Update Schedule

A Sign by a Path

I’m trying to ensure that my marketing efforts are effective these days. Now, one thing that has absolutely been working is giving away my first book for free. Well, sort of. It’s getting downloaded, but it’s not getting reviews. That’s alright though, it’s getting downloads. Every day. Now, at this point, I haven’t done a lot to make people who read it give me reviews. I do plan to edit and re-release it (still for free). So, that’s good.

The next piece is the blog. If you are reading this then you are aware my blog exists of course. I’m looking at how often I post. Right now it’s every day, which seems like I can manage, it, but I wonder if maybe it’s too often.

If so, if I should do post less often, please let me know. I don’t want to be overdoing it.

I try to share something small, and often, instead of something large rarely. Would you like more in-depth posts?

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Conflicted

Lisbon from Above

I have been diving so deep into this whole book marketing thing. Everyone has a different take on it. One person has a seven-step method of writing a great novel, another person has a twelve step process to becoming a successful author, etc. Everyone has all of these ideas, all of these steps.

I know that a lot of the work involved isn’t in the writing, it’s in the marketing, the outlining, the plotting, the research. Hell, the writing is fun. I enjoy it a great deal and I miss it when I don’t do it. It’s often hard to convince me to put down the keyboard and do other things. So, I acknowledge that marketing is the price I pay for being able to write for a living, but then I run into things like this 12 step program I mentioned.

In one of the steps after you’ve launched a blog and gotten an email list together and all of these other steps, you ask your email subscribers what they want you to create for them, and then you create that. That’s the first thing you write in this system. It’s not a story, it’s whatever your readers want it to be.

To me that’s not being a writer, that’s being a product developer. Being a writer is a creative process, especially if you want to be a novelist. See, that’s what I am. I tell stories. Sure, they are pulp stories, written at least to some degree to market. I’m writing for people who want to read stories, not for people who want to a guidebook. The stories are the actual point of what I do, and if it wasn’t for them there would be no reason for me not to keep doing web development.

If I’m making a living as a writer, it’s as a novelist who tells interesting stories, not as a shill for some sort of courses. Also, it’s so strange to me that this person had, as his first ever published thing, a guide to how to be a writer. He did the research, granted, and determined that this path was a promising one if all one cared about was making something that could vaguely be described as “books” and making money.

Then I look at Dean Wesley Smith. Now, I love what Dean Wesley Smith has done. He wrote fiction and kept doing it until he made a damned good living at it. I admire it. He’s a storyteller, and a good one. The only problem with that is that he has over a hundred book in print, even if I do manage to turn out a book a month it will be close to a decade before I have those kinds of numbers. That’s a lot of years to not be able to pay rent as a full-time writer.

That brings me to Chris Fox and Derek Murphy. Both of these men give advice on how to become a full-time writer, but they both focus on how to do it while telling stories, the kind of stories you want to read even.

There is an overlap between the Marketing is all and the stories don’t matter, and Chris Fox and Derek Murphy. They all think you should take your audience into account, which I agree with, and they all have some similar marketing points. For example, they all agree that you should build your email list. They all agree you need a blog. They all agree you have to write a lot. So, I’m doing all of those things.

For me though, I will stick to those ideas that allow me to continue writing the things that make writing worth doing. I won’t ignore the other ideas though, I will look at them and if I find one that works for me, I will use that one too.

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Nic Styx

A Dame in a Dress Pointing a Gun

Nic Styx is a private eye. He’s hard-boiled and tough as they come. He likes his women hot and his whiskey cheap. Only one problem: he doesn’t live in that sort of world. Nic lives in the mid-twenty-first century, not the mid-twentieth. His world is one of ubiquitous computer technology and gleaming cybernetics.

Nic maintains his practice anyway, with the occasional financial contribution from his wealthy parents who just want their son to follow his passion, although they aren’t crazy about him changing his last name. What was wrong with Nicholas Parsons anyway?

Nic is legitimate though, he’s good at his job and is probably the person you most want to count on when the chips are down. For Nic, the chips are almost always down.

