Random Friday

Aaaand! You can tell my brain is fried from the heat because the previous post came out as Random Friday. Don’t worry, I edited it, so only on Facebook and Goodreads it’s still out as Random Friday because I can’t change what’s been shared on social media! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyhow, this is the real Random Friday, since it is now Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me mourn the old Goodreads homepage for a sec. I’m sick of social media changing stuff around that doesn’t need to be changed. I’m NOT downloading the GR app (which I assume is the reason why they changed stuff around AGAIN), and if becomes too bothersome, I’m going to just quit going there.

And then there’s the other new that Facebook is changing stuff around too! I’m sick of trying to keep up with social media for this author stuff. I hope my fans find me here anyway. If you “like” me on Facebook, please follow the instructions in the article, thank you…

I have another week before my week off, so we’ll see how many stories I managed by then. Two out of eight for now. Have a great weekend!


Random Friday

I didn’t want to leave out our Author of the Month. She’s also a contributor to Strange Portals! She finally found the time to answer my writerly questions, so I’m very happy to introduce you all to C.G. Coppola!

57a04-strange2bportalsWhere do you live and write from?

Well I currently reside in Jacksonville, Fl but I write from my laptop which normally sticks to my desk but may move to the recliner or the table. Or pretty much around the house. But it does stay in the house. Iโ€™m not one for writing outdoors or in coffee shops around people. Iโ€™m a little paranoid theyโ€™d read it. And point out the grammatical errors.

Why do you write?

Because I have to (boring response, ay?) I just love writing. I love everything about it, the freedom it gives you and the power. Iโ€™ve been doing it since I was little and am entirely convinced itโ€™s what Iโ€™m supposed to do with my life.

When did you start writing?

When my mother took away my Barbie dolls. I was forced to record their adventures instead of playing them out. Strange tESCAPE FROM HARRIZEL VS 2 - 2000ransition but a good one, I think.

What genre(s) do you write?

I like Science Fiction and Fantasy because it opens the flood gates to where everything and anything can happen.ย  And thatโ€™s what I like in my stories. Everything and anything.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Music. The stories are in the music.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Iโ€™m a mental-plotting-panster. Is that a thing? What I mean is I see the story in my head: I know the big events and main arc, but the detailsโ€ฆ why should I get in the way of the characters explaining all that? PLUS I mightโ€™ve gotten an event wrong in which the characters will right everything again. So I guess itโ€™s a little of both.

Tell us about your latest book

DISCOVERY AT NERWOLIX- VS2 - 2000So the last book I released was the third in my series, Arizal Wars. The book is Discovery at Nerwolix, and follows the next chapter in an epic Sci-fi Romance plot that involves aliens, new worlds, lots and lots of battles, friendship and even some sex! I released it in September last year and have done little (probably no) advertising, which is why you havenโ€™t heard of it.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/470681 – Smashwords

http://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Nerwolix-Arizal-Wars-Book-ebook/dp/B00N2BUFNQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409159039&sr=8-1&keywords=discovery+at+nerwolix – Amazon

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Iโ€™m going Indie right now but realizing I donโ€™t have the attention span or motivation to market. Which is sad. I usually say Iโ€™m going to do this or get that done and I just sit down and write some more. Which is all fine except no one reads it. And my characters only exist on the page. I may try traditional publishingโ€”who knows!

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Oh yes! Iโ€™m working on a fantasy piece told from two perspectives: a runaway princess and a rogue assassin. Together, and with the help of a young street kid, the trio escapes their toxic realm in search of safety in the White Wastelands that lay beyond. Iโ€™ve got some romance and of course, lots of action again! I canโ€™t stop writing action.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I just want to write. Seriously. If I had a fan base and a book tour and a lot of positive feedbackโ€”all of that would be great. A perk, you could say. But I want to pump out stories all day as a day job and hopefully make enough to live. Even meekly, if possible. I should probably be doing a whole lot more to achieve it. Like, I donโ€™t know, maybe advertising? Getting more into the community? Right now Iโ€™m just focused on writing. I am going to the Writerโ€™s Digest Conference in NY next month. Maybe Iโ€™ll get some pointers and learn some stuff to help!

PLAGUE OF MYBENCIA - VS 2 - 2000What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

I donโ€™t think I held onto any one specific advice during my studies (B.A. in Creating Writing. Woop!) but the thing that all my teachers and established writers have agreed to: never give up. Keep working. Keep reading. And keep writing.

