieve stress the only way I really know how: Write.
So that is the updates for April 2012. Can’t wait to share more news with you in May! I’ll see you next week for my next blog post.
April 24, 2012 | Categories: Art, Authors, Book Releases, Children, Kids, Marketing, New, Novels, Publishing, Science Fiction, Writing | Tags: Book Release, Facebook, Twitter, Updates, wite, Writing | Leave A Comment »
One of the most important parts of the writing process is the critiques. I am talking about the step where you get trial readers to look over your work in progress so that they might catch things you missed. You get a lot of valuable information from good critiques, but bad critiques can be useless.
Let me clarify that. When I say good critiques I don’t mean positive feedback or five star reviews, I mean a critique that provides the author with feedback that useful (though not always positive). And a bad critique provides the author with little help in their quest to polish the work in progress into a final draft.
I have had my share of bad critiques. Some have just had useless comments that give me no help. While others were just downright mean and hurtful. I realized there are a few guides out there on how to properly critique another author’s work so that they get the most value from your reading. After that, I will talk about how to accept the critique with an open mind.
How to be a better sample reader:
I prefer the term “sample reader” over critic, simply because it provides a more accurate description of what the real job is. Your job is to provide your fellow author with the perspective of a reader. For some reason, we authors tend to keep our author hats on when we read a draft copy of a manuscript. We want to point out ways we would have written it differently, sometimes pointing out matters of style rather than structure. Or worse, we want to provide our own rewrites. Instead we need to put on our reader caps and try (as hard as it can be) to look over the manuscript as a reader. We need to look it over as a reader would and find things that make a reader stumble. Of course, we have advice to offer as an author and you can add it is correctly (I’ll get to that) but think like a reader first.
Well, shall we get started? You have a draft manuscript one of the writers in your group has shared with you. So where do you start? First, read the Turkey City Lexicon. I have read it at least ten times, and I continue to look it over as feel the need. Not only does it help you learn what to avoid in your writing, it also helps you look out for these things when reading to help other authors. Remember this: Just because it is listed in the Turkey City Lexicon, doesn’t mean is necessarily always wrong. I have read some really great stories that had one or two of these “no-nos” in them, but overall it worked for the story. The author was right to keep them in there.
Start with the opening lines. We call this “the hook” in my writers group. This is the first thirteen lines of a manuscript (that is formatted at 12 point courier font with one inch margins all around). On a short story that is usually what is seen on the first page of the manuscript. Therefore, it has to be strong enough to get the editor to turn the page. The bottom line here is, when you read these thirteen lines, are you ready to read on. Is turning the page a must for you? Is the pacing strong, does it establish a setting and a voice?
For longer works you will want to break the next steps into sections. For novels, I suggest going a chapter at a time. For short stories, I tend to be able to do it all at once. Perhaps with Novellas you may want to break it down by significant scenes. It is easier to manage your comments in smaller chunks rather than trying to comment on a whole novel in the end.
I use the comment feature on Word to make comments line by line as needed. I don’t comment on every sentence, that would be tedious and useless to the other writer. I only highlight areas I think are exceptionally strong, I had trouble understanding, or otherwise catch my attention.
Here are some things to add in your line by line comments:
- Areas where you tripped up on reading. This might be a confusing sentence, a long piece of exposition that loses you, or an area that just doesn’t seem right. It is okay to simply put “This line tripped me up and I had to reread it, but I don’t know why it tripped me up.” This at least lets the Author know you had a problem with it. Other readers may have seen it to and can better put it into words. But you would be doing a disservice if you didn’t mark a line because you didn’t know why it bothered you.
- Areas that don’t seem to belong. Perhaps you read a sentence and it just doesn’t seem to be part of the story. A random mention of a character’s memory that seems to have no bearing on the story (in your opinion). Or it could be something that seems to belong in another part of the story.
- Pacing issues. All stories have a pace and that pace changes as the story goes through. But if you are reading a fight scene and the author stops to tell you about the scenery, that should be marked. Or if you are reading an action scene and suddenly a sentence or two seems to be too long and disrupts the pace. The reverse can also happen, a slow dramatic scene that is suddenly interrupted with bursts of short sentences. The fact is, you will notice when the pacing of a story suddenly changes, and it will jar you from the reading.
- Thrown into the real world. Anytime you are reading a good story or book you will get wrapped up into it. It is all you’re thinking about as you read it. Your mind is pulled into the story and you are in its world. Anything you read that jars you into the real world should be marked. Did your mind wander at a particular section? Did you suddenly become aware that you were reading? Again, it is okay to tell an author that you don’t know why you were brought back to reality.
- Inconsistencies. The main character has blonde hair all story long, and suddenly there is a reference to his dark hair. Or, the story seems to take place in one area and you read something that doesn’t fit the scene. Anything you read that doesn’t seem consistent with the rest of the story should be pointed out.
- Unrealistic. This is a tough one in the Science Fiction world. We like to write things that are just a tad bit unrealistic. But, there are things that simply make you shout “OH COME ON!” There are certainly unrealistic elements in the worlds we create. So remember to look for things that are unrealistic it the world the story is told.
- Don’t forget the good. Did one particular line stand out as a real strong one? Do you really identify with a character’s situation? Was there a scene you found especially moving? Mark those and let the author know. Anything you think is really good; let them know you appreciate those points too.
You may have noticed I made no mention of punctuation in the list above. All too often people confuse critiquing with proofreading. The point of a good critique is to offer the author a perspective of a reader. So, unless an author specifically asks for punctuation, I only point out the punctuation that confuses me as a reader. Proofreading is best left for later.
After the line by line comments are put in, I always write an overall critique of the story as a whole (or of the chapter for novels). This is my overall thoughts of the characters, the scene, and the tale. This is where I put any thoughts that don’t fit in the line by line critiques. Again, put the positive in there too.
Be polite and be nice. All too often I have got critiques that were simply uncalled for. Things like “this is terrible” and “you don’t know what you are doing.” will not help anyone get better. It fact, it is just downright hateful. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be honest, but if you are not going to be constructive, leave it off. There is no room for hate, or just being mean in the writing world. Be constructive and be fair. The overall goal of any critique is to make the writer’s work better. Keep that is mind.
So many authors cannot seem to accept critiques. Perhaps it is our natural defense against being hurt, or perhaps it is the feeling that we know our own work best. So here are some tips on accepting critiques from your fellow writers:
- This is not an attack. The goal of the critiques is to make your work the best it can be. Not to attack you or your writing.
- You want readers, right? Remember you want people to enjoy your stories. You didn’t write them just for you? If you did you wouldn’t be looking into publishing them. So remember these are readers too, open your mind to their ideas. After all, if they are having trouble with something, chances are other readers will too.
- Be receptive. I have heard this a lot from writers. “They want to change my style.” or “That is just my style of writing.” And most of the time I have heard that, they were not talking about style at all. Style is the way you right, the type of narrative you use, ect. The goal of any critique is not to change your writing style, but to strengthen it. If your “style” is confusing it needs to be refined. Most of the time “style” is used as a way of closing off to other people’s thoughts. Be receptive to their ideas. Chances are if people are pointing it out it needs changing (see below).
- Don’t respond to a person’s critiques. There is a need for us to defend ourselves. When someone points out a flaw in our writing we want to tell them how wrong they are. The problem is they are a reader expressing their opinion. It can’t be wrong because it is what they thought. And, chances are they are right… you just aren’t ready to see it. And if you don’t want to change it, don’t. But you don’t need to argue with them.
- You are the Author. This means you get final say in what you change and what you keep. Just keep this in mind. If the majority of your readers had trouble with something, it is likely something that needs a second look. If even just one person has an issue with something, it needs a second look. In fact, I can only think of two times I did not change something sample readers had an issue with. Otherwise, I have addressed every concern as best I could.
- Move on. I haven’t ever gotten more sample readers on a piece after the first round. It is my preference. I move on to proofreading. You may want to make the changes and have a second set of readers look at it. If you do that, move on to a new set of readers. Don’t use the same readers for the same work more than once. The effectiveness is gone.
More tips for Authors:
If you want to get the most from your sample readers, ask them questions you want answered too. Don’t just let them do all the work. Do you wonder if a character is likeable? Do you wonder if someone understands a particular concept? When you send out your manuscript to the sample readers, give them a list of questions.
Some of you may know, I really took interest in the craft of writing after reading Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (among others). It that book he talks about teaching your sample readers (I paraphrase but you get the point). After reading that, I used some questions of his and added some of mine to create a list of questions I wanted answered by my readers. Feel free to use some of these if you wish:
Questions about the story (or chapter). Please answer these after your first reading of the draft. Please put your first thoughts on these questions.
- Were you ever bored? Did you ever find your mind wandering? If so, can you tell me where it was you lost interest?
- Without looking back at the story, name some Characters from this story. What do you think of them? Did you like them, hate them, and why? Did you confuse any characters or forget any?
- Is there anything a character did that seemed out of place for that character, against his/her nature?
- Did any dialogue seem excessive or not realistic for the situation or character?
- Is there any section you didn’t understand? An area you had to reread? Did anything confuse you?
- Was there any time something happened you didn’t believe? What was it? Any time you thought “oh come on!”? If so what was it?
- What do you think will happen next? Is there anything you are still wondering about?
- What name might you give this story (or chapter)?
- Are there any other comments that can help?
If you want to be a great writer, you will need sample readers to look over your works before you get them sent out to the editors. But, you will also need to be a good sample reader. I have learned more from the critiques I have given then the ones I have received. That is why it is important the writer knows how to accept the critiques of his peers while also knowing how to effectively writing critiques of his own.
April 3, 2012 | Categories: Authors, Critiques, Novels, Published, Publishing, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Writing | Tags: criticism, Critiques, Fiction, science fiction, Writing, writing criticism, writing critiques, Writing Groups | 6 Comments »
I can’t believe we’re already six days into March. A lot has happened since my last updates and as a result my regular scheduled blogs had been disrupted. I hope to start posting every week again, but instead of Sundays it will be on Tuesdays. So keep an eye out for regular blogs posts again, hopefully I can keep up the advice blogs.
Let’s start with some personal updates. I spent President’s Day weekend moving. I didn’t move far, just back to my hometown of Vacaville, but the move still took three days. My advice… DON’T USE BUDGET. I reserved a truck with Budget Truck rentals, and AFTER I confirmed the reservation they decided to tack on a $200 deposit. Had the online reservation tool mentioned that prior to confirmation I would have canceled. So, I called Budget and told them I wanted to cancel. They charged me $50 to do that. I can’t possibly believe that the 10 minutes from the time I pressed confirm to the time I canceled, inconvenienced them that much.
Well, that took away half my moving truck budget and made it impossible for me to rent from anywhere else. So I had to move my whole three bedroom house with my minivan. That made the move tiring, exhausting, and LONG. But we got everything moved but we are still working on unpacking.
I finished that move on a Monday and started my new job on the Wednesday after I had been out of work for just under a year. I know many other people have been out of work even longer so I feel blessed and fortunate to have found work. That being said, it is still hard to get back into the rhythm of working full time after so many days off. I hope to get a schedule figured out soon so that I can fit in my scheduled writing and gym time. But it feels good to have a reliable income again.
On the writing front, I haven’t got much done. My January short story is still in it’s infancy. I think it is just short and it needs to be developed more. I didn’t get one done in February, but I may start in on another novel based on the Characters and world of “Dream Job” (you can read it here in the first issue of Cygnus Journal).
The two short stories I have out are still making their rounds. “Miles from the Future” recently received another rejection. However it was a rare personal rejection explaining that it made it all the way to final stages, but was apparently just nudged out by other works. I am debating on where to send it next. I have a very promising story called “Compassionate Death” that is currently still circling with some Pro Markets. I haven’t got much feedback on it from editors, but my trial readers really seemed to enjoy it. I think it could still be some time before either one is published, but I look forward to when I can share them with you.
My son’s Children’s Book, Daddy is Tired, has hit yet another road block in its journey to publication. The illustrator has developed a medical issue that has impacted her drawing arm. While it is not anything major (as in life threatening) it is very painful. I hope she can get the treatment she needs and gets well soon. There is one plus side. I did get this sample image to share with you all:
My recently completed first draft for my untitled novel, is still resting. I plan to get to the first rounds of edits this month, schedule permitting. I am excited to get that one out to you guys as well. I know it is a bit premature but I already wonder about cover art for that one. I also hope the sample readers like it. It will be a ton of work, and I do intend to use professional help for the final draft. But that is still a long while away. If I can think of a good title, I will certainly share it with you guys.
On this blog, I plan to work on another help piece for authors on the subject of properly critiquing other writer’s works. I have found that helping others with their works has helped my writing improve more than any other method. In any case, I am not sure if that post will be out next week or the week after.
But, I will have something to share with you next week. So, until then, happy writing. As always you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
A lot has gone on since I wrote my January Updates in the first part of January. There are new announcements and progress reports to share. Let’s get started, shall we.
On February 5th, I finished the first draft of my still untitled novel. It game is at just over 67,000 words and only took forty seven days start to finish. As I mentioned before, I didn’t write everyday. Life gets in the way sometimes. So, it took 21 days of writing. I am pleased to be finished, but now the real work starts. There are many other steps ahead and I will probably start the self editing in March.
I did write a January short story. I put it out for critiques and the overwhelming response is that it seems unfinished. I originally wrote it with a quick little idea, thinking a flash piece. But it seems it needs some expanding. The problem is, I am not sure where I will go from here. We will see.
Daddy is Tired, the children’s picture book, is still waiting on the illustrator. So, unfortunately there is no cover art to show you yet. I also don’t think a March release will happen either. The lead time from the publisher is lengthy. So, perhaps April. The illustrator has told me she will be staying up late tomorrow and hopes to finish then. Official release dates will be announced as soon as I have them.
I’ve done a lot of reading since I finished Shining in Crimson by Robert S. Wilson. I read Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card and The NanoTech Murders by Lee Gimenez (review here). Right now I am reading I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. I know it is amazing that I have not read this book yet, not sure why I never got to it but I am reading it now. Once I finish that, I will have to head back to the book store.
I’m planning a move any day now. I plan to move back to Vacaville, my hometown here in California. I’m living just up the road in a neighboring city right now. We moved here for cheaper rent, but we miss home (even with it being so close) and we hope to move before March 1st. But, that may not be possible. It all depends on if we hear back from the applications we have put in.
Well, that’s the updates for February. We’ll have to touch base on these again in March. Hopefully then I will have release dates and other fun stuff to share.
February 12, 2012 | Categories: Book Releases, Book Reviews, Children, New, Novels, Published, Publishing, Reading, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Writing | Tags: Books, finished writing, Isaac Asimov, Lee Gimenez, Orson Scott Card, Reading, Richard Flores IV, Robert S. Wilson, Updates, Writing | 2 Comments »
So many of you made a point of letting me know that I forgot my weekly blog post this past Sunday. I didn’t forget, in fact I let my Facebook and Twitter followers know exactly why I didn’t post. I was finishing my novel.
Of course, by finish I mean putting ### (The End) on the first draft of my novel manuscript. It is in no way finished. But it sure felt nice to say it was finished. I let myself bask in the fact that I had completed my novel for a few days. And now, reality has struck. “The End” on paper doesn’t really mean the end.
Many of us can write. Most of us can write enough to create a short story. A few less can write enough to create a novel. But far fewer can keep following though on all the steps after “The End” to really finish a novel (or even a short story). I’d like to see a few more people reach the real finish line.
When it comes to writing works for publication (even self publication) there are steps you have to take to reach the finish. I’m going to clue you in on some steps so that you know what to expect after you type “The End” on your manuscript. I’m new to the Novel steps, but they are the same as those for a short story, just longer (and maybe harder).
Let it Rest
You have to let the story rest in your head for awhile. That is, you have to forget about it a little. If you finish the first draft and then start edits the next day, you’re bound to miss things because the ideas and words you typed are still fresh in your head.
How long is enough time? Well that is really up to you. I know fellow writers who wait months to touch a short story and years for a novel. I know others who can wait a week on a short story and two weeks on a novel. There is no right answer when it comes to time.
For my short stories, I post the first 13 lines (or the hook) in my writer’s group. I give them a week to ten days to share their thoughts and offer to read the story. After that I move to my second step. With this novel, I plan to wait until March to start the next step. I think it will be enough time for me. If not, I’ll give myself more time after the next novel.
You don’t need to forget the story as a whole. If you are like me that could be impossible. It’s just enough time to allow you to forget enough of the gritty details that you will see things like inconsistencies, grammar errors, missing words, POV errors, and other things.
Next, you will need to read your entire manuscript and self edit. Check for errors that don’t fit the story line. Maybe you typed a chapter thinking you’d go one direction and now it no longer belongs in the story. Perhaps another area needs more development to increase the story. Go though and edit all these things. If you find grammar errors, punctuation mistakes and typos fix those too, but that isn’t the main focus here. They point here is to begin to smooth out the story. Cutting out unneeded areas, and beefing up areas that need it. Once you are done with that, you’ve got a second draft.
