Tag Archives: Pubslush

Updates, Requests, and Beta Reads

UPDATES: Almost mid-November. Writing-wise, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. I’ll start with the Bad, which isn’t really very bad.

Bad news?

  1. NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] counts are down. Not likely to hit 50,000 words in November.
  2. All Is Silence was requested for consideration by the Phillip K. Dick award administrator, Gordon Van Gelder. Alas, since I released a hardcover version, it does not qualify. Sigh. Nice to be asked.
  3. No review from Publishers Weekly. Bummer.
  4. Pubslush campaign has been pledged $252! [Need $500+ to fund it.]

Good NewsSqueeGaiman

  1. See Bad News #2!
  2. Broke 50,000 reads of All Is Silence on WattPad.
  3. Got a Tweet response from Neil Gaiman himself.
  4. Invited to be a panelist at RadCon 6C over my birthday weekend in 2015.
  5. Invited to do Indies First local bookstore promotion with Village Books on November 29th.
  6. Finished rough draft of the parallelequel novella, Toils and Snares.  [Click to read a scene or two.]
  7. Finishing rough draft of All Is Silence sequel, Straight Into Darkness. [Click to read a sample or two.]
  8. Pubslush campaign has been pledged $252! [We’ve got 18 days left.]

REQUESTS: Please, help. If you can share or spare a pledge for the Pubslush campaign, please do. Or just become a fan.

toils&snares3BETA READERS: Toils and Snares, the parallelequel novella to All Is Silence is ready for Beta Readers as soon as I finish formatting and setting up ebook formats. If you would like to read something set in the Deserted Lands universe and not wait until April… drop me a line. Anyone who responds will get the opportunity to read it early and help my find those dreaded typos and other issues.

Thanks for your support. Gonna go write on before exhaustion hits.

ALL NANO’s EVE

ALLisSILENCEpumpkinHappy Howl-a-ween to those of you who celebrate such things. I’ll post costume pics later.

Two years ago on this night I embarked on a fantastic journey. I planned to write 60,000 words of a novel, tentatively title Zombie Zoo, during the month of November and “WIN” NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month]. It was my third attempt at a decent novel and I had this killer idea. What if an at-risk teen girl, one who might have said, “I hope you all die,” to her family, where to be one of the few survivors of a massive pandemic? I had the idea as early as 2009, I think, so it had been rattling around for a while. I had a list of 42 odd scenes and figured if I could write 30 of them at about 2000 words a scene I would have most of a book. And that’s pretty much what happened.

I hadn’t figured out the ending. So that took three attempts and another six months of stumbling in the dark to get right, but I knew at the end of November I had a winner. I ‘planned’ to publish it the following August [Oh, how brash are the ignorant.]. It didn’t make it out until January of 2014 and has undergone a significant round of editing since then. It has done quite well for a debut self-published novel: a couple awards, a decent amount of sales and average reviews of 4 out of 5 stars.

SiD pubslush koboOne year ago I started writing the sequel, STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS, and things did not go quite as well. I managed 35,000 words, but couldn’t seem to find my footing. So at the end of November I felt like I had about 20 great scenes that didn’t really hold together as a book. I continued working on it, adding another 25,000+ words, even as I marketed and published ALL IS SILENCE. In the last year I have also written 28,000+ words on a 25,000 word novella, a parallelequel to ALL IS SILENCE, called Toils and Snares. I still need a few scenes to call it a draft.

So, National Novel Writing Month this November I will be aiming to write 60,000+ words in the Deserted Lands Universe. See you in December. If you want to help motivate me, please consider becoming a fan of my Pubslush Crowdfunding Campaign for STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS.

Please Pubslush with me…

SiD pubslush kobo

Pubslushing… A kick-start for Writers!

About six months ago I entered a random drawing from the Kobo Writing Life blog for a Pubslush Writing crowd-funding support Giveaway. As with so many other times that I’ve tossed a hat in the ring, I won one of the second prizes–Bronze level support for a Pubslush Campaign.

I had not seriously considered doing any sort of crowd-funding kick-start or other funding model. But then I got to thinking… What if I ran it like a pre-sale? Folks could buy existing or future books from me at a reasonable level rather than essentially donating to a company that might not be successful. I wanted to provide less of a gamble for people willing to invest in me.

