Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Last week I got my 10K done, both in a new story (it’s probably the start of a novel, though, so I’m setting it aside for now) and in tinkering with the previous project. This week I’m moving on to another SFF subgenre, possibly to submit to magazines and anthologies, possibly because I want to write that stuff and get it out of my system now! πŸ˜€

David Gaughran has some updates, so go check them! I might do some advertising this year, more of the backlist than of new titles, but we’ll see. My brain is still quite slowed down by real life since things aren’t improving at all on this side of the world. Maybe a nuclear apocalypse would have been faster, LOL!

This is probably Dear Nephew’s week, since I saw him on Sunday, on Monday I took him to have his booster shot because both parents were busy, and next Sunday I’m taking him to a Feltrinelli bookstore to have his Khabi Lame comic signed.

Dear Nephew is not on TikTok, but he knows the influencer and watches his videos on YouTube (unlike his aunt/godmother who follows Khabi on TikTok). I read the comic too, and it’s funny, but my bookshelves are already full. I’m trying to get rid of some books, but I’m sure you know how hard it is! πŸ˜€

The week hasn’t started well, writing-wise, because I spent Monday revising the original Italian version of Soul Thieves – much shorter – and discovered on Tuesday that I did the blurb wrong, it’s the 22nd century, not the 21st!

So I had to change it everywhere, including the paperback back cover, so the afternoon was lost to that and checking another original Italian version for a possible rewrite. Sigh. And tomorrow half the afternoon will be gone to help my parents, so I guess I won’t write much this week.

And as soon as I finished updating documents (and found out that I had uploaded the wrong manuscript on a title on Smashwords, uh-oh!) I heard the new: Draft2Digital to acquire SmashwordsThe Smashwords announcement and Mark Coker’s blog post. Yay! One less to upload to!

At least that’s my first reaction. We’ll see how it goes for whoever is already on both… will they merge titles so there will be no duplicates? I haven’t had time to read all the FAQs yet, but we’ll see! πŸ™‚

I guess that’s all for today… big announcement coming next week, so stay tuned! Have a great week!


Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Since I’m well into that book 2 of the trilogy, last week I wrote 13.5K words, which brought my yearly total to almost 260K. Still behind since we’re past half the year, but I can still catch up. And if I don’t, I don’t care. The next project might be a novel, or it might be a series of short stories. I haven’t decided yet.

And I also want to write more stories to some themes so I can put out a few more short story collections before the end of the year. The publisher’s newsletter is coming soon, you can subscribe by entering your email on the home page.

This is also the last week of the Smashwords sale, everything 50% off (except titles at 99c and the two latest), so hurry. It ends on Saturday!

I have ordered the paperbacks of the latest two titles, but unless they deliver them a day early like they did for the previous ones, they won’t make it into this post. Very busy mornings at work with special thanks to this lovely pandemic, so I hope to have some energy to keep writing!

I won’t bore you on how Roman buses make it even worse by not showing up or having you wait for 35minutes. I can do that on foot in 20minutes, but at lunchtime it’s really tough. When they show up on time, it takes me thirty minutes (10 minutes first bus, get to the other bus stop in 10 minutes, 10 minutes second bus) to do those 5km, when they don’t, they don’t. One hour or more in total.

There, I said it, I bored you! πŸ˜‰ But you have one more reason why I want to move away from this town. A colleague suggested I get a two-wheels, but I used one for twelve years and that was almost twenty years ago and I’m not young enough anymore, especially on the Roman streets, famous for the “sanpietrini” and its holes (that can be deadly on a scooter). And my almost-26-year-old car is ready to retire, so… buses.

But then, without those buses, I wouldn’t have come up with the idea of the ghost bus, so… whatever! πŸ˜€ Have a great summer!

Happiness is…

the first and second e-book sale… so long ago I had almost forgotten about it! Dates from the time that Mark Coker answered personally to emails, LOL! Almost ten years now… and still a long way to go! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

Sales… nobody took advantage of it (except Tori, thank you for the review), but it’s been on my author of the month thread all this time. You can have Rajveer the Vampire 50% off at Smashwords – Coupon Code: JH97Z – Expires: December 2, 2015. Not many days left, so get it now.

