Tag Archives: Amazon publishing

Day #2 of my working vacation

Let's Play!

Guess who decided to wake up at 3:15 this morning. My wife heads for the hospital every day at that time, and he must have heard her leaving.

Otto needs to go outside when he wakes up, no matter what time that is. He's being very good about my carpets, but this involves me doing my part too. Potty time was followed by meal time, a big drink, and round of bite Dad's feet. Eventually he went back to bed.

My daughter is home from Sun Valley, and she likes to talk when she wakes up. I knew that would be many hours yet. What to do, what to do. The house is quiet, Otto doesn't need attention…

I whipped out another chapter of The Yak Guy Project. I set some wheels in motion for a larger event, and need to decide how much transition I need. It's important to get to the good part, but I don't want readers to get whiplash either. I didn't do word count again, but it's about ten pages of new material.

Otto stirred a few times, and I decided that short stories might be a better idea. I wrote one from start to finish. Hang on… Checking… 2204 words. This falls in a void for my personal descriptions. It's longer than a micro, but doesn't hit 5000 words to be a short story. It's kind of an ultra-micro-mini-short story.

Truth is, I'm very happy with it. With this story, I have enough material to put out another Experimental Notebook. I don't know about the total word count, and won't until I assemble it. I could have too many micros and not enough short stories.

Assembly is kind of a cool topic. I like to open with what I consider a good one. I like to end on a great story too. I'm of the mindset that if you write two stories, one will naturally be better than the other – even if they're both great.

The first story is important. It will likely be available for free in its entirety to anyone who reads the free sample. It needs to be good enough to make people risk 99¢ on the rest of the stories.

The last story is important too. It's the one they remember and could entice them to check out the novels.

Then there is the ending material, and maybe some of you have some input. In the first book, I included a section from Will O' the Wisp. This led to sales of that book, because I got comments that verified people bought it on that basis. All good stuff.

I am considering including a section from a yet-to-be-written book. The idea will be to whet someone's appetite for the next big thing. This could be a section from The Yak Guy Project, or it could be one more micro-ultra-whatever-story.

I'm thinking of including the short story called The Enhanced League as teaser material. I wrote this story for this book, and decided there were many stories in this environment. I pulled it and put it in a different file.

I don't have a mailing list, so this kind of enticement might not be that great. (I find mailing lists kind of spammy, and only sign up for close friends.) If someone can convince me otherwise, I might change my mind.

Would Amazon have a fit because this story is already published? I'm calling it a preview, but still???

Could I use one of the new stories for Macabre Macaroni in October on my blog? Amazon allows us to share excerpts. It would be an excerpt, but also an entire story. Thoughts? It would fit the Macabre Macaroni theme well, but also be a great enticement to check out the second Notebook.

To recap, I'm concerned about including one entire story as a teaser in the coming Notebook. I'm concerned about publishing a different one as an excerpt on my blog in October. Will Amazon have a cow when it's time to publish a whole book called The Enhanced League? Will they get torqued if I share one on my blog as an excerpt?

I could include a section from The Playground, but the first chapter is kind of dark. It doesn't reflect the entire book, it just spells out the stakes. (In a dark fashion, in case you missed that part.)

Alternately, I could include The Enhanced League, plus a section of the Yak Guy Project. I don't exactly know what Yak Guy is yet, but it's kind of got an alternate reality or alternate world going for it. What genre is that?

The day was broken up with bouts of Otto. Otto wound up on his back like a turtle. Otto found some socks to run around with. Otto pawed his outside water dish empty three times. I'm fine with that. I hit the novel while he was asleep and the short fiction while paying attention to the puppy.

Today was a good day. Ten pages of novel, a complete short story, and this blog update.

My poor wife has to work all weekend, so I'm going to try getting more done tomorrow. I have a Lisa Burton Radio post to assemble and schedule. I should start assembling Notebook #2 to get an idea of word count. I can write my intermission, which was well received in the last Notebook.

So what do you think about first stories, last stories, end material, Amazon policies, etc.?


Filed under Writing

Easter Eggs and the saga of Wednesday

I really wanted to do a facelift on my blog. My regulars will remember me asking if I should go even deeper down the wormhole I've created using Lisa Burton as my spokesmodel. Popular consensus was not to do that, and keep a piece of it for myself.

One of the things I really wanted to do from my very first blog post was to include Easter eggs here somewhere. Not the kind you get at Easter, but the kind that show up in video games and such. Fun little things that will change from time to time.

My thought process went like this. Easter eggs, Easter, Easter Island… How do I keep a bit of myself in this and make it about me?

Dear Sean Harrington, I need a new banner. Here's what I have in mind… It involves leaving an open area where I can place whatever I like.

I got my new banner yesterday and assumed I'd be working on it today. That was before the disaster of italicized words showed up.

I woke up at 7:00 this morning. That's sleeping in for three hours by my work schedule. I ran out and checked my email first thing. Nothing from Amazon, lots of blog comments. Then I heated up some coffee and got some breakfast. This should give you an idea of my mindset over the italics fiasco.