All_Is_Silence_coverThe next step was thinking of what would I try to fund? I was very happy with how book one, All Is Silence, turned out. I loved the cover art created by Pintado. I loved the editing by Amanda J. Hagarty. But what I really missed was being able to pay these folks and the line-editors later in the process, more of what they really deserved.

So I created award levels that would provide a level of value similar to the investment of my supporters. For example, for $5 supporters will receive an ebook copy of the new novel Straight Into Darkness [retail $6.99]. For $20 supporters will receive a Signed Paperback copy of All Is Silence & All Is Silence T-Shirt [retail $21.99].

Please pass the word, let your friends know about this opportunity to get stuff from me for near the regular price and it will help me fund other artists and editors who will help me produce an even better book the the first!

Thanks for coming along for the ride. Please come fan the Pubslush campaign even if you can’t afford to pledge anything. And many thanks to the wonderful folks at Kobo Writing Life and Pubslush!

One Tin Soldier pre-order and other updates…

I’ve released another short story, One Tin Soldier final microOne Tin Soldier on Amazon as a pre-release. I’m experimenting with the marketing tools available to KDP select so I can decide what to use for my next novel. Here’s the cover art for One Tin Soldier. I created the art work with Canva for $1 and many hours of work and feedback from friends, family and fans. I highly recommend trying it out if you are planning on releasing any e-books.

Just Desert Cover Art

It’s my second self-made cover. I also designed the cover for my first short story on Amazon, Just Desert. Both are available for free through Kindle Unlimited.

In addition to this work on cover art I have also finished the design brief for Straight Into Darkness and will be running a PubSlush crowdfunding campaign in order to compensate my editors and cover designer at the professional levels they deserve. You can become a fan of the PubSlush here.

The rewards for the campaign are closely related to the amount pledged. For example, you’ll receive a Signed Paperback copy of All Is Silence & All Is Silence T-Shirt pubslush-logofor your $20 pledge. In some ways, my idea for crowd-sourced fundraising is to pre-sell and resell items at near regular price so that people pledging funds get a good return on their money along with my greatest thanks and some good parking karma!

Now, I’m off to finish up some trainings for my day job teaching high school English. Then I need to grade papers. In anticipation of tomorrow nights Open House. Thank you for your support. Page 2.

The Doldrums, Rising Tide and Banned Books

The last month has been a hard one in terms of writing. Though I wrote 55,000 words this summer, probably more than I have ever written, it was not the 75,000 and the finished rough drafts of a novel and a novella. Instead, I have unfinished drafts of two novels and a novella. I also hit some walls in terms of writing everyday, one of the biggest was my day job as a teacher coming back into 45+ hours a week focus.

My sales also fell, despite being involved in two sales for e-books. My book is no longer new and no longer getting lots of attention. Now is the time to be gearing up for the next book, but the state of the next book is not where I want it to be which is also somewhat crippling.

I’ve had a steady increase of readers and reviews on GoodReads, followers and readers on WattPad and followers on Facebook. Twitter has stabilized at about 1000 followers and my e-mail list at about 130. I feel like I am in a good place, but the doubts of the doldrums decimate my desires. [Can you tell I’m teaching poetry and literary devices?]Hot#3WP

On the other hand, the good news is really good. On WattPad the number of people who read the first section and go has been trending steadily upward from approximately 3% to 4% and now over 5.64%. It’s broken the top hundred in Science Fiction and hit #3 on the SF/Teen Fiction list! At this rate I’ll hit 100,000 reads in April as I release book two, Straight Into Darkness.

This weekend I got to hang out with readers and writers at The Chanticleer Conference, Awards Banquet and Books By the Bay festival. I sold more books than in the previous month and got to network with some awesome authors.

I’ll be starting my PubSlush campaign October 17th to crowd-fund higher payments for cover art and editing on book two so that it is an even stronger book than All Is Silence was. Glad you’re along for the ride!

Oh, check out my Banned Books reading from Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. “I grok humans, Jill.”