Also, to celebrate the new cover by Cristina Fabris, I’m putting Kilig & Hakeem at 50% off until the same day. Coupon Code: KQ83V – Expires: December 2, 2015. In December I will do a Smashwords-only sale with 50% off selected titles… stay tuned for the list! πŸ™‚ It will be mostly m/m titles, so if that’s what you come here for, come back next week.

By the way, I did the catalog for Unicorn Productions, you can download a free PDF on the homepage. I will soon go to the shop to have it printed on thicker paper to take to the English bookshop(s) here in Rome, and if I manage to get them books, I’ll try to send the printed catalog to the US bookstores, starting with the ones I know on the Oregon coast. Since I plan on doing more PODs in January, this might take some time and a few updates before I actually go with it! πŸ˜‰

A couple of posts on writing for the market – not! Just don’t. Hear it from two people who have been in the market since before you were born. Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Write what you love, what you want to read. Like Fairytales Revisited as m/m romance, if that’s your fancy right now! *stares into the mirror with a big grin*

When I’m done with those 3 I have in mind (well, Beautiful is out, currently writing the Snow White one, then I’ll have the Cinderella Man), I’ll move on to something else. Try to write that contemporary story that is meant to be written, finish the other longer contemporary story I have put in a drawer back in September, maybe write that Star Minds story with aliens on Earth, or maybe who knows. I haven’t decided what I’ll write next year yet (besides the two vampire historicals and finish the fairytales revisited, I mean)! πŸ™‚

And if you’re looking for places to promote yourself or your books, here’s a list. I’m currently going through it, looking for places where I or my characters could show up. And as you can see in the comments, you can also contact me – I welcome guest authors from all backgrounds and all fiction genres! πŸ™‚

That’s all for today! Have a great week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

Lots of new neat thingies on Smashwords! First, the Smashwords Interviews feature is finally available for publishers. So you have both interviews with Barbara G.Tarn and B.G. Hope – and I used different questions! πŸ˜‰ Now, should I do also the “publisher” interview? Are there any more questions you’d like me to answer?

Second is the Smashwords Series Manager. I have one for Star Minds and one for Silvery Earth. Although for the correct chronology of Silvery Earth you probably better doublecheck on this blog, LOL! I’m not sure if this will improve visibility or sales, but we’ll see! πŸ™‚

One final publishing announcement – Choices finally made it to Apple. Gee, they’re slow! Also, there might be problems on Kobo, can anyone tell me if my books are purchasable?Β  Only try to put them in the shopping cart, don’t finalize the purchase! Since Kobo authors cant buy their own books, I can’t try (unless I try to access Kobo with my Facebook account, probably, but I can’t be bothered, LOL!)…

Still trudging through Amazons which will probably be a double book, since there’s another story that goes with it but doesn’t have Amazons as main characters, but I’m still working on that. Won’t come out until December, I think. Maybe November, if I’m fast. But I keep procrastinating by toying with the Star Minds Snippets.

I’ve written the last one, and now I’m thinking of doing a “novel” version where I put everything in chronological order and make it a prequel-novel. Or should I just leave the short stories and novellas mixed? Also, most stories last years and overlap… I try to stick to one POV character in each, but what if I just put everything in chronological order? A puzzle book or a normal episodic novel? Decisions…

Again, this is the freedom of indie publishing – writing what the story demands and the length it requires without sticking to guidelines. I don’t have (and never will…) George R.R. Martin’s problems of length (I usually am on the short side of stories), but still… Again, great wisdom in Kris Rusch’s business post! πŸ™‚

George paraphrased Tolkien by saying that the story makes its own demands. Both men are right: the story is the story, and it’s best for the storytellers to tell the story as it wants to be, not as publishing lengths and artificial deadlines demand it should be.Β 

Killing the sacred cows of publishing – Agents revised post by Dean Wesley Smith. Really, only one-book-wonders would want an agent in 2013. I hope my writer friends sober up – even if they’re not career writers like me and only want to publish a book or two. Might have to tell them the story of my friend who put her first book up on Kindle and sold 2 copies in the first few hours. I never did that well! πŸ˜‰ True she writes in Italian and for a very specific niche – if I wanted to get rich, I’d write either erotica or yaoi, but I’d rather write what I want instead, LOL!

