Promoting on eReader News Today

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I have an ad running today to promote my Kindle Countdown for Danny Dirks over at eReader News Today (ENT). I paid $15 for inclusion in their email list, a post to their blog, and a Facebook post. Their Facebook page has ~475k followers, but knowing Facebook, only 400 people will see that post. ENT recently changed their advertising format to mirror that of BookBub, but I don’t think they’re anywhere near the same scale (yet). At $15, I only have to sell ~22 books to recoup the fee. ENT’s book of the day feature is much more reliable, but nearly impossible to land. They have a one-time submission at the beginning of the year and then fill all of their slots in one shot. But, with a rate of $15, it’s hard to not give their new email venture a try. There are certainly more expensive and less effective venues out there. Stay tuned as I’ll post a follow up later this week for those interested in the returns.

Have experience with ENT? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

Get a Book for a Buck ($1)

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My young adult fantasy novel, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon (UK edition) is on a Kindle Countdown sale for the next week (12/5 to 12/12) for just $0.99/£0.99. That’s 1/3 of a cup of coffee… and lasts much longer! 😉

Sometimes You Just Need to Read Your 5-Star Reviews

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Ok, I’m contradicting myself here, but hey… we all contradict ourselves sometimes. Right? I’ve written in the past how I’ve stopped reading reviews of my books. How, the 1-star reviews are usually too harsh and the 5-star reviews too glowing. Well, I read a new review today. In fairness, it’s for my new YA fantasy, which had all of 2 reviews up until yesterday, when I discovered there was now a third. It was 5 stars and I broke down and read it. I was happy I did. I needed it.

Being a writer often comes with a certain lack of self esteem. Often self-deprecating and sometimes introverted, we’re the last one’s to want to shout about our work from the rooftops, no matter how good it might be. We’re all just waiting for some bubble to burst. That being said, sometimes you just need someone to say something nice about your stuff. You need that pat on the back. Well, I needed one at least. It’s not like my ego is going to explode. I’m not suddenly thinking I’m the next Rick Riordan. But my writing touched someone so much that they wrote some very nice things about my book. That, for me, is what being a writer is all about.

So, go ahead. You have my permission again. If you’re having a bad day, or feel like your writing isn’t what it should be, go ahead and read those 5-star reviews. Remember that you’ve reached a few readers and you’ve touched a few lives in a positive manner. Ok, now knock it off and get back to work on that sequel. 😉

What are your thoughts on reviews? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

WIP – Opening lines

I hope your writing is going well. Been a busy week, so I thought I’d just share the opening paragraph from my work-in-progress (WIP).

Father is shaking me, whispering hot stale breath in my face. Run! I grab the satchel that he’s
handing me and don’t ask twice. I am only two steps behind him. I can smell the smoke before we reach
the town walls. I can see the light from the flames casting my long shadow into the night. We are not far
away enough when the screaming begins.

You can read a little more about this NaNoWriMo project in a previous post.

Would that make you want to read more? 😉

My Current WIP

Ash is the tentative title of my current work-in-progress (WIP) and the book I’m working on for NaNoWriMo. It’s definitely something new for me on many levels. It’s first person, which I haven’t touched in years. Very challenging, but fun to work with. It’s post-apocalyptic, which gives me a bit of a clean slate (boy is it clean!) to work with. It’s YA, so that’s always fun. And, lastly, it’s got elements of paranormal, which I’ve never really written. And that is a lot of fun! It’s exciting how the story is coming along and I’m looking forward to getting the first draft wrapped up by December. I’ve written about 15000 words for NaNo and have ~27,000 words altogether. I’m aiming for 65k.

So, what’s Ash about? That’s difficult to answer. On the surface, it’s a story of survival and family and love. Beneath the surface is a complex tale of humans trying to gain a foothold in a world that is no longer theirs to control. I based the theme on a simple idea: What if the Great Flood was the Earth’s attempt to cleanse itself of man? And while it slept off the energy hangover that followed, man simply flourished into the parasitic catalyst of destruction it is today. This time, when the Earth reawakens, its method is fire. 95% of the world’s population is destroyed. Everything that is flammable and some that is not, burns and melts back into the earth. Life as we know it ends. My story begins at least 100 years after The Burning, maybe more. The Earth has changed. The humans who survived band together in small villages in an attempt to rebuild. Some humans, though, have gone wild. And, some, have changed in ways that only fairy tales would have you believe. Meet 17-year-old Ash. A boy unlike any other.

While this book is set to be a stand alone, I envision the potential for additional stories down the road. But, when I finish this first draft, I have to get back to my existing series. A book no one has read is always exciting, but I have readers itching for the next books in my Danny Dirks series and my Trilogy of the Six (by Andy Rane). I must appease the masses! Ok, there’s like one or two. That counts as a mass, right? 😉

How’s your writing going? What’s your latest WIP about?

NaNoWriMo Update

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How goes it WriMos? For those of you taking on the National Novel Writing Month challenge, how’s your word count? I’ve been plugging along and I try not to look at how far I am from reaching the goal of 50k. It’s ok. I’m really just pleased at having put words on the page for 9 consecutive days. Ok, some of those days were literally 20 words, but it’s not always about volume. It’s about consistency.

