Writer Wednesday

Another POD post! πŸ˜‰ I finally got all my POD books, so here goes the third instalment of Lulu vs. CreateSpace – sort of. Like I said last week, I won’t do a new CS version for the old titles, but I’ll be using CS for the new ones. First – old ones! Here you have the version I did last year vs the revised version of this year (new interior formatting as well). Which covers look better?

Lulu2012_2013You can find them all on Lulu (including the BoI that still have the old covers). Links are available also on the Smashwords pages of the single ebooks. By the way, I have adjusted CVE 2 & 3 so now they look like this (should have left more margin around the frames first thing, but well… I was doing too many at the same time, and those were the last two!):

newCVEAnd then here you have the CS books – Star Minds and sneak peek of Star Minds Snippets! πŸ˜€ CS2013Again, only Star Minds is available at this time (hey, the paperback is even on B&N! ;)), the Snippets will come out in a couple of weeks. When I come back from London, I’ll put out Half-blood and two weeks later the whole anthology.

Now, to writerly links: David Farland on turning inspiration into habit. Like I’ve said before, I never did NaNoWriMo since I’ve been in the habit of writing all year long well before the internet days. But if you’re starting now and are not in the habit yet, follow the master’s advice! πŸ˜‰

For indie authors out there – 8 cover design secrets and 11 things if you want to run a successful business. Unfortunately doesn’t apply much in this backward country with its own laws and rules. But the cover design one applies to me as well! πŸ˜‰ And I agree with David Gaughran that publishing is easy! πŸ˜‰

That’s all for this week – still off DayJob, but still traveling… normal blogging resumes next week (although you probably can’t tell the difference since I schedule all posts in advance, LOL)! Have a wonderful week! πŸ™‚


Writer Wednesday

As promised a CreateSpace update. First let me tell you, if you’re coming from Goodreads, that I just switched to CreateSpace after 3 years with Lulu. Last week I tried both for my upcoming Star Minds Omnibus and here are the results:

LuluVScreatespace_resizeSo, for Lulu I used the digest template I’ve used until last year. For CreateSpace I took the “most popular” and since I’m bad at turning inches into centimeters, I thought it was also a Digest size – turned out it’s bigger. The cover looks better on CS, but it took some tweaking and as you can see in the last pic, the spine wasn’t perfect, because I couldn’t find a “spine calculator” (included in the Lulu cover wizard) on CS. Both covers were saved as RGB and not CMYK as suggested by CS, so that’s probably why when I uploaded to CS it said that it was less than 300dpi – my friend Cristina, the half-wizard of Photoshop, said that might have been the reason.

Then Saturday I spent 2 hours on CreateSpace to redo the cover and the whole book in Digest format (might be a few cents more expensive, but the other format is too big, at least for the 2 people I asked for feedback). This time I did find a template with spine size and everything, but whenever I uploaded the image to CS it was either too low-res or didn’t fit in the frame (again I forgot to save as CMYK, so we’ll see what comes out! ;)). So it took more tweaking and trying. I like this version more, since I can put the little “stamp” (the cover art without writing) on the spine, which isn’t possible with Lulu, but at the same time… man, it’s complicated! I guess I only need to get used to it! πŸ™‚

Anyway, I’ve now ordered another proof copy (after I spent all Saturday reading one of my proofs and then correcting typos and adjusting the formatting for a final manuscript version), and I even have a .doc ready to upload on KDP (and then Smashwords, Kobo, D2D and DriveThru, hehe). I took CreateSpace’s free ISBN that should let me into the libraries system and will buy the expanded distribution when I make the title go live. I guess I only need to get used to the new interface or figure out how to work with those cover templates, and then I’ll probably stop using Lulu (although I’ll leave what’s already there out – will have to do a CreateSpace edition with ISBN!) since DriveThru uses Lightning Source and whenever I manage to finish SKYBAND, I’ll do the final printed volume with them.

Now, if you’re new to this blog and have landed here from GR, you might want to check those posts about Lulu and Author’s Solutions or Dean Wesley Smith on this brand new world of publishing. I relented and tried it, because I know that if I want to do another workshop with him (I did a publishers’ workshop back in October 2011) he won’t let me in the class if I tell him I still print with Lulu, haha! πŸ™‚ If you’re American, you can even send your books to bookstores with CreateSpace, following Dean’s advice. From Italy… it’s complicated! πŸ™‚ Anyway, it’s also cheaper than Lulu (the “digest” costed a few cents more than the 6×9, but still less than the Lulu version, and it had more pages (470 vs. 450), since I ordered it after I ordered Lulu’s copy, so I adjusted chapters better in the CS version…)! πŸ˜€

And while I’m at it, I’ll keep sharing writers’ links, in no particular order. Why you should stop submitting manuscripts to traditional publishers – something I stopped considering in 2011 when I went indie, but now scares me even more. I’m even a foreigner, they can screw me with their law-babble even more than any of you! 😦 So unless a traditional publisher comes to me, I won’t submit anything, not even send them a printed version of my books, since the mailing expenses would kill me. And I’m already in the red paying editors and sometimes cover artists, and nowhere near to quit DayJob that pays all those writing bills. But I’m investing on myself, and I know that sooner or later, I’ll be able to quit and live off writing! πŸ™‚

I’m not sure I see myself in any of the stages of an indie writer, but then, I’m not American, so I face different challenges from whoever is lucky enough to live in the same country as Dean and Kris! πŸ™‚ I have slowed down production, since I’m also working on new titles besides translating my unpublished backlist, but I am still experimenting with everything, that’s why I haven’t written my non-fiction guide for foreign indie authors yet. I can tell you that I know of an Italian writer who thinks Amazon is the biggest market when Amazon opened in Italy precisely because otherwise Kobo and Apple would have stolen that share of the market. Even if I manage to convince him Amazon is not the only game in town, especially not in Italian, he’s probably going to be one of those KDP Select authors.

As long as he doesn’t undersell himself. See how you can write an eloquent F* Off to an indecent offer (again, like Dean says, no begging). We shouldn’t work for free, or give away our novels for free. A short story, yes. A novella, why not. But a whole novel? Maybe if it’s the start of a series, but in my case, Technological Angel is also longer that its sequels, so I’d rather give away a Snippet or a longer prequel instead. And you’ll get one in the Smashwords Anthology, so stay tuned. Maybe another I’ll put it on this blog – if I get enough requests, that is. I still don’t know who’s reading or why, so I’m going to improvise. Schedule, but improvise, LOL!

Last but not least, if you’d like to be a guest on Joe Konrath’s blog, you need to donate at least 100$ to this cause. Since I don’t really want to do that, if you’re a writer, we can split like he suggests, and interview each other. Let me know with a comment or an e-mail, and we’ll do it! πŸ™‚ Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

Spam comments on writing:

SpamCommentsRe: comment 1 – yeah, you can become a millionaire also if you buy lots of lottery tickets. Eventually, you’ll win. Same there: lots of books on Kindle, eventually you can become a millionaire! πŸ˜‰ In case you forgot, even Amanda Hocking had 6 or 7 books on Kindle and had to wait one year before she joined the Kindle Millionaires Club… So it’s really not instant riches – or you better be off buying that lottery ticket! πŸ˜‰

Re: comment 2 – I already mentioned I can’t teach you how I write. I have many male protagonists in my stories, I don’t really care the sex of my characters, I assume I have enough imagination to write credible people. That’s why I prefer fantasy anyway, and when I tackle reality, I ask beta-readers of the opposite sex to make sure I portrayed men in a realistic way. But don’t bother to criticize my Silvery Earth men or even the Star Minds – I made them up, and I made them like I wish they were! πŸ˜€ I guess they all have something of myself anyway, no matter the external genitalia or appearance I bestow on them (I have virtual casts anyway), and I need to try very hard when I portray people who are very different from me! πŸ˜‰

I also think we’re all unique, so what might sound “crazy” or “surreal” to you might be exactly how I feel. I’ve noticed that I got a low star rating on a book – on the part that was precisely me, I was writing what I knew (that’s another BS myth, “Write what you know” – especially for genre writers), and the reader couldn’t understand what I was saying or how I was feeling. So, see, for someone you can be “weird” even if you’re just being yourself. Never mind, you can’t please everyone! πŸ™‚

If you don’t want to order the print version, Happiness is… is now in e-book format, trilingual, so if you want a taste of Italian and French with the English, go get it on Amazon or B&N, and soon Kobo and Apple, or you can get an e-pub from XinXii or DriveThruComics. I will do more of these later on, maybe divided into “writer’s happiness” and more general happinesses.

Now, let me tell you why you don’t want Dreamspinner to be your publisher. Even if you write the genre they seek, you’re better off on your own. Why? They can’t even bother to find you a personalized cover!

DreamspinnerCoversI’ve noticed on World of Diversity Fiction – 3 reviews of 3 books from this publisher, all with the same cover picture! 😦 Do you really think this will make you stand out in a crowd? I’ve heard of other small publishers who don’t bother hiring an editor and a book cover designer – with these kind of companies, you’re better off on your own. They won’t do anything for you that you can’t do yourself.

So yeah, it’s not easy to find the proper stock photo (that’s something that happens a lot with romance books – they seem to use always the same stock photos…) or shoot it yourself or find a cover artist or what not, but this is really worse than a cover drawn by your 8-year-old offspring, really! Have the exact same cover as someone else – how’s that for branding?! If you really don’t know where to start from, I can do your cover for 50 bucks – at least it will be original! πŸ™‚

By the way, I’ve added some book trailers on some DriveThru titles – the Star Minds series, SKYBAND omnibus, and Happiness is… we’ll see if they really draw in sales (they didn’t on Smashwords when I uploaded the BoI book trailers, but I’ve put on the Star Minds trailer there as well, just in case…)! πŸ™‚

Writing World’s newsletter gave a link to funny Pitch Generators – I like this one very much, and might play with it before my next upload! πŸ˜‰ And in case you missed it (I sure did), Moira Allen wrote an excellent article on What is a writer? – so what’s your idea? Did you look in the mirror and ask “so… what is it going to be? Indie or Trad? And why?”? Do you want to write a lot? For fun? Again, if you hope to live off your Kindle sales, you might as well buy a lottery ticket. See also how Ruth Ann Nordin destroys some myths – done? Good, now get back to writing! πŸ™‚

And if you really feel you need pampering and representation, or simply help, think twice – or better, research who you hire. You don’t want to end up with Idiot Lawyer, do you? If you’re one of those Shattered Authors that got their heart broken by traditional publishing, please step up. We’re here, we’re ready to help. We’ll stand behind you and will help you to resurrect your writing career. Don’t put away your dream – it’s a scary brand new world of publishing and you can conquer it and live happily ever after! πŸ™‚ We can teach you to do it yourself, even if you don’t have a natural business sense (I sure don’t) or you can find a little help from places like Lucky Bat Books or “indie advice” on Self-published Authors.

And beware of the long tentacles of Author Solutions – David Gaughran summarizes it well in his latest post. Yes, I still use Lulu for POD, but only the free services, not the other awful “deals”. They still have the A5 format (preferred for me), which I haven’t seen on CreateSpace yet (although my first attempt was for a prose book, so the “digest” template was just fine – and identical, even if CS said the PDF wasn’t the expected size).

Anyway, I’ve spent Monday afternoon on CreateSpace – same but different from Lulu. At least 3 hours and a half of attempts to create the perfect cover and interior – the templates aren’t as good as Lulu’s, or maybe I only need to get used to a new dashboard/interface. Sigh. Anyway, I’ve ordered proof copies of Star Minds on both PODs, then I’ll decide which I like best (or maybe I’ll keep both, who knows! ;)). And since they have slightly different interiors, I’ll ask you guys which looks better to you, so be ready to vote.

I know lots of readers still read only on paper, but I doubt I can send my printed books to American bookstores from Italy, and not sure about how it could work with Italian bookstores, so it will probably just be an internet store for now. I can add the print link on most online retailers anyway… CS seems cheaper, but the mailing expenses (for expedited service) are higher. I’ll decide when I have both books in my hands and can compare paper and printing and all that stuff.

Yesterday I wrote the Amazons story, finished this post, redid the cover for CS and beta-read. Today I have the offline writers group, so I’m getting the Star Minds Snippets from Dear Beta (see Sunday’s post) and then I’ll probably ask one editor to go through the two stories I plan on submitting to the Smashwords Authors Anthology on Goodreads, to proofread and get rid of those grammar mistakes. Tomorrow more writing and reading – and then the first week off will be over…

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

As the end of the year approaches, I’m kind of checking what I achieved and making plans for the new year. I already feel the December depression approaching, so maybe I won’t go to the Small and Medium Publishers Fair in Rome in three weeks or so – at least not every day, even if I’ll have someone visiting, someone who will be more interested in the event than me. Considering how much it depressed me last year, I think I’m going to spare myself more heartache this year.

I’ve got 3 more titles to put out this year, and they’ll come out next month. I’ll do a post on my abysmal sales sometimes in December – I’m not depressed for the abysmal above, but about other things I’d rather not rant about. Where would my happy-go-lucky image go if I did? πŸ˜‰ So I’m just going to think about those 3 stories – 2 are done, waiting for betas to send comments, 1 I’m still typing, soon you’ll hear more about it and will have to help me choose the cover (nothing new here, B.G. Hope always needs help in finding the perfect cover, LOL).

Anyway, the Human Being is kinda depressed (in spite of being off DayJob for 2 weeks, yay!), but the Writer and Publisher is happy to announce two more titles out. Records of the Varian Empire is out on Smashwords, Kindle and Kobo. Excerpt from RVE is Sunray&Leonora, a short story in two parts (or two short stories tied together), also available at all of the above.

Wonderful Mapmaker Federico Distefano finally provided a map for the RVE – it’s on the print version, but also on the dedicated page. Still not sure how to add it to the e-books (might try when I try to reformat them), but here it is for now:

Chronicles of The Varian Empire – map by Federico Distefano

Then we have the print versions (link available also on the Smashwords page of each book).

Chronicles of the Varian Empire – The Spell + Allan de Sayek

Chronicles of the Varian Empire – The Left-handed Warrior + Records of the Varian Empire

Chronicles of the Varian Empire – The Englightened Emperor + The Warrior Woman

If you’d like to snatch one of the two calendars I did this year, I made them available on Lulu. Please note there’s 20% off all calendars until Nov.23, just enter coupon code: CHRONICLE. Buy links: Keanu Reeves & Hrithik Roshan.

Desktop is giving me headaches so I’m falling behind with the lettering of SKYBAND 12, but I hope to be done this week, so I can put the single issue out on DriveThruComics. I guess I’ll end the graphic novel next year, although I had hoped to finish it this year. But I have 3 more chapters to draw and color and letter, and even if I might do SKYBAND 13 by December, there would still be 2 more – next year. Then I can send Desktop into retirement and use Laptop 24/7.

I’ve also spent 2 days spellchecking the proofs from the POD versions, which means the printed version has less typos than the e-books, LOL! Slowly I’ll get the new files for the e-books up as well, hopefully during the week, but it’s 3 docs (1 with Smashwords license, 1 saved as HTML for Kindle and 1 “normal” for Kobo) where I need to do “find and replace” and a quick scan. Sigh. Glad I have most of the day to do it – today I have the offline writers group meeting and tomorrow and Friday I’ll meet with my cover artist, but I’ll probably be able to work on reformatting everything while I help her dealing with her own uploads.