Hugh Howey’s top 10 list of tips for self-publishers. I prefer “indie”, but I won’t nitpick the word choice! πŸ˜‰ Although at #6 he mentions agents. I’d change that with “IP attorney”. And also why you should self-publish – personally, I want to avoid all the paperwork involved with traditional publishers and I want the freedom to write my story the way I want it, without rewriting according to an editor. Like Hugh says

Remember that it’s okay to write and publish just to make yourself happy, to make yourself fulfilled. There will be authors out there, readers, publishing experts, and booksellers who say that this outpouring of unprofessional drek is ruining the industry, which makes me wonder if these same people drive through neighborhoods yelling and screaming at people gardening in their back yards, shouting at them that, “You’ll never be a farmer!” Or if they cruise past community basketball courts where men and women unwind with games of pickup and shout at them, “You’ll never make it in the NBA!”

Or, as The Best YOU says – watch me! πŸ™‚ Now apply your butt to chair and just write! If the internet is a distraction, turn it off. Have a great week! πŸ˜‰

Writer Wednesday

Okay, so week off meant that I drew a couple of pages of SKYBAND, then started (re)writing Amazons and already decided to cut out a chapter (but recycled it in a Star Minds Snippet, LOL). Not much done, but well… one needs a break from time to time, right? In fact I spent 4 days offline, since my cousin was busy the night I considered asking him to check my e-mail. And guess what? I survived! πŸ˜‰

So now back to writing Amazons, and I’m thinking of trying the pre-order thingy on Smashwords for this month’s titles. Which will probably mean I won’t use Draft2Digital for these two, at least not now. And I’ll have to remember to upload to KDP closer to the release date. Anyhow, David Gaughran did an excellent post on the two distributors – Smashwords vs. D2D. I totally agree with him! πŸ™‚

Like I commented on his post, Smashwords has added another outlet, Flipkart – the Amazon of India. But like Shafali told me, the Indian market is not like Americans see it! πŸ˜‰ Anyway, if they boycott Amazon in India as they do in the US (yes, KDP Select authors, some readers boycott Amazon and therefore they’ll never read your books! ;)), we have another outlet. Not that I’m selling anything in the sub-continent yet… maybe I should write more body switches with Indian characters in it (as if I’ve sold a copy of Ciaran&Harith anywhere besides the US, LOL!)! πŸ˜€

Amazon now allows to price the Kindle version at a discount for whoever buys the POD version – which means I can do it only with Star Minds, since it’s the only book that has a POD version with CreateSpace. It’s called Kindle Matchbook and it works like the DriveThru print program (see SKYBAND, where you can either buy the PDF or the POD version or the PDF+POD with discount on the PDF). So have checked that box on the KDP dashboard – I don’t know when it’s going live, but the Kindle version will be at 2.99 if you buy it with the POD version…

More wisdom from Kris Rusch about career vs. publication. It’s probably obvious by now that I’m a career writer and not a one-book wonder. I might have slowed down the output (mostly because the intended rewrites/translations turned out to be unpublishable, so I needed to reassess my writing goals), but I still have plenty of stories to tell. And I will publish them, slowly but steadily! πŸ™‚ Kris is right, it’s a way of life. I’m so happy I have the means to put my work out there, that I don’t care if I have abysmal sales. My readers will find me eventually. Even the Italian ones (sold 2 copies of an Italian novel on Amazon Italia during the summer, and on Kobo it’s only Italian short stories that sell…)! πŸ™‚

Since I haven’t heard from Mark Coker and obviously publishers can’t use the Smashwords Interview feature, I’ll copy/paste it here… just imagine you’re on Unicorn Production’s Smashwords page! πŸ™‚