Where to find C.G. Coppola


cgcoppolawrites@gmail.com or cgcoppola@gmail.com

twitter: writercgcoppola

goodreads giveaway

Didn’t sell them at Loncon and don’t want to take them back. Enter now – UK only.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Star Minds by Barbara G.Tarn

Star Minds

by Barbara G.Tarn

Giveaway ends August 21, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Star Minds Snippets by Barbara G.Tarn

Star Minds Snippets

by Barbara G.Tarn

Giveaway ends August 21, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Writer Wednesday

New month, new author of the month on the Smashwords Authors Goodreads group (although the widget down the sidebar still shows the old one). Come and meet Laurel, who might soon show up or send one of her characters on this blog. She writes historical fiction, so it’s a nice change! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also joined a group of beta-readers, since I’ve run out again. I still have the two most faithful, but they like different kinds of stories, and I’d rather hear from more voices what’s good and what’s not. Hope to find another Bookwatcher! ๐Ÿ™‚

Smashwords made a blog post on how to do box sets or book bundles… I already have my own bundle out for a few more weeks, but maybe I can set up a group bundle with other authors. Although I’d have no idea which charity to pick. And there’s already Wyrd Worlds 2 coming out in September, which will be free – looking forward to that, even if I’ve beta-read only one story or two! ๐Ÿ™‚

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t read this book, and I already have an ITIN. But if you’re not American and want to self-publish here’s how to get an EIN number. I don’t know if the book is actually useful, since, like I said, I don’t need it. After one year of attempts by snail mail, I flew to London, went to the American Embassy there and got a permanent ITIN in a month and a half – when even calling the IRS from Long Island had failed. So I hope this book helps whoever still needs one. Again, I’m NOT affiliated with the author and I haven’t read the book.

If you’re just starting, you can try the Liliana Nirvana as explained by Hugh Howey. For me it’s a little too late with 80 titles already out, but if you’re just starting, you might want to give it a try. It might work, or not – I think it also depends on the genre – but it’s worth a try. I know it’s exciting to hit that “publish” button, but if you do it with a little insight and a business plan, you’ll probably succeed better than me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And if you’re already established, Joe Konrath’s dream of selling direct to library is in beta!

However, we’re currently only taking requests if you’ve sold more than 1000 ebooks and have gotten more than 100 reviews on your backlist. Even if you meet that criteria, we’re currently taking a limited amount of authors. eBooksAreForever will always reserve the right to make all final decisions on the books we offer to libraries.

Since I’m not that successful yet, I’ll just wait and see. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll be able to join too! ๐Ÿ˜€ And if you’re a Smashwords author in the Seattle area, you might want to try this contest and get into your public library… Good luck!

While I wait for the editor to go through the body switch, I’m mulling another B.G. Hope’s story, but I don’t know when I’ll know enough about the characters to start writing it. Probably next year. It will go nicely with Six Months and Choices, hopefully! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m also thinking of dropping that pen name… all pen names… and keep just this one. But maybe I’m not in the right mood to decide yet.

Have a great week!

Happiness is…

108I should change that banner – now I’m more active in the Smashwords Authors group! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it’s still Goodreads, so it’s fine… ๐Ÿ˜€


Writer Wednesday

*SALES* Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale! My books are all 50% off, so some titles have gone FREE!!! Only until the end of July… Make haste! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This weekend I’ll upload another title, but it will be full price… My month on Goodreads is over, but you can still check the wonderful conversation here. Now it’s the turn of fellow Wyrd Worlder Ubiquitous Bubba, so fire away your questions to the next Douglas Adams! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writing-wise, I’m completing a couple of stories (one of the Assassins’ Guild and one of the Amazons) and then will move on with the translation. I will try to use a part of the Assassins’ Guild novella as short story – if it stands on its own at less than 6K, I will submit it to a magazine, if not, I’ll just publish the whole novella in the fall. And the Amazons story… if I like it, I’ll add it to my Wyrd Worlds 2 submissions, if not, maybe I’ll just leave it in the drawer! ๐Ÿ™‚

Careful of how you behave online. See how you can lose a gig because you had a meltdown on social media… Even if you’re a fiction writer, this applies. Don’t make a fool of yourself in public – I wouldn’t buy a book by an author who whines constantly on social media…

Wonderful post by Hugh Howey on the state of self-publishing. And if you have time (but wouldn’t you be better off writing?!), you can check the latest Konrant (I admit I quit halfway, since I know Joe’s opinion and can’t be bothered to hear him fisking someone else – I’m sick of hearing there are still writers out there who keep their head in the sand and don’t want to think for themselves) or David Gaughran’s analysis of media bias and Amazon.

