Wednesday Weekly Roundup

The classic editor comes and goes from this dashboard, so some learning curve will be involved in the coming days. Now I might need a couple of weeks to get used to the new thingy, but hopefully it won’t be too messy. Slowly getting the hang of it, so to speak.

Anyhow, Newsletter #1 is ready to roll with a full novel as free download. It goes out tomorrow and you still have time to subscribe, get the free story immediately and wait for the novel tomorrow. Still can’t figure out how to put sign up forms elsewhere, so please hop off to the publisher’s site and dump your email in the newsletter sign-up, thank you! πŸ™‚

Also, last days for the sci-fi bundle… grab it now if you haven’t already! Do you like space opera? How about military science fiction? Do you love the old masters and especially the book club, where you bought one book and received ten more? This is way better.

The International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors (IASFA) is a professional organization focused on aligning readers with authors. We are building the organization that currently numbers over 600 authors published within the SFF genres and growing. Stay tuned as each month we’ll offer full book samplers for free along with less frequent paid book bundle promotions. Help yourself to find your next favorite author by joining the IASFA newsletter.

My friend Francesco Verso published his first collection of short stories in English. If you’d like to try some Italian sci-fi, here’s what he has to say:

Writing short stories – contrary to popular belief – is very hard. You can’t procrastinate, you can’t hide behind turns of phrase, you have to know where you are going and which buttons to press to reach the point in as few words as possible. Paradoxically the short story is the narrative form most suitable for the accelerated times in which we all find ourselves: brief, dense, and compact, the short story is a precious and agile interface for understanding the future we will be living in for the rest of our days. These are my first eleven short stories written between 2008 and 2020, inside you will find a kaleidoscope of visions of the future, ranging from augmented reality to artificial intelligence, from gamification to #solarpunk, all the way to biotechnology and post-humanism.

You can find his book on Amazon.IT (and probably the other marketplaces as well, but this is the link he gives).

And for a different kind of sci-fi, Cygnus Rising by Craig Martelle, the first book in the Cygnus Space Opera series, is on sale for 99 cents from tomorrow. “From the ashes of their past, Cygnus was rising. From space they came, to space they returned, humanity searching for a way home.” Grab it from your favorite retaile fromr April 1. Limited time and no, not an April Fools’! πŸ˜‰

Now back to regular programming! Last week I wrote 13K (more or less like the previous week) on my urban/contemporary fantasy Duology, hoping to finish a fist draft by Easter. There’s still some way to go in world-building and other stuff, so I don’t think this will come out anytime soon, but well… I’m on it! πŸ˜‰

Now that Holi came and went, I had to rewrite a couple of scenes in the Duology… but I’m keeping everything in the “deleted scenes” file, just in case. The Duology ends in October, hence I won’t be able to publish before then. It will soon be dated, even if I don’t mention it’s 2020-2021, but I thought the now would be a good time to mix some magic into the hell we’re going through all over the world.

Last weekend I did most of the fun publishing stuff, i.e. covers! I like choosing the stock images and possibly get the background from my own pictures to save credits, but some places I’ve never been to, so I must use stock images. You can already see some results in the Books of the Immortals cover variants that will be available to Newsletter subscribers throughout the year: Books of the Immortals – Fire has a stock image of Timbuktu, Books of the Immortals – Ether has Junagarh Fort of Bikaner in the background, taken by yours truly back in 2016 during my tour of Rajasthan.

So I prepared all the covers for the books coming out in the next few months, and now I’m left with the boring part – editing and formatting. This morning I’ll be busy helping my friend and cover artist Cristina (who did the original Books of the Immortals covers) with her own stuff as well and no new titles will come out this weekend because it’s Easter. Most people will celebrate it – or Passover – so I won’t bother publishing anything.

Then it will be box sets and collections, and the new titles should arrive in June. It’s novellas and short stories. I have a bunch of short story collections to publish as well, and possibly another curated anthology or two. We’ll see.

paperbacks of Books of the Immortals - Air

And let’s not forget tomorrow it’s the Bookversary of Books of the Immortals – Air! Here you can read that first announcement… ten years already… where did time go? Anyhow, get the ebook for free by subscribing to the newsletter above! πŸ™‚ With a variant cover, but it’s still the same book… or wait a couple of weeks for an even better deal… stay tuned!

A last suggested article/book in case you’re a buddying writer – For Independent Authors: The Ultimate Guide to Publishing Wide. I’m notoriously wide, although I don’t go direct to Nook and Apple, but I use both Smashwords and Draft2Digital as distributors. I have only one short story in KU, Lisa’s Odyssey, at least in English. Now I shall go back to my writing and editing and formatting paperbacks… have a great week! πŸ™‚


editing rambling

I’m NOT going to mention title or author because she’s indie (and probably very young or uneducated), but I stumbled upon a free read that deserved 1 star for grammar/style/formatting and 3 for story. So I’m not going to mention who suggested it either, but other reviews went from 1 to 5 stars – which probably means something.

What I felt is she uploaded her piece too soon, without even bothering a pass with the spellchecker. Punctuation was an optional, correct formatting of dialog and whatnot almost unknown and similar sounding words (you know, like their/they’re/there?) were constantly misused which made the story really hard to enjoy (and sometimes even to follow). That’s the 1star part.

I hated her crybaby protagonist, which reminded me of a friend’s story in the same genre some 15 years ago, where both her (male) protagonists were crybabies. Here it’s only one, but it’s still too much. But then, I also usually hate romance heroines, so I’m probably the sociopath here! πŸ˜‰ And I couldn’t appreciate the high school setting, because I’m not American, so it didn’t remind me of anything (which was a good thing for the highest rated reviews).

Anyway, I’m certainly not going back to that author. A typo or two will always be in any manuscript or traditionally published book, but one or two on each page is way too much. Her English is worse than mine (she keeps using “then” instead of “than” by the way…), and I’m not a native speaker, so if I can’t improve MY English, why waste my time! πŸ˜‰

So what I would like to recommend to ANY and ALL writers is: be aware of your limits. If grammar or punctuation are your weak spot and you don’t have the money to pay a pro editor (like I do with the novels, but not the shorter pieces), find a friend who is an English geekΒ  and use him/her for proofreading. You live in English speaking countries, it can’t be too hard to find somebody! My friends mostly speak Italian (that’s why I rely a lot on my beta from my offline writers group), so it’s harder for me now that I switched languages. But when I did write in Italian, I knew what my weaknesses were and I had specific friends to catch my specific problems (like putting too much Roman dialect in dialog, so I had a Tuscan friend go over it – Tuscany is supposed to speak “real” Italian, so those are the best judges).

It’s hard to catch your own mistakes, so always have at least another set of eyes checking your work of fiction before putting it out there, either as submission to trad pub or uploaded as indie.

Maybe in a few years this author will be the next Amanda Hocking (who has been criticized for bad editing of her best sellers, in case you didn’t know), but at the moment she’s on my “forget her” list… don’t do that to yourself, or even giving away your stuff for free won’t bring in any new readers…

Happy writing!

Indie Publishing Week 1

So, here’s the schedule – and it’s already all corrected! 😦

Ahem, well… cover artist had forgotten she was busy on Monday, so I’m seeing her today – hence the switch.

SO! Saturday I did the final edit of Air and worked on the book cover (and printed a first draft of Earth as well, so I can give it to my first beta). Sunday was off to take care of the spirit/soul/inner writer (AND it’s Six Sentence Sunday – I DO visit all the other 90+ blogs, even if I don’t leave comments… which isn’t something everybody else does! ;-)) and Monday had the usual Happiness is… post scheduled. But what did I do of the things on the list?

“Opened” the Kindle account – first a new one, then I realized I can actually use my Amazon account, even if it’s under my real name. Have no idea of how to close the second account, though – Amazon feels free to close accounts, but doesn’t allow users to opt out easily? Maybe I just can’t find it. I’ll just leave it dead and use the older account.

Then I read all the Kindle fine-print and again wished I lived elsewhere. That 70% royalty rate? It’s only for UK, US and Canada. MUST find a husband in one of those countries (and my Muse has a Canadian passport… maybe I really should propose! πŸ˜‰ JUST KIDDING! :D). Or stick to the 35%. Have to get on the Kindle anyway, because as Mark Coker himself says “Amazon is 2000 times larger than Smashwords” so if I want to find my 5000 readers, I must get on the Kindle. Somehow I’m relieved because the exclusion includes also an English-speaking continent (Australia), so it’s not only a question of mother tongue.

Then I did my Smashwords formatting, but I don’t have Word, I have Open Office at home. And I’m away from Day Job where I have Word. So I’ll ask my cover artist if she has Word so I can add the hyperlinks to the Smashwords file (couldn’t figure out how to do it with Open Office) – otherwise I’ll have to complete the file next week. Sigh.

Oh, and I managed to finish all my handwritten Zero Drafts, so anytime I’ll switch off the computer to give my eyes a rest, I’ll be drawing SKYBAND chapter 6 – no more procrastinations excuses (and if you wonder where this fits in the schedule, look at the last column).

What I haven’t done yet, but is on the list, is check how much is a book tour with a company that contacted me to be part of someone else’s book tour (so next week I’ll have a guest post), if it’s worth the expense or if I should just try to organize it myself like Krista D.Ball is doing. Has anyone done a virtual book tour? Did you organize it yourself or paid someone to contact people for you?

Next: the meeting with the cover artist! πŸ˜€

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