UPlogoWhy do I get a unicorn instead of an author picture on this page?
Because that’s the logo I used on my photocopied zines back in the 1990s – and still is on the POD version of my books. E-books don’t have rooms for logos, so there you have it! πŸ™‚
So, who’s behind the Unicorn logo?
A very prolific writer who tackles many genres. Somebody said that writers should brand themselves so readers don’t get confused. Personally, I read everything, so I think it’s a publishing myth, but for clarity’s sake (and also because different genres use different kinds of covers), I have 2 English pseudonyms (and 1 Italian).
Who are these authors?
Barbara G.Tarn writes adult unconventional fantasy and some sci-fi. That’s the name that appeared on those photocopied zines way back when. It was mostly comics and graphic novels at the time. A.K.A. Barb, she writes, draws and blogs
B.G.Hope writes contemporary stories. Mostly it’s the prose version of Barbara G.Tarn’s screenplays (when I attempted the conquest of Hollywood, I had only one pen name) and stories set in the present, including m/m romance. Her web page
Finally, Barbara Sangiorgio writes in Italian – for those stories that would get lost in translation. I’ll have to do her interview on her blog
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Well, I grew up on Planet Earth, moving around the continent called Europe for the first 13 years of my life, then got stuck in that boot shaped peninsula, since that’s where I was born. But I’ve always felt international and still wait for the world without borders of a 1970s song I used to sing (in Italian, sorry).
Since I’ve always felt different, my characters are almost always outsiders and outcasts (sometimes outlaws), since that’s how I’ve felt for most of my life. I started writing when I came back to my hometown – I hated everything around me and started retreating in my own worlds. And I haven’t really come back since! πŸ˜‰
What’s the story behind your latest book?
okay, I’m a very prolific author, so anyone asking me “how is your book doing/coming along” will get a blank stare from me. I don’t remember what book I was talking about with that person, so whoever that is, s/he should remind me which one. Just check what’s new at the bottom of this page! πŸ™‚Β  (note that the Smashwords Interview feature should display all the author’s books at the end of the page. Doesn’t work with a publisher account)
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I hate legalese and contracts. And I’m a control freak. And I’m too prolific for traditional publishing. And I write unconventional stuff with unconventional voice, so… indie a go go! πŸ™‚
I’m very happy to be able to go out there and find my readers. I have a niche that traditional publishers won’t cover. So, if you’re an adult who still loves fantasy and sci-fi and other wondrous stories, check me out! πŸ™‚ Someone once told me I reminded her of George R.R. Martin, but since I haven’t started on Game of Thrones yet, I have no idea. I haven’t read Tolkien, so you won’t find any of that for sure! πŸ™‚ No quests and no coming of age, but the rest… anything goes! Character-oriented and probably shorter than what traditional publishers want, but I believe the story has the length it has and I’m sick of pumping up wordcount to meed “industry standards”!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
They were the first where I uploaded my e-books! πŸ™‚ I started uploading on Kindle a few months after I started publishing on Smashwords. It’s a slow growth and evolution, but I like the fact that you can download whatever format you want from here! πŸ˜‰
I have a Kindle Keyboard, but I prefer buying from Smashwords. Pity some authors are stuck with KDP Select…
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Making up stuff! πŸ™‚ Create worlds, listen to characters talk… Write down those movies unfolding in my head. Since I watched a lot of TV (until the early 1990s), sometimes my stories are very episodic, like TV series. Sometimes they’re movies with sequels and prequels and spin-off. Sometimes they’re real comics or graphic novels, since that’s another major influence on writing for me. I’m married to Mr Writing, and I love weaving stories from “what if” – which can be something that happened in reality, an image, a sentence, whatever strikes my wild imagination. I love being a creative goddess! πŸ™‚
What are you working on next?
Again, depends on which pseudonym you’re asking. The Italian titles are just formatted and uploaded, but the English ones need translation and rewriting. Even if the main pen name is Barbara G.Tarn, I always try to add titles for B.G. Hope as well… And then it’s Barbara Sangiorgio when I don’t have anything ready in English!
What is your writing process?
Improvising! Write by the seat of my pants! Call it what you want. I don’t outline much. I pour out a first draft longhand, then type it and give it to beta-readers. Then it’s editing, revisions and adjustments and it’s off to editor. Then it’s final check, format and upload! πŸ™‚
I’m a fast writer because I consider myself a storyteller, not a wordsmith. I need to tell a story, not write the perfect sentence. I get a lot of blank stares from other writers who agonize over a comma… sorry, but I don’t know what writer’s block is! πŸ™‚
Also, I’m very character-oriented. I’ve written stories from drawings of characters. Or I simply watch the “movie” unfold in my head and write it down. That’s why I’m not really into five-senses writing and have a lot of dialog. I’m plot and character-oriented in both my writing and reading habits!
My influences come from movies, comics/BD/manga, and other books. Sometimes reality, but you can tell I don’t like it much… Sometimes history – and I’ve learned to love my research, but also not to pour it all in the fictionalized version or it would be a quite boring reading experience! πŸ™‚
How do you approach cover design?
I’m also an artist, and since I also do graphic novels and comics, I draw most of my covers so they fit with the ongoing graphic novel S.K.Y.B.A.N.D. (not on SW unfortunately, since the docs are more than 5MB – image heavy). So Barbara G.Tarn has illustrations for covers (mostly mine, but sometimes I hire other people) because I hate SFF covers with photographs, and B.G. Hope has more photographic or graphic covers – all done by me (except when I can’t find the proper photograph, I think I’ve used 3 from other photographers). Same for Barbara Sangiorgio (it’s contemporary fiction in Italian, so photos are OK! ;p).
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything that sounds remotely interesting, fiction and non-fiction. I’m not into erotica or horror, but everything else is fine.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Write the next book and publish it. Write the next book and publish it. Oh, and did I mention write the next book and publish it? I announce it on my blog and Facebook ONCE, then go back to writing! πŸ™‚
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yep, and I’ve “recycled” it in two of my fantasy novels – I tried to keep the style through the translation. Half is in Chronicles of the Varian Empire – The Spell, the other half is in Books of the Immortals – Water
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Unfortunately I have a DayJob, albeit part time. When I’m not there wasting my time, I draw (listening to the music), watch movies (Bollywood obsession lately, but I watch movies from all over the world) and sometimes do nothing (meaning I lie on the bed thinking stories to entertain myself that I know I will never write, which might be perceived as a waste of time, but I don’t care). I’m a writer and a lone wolf. I’m an introvert and proud of it! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

