New Sites

I’m trying to figure out what to do for my two new sites.

I have not put anything at all on them as of yet. One is jennydark.com – currently not hosted. It’s for my series The Strange Tales of Jenny Dark.

I don’t yet know what that’s going to look like, as a website. I think I’ll probably have a lore section, with myths, legends, ideas, etc. Due to a series of conversations with my son I have a developed mythos here. Some things won’t be in my books, although most if not all will actually influence my stories more or less. Some of it is bizarre (Hell has no entropy).

I’m doing the same thing with my World of the Dead series. World of the Dead is an interesting world to me because it’s a lot longer post-zombie than most movies. Twenty years and the world is very, very different. I’m thinking the world of the dead is going to have a great deal of worldbuilding. I want people to see the world, of course only as I reveal it in the books (there are bits that will come out much later and matter to stories).

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I have a short story on Amazon

The Chosen Pigherder Cover

I know, I have a few. This one is even on this site. The only issue is I have edited it since I posted it, so it’s a bit different than the version on the site. Available for sale right now.

The story is The Chosen Pigherder. The basic premise is that the chosen one is actually very good at his job, and loves it. He’s a great pig farmer. It’s not so much that he resists the call to adventure as that he has actually zero interest in it. In the end, he manages to subvert the call and do something else.

I didn’t like this one very much when I wrote it, but I went back and re-read it, and it’s much more clever than I had originally thought, and on reread I quite enjoy it.

The edits help.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t read the version on this site, and I will update it to match, but I haven’t done the updates yet, and it will be a few days before I manage to get those changes done, because I split it up in serial form when I first wrote it… It was an experiment in live writing.

I often find that I enjoy stories more when I take a break and go back. As a reader, I find they often have things to offer me that I didn’t appreciate when I was originally creating them.

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I just had an idea

A Tunnel

I don’t know if I’m going to do it or not, but I’m thinking about doing a movie review channel dedicated entirely to zombies. I think I’ve watched almost every single zombie movie in existence, and there are a lot of them. Some are good, some are brilliant, and most are terrible.

The idea is to once a week (or a month, I haven’t really figured that out yet) review one of the almost infinite number of zombie movies that exist in the world. I have a couple of candidates for the first episode even (probably the original Night of the Living Dead, although The Girl with All the Gifts would also work).

So, what do people think? I’m tentatively thinking of calling it Reviews of the Dead, but it’s probably taken. Well, I guess I should find that out.

Okay, I checked… Reviews of the Dead is officially one of my youtube channels now. I will update once it has content.

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Meeting With My Cover Designer

Riot Cop from Below

I have a meeting today with my cover designer. In fact, by the time you read this, I will have already met with my cover designer. I will be taking possession of one of my covers, and seeing comps of another one I haven’t seen before. Hopefully getting comps of two more.

I write a lot, but I haven’t been marketing to the degree I should be. Also, I haven’t released the second book in the world of the dead series because I am still editing it. It’s taking longer than it should, but I’m doing it. Should be launching in early January.

Mid-January will see my literary novel “An Accusation” (title may change) coming out, and by late January, early February I should have the first two novels in the Jenny Dark series out.

I’m going to be working on my cyber-noir series Nic Styx after that. It’s a fun concept and I can’t wait to get started. I don’t know how it will go, but I have the story for book 1 already complete, have to turn it into a proper outline, then take the bit I wrote years ago, update it, turn it into a proper book, I have the first few chapters written – and I do mean written. It was done longhand.

I’m wrestling with an idea – I like when books, especially in that genre, use elements of media to tell part of the story. I don’t see it being used a lot lately. It’s a thing that John Brunner used back when he was writing Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up. Now, I originally used some of that in my story. I’m trying to decide if I use it or not. I’m inclined to say yes because it’s something I like.

I guess I’m going to have to go to the well of common information and make a decision. So, both Reddit and Facebook will be getting threads created on them.

I might tackle my vampire novel before I hit the second Nic Styx book. I’ve been trying to figure out what sort of flow works best for me. Do I bang through one book then another book in the same series, or do I move from concept to concept? I know that I wrote one World of the Dead novel, then the second one, with a long break between, but they were back to back.

Jenny Dark is going in a weirder order. I wrote a third of book 1, then NaNoWriMo started and I wrote book 2, now I’m back to finishing book 1. So not only are the back to back, in fact, they are out of order.

So, my vampire novel, it’s a standalone and is probably more literary in both its plot and goals than most of my stuff. Not as much as An Accusation, but close. It’s the story of a vampire and a human that fall in love, but it is very, very far from Twilight. This isn’t anything like that, not only in that my vampires are much more the classic vampire (although I am going with the sunlight kills version), but in that the relationship between them goes very, very differently than expected.

Anyway, that’s kind of an update on what I’m working on. I will try to put comps for my covers up when I have them.

