Kickstarter Broke My Heart

I have hit a snag.  Multiple snags, actually.

HGsad

After putting quite a lot of effort into crafting a Kickstarter project for Deus Ex Machina (that’s the sequel to Hungry Gods) over the last several weeks, sweating about making a damn dumb video and then up till 4am two nights in a row making and editing one, I have now confirmed with more than one email Q&A that I cannot launch my project.  Like many businesses, Kickstarter for some reason does not recognize my American Forces address (meaning, a U.S. base overseas), despite the fact that we have legit U.S. postal addresses here.  Their system simply will not accept my zip code as valid.

I would also have to verify my bank account with said system, which is also tied to this address.  And I can’t just use some other address or put it in someone else’s name.  It has to be mine.  (Otherwise, I’m sure, there’d be some potential fraud thing with doing online business and money transactions using some else’s info.)

Long story short, I’m screwed.  Lots of work, big dependence on this (for exposure more so than even the assist with funding) and…  Ka-Boom, blowing up in my face.  Or more accurately, falling flat onto my face.

Huge disappointment.  Sucks.

I will, of course, continue to write the book.  And still hope to have it done before the end of the year.  But I’ll publish it at relatively higher cost than most of my books.  (And the writer’s coffers are already empty, as I’m spending more than I’m taking in—and I ain’t spent that much.)  And when I do publish it, no one will even know it’s come out.  It’ll be one of a thousand indie books that same month, a drop in the vast sea with no more audience or recognition than any other.

So yeah…  Disappointing.

There is a silver lining though.

The breakdown.

No, not a nervous breakdown.  What I mean is, streamlining.

This has kind of convinced me to cut back.  To (temporarily, at least) give up on the business venture, the marketing, the hopes of making any solid income from writing in the near future.  (Like 95% of writers out there, I won’t be waving bye-bye to a day job anytime soon.)

I know that doesn’t sound like a silver lining, but it’s actually kind of liberating.  If I cut all the extra bullshit, then I stop stressing myself out over these things.  I stop expecting a 12-man work load out of a one-man show (i.e., me).  Cut the extraneous obligations I keep adding to my own plate.  And I heap that shit on pretty heavily.  And then hate myself for not accomplishing it all.

I’m really a slave driver—to myself.  Maybe it’s time to give the lash a rest and relax a bit.  Take a more realistic stance on all this.  Accept that it may be 20 years before anyone notices the stuff I write.  (Maybe 30, or 50.)

Really.  That’s a much more realistic view.  Sucks, but it’s actually a less stressful way to look at things.

To that end, I will also suspend my Patreon page that I started a few months back.  I see folks on there with a hell of a lot more following than I have, and they aren’t exactly rolling in support over there either.  (Unless you’re making videos about video games.  The video game and mind-numbing app industry is knee-capping the literate world, if you ask me.  Apparently I need to start spending more time playing other people’s games and just talking about that shit, rather than trying to make anything original myself.)

Maybe some years from now I can reboot the Patreon endeavor and it’ll work out.  Right now, that’s just one more iron in fire that I feel obligated to keep up with, to force a time slot for, when it’s doing absolutely nothing for me.

You might have noticed that I don’t respond much to Facebook stuff, or Tweets, or any of the social media stuff.  That would require time, and if I spend time on that, I’m not doing more productive things.  And with a 50-hour a week job, a family, and trying to write multiple series of novels, when the hell am I going to find time to “like” a comment on Facebook?  That shit falls way down on my list of priorities.  (Actually, it’s not even on the list…)

This whole post is really more of a venting for myself.  The kind of passive-aggressive pity party that folks have by the millions on Facebook everyday.  Also helps make it real when I “say it out loud,” so to speak.  But no one reads this shit anyway, right?  I’m safely talking to myself here.

This letting go of extraneous tasking doesn’t change my ultimate goal, though.  I will keep writing.  I have more ideas every single day, be they new adventures or just further developments for ones I already have in mind.  (In fact, I developed a new story while swimming with my son at the pool today, just based on observing the people around me.)  So the dream goes on.  I’m just going to pull back on the reigns a bit and forgive myself a bit more.  It’s a good thing.  Honest.

(And the graphic above…  didn’t turn out quite how I envisioned it.  It’s based on the one from the other day.  You know, the one that would have been the banner for my Kickstarter project.)

Speaking of images, I am going to roll now from here to the next ebook cover, coming out  as soon as we nail down a nice cover…

See, I’m not giving up the ship.  😉

Superhero Sequel, Kickstarter, & Visual Aids

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00017]

A quick buffet of flying updates.

Tonight I (finally!) completed the first 12 chapters of the sequel to Hungry Gods, which will be entitled Deus Ex Machina.  HG was my 2015 “rookie superhero infiltrates zombieville” novel.  It was also a successful Kickstarter project.  DXM is returning hero Spitball on a new James Bond-style mission with lots of spandex-inspired fun.

