Discoverability & a Sci-Fi Book Bundle

Reposted from Blaze Ward’s own blog.  He speaks briefly of the task of indie authors and does so better than I could:

Discoverability

(or: how you can help)

You’re consuming this right now on one of my social media outlets (website, Amazon, FB, Goodreads, etc.), so I’ll generally be safe assuming you know me, or got here through a connection who does.

Discoverability is the problem for the modern indie writer. In the old days, you submitted your story to a publisher, eventually finding one who said yes. After that, they took care of everything: editing, printing, marketing, etc. Your book ended up in book stores, or at the pharmacy, or the grocery, or on the rack at the airport. People walking by looking for something would pick it up, toss a coin in their head, and buy it.

Bang, they have discovered you as an author. If they like you, they look for more of your books. They tell their family and bridge club about you. Others find you. They buy your books.

Career.

Doesn’t happen like that any more. At least not for indies like me.

I own it all (well, Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) does, and pats me on the head encouragingly on occasion when I say or do something really stupid, but you get the point).

No advertising budget to pay for space on the shelf at B&N. (What? You thought the book store chain selected what to prominently display? No, they rent that space. End caps, islands, etc. $)

Where does that leave us today? This is where you come in.

I’m in a bundle.

Story Bundle wraps up a set of books and makes them available for one low price for a very limited period. (3 weeks, buy it or regret forever.)

To bundle is an exercise in collective advertising. I put a novel into the Moonscapes Bundle along with a group of other folks. I tell all my friends, fans, and followers. They buy it.

In the process of reading, hopefully they find another writer or three they like (us all being on the same general topic: big science fiction in this instance).

So, our sales have been great. Not earth-shattering, but pretty damned good. Time for the next push.

What you can do for me today is send a link to this article to all your reader friends who might be into getting a bunch of SF novels for a low price. And these are some amazing people I got lucky enough to be included with.

Or you share this on your social media page so all your friends who don’t know me from Adam look at it and wonder what this is all about.

This is a Story Bundle called Moonscapes.  And the beginning of the Jessica Keller Chronicles, so they’ll need Queen of the Pirates next.

You can help all of us by doing one tiny thing to advertise. Help me get the word out to more people.

thank you

Superheroes Book Two

HungryGods-mini

Yesterday I caught back up to where I was on Deus Ex Machina a while back, which is 21,000 words, eight chapters, and about a third of the way through.  Finally nearing the sequel to 2015’s Hungry Gods.  Now I start laying down new work and moving forward!

My plan to get the completed manuscript to my copy editor by the end of August.

Stay tuned!

First 100 Days Report Card

So how’s everything thus far?  The catch phrase is 100 days, but that’s not quite accurate.  More like 120 or so.

I’m not talking about You-Know-Who.  (You don’t want me on that rant.  Let’s just say he should be flunked back to a previous grade where self-obsession, greed, and the feeding of an adolescent ego is still despicable, but at least it’s only himself that pays the price.)

I’m talking about my writing’s first 100 days of the year, or more accurately, my first 4 months and about a week.

4-block

By the first week of May, approximately one-third of the way through 2017, I have managed to have  76,000 words published already.  That’s huge!  For one lone schmuck who doesn’t own the rights to his own life?  (Military + family = very little time of my own.)

So I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, only about 4 months into the year.  And aside from just published words, I’ve also finally launched a Patreon page, where friends, family, and fans can set up tiny monthly contributions to keep their favorite artists in the creation business.

You can learn more about Patreon here and here.  And you can check out my site and reward options here.  Keep in mind that when/if you sign up, you can limit the number of monthly contributions you make.  So even if you pledge to offer up a buck every time I send out a story or serialized chapter over the wavelengths, you can decide to cap your payments at only one or two or three a month, no mater how much work I push out.

As for the 76,000 words worth of fiction  out fresh this year?  You can find them at these locations (and others –just look around a bit via your favorite book stores and sites).

Silk Spider can be found at these links: Amazon , B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, & more.

The Scythe of Kronos is on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, & more.

Masks is at Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, & more.

Hiding Behind the Cowl is on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, & more.

Down and Out… and slightly bitter, I guess…

I’ve been sick the past week, spending much more time in the bathroom than I would like. More, in fact, than working on any of the multiple writing-related projects I have going.

I’ve also had at least half a dozen things I’d like to have blogged about–movies, books, etc–but have just been “down and out” with being sick.

And just as I’d like to start back on writing my second Identity Crisis novel, I’m volunteering to help copy edit an anthology, which I’m greatly looking forward to and see as a great opportunity and experience.  But it’s another time slot–or two, or three–just as the weather’s getting nice, and I’m starting to feel better, and important stuff at work is coming up, and…  I think part of the reason I got sick was I stress myself out too much, spread myself too thin.  I need to start scaling back and prioritizing again.