Once you are done with that second draft you need some trial readers. You need someone who will give you HONEST thoughts on your story. This isn’t likely to be a family member or even a close friend. No one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, especially not those of a friend. Friends and Family are best left to read the final product, not your drafts.
This is where a writers group is very handy. You can get honest thoughts and critiques on your work from other trusted readers who also know a bit about the business. I’ve planned a blog post for later this month on critiques. Watch for it.
Now, you are likely to get responses at different times. One reader might be done in a week, the other might take two. Since you definitely need to have more then one trial reader, here in my suggestion: Don’t read any critiques or change anything until you get a response from all your trial readers. Otherwise you may change something one reader hated, but the other four readers loved. So save yourself the extra work and go through each critique after you have them all.
Self Edit: Part 2
Look at all these suggestions your trial readers gave you. Some of them you will find completely useless and you should ignore those. However, if all the readers point out the same trip up, you might want to fix it (even if you think it is fine the way it is). But remember, this your work not theirs. And only you know what is best.
You may really like a scene, but your readers have trouble with it. Rewrite it then, or cut it. That is up to you. But again, this isn’t about grammar and punctuation. You will be polishing this into a even better story. Soon, you will have something resembling a third draft.
Unless you made major story changes, it is time to move on to the final draft. I am a firm believer in four drafts and done (the done being the fourth). It keeps you out of the endless rewrite circle. I have a friend who is on their twelfth draft of a novel. As I have told that friend, that novel will not be published. They have become obsessed with making it perfect. It won’t happen.
Now, with my short stories my proofreader is my wife. She catches most, if not all, my typos, grammar mistakes, and punctuation screw ups. And for a short story that is enough.
There are proofreading services out there. I haven’t use any, but I may use one when it come to my novel. I miss things, and a professional shouldn’t. Now, some people don’t feel comfortable with that. It is entirely a choice that is up to you. I see no reason to do it for short stories. But, my novel is 67,000 words. So after my wife reads it she may miss some things. If the rate is reasonable I will use one. Otherwise, I am an author that has no money. I won’t spend a lot on it.
However, no matter how you do your proof reading this is the time to go grammar cop. Fix all those little mistakes. Look for those rather then anything to do with the story. Fix them. Once they are fixed you have your forth draft and your completed manuscript.
You are done with your novel, right? Well not exactly. You want to see it published. That involves a lot more work. It is really a blog topic in itself. But you have already accomplished much more then the average person who sets out to write. You have a completed manuscript. Pat yourself on the back. Go get a snack, and then start working to get it published.
February 8, 2012 | Categories: Authors, Book Releases, Grammar, Novels, Published, Publishing, Punctuation, Science Fiction, Self Publishing, Short Stories, Spelling, Subscribe, Writing, Writing Groups | Tags: drafts, manuscripts, Novel, Short Story, the end, Writing, Writing tips | 4 Comments »
From the Back Cover:
The year is 2071 and there’s a serial killer loose in Atlanta. Lieutenant Jak Decker, a homicide cop, is on the case but is getting nowhere. As the body count mounts, his boss assigns him a partner, the smart and beautiful Detective Cassandra Smith. Decker, a tough, wisecracking loner, doesn’t want a partner, especially when he finds out she’s an android.
The Nanotech Murders by Lee Gimenez (Double Dragon Publishing) was added to my ‘to read’ list because the topic of future police work appeals to me. I felt it promised to show me another author’s take on the future of police work.
I spent a lot of my college years studying Law Enforcement. It had been an eventual career goal for me at one point. So when I read or watch fiction involving police work, I tend to be extra critical. I tend to notice unbelievable situations, reactions, and characters.
Unlike others I have know, I am able to recognize that police fiction has to be dramatized because in general the job has a lot of very boring moments. No one would read a book about a cop who pulls over traffic violator for eight hours, maybe handles a domestic quarrel or two, then goes home and goes to bed.
Trust me, I am not down playing the daily duties of our police, they regularly put their lives on the line. They often have to go from boring to complete terror in seconds. If fact, that is exactly whey we love Police fiction. It takes that terror and puts it into a believable scenario so we can watch police officers become the heroes we know them to truly be.
It is 2071 in Atlanta, and the police are dealing with a serial killer. They have almost nothing to go on and the number of victims are rising. To make matters worse the Captain is putting a lot of pressure on Detective Jak Decker to solve the case before the media gets wind of it.
Jak’s boss feels he needs a partner and forces Cassandra on him. As you read this story Jak and Cassandra find themselves neck deep in a case that may be more then they can handle. Every time they pull a small thread, their word unravels even more. They must struggle to solve this case before it destroys everything they have worked for.
Jak is you stereo-typical detective: A drunk with a troubled marriage, who doesn’t play by the rules and often goes rogue from his orders. It’s pretty much all thrown at you in the opening scene, and it was a bit troublesome for me to take. But, Gimenez quickly breaths life in Jak and despite the stereo-types, I quickly found myself drawn in by Jak’s character. I really wanted to see him succeed.
The character I most identified with was Cassandra Smith, the CS android unit that represents the best android technology has to offer. Every scene and chapter in her point of view was enjoyable to read. She is struggling to understand police work beyond the programing she has. The relationship that Cass and Jak develop through the novel was one of the very enjoyable plot threads of the novel.
Gimenez writes a thoughtful thriller that applies subtle twists and turns to the plot. It is a fresh take on the thriller with multiple entertaining plot threads that work well to complete an overall story that was fun to read. I don’t think there was one point in the novel where I thought, I saw that coming.
The action scenes are written well. They provide you with an intense feeling as if you are actually involved in these scenes yourself. There are plenty of gun fights in the novel, but they don’t ever become boring or predictable. Each time a character was involved in something life threatening you got the real sense that they could lose everything trying to solve this crime.
As I mentioned above, I am very quick to spot the mistakes in Police stories, the unrealistic descriptions of events. This story has some of those. None of this was distracting to the story. I never felt like yelling: Oh come on! That’s impossible!
So overall this is a great future cop thriller, that is believable and an entertaining read. Gimenez does everything right with this one. He takes believable cops, and shows them to be the heroes we all know them to be. The Nanotech Murders is a must read for anyone who enjoys Science Fiction, Thrillers, and/or Police fiction. Gimenez does a great job telling a blockbuster tale here. One that is fun to read, has believable characters, a strong plot, and is just plain entertaining. It is easily a four out of five. I strongly recommend you pick up a copy. I know I will be adding some other Gimenez titles to my ‘to read’ list.
January 29, 2012 | Categories: Authors, Book Releases, Book Reviews, Novels, Published, Reading, Science Fiction, Subscribe | Tags: book reviews, good books, goodreads, Lee Gimenez, Novel, Reading, science fiction, The Nanotech Murders | 1 Comment »
Recently I found out that my short story “Death Watch” was nominated for the Preditors and Editors Best of 2011 Award in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Short story category.
The Preditors and Editors Award is based on votes. So please take a moment to vote. Voting is easy. “Death Watch” is listed alphabetically. Select it and scroll to the bottom. Fill in your name and email. If you wish you can leave a comment for other voters. Then click the submit button. Then they will email you and you verify your vote by clicking the link in the email. Done.
Thank you! Thank You to all those who already voted!
Click Here to vote
Click Here to Read “Death Watch”
Should I Self Publish?
I get at least one email a week asking me about self publishing. Some are frustrated with the submit and reject cycle. Others feel it might bring them more money. And others think it may bring in more readers. Most of all everyone wants to know if they will be successful if they self publish.
I don’t know much about self publishing because I have never done it. So I have asked other writers to completed a survey on the matter. I think a survey offers the best advise on whether or not you will be successful. Success is a self defined quality. You can look at these survey results and view them with your own view on success. For example if selling 10 copies is successful to you, then look at the percentage of people who have sold more then 10 copes. Hopefully this helps.
My friend and talented Author, Robert S. Wilson (@EmpireOfBloodRW) will be helping me as I write this. Robert has self published a number of works, and was already kind enough to point out a forgotten company in this survey (more on that later). I feel he has been successful in his endeavors to self publish, and he certainly has worked hard to get the success he has had.
In this blog, I will give you the results on the survey. The survey results are separated into several categories. At the end, I will provide my thoughts on the results. I will give you my insights as an author who hasn’t self published, but is considering the idea. Then, Robert will give you his thoughts. He can give you some insights as an author who has self published.