 

 

Noveling: 7 Ways You Can Help

Okay. Really, really, need to get more fiction written. Lots of marketing, some plotting, etc. Some great times with family in the last 10 days, but not enough words!

How can I help, Rob?  Here are a variety of options that take anywhere from a little time to a lot. You can also ask me if you see anything on a social media site whether I’ve met my daily word goal! 🙂

  1. Write me a review. Post in on Amazon, GoodReads and anywhere else you feel like! Here are one-click links to All Is Silence for all major markets so you don’t have to search for the book.
  2. No time for a review? You can still rate it/rank it on Amazon/Goodreads. Those count, too. Please be honest. If it’s a TWO STAR please give me TWO STARS! “This is for posterity!”
  3. No time to rank/rate? Share/forward one of the links on WattPad, FacebookGoogle+Twitter, Pinterest, or THE CAN’T MAKE IT TO WORLDCON SALE. Like my author page on Facebook.
  4. Other things that may take slightly longer. Fan me on PubSlush for my crowdsource fundraiser to increase what I can pay editors/cover designers up front.
  5. Request a copy at your local library. Donate a copy to your local alternative high school, or any H.S.
  6. Buy a copy of the signed, limited edition [50 only] Hardcover editions. Or buy a shirt, a paperback, a CD or an e-book.
  7. Make me dinner? 🙂

 

Best Laid Plans: Falling and getting up again…

I broke my 500 words a day streak two weeks ago at 34 days. I restarted and went another five days. Now I’ve blown it two days in a row. Not just the 500+ words a day streak, but the Write Everyday Streak after 52 days! No words. No fiction. No blog posts. A few social media posts, but very few, at that. And now the anti-streak is started…

Did I get Word Count Paralysis? Maybe. Did I fall out of love with my WIP [Work In Progress]? Well, WIPs in this case, but yes, perhaps. What I didn’t do? I didn’t sit down and say, “I’m going to sit here until I write 500 words.” I have been thinking intensely about the two pieces I’m working on, but both are at a bit of a waiting point. And I don’t really feel like starting on the next two WIPs. Yes, there is a queue. Yes, I know what I’m going to write next. Do I want to start on them without finishing drafts of these? No way.

What I did do while I was not writing? I did put in several hours of Author Work. I reworked the order of the Outward Bound: made the Foreword into an Afterword and cut down the stuff a reader must read before getting to the fiction. Tis also allows the potential reader to read a whole story, plus the beginning of the Title Story. I also added a bonus sample of Toils and Snares. All this is in anticipation of a re-release on KDP select.

Outward Bound has sold a total of FOUR copies on non-Amazon distribution (and about SIX sales on Amazon!), at least one of which was to me. So, I am pulling it from Bookbaby for the time being. In the early years of self-publishing [2012] they charged $100 to list a book and then $ each year. I snagged a killer coupon $29 deal, which obviously never paid off. Even with sales of All Is Silence. BookBaby still made $ off me!

So, I’m going to use Outward Bound to play around with Kindle Select. It can’t do much worse. My goal with Outward Bound was to learn about self-publishing systems, so I am still going to use it as such. I’ll be giving it away for free from time to time. Maybe doing a countdown deal and probably eventually make it PERMA-FREE (kinda like Permafrost, but different.).

So, I did some marketing. Coming Soon, in addition to the Pubslush for Straight Into Darkness’ Editing and Cover Art jumpstart [Save the date 10/17/2014], I will be running a short “Can’t Get to Worldcon” ebook sale on All Is Silence. I’ve also started releasing All Is Silence on Wattpad as an experiment to see if I can expand my readership before the next book comes out. Come check it out, vote for it, comment, tell when needs to happen in the next two books!

Now. Back to writing.

My Path to Indie Publication: Part X—Finding Equilibrium

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 PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart VII. Part VIIIPart IX

Part X—Finding Equilibrium: the agony and the ecstasy of new authorhood. *

With the success of the three readings equaling sales of more than 70 books, I was very hyped about attending Norwescon 37. I created and ordered bookmarks—5000 for about $200 including shipping. They had special pricing codes: $3 off either a signed print book or a Kobo eBook as well as a note to find me on social media and I’d meet them at the con and sell them a signed copy for a great deal without the shipping and handling. Elena and I went down to the stuffing party to help put 3500 of my bookmarks into the swag bags. The result? [Because, I’m following Kris Rusch’s rule of not offering a deal unless you can track whether it is successful or not.] Nada. Zip. Zilch. The only book I sold was one that was already promised months before to a beta reader. She bought a second book, because I didn’t have change! Sheesh.

The best thing to happen at Norwescon was that I got to see Gordon Van Gelder, he had seen somewhere, a bookmark maybe, that I had a book coming out. He asked if I’d send him a review copy, which of course I was happy to do as I could then send him one of the new and rare copies with the Dante Rossetti Award announced on the cover. Will it lead to a review in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction? Who knows. But , alas, if this one doesn’t break with him, perhaps the next one will.

I still have about 1500 bookmarks and will be taking many of them to ALA14 to see if anything happens this time around. I also gave out a couple handfuls at Vikingcon in Bellingham with no discernible sales off site. I think bookmarks are cool, but don’t spend $200 and expect to get it back. I actually prefer the postcards that I made in cover-shaped format, a better way to get the name and the graphic out there. 

Vikingcon was really awesome. I met a bunch of cool people, and renewed my acquaintance with Greg and Astrid Bear. I met Greg at a Vikingcon in the 1990s and then got to be on a panel about Robert Heinlein with him in 2005 at Norwescon. So, I got to hang out with Greg Bear, I got a free table in the conference hall to sell my books and I got to meet really cool people. I am a fairly terminal optimist, so I signed 10 books with my name and inscribed Vikingcon 2014! But none sold before the panel with Greg. The panel on technology in SF, “Text me, Scotty.” went well. After the panel, my daughter Sheridan, womanning the booth with her daughter and younger sister, had sold two copies. A few people who had attended the panel came by and bought books. Then the Vikingcon folks came to pick up the signed copy I’d promised them. And as the Vendor’s hall was closing I sold the last of the 10 books. Maybe next time I should pre-inscribe 50? Nah. Lesson learned.

The biggest bump of sales not related to meeting people directly came from a friendly source. Dean Kahn, the Bellingham Herald editor who had guided the Serial Science Fiction story Memories of Light the previous year asked his readers to nominate the best books set in Bellingham. Four fans [also friends] wrote in praising my book. The day it came out I sold 9 ebooks and 2 print books in the next 24 hours and several more over the next few days. Yeah!

I’m currently sending out some short fiction set in the same universe to magazine editors in the hopes that a story might lead people to the novel. I’m also planning to release a standalone Deserted Lands novella, Toils and Snares, in the fall as an ebook. As I write this sales have gone flat, but they’ve already been better than I expected. I’ve got more readings set up and a trip to Las Vegas for the American Library Association convention followed by a drive up to Provo where the next book, Straight Into Darkness takes place.

The long awaited hardcover of All Is Silence will be here soon as will summer with more time to write. I’m doing a PubSlush campaign so I can pay my editors and cover artists more. The benefits will be commensurate with the crowd-funding amounts. More to come after school comes out.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. It’s been a roller coaster for me, but as this ride continues, I feel more and more certain that choosing the Indie Publishing route was absolutely the right decision for me. As I have more insight into this amazing process, I’ll blog a bit more, but for now… I’ve gotta write on…

* 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 VIII–Print 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 PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart 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. “Did you do the pagination yourself?” 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’t 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 – 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

Pubslush & Kobo Winner.

Random drawing this time!
Received this e-mail on February 24th. All because I took a few minutes to toss my hat in the ring. I think tossing my hat in the ring has been a key aspect of my success.
Dear Robert,
Congratulations! You are a Runner Up Winner of Kobo’s Raise Funds for Your Book with Pubslush Contest, sponsored by Kobo Writing Life. I was thrilled to see your name selected, offering this new opportunity for KWL to help support you and your work.
The prize includes:

·      Pubslush’s Silver Author Assist program

·      Exclusive Kickoff on the Kobo Writing Life Community Page on Pubslush

·      Author Feature on the Pubslush Blog

·      Pubslush Tote in the mail (collectively, the “Runner Up Prize”)