Friday, January 28, 2011

The Darkling Wind is LIVE!!!!

And it got over 30 downloads in the first two hours! Coincidentally, that's how long it took me to fix the obvious formatting issues with the first upload and submit the corrections. (Actually most of that time was the very long conversion process over at Smashwords, which is completely out of my control.)

So I'm bummed that a few people downloaded a bad version. I think they can probably delete it and download again. Or, if necessary, they can contact me for a replacement version. Either way, I hope everyone is happy with the story. Yeah, I know it's free, but I still want it to be as good as it can be. And to be honest, Darkling Wind is one of my favorites. It's got that fairytale mood that I remember from books I read in my childhood, but the character undergoes a very deep and somewhat spiritual journey -and then there's even a little bit of romance.

It's novella length. It's a quick read. I go through it in about an hour and a half, many people will probably take half that time. It takes me longer to read my own work because I'm sweating every word. I never get to enjoy it with complete detachment. Yet, in that short amount of time, something happens. When I finish reading that story I feel like I've taken a journey into the belly of the beast (as it were) and I've come out of it changed. I can only hope it will have that effect for others as well.

On to other things:

I'm going to be putting together a newsletter soon. I'm not going to give it out just yet because I will be doing a special promotion to go along with it. When I'm ready, I'll post it here and at the various forums I frequent. But one thing I will NOT do is use my newsletter for anything other than the announcement of new books. Anything more than that would be distasteful and rude.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Tinkerer's Daughter

went live on Amazon last night and is going up on Smashwords today. The weird thing is that Shadow Born took almost two days to post while Tinkerer was up within a few hours. The fact that neither has a description right now only adds to the mystery of Amazon's process.

The Darkling Wind is also in there somewhere , working it's way through the mysterious digital machinations. I hope it will be live by tomorrow night, and then I'll be done publishing. For a while. Kind of.

Actually, I have another project that I'll be working on through February and then I'll be writing (finally!) for the rest of the year. It hasn't been bad so far. I've published four books in six weeks and I plan to have two more live very soon. I'll write at least two books this year and have them both published by December. To be honest, I'd like to be able to do more but external responsibilities simply make that impossible. I'll get there eventually.

The good news is that Shadow Born has been selling since the night it posted, and that's with zero promotion. The only thing I've done is announce it in a post on a forum I frequent. Which means that right now, it's already lining up to outsell Karma Crossed by the end of the month. If this keeps up, I will be quite pleased. Even if it doesn't, it's nice to have the validation that a few strangers were compelled to pick up my books and read them, and some actually liked them.

If everything goes according to plan, all of my fantasy will be live by this weekend. Then I will link to it, get a bit of promotion done, and move on with my life. I've got books to write!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shadow Born...

went live on Smashwords last night and will hopefully be live on Amazon tonight. It's hard to be sure because Amazon can take several days to go live. The other outlets follow. Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple, Diesel and the rest will have it... eventually. Karma Crossed didn't appear on Barnes and Noble for almost a month, and they still have the unrevised version posted. As amazing as the whole system is, there are obviously still a few kinks to work out.

Shadow Born represents the second book I've published and the first young adult, but it was actually one of my earlier novels. It was the first I tried to sell to a publisher and I received some positive feedback, which obviously went nowhere.

I have two more young adult fantasy novels coming, and it remains my goal to have them published by the end of the month. Sometime in the next few days, this should appear:

The cover art is -as always- tentative, but I'm really liking it at the moment. It might stay. I think the blurb will go something like this:

Breeze is an outcast, a half-breed orphan born into a world torn apart by a thousand years of war. Breeze never knew her elven mother, and when her human father is recalled to the war, he leaves her in the safest place he knows: in the care of a reclusive tinker. The Tinkerman's inventions are frightening at first -noisy, smelly machines with no practical use- but when the war comes home, Breeze sees an opportunity. If she can pull it off, she'll change the world forever. If she fails, she'll be considered a traitor by both lands and will be hunted to her death. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Meanwhile,

As a side note, I want to thank everyone who has downloaded Karma Crossed. I have had a fantastic number of downloads and I'm quite happy with the results, considering Karma has only been out for a month and I've done next to nothing in terms of real promotion. Sample downloads have gone gonzo, sales have been steadily picking up and reviews are starting to trickle in. I'm told that about 1 in 100 buyers actually come back to review. I'm hoping for more than that, especially since I gave out a dozen reviewer copies, and those reviews are particularly important to a new writer. We shall see.