Two hundred and fifty nine (259) people completed this survey. This does not count all the people who started the survey, but where unable to qualify based on their answers. I posted links on my Google+, the Hatrack Writers Group, My Twitter, and My Facebook. From there it was circulated by fellow authors. Here is some information about the people who responded to the survey:
94% write fiction, the other 6% did not. Those 6% did not finish the rest of the survey, as my concern was with fiction Authors.
51% where Male and 49% were female
78% where from the US, 6% Canada, 9% UK, and 7% where from someplace else. Those places include: New Zealand, Australia, The Netherlands, Slovenia, and Bosnia
One person was under 13 years old and did not continue in the survey. The rest breakdown in the following age groups: 2% were 18-20, 18% 21-29, 24% 30-39, 25% 40-49, 25% 50-59, and 6% where over 60.
89% write in English, 4% in Spanish, 2% French, 1% German
100% write primarily in English
84% spoke English, 4% Spanish 2% French, 3%German, 1% Japanese
94% spoke primarily in English
About the Writers:
Please note this was not exclusive to Self Published but rather information for both self published and “traditional” published authors.
The Genres broke down as followed (survey takers could select multiple selections):
Science Fiction – 18%
Thrillers – 11%
Fantasy – 21%
Children’s Picture Books – 3%
Young Adult – 10%
Literary Fiction – 5%
Westerns – 1%
Other – 8%
68% had works published, 26% have not, and 6% were accepted but waiting publication
10% had 1 work published, 25% had2-3 published, 11% had 4-5, 4% had 6-7, 2% had 8-9 and 14% had 10+
10% had flash works published, 31% had short works published, 13% had Novella works published, 4% novelette length, and 24% Novels
How were your works published:
Short stories, including Novelette, Novella, Short, and Flash broke down as follows:
26% None published
7% Pro Rate Markets (6+ cents per word)
11% Semi Pro Rate (1-5 cents per word)
12% Token Markets (less then 1 cent per word)
23% Non Paying Markets (no monetary payement)
20% Self Published
Novels broke down as follows:
55% None published
5% Professional Publishing Houses (Random House, Orbit Books, and other big publishers)
11% Independent Publishing Houses (Regional or “small” publishers)
30% Self Published
I was surprised at how high the Self Publishing number where. This was publicized as a “Survey on Self Publishing” but I think it still shows a trend that moves towards self publishing. Only those who marked self published in either of the last two questions continued with the survey. Roughly 48% of the people who started this survey were Self Published (126 people). That’s nearly half, which is surprising.
I’m not at all surprised by the percentage of people who have self-published. More and more people are self-publishing all the time. Writers are finding that they can find an audience by self-publishing whereas before they were spending so much time submitting their stories/novels and getting rejected and not reaching an audience at all. Now, whether this is a good or bad thing depends on many factors. I will be posting a blog post of my own for a more indepth look at that.
Self Publishing Results
Now I am sure you want to know what people had to say about Self Publishing. There were a 126 people who continued to this section of the survey. Here are the survey results:
How many works have you self Published:
26% – 1, 10% -2, 23% – 3, 6% – 4, 3%- 5, 6% – 6, 10% – 7, 6% – 8, 3%- 9, and 6%- 10 or more
Novelette or Shorter Break down.
26% had not self published any short works
29% said 1, 16% 2, 6%-3, 13% – 4, 3% – 6, and 3% said 10 or more. 5, 8, and 9 had 0%
Novel Break Down:
29% said they had not self published any novels
39% said one, 13% said 2, 6% said 3, 10% said 7, and 3% said 10 or more. The others had 0% (4, 5, 6, 8, 9)
How they self published:
Paperback and/or Hardcover 3%
E-Reader Formats (all types) 26%
Both Paperback and/or Hardcover 38%
Multiple formats listed above: 23%
And which of these resulted in the most readers?
10% only used one format
Clearly e-Readers have opened the door to new Authors and the ability for them to self publish their works. From what I have seen, getting your works out in an e-reader format is easy, fast, and relatively cheap. This means you can list your work for a better price and attract more readers that way (more on that later). Perhaps I am the only one who doesn’t own an e-reader.
I agree with you on this one, Richard. Not to mention this data is completely consistent with what I’ve already seen with my own work and with other self-published authors I know. I have sold very little paper copies of my books. Even with setting them at low prices for print books. It really comes down to the fact that you really can price really low with ebooks and readers are much more likely to take a chance on an unknown if they don’t have to pay much for their work.
But how many works are selling when you self publish?
On Combined Total copies (or downloads) for all works was:
6% said under 10
6% said 11-50
13% said 50-99
6% said 100-199
3% said 200-299
3% said 300-399
6% said 400-499
3% said 500-749
6% said 750-999
3% said 2000 - 2999
0% said 3000-3999
0% said 4000-4999
13% said 5000-9999
16% said 10000+
The work that gave them the most copies sold (downloads or prints):
6% said under 10
10% said 11-50
13% said 50-99
10% said 100-199
10% said 200-299
6% said 300-399
3% said 400-499
0% said 500-749
6% said 750-999
13% said 1000-1999
0% said 2000 - 2999
3% said 3000-3999
0% said 4000-4999
6% said 5000-9999
13% said 10000+
Well really it means that the range is vast. There is no clear dominate number of copies you can expect when you self publish. It could very depending on how the work was promoted (more on that later). I don’t think this is a far cry from Traditional Publishing. They don’t really know how many copies they will sell of your book. This is why they can be so touchy about what they publish. You might get an advance if you go with traditional publishing, that would be the big difference. Of course, that is if you even get accepted.
This data really does come 100% down to good promotion. But don’t let that statement fool you. Good promotion isn’t just getting the word out to readers who will like your work. Having a good product is a large part of promotion in and of itself. If you have a story that no one likes that can be the worst promotion you could ever have. The more the right market(s) for your work finds it, the more likely that work is to sell. Simple as that. The cover, description, title, story, and how you present all these things to your market are all factors that can make or break a self-published work just the same as a traditionally published work. Difference is, you’re SELF-publishing. You have to learn and execute the promotion yourSELF!
Self Publishing Companies
I forgot to to list Kindle Direct Publishing, however my survey responders didn’t forget. They listed it in Other so many times. I blame ignorance, I thought Createspace and KDP were the same thing. Oops, consider me educated.
Kindle Direct Publishing (write in) 20%
Pubit (Write in) 1%
Other write ins 1%
Which Company did they like best:
23% said Createspace
3% said Lulu
22% said Smashwords
22% said Kindle Direct Publishing (Write in)
2% said Pubit (Write in)
9% listed other companies (write in)
Clearly I am living under a rock to have not heard of KDP for one. But, it seems Smashwords is very popular with 40% of survey takers using it. I think the results would have shown a higher KDP rating had it been included, especially with how well Amazon does in the company ratings (see Rating Below). I suppose that it is because it offers a diverse set of formats, but Createspace and KDP are also very popular among the survey takers. When it comes to a favorite choice all three are nearly equal in popularity. You may want to take a look at the company rating before choosing one. Of course, it will also depend on you needs too.
Honestly, Richard, when I took the survey, I didn’t know that you had made it. I thought you were just passing it along. If I had known, I would have contacted you asap and said, “Woah, you’re forgetting the biggest chunk of the market!” Because in my experience KDP really does have the self-publishing ereader market cornered. More authors may be using Smashwords, though I highly doubt those results would be the same if you were to manage to get a larger study pool, but more books are sold to a staggering degree through KDP than on Smashwords. Every self-published author I’ve spoken with and my own results both reflect that. We’re talking something like a 96/4 or higher ratio. That’s a significant difference. It’s as simple as this: MORE READERS BUY FROM AMAZON.
Yea, that’s right. One of the biggest differences I see between using a Publishing House and Self Publishing is promotion. You are in charge of getting your work out to the people. Here are some of what the Survey Takers used:
1% had other works published traditionally
8% low pricing (pricing the book low permanently)
3% said making the book free (permanently)
11% said they promoted on their Facebook Site
4% said they promoted on their Google+
10% said they promoted on their Twitter
10% said they promoted on their website
12% provided free copies for reviewers (6% for professional reviews and 6% for amateur reviews)
6% provided free copies to try and generate word of mouth
8% posted on sites designed to promote independent authors
5% did giveaways or contests
3% did paid advertising on Social Meda
0% (1 taker) did paid advertising in literary magazines
1% uses other online advertising (paid)
3% did book signing events
1% did booths at fairs or events
3% created a book trailer
3% used Youtube videos
2% listed other means
What way worked the best for them?
3% had other works published traditionally
3% used promotional pricing (temporary discount prices)
3% low pricing (pricing the book low permanently)
0% said making the book free (permanently)
13% said they promoted on their Facebook Site
6% said they promoted on their Twitter
6% said they promoted on their website
6% posted on sites designed to promote independent authors
6% said book signing events
6% listed other means
I removed the answers that got no votes.
How much did you pay for advertising?
45% said $0
48% said $1-$100
6% said up to $500
No 0ne said more.
Will paying more get you more?
3% said yes
35% said no
61% said they were not sure.
Will promoting one work get more readers for all your works?
13% said Yes and they wouldn’t have to promote the other works
58% said Yes but they should still promote the other works too.
3% said No
26% said they were not sure.
First of all, KEEP TRACK OF WHAT WORKS! If you are not keeping track of what advertising worked, you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. This can mean wasted money and wasted time. I was really surprised how little use social media had. It is 100% free and takes little or no time. The same goes for your website. Sure, websites can take some time, but they are worth the effort. I get anywhere from 10-100 new visitors to this site a day. That’s new visitors that have not ever been here before. That’s a lot of people I can promote my new writings with.
I think Authors forget that writing is a business too (I know I do). And, for better and worse, when you self publish you take the whole business aspect on alone. Business is tough work, I owned one. Keep track of what is working. Use different codes for certain coupons so you can track what worked. Offer 10% off if they mention a certain ad. For example you might post exclusively on Facebook a coupon code that gives 10% off to Facebook Followers. Then a little later cancel that coupon and post another one for 10% off to Twitter Followers. Perhaps you make signed copies only available direct from your site. Perhaps all your Giveaway contestants get a code for a discount. This way you can track who heard about you from where. If the Giveaway didn’t work, you won’t waste the time next time. But if the Facebook ad was a huge success you may want to run one once a month.
Advertising is hard work. I had a hell of a time with it in my business. I learned a lot. Perhaps when I get done with my first novel, I will blog about what advertising I used and how well it is working.
Unfortunately, Richard, it’s just not that simple. You can’t give away coupons on Amazon. The only site you can really do that with is Smashwords and unfortunately, MOST READERS DON’T BUY FROM SMASHWORDS. Now, I wish that weren’t true. Smashwords is a great company for authors and publishers. But it just doesn’t get the commercial traffic that Amazon does. And any little thing you do can make a difference in sales. Things other people or things that the different distributors like Amazon, Lulu, Smashwords do can make a difference and you won’t even know it. There’s no real clear way to find out for sure as far as I know. It’s like blind voodoo. So, your best bet is to just do everything you can. If you’re doing something and sales go up, keep it up. If after a while of doing that sales go back down try something new. It’s a crazy game of cat and mouse, but if you want to sell more books, it’s what you have to do.
One thing that does work tried and true is to have an online presence and be in touch with possible readers. They will respond to you and you will meet new friends and everyone wins all around. They find new books to read, meet a new friend, you sell books, and also meet some great people as well. You don’t have to be terribly charismatic, just be yourself. Treat your readers as your friends because frankly. The people who like your work are more likely to be the kind of people you can be real friends with.
It is unfortunate that there is not better tracking for these self publishing solutions. But what Robert describes is still tracking of some sort. It is certainly better then guessing. When I launch my first advertising campaign for my son’s Children’s Book (which will be self published this year). I will post a blog on how I tracked what was working and what wasn’t. Advertising and publicity is something I have worked with for some time, so I am a bit excited to see how I can apply it to this industry.
How much is your writing worth? Well, I would say mine is worth a lot more then I would probably realistically sell it for. Here is what the Survey takers had to say:
What prices have you priced your e-books at?
2% didn’t have any ebooks
19% said Free
27% said $1 or less
37% said $1.01-$2.99
14% said $3.00-$4.99
2% said $5.99-$9.99
What they thought was the best price of an e-book:
0% said Free
10% said $1 or less
68% said $1.01-$2.99
19% said $3.00-$4.99
3% said $5.99-$9.99
What prices have you priced your Paper Copy Books?
28% didn’t have any paper copies
3% said $3-$4.99
23% said $5-9.99
28% said $10-$14.99
10% said $15-$19.99
10% said $20+
What did they think the best price was for paper copy books?
28% didn’t have any paper copies
3% said $3-$4.99
46% said $5-9.99
23% said $10-$14.99
0% said $15-$19.99
0% said $20+
How important is pricing to the self published Author?
Very Important – 71%
Somewhat Important – 28%
Neutral – 3%
Both Unimportant Categories received no votes.
I have to say I agree with what I see here. I have a huge problem with Kindle e-book pricing even from the big name Authors. I will save that for another time. The prices Self Published Authors are setting seems to be reasonable. I don’t agree with making your book free to all forever. A limited discount maybe, but give yourself some credit. Surely your work is worth more then $0. Don’t go crazy either, you are a new author and a self published author. Consider how much you would be willing to pay for a work put out by an author you don’t know? For me, I like taking a chance on new authors both self published and published by the Publishing Houses. I have rarely been disappointed. But I put little value on an e-book, therefore I am not likely to spend more then $3 on an author I haven’t hear of. That’s me.
Most self-publishers and independent publishers are competitive enough to price reasonably if not all out low. Most of the ebooks you find online for outrageous prices are the big publishers trying to push people into buying paper copies. You see they win either way: People want to read the authors they’ve come to know and love and now they either have to continue reading paper copies and not move on to an ereader or they have to start paying more for ecopies. That’s what these larger publishers are trying to do. So, either way, they win as long as people are willing to pay these outrageous prices. The best way to stop it is to NOT PAY SUCH RIDICULOUS PRICES. And one free work can be a great promotion for your other works. It’s all in how you do it. If you have a series, I could be great to have the first work free and then when the readers are done and want to read more in the series they are likely to buy your second and third and so on in your series. Of course there’s also a nice simple short story that just shows your skills. It may seem like a big loss to give one of your best works away for free, but when someone reads one of your best works and is impressed by it, they’re more likely to buy other works by you.
Companies to Use:
The last part of the survey was designed to give people an idea what companies work well with self published Authors. Not just for publishing but for the all around needs of the author. I have ranked them based on the survey responses. For each vote in a certain catagory I assigned them points. Then I divided the points by total survey takers, and I ranked them Highest to Lowest:
Companies in terms of Ease of Use (out of 4):
2. Facebook (3.39)
3. Amazon (3.22)
4. Blogspot (3.14)
5. WordPress (2.94)
6. Smashwords (2.88)
7. Google+ (2.87)
8. Barnes and Noble (2.7)
9. Lulu (2.67)
10. Createspace (2.63)
11. Goodreads (2.35)
12. Live Journal (2.29)
Companies rated on their ability to promote Self Published Authors (out of 4):
1. Twitter (3.17)
3. Goodreads (2.7)
4. Amazon (2.65)
5. Google+ (2.57)
6. Createspace (2.54)
7. Blogspot (2.5)
8. Smashwords (2.44)
9. WordPress (2.38)
10. Barnes and Noble (2.05)
11. Live Journal (1.76)
12. Lulu (1.71)
Companies Rates on Ability to Generate readers (out of 4)
2. Amazon (2.89)
3. Twitter (2.88)
4. Goodreads (2.55)
5. Google+ (2.5)
7. Blogspot (2.43)
8. Tied Smashwords and WordPress (2.29 each)
10. Barnes and Noble (2.19)
11. Live Journal (1.71)
12. Lulu (1.14)
How likely are you to recommend these companies to other Self Publishers (out of 5)
2. Facebook (4.26)
3. Tied Smashwords and Twitter (4.19 each)
5. Goodreads (3.82)
6. Barnes and Noble (3.37)
7. Createspace (3.22)
8. Google+ (2.96)
9. WordPress (2.74)
10. Blogspot (2.26)
11. Lulu (2.15)
12. Live Journal (2)
Companies rated based on ability in the e-reader market (out of 3)
1. Amazon (2.85)
2. Smashwords (2.28)
3. Barnes and Noble (2.27)
4. Tied Createspace and Lulu (1 each)
Companies rated based on ability in the paper market (out of 3)
2. Amazon (2.31)
3. Barnes and Noble (2.1)
4. Lulu (1.88)
5. Smashwords (0.57)
These are people’s opinions on these companies from the perspective of being a self published Author. Take it as that. You may find you like one of these companies that was low rated here. But, this might give you a starting point if you are not sure where to check out first. I was surprised, as I expected Createspace and/or Lulu to dominate these numbers. Clearly I was mistaken. If print is what you want you might consider Createspace, but when it comes to the e-reader market Amazon and Smashwords seem to rate the highest.
