Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And as I enter my tenth year of publishing, I shall do some kind of recap, right? Besides it’s time for those new year’s resolutions for writers… So: wordcount, submissions, publications in that order.

Last week I wrote the story for the anthology workshop (3100 words) and then I was busy with other tasks. I used the long weekend (Jan.6 is a reinstated National Holiday in Italy) to clean up the 45 Italian titles, giving new covers to some of the contemporary stories and adding titles to KU since it seems to work without advertizing.

These are my numbers since I started counting them in 2015 when I bought a new writing computer and stopped doing the first draft longhand:

2015: 400K

2016: 468K

2017: 350K (meh! 17 is bad luck in Italy… ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

2018: 535K

2019: 533K

I still plan to write another 500K this year, it seems to be sustainable and it would be the third year in a row. Go me! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also hope to write more short stories to submit, which brings us to point #2!

Submissions have increased in spite of a couple of markets folding and one sub ending in the spam folder. Again, here go numbers: 3 in 2013, 6 in 2014, 10 in 2015, 14 in 2016, 15 (+ 6 anthology workshop) in 2017, 19 in 2018 aaaand 29 in 2019!

Two sales in 2019, and 4 submissions are still pending reply (and one was resent in January). And I already submitted 3 stories this year (+ already 6 for the anthology workshop, will probably be 8 in total). So I hope to get to 50 submissions, but it also depends on how much I spend on shorts and how much on longer works! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (and how many shorts turn into longer works! ๐Ÿ˜€ ) I have accumulated 74 rejection emails, some personalized, some general, but well… I’ll celebrate when I get the 100th because it means I keep trying, LOL!

Publishing: I want to redo most contemporary stories covers in view of a new collection coming out later this year, with a novella and a few unsold shorts. I did my end-of-the-year accounting and even though I spent Zero for covers this year (thanks to those Deposit Photo credits that should last for this year as well), having paid for 3 workships (2 offline and 1 online) and 3 audio books, my expenses are still much higher than my earnings. But looking at that ledger, there are more “in” than “out” and my royalties are rising (although I included also the 2 sales that bumped up the earnings).

So, 2020 goals: write another 500K or more. Write more short stories to be submitted to traditional magazines. Continue writing in the current series (Silvery Earth, Star Minds Universe, Future Earth Chronicles and Vampires Through the Centuries) plus a new one growing out of a batch of shorts. Publish at least 12 books from March. Do the paperbacks I haven’t done last year (erm… still have quite a few, though, don’t I?).

above English titles, below Italian titles and other formats

And then in 2021 I can celebrate the book birth day for Books of the Immortals – Air that will turn 10 years old! It’s not my bestseller (that would be Body Switches that continues to sell a few copies per year since 2014), but it’s my first Book Baby, so I shall celebrate it – next year! ๐Ÿ™‚

But the majority of book-babies grow slowly, just like human babies do. Their audience slowly expands, from family and friends and those in the know, to people their parents never met, to people they couldnโ€™t have known as young book-babies, to people theyโ€™ve never met, to people they will never meet, to people who will outlive them.

Kris Rusch

Mine are particularly slow-growing, but I’m sure they’ll come of age. I might do book launches for final books in a single-story arc series (Future Earth Chronicles? The first arc is already concluded, though…) or just let them grow naturally like I’ve done until now. It’s an evolving world, like Kristen Lamb explains so well here

Are you all set with your 2020 goals? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here are some tips to be successful… Now hop off to the Infinite Bard for another free story and have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜€

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Aaand… HAPPY NEW YEAR! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last week I wrote over 14K and a couple of new shorts I will probably send out soon (at least one of them). So to wrap it all up – in 2019 I wrote 530K words, and published 29 titles (not all in English, mind you, but still…).

I start the new year with 170 titles out after the cleaning of the past 4 months, 45 of which are in Italian with a couple enrolled in KU, which seems to work for that language. Doesn’t work for me in English, but well… I might experiment some more this year.

And in the above I’m not counting the curated anthologies or other anthologies I’m in, or even the bundles, just what came out under the Unicorn Productions banner. And I still have to prepare a few paperbacks of the titles that came out in 2019. I know, I fell behind, sorry… with catch up! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re just starting in the world of Indie Publishing, challenge yourself and publish a book a month for a year. I have done it (25 titles per year since 2011), and sending the paperback to the US is an expense I’d rather not have. But I’ll definitely publish at least 12 titles in 2020. Possibly nothing in the first two months (my editor is busy and I won’t have anything proofread until the end of February) but then I’ll catch up after the Anthology Workshop. Promise.

