Dec 112011
 

That’s right, the Smashwords account is created, the KDP account is created, and the CreateSpace account is done.  I got the confirmation at 12:12 AM that HPM is successfully published in the Kindle Store on Amazon.  At 6:58 AM I received notification that someone actually purchased a copy from Smashwords (and if it was one of you reading this, let me extend my most sincere thanks).  Additionally, I find on Amazon that I’ve sold one copy there as well.

Woohoo!  My first sales!  :party:

Of course, I’m still fumbling through the process of determining distribution points, figuring out how to list the various versions on Goodreads, updating profiles on Twitter, Smashwords, Amazon, Goodreads, lining up advertisements, etc.  I even accessed my Facebook account for the first time in months.  (As a matter of fact, it’s been so long that I found a message on there that my martial arts instructor had left for me in September, asking me if it was my account!)

Some other things that have been going on in the background… if you look at the cover, you’ll notice there is a badge in the lower right corner.  That is a “Red Adept Select” badge – something I’m pretty proud of.  And yes, that’s one of the secrets I’ve had to keep my mouth shut about for a few weeks now.  As a matter of fact, I’m actually writing this post the day before I can actually release it.  By the time anyone sees this, the first promotion will have been released, and it will no longer be a secret.  Red Adept Publishing has chosen Half Past Midnight as one of their Red Adept Select books.

As I said in my previous post, this process has been a veritable roller coaster ride, and there have been a lot of lessons learned.  There are things I will most definitely do again on my next one, and there are things I will most definitely NOT do.  It’s been a great learning experience – though at times the lessons learned have been similar to some I learned in my martial arts training.  :)

Still, though not too many people know it’s there yet, I am now a published author.  And as crazy as this roller coaster ride has been, it’s the first step into a life that I am really looking forward to.  Of course, something else that I’m looking forward to is the time in the (hopefully) near future when I can say I’m finished with the time investment on promoting HPM, and ready to get back to spending the majority of my time writing again.  :computer:

Sep 282011
 

I saw a tweet today that led me to an excellent (if a little dated now) blog post about five traditionally published authors who have switched to self publishing.  It is a July posting on www.howtowriteshop.loridevoti.com (exact posting is here).

In short, the posting is an interview with five established romance writers who, once the rights on their manuscripts reverted back to them, decided to self publish their works in ebook format. I recommend you read what they have to say. I won’t repost it here, as it isn’t mine to show, but it is interesting information..

I also read an article in The Huffington Post from back in December of 2010. (Why do I never find these things until several months after they’re out?)  The article has an interview with Brian S. Pratt, author of the seven volume The Morcyth Saga, and The Broken Key (trilogy), two series that the author has self published through Smashwords and Amazon. To quote the article…

Pratt began publishing with Smashwords (the ebook publishing and distribution platform I run) in early 2009. His first quarterly royalty payment was $7.82.

After describing some of Pratt’s feelings at the time, it goes on to say that as of Q3 of 2010…

…he earned over $18,000 from sales across the Smashwords retail distribution network. This quarter, (Q4 – 2010) with three weeks to go, he’s on track to break $25,000.  At his current rate, he could earn $200,000 in 2011 when he includes his sales at Amazon.

I checked out Pratt’s website.  In addition to the two series of books I already listed, there are also a few stand-alone volumes, as well as a couple more series in progress.  In short, Pratt seems to be a relatively prolific writer.  :)   Go read the article, and the interview that follows it.

 

“So,” you ask, “what else is happening?” :)

Not much, yet a lot.  ?:-)

Half Past Midnight is off to Telemachus Press.  I’ve had a couple of conversations with Steve Jackson, one of the partners there – a very friendly and knowledgeable guy – and got them the first half of the payment (second half is due on completion of the project).  I love the fact that Telemachus operates on a simple, straightforward, work-for-hire business model, with no hidden fees or agendas.

So for now, HPM is out of my hands, and I feel a strange combination of relief and (oddly enough) loss.  For a few days after I sent it in, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself.  Up to that point, it seemed like every free minute was spent on some aspect of the novel; writing, rewriting, editing, discussing it with Lynn O’Dell, planning marketing strategies, second-guessing myself on all of the above… :)   Once I turned the manuscript in, I actually took a couple of days off from writing.  :shock:   It was a strange feeling.