Sat down with my coffee, and responded to blog comments. All combined, an idea was starting to form in my brain. Mae Clair was the one who pushed it over the top. Something had to be wrong with the way my word processor was closing the HTML command to close the italics out.

Apple Pages won't let me look at the HTML code. If it does, I haven't been able to figure it out.

Checked email. Nothing from Amazon.

Decided to get all artsy while waiting for Amazon. (Patiently, because that's how I am.) Used my Apple Pencil to modify my groovy new banner and include the Easter Egg. Right now it's Clovis' car and the dog from The Playground. This also comes with a bit of a learning curve, and some trial and error. It involves using something called masques, then layers, then making the background of the Easter Egg opaque. Turns out there is a vocabulary to this stuff too.

I'm 55 years old, I shouldn't have to learn new things. Why do I have to learn new things?

Check email. Nothing from Amazon. Look at that, Apple released a standard sized iPad Pro, and it has its own keyboard available and supports the Apple Pencil. Should I be mad? Am I mad? No, I like the larger amount of real estate, and the larger keyboard.

Delve deep into the inner workings of WordPress to change my banner. Stop, check email, nothing from Amazon.

Load my groovy new banner. Admire my handiwork.

Check email, nothing from Amazon. (I am so proud of how patient I'm being.)

Decide to change my Gravitar. Delve back into the inner workings of WordPress. Make appropriate changes. Like one of my own posts. It didn't work. Unlike that post.

Check email, nothing from Amazon.

Click on unchanged Gravitar, and attempt modifications through that system. Test by liking one of my own posts. It works.

Check email, nothing from Amazon.

We're burning daylight here people. I have Wednesday off, but I don't have Thursday off. I have to get up at 4:00 tomorrow.

Decided that it had to be something with the HTML code. Maybe if I typed and changed the font to italics when I typed, then changed back, the coding would be correct. The important part is manually changing it back.

Checked email, nothing from Amazon.

Made changes to a future Lisa Burton Radio episode. Emailed the author back. Check email… You know the drill by now.

Worked up the initial shtick for an even more future episode of Lisa Burton Radio, forwarded it to the author. Check email etc.

Open up The Playground in Apple Pages. Modify the italics sections line by line. As an example, if I write, “But you are stupid,” I deleted 'you' 'are' and 'stupid.' Then I retyped those words using “Courier – Courier italics – Courier.”

Checked email, etc. Fill in the blank.

Checked Facebook, accepted a friend request.

Checked email, (all together now) still nothing from Amazon.

Created an ePub version of The Playground.

Maybe I should check email one more time. Nothing.

Upload the new and improved version of The Playground to Amazon and wait for the document to process.

While I'm waiting, I can check email using my phone. Nothing.

Check The Playground using Amazon's previewer Kindle thingie. Everything looks great now. Am I good at this? I could be good at this.

Tap fingers, tug at beard.

Upload a new version of The Playground. Begin waiting 24 hours to see it go live. Then I can grab a review copy and check it line by line. (Looks like someone is going to be up past bedtime tomorrow.)

What the heck, check email. Amazon has answered. The guy was a total professional, and asked for more information including screen captures. I thanked him for his efforts, told him what I'm trying, and promised to get back with him either way.

Checked other forms of social media. John Howell left me an awesome 5 star review on Goodreads. I liked that puppy to get it into my timeline for my friends to see. Ran to Amazon and saw it was there too. Feel like a million bucks now. Probably ought to figure out how to share that on Facebook. New things, I swear I shouldn't have to learn new things.

I'm still uptight about things not working like they should, but I feel much better about it now.

If this all works, I have a dozen short stories to go through using the same process, and then there's the 35000 or so words in The Yak Guy Project. My attempt at an epistolary style short story is going to be a mother with the italics issue. Will that stop me? Noooo, but it may require some complaining.

Here are the takeaways. I have a cool new banner, and the ability to include Easter eggs. I have a new Gravitar image coming soon to a blog near you.

If you already bought The Playground, there may be a decent repair job available tomorrow for you to get. If you haven't, what are you waiting for. Read John's review and let him convince you.

I confess that I didn't get to read all the blogs today. I usually browse the 1000 or so that I follow and read the ones when something catches my eye. I finally made a list of must read blogs and put everyone who interacts with me in there. Today, I managed my list but that's about all. (Bonus takeaway: Those who interact are more likely to get read.)

I have a full growler of Old Chub Scotch Ale by Oskar Brewing, in Colorado. This is one of my favorite beers. I may start early today. I missed my nap, but beer is its own reward.

I hope it all works now. I won't have another chance to pull my beard and work in panic mode until Saturday.

By the way, Lisa Burton Radio is going to be fun tomorrow.


Filed under Writing

Saturday recovery

It's been a long week. I not only put in my 40 hours, I have a book release going on. (As if you hadn't noticed.)

I've been returning to all the sites to play in the comments, but beyond that, I've been pretty slow. I got a comment today that made me think. There might be someone out there who doesn't know this stuff, so I'll address it.