When it comes to social media, Twitter seems to be the preference. I can’t say I am surprised. I have a lot more followers on Twitter then any where else. I have seen a lot of writers say how much they like Google+, though I will be the first to admit I think it is useless. Facebook is popular seems to rank well too.
If you like to blog, clearly Live Journal is not a good choice. However WordPress and Blogspot seem to be equally popular. It seems to be true of the Authors I know. I would guess that about 50% of them use either site. I picked WordPress. It works for what I need and I find it really easy to use. It allows the custom content I want, and in the future I can import/merge this blog with my own website.
In the end, the company you use depends on what you need and want. Read all the Terms of Service/Use. I hope this information will at least shorten your trial and error routine. Check them all out. Otherwise you might miss Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
I self-published my first work in July of 2011. In the not even six months since then, I’ve gathered a great deal of my own sales data. And I’m here to tell you Ereaders are the future of books. Especially for self-published books. There are thousands if not millions of readers out there looking for their next favorite indie author.
I do find myself surprised on the social media front. I’ve found Facebook to be much more helpful for me. Or it could be that I’m still new to Twitter and haven’t put enough into using it to my advantage.
I use blogspot myself and have enjoyed that it is already connected with my Google account and is very easy to use and maintain. And with being free and having almost all the options you would have with a standard website, it works great for most everything I need in a website. Now, if only I could get it to make blog posts for me as I seem to neglect it all too often.
Overall as Richard has said already, your mileage may vary. It’s best to cover all the avenues you can. Clearly, you’re not likely to have multiple blogs but if you’re planning on self-publishing definitely cover all your distribution options and all the social media and free promotional options you can make time for. Because in the end what works best for one person may differ proportionately to another. So, in order to reach the most possible readers you should highly consider putting your work out at in all possible venues and in all possible formats and of course have an online presence in all the different social media sites. These thing can only add to your chance of becoming a successful self-published author.
What does this all mean?
Well it’s the results of a survey on self publishing, with the thoughts of two authors. I hope you find this a helpful insight if you are planning to start, or even continue, in self publishing. It has certainly shined some light on my own ideas in self publishing. It is a viable means, and slowly the negative perception of self published works has dissolved away.
I am a paper book lover, but you can’t deny that e-readers have opened the door to the self published author. The ability to reach readers worldwide, at a low cost, has allowed talented authors to emerge. These are talented authors who have made the choice to control the process of their writing from creation to sale. Perhaps that is more difficult when compared to waiting for an editor at a publishing house. At the least I would say it is equally challenging.
If you found this helpful feel free to share it, re-blog it, or post it on your social media site of choice. Thank you to all the survey takers and thank you to Robert Wilson for sharing his insights.
About the Authors:
Richard is an author of Speculative Fiction who lives in California. He fits his writing time around being a father of three young boys and a husband to his beautiful wife. He has been published in Cygnus Journal of Speculative Fiction and Liquid Imagination. He has a Children’s Picture Book, that he wrote with his oldest son, set to be released in early 2012. For more information on Richard Flores IV, you can find him online at http://floresfactor.wordpress.com/. You can also find him on Twitter @Richard_Flores4
Robert S. Wilson is the author of the Kindle bestseller The Quiet: A Novella and the critically acclaimed Shining in Crimson: Empire of Blood Book One as well as co-editor for Horror For Good: A Charitable Anthology, an anthology which includes stories by international bestselling authors and horror legends. All proceeds from Horror For Good will go toward amfAR, an international AIDS research foundation. For more information on Robert S. Wilson, you can find him online at http://shiningincrimson.blogspot.com/. You can also find him on Twitter @EmpireOfBloodRW
Robert lives in Smyrna, Tennessee with his wife and two children while he attempts to make time for everything and utterly fails constantly.
January 2, 2012 | Categories: Advertising, Authors, Marketing, Marketing, Novels, Published, Publishing, Science Fiction, Self Publishing, Short Stories, Social Media, Uncategorized, Welcome, Writing, Writing for Money | Tags: Authors, Createspace, Facebook, Google+, help, how to, KDP, Kindle, Kindle Direct Publishing, lulu, Marketing, Nook, Publish, Published, publishing, Richard Flores IV, Robert S. Wilson, self publish, Self Publishing, should i self publish, Smashwords, survey, Twitter, writers, Writing | 20 Comments »
I recently finished reading The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. A great novel that is full of characters you can relate to and a plot that is imaginative and engaging to the reader. It has a well thought out world that has depth and dynamic. The magic is believable and based a bit on real life. In other words, you should go by this novel if you have any love for Fantasy novels. You can wait until you finish reading my post, but as soon as you are done, go buy it.
Like every great story I finish, I find myself sad it is over. But, I also find myself inspired to write a great novel of my own. I also find myself looking at my latest novel and wondering why I have not done much to advance it. When I undertook writing with a serious intention of being published this past March, I told myself I would complete one short story a month and a novel by the end of the year.
That means I should have written nine short stories and one novel. Currently I have completed four short stories and about 2,500 words into the second draft of my novel (the first draft was written years ago, so really this is a rewrite first draft). I also completed a Children’s picture book my son and I wrote together. A far cry from being where I wanted to be.
There are some pluses. First, two of those four stories were published this year. The other two are currently out to markets. The children’s book is currently waiting on the illustrator to complete the drawings. It has a scheduled release for the early part of 2012. Both of which I think are good accomplishments for a writer in his first serious year of writing.
But, why I have fallen so short of my goals? When I finished The Black Prism, I really began to quiz myself of the true cause of my short comings. The answer was simple: Distractions.
I have a long list of distractions. Many of those distractions are worth it and they have to to come first. Those include: My kids, my wife, my health, my chores, my job (when I had one), and searching for a job. But there are some I could trim out. Such as: Television, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Battlefield 3, and the internet.
Of course, the real trouble is actually making those cuts. Every time I power up this laptop the first sight I go to is Facebook. I can’t help it. Then I have to check Twitter now (a site I used to hate and now for some reason I can’t avoid it). Then I go look for work, then I go check out all the sites related to Battlefield 3, then I check my writers forum, then check the site stats for this blog, then I go back to Facebook, and then I check Google+. By then I am tired of the internet, so I shut off my lap top and turn on the TV. Through all of this my children need my attention. I cook dinner, put the kids to bed, my wife comes home from work, we watch TV, and then off to bed. And I always say, “Tomorrow I will have to get some writing done.”
Perhaps I am not taking writing serious enough. I don’t think so. I like doing it and I enjoy seeing the positive reviews of the things people have read of mine. The truth is, and I have mentioned this before, I just have to make the time. Most of the time there is nothing on TV, but I watch it anyway. Most of the time there is nothing new on Facebook, but I check it anyway. I am finding Google+ useless but I still check it. And I don’t know why I am so addicted to Twitter now.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are great for me to get in touch with my fans and fellow writers. I won’t cut them out completely. I certainly won’t be able to cut out Battlefield 3 for a while. I enjoy the game. But, I can limit them. I intend to limit them and focus on my novel.
One thousand words a day would reach novel length in just forty days. Of course my novel may be longer and I almost never just write 1000 words in a writing session, but that certainly seems like a reasonable goal. However goals are not worth much if you don’t try. I will try to hold to that goal, and you can always follow me on Facebook and Twitter to see how I do.
So I know have two 2012 resolutions: 1) Exercise and lose weight, 2) Write more.
Of course I have more, but I will save that for another post.
December 19, 2011 | Categories: Authors, Children, Humor, Muse, New, Publishing, Reading, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Social Media, Video Games, Writing | Tags: Distractions, goals, Reading, resolutions, Writing | 3 Comments »
I get a lot of people who email me and ask what I am reading. Some give no reason for asking, others explain that they would like an idea of who to read for ideas in their own writing.
So I thought I would share a bit about what I am reading now. If you want to keep up with everything I have read, you can find me on Goodreads.com.
Every day I read Daily Science Fiction. They email a short (often flash length) story to me Monday through Friday. I find it is a great short read and I usually enjoy them. If you don’t get them by email they do post them to their website after a bit. I won’t review them, because that’s not the point. I will tell you which ones I enjoyed the most.
I also read Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, but I have not received the new issue yet.
Recently I enjoyed these stories for DSF (in no particular order):
Fields of Ice by Jay Caselberg
Ned Thrall by Amalia Dillin
My story “Dream Job” in Cygnus Journal of Speculative Fiction, which you can read for free here, was the first short story I had written since High School. And, the first thing I ever wrote with the intentions of having it published. So now that it is out for the public to read, I felt I needed to say a bit about it. After all, there is a lot to be said for it.