The series is a serious piece of noir fiction, but with elements of comedy and cyberpunk.

I thought of the character as an advertising gimmick for a product I had designed but never bothered to create. The idea took off though, I liked the character too much to let him go. He’s faking it through life, trying to be something he’s not, but he’s been doing it for so long that now it’s who he actually is and he doesn’t even remember the person he was before.

Nic may be my favourite character I’ve ever created. The first book is a fair ways in, but it isn’t my current work in progress. The process of creating the novel is going to take me a while, I have to interpret my handwriting to do it. I have notebooks full of story, handwritten in pen, from many years ago.

Like Jenny Dark and World of the Dead, nicstyx.com is coming soon. I just have to build it.

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World of the Dead

Zombies Shopping

My first novel was the first book in the World of the Dead series. It’s a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested hellhole. Book 1, A Long Walk (available for free on Amazon as well as in chapter form on this website)

The series as a whole takes place much further in the future. Twenty years pass between book 1 and book 2. The zombies rule most of the world, leaving it uninhabitable to humanity. A city stands alone on a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean. This city, built on the remnants of an old one, is called New Hope.

As the population of the city grows, due to survivors finding it and humans doing what humans do and bringing new life, it becomes clear that they don’t have the resources to support all these people. A force is formed to take back areas from the dead.

Much of the series is about this force, brave men and women fighting to reclaim our world. There are other parts though, a second planned series called Tales from the Last City is about life in New Hope, and is noir-tinged, although with an element of survival horror.

The final series is just called World of the Dead and consists of strange things I feel like writing. I have one story from that series coming out in an anthology of new writers soon (link to come as soon as the collection is published).

There will be much more information soon on world-of-the-dead.com, but I have to build the site first, so not quite yet.

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Jenny Dark

A Fence with Wire

Normally I don’t talk a lot about my works until they are published, but I’ve decided to change that. How much am I changing that? I’m creating websites for three of my series. Should be up in the next few weeks. Jenny Dark is my current Work in Progress. Well, Jenny Dark book 1 at least.

I’m very proud of the concept work I’ve done for Jenny Dark, the world building, the creative direction. The execution? Well, I’m still in the middle of that. I think I’m proud of it, but we’ll see. It’s still under ten thousand words at this point. It’s the most heavily outlined I’ve ever written, with each scene in the entire novel sitting in my editing software, with a short synopsis saying why I have it there. Most scenes are of course still empty.

The novel should be between seventy-five and eighty thousand words.

The basic premise is a sort of Sherlock Holmes meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer deal. A couple of young women fight the forces of evil as the last line of defence the world has. The mythology is complex and detailed, the most complex and detailed I’ve created to date (there is technically more data on World of the Dead, but that’s because I ran a GURPS campaign based on it, much of it is more play related than story).

Anyway, coming soon jennydark.com (when I finish building it I will convert this to an actual link).

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Planning My Marketing

Turtle

My marketing plan is a bit tricky for me right now. I have been working on a few different tiers and trying to figure out the best tactics.

Now, one thing I know is that the reader magnets/mailing list stuff works. Getting people to sign up for my mailing list is my goal (sign up for my mailing list here). Now, here’s the problem, I have no idea how to make people sign up for my list. It’s a complete mystery to me. I mean, I know I can give stuff away (working on that, working on figuring out what to give away). So far I have had very, very limited success with this.

I’m also giving away my first book for free, in order to draw people into my other books, and into my mailing list. It’s a good way to get started I guess, from what everyone else has told me. I will be updating the edition shortly. I also have new book covers coming, so I will need to change my back matter (story blurb, author bio, all of that).

Facebook ads. When I have a release I will be adding facebook ads, but I might also do one for this post. I don’t know the market segment to go after though. I’m also doing a Facebook ad for this page.

All of that is my starting point. I need some help with it though, so, I’m asking a question… what would you like to see me give away?

Coming Soon
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Giving in to the Pressure

Delicious Pancakes

I’m about to expand my marketing efforts.

