Tag Archives: Mark Leslie

Coming to the end of 2014! Thanks and more…

Looking forward to 2015 as we wrap up 2014!

What’s to come? 2014 was amazing for me as an author. It was everything I hoped for, if not everything I dreamed of. Where is that contract for the foreign rights, and the option on the screenplay? ūüėČ

indiereadernextpicsSeriously, I hit some top ten lists, got reviewed by Don Sakers for Analog magazine, won an award, rubbed elbows literarily with Veronica Roth and Scott Westerfield and literally with Hugh Howey, who complimented my pagination! In addition to Hugh, I met Matt de la Pena, Corinne Duyvis and Mark Leslie. I sold more than half of my first printing, plus a whole lot more e-copies. I’ve exchanged e-mails with Mindy McGinnis and been retweeted by Neil Gaiman himself!

I wrote more than 100,000 words of new Dystopian-compactfiction by the 1st of December, setting¬†a new record. I am sending out a newsletter tomorrow with information on how to get beta-reader copies of my Deserted Lands novella, TOILS AND SNARES. I’m filling in the gaps in the ALL IS SILENCE sequel STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS.

WattPadWorldMap-AiS
Readers of ALL IS SILENCE on Wattpad. Darker blue is more reads! No one is reading me in Mongolia. Neither upper nor lower.

As of tonight ALL IS SILENCE has had 91,000 reads on WattPad–over 1000 folks have read the first 12 chapters. AiS¬†averages about 150¬†unique readers each day, 27% of which are in the Phillipines! It¬†hit #2 behind Scott Westerfield’s UGLIES back¬†when Wattpad allowed each work to be listed in two categories. Now that it’s only listed in Science Fiction it has gotten as high as #13. Maybe tomorrow it will break into the top 10! Thanks to Amanda Hagarty for all the advice and support. And to everyone else who has been so amazing this year:

  • The readers. The readers. The readers.
  • My beta¬†readers, my family, my students, my friends… [many of you fit more than one of these categories.]
  • Brendan, Sam, Christina, Paul, Rachel and everyone else at Village Books
  • Don Sakers and Analog
  • Kiffer Brown and Chanticleer Reviews
  • Bellingham Writer’s Group and Cozy Corner Coffee and Books for hosting it and selling my book, too!
  • The Hoquiam Timberland Regional Library
  • Harbor Drug in my hometown.
  • Mark Leslie and the crew at Kobo Writing Life
  • Whatcom Community Library System
  • Bellingham Public Libraries
  • My editors, proofreaders
  • Upstart Crows and the Whatcom Writers & Publishers
  • Pintado for an amazing cover
  • Damian Vines for amazing author photos
  • The Heinlein Forum on Facebook
  • All the writers who inspired and inspire me
  • And everyone else I forgot!

THANKS FOR THE AMAZING YEAR. See you in 2015!

Why I WattPad – Part I

Why I Wattpad is a continuing series of blogposts about my first year on Wattpad. Here are Part II, Part III, and Part IV

Have to shout out to my editor/writing friend/marketing maven,¬†Amanda June Hagarty! She convinced me to give Wattpad a try. Check out her Middle-grade Speculative story, Little Lacey, she’s got 34 chapters ready to read.

As of this evening,¬†All Is Silence¬†had 32,222 reads, ranked #2 behind Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies in SF/Teen category, #50 in SF, #583 in Teen, Averaging 9%+ read-through rate from the first part of the story to the second. I also have 2 verified sales due to WattPad and probably a few more. The most exciting thing is, for every chapter I upload, another 100 people read through. At this rate I may hit 100,000 reads by the end of November, 200K by New Years and a million by May! Thousands of readers will have completed All Is Silence when my next book comes out. And I get some great feedback and fun comments directly from the readers.

WattPad may not bring everyone success, but I’m onboard. I’m also reading some really great authors: Margaret Atwood–Oryx & Crake,¬†Mark Leslie–the Kobo Writing Author Service’s guy and a smashing writer, and Scott Westerfeld. It’s a great platform to build an audience, most especially if you are writing anything that appeals to teen readers. Come check it out. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Can’t Make it to WorldCon Sale and more marketing thoughts…

This post is really about marketing experiments. If you’re not interested in marketing and haven’t bought All Is Silence and would like it on ebook, go¬†here. In paperback or hardcover go here. Now back to the topic: marketing! In Three Parts.

1. So. Do sales help? I’ve marked All Is Silence down temporarily in part to support other writers and on the off chance that I might sell a few copies. It’s currently $3.99 here. It will stay on sale until the 20th. The weird thing? And this happened the last time I marked it down as well… I had no sales. Not a one. No bump. Like I said… Weird. Yet. At the regular price of $6.99? It sells a few each week. At $4.99 it sells a few each week. I’ll continue to explore.

