Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reality check??

I had a couple of friends finish reading 'Genome' recently. I asked for an honest review and got it from both. I can't thank them enough as this kind of feedback is essential for me. I need the truth or I'll never get better.

The good news is they liked 'Genome'. Whoo Hoo! I'm on cloud nine here. They rated it a four because it was my first book. I would have got a 3.5 otherwise. That's ok with me, I would have been bummed if they gave it a 2 or a 5. A 2 meant it really was below my expectations. A 5 would mean they were probably just being nice to me though I have a 5 already. I'll take it ;-)

I also asked them what price they thought was appropriate for Genome as an epub book. Both said they thought 2.99 was the right price. Again, I really appreciate their honesty.

And I have to agree with them. My original gut feeling was 2.99. I raised the price to 4.99 as an experiment. BTW, I had no sales at 4.99 but I only tried it for one month.

So. I've lowered 'Genome' back to 2.99 and I'm going to leave it there. I'm getting it ready for Createspace as a paperback with a new cover. I have to figure out the 'right' price there as well. Marketing makes my head hurt.

Now I have to finish up 'Genome' marketing by getting it on Createspace and keep tweeting and promoting it.

In the wings I have 'Arlo and Jake Enlist' ready to edit and release. I need a good cover and I'm going to put it out there for 0.99. It's only about 50 pages.

Anyone else have experience making the right choices for your books?

Be cool, be yourself.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

'Genome' is on Smashwords!!

OK, first and most importantly I have 'Genome' on Smashwords. Another great marketing/publishing site that I hope will gain some exposure for my books.

It was a 'challenge' to get it to pass the formatting requirements and I'm still not quite sure why it's complaining about my paragraph indentations. I'll work it out though.

They sell in multiple formats so I understand the need to simplify but they could use a little better feedback on exactly 'where' the problem exists. You know, maybe a line number where the offending extra space or indent occurs? I'll write 'em a note.

But like I said not too bad to get it loaded and available for sale. Hope someone out there in the blog-o-sphere will buy a copy and let me know.

Be cool, be good and of course, this moment.

'Genome' vs 'Arlo and Jake', making time...

'Genome' the novel and been out for 4 months now and I'm doing what every new author does; checking sales daily on Amazon and Barnes/Noble and trying to find ways to market it. But I'm also hard at work finishing the first book of the 'Arlo and Jake' series. The old noggin' is spinning a bit I must confess.

So how do I know if I'm spending the little time I have after my day job in the 'best' way? Well, frankly I don't. I've been kinda bouncing back and forth as the ideas hit me. I wonder if any of you have this problem? Or am I the only nitwit in the new author sphere without an agent to help :=)

Anyway, today I've decided to do 2 things first and then resume my ping pong exercises.

First, is update this blog. I'm trying to get back to 3 blogs a week. If I don't blog often who's going to care if I blog at all? Duh.

Second is look into Smashwords. One of the twitterites suggested this as another new author marketplace. Cool.

So for the blog: USE YOUR STORY OUTLINE doc! I talk a lot about this document because I'm so surprised that more authors don't talk about it or use one. At least the ones I've talked to and read about.

Take my new humorous SciFi series 'Arlo and Jake'. Book One 'Arlo and Jake Enlist' is written and in edit/rewrite mode. The whole story was outlined by chapter, with main characters descriptions, 'things to talk about' and plot summary. I believe this allowed me to write a better story in less time than in Genome, where I had an outline but didn't really use it as much.

Today I've been putting more 'meat' around the next two books in the series. In the process I refer to the existing outline and add characters, character background, plot 'arcs' and a 'hey what if ' section to keep ideas that pop into my fevered brain.

I've got book Three sketched out enough I'm ready to outline the chapters. Book Two is still fermenting so I'm out of sequence here. Hey, I'm not that logical! I have a couple of ideas but the whole plot hasn't 'shown itself to me'. Really, does that actually happen to anyone?

As for Smashwords, it's time I go check it out. I'm hoping it's as easy to add to as Amazon and B&N were. I'll let you know what I find out.

Keep plugging away, me buckoos!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blogs and Tweets and Followers, Oh My!

The new guy IS trainable but... I'm amazed by the huge time sink all the social media stuff can be. I'm making some great friends and contacts but dang, I need time to write sometime! I know, I know, patience Grasshopper. Trust me, I'm really trying.

The TwitterSphere (@garyalanhenson is you wanna chirp at me) feels like there are a billion people all out on their balconies shouting at the top of their lungs, "Hi, I'm a writer/artist/professional/stripper/scientist(yep, lots of them nerdy dudes and dudettes)/cool dude-dudette/media professional who can make you rich is you just buy my 'How To' book, (-saying something clever here-). Please RT."

So I'm taking my time finding and 'Following' people. Looking for people that are interested in ePub writing or maybe someone who might be interested in my writing genre. I've even been able to gift 'Genome' to a few artificial intelligence and genetics researchers who I tweeted, "Hi, I'm a new writer. Are you interested in reading a novel that includes a sexy AI character?" Hm. OK, I'm one of the billion. ;-) Haven't heard back from them but I'm hoping they enjoy it and will pass the word.

OK, actually I'm having fun meeting lots of new people and by far most are interesting and polite. That is a refreshing surprise for me. Thank you TwitterSphere!