I found that there were other people in the house with me! One introduced herself as my wife, the other as my son. :laugh:  I’m kidding, of course, but it felt a bit strange to be lolling around on the couch watching television with the family. And once I’d spent a few days not writing, I began to feel a strange mixture of guilt and desire for the writing again.  So I got back on ‘The Road to Rejas“, which had been fermenting in my brain for a few weeks.  There were characterizations I couldn’t quite get to gel in my mind, and they finally came together.  So now the progress meter on that one is moving.  It’s not moving as quickly as I would like, but it is moving.  And as is so common for me, as I approach my ten thousand word goal for the story, I am beginning to suspect that I have once again underestimated the story that these characters want to tell.  I may be able to pull it in under ten thousand words, but if not, then I won’t worry about it.  The tale will be what the tale will be.  8-)

We’ll see.

As a trivial side note, after working on this novel for so long, I only recently thought to find out what Rejas means in Spanish.  When I named the town in HPM (and now the companion story “The Road to Rejas“), I wanted to set the story in the Big Thicket area of east Texas, and thought a name with a Spanish feel to it was appropriate.  I won’t go into all the details of how Rejas came to me, but suffice to say, I never actually looked it up until last week.  Turns out that rejas is Spanish for “bars” (and I don’t mean the fun ones with adult beverages).

Yep, I named my town after a jailhouse barrier.  :)

 

And a last-minute update here, as I prepare to post this — Steve Jackson called a few hours ago letting me know that HPM is winding its way through the Telemachus process, and that I will likely receive a phone call within a few days regarding the status and to discuss next steps.  That’s all pretty exciting to me, but possibly not so much for you.  However, he also mentioned that he had written a reply to my last blog posting (Gatekeepers?), and it was awaiting my approval.

I went in and checked it, and was not only flattered, but am also a bit excited about some of what he had to say.  His succinct, no-holds-barred comparisons of the publishing industry to some of the past industries that failed to properly adapt to new technologies was spot on.  In fact, I think I’m going to get back with him and see if he has any objection to my reposting it as a stand-alone guest blog post.  In my opinion, his reply deserves a little more attention than being buried as an addendum to one of my posts.  :-D

If you want to read it now, then check out the Gatekeepers? link and click “responses” at the top right of the post.

For now, that’s it.  I think I’ll go see if I can get in touch with Steve.

 

Until next time, keep safe, keep reading, and keep writing.

Sep 112011
 

Yep, it’s true.  Just look at the progress meter to the right over there.  The writing and editing phase of Half Past Midnight is 100% complete, and I have to admit, I don’t really know how to feel about this.  After what seems like an eternity, I’m finally finished. It’s a really odd feeling.  I mean, I’ve been working on this thing so long that it’s hard to accept that this phase of things is over.  This is a major step, and like I said, I’m not quite sure how to feel about it.

Of course, HPM as a project isn’t entirely completed.  There is still more to do.  I’ve submitted a rough book description to Lynn for her comments, but once we’re done with that, my business with the Red Adept is done for now.  (Of course, I’ve already put my name on her schedule for my next book – even though her next opening isn’t until May of 2012 :shock: .)

And now I have to concentrate on getting the book formatted.  I haven’t contacted them yet, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be going with Telemachus Press for their eBook formatting services.  There is a tiny kink in that their price includes creation of a cover for the book, but they want the client (that would be me) to provide the artwork.  Of course, they can provide the artwork for an additional fee, but that will most likely cause a delay in the process, and I want my novel ready in time for Christmas.  There is also the matter of writing the dedication and acknowledgements, and finding out how I integrate them into the final manuscript for formatting.  I suppose I’ll get details on all this when I contact them.

I also am about to get serious with the podcasting of HPM, and I have The Road to Rejas in the works.  Additionally, I dusted off the first Streets of Payne manuscript today.  It was the first time I’ve even looked at it in several  months, and after what I’ve learned working with Lynn, I can see a lot of room for improvement.  Streets is a planned trilogy currently consisting of two partial manuscripts: The Payne of Her Convictions, and A Glass Half Full. There are also notes on the third novel in the series, but I don’t have any real work invested in it yet.  As for work invested in the first two, I have about 12k words on the first one, and about 20K on the second.  I plan on running about 80K on each of them, but it’s hard to say where they’ll end up.

There is also marketing to worry about, and of course, there’s still that blasted bio to work on. :-/ But all in all, I’m pretty pleased with the way things are going.