2. Does exposure help? Last Sunday after literally [not figuratively] six months of self-debate, I uploaded the first section of the first chapter of All Is Silence onto WattPad. What convinced me? More like who. Amanda J. Hagarty, Mark Leslie and Margaret Atwood. Amanda has been gently proselytizing WattPad for months. Mark Leslie got me on the site to read Evasion. And Margaret? Her novel¬†Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy, #1) is up on WattPad as well as available for sale everywhere else. So, I’m planning on putting up sections of chapters a few times¬†a week with one chapter per week. It will finish about the¬†time Deserted Lands¬†book two: Straight Into Darkness comes out next March or April. It’s got a few more fixes than the final print version and it will remain free and readable through WattPad’s interface. Will it have an effect on sales? Mailing List? Fans? Who knows. Maybe I should put a how did you hear about question on the newsletter sign-up.

2. Does Kindle Select Help? Over the last year, I have sold half a dozen copies of my debut Fiction/Poetry collection Outward Bound. I probably purchased at least two of those copies myself. It cost me far more to create and upload it only figuring cover art, formatting, fees [BookBaby special $29! The same services they do for FREE now!} and not including writing time. Most of the stories and poems are a decade or more old and most have been sold and appeared in print. The goal was to create an ebook and get it up on all the platforms and perhaps get some exposure in the process. It was mostly a warm-up for All Is Silence. In that, it was successful. I made errors doing it so I could make new errors the next time.

A few weeks ago I decided to pull Outward Bound from all markets and try Kindle Select and see if I could use this collection as a marketing tool. I reordered the ebook so that the forward became an afterward thereby letting folks read a complete story, a poem, and part of a third piece, the title story. I also added more ‘bonus’ materials: a teaser for the Deserted Lands novella: Toils and Snares that I plan to release in the fall. So, if you are currently on Kindle Unlimited you can read it for free. I’ll also do some sales, I think, especially as I get close to other releases. And we’ll see. Does it get some traction with marketing? Does it lead people to buying the novella, signing up for the newsletter? We’ll see.

Now, back to writing the next books.

 

 

Free eBook of ALL IS SILENCE 24 hours TODAY 7/14

Please check out all the fantastic authors giving away e-books for free. Most of them are self-published. Take a chance, try someone new. I highly recommend, Mark Leslie.

Here’s my link for All Is Silence. [If it doesn’t work go here.] Yes, it will bring you back to my site, but if you jump through the hoop it increase the referrals to the sponsor CJ Lyons!

My Path to Indie Publication: Part VIII‚ÄďPrint Release, Awards and Readings.

Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie Publication: Part I. Part II. Part III. Part IV. Part V. Part VI. Part VII. Part VIII. Part IX.

Print Release, Awards and Readings *

February 15th was my 47th birthday and that week Pintado’s cover for All Is Silence was awarded a Gold Star by Joel Friedlander’s Book Designer Cover Contest.ECDA-GoldStart-Jan-2014 The shipment of 500 books came in and I was ushered into the bowels of the Village Books store, where I discovered that 28 boxes of books will fit in a RAV4. The first of many surreal moments was sitting in the VB basement signing a box full of books. Paul Hanson, Store Manager, suggested that VB could host my Release Party. We set a date for March 14th which would give us time to advertise.

That weekend I wrote and published the first post in this series as I tried to create content for my blog instead of just announcing my writing progress. I spent the weekend away on Lummi Island in a friend’s cabin, updating my blog, creating the Rocket Tears Press website and a website for the cabin we were renting. [You can rent it, too. Special discount for Educators.]

Dystopian-compactThe following week the 2013 Dante Rossetti Young Adult Fiction Awards were announced and All Is Silence won 1st Place in the Dystopian category. Not only did it feel great to have the recognition, but part of the award is a professional review and promotion by the Chanticleer Reviews folks.

The next few weeks were a blur. Chanticleer Reviews invited me to do a reading at their booth at the Association of Writers and Publishers in Seattle and asked for books to sell. The reading was standing room only, since it was in the middle of an aisle, (As you can see in this photo montage by fellow author and editing peer, Jesikah Sundin) but it gave me a chance to try out my material. My editor and writing buddy, Amanda J. Hagarty helped out at the booth and got folks excited about the book. After the reading she came running. Hugh Howey had been sighted at the Amazon Booth. Jesikah and I rushed after her with books in hand.

We got pictures and Hugh asked if I was the writer of the book in my hand. He took it and flipped through it, seeming impressed. ‚ÄúDid you do the pagination yourself?‚ÄĚ I nodded, ¬†way too FanBoy at the moment to think of much to say other than thank him for all he’s done for Indie Authors with the Author’s Earnings site. I didn‚Äôt even offer him a copy of my book. Oops.