And here we have a neat podcast (with transcript, which is what I prefer): 2009-2019: Reflections on a decade of self-publishing. I started in 2011, lived through the KU disruption remaining wide and still don’t want to pay for advertising, so that’s probably why my books sink into blackholes of forgetfulness.

I did two new things last year, though. Audio books and going to Overdrive – via D2D, which is just as well, since Kobo is selling Overdrive to someone else, so if I had gone through the KWL dashboard, I would have to do it again. As for Audio books, listen to Joanna Penn!

So a big tip everyone, first of all, go and request your favorite indie books into your library, local libraries, but also tell your readers to request their favorite books in libraries. So I think the more we can get the word out, the more thatโ€™s going to help.

And if you’re in one of the countries supported by Findaway Codes (US, CA, AU) – I still have some to giveaway for Otherside. The other audio books you can ask your libraries are the following Silvery Earth novellas: Firebird and The Hooded Man. The latter received a Honorable Mention at Writers of the Future back in 2014… Go check them, they’re also on Audible and everywhere else they sell audio! ๐Ÿ™‚

I might explore other audio options this year – checked Descript.com but haven’t tried it yet – and might try some translations, although literary translations aren’t the easiest to do. I know, I tried them and spent two weeks on a short story. My favorite Italian writer, Brunella Gasperini, translated Stephen King’s Carrie, but she was also a writer and a journalist, so I’m pretty sure she did an excellent job! ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you’re up for a little poll, go vote here. Novels, short stories, authors, artists, publishers, anything. You have a few more days to vote. The end of the year also saw the implosion of the RWA… glad I don’t write romance, but then, I’m not American either, LOL!

And now onward to the next decade… have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writer Wednesday


I wanted to make an Random Friday post, but since most of this stuff is writing-related, I might as well do it here. I’ve been checking articles on the Innovation Center site of DayJob and found a few things that might interest writers in the future.

First I read their report on AI and how it will disrupt jobs in the coming years (including mine, yay! I’ll be free to move away from this country and start my micro-publishing venture elsewhere!). That report was generic, mentioning how white collars would lose jobs in finance, insurance, law and medical diagnosis, but Joanna Penn is talking about how AI will disrupt authors, so that’s more specific! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The report mentioned how children of today might have to change seven jobs during their lifetime, five of which haven’t been invented yet. Consider this is very traumatic for Italians who looooove their steady job that gives them a pension. Personally, I look forward to be laid off or quit and start a new career from scratch. Scary, but also exciting.

There was an article on quantum computers and a comment gave me an idea for a sci-fi story, or at least a spark, l’ll have to ponder what the story will actually be, it’s just a premise for now.

Then there were links to articles I found interesting (mostly because they allow me to forego opening an Instagram account, although I’m still on the fence for Pinterest). Forget Instagram, Amazon is the Influencer Platform of the future. Now, how do I get to an influencer who might like my books and help me promote them? That is the question, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

And speaking of new jobs, the next gig economy will be on-demand knowledge. That’s as cool as it sounds, although I have no idea of what kind of wisdom I’ll be able to impart, but that’s another story! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll keep an eye on other innovations and keep you posted if I see something that might interest writers.

And then, there’s this awesome post by Kris Rusch on how we should rethink the whole writing business (part one). I’m not yet following the workshop about the Licensing Expo because I’m not ready, but eventually, I will.

So yeah, the future looks bright if I can get rid of the current chains. I’ll also get some input at 20BooksEdinburg, surely, but I won’t attend another business masterclass until I’m ready to actually set up that micro publisher. And I’m signed up for the Anthology Workshop, so here’s to selling a few short stories between now and whenever I can finally take off as a writing business.

In the meantime I’ll finish publishing the Lone Wolves Team stories and the last Lone Wolves short novel, which will take us to Worldcon – my last Worldcon for a while – and I will probably publish The Path of Wood, The Path of Metal and The Path of Dreams (a.k.a. Silvery Earth Kids prose) and the strip Silvery Earth Kids for the Holidays. Mighty editor is busy until mid-October and I have to try something with the much neglected Italian market before the end of the year.

If you want to catch up with what’s already out there, here’s the list of my titles discounted at Smashwords. Also, a new anthology is out, and the theme is MOLES! And stories are notย  just about the cute little animals, although that’s the mole I’m talking about. And yes, the Silvery Earth Kids strips debuts there in black&white, so if you want a sneak peek, go get it now! ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s even the paperback if you’re a fan of print! ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a great week!