Anyway the real reason for this post is to say "Thank You" to those who have read and especially those who have reviewed Karma Crossed. There's more to come!

Friday, January 21, 2011

One More Week.

Semi-perfectionist: A lazy perfectionist.

Okay, I made that up. That's how I feel, though. I want everything to be perfect. I revise and revise until I hate my book -until I hate everything about it. Then I put it away for a few months and come back to hate... I mean revise it again. And then I change my mind. At some point I have to accept it for what it is and put it out there, and I eventually do, but I hate it.

This time I've changed my mind about the cover. Shadow Born's cover was cool, and definitely striking, but it didn't quite click for me. The image didn't convey a sense of what the story was about. You don't want to give away everything with a cover, but that image didn't give away anything. Plus the colors didn't work. Purple is okay. Green's okay. Not together. I don't know why, I just knew looking at it that it was wrong. I can only fault myself, because it was a new version of a very old image that I did years ago. I think the original was better in design even though it was sub-par in construction.

So now I've decided on something new. I'm excited about it because it does a better job of communicating a sense of the story, but still just titillates. It creates an expectation but gives very little in actual details. I hope it works.

As always, I reserve the right to change my mind.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Darkling Wind is blowing this way...

I'm very excited tonight. I've been working nonstop for weeks. I uploaded the first (unedited) version of Karma Crossed on December 16, just about one month ago. After numerous revisions, changes to the blurb and the cover, I finally landed something that satisfied me. In the meanwhile, I've had other projects going on. I have a number of older manucripts that have been gathering dust, waiting for a publisher to discover me. Now that I've discovered myself (so to speak) it's time to dust them off.

Tonight I finished the cover for The Darkling Wind. This is a story I wrote in 2008 about a boy named Ben Larbinger who -with the help of his best friend Sara- must save his hometown from an invasion of creepy monsters. He has to solve the mystery of his grandfather's journal first, which is complicated by the fact that the journal is encrypted and Ben's grandfather has died.

The story is one of my favorites. It's actually about 32,000 words, which makes it a novella, but in young adult the word count isn't nearly as significant as the story. Maybe that's why I love books for younger audiences. The priority lies in creating a cool story and memorable characters rather than sticking to an arbitrary word count or publisher-specified genre.

Like most of my books, The Darkling Wind is another that's genre-challenged. I don't know how to define it. I could try: It's a young-adult fantasy adventure coming-of-age supernatural love story. Did I miss anything? Heck, I don't know. I just know I like the story. I'm also quite happy with the way my cover came out:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year! Coming soon to a Kindle near you...

I published "Karma Crossed" a couple weeks ago and I'm happy to say I have made some sales. I'm still working on the promotion part because people need to know my book is out there. If they don't know it's there, then they can't possibly download it, and ultimately I want people to read it.

That's the toughest part about this adventure. I'm a writer, not a salesman. The good news is that the kindle version is working nicely and the others are acceptable as well. I've repriced Karma at $2.99 for most venues. The Kindle price will be going up in a couple weeks after I get the rest of my review copies sent out. The reason for this is simple: I have to pay for the review copies. This also provides an opportunity for people who haven't read my work before, because $0.99 isn't much of a gamble for a 93,000 word novel. By February I expect Karma to be priced solidly at $2.99.

Also by February:

I've decided to put aside my current work in progress so I can further pursue this publishing thing. I have several novels that I'm dusting off. By the end of this month I hope to publish: "Shadow Born," "The Heart of the Dragon," "Darkling Wind," and possibly "The Tinkerer's Daughter." These are all young adult fantasy novels. Darkling Wind is closer to novella length, but serviceable as a mid-grade/young adult publication. Due to its length, I will probably price Darkling at $0.99. Again, this provides an opportunity for new readers to look at my work with very little risk.

This list is subject to change because I have to review and possibly revise some of these works before publication. I also have to prepare covers, and go through the process I described in my previous post. Anyway, here's a little teaser. Hopefully this is the final version of the cover for Shadow Born: