Tag Archives: self publishing

Nothing quite like the terror of hitting the publish button

I got to the writing cabin early this morning. So early, Lisa was still recharging her batteries.

I wasted no time heading for my office, but Lisa intercepted me at my computer, at least her voice did.

“I need another hour of juice.” Her voice came from the speakers. “I’ve never seen you so early before. I sent a command to the coffee pot to start brewing, but you’ll have to give it twelve minutes and eighteen seconds to brew.”

Doubt, the raven, watched me with his malignant gaze. He spread his ebony wings and glided over to the desk.

I loaded my manuscript, chose some keywords, added a cover.

“Blork, pik, pik.”

I think that means how much I suck, but could not be dissuaded.

I winged it when it came to the blurb. I always do this, and really should spend a month getting it just right. For some reason, it always feels more genuine to write it on the fly.

“Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha.”

“Shut up, you stupid bird. Don’t you need to go outside and cruise for roadkill?”

Doubt paced back and forth on my desk. He swept his head from side to side, as if to say, “No, no, no.”

It didn’t matter. I uploaded the damned book. Then the waiting began. Amazon can take up to three days to approve a new book. I checked email. Nothing.

The beeper on the coffee pot went off, so I helped myself. Then checked email.

A couple of webcomics published new pages, so I read those. Then checked email.

Lisa Burton Radio. Checked email.

A new critique submission ate up a couple of hours. Checked email between each chapter.

Chatted with Story Empire compatriots. Checked email.

Lisa showed up. She looked fabulous in her oversized New Year’s sweatshirt and black tights. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Just checking email.”

“There’s an Indiana Jones film festival on. Maybe you should check it out.”

“Right after I check my email.”

She grabbed me by the arm, then walked me to the couch. She’s connected to the entire house, and the television came on without a glance. “… Goose-stepping morons like yourselves should try reading books, instead of burning them…”

“I’d better check my email.”

“Relax. It will all happen in time.” She went to tend her pet rabbit.

I pulled my hidden phone from my pocket and checked email.

It went like that pretty much all day. I exchanged a few notes about the critique, then went back to chatting with the Story Empire crowd. One of them told me they just bought my book. “ACK!!!” I still didn’t have an email.

I got the link from her, then created an Amazon global link. I did a long-planned facelift on my blog. It looks so great. Sean Harrington did an update on my banner image to keep it in theme with the new book.

Still no email from Amazon. When I dug deeper, it was in my junk folder. WHAT??? Nothing really ever goes in my junk folder, so I never thought about it, but there it was.

So (Composing myself), Lanternfish is a book. I made a new graphic for the sidebar, and you can pick up your copy by clicking on the cover. I sent out a couple of blog tour inquiries, and need to get started sending out the pre-written posts. They’re all unique, so my followers can get updated stuff at each stop. I have more people to contact, but none of this happens until Amazon sends the email.

Of course, I have to go back to work tomorrow. That puts a damper on some of this. I’m sorely tempted to take tomorrow off now. Goodreads, BookBub, and a bunch of other places need updates now.

Lanternfish is the book I wrote about all summer. It’s the one with root monsters, giant jellyfish, moving reef, and more. If pirate fantasy is your thing, I’d like to draw your attention to this one.

I have some fun posters Lisa made to help promote with, and can’t wait to share them.

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Filed under Muse, Writing

One of those days…

The internet has been pretty quiet this week. I noticed the number of posts in my reader is down, and other forms of social media are less active too. Blogging usually slows down for the summer, but Twitter seems to never end. Whatever the reason it’s observable.

I’m in kind of a blue mood. These happen every once in a while. I’d like more sales, more reviews, more of everything. This isn’t unusual, but the summer slowdown seems to be hitting Yak Guy kind of hard. I should have released it a month earlier than I did, or held it for Fall. What’s done is done now. I think it’s a good story, and hopefully folks will read it and feel the same way.