And since the heat is on, I’m going back to writing and hybernating (in case you’re new to this blog, yes, I hybernate in the summer – and I can’t stand the AC). Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday

Not sure if you’re following the discussion on my thread on Goodreads, but I’ve said that I feel like an alien who wants to go home. Well, maybe this E.T. will soon go home, thanks to this warp drive spaceship! ๐Ÿ™‚ Wonders never cease, do they? Although the first flight will probably over-crowded… and very expensive… so I’ll keep going home with my mind for now! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bu the way, I feel mean and rude, but I’ve “unfriended” someone on Goodreads. He kept inviting me to groups, none of which interested me, one was even secret and based on GR recommendations – now I don’t want any recommendations, neither on Goodreads or anywhere else. My TBR list is long enough already.

I’m still trudging through the novellas finalists for the Hugos, and I’m still not impressed (although now I can say I’ve read something by Charles Stross, one of the Hachette authors fisked by Joe Konrath). I spent too much time reading only my own stuff, and probably lost touch with what the market really wants. Which doesn’t mean I’ll start writing for the market, but it makes it harder for me to find my 5000 True Fans. Sigh.

Now the summer is here, which probably means tomorrow I’m going to skip the Bollywood Dance workshop here in Rome, because leaving the house at 3pm is suicide. Sorry, Ambili Abraham, I guess I’ll never get to meet you – or watch you on the Italian TV for that matter! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve watched an Italian movie, Anni Felici, a fictionalized version of the director’s youth in the summer of 1974. The two kids were wonderful and even if that year I was living abroad, yeah, the 70s were all there. It has English subtitles if you’d like to check it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Internet bullies and one more reason not to put all your eggs in one (Amazon) basket. My internet connection is driving me nuts, so I’m signing off now. Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday

And the surprise Sunday was… a new release announcement, since I didn’t have anything else to post! So hope you checked the latest Amazons title, soon to be included in Amazon Summer, out later this month.

And it’s June! I’m Author of the Month at Goodreads group Smashwords Authors! Drop by and leave a question or follow the conversation… The first batch of questions already made me think! ๐Ÿ˜€ I thank Tori for asking… I should write posts about that stuff, don’t you think? ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, after reading David Gaughran’s post on Noise Trade, I uploaded a story there. The suggested tip is 1$ since the ebook isย  for sale at 99cents… but you can also get it for free! Trying to build that mailing list… so the title will be available only for the month of June. In July I’ll upload another title and so on and so forth.

And it’s official! I’m a Loncon program participant! I gave my availability, now we’ll see what panels I can find to be on! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you signed up for Loncon, let me know and we might be able to get together! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I checked my writerly schedule and I’m free to keep writing in English this month, since the translation is for next month, yay! So I’m finishing the Assassins’ Guild prequel, I’ll write a couple of Amazons shorts to see if I can send them to magazines and anthologies, and then I’ll do the second draft of the body switch.

Or maybe I’ll just work on the Assassins’ Guild and the body switch. The first is growing on me – what was supposed to be short prequels to Saif’s Legacy is becoming a full-fledged novella about Kilig and Saif and the other assassins (that you will see again in Kilig and Hakeem’s story – the ones that are still alive, that is!). I’m exploring those lands after the fall of the southern kingdoms and before the birth of the Varian Empire, trying to figure out what kind of city-states survived, so it’s lot of world-building, i.e. fun! ๐Ÿ˜‰

As for the body switch, I might change the setting or leave it as is… but I want to wait until the middle of June to read it with a fresh eye along with the betas comments, and then make up my mind! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writerly links: there’s still a lot going on about the Amazon/Hachette negotiations, which made even the Passive Guy be less passive and had Joe Konrath fisking James Patterson again, or you could check Hugh Howey’s view on the so-called monopolyย  and see Amazon’s reply on Joe Konrath’s blog.

Or you could just check how to find the ways to success as a writer with thinking for yourself. There is no gospel for wannabes out there. Research and experiment. And be happy with what you achieve! ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you manage to quit your day job to go fulltime writing, please post it on the Passive Guy’s blog! I’m still working on it, but one day… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great week!