Amazon comes up with things they think will benefit us. Some do, some don't. The pre-order isn't some kind of thing authors invented. Amazon came up with this, but here's how it shakes out at my level. The book sales are all tallied on the day they deliver. This is important to me as an author, and here's why. If my book registers a large enough pile of sales, I may get into some of the lists. This means more visibility, and the possibility of more sales when someone is shopping using the top 100 in that genre. Maybe they shop the top 100 new releases, that kind of thing.

The point is, if you want to add it to your reading pile, buying it during the pe-release helps me out. You don't have to read it immediately, it will be ready when you are. I'm not jacking the price later or anything. It's just that simple. Many of my followers are authors, but many of you aren't so that's why the whole pre-order thing is set up.

The email arrived at about 10:00 this morning:

I'm in New York stumping for your new book, and dropping off posters. Decided to get some retail therapy. Please look in on Bunny, I'll be home late. — L

I decided I'd better get out to the writing cabin. Lisa* works hard, and deserves a little time to herself. I flew out and went in the kitchen.

A large Baggie of rabbit pellets sat on the counter with a note. I counted out precisely 748 pellets for Bunny. Please give them to him, then put his dish in the sink. His treats are in the refrigerator. –L

The apple slices and small carrots were all lined up with small notes telling me what time to give them out. I swear, her methods are robotic sometimes. Heaven forbid she just scoop the bowl full of rabbit chow and walk away.

After I got Bunny all tended and on schedule, I decided to write. I managed a little over 600 words on a new short story. To be real honest, Doubt the raven impeded me. This is first draft material, and the idea is to get it on paper. He can start his complaining when I start editing the damned thing.

I'm kind of jazzed about this story, because it's written for a subsequent Experimental Notebook. Many of the stories are just for fun. Some of them are written to try new things out. This one is intended for publication from the beginning. I had a lot of requests for the return of Jason Fogg, and I'm trying to deliver. There is some mileage left in a guy who can turn into fog and slip under doors unseen.

Jason has some serious flaws to deal with too. He's done some shady things when nobody knows he's around, and I can't completely abandon that either. This time, I'm treating it more like a recovering addict, he wants to be a pervert, but he has been good.

Jason can have several thousand words, and that's fine. I started out in third person and wrote a couple of pages before it dawned on me that his origin story was all first person. I want that to carry through. I discarded and started over. Maybe Doubt has some value after all. At least I didn't write the whole thing.

Today isn't Jason's day though, and it might not be mine either. I need to show that life moved on for Jason and Riley, the girl he rescued. This puts the curse of backstory into play. Right now, I'm looking at this material as test material. It may take me some time to get completely back into Jason and Riley.

I'd better go. It's time to give Bunny his apple slice. I hope Lisa gets home before I have to cuddle him for exactly 32 minutes. Maybe on Easter, but today is still Saturday.

I also promised my wife we would have date night tonight. We are moving ahead after the death of our old dog, and it's time to get on with life.

Note: There are a lot of new followers lately. For your benefit, Lisa Burton is my personal assistant and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She is actually a robot, and is out stumping for my new book, The Playground. Bunny is her pet rabbit. Doubt is a huge raven. He was a gift from my Muse, and is supposed to help me with my editing.


Filed under Muse, Writing

Strange times this week

There were some fun things on the blog this week. Lisa Burton Radio is a hit, even if the rest of the blog world feels slow right now.  Has anyone else noticed things slowing down online?

John W. Howell’s character, John Cannon did a booming business. I even received several more inquiries for fictional characters to get on Lisa’s radio show. I mailed out a cluster of questionnaires last night. First come first served, so I expect to be working on one or two over the weekend.

I mailed out a plethora of covers and small blurbs. Next time I’ll organize the Book of Heroes a little better to keep track of what everyone volunteered for. I don’t think I missed anyone, but one email is undeliverable due to …magic, I don’t know. A cluster of email is not the best way to keep track of groups.

I received a 15 year placard at work this week. It’s nice, but the bubble wrap it came in is more fun. Work was a zoo. I had meetings and stresses galore, but it’s over for three days. Today started out frosty and grey. The sun came out about noon, and so did the squirrels. (I’m not referring to arboreal rodents.)

For relaxation this weekend I’m going to try getting The Playground published. (This isn’t relaxing. I’m joking.) There may be some Irish whiskey left over to help me. My goal is to pepper the internet with cover art and blurbs, then follow it up with some creative blog posts that include a purchase link. To do that, I need a purchase link.

That reminds me, I’d better make sure the Mac is all up to date before I go to bed. It seems like there is always an update for it. Amazon publishing doesn’t work on my iPad, or I’d use it. If I get the updates done tonight, tomorrow should go easier. Fingers crossed. I expect problems with the new table of contents rules. My novels all use numbered chapters, so I don’t see the appeal. I made a nice functional one for Experimental Notebook, so I have done it once. (If I could only remember how.)

If I have any kind of success, and the weather continues, I have two fruit trees I’d like to get pruned. After that, it’s all about promoting, updating things with the new book, and blogging. I’ve already got requests for a couple of Lisa visits to promote the new book, and I need to write and deliver those too.

I’m not earmarking any time for my work in progress, but Monday is a slim possibility.

It’s a plan. It isn’t a giant plan, but the steps are important ones.


Filed under Writing