I’ve also been fighting with finances again. This seems to be a recurring battle, and I ought to be used to it now. It makes me have strange ideas about whether publishing my stories is worth it at all. The dream is just to pad my retirement a bit in about eight to ten years. I could easily write my stories and park them in a box somewhere. They make me happy, I feel creative, but it kind of kills the improvement. Readers help me whet the edges and raise my game. Publishing costs money, even if it’s just a cover, and that creates a vicious circle.

My daughter has taken a new job that will send her back to Sun Valley. She loves it over there, and it’s a supervisory position for more money. I hope she can find a place to stay, because Sun Valley isn’t like the rest of the planet. Things are expensive there.

I kind of like Jackson the cat, but he’ll be moving with her. There is one small benefit to this too.

I need to get over my crappy mood and get ready for the weekend. I have piracy to write about, and don’t want to spend the weekend pouting. I found this somewhere on the Internet and it helped a bunch.

Mayhaps I should searcheth around and see where I can buy this needlepoint when I have a few bucks. This is a powerful message, and would look great on my wall somewhere. It’s a good reminder to get over myself and get back to work. I WILL get back to work and put the evil thoughts behind me… by Friday… Saturday at the latest.

 

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Busy all day

It doesn’t seem like much really, but I was busy all day today. Otto decided to wake me up around six o’clock. After feeding dogs and making coffee, I started on social media. This may seem like a waste of time, but with a new book release I wanted to stay on top of things.

About the time of my second cup, I started sending out the pre-written blog posts. This involves some extra steps with my iPad, but once you fall into the rhythm, it isn’t bad. I have to copy the Amazon universal link, then convert my post to Word. I email the Word copy from Apple Pages. This prevents me from accessing another Pages document until I either delete the email or send it. However, I’ve already copied the link, so all I had to do was paste it in the email.

I can freely go to any other app, so I then copied the book blurb from Amazon and pasted it into the email. Beyond that it was a matter of attaching a cover, and in some cases a Lisa Burton poster, and sending it into cyberspace. Social media is easy, because it’s always in my email signature. All my hosts have to do is copy and paste at their end.

The only things I failed to send were an author photo and bio. It’s probably better to have it, but it’s done now.

I got so wrapped up in this, I forgot to call my parents. Mom called me after a reasonable time. “Oh yeah, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.” Son of the year here.

Like I said, it doesn’t seem like much, but I sent ten of these out today. Between mailings, I checked in on the post over at Charles Yallowitz’s place to respond to comments. I also shared it everywhere I could think of, and tweeted it out a couple of times.

The week ahead of me will involve sharing, responding, and participating as much as I can on the tour posts.

There have been a handful of sales, but the only promo is my post, and the one Charles put up. Can’t be disappointed at that. It’s moved into triple digits as a dystopian novel. My hope is to move into double digits on one of the lists, but the next ten days will tell that tale.

My plea today is for early sales. If you’re interested in this one, a sale now has more benefit to me than one in December. They’re all special, but that’s a fact of a new release. You can read it in December, and that won’t matter. A rapid cluster of sales will help me get onto a list, which could cause Amazon to help spread the word.

Enough about that for now. Tonight, I’m going to watch a baseball game and drink a beer. (And probably surf through Charles’ post a couple more times between innings.)

Back to the office tomorrow to start dealing with the fallout of the two crazy weeks previous. Hope all of you had a good weekend, and a Happy Mother’s Day where appropriate.

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Success!

Today is the day. I didn’t get everything I wanted finished, but the heavy lifting is done. The Yak Guy Project is live on Amazon.

I dragged my feet getting started today. It’s been a long couple of weeks at work, and that 6:30 start time was fine with me for a change. I sipped my coffee under a pile of bulldogs, and surfed through social media.

For my second cup, I worked on uploading the story. I wound up doing some spastic “swipe” maneuver and lost everything I’d done to that point. The second entry worked, then the nail biting while waiting began.

While waiting, I wrestled with three different artwork programs to make a graphic for Twitter. After I got the word from Amazon, I updated my sidebar and the cover is a purchase link. The slideshow took a bit more effort, but Yak Guy shows up in the rotation now too.

I made the first step on the only paid promotion I used last book. I’m still waiting for a PayPal invoice, but that’s in the works now.

I really like to do things in A-B-C order under my own roof. I have to operate in a more helter-skelter fashion at my workplace, but try to avoid it here, because it stresses me out. Wasn’t meant to be this time. It’s more A-B1/2-C-B2/2, but I can handle it… tomorrow that is.

I’ll either get the invoice and finish that part, or jump ahead with the first wave of blog tour stuff.

There were some small things too, like getting it set up on Goodreads, Lisa posted about it on her Facebook site. That kind of thing. Lisa and I will be making the rounds soon, and there will be some new Lisa posters on her part of the tour.

So, new book. I reckon I ought to tell you about it. This is my site, and this is where my friends are. This means no deeply thought out third person blurb, just me telling you about the story. You’ll get more tidbits during the blog tour that’s coming soon.

Let’s start with this cool cover from Sean Harrington:

The cover tells you a bunch about the setting. You have a pseudo modern outfit, but with some feudal bits like the sword. The presence of the yak indicates there is no spaceship, Jeep, or dirt bike.

Yak Guy wakes up in the desert with no idea what happened to him. All his life, he’s used others to get whatever he wants. He’s the guy who will sleep on your couch, eat your food, and drink your beer. He’ll let you do the cooking and the cleanup too, but that life just ended – forever.

He’s rescued by a talking yak, who tells him he’s gotten a second chance at life. Change is required, work must be done, survival is optional.

Those who’ve followed regularly will remember this is the one I based upon The Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. An understanding of Tarot is not required to enjoy the story. Those with deeper knowledge will probably be able to pick out some of the Tarot characters and lessons, but like I said, not a prerequisite.

Yak Guy’s world was once modern, but hundreds of years of war destroyed all of that. I worked pretty hard to weave in some bits about what was lost, but not lose the situation they have during the events of this story. Right now, the idea of horsepower comes from actual horses, and they fight with pokey things.

Early sales and reviews are so important to a book. If you’re so inclined, this is the universal link http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B07D1QY9Y7 It should take you to the correct Amazon outlet, no matter where you are in the world.

There are other things you can do too. Mark it as something you’re interested in on Goodreads. Share this post. Go to Amazon and use the sharing buttons directly from the purchase site. I already added it to one of my Pinterest boards from there. I also have that pinned tweet you can share. This post will auto-feed to the Entertaining Stories Facebook page, so you can share it there, or share the one Lisa made on her site. None of these efforts requires you to buy the book at all, but it will help spread the word.

I hope I’ve piqued your interest, and I’m excited to bring this one to you. I’m also excited to put it out there before school lets out for the summer. I’m declaring success for today, and I’ll work on more promo stuff tomorrow.

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Planning the weekend

Today marks the end of the longest two weeks we have at my paycheck job each year. In the last two weeks, I’ve had to put on a tie three times, make two presentations to groups, and several small ones to a political body. Prior to that it was all research, scripting, and Powerpoint stuff to get ready. But it all ends today! (Of course, I’m behind now at other work projects.)

On Tuesday morning, I received the upload copy of The Yak Guy Project from my formatter. Do you have any idea how hard it is to park on that for days that never end? Well, it’s hard for me.

Saturday is another matter. I can do my early chores, and start hammering it through Amazon. I have contacted the usual suspects and they agreed to help me with one of my home-made blog tours. There are a pile of pre-written posts in an attempt to keep them all unique. I also have some Lisa Burton art I’ve been parked on for nearly a year. I tried to contact folks in a small batch. This way, I can send them stuff and see what’s left. Then I can start a second wave and not lose track of who got what post. I used to do this all at once, and wound of losing track of things. Two waves should work… in theory.

Warning: There will be reblogs at Entertaining Stories. When people help me, it’s the least I can do to try driving them some traffic too.

I’ll send everything to my hosts after Amazon gives me the green light. After that, I need to update my sidebar to reflect the new title, deal with Goodreads, and all the peripheral stuff.

I already took the time to give the place a facelift. We have some nice fruit trees in bloom to replace the mud of Spring. Lisa’s ice sculpture of The Hat finally melted in the banner, but the yak is sticking around.

This is always an exciting time, but it kind of stresses me out. In some ways uploading to Amazon feels like putting my manuscript through a shredder. I had one bad experience many years ago and it’s stuck with me.

I can’t wait to get through this day, but the weekend will all happen in due time. I just have to remember this calming lesson:

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And the heavens parted

Yesterday was all about panic, because I realized I wasn’t going to get as many days off this month as I expected. This led me to schedule a marathon day to get more done than I usually do. I started my day by setting an alarm clock for 4:00 AM.

Dogs still need fed, and social media still needs tending to. Don’t laugh, if you’re building a platform it needs tending. This meant I got down to business around 5:00.

I received a couple of items for Lisa Burton Radio, and earmarked them for later in the day. My first stop was to proof the copy of my book and let her know it looks great. Got that much done before the sun came up.

I really needed four more advanced promotional posts. I have a list of topics I usually go to, and that helps. Imagine my surprise when I discovered an excerpt post I’d already prepared, but filed in the wrong place. It was kind of like the heavens parted.

One down before I even started. I worked on them for a few hours, before my scheduled panic break. During that time, I checked email and did some other minor projects.

I worked up to the point where I couldn’t think of another decent topic, so I turned my attention to Lisa Burton Radio.

I assembled two of those posts and sent the advance links to the authors involved. While doing the rote assembly work, another topic came to me.

My last promotional post is about the war that’s plagued the country in The Yak Guy Project. This took some effort in the drafting of the book, because the people have been divided for hundreds of years. Maybe some ideas how I reflect the outcome of all that will inspire a shopper or two.

That was all I expected to get done, but I didn’t stop there. I hacked out a rough book blurb too. It may need a look with fresh eyes, but if it exists I can fix it later.

I had to run into town to pick up a prescription, and then hooked up the hoses when I got home. Since I already had pants on, why not.

Old What’s Her Face wanted me to fire up the sprinkler system today too, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I don’t want to spoil the joy she takes in asking me what the hell I did all day. She has no idea what goes into this stuff.

Besides, it’s time for pretty girls in hats, and a famous horse race I watch every year. I don’t have any actual bourbon right now, but I have a bourbon barrel aged stout that ought to be close enough. Then there is a baseball game I’d like to catch after that.

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Time for a new plan

My goal this weekend was to work on Lisa Burton Radio interviews, and work on a few advance blog posts … at a leisurely pace.

This is the busiest couple of the weeks of the year at my office. This means we’re changing the flex schedule temporarily. Which mean I don’t get a flex day for two weeks now.

Then I got The Yak Guy Back from the formatter. I need to check it, and turn it back around. I also need four more advanced blog posts. On top of that, the posts I already have are too short. Maybe with a book blurb it will look better. Oh yeah, I have to write a book blurb.

I decided to set my alarm clock for 4:00 AM. The first mission will be to proof the copy of my book. After I get it sent back, possibly with changes, I’ll work on the advanced posts.

Maybe I’ll schedule in some def-con three grade panic around 10:00.

I actually am ahead of the game on the interviews. The only problem is in the final phase, because my guests aren’t turning them back right away. I have a couple more weeks scheduled, so I can float a bit if I have to. I’d still like to prepare a couple and send them out this weekend.

I should explain the reason for my state of mind. My experience with Summer releases is dismal. In my mind, it isn’t Summer until school lets out. Right out wrong, that’s my position. I’d liked to have gotten this done a month ago, but it was a matter of funds.

If everything happens according to my new plan, I’ll dig out my email list and send inquiries to my traditional hosts. It could work that I’ll have everything I need next weekend. These are folks who have larger followings, because the goal is to spread the word.

I usually leave an option of custom writing something for a couple of my hosts. Once in a while, they have a specific idea and I try to help them. Again, tempting fate, but I might be able to write those next weekend.

Hey, if everything works out perfectly, this could happen.

Disclaimer: I always freak out at book release time. Better have a beer tonight.

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