How Not to Launch a Book (or in this case a 19,000 word short story)There are dozens of things a writer should do when releasing a new book or novella. I know this because, like many modern day authors, I have read all the books on how to self-publish and promote. I know that releasing a new title should be a huge deal with lots of bells and whistles, ARCs flung to all corners of the globe, and swag piled high. There should be pre-scheduled reviews and paid marketing on all the reputable sites for the genre.Should be, but isn’t. Not this time.I love the Grendel Uprising universe. Creating it has sparked some of the most fun I’ve had in years. I just can’t wait to share the story, so as soon as I satisfied my editor and did a final proofread, I started the upload process. Blood Royal, Episode 2 in the Grendel Uprising series, is now winging its way through cyberspace toward an Amazon outlet near you.So let’s review. Proof Death is the first installment. Blood Royal is the second. The third, Heavy Weapons is a work-in-progress. The entire series has been outlined and is under constant development.So without further adieu, please welcome Blood Royal to publication.Grendel Uprising: Episode 2: Blood Royal Loyal servants of the Earth System Commonwealth must pick a side. The assassination of Emperor Dan Uburt-Wesson has thrown civilization into chaos and no interim government will have the strength to hold the galactic empire together. Rumors of betrayal and rebellion spread from star system to star system as the real battle begins in the most unlikely place. Official news sources have (wrongly) confirmed that every member of the Imperial family is dead. The formation of a new galactic order is imminent. The Earth System Commonwealth has outlived its usefulness.Only a handful of powerful people know that Aefel 70391, a decorated veteran of the First Armored-infantry Lightning Division, has located four juveniles that will change history. Can Aefel and his unlikely allies protect the Blood Royal? Has he chosen the wrong side?Grendel Uprising: Blood Royal sets the stage for a war of rebellion, domination, and what it means to be human in the age of the Earth System Commonwealth.The Grendel Uprising series combines science fiction and historical fiction. The setting is at once a world similar to England and Scandinavia during the time of the Danelaw and a pan galactic empire of advanced technology and deadly political upheaval. During a more prosperous time, entrepreneurs developed entire worlds as historical reenactment societies and allowed nature to take its course. Financial disaster took the planet of Grendel completely offline. There are precious few men or women who remember how they came to the alien world. Now they will face the godlike destruction of modern warfare.
Archives for July 2015
GRENDEL UPRISING: BLOOD ROYAL: EPISODE 2Last night I received the final proofread of Blood Royal from my editor BZHercules. I have used her services for Dragon Badge, Die Like A Man, Proof of Death, and now Blood Royal. With all three levels of the Triangulation package complete–beta-read, editing, and proofreading–I have started my final proofread. I hope to publish the Blood Royal ebook within a few days.WEAPONS OF EARTH: THE CHRONICLES OF KIN ROLAND: BOOK 3In other news, I have decided to put Weapons of Earth into its fourth complete re-write. During the revision of the 50k words in the current version, I spotted a major character conflict/struggle that hasn’t been used to the fullest effect possible. This means that I will save 3k to 15k of the WIP and write the remained from scratch.My head is exploding with action and intrigue for WOE. With luck, I will have much of the basic outline finished in the next few days, at which point I will either start writing like a mad man or delve further into the plot, structure, and world building background. This one is gonna be good!OTHER WRITINGThursday and Friday are my best writing days, as far as available time. Clearly I have big plans starting tomorrow. In addition to the projects mentioned above I have ideas brewing for what I call my Secret Science Fiction Masterpiece (SSFM). My writing group has been hounding me to get to work on this particular premise, and I will; when it is as ready as it can be. Last but not least I have about 5k words already complete on Episode 3 of the Grendel Uprising series: Heavy Weapons. This story involves Aefel’s buddies from the First Armored-infantry Lightning Division as they chose between a corrupt general and their much loved leader, Aefel 70391. Some of their past exploits and battles are revisited with plenty of action.Best wishes,Scott
As writers, we must define success and hold the definition dear. To do otherwise is to invite depression. Creative types are vulnerable to all the highs and lows of the emotional rollercoaster. For example, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t dream of hitting number one on the Amazon Best Seller List.It’s fun, kind of like when my dad and I used to buy a lottery ticket at the beginning of a long trip and while-away the hours planning how we would spend the interest of the grand prize.The danger lies in vesting real emotion (and hope) in unreal daydreams. There is no forward progress, individually or as a society, without daydreams. But it takes maturity and experience to manage such remarkable enthusiasm.So my advice, to myself if no one else is listening, is to define success and remember the definition. I have sold more books each year than the previous year. All the experts agree that this is the road to success. There has to be a slow boil before a rolling boiling, yes?Recently, the world of writers has been a beehive of speculation about the new rules of Kindle Unlimited. Starting on July 1st, 2015, Amazon began paying authors and publishers page by page. Finding the rate of pay is a bit harder than it seems, because as in the past, it varies depending on how many pages are read each month, the size of the fund, and a writer’s individual share.The general consensus seems to be that the rate of Kindle Unlimited payment will be around one half of one cent, or $0.005. (Please check my math, I suck at it.) Last night I looked at the reported pages read of my five books and one story-story-novella and used my calculator. The result was a little over $14.00. As far as I can tell, the result is about the same to me as it was before the changes in the Kindle Unlimited program.I have just violated one of the big rules of self-promoting. I have risked exposing myself as not successful. The thing to do, say the marketing experts, is brag about all the money you are making. Allegedly, that makes it easier to sell books.So here it is. I am going to shuck it down to the cob for you, give you the Paul Harvey, the real deal in all my reckless honesty.
