Indie Writer Code Words: Sequencing and Rain Check

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Continuing my series of posts here, I’m talking about top secret code words used by me as a writer. Some may be used by other writers, too, in which case I picked them up from elsewhere. Some are the terms I am using for my own creative process. And I figured, if they’re worth me churning in my brain, they might be worth sharing online with other indie writers as well.

Today’s top secret word is for a concept I’ve gotten elsewhere, but I don’t think they call it what I call it: SEQUENCING.

The idea is that you have better luck selling a series than a standalone book, and even better if that whole series—or at least a trilogy worth or two or three at a time—come out all at once. Or at least in short order, say, each a month apart.

Much like your favorite Netflix or on-demand series, readers these days are impatient. They want to get the whole thing NOW. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) So the idea is, if you have 3, 4, 5, 6, or more books all ready and out there RIGHT NOW, you could have a runaway hit on your hands! If they read the first and say, “Yup, I’m in,” you might have just sold a whole series all in one blow. Something like that builds speed quickly, too, spreading by algorithms and by word of mouth.

However, posting just one book and promising it’s the first of a long series, and then not getting that next book out for a few years (like I just did—or am doing, I guess, since Deus Ex Machina isn’t out quite yet) is generally not helpful to gaining a readership.

Therefore, SEQUENCING is a good idea. That is, launching books in a sequence, right?

The trouble with this is, if you’re a working stiff like me, who has to have at least one (if not two or more) day jobs in order to support the family, it’s hard to do that! Writing just one book takes time, much more time than we would like. So finishing that arduous journey and then just sitting on it until you can do it all again (which takes a long time again) requires a mighty portion of patience and will power.

And that leads to my next codeword: RAIN CHECK. The relativity of this word seems obvious, but it is also derived from the codewords STORMWATCH and WEATHERSTATION. These both refer to my scheduling and tracking spreadsheets. “Stormwatch” was an older version, “Weatherstation” is the newer one.

RAIN CHECK is scheduling a sequence of books or stories for the future. It has two parts:

(1) Having the will to schedule things in a sequence and fighting to urge to publish as soon as a book or story is ready to go.

(2) Staying focused enough on one series or universe to make that happen.

The word RAIN CHECK is a reminder to me to stay focused and follow through with the plan to SEQUENCE.

And these concepts have been proven by many an indie author more successful than myself. Writing and waiting is well worth it.

After all, if your first book gets everyone all excited, but there’s no more for those excited readers to move on to… They move on to someone else. And by the time your next book does come out, they may have forgotten all about you.

And that sucks.

For me, in my most immediate future , the plan for sequencing is to finish up everything on Deus Ex Machina (Identity Crisis series: Book 2, thus the sequel to Hungry Gods) and to pair it up with The Golden Age (Secret Origins series: Book 3). (Working title, still needs to be written!) Both of these series take place in my Identity Crisis Universe, a genre-bending realm of superheroes, sci-fi, humor, and gritty mystery.

As I posted recently, I have finished the first draft of Deus Ex Machina. So, step one complete!

Now I have to write The Golden Age—planning to keep that one to about 30,000 words or so, what I consider a short novel. Then go over both works again to make their 2nd drafts. Then send them to my copy editor for a once over to get my 3rd (final) drafts. Then I just need to cover them (both in progress now), format them, and get them out there!

Right now I’m shooting for November-ish as a publishing date, give or take. Still working out the details, and it depends on how long everything takes to get done. I want to allow some time to promote and offer deals on previous books in both series, thus building some awareness and excitement again for both series.

And then…

We’ll see what happens after that. Do these superhero books take off into the stratosphere? Or do they trip over their capes and fall flat on their faces? Those results would help determine my next sequence of books: more of the same, or hop to another genre.

Those considerations will also involve more codewords, like RAIN CHECK and DONUT HOLE. (Stay tuned for those posts in the near future…)

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Superhero Sequel Nearing Completion!

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This week (Tuesday, July 10th), I finally finished the first draft of my novel Deus Ex Machina, the sequel to Hungry Gods (Identity Crisis, Book 1).

AT LONG LAST!  

It’s literally been YEARS in the making. I’ve started and stopped it a few times, all for various reasons.

Which was a mistake. For various reasons.

This was also before the concept/codeword of SEQUENCING came about for me, which is the next post in my “indie writer codewords” series.

Anyway, at this point, there’s not a whole lot I want to say about DXM except, Yeah! I did it! The hardest part is done! 

And it turned out longer than I expected. I was projecting 60,000 to 75,000 words. The first draft is 83,000, a nice, solid length for a novel. (Final form will be around 320 pages, maybe?)