After 2.5 years, I’m finally almost ready to launch book 2.  I actually started writing it at least a year ago, more like 1.5-2 years ago.  But I lost interest and wanted to work on a bunch of shorter stuff, so that’s what I did.  Now I’ve found renewed fun in it and am pushing forward.  (And fighting the urge to set it aside once again to write far-flung space pirate adventures.  Those might come after this, then…)

So now that I’ve hit this milestone (section one—first 12 chapters—completed, which is probably about 40% of the book), I’ll soon be launching another Kickstarter to help fund the editing and cover art.  (Meanwhile, I’ll be floating the above to represent this book.)

I’ve also been working on my visual aids/organizations for my existing books/series/universes.  Below is the Identity Crisis superhero universe thus far.  (I actually have several more books for the IDCU in mind—as well as a zillion not in this vein—but I’m an active duty military member with a family so…  it’ll take me a while to get them all written up.  But hopefully not another 2-3 years between books!)

So this is meant to show the books in series, as well as show standalone stories that are also inside other books.  For example, Medicine Man and Puppet Theatre exist as standalone stories, but you can get them inside Masks too.  Is that obvious?

Also, Silk Spider is a standalone story and not part of the 2029 series (of which Invasion is currently the only book).  Is that clear or do they seem to be lumped together?

Maybe if I get rid of the series headers (in red/pink) and just let the cover design and title description bit show they are in series?  What do you think?

Feedback is appreciated!

Okay, it’s after 4am here right now so I need to get to bed!  (On night shifts now, so my internal clock is all messed up.  And if the language here sounds goofy, that’s why!)  Good night!

IDCU-grid

Inspiration Everywhere & Visual Library

Kind of a chaotic garble of quick ideas today, plus a visual aid.

One being the idea that inspiration is everywhere.  I have found myself lately trying to take seemingly random words or phrases and turning them into stories, or at least story titles.  I was cooking the other day and thought “Garlic Press” would be suitably challenging, and then came up with an idea to fit my space pirate and his wild tales.  I’ve written two stories for him so far and have found that while writing them, I grab the strangest stuff I can and force it to fit into the story somehow.  It’s fun as hell and makes for very interesting and unpredictable stuff.  Today I also thought “Flying the Chicken Coop” and “Gladiators of Python” would get worked into his next adventures.  (That second one about Python is kind of cheating because that’s already the name of the place they’ll be.)

Reading The Gunslinger also reminded me of a couple of steampunk western/weird western stories I’ve had in mind for a long time.  Would really like to write those up to.

I just wish I had more time to make use of all these flashes of brain lightning!  If only I were a full time writer.  I could churn out all kinds of cool and crazy stuff!  Supposedly some people actually create for a living–like, that’s their only job!  Can you imagine??!!  How do you get into such a position?  Who pays the bills?  Who feeds the family?

I honestly can’t imagine such a faerie dream land.

I’ve also been inspired to create visual outlines for all my books, universes, and series.  I’m a very visual person and want my blog and covers to embrace that.  (You may have noticed the format of the blog changed again.  What do you think?)  I’ve got the first outline here; a work in progress.  The outline framework–the white lines–are imperfect here because i had to use a sub-par program to add them after being unable to figure out a line drawing function on Photoshop.  (I’ll get the wife to help me later.)

The plan is to do this will all my universes/series.  So potential readers can see at a glance what is going on, see which books and stories might be included in bigger books, and get a feel of the story through the cover art.  And hopefully get excited to dig in!

Comments, criticism, and concerns welcome!  (Thanks!)

TSS-grid2

Help Me, Cyber Dudes!

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Anyone with some website advice out there?  My analog brain is about to explode!

A year ago I created this new website and…  I’m still not satisfied.  For one thing, wordpress is a huge pain in the butt!  I kept reading that it was the optimum way to go for making your very own websites, but DAMN is it complicated! You have to be a bloody programmer to figure out how to set it all up!

Today I realized, though, that the site I use as the Fugitive Fiction “publishers” site is costing way more than it should.  Paying Weebly for the virtual lot and easy to use building tools costs about $60 a year, plus paying $40 a year for the domain name.  It sure as hell ain’t worth $100 a year!  But I do like how user-friendly it is.

How did I get into that awkward situation, you might ask?  Domain name here, website there, costing so much…?  Cuz I’m an analog dinosaur who muddled his way through without knowing jack shit, that’s how.

Several years back I started a blogspot site, which was easy and simple but too simple.  Now I’m kind of thinking of going back that direction, just because it’s easy.

I “need” to have two sites.  One is my blog, one is my publisher.  At least one of those needs to have a nice setup for displaying and hocking my goods (i.e. books), but I don’t have the time or knowhow for a lot of upkeep or duplication of work.  Two relatively simple but effective websites that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Anyone have any wisdom for a stubborn luddite bastard who hates cybershit but needs it to advance his dreams?

(Happy Independence Day, by the way!  Maybe that’s what brought this up for me today? Trying to reach my own independence from cyber-stress and the shackles of the working world?)

 

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.