During this late date in July 2015, I have made about $15.00 in Kindle sales and $15.00 in Kindle Unlimited page-sales. With luck, I will multiply that by many thousands in the next three days!Sorry, let me get back on track here.The definition, the ground rules, the way I maintain my sanity is this. I love to write. I did it for thirty years without making any money and sharing it by way of a few beta readers and rejection letters from editors and agents. Now there are people who read my stories. I still love to write. Each year I find more financial success. And since everyone likes a happy ending, let me say that my audio book sales often surprise me.I don’t have to win the lottery. I would, as much as I love my job (most of the time), embrace the chance to earn a full-time living writing stories.It could happen.It can only happen if readers take a chance on an indie author like me. Will you take a chance? Maybe read something on Kindle Unlimited or purchase Enemy of Man, which is on sale for one more day at $0.99? Tell a friend?Best wishes. Have a perfect day.Scott
Changed by captivity and torture, hunted by the Reapers of Hellsbreach and wanted by Earth Fleet, Kin Roland hides on a lost planet near an unstable wormhole. When a distant space battle propels a ravaged Earth Fleet Armada through the same wormhole, a Reaper follows, hunting for the man who burned his home world. Kin fights to save a mysterious native of Crashdown from the Reaper and learns there are worse things in the galaxy than the nightmare hunting him. The end is coming and he is about to pay for a sin that will change the galaxy forever.
“Eating Smores around a campfire doesn’t necessarily solve writer’s block, but it might help.” – Scott Moon, camper
Most writers have other jobs that pay the bills. Many have families. Some have serious physical disabilities that make every task, including self-motivation difficult. I was reading an article about Andy Rathbone (who writes books for the “Dummies” series and has 15 million in print) when something jumped out at me. He said that when he was a college editor for the Daily Aztec, that he learned to crank out stories whether he felt like it or not. Journalism has deadlines. Writers from this background definitely have that going for them.Fiction writers? Well, we all think we are artists. We wait for the muse, even if we deny that is what we are doing. For example I might write a blog article instead of revising my latest work-in-progress for the umpteenth time. “Blogging is important. Gotta build that author platform, right?”Crush writer’s block with these easy steps:
Regarding blogging: I’ve found that creating worthwhile content as a fiction writer is difficult. There are thousands of writers, some better than others, sharing writing secrets on the web. What do I really have to say that might be helpful? The best way to avoid too much time suckage is to make a realistic determination of how much blogging is enough, then stick with that amount regardless of insecurity or verbosity. No bonus credit for five extra blogs when you are on a roll. Put that energy into your primary project, whether that be fiction or non-fiction.
Regarding family and other loved ones: Stephen King, once upon a time, wrote a book called On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft. There is a section on closing the door. In short, set the ground rules with your family and help them understand how important writing is to you. They may resent it a little less if they understand it is your one true passion.
Regarding the muse: Again, Stephen King handles this one. In his book about writing, he describes his muse as being a task master. He works at the same time everyday. Period. He waits for his muse, so long as the task-master-muse shows up and punches the clock every day when he does.
