Tag Archives: self publishing

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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Every Writer Needs a Little Help

I’ve wanted to start bringing you a few author service providers for a long time. I extended a few invitations, and Staci Troilo took me up on it.

I can vouch for Staci’s work. She’s helped me in so many ways. Here’s Staci to tell us about her services.

***

Thanks for inviting me to visit again, Craig.

For those of you who don’t know (and honestly, that’s probably none of you), Craig and I are founding members of Story Empire, a site dedicated to helping authors with writing, publishing, and marketing. Since its inception, he and I have become not only colleagues, but friends, and as such, we’ve come to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

He asked me to visit today to talk a little about editing, one of my strengths.

I started earning money to write and edit when I was still in college. Different professors showed my work to their colleagues who were looking for writers, and each hired me. I tell you this to demonstrate how long (and I mean l…o…n…g) I’ve been working in the field.

When I worked those jobs, the clients “edited” my work. I use quotes because neither of my clients was a writer or professional editor, but each of them had final say on the wording. That work wasn’t too bad, all things considered. But not everyone can edit, and these bosses—though competent in their respective fields—were not editors in the proper sense of the word.

After I got my master’s degree and started working in the private sector, my bosses were always trained editors. And the work I did for those companies was solid.

You’re probably wondering why I’m rambling on about business writing rather than fiction editing. It’s because, regardless of the genre, even experienced writers need an editor. (Also, don’t forget—writing fiction is a business and should be treated as such.)

I’ve got a pretty decent body of published work, and this year it’s poised to grow considerably. (To view my complete catalogue or keep up with my releases, visit my site.) I’m a hybrid author (I’m both traditionally-published and self-published). It probably goes without saying that I have an editor for my work with the traditional houses. It might interest you to know that even though I’m a professional editor, I still have someone else edit my indie titles. Yes, editing is that important in the publishing process. And no, you should not be your own editor.

I’ve worked as an editor at three different publishing companies, and I now freelance. In each case, I’ve conducted all three types of edits*:

1. Developmental Edits

2. 2. Copy Edits

3. Line Edits

(*Please note that terminology may differ for these three categories depending on the source of the information, but the services are the same.)

Developmental edits are the most intensive to complete. To conduct a developmental edit, the editor will help guide the author in the structure of the piece. A developmental editor will do things like:

• point out alternative directions or gaping plot holes

• note inconsistencies

• show ways to further develop characters and their arcs

This service is best for novice authors who do not understand the foundations of writing fiction (things like premise, theme, and structure).

Copy edits are usually conducted after an author has self-edited her draft. This doesn’t mean you should ask for a copy edit of your first draft. First drafts are usually dirty drafts that will benefit from the author’s own clean-up efforts. But once an author has made several passes through the document, made revisions, sent it to beta readers for feedback, and revised again, it’s time to get a copy edit. A copy editor will note things like:

• flow problems

• weak word choices

• POV breaks

This is a type of edit that benefits novice and intermediate-level authors. It is helpful for authors who have structure under control but struggle with mechanics.

Line edits are the simplest type of editing. This is the final clean-up before a work is published. Line editors mark issues like:

• misplaced and dangling modifiers

• typographical errors

• punctuation problems

This type of edit is beneficial for writers of all levels, novice through professional. While experienced writers are probably aware of these pitfalls, even they will find it difficult to pinpoint such problems in their own work. We become blind to our words because we know what we want them to be, and consequently, we don’t see what they actually are.

I joined Story Empire because I enjoy working with authors. That’s the same reason I love working as an editor. I like to help writers expand their knowledge and polish their work. Besides, I learn something from every person I work with. I’ve also developed many friendships along the way and received some truly heartwarming feedback.

• Staci Troilo is a superb editor who understands the creative process, offering suggestions without stepping the artistic choices of the author. She’s thorough, efficient, and sensitive. She’s also knowledgeable in the mechanics of all aspects of writing. (P. C. Zick)

• She is AMAZING! She took my text, and added bullets, subheads, and pull quotes to make the material much easier for readers to consume, all without making any changes to my voice or style. (Jennifer Dunne)

• Staci is the best hire I’ve ever made. She’s talented, dedicated, professional, and as hardworking as they come. (Casey Cowan)

• Staci gets three out of three for the traits necessary to do well in a business environment: she is on time, she has great skills, and she’s easy to work with. (Duke Pennell)

These excerpts from published reviews (see the full reviews plus more of my credentials here) mean a lot to me, because they tell me I’m not only doing what I set out to do professionally, I’m also making other people happy. And at the end of the day, I can consider my career and my life a success if I leave this world a better place (in any manner) than how I found it.

If you are interested in my editing services, you can find more information here. If you like what you see, fill out the contact form and we can talk about your project.

Because I’m also an indie author, I understand the budget-crunch writers face, and as such, I keep my prices well below industry standard. I also offer a fast turnaround time (usually under two weeks) and will consider rush jobs.

I want all authors to shine, which is why I try to be accommodating and flexible. If you have special needs, please feel free to discuss them with me.

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