Happiness is…


the first and second e-book sale… so long ago I had almost forgotten about it! Dates from the time that Mark Coker answered personally to emails, LOL! Almost ten years now… and still a long way to go! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writer Wednesday


I got my first royalty payment from Findaway Voices (minimum treshold 10$ and there’sย  the Paypal fee, but whatever) and remembered I still have coupon codes for Otherside. So if you’re in AU, US or CA and would like to listen to and review my audiobook, drop me a line.

 

  • Authors Direct is currently only available for users in the United States, Australia, and Canada on iOS and Android (non-Kindle) mobile devices.
  • Authors Direct Giveaway Codes are only for listening inside of the Authors Direct mobile apps and can only be redeemed at https://authors-direct.com/redeem/
  • The following retailers will allow your listeners to leave a review without having bought the book there:ย Apple, Google, Amazon (but not Audible), Kobo, Scribd (with free trial) and Downpour, in addition to standard review sites like Goodreads.

I have enrolled some books in the Smashwords Winter/Summer Sale, but I’ll give the titles next week, when the sale is live. Preparing all the Lone Wolves Team books for this summer’s release, formatting them and slowly uploading them as well. These won’t be part of the sale anyway.

On the 20BooksEdinburgh they’re starting to ask what we’ll be working on while in Edinburgh, but I don’t have an answer yet. It’s still a month away and I think I’ll be done with Torik by then (both the adult and the child). I’m thinking of challenging myself to write a short story a day based on writingย  prompts – I already have plenty that I want to write, either to submit to traditional magazines or anthologies or because I want to tell that story.

Or maybe I’ll start on the next Quest book. Turns out Torik is one of them wanderers, so I changed his book title to The Path of Wood, then I’ll write the sequel as The Path of Metal, and The Path of Dreams will remain for Silvery Earth Kids prose, that I’ll include with Torik’s story. Although since these are set before the current Quests Books, maybe I won’t number them as such.

I was thinking I could do another Sci-Fi July bundle and related anthologies, but my mood is currently hopeless towards sales, and I’m too tired to put another anthology together. I’m not even happy with my own stories, so… next year I’ll try to publish another couple. There’s still six curated anthologies you can choose from and another project coming soon.

But wait, someone else set up a vampires stories bundle! Thirteen Stakes goes live today, go grab it now! ๐Ÿ™‚ It includes Norman Blood from yours truly and a ton more awesome authors, including a short story that was in Nightly Bites Volume 1! ๐Ÿ™‚

And it’s The Infinite Bard week again! Hop off to read another free story from an awesome author! I’m next, so see you there in a couple of weeks! ๐Ÿ™‚ After the summer I’ll probably take down the stories on Prolific Works as well, so get them now. I might add a page of free reads to the publisher’s page, but I haven’t decided yet (besides the stories for The Infinite Bard, I mean).

I think that after the summer I’ll start tending the garden of my 200 published titles before putting out new stuff. Backmatter needs to be updated, some covers might be thrown out, some single stories with ugly covers might vanish (they’re all included in some collection or other anyway, and if they haven’t provided point of entry so far, they probably never will) and so on.

Not a complete relaunch or rebranding, but some tidying up yes. This should go hand in hand with house-cleaning and throwing out unneeded stuff, but we’ll see how that goes as well! ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a great week!

 

Writer Wednesday


So, diving into Torik’s story, and it turns out he can’t be really a dragon rider, LOL! Anyhow, the Path of Dreams is taking shape, 11 or 12K in I’m just starting to tell Torik’s journey.

I still don’t know how I could pull it off, though. Possibly putting Childhood (i.e. Silvery Earth Kids prose version) as prequel at the end of the book. Since I’m in no hurry to publish this (or the strip Silvery Earth Kids), I’m just going to take my time with it.

I did publish another Star Minds Lone Wolves Team mission booklet, though. I would like to thank the Australian Kobo user who is buying them all, if only for you I’ll try to publish them on time! ๐Ÿ™‚

And even if I stayed at home this weekend, my brain was too mushy to actually do some programming. I didn’t even correct the Rogue manuscript! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But it’s for August, so plenty of time for that. Will work on it this week or the coming weekend.

I started putting the lettering on the Silvery Earth Kids strip, though. I plan on doing a paperback proof at the end of the summer, with Lulu because I don’t want to send it live. It will help catch typos and uncolored parts and other weird mistakes.