In fact, I’m going to do that whole landing page/giveaway thing that so many marketers say to do. See, I want people to actually buy my books at some point, and since they can’t buy my books without even seeing them this seems like the best way to do it.

If I’m going to make a living off of writing, I have to actually make a living off of writing.

As of today, A Long Walk is permafree on a number of platforms. There is a link to the landing page, with a free gift for subscribers.

Once Amazon price matches it, it will be permafree on Amazon as well.

I had to have at least one other book to sell before I was comfortable going that route. With Resource Economies launching I now have that other book.

The goal here is to have my books in the hands of readers, to have them pay me for those books, in short, to actually make a living as a writer. I know that the Dean Wesley Smith method works, but I only have a few books written, and my landlord will get mad at me if I don’t pay rent until I have a hundred of them. I might get hungry too.

Right now my mailing list has seven people, including me. I’ll let you know how the whole thing works over time.

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A Second Edition

A Misty Road in the Morning

When I publish Resource Economies I will also be re-releasing A Long Walk. There are a few edits I have found, and there are some typos and the like in the prior version. Also, the dedication makes no sense anymore.

Because I’m doing the line edits anyway I’m going to tackle structure and story edits. There are a few changes I would like to make. They aren’t strictly speaking essential, but I feel like they would improve the novel. I will be adding to the action sequences, making them more visceral. I will also be making it clearer where the antagonist is coming from. There are some subtle details that I don’t think anyone has picked up on (at least nobody has mentioned them). I might or might not make them less subtle.

Anyway, it’s a big change. It will also come with a new cover, although I haven’t decided what it will be yet. I’m thinking something like Jasper and Naomi back to back with zombies closing in, maybe Robert in the background semi-transparent.

Whatever I do, I have to do it, I have to create that image. Trying to decide if I need to break out the pencils and digital ink kit or hire someone to create it, either in photos or illustrated. I could also shoot it myself, would involve hiring three models and a studio. Hell, I could throw in Mona. Okay, I think I know what I want to shoot now. Thanks, this has been a very helpful conversation 😉

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Obsessing Over Stats

The Portuguese Countryside

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with numbers. Specifically the stats for my author platform (which just means my blog, my facebook page, all that good stuff). Right now my primary focus as an author (other than the writing of course) is building this platform so that when I drop Resource Economies people can find it, can buy it, all that goodness.

As a result, I’m getting a bit weird about checking my stats. How many hits did I get on my blog each day? How many subscribers to my mailing list? What’s working to bring people in and what isn’t? How many people is my facebook page reaching? How about my twitter?

Now, I know this obsession is probably not healthy, and it’s definitely not helping. Hell, some days it gets in the way of writing my word count, but it’s still there in my brain. I am not even in a rush, I don’t have the second edition cover of A Long Walk yet, I don’t have the edits done, it’s fluff and noise right now, but I’m so focused on making this writing thing work that it’s hard to get it out of my head.

I think it’s a natural consequence of going all in on something like I have, and I know that it will work better if I let it go a little bit, if I relax and let the writing happen.

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Guest Blogging

Hotel Beds

I’m doing a fair bit of writing on other sites right now. A little bit on Medium, but not a huge amount – despite everyone telling me that is the one to go to. Instead, I seem to do a lot more right now for miscreviews.com, a new media review site. It’s a fun site to write for because they pretty much let me choose whatever I want to write and because they are new I’m not lost in a sea of other writers. I’m one of about five at the moment.

I’ve found a bit of a niche there, reviewing less popular properties. They have other folks who do the top movies in the theatres, etc. My last few reviews have included a self-published series on Amazon, I Spit On Your Grave, and a truly terrible movie called WTF!

I still do some stuff on Medium, and who knows, maybe I’ll hit something that people fall in love with, it’ll become huge, and I’ll become an overnight Medium sensation, but it seems less likely. The far more likely reality is that I will keep putting out content on Medium, and get a small following, and maybe some of them will follow me on here. Maybe the odd one will even join my mailing list. Meanwhile, I get to grow with miscreviews, building my profile as the site builds. Their marketing benefits me, and mine benefits them, very closely.

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