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Facebook Promotion – an Exercise in Frustration

A Misty Lake

A few years ago Facebook was the tool for self-promotion. You put up a page and you posted and people saw your posts.

I have people who follow me. A hundred and some. I post something new on my facebook page every single day. The way the algorithm works with Facebook, maybe six of those people see my post. Six. I think my recent high was thirteen.

I follow pages because I want those pages to be what I see on my feed. I don’t do it because I want Facebook to decide not to show me their posts.

The thing is, there’s a way to ensure that the people who subscribe to my page see my posts. Guess what it is? That’s right folks, I can “boost my post” for only a couple of dollars a day. Here’s the thing, I’m trying to build an audience, get new people interested in my work. Get people on my mailing list (if you join up I will send you a free short story – of course, it’s on this site too, but that way you get it in ebook format. Right now I’m giving away Almost Like Wearing Nothing At All to new subscribers). The thing is, Facebook has really created a situation where email lists are the tool that authors need to use.

I hate using email lists. Seriously, I don’t like subscribing to them, I hate getting a million messages. I would prefer it to just show up on my facebook feed. Odds are good that if I’m on Facebook I’m not doing something terribly important, and that’s a good moment to go check out the post from the writer I like (for the record most of the pages I subscribe to are writers… they tend to post content I’m interested in reading).

So, I guess I don’t have too much to say except that I really hate the way Facebook is doing this, and that I have no choice but to build my email list. Seriously… join my mailing list, you won’t regret it!

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Managing my Publishing and Writing Queue

A Pond. I think this is Madrid.

One thing I didn’t have to think about when I started this whole writing thing was which project I wrote when. It was easy. I had one book. I wrote it, edited it, and then published it.

Now I’m writing multiple series of books, and there are also several stand-alone books I’m working on.

I need to track what I’m writing, what status things are in. Also, I’ve started finishing works in progress that I started years ago. Hell, the Jenny Dark series started well over a decade ago. I didn’t ever write it, just built the world. Now I have a finished novel and another one that’s a fair ways in (more than a third, less than a half).

I have four books in editing right now. Seriously, four!

That’s ridiculous. Of course one of them is already published and I’m just trying to revamp it, make it better. The other three are all past first draft and need to be polished before they hit beta readers.

I have a category of story that shouldn’t exist. It only does because I’m working on these older stories that I started years ago. That status is “Started, needs outline”. No new story will ever have that because the outline will exist before I start writing the story. In my current queue, I have four in that status, although I technically have a few more – I just haven’t decided if I’m going to finish those ones or not.

Now, eventually, I’m going to add word counts to my document so that anything that’s started has a word count. Also, I should only have one book in the started condition at any time. Right now I have five.

The plan is that over time I will have one book in editing, one in publishing, one in writing, one in outline, and a bunch that are planned – a basic plot idea, stuff like that.

As I write this I’m realising things I’m missing. The big one is going to be ISBN’s. I need to start tracking them more carefully. Damnit, I need a whole bunch more fields. Time to add some sheets to my spreadsheet. One category per sheet. Okay, this has been very helpful. Good talk.

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NaNoWriMo Day 24 and Cover Art

A Woman on a RailRoad Track

Nothing very exciting on the NaNoWriMo front. I did more writing. Made my goal plus a few words. Got to an important point in the storyline. The final confrontation will start tomorrow, maybe the next day.

Cover Art. I have a comp for the new cover for A Long Walk, and one for Resource Economies as well. Time to get off my ass and finish the new edition of A Long Walk, finish the edits to Resource Economies. I would like to launch both books very, very soon. Maybe even before Christmas. Now, I’m not sure that’s realistic, but it’s worth a try.

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NaNoWriMo Day 12 and Dropping Stats

A Baby goat

It’s a weird thing, my consistency with this blog has been off a tiny bit since I started doing NaNoWriMo. It’s because I’m trying to update the blog with the info from the day before, so if something interferes with me writing I end up being a little bit late (or a fair bit late).

Anyway, yesterday I made my target plus a few words. 2516 I think. Still haven’t made up for my missed day, but it’s inching closer every day. I get just over my goal and occasionally a fair bit over. If I keep doing that my average will be over 2500 and at the end of the month that’s what matters.

Now, dropping stats. I know consistency is the most important thing for gaining readership. It’s vital. At the same time, I keep being just a bit late, or a few hours late. It seems to be killing my traffic. I’m going from an average daily readership of a hundred and some to seventy some. I need to get back to the consistent schedule.

I’m not sure how feasible that will be in November though. I had a couple of thoughts about it. For example, I could write in advance and then just update my NaNo count when I get it done. Something like that.

Anyway, the book is going incredibly well! I think I might throw a passage from it into the blog post tomorrow, just a quick sampler to show off what my writing is looking like at the moment.

Anyway, it’s a shortish post today, sorry. Other stuff on my mind right now.

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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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