Time Better Spent

Recently I’ve read some scare pieces about why Scott Turow thinks we should all fear Amazon, why Jonathan Franzen thinks ebooks are ruining the world and how Ewan Morrison thinks ebooks are like the housing bubble and will ultimately burst, destroying anyone’s ability to sell a book with “culture” for more than $.99 (or free).

I’ve listened to these “authorities” tell me repeatedly that the sky falling and that ebooks will be the downfall of the civilized world. It’s done nothing to help me become a better writer nor has it made my life any better.

These people want me to believe there’s something wrong with me because I publish my fiction on the Kindle. Apparently they believe that when people read my work and enjoy it, I’m making the world a worse place. They would have me believe that I shouldn’t be earning $1000 a month from my books. They would have me believe that if they (or their ilk) don’t “approve” of what I do it not only has no legitimacy, but is actually harmful.

Bullshit. Continue reading

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Sales Reporting: Too Much of a Good Thing?

I’ve never been traditionally published, but from what I read their sales reporting is abysmal; six month reporting intervals, inconsistent sales numbers, and long periods between paydays.

Amazon’s KDP platform has a wonderful reporting system. I see purchases within a few minutes of the sale with running totals for the month. Even Barnes and Noble’s Pubit! system shows daily sales, with current and prior day eventually rolling into a monthly sales report. Kobo’s new Writing Life platform also has at-a-glance, up to date sales reporting. This is a tremendous improvement over the archaic legacy system I understand traditional publishers use.

That said, while it’s great that I have the ability to see these sales numbers in near real-time, there is a downside. If left to its own devices the desire to see how sales are doing in a particular hour can breed compulsion.

This compulsory act can feed anxiety, and is often time-consuming and exhausting. Continue reading

Planning Out the Remainder of 2012

Now that The Desolate is finished and unleashed upon the masses, I figured it’s time to plan out the rest of 2012.

Not sure how interesting this will be to most, but I figure since I’ve sold a few books there might be someone out there interested in what I’m working on and what can be expected to come down the pike by end of year.

As far as novels go, The Desolate is it for 2012. I could maybe squeeze one out by year end if I didn’t work full-time, but it is what it is. That said, I still have four months in which to write the first draft of Beyond the Badlands, the sequel to my debut novel. I’m fairly confident that I can get the first draft of the manuscript finished by the end of December, so that means come 2013 I’ll have only a couple months’ worth of editing work before it’ll be ready to send off to my editor and proofreader. Continue reading

Patience

So the novel is out and it’s doing exactly what I expected it to do:

It’s selling like crap.

I know it’s only been three days. I know it takes time for momentum to build. I know many of my readers don’t even know the book is out yet. I know that it’s so early that Amazon hasn’t even built an “also bought” list for the book. I know that it just began showing up in Amazon’s search engine in the last 24 hours. I know that eBooks have forever to find an audience and that I’m young enough to benefit from future sales.

I know all these things, but the anxiety still creeps in.

What if my first novel was just a fluke? Maybe the new novel will never sell? Maybe none of my work will ever sell? Maybe I’m a hack? Holy crap! Why am I even doing this?! Continue reading

Being Deliberate

In the wake of publishing my second novel, I’ve done some comparing and contrasting of the two experiences. Upon honest review and careful analysis, I’ve realized the experiences are wildly different.

When I wrote my first novel (and I’m not counting the novel I wrote back in 1999 that will never see the light of day) I was focused mostly on determining whether or not I even had the skill to write fiction at all. Then the question became whether or not I could write a novel people would care about. I put significant effort into soliciting and incorporating beta reader feedback. I also put significant effort into writing the best story with the best prose I could muster at the time. I revised it a couple of times before becoming impatient and then I published it.

While it’s admirable that I put so much effort into the story itself, what I failed to do was have the thing properly edited and proofread. Once I discovered this fact the book was already in the hands of readers. I was soon scrambling to correct the astonishing number of errors plauging the manuscript into which I’d put so much effort. It was a black eye on me and there are readers out there who now have a less than stellar impression of my writing. Having been burned once, they’ll probably never buy another book I write. Continue reading

“The Desolate” Is Live!

The day has finally arrived…my new horror novel, The Desolate, is now live on Amazon , Kobo and Nook eReaders.

I’m pretty happy with the end product. The book read well with the beta readers and I feel the writing is pretty strong. I’ll even go out on a limb and say it’s my best writing to date. I’ve learned a lot over the past couple years and I tried to apply those lessons learned to this book. The end result is one man’s frightening journey toward self-discovery and acceptance, with a climax that takes place in some very dark recesses, both physically and metaphorically. Continue reading

Kobo Writing Life

So it appears that I’m about to do an about face. Earlier I’d been planning on leaving my existing titles opted into KDP Select as well as opting in my new horror novel due out in August. However, something has come along in the meantime to cause me to reconsider.

Writing Life, Kobo’s answer to Amazon’s KDP, has just gone live.

Kobo holds 46% of the market share in Canada and apparently has 5 million users worldwide. I’ve heard good things about Kobo’s new Writing Life platform as well as the folks who designed it.

All this got me thinking; am I leaving an untapped market, well…untapped? Are there inroads to be made outside of Amazon? I’ve already seen a slight increase in sales in the Amazon UK market; could this also be possible on other readers? Continue reading

Scrivener

I think I’m in love. 🙂

A reader of this blog mentioned some writing software he used called Scrivener. I didn’t think much of it, having already a solution that was working for me. A couple weeks later on a whim I browsed out to the website and started reading about it.

Immediately I was intrigued with the features. I downloaded the trial version and started using it. After going through the tutorial and then building my first project, I was sold. I bought a license the next day for the Mac version. I built projects for all my current and prior work and ended up buying a Windows license as well, so I can use it on my Windows 7 netbook.

I won’t go into all the myriad features of this software (the website provides all that), but I’ll mention a few reasons why I think it’s well worth the $45: Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2012

So after having failed miserably at my goal of writing my 20k word novella in six days, I decided to take on another challenge: NaNoWriMo 2012.

After a few too many beers at a July 4th party I put the challenge out to a couple friends who have been expressing an interest in finally getting that novel written. The challenge was accepted and there were witnesses, so it looks like there’s no weaseling out of it.

Although I did fail at my 20k words in six days challenge, I have finished 14k words of my novella’s first draft (which is 70%). I should be finished by month’s end and that includes all revisions. Continue reading

Envy

In almost every instance of negative human behavior I’ve found two constants: fear and/or psychosis.

Truth is, most people aren’t crazy, but almost everyone is afraid of something. Fear drives envy. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being left behind. Fear of being a failure. Fear of being a fool or a chump.

Envy is a kissing cousin to jealousy. Jealousy is very much like envy, but instead of simply wanting what someone else has there’s an element of rivalry involved. Neither is a pleasant state of being. Continue reading