Wishing you a wonderful week – hoping your weather is not like mine (sunny but hot outside – hot for November, I mean – freezing inside)! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

I shall open this post with Kris Rusch analysis of the publishing world in her excellent post about Scarcity and Abundance. I think there is abundance indeed, which is good for readers, but can be very frustrating for writers. A Goodreads author “retires” from the marketplace after four books on KDP, burned out by his marketing efforts – who can blame him? Although he was brave to put out those four titles, but then he wasn’t very patient, having burned out after only eight months.

I still think we should diversify and don’t let all the eggs in one basked – specifically Amazon’s. Not because Amazon is Eeeviiil (like Scott Turow insists on saying rebutted again by Joe Konrath), but because the more wide-spread is the title, the better it is for the author. I haven’t sold any copies of SKYBAND on Lulu in two years, and when I uploaded the PDFs to DriveThruComics, I sold one copy after a couple of months.

As for 2011 sales (and I mean actual sales, not free review copies, ebook weeks or giveaways), I had 11 on Smashwords and 18 on KDP vs. 4 all-time sales on Lulu – which, by the way, seems to have been kicked out of Amazon. Glad I didn’t pay the MarketplaceReach for all my titles, although I’ll probably have to make new editions on CreateSpace, sigh. Anyway, they said I should have received emails about the change, but I didn’t. Oh, well, I will sort it out some other time – I don’t feel the pressure to have print versions, considering I haven’t sold any in the past two years. Oh, yeah, I sold 2 out of the 4 Lulu sales.

This year (two months and a half in) 8 sales on Smashwords, 7 on KDP and 1 on DriveThruComics. See how slow is the growth? I’m happy with these numbers, but I understand someone doing it in the hope of getting rich quick might be frustrated. I’m in for the long run. I’ll celebrate in April when I’ll get my first Smashwords payment (minimum for Paypal payments is 10$ and I closed 2011 with 9$ and change…) – one year since I started this adventure (and as the minimum for the Amazon check is 100$, who knows when I’ll see that one! πŸ˜‰ Maybe I should try to get into the Kindle Singles…).

So what? It’s a 5 year plan. I’m not panicking yet (OK, I panicked last December, but now I’m happy again). I won’t be able to quit DayJob this year nor the next, but I hope to get the first 100 fans (95 to go, yay!) by December. They might be spread throughout three pen names, but I don’t care – OK, I’ll be jealous if B.G.Hope sells more than Barbara G.Tarn, but that would only prove the point: no need to have marketing burn out! πŸ˜‰

I don’t Tweet (under any pen name) and B.G.Hope has no official blog nor Facebook page – and she doesn’t have a novel out yet. But she tackles a more popular genre – contemporary fiction probably has a wider readership than adult fantasy, so she might sell more, eventually. Time will tell.

I’ll just keep writing and looking for alpha/beta readers – and if you want to know what I’m really looking for, please check this post (thanks, Stephen, for the link) and also how other writers such as Michelle take the feedback (I follow the Stephen King rule mentioned in her post). Oh, and even Blood Red Pencil has a post on beta reading.

Now there’s this Meme going around, I saw it on Loralie and Viv‘s blogs, they haven’t specifically tagged me, but said I could pick it up and pass it on. So here are the rules.

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
  2. Go to line 7.
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
  4. Tag 7 authors.

I’m posting an excerpt of CVE – The Left-handed Warrior, soon to be revised for publication (so this is the pre-editing version of p.77 from line 7 the 7 paragraphs).

They materialized on the battlefield – or the place of the carnage. The caravan of wagons was already in sight of Hurlevent, where a ship awaited them, but the attack had stopped them.

Sunray started shooting arrows, never missing his target, while Blondsun concentrated on his power. Balls of energy started hitting Humans, setting them on fire.

It didn’t take long. Sunray and Blondsun went closer to check the survivors: some Genn children hidden in the luggage, two women and a boy who stared at them with green eyes filled with terror.

Blondsun rushed to his brother’s cart, knowing it was too late for Silverstar. His body had already vanished, leaving Penelope alone on the seat, with her throat cut open.

Blondsun’s tears choked him. Silverstar was with Ether, but Penny needed to be buried. He took her in his arms as if she was asleep. Now he knew the same fury and hatred that had pushed Kurt to seek revenge. The Emperor would pay.


Vario X woke up with a start. He felt a presence near his bed. He saw a shadow standing next to him, the curtains open on the darkness of the night.

Vario opened his mouth, but no sound came out. His mistress slept, unnaturally still. The silence was overwhelming.

Like they did, I won’t tag anyone in particular. But if you’re a writer and want to participate, leave a comment so we can check your entry! Happy writing! Oh, and… happy spring (if you’re in the northern hemisphere, that is! πŸ˜€ For my Australian friends, don’t worry, the heat is almost over! :-))

Writer Wednesday

Kris Rusch spoke of the sneaky growth (very sneaky in my case, but I’m not despairing yet! ;-)) and Dean Wesley Smith of the reasons for a Trade Paper Edition, for which personally I don’t see a reason yet. Yes, I’m still with Lulu (since 2009) and sold 3 books (one print and 2 PDF downloads) in 2 years and 4 months, and I’m not going to leaving them anytime soon. Because, like I told him during the Publishers Workshop, Lulu handles European formats (which is still what I use to draw – A4 sheets), CreateSpace doesn’t. And selling direct to bookstores in the US from ITALY doesn’t make sense yet.

When I have a bigger catalog, I might see if I can get my books in the few local English bookstores, but it’s a little early now. Or maybe I’ll do a new edition with CreateSpace. But at the moment, ebooks are the only real way to reach my readers, in my humble opinion. Because I don’t live in the US, so I’m aiming at an international market that is mostly on the internet. But this is just me.

I even added a folder with “print-only covers” on my FB profile, to show there are some print versions – actually some books that are ONLY in print, like the art books, or maybe two novels bound together because they’re short, so I needed a new cover for them. (Scoop: here’s the cover of the future print edition of CVE1 – The Spell + Allan de Sayek! πŸ˜‰ Of course it’s a composite of the ebook covers…):

I’m also putting PDFs of SKYBAND on DriveThruComics, and they have more views than the novels. Not a sale, yet, but apparently a graphic novel draws more attention on DriveThru. They also have the wonderful possibility of scheduling release, so I’ll have the (back) issues out once a week, available every Monday morning, including the two Omnibus, so I’ll have time (hopefully) to complete chapter 11 by the time I publish all the others (which have been on Lulu since 2009). I won’t format this specific graphic novel for Kindle or Nook because it has prose pages that would be unreadable on e-reader screens… so I hope you enjoy the PDFs! πŸ™‚

In spite M.Louisa LockeΒ  saying why Self-published authors know best, I don’t think I’m knowing more than anyone else, I’m just experimenting from my side of the pond and see what happens! πŸ˜‰ I’m not experimenting with pricing, though, because I don’t think making my books cheap or free will sell them. I’m totally behind Zoe Winters on that. I don’t think the readers that go after the 99cents or free novels are real readers – like she says, they’re downloaders. That’s not what I’m looking for. Real Reader and Future True Fan, where art thou? πŸ˜€

Now, you reader of this blog, even if you don’t read my novels, please help me again in choosing a cover for the next release. Cover A is the original illustration for that story, dated 1997 or so (for which you can find the “manga” version on Barb&Masayo Stories), but it actually refers to the end of the story… so I did a new drawing (exhibit B&C) in two variations. What says thou, A, B, or C?

Thank you so much for your votes (and a special thanks to the mighty Joleene Naylor for checking the story before it comes out)!

Writer Wednesday

Smashwords has been down most of yesterday and KDP isn’t that fast in making books public, but finally before dinner I was able to upload also on Smashwords. Except they were backlogged, so I didn’t manage to see the titles go live before going to bed. I might have to update with the links today, whenever I find them.

New releases: Books of the Immortals – Prequels FREE on Smashwords (when it gets premium distribution, I’ll ask you to go and tell Amazon about it, LOL) and Love&Prejudice by B.G.Hope – revised edition. Also during the weekend I went on Lulu, so now you have 5 more issues of S.K.Y.B.A.N.D. + Omnibus 2 – all in print and available. Next weekend I hope to work on the PDFs for DriveThruComics although I’ll sell only the single issues there, as the PDFs of Omnibus are too big.

I also participated in the Self-Publishing Survey with only less-than-50-bucks royalties for 2011 (on all sites, so I haven’t seen a dime, LOL!), please help them to reach their 1000 Indie Authors goal: if you’re indie/self-published go and waste 20 minutes there instead of wasting time on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter or your favorite social network/time waster! πŸ˜‰

The Technium talked about the 1000 True Fans, but the post (AND the updates – haven’t read the comments, though) are from 2008, so before Amanda Hocking. I think now it’s easier to reach those 1000 True Fans and be able to quit your day job.

My indie publishing expenses were higher last year than what Dean and Kris mention in their posts, but I live in a non-English-speaking country and had to hire editors. Although attending the Think like a publisher workshop and finding cheaper editors and new betas should see my expenses plummet this year. Last year I also paid my friend Cristina for the BoI covers, so hopefully this year I’ll spend less and earn more.

Before Smashwords crashed, I managed to see I sold one copy of the Italian novel on B&N – some Italian who emigrated to the US? Considering I haven’t sold any on Kindle Italia… I’m happy! For more on the Amazon/B&N/Big 6 feuds, you have Writers Beware and Joe Konrath (guess whose side Joe is on? ;-)). Personally, I won’t keep all eggs in one basket. I haven’t sold a copy on XinXii yet, but I’ve just started – less than a month ago – and it took me a couple of months to start selling on Smashwords and KDP, so I’m not in a hurry.

And now I’ll stop checking those numbers, like Shelli Johnson suggests. Reminder to myself: write from your heart, and don’t bother with numbers – you were never good at math anyway! πŸ˜‰

I’m also reading the Ninc Binder where at some point they mention guest posts or blog posts in general should be 250-500 words long (which goes along Stephannie Beman’s post on 9 blogging tips). Now, that’s what I did last year with my shorter daily posts, and it took me almost two years to find 40 subscribers. Now I post longer posts every other day and I’ve found 40 more in six months (although the new blog schedule is only 2 months old).

Which means Dean is right once again: no blind following the “rules”, do what works for you! For me, as I plan on writing much more this year and publish under 2 pen-names (3, but the Italian stuff only needs revising and formatting, so I don’t count it as writing), the new schedule with less-but-longer posts works just fine.

I’ll also follow less blogs because I want to read more fiction – which includes the manuscripts I requested from Loralie’s Crit Partners Blogfest) and until I can quit Day Job, I’ll have to limit my interaction with other bloggers/authors. Sorry guys&gals, got some writing to do! πŸ˜‰


I’m having problems with the internet at home, so I’m writing this from the office, just in case tomorrow I’m not able to access WP. It started with very slow opening of pages, and ended with timing out every time I try to open a link or access something. Couldn’t get on my Gmail account either. Sigh.

Hopefully the problem will be solved before this goes live and I might delete it and rewrite it, but if not, here’s something for today.

Got the printed copies of my book (I took pics, but I didn’t bring the camera, so I’ll add them next week), did some quick check of formatting, and had to re-upload 3 prose works and 2 chapters of SKYBAND. I won’t make the links live until next week, though, so more to come.

DayJob was the worst week of the year, and I’m still recovering. Sorry I didn’t have time to visit your blogs and share more links. I hate how the work PC shows the WP dashboard, so I’ll keepΒ this short once again. More next week. Have a great weekend!

Like a yo-yo

They say women have mood swings. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman or because I’m depressed, but those swings lately are getting worse. As soon as I get up again, another thing hits me. Sigh. IΒ  guess that’s life in these hard times of financial distress and whatnot, but it’s wearying me out.

One day I meet with a supportive friend and feel better, the day after I encounter unexpected difficulties in this brand new world of publishing – either in Italy or in the US. Makes me want to whine about it, but I won’t. Or at least I’ll try not to! πŸ˜‰ I know I’m on a new roadΒ  and I don’t have anyone to “copy from” or follow, so I can only grind my teeth and keep going.

I have been asked by an Italian publisher why don’t I go to people like him. I wanted to tell him “What do you offer that I can’t do myself?” (considering also he admitted he put out less e-books than me this year). I kept my mouth shut because I know he charges his authors like most small publishers of his caliber… I just said “and let you have a percentage of my royalties?” and changed subject.

I’m currently attending a book fair (link is in Italian, sorry) here in Roma to see if I can figure out how to start my own business, but the first day didn’t go well (mood swing again…). I’ll update you on Saturday (the book fair is until Sunday, so I might write another post about it next week), as some people I needed to talk to weren’t present on the first day (yesterday).

Tomorrow I have a sort of appointment with a publisher/bookseller friend who is a Templars expert to read him bits of my historical novel for accuracy, so I better re-read it and see what it’s like after three months of not touching it! πŸ˜‰ Hopefully I’ll go up again, excited at the prospect of this story…

I’ve also been working on the paper versions of most e-books issued in the second half of the year. I was kind of behind with my Lulu account, but hopefully soon you’ll have print versions of BoI – Water, Ether and Earth and TSK1 & 2. Back to work…

Linky Saturday

OK, a few links for your weekend.

David Gaughran on incorporating historical figures into a narrative with a very good example from his own book. He’s also a guest at Joe Konrath’s blog with his own experience.

Dean Wesley Smith links to Penguin’s decision to moving to POD and Joe Konrath acts as Writers Beware on the BookCountry/Penguin deal. Joe is right, no need to pay Penguin and let them grab 30% of your royalties when you can upload your stuff for free and keep earning. Really, how hard can it be to format for those e-retailers? Come on, if technophobe me can do it, so can you! πŸ˜‰ And I have Open Office, not Word, which means I had to adjust to the instructions in the Smashwords formatting guide… I guess the Bix 6 are panicking…

Clarion on promoting without selling – a guest post by Chris Evans. And a very detailed review of free press release sites.

Last but not least, Self-published Author’s Lounge Mari Miniatt on Google+ – you can have your brand page now. But I don’t think I’ll join yet. I have enough with Facebook, Goodreads and this blog! πŸ˜‰

A couple of contests: for you NaNoWriMoers, there’s a contest for your first chapter – and you must send it out now, unedited! Yep, they want it raw. Small cash prizes. Also, Lulu has launched a short story competition which might make you win a Nook or something. If you can write 600 words (I know I can’t! ;-)) go check the contest page.

Also, Creative Reviews is hosting the 1000members giveaway, so if you’re on Goodreads, join the group and enter the giveaway – and don’t worry, if you don’t like ebooks (Soul Stealers is one of the prizes), the other two prices are dead-tree books, signed! πŸ˜€

That’s all from me for this week! Back to writing – although I have a “busy” weekend (meaning I have to socialize, so not much writing can be done, sniff! The Hermit Writer), but hopefully on Monday I’ll be able to print out that first draft and start the revisions. Still have to give it to the alpha-reader at the end of the month, and I need time to do the revisions and re-read it…

Have a great weekend!

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