Tag Archives: self publishing

With a Little Help from my Friends

It feels like it's been a long time coming, but The Enhanced League is a genuine book now. I played the usual games with my Mac before uploading it. It generally works like this:

“You've been logged out. Please enter your iCloud password.”

I loaded my password.

“You have upgrades.”

I start downloading the newest and greatest to the operating system.

“Your upgrades have just been upgraded.”

I start over. Looks like it will take about thirty minutes. I check back in half an hour. Twenty seven minutes remaining.

Play with he dogs and talk to my daughter before checking back.

“You've successfully upgraded your operating system. Please enter your iCloud password.”

When I clicked the keys, nothing happened. Replace the batteries in everything.

“Something went wrong. You have upgrades.”

Start all over again. Repeat the waiting times, and password entry.

“Do you want to activate Siri on this machine?”

“Whatever! Just get on with it already.”

“Please enter your messenger password.”

“I don't even want messenger on this machine!!!” I click the red dot to close the window.

“Please enter you messenger password.”

“FINE!”

Anyway, after about three hours I was allowed to do the only thing I need the Mac for. Everything else can be done on my iPad.

I just got the email from Amazon that I am live right now.

I'm not the best blurb writer, but here's what I wrote:

The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.

Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.

I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — CB

***

This is where I ask for a little help from my friends. There are a few things you can do to help, if you're willing.

First is to reach down inside the couch and find ninety-nine cents (99¢), then go to Amazon and pick up a copy of The Enhanced League. This is the link. The widget on my sidebar is also linked. If you need an e-reader, there is a link for one of those on the side too. Grab a hotdog and a beer and have some fun with it.

Second, I need some blog hosts. I have several different posts already written. Let me know in the comments if you'd like to participate. You can request me, or a visit from Lisa Burton, and Lisa has some awesome new posters to share with a baseball theme to them. Let me know in the comments.

I also have a couple of posts I've written by request, and need to get them out to the hosts.

Third, don't be afraid to share the news, reblog one of the posts that pops up online, and tell your friends. I'll be doing the same on your new releases.

Finally, to the awesome group of volunteers who served as beta readers. I used many of your suggestions to improve this book. There is no expectation whatsoever, but if you'd like to post a review I'd really appreciate it.

I'm off to do a whole list of things next. These involve Goodreads, pinned tweets, my book club and more. I'll surf through and keep up with the comments.

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Dragon Ass

Okay, this isn't a post about dragons. It's a post about attitude. My regulars will understand how my mojo flew out the window this week, and it's only fair to give you a small update.

Our veterinarian and our favorite breeder both gave us a measure of comfort with our loss of little Nyx. The vet said that heat stroke should not have happened in thirty minutes. Not with her in a shaded back yard and access to water. He said that Nyx may have had some other problem that was not known and contributed to her death. The other dogs were out there too and were unscathed.

Thinking back on it, she was the one who sat on the air conditioner vent regularly. Maybe he's onto something.

The breeder said she's lost dogs to heat before, and our dogs' father is susceptible to heat problems. She thinks we're lovely people, and can't think of better pet owners. I appreciate her sentiments, but beyond the regular bulldog problems with heat, maybe this bloodline is more susceptible to heat problems.

There is the possibility that our son isn't telling us the whole truth either. Maybe it was more than thirty minutes. We were only gone two hours, and nyx was happily licking my ear before we left.

It could also be a hideous cocktail of those facts. At this point we know all we're ever going to know, and the assessments are not conclusive.

We're both devastated. My wife couldn't go to work on Wednesday, and I had to leave after about an hour and come home myself. We both regularly place a hand on our remaining dogs just to see if they're breathing. We had them both wearing wet bandanas yesterday, because even with the air conditioner and overhead fan, we couldn't get the house below seventy-eight degrees last night. (I almost put one on myself.)

Frankie is having a hard time too. She wouldn't eat the first day, and kept looking for her sister. We finally had to buy a new outer bowl, run the glass insert through the dishwasher, and then she ate just fine. The other stuff smelled like Nyx, and I'm sure that's what the problem was. She's needed some extra ball playing, and spent a lot of time in my lap this morning with what we call poodle time.