Unfortunately, it’s still going to be a few months from release. (More on that reasons for that in the next installment of my codeword blog series.)

Meantime, though, that sketch at the top is a sneak peak for you. It’s a prelim sketch for the cover art by Henry Ponciano.

Henry has also done the illustrations for two other covers for me: Invasion and One-Eyed Jacks. You can find more of his work and contact him on Deviant Art here:

henryponciano.deviantart.com

His end of the DXM cover work is actually done at this time, but I’m not ready to share all that yet. Wait till I’m closer to launch and ready for some promo to stir the pot.

All in due time.

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…Weeeeell, if you really want a good sneak peek, you can go purchase the superhero anthology Collateral Damage on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited right now. My story in there, “Tuesday Afternoon Mayhem,” is the actually first few chapters of Deus Ex Machina.

Enjoy!

Kickstarter: Hugo Award Nominated Cirsova Magazine

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Hey, everybody. If you enjoy short fiction of the sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure variety, you might want to stop by Kickstarter right now and throw in a little support. Cirsova Magazine has been churning out fantastic fiction for years now, and will continue to do so with issues 9 & 10, due to come out this fall.

But as an indie publication trying to make it in the big bad world of giant publishers and Youtube millionaires, they can only keep pumping if they have the support of us, the little guys!

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If you’re feeling generous and/or just want to support the underdog and give us indie writers and editors a little push, they visit Kickstarter by clicking here.

THANK YOU!

Hey, Pulp Rev, Check This Out

 

LOBSTER

Just giving a shout out to some great pulp fiction. Apparently Lobster Johnson has been on the scene for a while, I just never noticed much. But I picked these up from the local library and read them over the weekend.

VERY pulpy.

And great pulp at that. As in, of the pulp fiction style of the 1930s.

If you like that sort of thing–robots, ghosts, revenge stories, mobsters, voodoo, zombies, disguises, the Great Depression, Batman-like heroes (Where do you think Batman came from? He bears a striking resemblance to the Shadow!), exotic places, exotic bad guys, ghost pirates, mummies, and justice meted out at the business end of a .45 caliber pistol–you should check out Lobster Johnson.

Created by Mike Mignola, by the way, creator of Hellboy.

July: All Books for a Buck

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It’s that familiar time again. Not only is it the birthday of our country, but it’s also time for the annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. The ebook pioneer is now 10 years old (!) and celebrating as they do every year: by discounting a whole bunch of ebooks!

Right now, you’ll find all my books on Smashwords for right around one dollar. The automatic coupon mechanic cuts everything by quarters, so not everything broke evenly. Therefore, some books are a nice, neat $0.99 or $1.00 even, others are $1.25 or $1.50. But everything is right around that $1 mark.

If you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about and maybe even admiring a cover and thinking you’d like to give one of my stories or novels a try, now’s a darn good time! Just go to my Smashwords page (by clicking here, for example) and scroll down to see all the books on their site. (Some of the newest stories aren’t up over there yet, but those are all a buck too, somewhere.) The coupons reducing them are automatic, so there’s no extra work for you.

Thank you for your support and I hope you take the chance to enjoy them for less!

Snake Eyes: Science Fiction Noir

Python snakeskin leather background, snake skin, texture, animal

Here’s my latest offering, up for pre-order right now. It’s a short story, about 4200 words (thus the minimal price tag) and will eventually appear in the collection Green-Eyed Monster. I don’t yet know when that is coming out. Probably December of January, maybe not till spring of next year. If you don’t care to wait (or just want to flip a silver dollar into the coffer–of which, I’ll actually only get 33 to 60 cents of…), please feel free.

How do you kill a man who has Lady Luck wrapped around his finger?

The man known as The Gambler went from loser to ruler almost overnight. Now he sits at the head of all tables. And those he toppled, the mobsters getting his scraps, they want him dead.  

But rumor has it that The Gambler has a cosmic cheat. A piece of science fiction come to life that twists all probability in his favor.  

If you believe in that sort of thing. The hitman they call Snake Eyes, he doesn’t. His dice are loaded. So is his gun.

Let the final game begin.

A tale of death, noir, and impossible odds from the author of One-Eyed Jacks, Unfeeling, and Moondance.

Now, I don’t expect to make a killing off one short story. But it’s part of what I call, “Fishing with a wide net.” It creates yet another place that a reader might discover me, whether they buy this particular story or not.

Actually, it creates a few places. Right now, you can find Snake Eyes for pre-order on AmazonBarnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.