And one of the first things to get cut on the list of priorities is blogging.

Some people–damned if I’ll ever understand how–actually make a living blogging.  What a world we live in, eh?  If I could get paid to sit here and shoot out my opinions into the Ether everyday…  Just can’t imagine that as possible.

And even though in this new cyber-centered world we live in, they say “building a platform” is so darned important to having a writing career.  That means being online, having a presence, cyber-socializing, blogging about whatever, etc.

But I say, if I am doing that, then I’m not writing anything.  And I don’t want to be a virtual social butterfly, I want to be a writer.  Novels, novellas, shorties, etc.  You ask me, you don’t get to be a writer by talking about the one book you’ve written.  You get there by writing more books.

Anyway, maybe someday I’ll get around to talking about that movie I saw or that book I read, but for now, that’s just noise.  I have so much more important stuff to do.  And the internet is jam-packed other people that can do that all day long.  But not all of them can write books or stories.  And only I can write my books and stories.  And only I can take care of my family, and take care of my specific responsibilities at home and at work.  So that’s my priority.

And now I have to go meet my son at school for an after-school club.  Only I can do that for him, and it sure as hell is more important than blogging about some movie so I can “build a platform.”

 

 

Patreon is Live: “Join Us”

P-my

It took me a while to convince myself of this.  But here it is, at 4:30am my time.  (Because I’m transitioning from night shifts to day shifts, and it’s not an easy task to manage with only 48 hours between work days!)

Are you familiar with Patreon?  I

t’s genius, really.  The old-world concept that artists were supported by patrons who pitched in to keep them producing paintings of plays instead of being stuck day-in and day-out working in the mill.  Hard to produce art when you have to work 50+ hours a week just to pay the bills.

It’s not for everybody and I feel shy and ashamed about asking for such a thing.  But if you’re willing, I won’t stop you…

Click here to check out my Patreon page and see what I have to offer, for as little as a dollar a month.

Also click there if you want to watch the ridiculous video of me babbling while sleep deprived…  it ain’t pretty.

Now, to bed!

Still Chasing My Tail

It’s nearly 4am.  I’ve been working on writing stuff for about 4 hours and I still feel like I haven’t accomplished anything!

I keep reworking or correcting crap that should have been put to sleep long ago.  Even when I have an increasing amount of new, better projects I could be working on.

I make these lists.  And I even remake my lists over and over again!  ‘Cuz every day, there’s a new idea, a new take on priorities, new (and old) projects that have to be reshuffled through.

It never ends.  

When you have to do it all yourself, and only in your spare time–like at 4am on your night off–it just never ends.  New things crop up before you can get the last 20 finished.

Right now, as I write this, I am killing time waiting for Create Space to upload the paperback version of a story years old.  And not because I expect anyone to buy a short story in paperback, but because this is like version 3.67 or something and I have to correct the previous paperback version so it’s consistent…  Okay, it’s a long terrible excuse, but let’s just say that I can never seem to escape from past tangles to get a good forward momentum.

To give you further idea of how backward I am, I am currently listening to a Don Henley *CD* that I bought in 1999.   Yeah!

So my list…  I actually did kind of mark a couple things off of it, at least partially.  I started a few things that I now have to revisit to be sure they take and get done by other (generally cybernetic) parties.

Two major things I wanted to work on:

  1. Revising Masks so I can get the final draft uploaded in time for the release date.
  2. Working on a Patreon account in the vain hope that some folks out there will feel artsy-generous enough to flip some coin to fund these projects.  I’ve actually been thinking of this since before the New Year!  That tells you about my tail-chasing, own-butt-sniffing circular motion that gains little ground.  (And about how I’m not making that a priority because I just can’t believe people do that kind of thing.  But apparently they do.)

But I didn’t do either of those things tonight.

Also need to fix this website.  The new theme isn’t compatible with my portfolios that feature my fictional universes.  (You may have noticed…)  The text and images are askew.  Oh well, not tonight.

Also should have gone to the gym at like midnight.  But who has the motivation to do that at midnight??!!

I did write the beginnings (about 600 words) of  a new space pirate story, which is now a NEW item on my long list.  And my damn list ain’t getting any shorter as it is.  Just what I need…

Okay, got that paperback sent in for processing.  Time for bed!

G’night!

(Sorry, no picture to go on this post.  Couldn’t find a good shot of a dog sniffing its own butt…)

World Science Fiction Convention Membership

worldcon75_logo

Just wanted to make this available.  The price is kind of steep (in my budget-necessary opinion) but if you’re interested and you don’t mind the bill, go for it!

http://www.worldcon.fi/memberships/

According to Mr. Alexander, you just have to be a supporting member to vote.  (Cheapest tier.)