This blog is slowly gaining momentum as well. I need to up my game a little and get back to three blogs a week. I really enjoy writing these little snippets and passing along what I've learned from others.

As an example I found Jim Butcher's 'Jim's Livejournal' (Jim Butcher's journal) through another blogger. Thank you! Mr. Butcher is one of my writing heroes. Love his books, his style and he seems like a genuinely cool guy. And I love the image of a wisecracking Wizard in a trench coat. Wish I'd have thought of that!

On the writing front, I've finished the first draft of 'Arlo and Jake Enlist' and I'm doing the rewrite/rewrite/rewrite phase. And I'm looking for a good cover graphic. I'm still hoping to have Book One out by the end of the month. Wish me luck!

Keep writing and keep the faith!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Arlo and Jake Enlist first draft!

I finally worked through the rewrite of  'Arlo and Jake Enlist'! Whoo Hoo! My intrepid editor was merciless again. I had mixed present and past tense terribly! Again!

My hat is off to you who go before me in the writing field. Though I did 'better' this time, my writing technique was awful. Again!

I'm hoping that book 2 of the 'Arlo and Jake' series will be better. I'm definitely more 'aware' as I write now. I still do the stream of consciousness writing to get the story written down. But now I'm aware I need to go back and correct as soon as possible! Don't wait!

The outline document saved my butt numerous times. With my crappy memory it's a must for me. And it allows me to 'experiment' on story plots and characters.

Well. Now it's time for the serious ripping and mending and rewriting and rewriting, etc, etc. I know I have some plot issues to resolve but overall I'm really happy with the first book. It's fun, it's fast and it's got cool characters.

I still think I'll offer this book at 0.99 since it's only 20,000 words. The rest of the books in series will be in the 40,000 to 50,000 words and I'll offer them at 2.99. At least that's my plan for now.

This is such a rush for me. Every author wants his/her books to sell well and be popular and I'm no different. But I can honestly tell you that the journey has been outstanding for me. I intend to keep walking down that road for as long as I can. Story telling makes me happy!

Peace, love and keep writing!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New cover for Genome and more...

Because I want to put Genome on CreateSpace, I've decided I need to revisit the cover. Unfortunately the current one will not scale to a 'full' front/back cover format.

I'm working with a friend to find a good translucent 'graveyard with gate' picture that I can superimpose a DNA helix or some sort of cellular diagram.

I also want to make the title font less 'text booky' and shamefully, make my authors title larger.

I need to think ahead next time and consider all publication needs before deciding on cover art. One more thing I was totally ignorant about. I'm sure there will be others!

More...

'Arlo and Jake Enlist' will be first draft edited this week for sure. Whoo Hoo!

Then it's lots of 'read out loud and rewrite' sessions. And cover art (see above ;-).

Getting excited about adding the first of this series to my stable!

This moment! (something I say to myself a lot to remember that the only really important time is now.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Small change

When I first started this blog I thought only of blogging about 'Genome' and other book ideas I have. And frankly I had no idea what I was doing, surprise, surprise.

Now that I've got a few months of looking around and blogging and tweeting, I realise that I want to blog about more than just SciFi. So I've dropped that from my blog 'title'.

Even 'Genome' is not really just SciFi. It's got lots of techno and AI content but it's also a ghost story and a love story.

So I've broadened the scope a bit to writing in the ePub world.

Have a great day everyone.

This moment.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chapter Six and counting!

My first draft edit of Arlo and Jake Enlist is moving ahead nicely. I'm up to Chapter Six.

I'm finding lots of 'fast typing' errors to fix but I expected that. I tend to just write the story out as I go rather than worry about spelling and grammar. Younger writers might be able to hold those cool thoughts in their heads but I have to get them out or lose them!

At this rate I hope to have the story done by the end of June!

Great morning session all in all. Good cup of coffee and a fun story to tell. Life is good!

Keep writing, friends!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More is better? Who knows?

I've been reading a lot about how epub books should be priced. I originally priced 'Genome' at $2.99 on both Barnes and Noble and Amazon. I got a couple of sales (mostly friends of course) and I've had one or two since then. I know it will take a lot of marketing on my own and some time before sales will improve.

I decided to do my own analysis. So I parsed through a hundred or so epub books on PubIt! and KDP, looking for similar books to 'Genome'. I bypassed the vampire/werewolf/porn forest and looked for techo thriller, scifi, fantasy books with similar blurbs and word count. 'Genome' is about 68,000 words.

I discovered no clear pattern. Some works of 300 pages were $.99 some were 4.99. Some books of 50 pages were $.99 others were $2.99. I was really surprised at how many short story books were out there. Really? $.99 for 40 pages? OK, I'm not savvy in that market for sure. Maybe this is the norm here.

I priced 'Genome' at $2.99 because it's 'only' 68,000 words (about 200 pages on Amazon) and it's my first novel. I'm proud of it but it's my first. I'll get better. I've got some really great plot devices in PIP, the AI characters and the genetics holoroom. But did I do a great job with these devices and the rest of the book? No. I'm still up loading improvements from time to time.

But. The more I read and analyze the market place the more I think that $2.99 makes my book look 'cheap and not worth it". So I'm going to price it a $4.99 for a while. It's worth $4.99.

I'll keep track of this experiment and let you know if it makes any difference at all. Perception is everything in life, so maybe this pull my book out of the cheap seats. I have no idea.

Does any one else have real experience on this subject?

Keep writing!