Writer Wednesday

Final thoughts on the Goodreads Giveaway. 762 people requested it – people who had never heard of me (coincidentally, that’s also my bus number – the one that should take me to work or back home when it doesn’t forget to show up at the bus stop). 359 people added it to their Want-to-read shelf, so they weren’t just entering any giveaway available in the hope of winning. Also, that didn’t bring visitors to this blog, so it’s really just Goodreads users who entered the giveaway (some of my friends might have entered it through the link on Facebook, but I think most of the requesters were unknown to me) to win a book.

What I can say is – even if I will earn only one fan now, it brought my book to the attention of Goodreads users. I checked the book stats that went back to April 2013: it was added once in May, once in July (I think it’s Mr Rodent who even left a review), once in August, once in September, then went on the “Want-to-read” shelf of 100+ people on the first day of the giveaway, 70 on the second and 185 on the third. Now those people might never end up buying it, but they saw it, and know about Silvery Earth now.

That Want-to-read shelf is for the paperback edition that I added for the Giveaway (since, as I mentioned, it’s only for printed books, and it didn’t allow me to set it up until there were only the “e-book” and “Kindle edition” in their database). So I better hurry and do the CreateSpace edition and match it to the Kindle edition, so if some of those people look for the actual book, they can find it on Amazon (although since Amazon bought Goodreads, a lot of people are pissed)! ๐Ÿ™‚ And especially if the winner is American, sending direct from CreateSpace will be cheaper for me! ๐Ÿ˜€

That’s a good marketing tool, that really shows your title on Goodreads since they list it on their giveaway list with no effort on your part. There are obviously readers who keep a look on those lists, so if you have print copies and want to reach new people, set up a Goodreads Giveaway! ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know if and how it will affect actual sales yet, but it’s good exposure, it’s free (well, it will cost you the mailing expenses for the winner if you don’t use CreateSpace – that was about 20euros for me, international mailing fees are very high, but you can select only your home country if you wish) and not time-consuming at all. No need to tweet, facebook, whatnot, just enter your title in a GR Giveaway and they will introduce you to hundreds of people who would have never heard of you otherwise…

While I was at it, I even re-read BoI-Air – after 2 years. Boy, it felt weird! Now I’m sending it out to an editor with minor adjustments (it was edited by a British editor, unlike my following books) and so the new POD edition will be updated – and so will the e-book version while I’m at it. Hopefully there isn’t so much to do on the other BoI as well! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s little things, really (word choices, punctuation), but I understand why some writers get stuck in rewriting hell for years! ๐Ÿ˜€

No, I’m not stuck in the Book-as-event myth. I did celebrate when I published BoI – Air and ordered those 25 copies (3 more left, yay!) done with Lulu, but I didn’t repeat the expense for the other books that came later. Those minor adjustments I plan are like proofreading (and the typo-imps are real b… – they show up years after you polished your book and hired a proofreader… they always find a way to get into your book!), and I won’t do it for all my books.

But I like reading my own books from time to time, since I write what I want to read and I have fun doing it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And since I write all year round and pretty fast, I never did NaNoWriMo and I’m not keeping anything in the drawer just because I wrote it too fast. I’m leaving there the stories that have no plot and make no sense because they were experiments at the time, but that’s all! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve written a few shorts for a couple of anthologies I plan on publishing within the next six months (one brand new and three more “recycled”) and then I want to complete the second Amazons book for this year. Next year I plan on writing all the Amazon stories, the next generation of Star Minds and then who knows. I like to improvise – not just rewrite (translate/recycle) old stuff! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And maybe one of those shorts might end up in Wyrd Worlds 2… Stay tuned! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, back to writing… have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜€

Writer Wednesday

I was afraid this year we wouldn’t have snow on WP blogs (which is the only snow I’ll get to see in December in Roma, LOL), and finally Monday I saw the snowflakes – hence the change of theme for a month. The old one will be back in January, when it stopsย  snowing on my blog! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re new to WP, it’s under Settings – General – tick the box for “snow until Jan 4th” and have fun! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course I must start with an announcement – I’m particularly excited because it’s my first serial series (meaning I’ll have to make very clear that subsequent books are part of a series and probably don’t work well as standalone, LOL) and as it’s my latest baby, I’m very happy with it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Star Minds book 1 โ€“ Technological Angel is out NOW on Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, DriveThruFiction and XinXii!

You’ve already met Kol-ian, so stay tuned to meet the other characters of this science fantasy saga. I spent the weekend working on book 2, expanding it (but it’s still half of book 1, LOL. Well 30K vs 50K). The print version will come out only when the series is complete – mostly because it’s short books, which doesn’t matter in e-book format, but in print… I already have thin printed books and I’d rather have a big one for a change. I have a wonderful cover by great artist Phoenixlu, but I’m keeping it for the complete series. For the single books, you’ll have to bear with my drawings, LOL!

There’s an ongoing discussion on Goodreads about free titles. I have already mentioned I don’t like those downloaders who want only free titles, hence I find useless KDP Select. Real readers are very happy to pay for a title, and they’re actually wary of free/cheap titles. So let’s hope all indie writers will get the message and stop underselling their work. We are professionals, we ought to get paid for our writing, right?

Like I said in that discussion, B.G. Hope doesn’t have a blog, or a Facebook page, or a Goodreads profile. Well, she sells more than Barbara G.Tarn. And she has NO free titles. And only one novella so far (my bestseller) as I’m still working on the second novella I hope to publish before Christmas. Again, people going for free reads are DOWNLOADERS, not readers. REAL READERS are wary of free and cheap titles. So put a price on your darn novels and get paid for your work! ๐Ÿ™‚ Best sellers like John Locke and Amanda Hocking who sold at 99cents are exceptions, not the norm. Have a collection of shorts introducing to your world (like my BoI – Prequels) and put a price on your novel! ๐Ÿ™‚

Even temporary discounts haven’t brought in new readers – because again it cathered mostly to Downloaders. So the only real marketing strategy is writing more books – eventually you will be discovered. And remember, e-books are forever. You can’t expect instant success. I had 0$ royalties last year, 100$ this year (all from Smashwords – the DriveThru royalties were enough to pay for the print versions of SKYBAND, though, so I’m very happy with that retailer too) and both my pen names are starting to sell now, months after I published the first title (B.G. Hope had only shorts until I published Johnny&Marian).

Now, if any reader would like to quip in about e-book pricing, feel free – as long as you remain civil, of course! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d love to hear your thoughts. I think both readers and writers have changed with the e-book revolution during this very year, and I’m very curious to hear about the situation in Italy. From tomorrow until Sunday it’s the Small&Medium Publishers Book Fair in Roma again (link in Italian only), and I sure hope it won’t depress me as much as it did last year! I’ll let you know next week what I figured out! ๐Ÿ™‚

SPAL has an excellent post about Amazon & Facebook. If you’re a marketing freak, that is. If, like me, you hit that “publish” button and write the next book, you’re probably not really interested. But it’s now obvious that this is not a get-rich-quick venture. Sales take time. And the stars of indie publishing are not the norm, like I said above. Be realistic in your goals – remember, you can control what and how much you write and publish, not how much you sell. Unless you have a crystal ball or a tarot deck – in which case I’d love you to read the cards for me as well, thank you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

See also Mark Coker’s post on Amazon KDP Select offer (with the comments from at least one KDP Select author, I didn’t read all the comments, LOL!). Of course Mark is biased, but I still think he has a point. Like SPAL says in the previous link, not everybody owns a Kindle. And you’re missing a lot of readers by staying with Amazon only. It’s a big wide world. You never know where your next reader might be. Yes, my bestseller sold 2 more copies on Kindle US this month and none nowhere else, but I don’t care. One day some i-pad owner might discover B.G. Hope. Or a Kobo owner. A Sony e-reader. A Nook owner – you get the point! ๐Ÿ˜‰

You probably have heard that Simon&Shuster opened to self-publishers… not! Here’s David Gaughran’s excellent post on who’s actually “behind” this S&S venture. Writer beware indeed. I guess we can’t trust the Big 6 anymore, if they hire scam companies to run their self-publishing branches! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Like Dean Wesley Smith says

Let me be clear here, folks. Money flows to the writer. Period.

And don’t forget to check his latest post on the New World of Publishing as well. It’s your career and your business choices, don’t fall into the hands of those scam artists still thriving out there! Dean again:

The truth is that the best way to sell books is write a lot, work on learning how to be a better storyteller constantly, get your work in front of editors or readers or both, and plan for the long haul.

So, what are you doing still reading my blog? Go back to writing, you lazy writer! ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy writing!

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