Writer Wednesday

“Live” from Edinburgh meaning I’m scheduling this through the weekend so that I won’t have to think about it the coming week and put in the wordcount I didn’t do during the two-days conference. So this is all about 20BooksEdinburgh – the conference, not the writing retreat. I might elaborate on the writing next week. All I can say at this time is that I hit 10K even though Sunday I didn’t write, and I’ll have to finish at home because I need to print out stuff for a scene and I can’t do that here, but I’ll try to write the rest so I only have to put in that one scene when I get home.

Back to the event! πŸ™‚ I was familiar with Craig Martelle’s face, since I often saw him with Ramy Vance on the Facebook group livestreams, but I had no idea what the founder of 20BooksTo50K, Michael Anderle looked like. And the guy sitting next to him at registration had only “Michael” on his badge.

BUT, when the actual conference started, I realized who he was… Ops. Shame on me! So. kick-off was by him and Craig, and them some best-selling authors from the group, including my “group leader” for the writing retreat, Dakota Krout (who is currently making a mess with other fantasy writers in the hall, since I’m typing outside of the conference room, but I don’t see quieter places with a plug and a comfy sitting right now, haha!).

When the Amazon Ads panel came up, I decided to opt out of it, and found myself in the hall with my new friend Madalina and Michael himself! I was trying to get in some wordcount (since there were no writing sessions during the weekend), but then we started talking, and he asked us what our mountain was, and checked my Amazon profile, and gave some advice and… what can I say, I’m overwhelmed. Now I can only hope he’ll accept my friendship request on Facebook, LOL!

I know I have a lot of work to do with my rebranding, and that’s why I won’t be publishing much in the three months after the summer. Better covers (or with better typography), better blurbs and maybe new year I can try some ads. Oh, and I’m the BundleRabbit cheerleader, since Michael and Craig talked about collaborations and why to do them. But you already knew that, since I already told you about the curated anthologies – hopefully more will come out after this workshop with all the new friends I’m making! πŸ™‚

I did skip a couple of panels and did an interview with non-fiction author Bradley Charbonneau, who also took lots of awesome author pics, including yours truly. And I’ll meet some of these people in Dublin for Worldcon as well, yay! πŸ™‚ I tried to suggest Erika we kidnap Craig for another European 20Books, but we decided to spare him. And in spite of many suggestions (20BooksDublin, 20BooksAmsterdam, 20BooksCroatia), he said no to all of them.

So next opportunity is 20BooksVegas in October, and apparently the 2020 edition will be huge. I’ll see if I have the money and/or inclination to get there next year! πŸ˜‰ Meanwhile, I got to talk French for a while and heard other non-native accents that were totally endearing and put some faces behind the names on the Facebook group. And of course I made a lot of new friends – we’re in this together even though we’re scattered all around the world…

Friday for the non-writerly Edinburgh experience (although I might start with my total wordcount, since it’s not over yet)! Have a great week! πŸ˜‰

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Writer Wednesday

So this year I wrote even less than last year… I’m under 400K. Hence next year, the year of Writing, I plan to hit that 500K goal and worry less about publishing. Which might mean that in 2019 I’ll publish the double, LOL! I will still put out something – anthologies, bundles and even new books – but not as obsessively as before.

And since I’ll be writing shorter stories as well and sending them out to markets, here’s some wonderful advice for you short-story-writers out there:

Which goes very well with Kris Rusch’s post on Quitting. I won’t quit writing and I certainly won’t take down what’s already out there, but, like I said, I’ll publish less and maybe tend the garden in 2019. I will probably have 200 titles out by the end of 2018 anyway, so… That’s what’s best for me at this time!

I will also postpone any marketing except a minimum to 2019. It will give me time to study the polarities of marketing and figure out what’s best for me. This year I did a lot of workshops on craft, so next year I want to just write and see if I can use what I learned, then I’ll put back the publisher’s hat on the following year.

But for 2018 I really only have a wordcount goal to hit. I’m currently working on the paperback of the anthology that is now live everywhere and will probably do more after the short stories I’ll write will be rejected everywhere (or hopefully accepted, so that I can have my second and third professional sale, LOL!). I have a couple of bundles with existing titles in mind as well but not for the first months of next year.

So this is more or less a summary of the year… For the latest sales, there’s the publisher’s page.

Last writerly link: myths and truths about Mighty Zon… I wish you all a wonderful pre-Christmas week! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

Well, after three months, I’ve reverted to Patron only… I’ll restart the creator page when I have more followers interested in exclusive content or maybe project-based. Next year. Or never. It’s kind of too hot to think right now! πŸ˜‰

I do have other ideas for next year, butΒ  I haven’t started working on them. I’m postponing everything to September, when I hope the weather will cool down and my mind clear enough to make business plans. Besides the writing, that is. Because writing into a void is kind of a bummer. If nobody buys my books, why bothering with publishing them?

I still have fun when writing. It’s everything else that is burdensome. So we’ll see what happens with the bundles sales – that are going quite well, but so far no halo effect on other titles. I guess I need to give time to people to read them – and considering how behind I am myself on those bundles, I can’t blame them if they read them next year! πŸ˜‰

I still have a couple of books from bundles I took on StoryBundle 2 years ago, so… Anyhow, if you want exclusive content, for now you better subscribe to the UPB newsletter. Next one is coming in September, and I’m not sure yet what the exclusive content will be, since I spent the whole summer writing novels that still need to be checked and proofread, LOL!

Now I still have to check a few support/resources/tools that I found at Worldcon. Will let you know if they’re worth time or money when I experiment. Like, someone swears AuthorsDB is worth the time. Others suggest to set up the Instafreebie and Bookbub profile even if you don’t run anything. Sigh. I guess I’ll have to start scheduling that “marketing weekend” soon…

Oh, and I downloaded and read the free ebook by ScriptMedic, besides signing up for her free class! So if you want to avoid the most common mistakes when hurting your characters, go grab it and read it, it’s really a quick read! And start following her blog too, she has great advice on medical stuff – including how to do research! πŸ˜‰

August novel almost done. Epilogue and double check means I’ll probably send it during the weekend… when I’ll finally be able to check the comments on the previous two! πŸ˜‰ I have received only the first so far, but I’m aware it’s taking time to read all those books, so I’ll be patiently waiting for that precious feedback!

Have a great week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

I was hoping to publish the spy story this month, but the Italian betas destroyed it, so I decided to postpone. I had in mind to write more anyway, so it will definitely be a novel, hopefullyΒ  before the end of the year. And I’ll be publishing only Italian titles for the summer, the next English title will come out in September – probably mid-month – so stay tuned.

Slowly starting on the August novel knowing I’ll have to interrupt for Worldcon, but I have a long weekend ahead (Monday off work, leaving on Tuesday), so I might be able to throw in 10K before I go.

I printed out flyers and catalogs to display on my table on Friday at the convention – I’ll be in the Creators Alley for one day. I tried out a new look, but it probably won’t last… it’s high maintenance and I hate high maintenance! πŸ˜‰

Same hair, same T-shirt, special guest Da Other Muse

Anyhow, I should be fairly recognizable… if you’re in Helsinki and see someone with blue “chatouches” – that’s me! πŸ˜‰

Now, the writerly links! The art and science of selling books with social media, something that I may explore in September because currently I already feel overwhelmed. And how to get book reviews as an unknown author – another topic that I’m postponing to after the summer. I really should start gathering reviews on the latest titles, sigh.

How Facebook Groups for Pages can help authors – although having lost the possibility to interact in group and events as my author page, I lost interest in that stuff. If I activated the author‘s group, would anyone be willing to join? Considering the low interaction levels of this very blog, I doubt it would help much, but feel free to share your thoughts in the comments…

I’ll also have to study those polarities of book marketing, because I’m not sure where I am yet. But again, after the hottest season of the year and my most hated! Looking forward to the cooler Finnish weather but sorry it will last only for a week, sigh!

Have a great week!

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! πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ™‚


Writer Wednesday

SM3_resizeSo… it’s out! Star Minds book 3 is finally live on all e-book platforms I know of – Kobo being the slowest to let a title go live. Anyway, April will be Star Minds month for me, and in fact I changed my Facebook cover to match. In May I shall put back the one that says “Fantasy Author”. I’ll be hopping around blogs this month, but I’ll let you know where and when as time approaches. I also made a banner for the series, I’ll add it at the end of the post.

And then I’ll be writing those snippets. Can’t let them go, LOL! Not sure if I should write in chronological order or simply what fancies me at the moment. I know that a couple of short stories are very clear in my mind, others are just an idea I need to brew. So maybe I’ll start with the ones I already “know” (because I’ve seen them unfold in my head) and in the meantime think about the others.

As tomorrow I’ll be off to Torino Comics, I have plenty of time to program and brainstorm with myself. I won’t bring any writing and I hope to catch up on some reading on the train rides. Although I really look forward to reading… Star Minds in as few sittings as I can, LOL! Yeah, I write what I want to read, so sometimes I need to go back to my favorite author – me! πŸ˜€

Coupons have gone out to people who commented on Sunday. I expected at least 7 comments, as 7 people requested the giveaway, but well… that’s why I don’t do many giveaways in the first place. I even tried the Facebook Offer – but it doesn’t really work for a giveaway, I didn’t know what to put on the “budget” field. Anyone has done it and succeeded? I’m assuming it’s paid advertising on Facebook, and I’m not shelling any $ for that – I’d rather pay my beloved editors instead! πŸ˜‰

Oh, and blame it on Rohan if I went back to Windows Movie Maker and did another book trailer – it’s just another procrastination technique for a lazy Sunday night! πŸ˜‰ Love these guys so much, I did the Star Minds book trailer – after a whole year of not doing any! All the other are from 2011, I did none last year… well, there you have it, a new book trailer… enjoy! πŸ™‚

Last Thursday I arrived home and found my first Amazon check waiting for me. I haven’t cashed it yet, as I want to parade it a little longer – won’t buy my way out of DayJob, but at least I can show everybody that I am earning something and this is not a hobby, but my real work! πŸ™‚ The hundred bucks or so add up to the similar amount I made on Smashwords last year… took me slightly longer to get them from Amazon! πŸ™‚

Speaking of Smashwords, my best seller (by B.G.Hope) wasn’t shipped to Apple since August. It was in the premium catalog, but never went to them (to the other distributors yes). So I wrote to ask them what was up, and after 4 days someone told me it might be because there’s a stupid error at some point. And of course at that point I had to redo the cover because it was too small… Grr.

Not to mention how late SW is in paying whatever sells on the other retailers (not much, but still…), so I am trying a brand new distributor. Draft2Digital is explained here and so far I’ve heard only good things about them. I had noticed Amazon taking away the tags to our books, and I feel Smashwords can’t hold the momentum – except for those great coupon thingies. So I decided to experiment with… well, Star Minds, what else? πŸ˜‰Β D2D doesn’t have a shop, but in less than 24hours I got an e-mail saying all 3 titles are live on B&N (withouth the wait for the premium distribution – yes, even Slave Traders!). We’ll see if the e-pub passes Apple’s test and get there almost as fast, and then I shall slowly upload also the other titles (next week), hoping they’ll show up in the Apple i-bookstore faster and better…

Anyhow, with all these things going on, I didn’t have much time to check blogs, so no links this week. Except to this:

Ben Wolverton, age 16, was in a tragic long-boarding accident on Wednesday the 4th, 2013. He suffers from severe brain trauma, a cracked skull, broken pelvis and tail bone, burnt knees, bruised lungs, broken ear drums, road rash, pneumonia, and is currently in a coma. His family has no insurance. Ben is the son of author David Farland, whose books have won multiple awards, and who is widely known as a mentor to many prominent authors, such as Brandon Sanderson, Stephenie Meyer, and Brandon Mull. Costs for… Ben’s treatment are expected to rise above $1,000,0000. To help raise money for Ben, we are having a book bomb (focused on Nightingale and Million Dollar Outlines) on behalf of Ben.
Go to the Facebook event and join in or donate for Ben’s recovery. He might become as goog a writer as his father, so here’s to his recovery and a healthy long life. And if you’re a beginning writer, you might want to attend a few of David Farland’s classes – although who knows when the next will be. Dave is a great teacher and a great writer, so subscribe to his daily kicks if you haven’t already!


Where to find the books:

Book 1 – Technological Angel out nowΒ on Smashwords, Kindle, B&N, Kobo, DriveThruFiction and XinXii.

Book 2 – Mind Link out now on Smashwords, Kindle, B&N, Kobo, DriveThruFiction and XinXii.

Book 3 – Slave Traders out now on Smashwords, Kindle, B&N, Kobo, DriveThruFiction and XinXii.

Writer Wednesday

… starting with some writerly advice. Definitely follow Hugh C.Howey’s advice for aspiring writers and make sure you don’t do the same mistakes Neal Pollack did (the only thing I recomment is in part2 of the interview):

I spent a lot of years trying to turn myself into a brand because they told us self-branding is a way to success. And I kind of believed the hype. It’s just not true. To this day, I see writers publishing their first book or their second book and I can just see them going overboard with the marketing and getting all hyped up about it. You just have to write. If something good happens for you, post it on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or wherever you make your social-media home, but don’t overdo it. Enough with the marketing! Enough with the goddamn marketing already! I’m sick of it.

I didn’t spend years trying to self-brand (but I did spend a few years trying to become a screenwriter, LOL!), but one thing’s for sure: I never sold a copy through a Facebook “like”. Nobody participates in my giveaways, either here, on Goodreads or Facebook. The blog now has as many followers as the Facebook page. And no, it didn’t increase my sales either. And nobody voted in the poll, so I still have no idea of who comes here and why.

So, Dear Spammer who wrote to me after visiting my Facebook Fanpage:

No, I don’t care about promoting to a much wider audience – I don’t have a much wider audience. I have a very small audience and I haven’t reached it yet – but if you know of any adults who still like fantasy and wild adventures (without the whiny teen hero who needs to grow up in the process) send them to the Find My stuff or Silvery Earth Chronology pages.

I’m much better off writing. Spent the weekend preparing the Italian titles for this week’s release, stripping DRM from those Italian ebooks I got last year (unreadable except on my laptop screen, which is not going to happen, ever! Now I have them on my Kindle, yay!) and then writing that Amazons story – that might end up in a drawer for some time, but I had to try.

I’m still waiting for a beta with comments on Slave Traders, so I’d rather be writing something I’ll shelve forever than not writing while I wait! πŸ˜‰ Unfortunately I have a very busy week, so I won’t be able to meet with her (the Offline Beta-reader rocks!) until the next… But as I’ll be busy making projects with friends, I’m not complaining! πŸ˜‰ And I’ll be playing auntie as well tomorrow. And I’m off Dayjob on Friday. So short week but filled with creativity! πŸ˜‰

If you need help to plan your life and/or your writing, try following this 5-step process to plan your week. It’s an old post, but I found it while I was looking for a permanent weekly planner template. I was thinking I could do a weekly calendar with a Happiness Is… vignette (52 for a General Happiness is… and 52 for a Writer Happiness is…) and maybe I have found a template, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it. Oh, and if you’re a blogger, you might like the Blogging Weekly Planner! πŸ™‚

Sunday I also toyed with Mobipocket Creator, seeing if I could create readable Kindle files form my comics, but even the Happiness Is… vignettes are unreadable on Kindle Keyboard – the writing is too tiny or hiddend by “colors” (it’s b&w, in case you don’t have one). Now I will try to scan older comics (the one that came out as photocopied zines in the late 1990s/early 2000s) which have bigger lettering and see what happens… You think I’m procrastinating on that story I’m not happy with? πŸ˜‰ Of course! I’ll finish it and shelve it, LOL! Or maybe not. I’ll know by next weekend.

By the way, if you still have trouble with the Smashwords meagrinder, follow Ross’s advice instead of the very long Smashwords guide. I use OpenOffice and I’ve become quite proficient with docs, so I won’t need it, but if you’re still struggling with Word, check it out! πŸ™‚ And if you use OpenOffice like me and want the OpenOffice version, just let me know. I now do my Word.docs ready to be formatted for Kobo, Amazon and Smashwords with very few struggle to upload and have them come out as I want them to – but I still have problems with Calibre, I don’t like the way they show up there! πŸ˜‰

Oh, and thanks to the few people who voted in the poll for 200 followers. I’m pasting it here again, just to get a few more votes (there, now you have 2 polls in one post, LOL). I will post some free fiction, I only need to revise it. Might be on Easter day or probably April (what I have in mind isn’t very Easterly, LOL!)… As for a giveaway… you’ve read above. If you really want one, you’ll have to drop more votes in that hat! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, stay tuned, I’ll let the polls on until Easter (which means I’ll repost them at least once a week, because I don’t know how to put them in the sidebar, LOL)! πŸ˜‰ Have a great week! πŸ™‚

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