Also, a preview of a few strips in B&W is coming soon, but I’m not at liberty to discuss that project yet. It will be available also as e-book, but I’d get the paperback if I were you! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t think print books are going away anyway… especially children’s books, as you can see from the following.

And speaking of an everchanging world and my decision to step back a little, please read this long but worthy post on the sale of Barnes&Noble and what it means for writers. And I know it’s a long post, but try to read the comments too.

I still hope to be able to quit the damn day job soon, set up a micropublisher and sell from my own website. Hopefully by then they’ll have invented something that allows writers and readers to meet without the retail giants. Some app or other tricky tech device.

You youngsters, please invent something for us old geezers! ๐Ÿ™‚ Technology is changing so quickly we don’t know what will be available next month or next year. I’ve been reading a report on AI and the future of work, and how technology moves so fast that in 5 years we’ll need to relearn everything.

I miss the world that no longer exists, but I should stop living in the past and try to adjust to the future – it’s already here. Except I’m no longer young and catching up is hard. But slowly and steadily I can adapt to change. I was already thinking of re-educating myself! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I live in an overly complicated country full of burocracy, hence I’m dreaming of moving to a simpler way of life. Like moving to a country with co-housing or that Irish island with high internet speed.

Change is good but scary. And it happens whether we want it or not. So we might as well brace up and ride the storm. We can get through this.ย  Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


Reading suggestions and my take on this: I read The Paper Menagerie and didn’t particularly liked it when it was nominated for a Hugo. I checked the sample of Crazy Rich Asians, but either I get the paperback or the DVD of the movie, since the Chinese parts as footnotes on Kindle are not really nice. And I know it’s a trilogy, but I read mixed reviews on Goodreads.

Currently reading: The Kiss Quotient, even though it’s a 5.99euro ebook! And ops, just discovered it’s also a trilogy when looking it up on Goodreads. Oh, well. Maybe I should have looked for the box set… (although the Kindle box set for Crazy Rich Asians was crazy expensive…)

I guess I’ll try to catch up on some reading while I’m writing more slowly, LOL! Although none of the above were on my TBR pile, but well… still have a dozen bundles to go through both fiction and non-fiction – hence I’ll let Write Publish Profit 2.0 offer pass, but grab it if you feel like it.

And since I discovered Joe Konrath has resumed blogging, I’ll add this post on your book marketing plan and why it won’t work. I totally agree with him. I’m so bad at marketing precisely because so many things don’t work for me, so I’m not doing them even if everybody is screaming I should do them.

Because I’d rather be writing and it’s all a question of luck anyway. So while I wait for my lucky star, let me go back to Silvery Earth Kids and its sequel. I thought it would be only Torik and Copperscales, but Prince Lambert and Goldenberry seem to want in on the ride too… we shall see! ๐Ÿ˜€

And if you’re still new to this, here’s a post worth studying.

How To Shorten Your Amazon Links

Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Writer Wednesday


Last week I was again over 12K and I’m almost done with the Lone Wolves Team. Soon starting the last Lone Wolves Book. But the Silvery Earth Kids are messing with my mind, and I’ve now written more than 60 strips – still to color and letter and everything. Sigh. Bouncing from Silvery Earth to the Star Minds Universe dozen times a day, but I love it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Putting on my publishing hat, I put some order in my book links on Books2Read and added Vampires Through the Centuries to Draft2Digital – excluding the retailers that I already distribute to via Smashwords – so there might be duplicate links for those. I used to put them only on Smashwords because of the assetless-preorder thingy, but since the next in the series won’t have pre-order buttons anyway and I reach more places with D2D, I decided to make the move (there’s even GooglePlay in D2D’s future, hence the addition).

I also added the library distribution on most of my books via Draft2Digital (after ticking off whatever was left on Smashwords, but most of my SW books don’t have an ISBN, so they didn’t go to libraries) and I had a surprise of 21 sales to Overdrive last Saturday. Never sold anything to libraries while I was on Smashwords and first month via Draft2Digital, using their nifty auto-pricing tool, and… well, I left some money on the table, I guess, but I’m making up for it, LOL!

My audiobook is also more listened to in libraries than elsewhere… and on April 30 two more should go live. I still have trouble finding the direct links, so stay tuned… and I’ll have coupons for US, CA and AU for the other two as well, in case you’d like to listen and review.

