Tag Archives: self publishing

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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Saturday Efforts

I wound up left to my own devices today, for the most part. I went through social media and push feeds while my wife was still here. After she left for a few hours it was time to get with it on my list.

I worked on a short story until I needed to do some minor research. I used my critiques to give my mind a breather. The guys want me to add some more world building to The Yak Guy Project. It isn't a lot, but subtle things seen in passing. I kind of like those things. This isn't our world, and tiny reminders keep the reader curious. There were a few typos and sentences that needed to get reworded. There always are.

My research wound up being pretty quick. There are things you just know, but want to check out anyway. In one instance I knew there was no rule what dugout belonged to the home team in Major League Baseball, but I had to check to be sure. This short story is part of The Enhanced League. Whereas my Experimental Notebooks could have stories set anywhere and at any time, The Enhanced League will be a book of shorts all set during the same season in one environment.

This individual story is going to be a big one. I added 3000 words to a story I'd already started. This is one of the only games in the book, and I have nine innings to cover. I'll skip ahead and cut the long boring parts, but the setting and the first inning help build tension. I haven't written that many words in one day for a long time. It isn't massive, but it felt great.

Other stories will cover trades, deals, careers beginning, or ending. I'm having a great time with it so far.

Otto and I played fetch and a little tug-of-war while I watched a heartbreaking women's soccer match. (Heartbreaking for the USA, if you live elsewhere.)

I didn't get to the reading or publishing part of my list, but there is more weekend left. I got another Lisa Burton Radio sheet today too. Maybe I'll work on it tonight.

The best news of all, the first pumpkin beers are in the stores and I'm about to have one right now.

This is the first gif I've ever used on this blog. I hope it adequately expresses the joy of pumpkin beer. Have a nice evening everyone.

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Setting up the Weekend

We decided to have date night tonight, but keep it simple. We went through a great local drive in and grabbed some food to go. We wanted to take Otto with us, and decided to eat in a park instead of a restaurant.

It was nice out, and all the shade was perfect against the setting sun. We had to watch out for falling acorns, but I really enjoyed it. When I went to look for some water for the puppy, there was a leather purse shoved under a garbage can.

Did someone do a snatch and grab robbery? Is this some kind of drug drop? Is there a head in there? We didn't stick around to find out. We already finished eating, and decided to catch some Olympics on TV.

Tomorrow, my wife is taking the grandkids to shop for new backpacks. This really doesn't sound like a grandpa kind of thing. In fact, they'll probably wind up at Toys R Us sometime along the route.

Someone has to watch Otto. (At least that's my excuse.) This will leave me, the puppy, and my iPad all to our own devices.

I don't know if we'll try to go out tomorrow night. We might be broke after she spends the day with the grandkids. (Teasing…kind of.) My wife has to work early on Sunday. Going out the night before might be kind of a chore.

Sunday it will be me, Otto, and the iPad again. I have to call my parents, and that takes about an hour, but the rest of the day is mine.

My flex day next week is Monday. That means I might have even more writing time.

I think I'm going to shove the second Experimental Notebook through the Amazon machine. It gives me dates, and I can plug in a short pre-sale time, and the date I want it to deliver. Since we're going camping next weekend, it will be nice to scratch this off my list. We never know if there will be a weak wifi signal or none at all.

I started reading a book while we were at the coast, but haven't had a chance to look at it since. I'm going to dedicate some time to that too. I also have a friend's book I need to read, and really want to get to it.

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

It seems like a lot, but if I work at it, I can probably get all of it done.

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The Party’s Over

We got the camper all cleaned and put away. Some equipment is still at the house being recharged. We can put it away later, or hang onto it until the next camping weekend.

Like all Sunday's, I spent part of the morning talking to my parents. We went to the Oregon Coast together a few times, and we had plenty to talk about.

I answered a mountain of email that I let lapse, and checked on all my social media stuff.

This vacation yielded some fun short story ideas, and I wrote one out today. This one is short enough to make it as a blog post, and fits the theme of Macabre Macaroni. I will use some pictures inside this story to try something new. I think it's pretty cool, and hate waiting until October to share it. It gave me a chance to use my Apple Pencil. You know me, I always like trying new stuff.

Macabre Macaroni needs one more story, and I have some decent competing ideas. One of them is going to be too long to work as a blog post, but the other one should fit well. Having things done ahead of time is becoming a habit for me, and one that seems to work well. I can go over them during quiet times and might make them better to a degree. I won't have to stress about getting them written the night before.

Speaking of meeting deadlines, I sent off the second Experimental Notebook to the formatter. If you still have a beta copy, you don't have to finish it because it's too late to make changes. I hope you'll want to read it, and I appreciate your volunteering, but I published the deadline when I sought volunteers.

I'll try to peck away at short stories when I have a moment, my baseball stories are keeping me entertained. When I get the rare quiet Friday or Saturday, the Yak Guy is still waiting for me.

Sometime before the end of August, I need to pre-write some promotional posts. Most of these I write upon request, but it's nice to frame out a few ideas and have them “close.” It depends on whether the host wants to hear from me, or from Lisa, my assistant.

Speaking of Lisa, I don't know what to do with Lisa Burton Radio. I made it twenty-four weeks in a row, and the last post got a ton of action. Next week, Lisa doesn't have a guest again. It's kind of cheesy to keep interviewing my own characters. I may have to accept the fact that Lisa's interviews will be more sporadic. The spot has been uber popular, and I'm not retiring it. I'll just say that if you would like a character interview, drop me a note and we'll set something up. In fact, after this posts, I'm going to tweet out a half dozen of the old posts or thereabouts.

In the real world, my paycheck job beckons tomorrow. I'm sure all my mailboxes are overflowing, but I have a good staff and I'm sure they covered whatever they could.

It wasn't great that we came home a day early, but that extra day came in handy. I guess the party's over. Back to writing and back to the job that pays the bills around here.

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