I talk a lot about ideas, you can read my post about them. I had made up my mind I wanted to be a published writer, and I though it would be best to start with a short story. The real problem was, I couldn’t come up with a good idea. Well, scratch that, I had ideas but I was having trouble developing them into anything. Finally, the idea hit me in a nightmare.
If you have read the story, you know this line (if not please go read it):
“An icy cold began to rush over her body, slowly flooding around her arm and across her body. She
began to gasp for air in panic as she realized the cold-flowing blood was reaching her heart.”
That was my dream. One line. Thirty-seven words out of about 4,600 words. I had a dream that someone was in the room, I was injected, and a cool oozing feeling flowed towards my chest. And, like Samantha, I woke up feeling the cold. It scared the shit out of me. So much so, that I thought about it for the whole night (I worked graveyard shift at the time).
I started to wonder what might cause that feeling, which had long since passed. I wondered how I remembered it so clearly and how would something from the dream world transfer so easily to the waking world. Then, but the end of my day, I wondered how I could make this into a story.
The first draft of Dream Job was a disaster. Though when I wrote it, I thought I was a master of the craft. I posted it for my writer’s group, Hatrack River, which I had just joined. And, they very nicely told me that my intro was cliche. They even referred me to The Turkey City Lexicon, a must read of new writers (which I re-read all the time). I had used the “White Room Syndrome” opening… ouch.
I realized I needed a complete rewrite of the opening lines (also known as the hook). When I did that, it took the story in a different direction (although it was was along the same plot points), and thus my second draft was a total rewrite.
I posted the new Opening for my group to read. They told me it was still missing something. There was not much for readers to grab on to. I was frustrated because I thought I was was writing gold, and they were not getting it. Of course, they were right. After I looked things over again. I went for a third rewrite of the opening lines.
Now, this third one was troublesome to come up with. I spent a week mulling over different openings. And then it hit me. My dream was so emotional to me because it happened in my own bed. My own house. This was my house, my bed, and my room and it was invaded by this nightmare.
So I put Samantha at her home, and hat it invaded. Government Agents had always been a part of the plot, so naturally they were the invaders. The story took a third complete rewrite, very different from the first and second drafts. Then I posted it again on my writers forum. I don’t know if my forum LOVED IT, but they certainly liked it.
From there it was just a few minor tweeks for Grammar (ugh… grammar cops), a bit of tightening up based on suggestions from fellow writers, and then it was out for submission. Shortly after submitting it, I got the idea for “Death Watch” and started this process all over again. “Death Watch” was accepted first (12 days before its big brother).
From the time I started writing until “Dream Job” went for its first submission was almost exactly two months (59 days). From first submission to acceptance was just over five months. I am proud of it, and to see it in print is a great thing.
The title may seem obvious to you after reading it (sorry no spoilers here, just go read it). But, for me it was also a bit of an inside story too. After all, writing is one of my dream jobs. This being the first thing I wrote, it only seemed fitting.
So please, head over to Smashwords and download your free copy of Cygnus Journal of Speculative Fiction. Read it and review it on Goodreads. And on the topic of Goodreads, check out my Author page and become a fan.
As always your comments are welcome.
October 24, 2011 | Categories: Authors, Book Releases, Ideas, Muse, New, Published, Publishing, Reading, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Writing | Tags: Dream Job, dreams, ideas, muse, Richard Flores IV, Writing | Leave A Comment »
First, this is the first short story I have written since my choice to be a published writer. I did write a short story in High School that people seemed to like, but its long gone. So really, I consider this my first short story. I am blessed that it was published. I know many very talented authors whose firsts are still awaiting the acceptance letter.
Second, it was chosen to be in the first issue of a new publication. This may not seem like a big deal, but when a magazine starts up, there is a lot of pressure to be good (if not great). Editors have to choose the stories they publish in their first issues carefully, as they set the bar for the entire publication. That doesn’t mean publications don’t grow and become better. It just means that you want to make a good first impression when you start up. So I feel privileged that “Dream Job” was chosen to be among those stories that represent the start of Cygnus Journal of Speculative Fiction.
The Editors have also chosen to provide the electronic copy of their first issue free on Smashwords (Kindle, Nook, PDF and more). It is also available on the Amazon Kindle Store for 99 cents, but I am sure you would prefer free. So please, click here and check out “Dream Job” as well as the other works published in Issue One of Cygnus Journal of Speculative Fiction.
Then come back here and let me know what you thought of the story and the Characters. I would love to hear from you.
October 19, 2011 | Categories: Authors, Book Releases, New, Published, Publishing, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Writing | Tags: Cygnus, Fiction, Magazine, New, Published, Science, science fiction, Story, Writing | 2 Comments »
A Brief Self Help Guide for Writers
One of the things that I failed to understand when I started out as a writer, was that writing is a business. And if you want any business to succeed, you need to market it. I don’t think many people understand the importance of writers to market themselves. It is one of the only ways you will gather readers, reach out to your readers, and let them know when new works are coming out.
You may be thinking that you won’t need to market because you plan to publish in a traditional fashion. You may assume the publisher will handle all the marketing. Or you may simply think your works will sell themselves.
Well, I believe you are wrong and you can do so much to promote yourself for little or no money.
Social media offers the best way to connect with your readers and fans. If you are not much for technology it is relatively easy and helps.
You really need a presence on the three major Social Media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. They all have their advantages and disadvantages so all three is almost a must. Also, you need to use them. I try to post something each day. I certainly check them every day.
With Facebook, you really need an Author’s Page. Pages are separate from your Facebook Profile. Creating one is easy, relatively fast, and pretty effective. You can visit my Page to see what they look like. You may even want to create a separate page for a book you may be working on, or recently published. Robert S. Wilson has one for his book that you can look at as an example.
Why use an Author’s Page instead of your regular Facebook Profile. Well for one, you may not want to share personal matters, photos, and friends with your fans. Second, it is far easier for your fans to click “like” then it is for them to send a friend request and wait for your response. Third, Facebook offers a TON of tools for pages that help with promotion. Tools you simply don’t get with a standard page.
You can create a page by visiting any page. In the top right corner there is a link that say “Create a Page”. Once you have a page post links to your other accounts on social media. Also, post information about upcoming releases and the like.
I never found much interest in Twitter. But at the advice of other writers I made a Twitter Account for myself. I have found it far more fun then I thought it would be. I have more followers on Twitter then I do on my Facebook Author Page. I think Twitter gets its appeal because anyone can follow anyone.
Setting up and account is easy.
Use Twitter to share all sorts of things. RT (Re-Tweet) posts that you like. Reply to Tweets you like. Here is a little help with Twitter from one novice to another:
“#” is a hash tag. It is used to make searching for posts on a particular topic easy. People add it to the tweet to help with searching. Keep the terms together versus spacing out words. Example “#amwriting” would be used; not “#am writing”.
RT is Re-Tweet. This usually is used if someone replies to a tweet and wants to put it to context.
Example: “I wish I had ur motivation. Can a walk to the fridge count as cardio? RT
@megselizabeth86: Cardio and legs. Yay. Gonna be sore as hell tmrw.”
And last, as you see in the example above is the @sign. It represents the profile mentioned. @Richard_Flores4 is mine. When people mention you, this allow their followers a quick click to see your profile. It results in great exposure.
Some will tell you to do your best to get a Re-tweet or a reply for major celebrity/business page just to get the exposure to a lot of potential fans. I don’t go that far. But I do reply to celebrity posts as appropriate. I mention profiles when it is appropriate to. And I always try to give a shout out to fellow authors.
I think this will be the most difficult for the social media novice. I consider it the love child of Twitter and Facebook. It does have a lot of the best of both worlds. You can post things to the public or just to certain circles. My fellow writers are in one circle, family in another, friends in another, and those I am just following in a fourth. Once you understand it, and Google has good videos on it, you can start sharing certain posts with certain circles. Or you can share with all your circle, or the general public.
Google+ is probably the one I use the least. Mostly because I don’t have many people on there. But, that is changing over time. The one major disadvantage to Google+ is that they are taking down profiles that are not “real”. While I support removing fake profiles, this may pose a problem for those authors that use Pseudonyms. I don’t use one, so I don’t know how hard they are being on it.
You need a website. I have one right here. I choose to combine my Blog and my Website. Its free to use WordPress, Blogspot, and most other blog sites. It gives you a free web presence and combines a blog.
Eventually, I will have my own .com, but for now this works. And all of the social media sites let you place a link to your website on them. So there is some good cross promotion of your sites. Here are some things your site should have:
You should have a blog too, even if you have your own .com. Your blog can be hosted on your own site or separate from it. Just make sure the two are linked together. Blogging can be fun, it gets you writing for one. It also inspires discussion and hopefully inspire new authors. There are whole articles on blogging and what you need to do with your blog. Here are some ideas:
- Pick a schedule and make sure to post something on it. For me it is once a week. For some it is once a month. It just gives people a chance to know when to look for new posts.
- Announce new posts on your social media sites. This will bring readers.
- Allow comments. Allow commenting to encourage discussion.
- Have a Follow tab. This allows people to set up email alerts when you post something.
- Establish some blog rules. Having some rules will ensure there is less backlash should you have to remove a comment.
- Use HTML tags so people can click the word, and see what you are talking about.
- Respond to the comments you get.
You need an about section on your website. Tell a little bit about yourself. This allows readers to know if they found the real you (Imagine how many Richard Flores there are in the world). It also establishes some of your qualifications to blog on the topics you choose to blog about.
Put a Bibliography down if you have works published (or have publishing dates for them). Put links to purchase them and/or read them if you can. Think of it like your resume.
Put a way to be contacted. Most blogs have a contact us form you can use so you don’t have to share your email if you don’t want. Also you can link your social media there. Facebook and Twitter have profile badges you can add to your site homepage. WordPress even has widgets to use for that too.
In the world of websites, people like to see pictures. So I urge you to add visual elements to your site. Its something I still work with all the time. I also think you need your picture up on the home page. People like to see who they are talking to. But that is more of an opinion of mine.
Put a store up on your site of some kind. Even if it is just links to Amazon.com’s listing of your book. I don’t have any books out yet, but when I do, you can rest assured there will be a store up.
Put up links to other bloggers you enjoy, sites you use regularly, and to other writers you enjoy.
You have see my blog as one example of a Wordpess site. Here are some others:
Robert S. Wilson’s Blog on Blogspot.
You have the web presence now in Social Media and with a Website. Best yet, it can all be done for free. Now how do you draw attention to yourself. Well, that requires the real work.
Get together with your fellow writers and share their sites. Share them in blog posts when you can (as I have done here), link them in your social media site, announce when they have books coming out, share their sites in your LINKS page, and promote them as much as you can. You will be surprised how many will do the same for you.
Comment on other posts:
Comment on blog posts, twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Use your pages to make these comments and drive readership to you. Reply to all the comments you get. People like to be acknowledged and it gives everyone a sense of participation.
Link your website on everything:
Put a link to your website on everything within reason. Any comment form that asks for it, any profile you fill out, add it as a signature to your emails, and post it for your friends. The more you post it the more clicks you might get.
Tell everyone everywhere of your site. Writer’s Groups, Facebook Pages, Twitter, and other places. Just make sure you don’t violate Terms of Service and get flagged as SPAM.
Networking is big business. Its also hard work. When you meet new people, you have to be willing to admit you write. I do it almost every time I meet new people. I let people know any time the topic comes up. Go to conventions, writers workshops, and any other place where writers are gathering. Put together some simple (and usually very affordable) business cards. Pass them out like candy at every convention, workshop, and function you attend. Have your name, website, and contact information on there. You never know who’s hands it will fall into. Word of mouth is the biggest advertiser out there.
If you have some money to spend, you can advertise your Facebook Page, website, and more. There are some cheaper ways then others, but this cost money. If you self publish a book, you may want to spend a bit of money on advertising. But the rule I always follow for advertising is this: Never spend more on advertising then you would make if someone buys what you’re selling. That is to say, if you make $1 profit on every book you sell don’t spend $2 per flier to advertise it.
There is obviously many avenues for marketing your work. Each of these I mentioned could be a whole course of study by themselves. My hope is this will bring you to a good starting point. Get you going, and then you can fly on your own from here.
Questions, Comments, or more? Feel free to comment.
October 17, 2011 | Categories: Advertising, Authors, Book Releases, Ideas, Marketing, Marketing, New, Published, Publishing, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Social Media, Websites, Writing | Tags: Authors, Marketing, Publicity, Social Media, Websites, Writing | Leave A Comment »
I wasn’t sure what I was going to go with for this weeks blog post. John Miller posted on my Facebook page about a survey he has out now. Of course I had to check it out, but it got me thinking about something else. What do people like to read? How does an author decide what they want to write? Is it better to write a novel, or a short?
First, lets set some definitions here:
People have trouble defining fiction length. This seems to the widely accepted standard. Probably the most disputed will be Flash, as the definitions seems to vary from publication to publication. Here are the SFWA guidelines.
Short Story: less than 7,500 words;
Novelette: at least 7,500 words but less than 17,500 words;
Novella: at least 17,500 words but less than 40,000 words
Novel: 40,000 words or more.
SFWA does not have a “Flash Fiction” definition, but I will go with what I believe to be widely accepted which is anything less then 1000 words.
As a Reader:
This is where I would love to hear for you guys. Leave me a comment below and let me know what you like to read. Do you like short works (Novella, Novelette, Shorts, or Flash) or do you prefer a Novel? If so, why?
Go ahead, scroll down to the comments and let me know. I will be here when you get back.
Thanks for you comment!
For me, I have found a recent love for Flash as a reader. For one, I subscribe to Daily Science Fiction. So I get short fiction (not always Flash but always on the shorter side) in my email Monday – Thursday with a longer one on Friday. I don’t have a lot of time. Flash fiction is a short entertaining read for me.
As I have mentioned before it is important for Authors to read. So this is a good way for me to get a lot of reading in from different Authors. This gives me diversity in my reading, as far as styles go.
I also subscribe to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as well as read several e-publications.
I love a good Novel too. So I wonder if there is any advantage to one or the other. If you are an author, read both.
However, strictly as a reader the advantage to short is growing with our impatient world. But I think people still like a good novel. Something they can get connected with, live in the world for a while, and really savor.
Shorts can be really moving and powerful too. But there is a lack of time there to really bond the reader with the story. And it can be easier to read shorts when you like to read during those brief breaks in your life (doctor’s waiting room, ect.).
So my suggestion is that if you like quick stories, with a wham and bang type impact, go for the shorts. If you like going for gold and really bonding with a story go for the Novel. If you like both, like I do, read both.
I never gave a thought to writing anything other then a Novel when I started taking up writing as a hobby. I didn’t really know anything of the craft and didn’t think there was much of a short story market. And really it had not ever crossed my mind. When I began my self study in writing and professional writing, I learned that speculative fiction has one of the strongest short story markets in the industry.
So I gave a short story a try. That first short story will be featured in the upcoming issue of Cygnus Journal of Speculative Fiction. I liked it a lot. It allowed me to get the immediate satisfaction of writing, editing, and eventually publishing in a relatively short amount of time. Of course short amount of time depends on a number of things.
Well, I liked writing that short so much that I wrote my first Flash piece. “Death Watch”, which is out now on Liquid Imagination Online, did well based on what readers have told me. I have since written a third piece which is making its rounds at markets and I have a fourth one in the editing phase.
So I have three going on four shorts completed in a matter of around ten months. This is a lot slower then I want, and I hope to pick up the pace. But considering I was learning the short story market at the same time, I feel I did well to get started.
In any case, lets compare this to my Novel in progress. While I have written out two and half novels, many years ago, those where not publishable novels. They were things I put on paper to escape stress in my real job of the time. Anyway, I probably still have six to eight months before this novel is ready. I think I am may even be giving myself too little time. We will see. Since I have not completed a publishable novel, this is really more of a guess. Now once it is done, it has editing, rewrites, and then query. After query, which can take forever, I then have to submit the full manuscript. My point, Novels take a lot of time.
So what should you write? Well write what you like. If you don’t like to read shorts, don’t like to write them, and don’t like anything about them, then don’t write them. If you don’t like taking time on a Novel, then don’t write that.
I write both for the same reason I read both. I like that shorts give me imediate gratification while Novels give me the satisfaction of crafting an in depth world and a longer work.
Please don’t misunderstand me at all. My short stories get my entire heart and sole, just the same as my novel. Shorts can be deep and meaningful, they just don’t have the length that a Novel has.
Of course I would be foolish not to bring up the money side of things. So call me foolish. (Actually since I have not sold a Novel, I can’t really compare them for you).
Well in the battle over Novels and Short Stories, I don’t really think you get a winner or loser. It is really all about what you like. The market for both is strong.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you prefer. Let me know if you are a writer, reader, or both. What do you like?
October 9, 2011 | Categories: Authors, New, Novels, Published, Publishing, Reading, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Writing | Tags: Flash, Novel, Novelette, Novella, publishing, Reading, science fiction, Short Stories, Writing | 2 Comments »