If you follow the publisher’s page, you might have noticed a new tab, Infinite Bard. I’m not supposed to share any link yet, but stay tuned for a series of free short reads from various awesome authors including yours truly! So get ready to visit the inn/pub called the Infinite Bard (aka, the Chain Story Hub)ย  and be introduced to authors you might otherwise not have found and find free fiction from an assembly of outstanding authors.

The project kicks off with three fantastic stories of excitement, adventure, and terror. They return every two weeks for another spectacular tale full of thrill and chills, or maybe laughs, romance, humor, or suspense. From May 1st… stay tuned! ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a great week!

Random Friday


The anthologies (Fantasy Portals and More Portals) will soon go live and you will be able to hear about other authors. As for myself, I’ll quote the intro of Fantasy Portals, and since this is my blog, I can add links to the mentioned stories! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I wrote my first portal story for the now closed Crossed Genres magazine. The second for the Anthology Workshop, and the third and fourth as an exercise for an online workshop on writing fantasy.

Two of those stories have become novellas with life of their own, but the other two wanted company. Besides my own stories, I mean. And I know plenty of talented writers, hence I did some direct requests and a closed call.

So half the stories of these anthologies are from fellow workshop buddies (Alexandra Brandt, Debbie Mumford, Laura Ware, Annie Reed, C.A. Rowland, Joe Cron and Ron Collins). Some were unavailable, but I had alternative stories of portals (thank you, Stefon Mears!). And then there was a closed call to fill the two anthologies…

But now, more on mine. The two novellas are Yash and Ryo, Lost in the Milky Way and of course much talked about Otherside! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The story I wrote for the workshop is The Portal, included in Fantasy Portals, and I wrote The Avalon Pub for the online workshop Writing Fantasy (as I did with the opening of Otherside).

And since the Eclectica bundle is also coming out this weekend (well, TOMORROW, yay!), I was interviewed by a fellow bundler! Check my ramblings at Sherry D. Ramsey’s place and stay tuned to hear more about her on this very blog… at the beginning of June! ๐Ÿ™‚

I might do another audiobook with either Yash&Ryo or maybe Mumbai Dreams… Not ready for novel-length yet, sorry. And no earlier than six months, since the first three drained me of energy and stole too much of my writing time! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


Last week I wrote less than 7K but I was still busy with the anthologies and approving the second audiobook – which might be shorter than the first, but it still took two hours out of my writing afternoons one day and another half hour the next day to check the corrections.

Yesterday I had to check and approve the third and last (for at least 6 months or until I earn back the expenses) audiobook. Hopefully this week I’ll go back to my 10K or more and glad I was ahead with the great writing of the past months! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, Otherside audiobook is obviously live, and The Hooded Man will soon follow. Unfortunately I can’t give coupons to the people I wanted to give to, since none of them are either in the US, Canada or Australia (one is in the UK, one in Italy and one in India, at least for The Hooded Man), so… I’ll decide later, when I’ve written this week’s 10K, LOL!

These are the places where I found the audiobook so far: GooglePlayiTunesNOOKaudio. Can’t find it on Kobo and they tell me that Audible distribution can take up to 30 days before the title is live there. I hit “publish” on Otherside on March 17… so I guess by Easter it might be at Amazon too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

In case you don’t follow the publisher’s page, there are a few books at 99c99p out now, in case you want to give this author a try. And there are the pre-order buttons for the anthologies.

Also, I’m in two new bundles now, Eclectica and Cat Tales #4, go check them! ๐Ÿ™‚ Again, I have updated the publisher’s page, but not this blog, so for the available bundles go there! ๐Ÿ˜‰

All this publishing stuff is stealing time from writing (although I’ll be fair, a lot of time is stolen by Bubble Witch Saga 3 too, maybe I should take it off the writing netbook and keep it only on the smartphone, but it’s sooo addictive, damn it!) but I’m still hoping to get back into the routine today.

The Lone Wolves Team is out in the galaxy fixing stuff, and bonds and relationships between members are blossoming. I already made the covers for the stories that will start to come out next month and I have chosen the images for the covers of the Legends of the Moren Empire even though I’ve written only Volume 1 so far (coming soon!), but I want all three to have the same feel.

I think the Star Minds Lone Wolves will keep me busy for at least a month, if not until the end of May, then I can go back to Silvery Earth. I have written 40+ strips for Silvery Earth Kids, but now I need to color and letter them… Now I better get back to those missions, the Lone Wolves Team has to save the universe – not! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great week!

 

%d bloggers like this: