Validation

valid-stampDeep 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.

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Updates: December 2012

I haven’t done one of these updates posts in a long time, and I have some things to tell you all.

Dissolution of Peace

Dissolution of Peace CoverDissolution of Peace is doing okay will the sales.  The second two free eBook promotions did not do nearly as well as the first one did.  I think that in order to have continued success with the free promotions, I need to widen my advertising audience.  But in terms of sales it is doing okay.  Getting reviews is going slower than I thought I would.  But I have six on Amazon US and they are all 4 and 5 star reviews.  So I am more that pleased to wait if they remain so positive.  I’ve been toying with an idea to reward honest reviews on Amazon.com with some type of giveaway.  But that feels awfully closed to “buying” a review and I don’t know that I am comfortable with that closeness.  So I think for now I will stick with waiting it out.  If you haven’t got your copy, or left a review, please visit this link.  If you have thought of borrowing Dissolution of Peace via the Kindle lending library, it will only be available until January 5th.  After that, I plan to release Dissolution of Peace on Barnes and Noble for the Nook.

I have been nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll.  I was nominated last year and took second place for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Short story with my short story “Death Watch“.  This year Dissolution of Peace was nominated for best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel.  It is currently in second place and could really use your vote.  You can vote for Dissolution of Peace by clicking this link.  Make sure you check your email for the confirmation email and click the confirmation link it includes.  Otherwise your vote won’t count.  The Polls close January 15th, so vote right away.

Daddy is Tired

Daddy_is_Tired_CoverYou have all heard me talk about my son’s picture book, Daddy is Tired.  Sales have slowed down on that tremendously and he could really use your support.  We are putting all the money in his College Savings account.  You can go get your copy, or leave a review,  by clicking here.

His book is also in the Preditors and Editors Reader Poll under the Children’s Section.  So a vote for him would be great too.  Since you can vote once per category you can vote for both of us.

Plasma Frequency

Cover PreviewBefore I started writing this blog, I accepted the last of the stories for Issue 4.  We have brought on a great Assistant Editor, Molly Moss, and she is doing a remarkable job easing the pressure on me to run this magazine.  There will be a lot of great talent in Issue 4.  And if you haven’t ready our three issues from this year, you can read them free by visiting the website.

Also, with Duotrope going to paid we are considering the idea of adding our own response time statistics to our website.  This way those that can’t afford, or don’t feel Duotrope is right in charging, can still see the same information.  In fact, our statistics will be 100% accurate because they will include 100% of our submissions.  I think it is just one more way our magazine will demonstrate that we are very much pro-author.

This is just one of many big plans we have an Plasma Frequency and at Plasma Spyglass.

Plasma Frequency is also honored that some of our content has been nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll.  Lindsey Duncan’s “Mythocraft” from Issue 2 is nominated in the Science Fiction and Fantasy short Story category.  And Tais Teng’s stunning cover art work for Issue 1 is nominated under the Magazine Cover Artwork section.  Again, take a moment to go vote for those by clicking the links.

This Year is Summary

As far as writing goes, this looks like a slow year.  I only have one short story published (you can read “Miles From the Future” here) and only two written.  But I did publish my first novel this year and put in a lot of work to get Cinco’s book out this year.  So in terms of words published, I did much better this year as apposed to 2011.  And when you factor in starting and running a publishing company, I’m actually proud of what has been done this year.  I can only hope for continued success in 2013.

Upcoming Projects for 2013

I am currently in progress on a Novel.  It is not the sequel to Dissolution of Peace (I can hear many of you groaning on that one).  It has a tentative title and a very rough release date of March/April 2013.  I plan to announce an official release date when I have the cover art done.  Perhaps around February 2013.  So look for that coming soon.

The yet untitled sequel for Dissolution of Peace is the next project in my “to-write” list.  I can’t give you a release date for sure, but I sincerely hope to have it done before the end of 2013.  Knowing how hard it is to wait for a sequel, I am trying my best to get it to you as quickly as possible.  So many people have begged me to give them a hint as to what happens next.  I really hadn’t expected there to be so much love for the characters in this book.  By far the number most comments on the novel have been about the attachment readers feel to the main characters.  I have a very deep bond with these characters as well.  They are the first characters I have ever created with any seriousness of being published.  So I really have to get back to telling their story.

Yesterday, a third idea hit me.  I’m not sure if it will be a short story or a Novel.  The idea sparked up from an odd dream.  It will also be very much character driven.  But it is still in the infancy stages and may not be ready well into 2014.  But as I play with the idea, we will see where it leads me.

Summary

Well, 2012 has been a crazy year.  I went from brand new short story writer to a novelist, and publisher, in a year.  I’ve discovered that people really do enjoy the style I bring to the pages, and I expect to gain a lot of new fans in 2013.  Of course, I have to thank all my fans that have been following me since “Death Watch” and all those that have joined me along the way.  I write for my readers, and I am always grateful I have readers.

And because I couldn’t resist ending this with a slight cliche; See you all next year.

Best of 2011

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”