While researching this post I found a draft of a post [now published] I had started March 3rd titled: Pubslush & Kobo Winner. I had entered a random drawing this time and won! So, this summer I will be running a Pubslush crowdsourcing fundraiser so I can pay my cover artist and editors more on the second novel. Mark from Kobo had asked me to write a post about my relationship with Village Books for the Kobo Writing Life Blog. I had written the first draft over my Birthday weekend, submitted it and then forgot about it. It appeared somewhere in there.

Indieinsiders-nextpicksAll of these interactions with Kobo lead to the next big win. Thanks to Mark Lefebvre [writer name: Mark Leslie] of Kobo who nominated ALL IS SILENCE, it was listed as #1 on the inaugural IndieReader Next Picks list for April. In this maelstrom of excitement, I also forgot to post this one!

Next: Part IX ‚Äď Party On.¬†Where our author protagonist does a release party and some readings.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

My Path to Indie Publication: Part VII‚ÄďThe Harder I Work the Luckier I Get

My Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie Publication: Part I. Part II. Part III. Part IV. Part V.  Part VI. 

The Harder I Work the Luckier I Get *

The Harder I work the Luckier I get. I know this quote has been said many times and many ways for many years. But I heard it first from one of the hardest working authors out there,¬†Kevin Anderson.¬†I don‚Äôt know if I heard him say this or if I heard it from¬†Kris¬†and¬†Dean¬†or someone else, but the thought stuck. I didn‚Äôt always pull it off, but I kept it as a goal. How does an artist get successful? By putting their work and their ‚Äėself‚Äô out for public consumption.

At the end of November I was stressed. I had only hit about 35,000 words for NANOWRIMO 2013 – Straight into Darkness, compared to the nearly 60,000 the year before. I wanted to get the pre-release copies of the novel out before the Holidays, but I had only finished the ‚Äúlast‚ÄĚ draft, post-ARC, version 8.0 of All Is Silence at the end of October. This and Scrivener‚Äôs learning curve for print production, much more challenging than e-book, took the air out of my sales a couple times.

All Is Silence went out to the copy-editors after edits from me based on Advanced Reader Copies [ARCs] feedback. Five chapters at a time, a few days apart. 12/12, 12/15-19 5 chapter each day, then 12/24 and finally 12/28. I rewrote the ending chapter after significant advice from my partner, Elena.

I pushed through winter break editing and formatting, still hoping to release the e-book on January 1st. My vacation from school was anything but. While all this was going on I couldn‚Äôt stop the marketing piece. I ran two GoodReads giveaways over Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. I blogged some. I built my Twitter following, Facebook, Google+ and newsletter lists. Christopher Key, a reviewer I‚Äôd known through my Shakespeare and theatre connections, agreed to review All Is Silence for the Entertainment News NorthWest, January edition. It was a stellar review noting Lizzie’s anti-hero. It came out on the 4th¬†with a mention on the cover and then on the 7th of January All Is Silence went live to the world on two of the three major ebooksellers as I worked on finishing the formatting for print version.

Due to accidentally hitting the unpublish button on Kobo, I had trouble getting All Is Silence onto that market. I’d tried to republish and was waiting on a 72 hour process that took over a week. I was also fighting with ebook formatting wanting to keep my text in the fonts I had chosen for print. Baskerville for most of the text, but Arial Narrow Bold for the e-mails and texting between the characters. Then, a most auspicious e-mail arrive. Sam Kass, of Village Books, wanted to know if I was interested in a workshop with Kobo about their Self-Publishing site: Kobo Writing Life. I was frustrated by Kobo support’s lack of responsiveness on my issue {though I had not tried phone support [since phone calls are actually my Kryptonite. (I later used their phone support and received more immediate information.)]}.  Sam connected me with Mark Lefebvre, director of Kobo’s Self-Publishing and Author Relations [And an author himself under the name Mark Leslie]. He graciously helped me through my issues and even bought the first Kobo copy of All Is Silence when the narrative hooked him.

#3 with a bulletWe did the workshop. I learned a lot and gave pretty good advice, I think. Kobo ran a promotion for the book and lo and behold, the next day I was #7 on Kobo’s U.S. Young Adult Science Fiction chart. It went as high as #3, surrounded by Veronica Roth’s Divergent Universe books (Allegiant was the next book and her short stories filled many of the next rows). My story with Kobo was only beginning as I readied for the February 18th release date.

I wrapped up another GoodReads Giveaway at the end of January and was disappointed with the results, but to counter that was the good news that All Is Silence had been named a Finalist in the Dante Rossetti YA contest.

Next Week:¬†Part VIII‚ÄďPrint Release, Awards and Readings.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top