In other news, I signed the contract last week for the story I have that will be coming out in an anthology next year.  They still haven’t made the public announcement, so I still can’t give any further details, but it’s another publishing credit under my belt.  As an aside, if anyone is interested, I actually have one previous credit.  I wrote a story for the now defunct Magazine of Unbelievable Stories, and was printed in the Summer 2007 edition, the last issue they ever published.  (Talk about your bad timing. :-( )

So for now, it’s back to work.  I can now say I have a novel that is nearly ready to be published, a short story that’s been accepted for an anthology, and another novel in the works.  Even more important, I have a deadline on that next novel, since it’s got to be ready for Lynn by next May.

Wow, it’s almost as if I’m learning to be a professional writer. 8-)

Well, that’s it for tonight.  Time for sleep.  So for now keep reading, keep writing, and stay safe.

Aug 282011
 

Give me a freaking gold star!!  I finished the latest editing pass on Half Past Midnight and sent it back to my editor, Lynn O’Dell.  Depending on how this round goes, it may end up going to her proofreader next.  Once through the proofreading stage, I work on final packaging (formatting, cover, etc.), and marketing.  In other words, I’m getting close to publishing! 8-)

In addition to this, I also have an idea for a short story based on one of the characters in the novel.  In the novel, Mark Roesch is described as follows:

The man I selected had obviously been a body builder before D-day and had the physique I felt would be necessary, but he had only been in town for a week.  His name was Mark Roesch, a pre-D criminal trial lawyer. There wasn’t much demand for lawyers anymore, so he went into the pool. When I picked him for my trainee, it raised protests from Brad Middlebrook, an older man who had been in for two months. Two months was longer than anyone else, so he would normally have gotten the next shot at an apprenticeship based on this seniority.

Then shortly afterward –

One thing I had noticed about Mark, he didn’t talk unnecessarily. I got the impression that something had happened to him on the road to Rejas, but I hadn’t asked, and he hadn’t offered. Everyone had a pre-D story. Most of them dealt with the deaths of friends and loved ones.

I had also learned that everyone dealt with their losses in their own way. Mark had turned to reticence and was comfortable with things the way they were for the time being.

I kept an image of this character in my head, and it occurred to me that it might be interesting to write more about him.  What exactly had happened to this lawyer – slash – body builder to make him turn to silence and introspection?  It seemed there might be another story there.

So I’ve been “talking” to Mark, pulling his story out of him.  It’s a tragic story, full of pain and guilt, but I think it helps give an extra dimension to the character, as well as another view into the world of Half Past Midnight.  My big concern is that I don’t know how long Mark’s story will be, and if I take too long to get it done, it may not be ready as a companion piece for HPM.

So I suppose that’s enough for now.  I think I should quit writing here, and get back to my discussion with Mark.  :)

Take care, and keep writing.

May 022011
 

After some discussion with my wife, we have decided that the cost of hiring a freelance editor is a worthwhile investment in my (fingers crossed) writing career. So I have spent considerable time looking for a freelancer that would fit the bill for me.  Ironically enough, it’s beginning to look like I’ll end up going with the very first person I investigated (assuming she has time to work with me).

So far, I’ve looked into five different editors.  First was Lynn O’Dell, of Red Adept Reviews.  She comes highly recommended by one of the hosts of The Dead Robots’ Society (Terry Mixon), and on Kindleboards.com.  I checked the Red Adept Review site, and found several author recommendations (which you would expect, I suppose) and used them to check on Amazon.com to see what kind of response they had.  All that I checked had four or five-star reviews, but only one author had enough reviewers (“Portal” by Imogen Rose had 151 reviews with a 4.5 star overall rating) to really catch my attention.  So I bought it and am reading through it to see how the editing is.

Of the other editors I investigated, two had websites that actually had either spelling or grammar errors on them (not exactly good advertisement for an editor, right?), one had stopped freelancing and was now working for a small press (Etopia Press) and so now has to take work on spec with the press, and one simply didn’t offer much other than a one time edit of your manuscript.  Anything beyond that costs extra.

Lynn O’Dell offers an initial edit, sends you back her comments, and once you incorporate (or try to incorporate) those changes into the manuscript, she will then go over it again, AND will have one of her proofreaders go over it as well, for another editing pass, sending you both her comments, and those of her proofreader.  She’s a little more expensive than the others I looked at, but offers considerably more for the price.

I’m still researching, but so far, Lynn is the only one to whom I have submitted my novel.