And I feel like I’m moving at a pace that’s sustainable. It’s not that I can’t handle 1667 words a day. We did a word sprint the other day and I tallied 326 words in 10 minutes (it was a dialogue heavy scene… have you read my writing?… I like dialogue). Anyway, instead of being worried about what day of the month it is, I’m just basking in the fact that I’ve managed to churn out ~12,000 words in a week and a half. That’s awesome no matter what month it is!

But, I’m really just hoping to carry this over into the rest of my work. I have several other books that need writing (hello book 3 of my trilogy?) and this kind of sustained focus. I might just declare January Scott’s Power of Six Writing Month (ScoPoSiWriMo?). I know it won’t be as easy as starting with a blank slate, but it needs to happen and the momentum is building.

Anyway, if you’re taking part, I hope NaNo is going well for you. I hope it’s stimulating your writing as much as it is mine. 😀

Are you on track, ahead of schedule, or just a shade (or two) behind? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

NaNoWriMo Day 3. How’s It Going?

Just a quick NaNoWriMo update. I had so much going on Saturday that I couldn’t even think about sitting down and writing, so I made up for it yesterday and pretty much got back on track with 3200 words. It felt really good to just churn out text without spending too much time getting hung up on content. It’s tough, though, because I’m working in first person, so my normal flow sometimes gets derailed by simple POV issues. I’m trying to avoid too much dialogue and allow myself to really get into the head of the main character. Anyway, looking forward to getting home and cranking out another 1667 or so. 😉

Are you doing NaNo? How’s it going? How’s your word count? 

The “Should I Self-Publish?” Checklist

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Let’s get something straight; self publishing is not the easy way out. It is 10x more difficult than going through a traditional publisher. However, if you’re willing to put in the effort, the rewards can be that much better. Let’s take a look at some key points of self publishing to see if it’s the path you should take.

Do you want control over every single aspect of your writing and book design?

This is one of the biggest reasons why folks self publish. By self publishing, you answer to no one but yourself. This also means that you are the one responsible for everything and some folks don’t want all that responsibility. If you’re ready to be the end-all/be-all, then feel free to jump in.

Are you prepared to do the work necessary to publish the most polished novel you possibly can?

Self publishing isn’t about cranking out 70,000 words, uploading a Word file to KDP with a slapped-together cover, and clicking “Publish.” It’s about putting out the best darn book you possibly can without having to give up a huge chunk of royalties and a lifetime of rights. This means having the book professionally edited, paying to have a cover created, wrangling beta readers, and maybe even paying to have the insides formatted. If you’re not willing to make an effort to get these services, I recommend traditionally publishing. Honestly. Otherwise, you may be wasting your time and tarnishing your potential reputation. You might not have the money to do these sorts of things and I understand that, but then you’re going to be producing a mediocre product that neither you, nor your readers, will be happy with. Your goal should be to put out a book that rivals those found in any bookstore. If you can’t come close to that, then you should reconsider traditional publishing.

Are you willing to do the marketing necessary for your book to be successful?

This holds true whether you’re self published or a traditionally published midlist author: You’re going to have to do most of your own marketing. Marketing comes in many forms. Some cost money. Some don’t. But, no one is going to hand you a prize as soon as you self publish. In fact, unless your circle of family and friends is extraordinary (and they’re all willing to buy your book), immediate success is rare. It’s often a constant struggle to keep your book in front of readers. This doesn’t mean you need to devote your life to promoting your book (you should really be working on your next book as soon as your first one is published). But, promotion can take time and energy.

Can you handle criticism from strangers and friends in a professional manner?

Self-publishing is still a 4-letter-word to some people. It’s climbing its way out in certain crowds, but there are some who hear it and automatically assume “vanity publishing” and “most likely crap that no one else would publish.” Is your skin thick enough to be on the front lines? You will get negative reviews that target you because you are self published. You will get strange looks from people when you tell them you self published. You will get haughty disdain when you explain in clear terms why you self published. You will be faced with a type of segregation that, at times, will bar you from participation because of your chosen method of publication. You need to be able to take all of the criticism and doubt with your head held high and

Can you live without “publishing industry” validation?

This is a biggie. Do you need the established gatekeepers of traditional publishing to tip their cap your way in order to be proud of your writing? If so, turn back now. The chances of having that happen after self publishing are slim to none. Yes, it’s happened. Hugh Howey got a sweet paper-only contract after his self-published novel, Wool, took off. Recently, cover artist (he did the cover for Danny Dirks!) and author Jason Gurley published his epic, Eleanor, and had it picked up several months later by Crown Publishing (and recently in the UK by HarperCollins). Congrats to him. It’s so rare though. You can pretty much guarantee being shunned by any sort of traditional press once you’ve self published, unless you happen to sell a ridiculous amount of books out of the gate. $ attracts $.

If you answered “Yes” to all of these, congratulations on thinking you’re ready to be a self-published author. 😉 I can tell you, from 3+ years of personal experience, it has its moments, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m proud of my mistakes and my successes because they are all mine.

What do you think? Anything I missed? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!