Monthly Archives: August 2013

Heroes Wanted — 99ct

When I tried to set up the audiobook I prepared, I found out that I have to have the eBook in place first. So I used most of the week to publish a two-story collection (roughly 25 pages) outside my normal schedule. The eBook “Heroes Wanted” contains two short stories:

Life™ – Divisions of Myths and Legends
or How to order a dragon
Mondays are hard in any office. When Siegfried von Xanthen is calling before opening hours, the day at Life™ – Divisions of Myths and Legends goes downhill for Rose.

A Different Perspective
Romans attack, and Freyja flees with the women of her clan while the men fight, including her beloved Thordal. Can Allfather Odin help Freyja to save Thordal’s life?

Heroes Wanted

As an eBook, “Heroes Wanted” is only 99ct — as an audiobook it’s bound to be much more expensive (but you get nearly a full hour of audio for the money). I’ll post a link as soon as I know when the audio will be available. It will take some time to get approved and everything.

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Fun with Cover Design

I just finished a fabulous class on Cover Design with Dean Wesley Smith and Allyson Longueira. (Dean is an amazing writer and knowledgeable publisher. Allyson is a professional book designer with a masters degree in design.)

I really never thought I’d be able to publish my own work, mainly because the cover art terrified me. Dean helped me over that hurdle in July, 2011 when I took his “Be Your Own Publisher” workshop, a face-to-face class on the Oregon coast. Learning to create simple but functional covers using PowerPoint (or in my case Keynote) enabled me to put my first ebooks up for sale.

Dean’s “Promotions” class in February of 2012 pulled my work up a notch. I learned so much about fonts and the placement of tag lines in that one. My redesigned covers improved a LOT. I even managed to brand one series of novels.

But THIS class *faints* OMG! What an eye-opening experience. Let me share a before and after example. I think you’ll see the difference…

Currently published cover:

FaeryCover-2a
New design after class:

FaeryUn-3

Needless to say, I’ll be upgrading all of my cover art in the near future *lol* BUT since I just signed up for Dean and Allyson’s “Interiors” class, I think I’ll wait until I’m ready to upgrade my total POD packages 😀

I’m really grateful to all my teachers (Dean, Allyson, Holly Lisle, and many more), but especially to Dean for giving me the courage and the confidence to create WDM Publishing …. and for leading me step-by-step into this new world of publishing.

What an AWESOME time to be a writer!

Guest Post from TC Southwell- Tips for New Writers

 Here’s a timely point-counterpoint to balance out the gloom and silliness of my last entry, we are privileged today to hear from a guest author, brought to the IB by Dan Marvello at the Magic Appreciation Tour. And her work must be great, I’m such a sucker for cool covers…

We welcome TC Southwell,author of several fantasy books including her new Demon Lord series; in her life TC has seen much of the alleged-real world from Sri Lanka to South Africa. Her blog tour wraps up this week and I hope you’ll take the opportunity soon to visit her sites and view her work. For now, let’s sample her—

Tips for New Writers

 First and foremost, follow your inspiration, and secondly, don’t give up. Find your genre, which should be the one you most enjoy reading, and be inspired to write original stories that utterly captivate you. If you find them engrossing, so will your readers, and your passion for your story will translate into your writing. Write for your personal pleasure, and never for what other people might find interesting. That’s a recipe for churning out more dross based on existing stories. Find something new, or, better still, invent it, and avoid McGuffins – plot devices used solely as motivators, in the form of sought-after objects or goals – like the plague. Let your characters’ decisions, foibles or situations drive your story.TCSouthwell

 Love your characters; you’ll want to write about them more, and your readers will pick up on your feelings for them and empathise. Ensure your story is fast-paced and engaging, with never a dull moment, even in the descriptions. Everything should be worthy of reading multiple times without becoming boring. If it does bore you, it will definitely bore your readers, so cut it out or sum it up and get on with the story. Long windedness is the bane of some writers, who can’t seem to help becoming side tracked by long explanations of things that really don’t need explaining at all. By the same token, don’t be vague. Ensure your story is easily understood, with little margin for error, lest your readers get the wrong end of the stick and totally misunderstand what you’re trying to say. Then again, don’t repeat stuff; it’s annoying! Say it once, but be clear.

 Edit your book while you’re writing it and after you finish it. Hire a professional editor if you don’t feel your prose is up to par and you don’t have the skills to improve it, but make sure you get it as good as you can before handing it over. Writing can be a lot of fun, depending, of course, on your method, but editing should be a huge part of your process. Bad grammar, typos, spelling errors and logic issues are off-putting, and info dumps, stating the obvious and repetition are irritating. Don’t confuse your readers by trying to find a unique ‘voice’. This is a mistake new writers sometimes make, thinking they need to have a fresh style, while all readers want is something that’s written clearly and concisely, and that keeps them turning the pages.

TCSBanner7-6

Thanks so much, TC! As part of her tour, TC is making a special offer to all Independent Bookworms, and I urge you to take full advantage.

The new series is Demon Lord, and Book One is available FREE. Plus, she’s offering a 15% discount on Demon Lord II, Dark God for 2 days, 13 – 14 August!