Otto is still convalescing himself. He has good days and bad days. We have another appointment to see what more we can do for him. It's some kind of pinched nerve like sciatica, and that's about all we know. He feels decent and wants to play, which leads to a tough night after the exertion.

I'm still waiting for a formatted manuscript. I'll publish The Enhanced League as soon as I get one, then I'll put out a call for blog hosts. I'm the one being difficult and demanding here, in case you're wondering.

Beyond that, I assembled and scheduled next week's Lisa Burton Radio post. I also moved another one ahead in the queue. I need to keep working on these, lest my volunteers think I'm blowing them off, but with twenty five applicants, it does no good to get them all ready at once.

I finally got around to changing my wallpaper. Since July is determined to be so hot, I thought heat was an appropriate theme. Heat has caused all the disasters around my life this week too.

I'm going to see if I can work up a couple more promotional posts for Enhanced League. I may have enough, but might find a decent excerpt to share somewhere and those make fun posts.

I need to catch up on some reading too. I don't know if my mood is great for that until I try. I have several books I want to get to and may take a shot at one.

I really need to get on with The Yak Guy Project, but have been putting it off. This is for a couple of selfish reasons. I don't want to get tangled up during the Enhanced League release, and I don't want to release a novel during the summer months. Releasing Enhanced League around Major League Baseball's Allstar Break might not be so bad.

So that's me this weekend. I'll get some things done, but I'm kind of draggin' ass at the moment. (Wow, I've always free written the blog, but I'm starting a lot of sentences with I today. I don't think I'll edit it either.)

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Some success

Yesterday I tackled the Lisa Burton interviews. I have twenty-five applicants, but only nine who've delivered the questionnaire answers. (Oops, ten now.) I worked up six shticks and sent them out. This took me six hours. I'd like to have completed them all up to the minute, but I have to face some facts.

Six hours is an effort on my days off. It will take me twenty-five weeks to post them all, so I'm ahead of the game. I hope nobody gets disappointed, but I can only do so much. It adds up to a considerable word count too.

I used part of today to work my time travel story up to 2500 words. This one is taking me way too long, and I'm feeling some pressure. Truth is, I never intended to write a time travel story. I like a challenge, so we'll see how it comes out. Writing to a theme and a target is kind of new, but fun. My MO is to get it done with enough time to make requested changes. I may only have a week of padding, but it will be enough.

I got the final Lisa poster for The Yak Guy Project, then did something crazy. I thought it might be cool to have a Lisa poster to promote the anthology with. The other authors can do what they want, but I'm going to have some artwork to promote with.

My time travel story spent a couple of months in the daydreaming phase as a Western. It didn't come out that way, and I hope it intrigues a few readers. Sorry, no cowgirl Lisa, at least for now. You might like what I changed it to.

This story is taking some serious research too. I'll bend some facts, but I want to have the rest of the details right so my changes don't stand out. Things like train times, actual hotels, and more help sell the twists.

While I was at it, I decided to order enough art to get me through the end of the year. These will be mostly for holidays wishes, but one is for my Macabre Macaroni short stories. (God, I still have to write those too.) The deadlines are spread way out, so Sean can take his time.

We had a quick date night last night, since my wife won't be here. Just a quick dinner and a beer. I had scallops with squid ink pasta… in Idaho, just imagine. It was wonderful too.

My wife headed for Nevada this morning, but not so early as to allow me to get some major work done. I dabbled and had some moderate success. I got a proof back from the formatter for The Enhanced League, and there are a few minor adjustments to make.

For the rest of this vacation, I would like to finish my short story, write three more promotional pieces for The Enhanced League, and schedule next week's Lisa Burton Radio. I might chuck some of it and publish The Enhanced League instead. No, it isn't too much, I might be able to do it all with a little bit of luck.

I don't think I'll add any more than that. The interview is all done and awaiting a link. I have ideas for the promo stuff, and I'm 2500 words shy of a short story draft. Two days is a nice pace without killing myself over it. If Enhanced League gets out next weekend, that's fine too.

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Taskmaster

I don't have to return to the paycheck job until July 3rd. I've been trying to get this week off since April, but things have been too busy at work. It isn't perfect right now either, but I need my time off.

I got enough response to my request for guest authors to carry Lisa Burton Radio into October without missing a week. This means working on those posts will be part of what I have to do.

I need to work through two critiques this weekend, and have them ready for our meeting on Tuesday.

I could have gotten my first book out by now if I'd have gotten the time off, but I didn't and it's time to do something about it. Those of you who know me will recall that I like to make a list.

Projects for my week off:

  • Re-read The Enhanced League and make edits.
  • Figure out how to add images to the back of the book and actually make them look good.
  • Get the final MS out to the formatter, and pay her.
  • Assemble a guest post I agreed to host.
  • Work on Lisa Burton Radio stuff as it comes in.
  • Finish up a post I've been working on to appear elsewhere.
  • Start the word searches on Yak Guy.
  • Read Yak Guy and start editing.
  • Write blog tour posts for Enhanced League.

Depending on how well I do, I can get to some of these:

 

  • Research and assemble something I'd like to post for July 4th.
  • Publish The Enhanced League.
  • Put out a request for blog tour hosts.
  • Do some deeper research and start writing my time travel short story for an anthology.
Nine days, Thirteen items on my list. Some of those are pretty variable, like the Lisa interviews. Might get one to work on, or a dozen.

On top of that, I intend to hang out with Otto, drink some beer, watch a few baseball games, and I might even play a video game. It's a vacation after all.

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Ready for the work week

My last day at the office was Wednesday. I have to go back tomorrow. Admittedly, I took this time off to pay my debt as an author. This might come as a surprise to many of you readers, but it will make sense to the authors out there. I'll try to give the rest of you a glimpse into the secret club today.

I need proofreaders, critique groups, beta readers, blog hosts, and reviews to make my books a success. There isn't a kind of shop where you can go get all of that. Being self published is often a matter of supporting your hobby without going too far into the hole. The big dream is to turn a profit someday.

The truth is you can pay for many of those services, but it gets kind of expensive after a while. This is why we all tend to help each other. At a bare minimum, we are a fresh set of eyes who can spot the difference between hear and here in a manuscript. It's hard to spot these kind of things in your own work. There are also times when we know exactly what we're describing, but readers aren't getting that vision. Different eyes will raise a red flag at these points.

I take advantage of this kind of help, so it's important to provide it in turn. We don't typically share project for project. It's more like a pool of authors who will do what they can – when they can. I rarely get the same people from project to project, but in the long run – they are the same group.

Most of my time off was spent paying my authorly debts. The rest was spent on other duties, just like at the workplace. I'm proud to say I finished my last authorly project at about 1:30 today. Then I hauled off all the fruit tree branches, and declared myself done.

I feel a bit like that guy at the top of the post, but I also feel pretty darned good about it. I got to read some awesome stories, some for a review, some as a beta reader.

The good news is that my metaphorical office is clear. On my next day off I can return to my own novel. I'm kind of excited about it to tell you the truth.

I'll spend the rest of the evening catching up with most of the blogs I neglected to read. After that, it's off to bed early enough to go to my workplace all fresh and ready for work.

One of these days I'll have to take some time off for the sake of time off. It could happen, someday.

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Ah, Spring…

Ah Spring, the grass is green and we've even cut it once. The birds are singing, my fruit trees are all in bloom with honeybees visiting the blossoms. And the, what the f—?

Must be Idaho. Nice time to burn some vacation leave and enjoy Spring.

Seriously, I took some time off to work on projects. I've been fairly productive so far. I finished reading a book and posted a review. I worked on three different shticks for Lisa Burton Radio and sent all those out. I even managed to start my beta reading project. I seriously believe that if you want the benefit of beta readers, you have to provide the benefit of beta reading to others.

I'm feeling pretty comfortable with my reading at this point, but I also promised another friend an ARC read. I don't have to return to work until Tuesday, so I could get more done than I originally hoped.

Between these projects, I pecked away at my own post for the Rave Reviews Book Club party, and managed to get it scheduled too. I also got my next Story Empire post scheduled. That should buy me a bit of time.

If I get back to my own writing, The Yak Guy Project will be front and center. I want to finish that manuscript so I can park it for a few weeks. During that time, I can do my edits of The Enhanced League. Doubt the raven is waiting to tear my soul apart over that book, and he's been patient this time.

Enhanced League has a cover, and I'm waiting to finish the promotional art so I can take it on tour. That's at least a month down the road, but I'm planning ahead. I need to get it to beta readers before I can tour it around. Beta readers need time to deliver their mark-ups, and you can't rush this part.

After all that, I'll think about a cover for Yak Guy and start the process all over again.

I've been adding the occasional note to my storyboards for two novellas and my next novel. These are mostly organized chaos right now. Plenty of time to polish them up after my books are published.

I may just turn a corner and blog ahead this weekend. I'd like to have a couple of things ready for Chris Graham, I can hold them in case I get one of the books published. When the time gets closer, I can either say something about the new book, or send one of the prewritten pieces. I also have several new ideas for Story Empire that I may rough out.

Tonight, I'm kind of pooped out. If I do anything else, I'll go back to beta reading. That's highest in priority right now.

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Assessing my effort so far

On Friday night I posted a list of things I want to accomplish before returning to the paycheck job on Tuesday. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of things so far. Let’s take a look at the list, and I’ll scratch things off to indicate what I’ve been doing.

The checklist:

  • Take life as it comes, including another date night and puppy play
  • Work on short stories
  • Read all my Macabre Macaroni stories, edit as needed
  • Publish my second Experimental Notebook (mostly)
  • Work on any Lisa Burton Radio stuff that comes back in the mail
  • Go through my critiques and make changes to The Yak Guy Project
  • Read one book, start another
  • Blog

I got a bunch of writing done yesterday, so I completely ignored that today. It was hard, because it’s what I want to be doing. Mom always said you have to finish your Brussels sprouts before you can have dessert. It’s kind of like that.

Otto and I played a bunch. He’s teething right now, and looks kind of like a wild boar with tusks in the bottom jaw only. The top canines are coming in fast though and his rawhide toys were pretty popular today.

I put in some work on future Lisa Burton Radio interviews. Those are all in the mail, finished, or awaiting final approval. I still have to schedule this week’s post via WordPress. Maybe I’ll do that after this posts. I love the scheduler option for these.

I finished my reading project, but didn’t get around to starting the next one. I have a book of short stories next by one of the regulars here. I want to read another one by a friend after that. Short fiction is one of my favorites and I’m kind of excited about both of them. Sue and Nicholas, I’m talking about you.

I probably screwed up on the publishing front. I wanted to do a short pre-sale for The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. When I pushed everything through the mill it asked when I wanted to book to deliver. It never asked me when I wanted the pre-sale to start. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to write a panic post tomorrow because the pre-sale already started. If that’s what happens, I’ll have to own it like I planned it, but readers of this blog will know the truth. Maybe I can blame everything on my assistant.

Some of the items on my list are ongoing, like blogging and working on the short stories. Tomorrow I’ll save the Macabre Macaroni stories for break times. It may seem odd, but reading and tweaking seems to use a different part of the brain than drafting new material does. At least it does for me.

I’m going to focus on the short stories in The Enhanced League. I may crack into the short stories I want to read too.

Then again, I may not do any of that. I may have to write a panic post about the release of my new book. If that shows up in my timeline tomorrow, you can all have a laugh at my expense. I really wanted to start on the 24th, not the 15th. Part of the problem is the lack of time to dedicate. My wife and I have plans that won’t provide another day to do this.

So there you have it. Picking away at my list, and I can do the fun stuff tomorrow. I think I’ll have two of those pumpkin beers tonight, but I doubt they’ll help me sleep. I’ll probably toss and turn all night wondering if Amazon will have my book available tomorrow morning.

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