Writer Wednesday


I have added a couple of rewards (at the lower tiers) for writers. So if you’d like to hear some tips or experiences or other writerly stuff by yours truly, you can do so by supporting me on Patreon. If you’re just a reader who enjoy my fiction (bless you), you have even more choices. Either way I’d greatly appreciate it, even if you pledge only 1$ a month! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last week of may and I’m prepping for the Novel Challenge while writing a fan fiction – clearly a crossover between vampires mythologies! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I won’t say anything about it, but anyone familiar with my vampires will recognize my submission when it goes live. The voting is anonymous, so feel free to vote for somebody else, LOL!

This week writerly links. A hot steaming sack of business advice for writers by Chuck Wendig. Although I should take him off my blogroll, since he enjoys hunting unicorns. The Lady of the Unicorn, here, can’t really allow that, can she? ๐Ÿ˜‰ And you probably all know that I don’t agree on anything about agents, but if that’s your thing…

I’m still studying the series about branding. That homework is tricky, though. It will need some percolating in my slow mind. I think I said 2011 was the year of the Sloth, but this year things got even worse, haha! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have worked on a cover this weekend, and I’m keeping the fonts consistent for the series and sub-series (like you can see in the Silvery Earth trailer, each sub-series had a different font and frame).

If you still need some motivation, and while you wait for my own post on the topic (I hope I can write my own in 3 to 5 years, but I’m not there yet, haha!), here’s 20 things learned from writing full-time for three years. Wait, I actually do write full time (except for those wasted hours at the part-time office chair), but I don’t earn a living from it… mm, complicated stuff.

Anyway, if you need a boost on productivity but don’t want to pay an online workshop, that post is excellent advice. And don’t get depressed when you read “You’re going to get hacked!” or someone’s frustration and disappointment. Re: Amazon (I guess that author went through this Amazon Alert and decided to back out of it) I also had problems with them in the past.

When I was publishing SKYBAND with Lulu, I had someone selling it on Amazon without buying it from me at 100$ (a 10$ single issue) and the representatives weren’t really helpful. One of my ebooks is still in Draft form because they didn’t receive my copyright ownership and had blocked my KDP account.

Life is too short to worry about pirates and Amazon and whatnot. Like I said more than once, I might one day give up publishing and start another kind of business, keeping my writing private and/or for my few readers. One day. I’m still trying to think long term. It can’t be considered a career until 10 years have gone by, and they have not. Not yet. They’re flying by, but I still have a few years of experiments and attempts at finding my readership.

Ending on a non-writerly note because Da Muses’ alerts were kinda funny lately for opposite reasons. One is reknown for his immortality (yeah, right) hence the only 50+ worth watching and the other was given for dead at 43… I’m sorry I missed that Facebook hoax! ๐Ÿ˜€

Hoping I made at least the ladies smile with the last paragraph, I wish you a wonderful week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writer Wednesday


Star Minds Third Generation Snippets is out! Check the damn Amazon link so the people at Booklinker won’t bother me with useless emails! But it’s available also everywhere else *waves at the gal who already bought it on Smashwords – I know who you are, thank you*! Next weekend I shall work on the paperback version.

The cover is by Mighty Marvelous Maurizio Manzieri – which means I have the same cover as some traditional SFF magazines or books, yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ It might be one of his stock illustrations (it ain’t free, babe), but again I wrote a story that fit it, like I did with S.E.T.H. (on the cover of Star Minds Next Generation Diaries).

Like I do with Techie Bro’s digital paintings. Who needs writing prompts with such great artists out there? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m still commissioning custom covers, though. Next month you’ll see the awesome covers Rossana Beretta did for Talwar and Khanda and Saif’sย  Story. And besides doing maybe a cover or two myself, I’ll have Cristina do another southern kingdoms illustration. Not to mention the official cover artist for Vampires Through the Centuries, Shafali Anand! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomorrow starts a Kobo-only promo – the Books of the Immortals Box Set will be 30%off for a few days. Just hop to the Kobo page and see what other box sets get discounted until the 29th! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lots of writerly links today! David Farland on busting your editor’s chops. Kris Rusch on types of brands – I might not be the best at cover branding yet, but well… too many books, too little time! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m still learning cover branding, but that’s only the surface. There’s a whole lot more about branding to study and learn.