Promotional price: $2.54 on Smashwords, where you can use Coupon Code: JX99Z

And if you need to get in touch with TC, here are some options that will cost you less than a first-class ticket to South Africa. Which I have had, once, and I assure you if you get one, use it! But meantime…

Where to find T C Southwell online

Website: http://www.tcsouthwellbooks.com
Twitter: TCSouthwell
Facebook: Facebook profile
Blog: http://tcsouthwell.blogspot.com/

A Hit with the Aliens!

I think my writing is having a mid-life crisis.

WHY couldn't I have the usual kind?

WHY couldn’t I have the usual kind?

The dam first broke four summers ago- truly chronicling the Lands of Hope- and my productivity was very high I can tell you. Sure, Stephen King and George R.R. Martin do better. But not by much. And they make MONEY.

I'm telling you, I have to tweet about this!

I’m telling you, I have to tweet about this!

Plus I had other ideas, about how to support the work. Compendium material (right here on this blog), maps, a chronology– checklist items I ticked off to build the ever-desired platform. Starting with roughly the same knowledge of e-publication and social networks as the average survivor of the Black Plague, I’ve come to a point where I know some stuff. More important, I know some folks. Time is limited, I don’t need to tell you that, but I make a few rounds, read great entries, drop comments. I curate the odd bit of trivia to FB or G+, I review fellow authors with pleasure. And about once a month I come here and put in what I honestly think is some of my best material, alongside the splendid writers of the Independent Bookworm.

My writing has slowed recently, for reasons I’m well aware of (basically, the Lavender Lady intimidates me no end). I’ll start to roll the rock again soon. But meantime, I’ve dallied. And I’ve lost energy. I look around at the aggressive marketing and candid self-promotion others do. My honest reaction? Hey, I already have one rat race, why write just to pick up another?

My enthusiasm for marketing myself has fallen through the floor. My inner sap is whining- ‘Why aren’t I already famous?’

I can see the Lands of Hope in here!

I can see the Lands of Hope in here!

So I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. But I haven’t accomplished even more. The posts, the time-line, the tales themselves- there they are, but what does it add up to? It’s not just how many have paid to read my stories- I get it, I’m a drop in the ocean- but sometimes I feel like nothing I’ve written, even the free stuff, makes any noise at all. It’s falling over alone in a forest somewhere . We’re all busy: and  I don’t write SHORT things. Strike three and I’m still on deck.

Then it hit me. I need the aliens.

Must--read--Eath--books...

Must–read–Earth–books…

Remember that assignment in seventh grade, where the teacher said “think of ONE thing you can put in a room that will survive the nuclear war- aliens will find it and you want to put something in there that will tell them all about the human race”. I loved that assignment. Extra points if you can guess what I suggested- this was the 70s, so nothing that starts with a small “i”. Electricity yes, but not portable. Guess.

So just now, I had my own assignment moment- wouldn’t the aliens love me? No, stick with this- it’s a gasser.

Suppose some kind of bizarre magnetic pulse hits the earth, blankets the planet with radiation that kills all the people and affects part of that beloved Internet which is our modern record. All the content, things that anyone has ever WRITTEN, that stuff stays- web pages, the composition, art, video clips, etc. But

But- I was in 5,000 Circles on Google!

But- I was in 5,000 Circles!

EVERYTHING THAT MEASURES IT is gone- the page hits, the Likes, the buzz, bestseller lists and on and on- that’s poof. Google’s entire search engine with ranked findings is

ground zero- boom, atomized, no trace.

The internet is now level. Everything that’s written is there together. That’s what the aliens find.

So there’s Stephen King’s book, and GRRM’s, and mine, on Amazon- but no sales records. And their blogs, their pages, and mine, side by side in a cybernetic sense. Aliens would be just as likely to find me as either of them. Once they figure out our alphabet, I come first! And they’d like my stuff- there’s adventure in there, cool things that happen to great characters in amazing situations. And they’d be completely ignorant that I was ever just one of the faceless mass of indies who struggled to gain the slightest traction.

To the aliens, I’d be a bestseller.

As big as… as big as Robert Galbraith.

This is the kind of pathetic, cold comfort my imagination flees to when my spirits about writing are low. I’m blogging about it for two reasons. First and foremost I’m still scared of my MC, and can’t use my time the way every writer would want, not yet. But I also think this, the depths that an unknown author can feel, are worth recording for posterity. We keep doing this, despite feeling so empty, long months and years of shoveling sand on a beach and getting bupkis back.

Five Signs You’re Not a Success As an Independent Author

1) You set your preferences on Smashwords to notify you every time one of your books sells. You haven’t needed to turn it off yet.

2) You spend time thinking about how you can pump your Klout score higher than your age. Because of course that will make it better.

Feels like work sometimes

Feels like work sometimes

3) You wait as long as you can- maybe six weeks- before checking Amazon sales. You know there’s nothing. You’re still crushed. You check again every day for a week, to make sure there was no mistake.

4) The day after you leave two business cards at the local library you see an extra page-view on one of your books and you think “aha, it’s working”.

5) The “Reach” factor on your Facebook page slips into negative territory.

Let the pity-fest begin! Add to the list, append your personal gripes, share the misery (we all know it wants company). Or if you’re minded to spoil the paalienreadrty, a few tips on what gets you cranked up again, the encouragement you find even in the darkest hour. I might listen to that too.

But hurry- Optimist that I am, I think the aliens really are coming. So I will have to delete this page soon, else they start to suspect…

P.S.: Answer to the homework assignment-

pinball

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