And if you happen to find yourself in Helsinki in August, you’re all set!

I happen to have been stationed in San Antonio a few years back when the convention was held there, which was very nice for me!  I didn’t get a lot of time there, nor did I go downtown on the Riverwalk to party with all the uber-geeks in town looking to let loose (which I’m sure would have been a good time), but I did get to meet Hugh Howey, who’s the poster child of the indie publishing revolution.  So that was nice. He was one panelist on an indie pub forum, which was interesting to listen to.

And the experience got me into the convention center, which allowed me the personal experience necessary to write a certain scene in Twilight of the Gods, which will (I hope) be coming out in 2018.  I have a lot more to write on those books, but I do have a nice chunk already done.  (And once I write the whole thing, beginning to end, I’ll know if it’s going to be two books or three.)

 

Writing Some Pulp Fiction

mummyInspired by the thoughts of the pulp revolution, I woke from bed that same day I blogged about it with a story idea unraveling in my dreams.  As I became more conscious, the idea emerged from the fog with me, and I fit missing pieces together.

Later that night, in a fit of frantic typing, I managed to bang out 1600 words—two-thirds of a first draft.  (I finished it today, totaling about 2300 words.)

That same day, also I came up with another story idea, or rather, resurrected one I’d had a year or two earlier.  Both, I decided, would be best served as flash fiction or very short stories.  Nice, fun pieces I could produce in a burst of creative energy and then send off to market, while preparing myself for the commitment necessary to finish a novel I started over a year earlier.

My goal for the summer, then, is to finish Deus Ex Machina, the sequel to Hungry Gods. But before I get back to that somewhat daunting task, I have a few quick, fun short stories to blow out, as I might blow the tiny parachutes from a dry dandelion to float about on the breeze.

(Not sure how that image came to my brain, but there it is.)

And the truth is, I was afraid to write this story.  It was a task to sit down and convince myself that I could start a new story, especially in the middle of the night while at work with sleeping patients; not the ideal environment for storytelling.

Starting is always the hardest part.  But once I got going…  it all came along as it should.  Turned out a little more longwinded than expected (much like this rambling blog post), but it’s a fun story.  It is intentionally set in the 30s or 40s (as you can hopefully tell by the language and scenery) and involves a young Egyptologist in love.  But, of course, things don’t go exactly as the love-struck research assistant hopes it will.

Alas, I cannot share the story on here with you now.  That would be considered “publishing it” and then no magazine or online zine would have it.  So let me send it around, see if anyone bites, and I’ll let you know where to find it if they do…

The Pulp Revolution

conanSounds cool, doesn’t it?

I am still a novice and outsider to the greater “neo pulp movement,” and likely will remain that way, but I like the idea of it.  Bringing back the ideals of storytelling embodied in the adventure stories of the ’30s and ’40s and beyond.  (That’s where superhero roots started, too, ya know—in the pulps!)

I managed to accidentally trip over some of the modern pulp revolutionists recently, and wish I had more time to explore and advocate for this revival.

But I don’t, really.

I wish I had more writing and reading time to contribute to the conversations and submit stories to some of the new magazines that have grown up to emulate those of the past.

But, unfortunately, I just don’t.  My dance card is pretty full just fulfilling all my own current publishing dreams.  I’ve started quite a few series and have plenty more to start, after I make some progress on the ones I’ve already initiated.

But I think my stuff is pretty “pulpy.”  I’ve actually had a couple of stories published by some of these new young revolutionaries already.  And I’ve found a few more opportunities.  (I just don’t think I can fit it into my writing schedule to try and contribute.)

On kind of a down side, there’s also the faint air of politics to some of talk. I guess that goes with the term “revolution,” right?  And I’m not quite ready to throw my hat into any political rings when it comes to literature and writing/reading tastes.  I figure there’s a flavor out there for everybody, and it’s no ones business what you like.  I’m not here to say one style is better than another.  I know my tastes, and that they often differ from what the mainstream spec fic giants are pushing.  So I certainly sympathize with the underground.  (And hell, it’s always more fun to be part of the underground than the establishment regime anyway, right?)  But I’m not sure I’m ready to burn any citadels to the ground.

I think I’d be more likely to advocate for building your own fortresses, flying your own colors, and allowing the masses (readers) to make up their own minds.  Filter over (or flock to) your banners and leave the regime to figure out for themselves that maybe the aristocracy has been too exclusive all this time.

Anyone confused so far by what I’m talking about?  Not sure you follow?

I am being pretty vague.  Rather noncommittal.  And I’m doing so on purpose.