Hope you had a great weekend. The Kindle event is over – I bought 6 books and sold none. Even if people didn’t purchase on this occasion, I still have increased the visibility of my name and books, so let’s hope it leads to future sales. The Event page had a total of 665 views with a total of 1,333 clicks on the books, whoot! πŸ™‚ Waiting to hear from Tim Flanagan about the competition winner…

Don’t forget the other sale, everything 50% off on Smashwords until the end of the month – except the brand new book, Star Minds omnibus! πŸ™‚

Star_Minds_Cover_for_KindleYes, it’s out, at the moment on Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo and Createspace. Wait for more e-book distributors and the combination of printed and e-book on Amazon – I’ll give all the new links next week. Reading the proof copy, I found and fixed some typos (nothing better than paper to do that), so apart from the wonderful cover by Phoenixlu, this is a “cleaner” and complete edition of the whole series.

Saturday I rewatched L’Γ©tudiante, since it’s the inspiration for Chantal (in 1982 I was back in Rome, so the movie is my only insight into La Sorbonne in the 1980s) and then I wrote a couple of new scenes for Shooting Star (Kol-ian’s stay on Earth) that are basically what happens in Technological Angel, but from another point of view. I thought it closed better the novelette – that still needs a major rewrite, but I’ll work on it this week along with the other Snippets that are already written, before getting to the new ones.

Also, I submitted 2/3 of Conall’s Sons to the Smashwords anthology, since the Snippets don’t really fit the guidelines – “to aim for the general SF/F market, so no erotica, bad language, etc.” . I admit I never submitted to general SF/F markets, although I did write a query letter for my first indie-published novel (that I ended up putting on Smashwords once I realized it was too short for fantasy standards, too unconventional and had even the F-word in it, so Daw Books would have rejected it anyway), so I didn’t realize I was going against the rules. I’ve been reading mostly indies in the genre, lately, and we don’t always stick to “rules” – I myself write adult unconventional fantasy (it’s not erotica, but it does mention sex and violence – I don’t always put the “adult filter on” in my stories, though).