And then two posts by David Gaughran about those darn Amazon bots… how we’ll end up asking “please don’t buy my books” and who’s pointing at you. I’ve been on Yasiv when I tried to set up that Amazon ad… some of my titles don’t even come up on Yasiv! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I mean, even putting a series title like Star Minds not one book of the series shows up. Vampires Through the Centuries brings up only Vampire Diaries. Silvery Earth brings only the Fairy Tales Revisited… And “body switches”? Tons of non-fiction and conspiracy theories and mind-controlling texts!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I’ll have to find other ways to find tags for my next Amazon ads. Yasiv clearly doesn’t work for me! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, did you hear about the KU advocate being kicked out of KU? Mighty Zon is a dangerous beast! ๐Ÿ™‚

Off to the next story… have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜€

Writer Wednesday


And we have another Vampires Through the Centuries story out! Check out Indestructible, with the cover of awesome Shafali Anand! Some retailers might not show it yet, since I uploaded it after I set up the pre-order button. I had to manually add it on Amazon after release and the Smashwords Premium Catalog doesn’t immediately update a book when I make changes to it. The fastest one was Kobo! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And since I want to try to participate in a Kobo promo this month, I decided to re-publish the Books of the Immortals Box Set. It is now available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes&Noble and Apple at 4.99$ for the time being. I had to reformat it completely, which took me a couple of hours to go through the mammoth 1000+pages document.

So, final April wordcount was a little over 30K. This month I need to write 4 stories about the fall of the southern kingdoms, then in June I’ve taken up the Novel Challenge, so I’ll be busy with novels for the summer months! ๐Ÿ™‚ I need to write Shashank’s book anyway, and if I can write it in a month, the better. I also want to redraft a sci-fi novella which I might have for Worldcon.

Some writerly links: how you should really really really stay away from agents and start learning some business. I’m not business-oriented either, but when I read those stories I just want to scream in frustration. It’s another reason to be indie, but then, I’m a control freak! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I didn’t know about the Smarter Artist Summit, but I may attend in the future, now that I know it exists! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It sounds like a great networking opportunity… And I’ve been to Milan for the Kobo/Mondadori contest, so I’ve been at the ceremony and met the Kobo team. They’re all quite nice, especially the Kobo Europe ladies.

Now back to writing! Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


So, in between short stories (submitted and rejected very quickly, but I keep sending them out) and readings, I managed to watch another DVD, Midnight’s Children. What can I say… I like the movie (narrated by the writer himself), but I probably wouldn’t like the book, even though the screenplay was written by the writer of the book. Not my kind of book, I’m afraid.

With the Italian holidays, I also finally opened an account on Vimeo, so I could post my video on Patreon. Soon all my book trailers will be uploaded again, yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not that they help selling books, but well… I have fun doing those things with Windows Movie Maker, so I might as well share them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And I got the proofs of Quests Volume 1 and 2, so hopefully the paperbacks will soon be available. I had to redo the covers, but this means I have two books to sell at Worldcon – and if I don’t find anyone there, I’ll do a Goodreads giveaway. The spines weren’t correct as you can see.

I still use Createspace, although I might eventually experiment with KDP print. Maybe for thinner, cheaper books. But there’s still this little problem:

Amazon states more features will be added over time but currently, authors cannot order proofs of their books. Ouch. So the book goes on sale before an author can view the final product to ensure everythingโ€”fonts, cover graphics and colours, page numbers, headers and much moreโ€”are the way theyโ€™re supposed to be.

And everything else stated in this article about the two services. I don’t have that many Canadian readers, but I have a lot of Canadian author friends (including co-bundlers Karen Abrahamson and Marcelle Dubรฉ), so I feel their pain! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Next week I’ll let you know my wordcount for April… If I forget, remind me! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writer Wednesday


While on the train to Milan I had plenty of time to think (and to read, but that’s a topic for another post) and tried to express how my way of writing changed in the 21st century. So here goes:

Before 2015: first drafts (or Draft Zero like I called them) were written longhand with almost no corrections by the seat of my pants. I did the research (ex. for historical novels) and then wrote. Then I typed everything in the computer, rewriting as needed so that I’d have a clean draft. I type with 10 fingers, so that wasn’t the hard part. There were no hard parts, since I’ve been a one-draft writer for the whole 20th century and started redrafting only after reading that I was supposed to do that. Wordcount was available only after publication at that point.

After 2015: I started typing Draft Zero and cycling through the first draft. I had a writing netbook with internet access and could stop and Google anything from a translation, a word check to anything else needed. Then I synched with Laptop through Dropbox. I was then able to figure out how much I wrote every year in real time. Like I said in previous posts, I wrote 450K in 2015 and 470K in 2016.

Now Netbook is dead, so the same applies to Laptop. Except it has considerably slowed me down, especially with contemporary or historical works, because I’d stop and fact-check for almost every scene. What might have been quick with SFF became a longer process, mostly because I can’t read on screen and need to print out and highlight manually.

I love ebooks, but not for non-fiction/research. So I might be less productive this year, but hopefully I’ve reached the upper lever of storytelling. Sometimes I wonder if that happened because I switched languages and stopped rewriting old stuff. And I don’t want to turn off the internet while I write because I use Google translator a lot – and all that research helped me expand my English vocabulary.

When I translate books into Italian, things I wrote even two years ago (when I abused of online generators… ahem…), I cringe. Hopefully when I start translating the latest works, I won’t cringe anymore. And I hope the change it’s not too obvious in series like Vampires Through the Centuries (even though all the books are standalone so far)!

What I mean is – you need to find what works for you, and it might change through the years. I have learned a lot since I joined the indie world and will keep learning. Whether it’s the new language or simply that I started learning again (I will freely admit that I was pretty static in Italian, but in English I had to find my voice, and it’s not exactly the same as it used to be – at least from one of my Italian first reader’s perspective).

I won’t take Dean’s challenge because I already have too many stories to write this year on my list – going “pick me! Pick me!” – and I don’t think they’re all short stories. I mean, I know I can write 30 stories in 30 or 60 days if I put my mind to it, but now is not the right time. I am already prolific, I don’t need this to write more! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m leaving you with some writerly links – Chuck Wendig’s advice after 5 years and 20 books: 25 lessons (special mention #1 and #5, the latter being what I discussed above). David Farlands tips – One Impossibility (to keep in mind when writing SFF, haha!). 14 sites for book cover design @Digital Reader. And more business advice from Kris Rusch.

Oh, and I found a neat marketing blog for indie authors that has both podcasts and written posts! Studied the written parts (podcasts don’t hold my attention, unfortunately) and will try to apply some to that ugly beast called Marketing… Take this post on why FB needs to do something with those darn pages! Until a few years ago, FB gave the option of choosing if one wanted to be herself or the author.

This no longer applies. I was able to attend a FB party a couple of years ago *waves at Joleene* because I simply switched to the author ID. This year it was a nightmare and my private profile showed up a couple of times. Also, this year I’ve seen an option to create groups from the page. But the page still can’t join groups except the one she/it creates…

More coming bundles: Writers bundle @Storybundle and Faery Summer bundle coming soon @Bundle Rabbit. Now I’m heading back to my writing cave to ponder the next bundle and write the next story… Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Writer Wednesday


The Path of Water (Quests Book 1)
And it’s now available for pre-order on Kobo and Amazon and Barnes&Noble! And the Bundle has a Facebook page! Go like it, so you’ll know when Apple also approves it for pre-order! ๐Ÿ™‚

And a new collection is out as well – Quests Volume 2, soon out in paperback along with Volume 1. I worked on the PODs the whole weekend, but had trouble with the covers and then had to wait to order the proofs to make sure I’d be in to get them so… the dead tree books will probably be ready by the end of the month.

The covers are both by the awesome Shafali Anand who did a masterful job… You’ll see it complete when the paperbacks come out! In the meantime, enjoy these two! ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t really have any writerly links this week – except the usual suspects that you may as well check for yourselves – and I didn’t write as much as I wanted to. Okay, Da Muse thinks I found all the possible excuses (publishing stuff, digitalizing old pics) NOT to write, but well… it was Easter weekend, wasn’t it?

I’ll finish that novella before I go to Milan, so I have something to read on the train! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday


And while I wait for feedback on the latest Vampires Through the Centuries, I’m keeping myself very busy catching those typo faeries on the next title and preparing for a weekend of POD formatting and another upload. I’m also trying an Amazon ad through the Easter weekend, we’ll see how it goes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, it’s official, this wonderful box set of 12 novels at 12$ will come out May 26! Soon you’ll get to meet the other authors who trusted me with this adventure! I am extremely grateful to Chuck at Bundle Rabbit for making this possible.

This should soon be available for pre-order on all retailers. My novel is The Path of Water (Quests Book 1), but even if you have already read it, there are 11 more in this lot! Don’t miss it! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, bundles are all over. If you don’t want to sign up for Bundle Rabbit as an author and don’t think you can write a novel yet, you may want to try the Great Bundle Workshop! Any story that you’ll write for this will go in a bundle, so what’s the risk? Read the questions answered too…

I’m going to see how the above bundle goes, and I might get hit by bundle fever – with novels! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here you have a post on newsletters and discoverability, and one on piracy and TakeDown notices and how they can hurt your visibility.

And you know you can write at any age, right? And if you can spare a $ a month for me, please hop to my Patreon page. I won’t bite and there are plenty of nice surprises there. Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writer Wednesday


And you have a new Star Minds Third Generation ebook out – with the cover by Mighty Techie Bro. Now, he’s an excellent artist, but he doesn’t have time to work on commissions, so, I went to his DeviantART page and picked some of his old works… and wrote the stories accordingly! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, that’s more or less how Shan-leo’s daughter was “born”… First she’s a rainbow-haired teen, then she becomes the tough gal he drew (hence my illustration of the character). And when I asked my brother if I could have a higher resolution file for the ebook cover, he decided to work on it… so there you have it – old Iso-bel Aya (my actual inspiration) and the new one! ๐Ÿ™‚

There are places, no matter how alien, where you immediately feel at home. And there are places where you’ll never feel at home, no matter how familiar they look or can become.

Iso-bel Aya Shermac is Shan-leoโ€™s daughter, a Sire telepath who grows from rainbow-haired teen visiting Earth of year 2046 to a Sylvanian Accademy graduate who can fight like a man.

Probably the start of a new sub-series in the Star Minds universe.

The other digital painting of his I used as inspiration will be used only on Patreon for now. The first short story offered to the 5$ tier is Starship Pilot with his illustration Ready for Take-off. So, if you’d like to read it before it comes out in the volume Star Minds Third Generation Snippets, you can become a patron of yours truly and many other creators (like my cover artists Cristina Fabris and Sir Wendigo, or writers and artists from all over the place) by hopping to Patreon.

Now I better finish that vampire novella so I can send it to a trusted beta for fact-checking and then to Mighty Editor for a prompt release in a month! ๐Ÿ™‚

Some interesting writerly links… 5 tips on how to make your writing process feel like gaming (which I don’t need, but I know some of you get stuck from time to time) I need something that helps me pick a project and stick to it to the end, LOL! Not that I have trouble being prolific… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Some writing tools with all the answers – the English Through the Ages book sounds very interesting. I have heard the screenwriting ones ten years ago and I do have the Emotion Thesaurus, except I forget to consult it when I write! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, you might find these useful, so I thought I’d point you to the post.

Bestseller Lists and Other Dreams by Kris Rusch which takes you to Marie Force’s That Day I decided to Stop Chasing the Bestseller Lists (shared also on Kobo’s newsletter)… My aim was never to be on one of those bestseller lists, probably because I’m not American, but I’ve seen scores of (indie)authors stopping altogether because they never hit any list.

As a reader, I couldn’t care less if you hit a bestseller list or not. I have read many indie writers and many best-selling writers, and I have loved many of the first and hated many of the latter. So, you know…

I’m nowhere near bestseller status as a writer, still struggling to find my readers and true fans, but that hasn’t stopped me from keeping writing and publishing.

I never tried Kickstarter because I know you need to be moderately “famous” to get enough people pledging for your projects, and I’m not sure Patreon will work for me, but I’m trying it anyway. Then I will try book bundles and writing more short stories to submit to traditional short markets.

But I will keep my indie output steady – as steady as I can, I might not hit the 25 titles a year I kept until last year, but expect a couple of new titles a month anyway – because I treasure my current 5 readers *waves at them*! ๐Ÿ™‚ The blog isn’t really working as a marketing tool, the Facebook page isn’t bringing in any sales, so I’m trying new stuff.

When I’m tired of experimenting, I’ll just quit the marketing hassle and publish stuff without bothering much. That’s what I do with the Italian titles – and they sell more than the English ones for the lack of competition, so… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜€

 

Writer Wednesday


Getting back into the routine, I can say that I wrote at least 40K in March – the month’s not over, I might write another 10K, so final counts next week, and completed Saif’s story. As soon as I have a cover, you will be able to read more about the honorable assassins of Silvery Earth. Of course some parts of Saif’s story overlap with Saif & Kilig, but you’ll get to know Saif better than Kilig or Hakeem ever did! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And I have opened that Patreon account! While I decide which creators I want to support, get ready to support me! Announcement this weekend – I published the first novel (Books of the Immortals – Air) on April 1, 2011, I thought it fitting to launch the Patreon page on the same date… or maybe a day later, to make sure you don’t think it’s an April’s Fool! ๐Ÿ™‚

So I’ll have a busy, creative weekend with Cristina coming over. I want to publish a Star Minds third generation ebook and I have to launch that Patreon page. Hopefully no fever, cough or headache will stop me! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, you wanna be a professional writer? Some considerations! by Chuck Wendig – and about #7, I have a blog (you’re reading it!), I have social media (Facebook, Goodreads), and now I have Patreon (will go live soon, promise). I probably don’t have enough fans for a Kickstarter – or better, I don’t have a big enough project in the pipeline yet. One day… Like raising the money to have a cover by Larry Elmore, Terry Moore or Colleen Doran… but I’ll have to think about a great story for such great cover artists! ๐Ÿ™‚

And then I’ll try not to bury myself in data diving… I know I’m not experimenting much in marketing, but maybe I’ll end up taking the Strength workshops about Sales… still thinking about that one! ๐Ÿ™‚ And then I will start putting together some bundles on Bundle Rabbit. I have requested curator status, so if you have “first in a series” of a fantasy world (not Earth) or vampires (NOT YA) stories, upload them now, so I can find them! ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s if you’re a writer. If you’re a reader, check out the current bundles! There are books for every tastes, really! ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I better go back writing… Have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Writer Wednesday


In spite of the cough and cold and fever that came and went, I did manage to double the wordcount on Saif’s story, so hopefully I’ll be able to send it to the proofreader next weekend. In the meantime (and in spite of the above), I managed to publish another ebook, The Path of Earth (Quests Book 4).

Keshav is a thirty-year-old scholar who has been touring the southern kingdom’s libraries in search of knowledge. In Godwalkar he stumbles upon the Genn works and discovers the existence of the Magical Races that populated mostly the north. He decides to go looking for the lost Genn cities with the help of merchant Babita, who knows the way up to a certain point, and the protection of Rohan.
The merchant, the scholar and their bodyguard journey to the northern kingdoms springing up from the ashes of the Moren Empire. Their search might not be of just physical proof of the Genn, since all three have very good reasons to leave their hometowns.

I have a few more quests in mind, but now I will move to other projects, more urgent than more Silvery Earth books! The series itself has reached 70 books on Smashwords, so I guess I can take a break and concentrate on the other series! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I need to write the next vampire novella and then start working on the next novel. I have Star Minds stories that were written last summer and after doing the rounds in traditional markets – being rejected – will now see the light of publication.

So, busy here. Slowly trudging forward. But it’s the normal nature of being behind in this new world, and I’m not panicking, just keep going. Looking forward and not backward. My ToDo list (remember those notepads I bought in Boston?) is still long, but I’m slowly crossing out stuff. Give me time… being behind is the new normal, as long as we set goals and get there, eventually! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m also slowly getting organized for the Worldcon. Hotel is booked, flight is almost done and volunteer program still to be filled, but hope to do it before Friday. I do have until the end of the month to fill it. If anyone is going, please let me know and I’ll suggest a panel with you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now I shall leave you with this reminder of what makes a real writer – mostly the handy flowchart! Have a great week!

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