Regarding unfairness: Sol Stein, in his book Stein on Writing, relates the story of Christy Brown, an Irish writer and painter who suffered from Cerebral Palsy and had the use of the toes of one foot. This made me wonder if my excuses were kind of lame.
Regarding momentum: This one is solid gold. How many times have you been surprised when your imagination took off? Showing up is half the battle. The Vice President of Musclepharm, Cory Gregory, started out working a hundred hours a week in a coal mine. He saved his money, became a personal trainer, and eventually rose to the top of the fitness industry, promoting events and developing sports supplements. He has a radical training program that involves squatting heavy every day. Okay, okay I will shorten this story. He explains that while following this program, a person will feel sore and beat up, but once in the gym will often set a personal best squat. (The last I check he squats about 700 pounds and weighs around 185 pounds.)
So this is how you crush writer’s block. Commit to success and limit distractions, even legitimate distractions like blogging. Get your butt in the chair on a consistent, or better yet, fanatically consistent schedule. Understand that other people have greater challenges to overcome than you do and act accordingly. Don’t take your gifts for granted. Last, but not least, remember that nothing succeeds like success. Do it every day. Build momentum. Achieve every worthwhile dream in your head.I write fiction. It is my passion. Without it, my world would really suck. So thanks for stopping by. I sincerely hope you succeed brilliantly in all things. Do you have advice we might all benefit from? Please leave a comment or share this article and make a writer’s day.Thanks,Scott
Right now it is 8:10 in the morning on a Saturday that promises to be busy. I have worked a lot of extra hours and accepted an overtime shift tonight as well. There hasn’t been as much time for family as I would like, so I have some play dates and honey do lists to complete. These things I am looking forward too; I also plan to get some things done for me. Normally, this is the only day off I have.
The first thing on my agenda is something that has been on my mind a lot over the last few years–feeling good. I love fitness, especially weight lifting. The post-workout feeling of a hard cardio session is also decent. (Doing the cardio, especially if it is hard and boring, is the not so fun part.) But what I am talking about her is feeling good all the time. This is where I take action to deal with joint pain and all the joys of getting old.
Years ago my doctor sent me to a knee specialists who sent me to a physical therapist after an examination and an MRI. We thought I had torn meniscus, but lucky me, it was mostly a muscle imbalance and an IT-band issue. I received physical therapy and a list of stretches, hip strengthening exercises, and foam rolling to do regularly.
Sadly, I have not done my part and it has been years since I went to the physical therapist.
To add to my woes, I think I have a pinched nerve in my upper back where I subluxated vertebrae in my upper back a very long time ago. The low grade, nearly constant pain is annoying. I also understand it is aggravated by bad posture, reading or watching my phone too low, primarily.
I refuse to give up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or lifting weights. Today I have started a routine of joint mobility first thing in the morning followed by static stretching as I watch BJJ instructional videos (today was Saulo Ribeiro ½ Guard: Freestyle Revolution). Later I will do my foam rolling and IT-band stretches, and strength training. Maybe cardio as well; that might need to wait until tomorrow.
As part of my joint mobility, I broke out my DIY Indian Clubs and loosen up the shoulders. I forgot how effective this can be if done right.
How to make Indian Clubs
How to use Indian Clubs
It is still early in the new Kindle Unlimited game. Since the beginning of this blog, I have focused on positivity, avoided rants, and tried offer something useful whenever I can. So please don’t expect to see me pulling out my hair or acting the fool here or anywhere else. I am sure the big brains at Amazon have reasons for everything they do. They didn’t become a world power by accident. In my previous blog post, I briefly highlighted some of the rules for the new Kindle Unlimited payment system. On July 1st, I looked at how many pages had been read of Enemy of Man. My confidence has continued to build as more and more pages are consumed by readers. Now maybe it will drive me crazy in the long run. How devastating will it be to my ego when sales are down and there is proof that now is reading the books borrowed. Because that will happen. People won’t be reading the book every single day. There are a lot of days when I get too busy to read. (A keen observer will notice how cranky this makes me, but it happens.) The only real problem I have with the system, is that it doesn’t say how many books were borrowed, so I have no idea what the pages mean. If my report says 699 pages were read yesterday, is that two and half books or one page each of 699 books? It is far too soon to decide if this will be a disaster, though I know some writers who are reporting a seventy-five percent loss in daily revenue already. My prediction is that there will soon be a mass exodus from KDP Select.