To be a bit more clear, some of the topics of discussion might be about the major SF/F magazines’ trend for decades toward publishing fluffy literary stories rather than the exciting sci-fi stuff we go to the movies for.  And for bending so far toward, shall we say, “political correctness” as to completely alienate the “evil majority.”  (Very much like everything else in America these days.)  This has also been a hot topic during science fiction award season, and continues to be.  I don’t know all the politics—nor do I want to—but I remember reading some articles last year about how nasty some of it’s been getting when it comes to the Hugo and Nebula awards.

And again, that’s one reason I’m not getting too specific or taking up a pitchfork myself right now.  Because I’d rather advocate for a pulp revival, versus a revolution, and let readers make their own choices.  And hell, you don’t even have to pick one side or the other!  You can read both, appreciate both, depending on your mood.  Personally, I do like some of the literary stuff, but I certainly don’t think it should be the dominant art form that excludes more exciting fiction.  Or that there should even be a dominant art form.  And I don’t think most sci-fi/fantasy fans do either.

So if I’m not jumping on board one way or the other, what’s the point of me typing all this out?  Why should you, the reader of this post, give a shit about this noncommittal rambling?

Well, I just wanted to say something about it, that’s all.  ‘Cuz it’s there.  And I like it, mostly.  And because I wanted to raise awareness and let you, the reader, decide what you like.  Who you want to support.  What books, magazines, blogs, and podcasts you want to frequent and even chip your hard-earned dollars toward supporting (simply by purchasing and reading—and enjoying!—their stuff).

So, if you’re interested, here’s a few places you might go.  Some are forums and blogs, some are sources of reading material, and I see a few neo pulp mags open for submissions.  (If I get the time, maybe I can even submit something.  In some of these cases, I already have!)  This is by no means a long list, it’s just a few leads I have found very recently.  Heck, if you have more, feel free to post them in a comment!

So there you go, a small sample for your perusal.

Now it’s 9am, I’ve been up since 4pm yesterday, and I need to get my ass to bed so I can go back to work again tonight! (And I’ll blame that, too, for why this post is vague and unreadable.)

Good night!

 

Changes of Plan and Playing Catch-Up in the New Year

Is it APRIL already???!

It’s about to be.  So does anyone else feel behind?!

I haven’t even done my taxes yet!  Was going to do them here tonight but…  All the paperwork is in the closet, and my wife’s in there sleeping, so…  Good excuse to wait another day.

I haven’t been at the blog much lately, as you might have noticed.  Don’t feel like I’m getting much of anything done lately.  But I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

Part of it is the merciless work schedule.  I’m on nights now, which means my sleep schedule is all messed up and, therefore, so is everything else in life.  I did just take leave, but that ended up being an international trip to say goodbye to my grandmother (RIP, Granny Goodwitch), so not a vacation in the least.  And I thought I’d have my next book published by now, but I still have to revise the last story in it, get it to Jennifer (my copy editor), and then get the whole thing published.  So that’s taking longer than I expected.

Naturally, I always feel behind on my writing schedule.  I always set ambitious goals at the start of the new year, break into a sprint, and quickly find myself running in mud.  But I’m still on course for publishing over 100,000 words this year, which is pretty darn good considering all the stuff in my life.

triple play tile

So far I’ve gotten my superheroic Silk Spider story and my sci-fi triple play The Scythe of Kronos out.  Both in January, I think.  I just finished writing Masks a week or so ago, which will be the title story, along with two more, to become the first book of the Secret Origins Trilogy, all of which are stories related to my Identity Crisis Universe.

After that the plan is to (finally!) finish writing the sequel to Hungry Gods, which will be called Deus Ex Machina.  (Might even run a Kickstarter campaign to help cover the costs and get the word out.  If you’re a Kickstarter regular, I’d love to hear from you.)

Sometime soon (May, I think?), Knotted Road Press will release Hiding Behind the Cowl, which is a superhero anthology that will include my novella Secret Identities.  (Think The Departed in a superhero/supervillain world.)  It’s a story that’s been coming for a long time.

Then, a couple months later, the rights will come back to me and SIDs will become book two in the Secret Origins series.

After that, I have a few options on the table.  Ultimately, I still have 30+ options already in mind, but as time-and-half military and family man, I don’t get much time in the chair for writing.  But things I’m considering: Green-Eyed Monster, a collection of odds and ends that are pretty much ready and waiting for a quick revision; Black-Out (working title), which would likely be full novel length and complete the Secret Origins Trilogy; and Twilight of the Gods, a big project I started last year, which will be either two or three books long and basically be a prequel storyline to Hungry Gods.  It’ll be more serious a superhero story (partially due to the fact that Spitball isn’t in it…).

And, of course, I have a crap ton of other things I’d like to be working on, but…  one thing at a time.

Well, I’m not getting any of them done while blogging, so…!

(And that’s why you don’t see me blogging or on social media much.  ‘Cuz if I’m goofing around with that, I’m not getting my 30+ books written!)