So, I reread Conall’s Sons, took out part 1 and sent Giordano/Jordan’s story only. It sold only 9 copies since 2011, so I guess it’s as new to readers as any Snippet could be. And it’s a good introduction to Silvery Earth and its Magical Races, so… there you go. I also did some cover attempts for that anthology, which gave me ideas for the next generation of Star Minds, so on Sunday I started planning next year’s release. The Snippets will come out in the fall, the Next Generation in the first half of 2014 – so I’ll have a lot of stuff at Loncon (since it’s more sci-fi than fantasy geared)! πŸ™‚ If all my attempts are discarded, I’ll post one of the drawings here, and you can write your own story based on what you see…

Now, if you’re online reading this, you’ve also heard of J.K.Rawling’s latest exploit – how she wrote under a male pseudonym (Robert Galbraith) and then came out. That’s what traditional publishers ask you to do when you brand yourself – J.K. writes YA, how dare she write in another genre? Glad the truth is out. I’ll keep both pseudonyms for now (it’s not a secret that Barbara G.Tarn and B.G. Hope are the same person anyway), and keep looking for my readers. I’m not greedy, 5000 True Fans are enough! πŸ™‚

Now, a few writerly links for you. Kris Rusch on the global view – here’s to my growing little grove and readers finding it. Like I said, I’m not greedy. I can find 5000 kind souls among the 7 billion walking on this planet, right? 5000 English-speaking readers (don’t have to be native, I’m not either! ;)) who enjoy this brand new genre of “unconventional fantasy for adults who still like to dream”…

David Farland on showing, telling, making – sorry, I’m a cinematic writer, no amount of suggestions like this will make me add more specific descriptions… I write what I want to read, and descriptions clutter my “sight” – I skip them in other people’s books, so I don’t put them in mine (although a few beta-readers – who happen to be also writers… – beg for more setting in my stories. I’ve never heard from a real reader begging for more setting, though, so who knows). Go check the other writing tips from Dave – or subscribe to his newsletter! πŸ™‚

That’s all for now! Have a great week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

Ever heard the 10.000-hours-practice theory and the “write 1million words of crap before getting better“? Just out of curiosity I decided to try to calculate how many words I’ve written in English (since 2001) – it’s impossible to calculate how many in Italian because most of them are still handwritten on notebooks, but you can easily guess that what I did in 25 years is surely more than what I could do in 12. So I added the wordcount of the books I’ve published on Smashwords (easy because they’re all on one page and the wordcount is there – I didn’t count short stories that are included in anthologies and the “double bill” are included once. And I rounded the numbers and excluded the Italian titles.), the screenplays (not all, I’m afraid the first are lost to some hard disk misfunction and I didn’t bother check my back-up disks) and the blog posts (because that’s still writing, folks!).

Being math challenged I had to use a calculator, anyway, here’s what I came up with: Smashwords grand total 983000 words (so that’s already close to the million – and I started publishing in 2011, 10 years after I started writing in English); screenplays: 133300 words (yep, they’re shorter. I stopped writing them because I’m a control freak! ;)); blog posts – I considered 500 words a day posted daily for 27 months (Oct.2009-Dec.2011) + 1000 words Wed-Fri-Sun for 15 months (Jan.2012-Feb.2013): 640000 words. Grand total is 1.756.300 (I repeat, I’m math challenged to the point that I might have copied the results wrong…).

184016_374972345950379_1729160513_nWriting is a muscle, if you don’t excercise it – and do it starting small, again habit vs motivation – you won’t get better. You’ll always have writer’s block or won’t know what to write next. I don’t know what writer’s block is. For me it’s such an ingrained habit, I’ve just started to actually counting how many words I produce. Like for the body switch I know I wrote 21000 words in 8 days. I might not earn my living yet, but I’m definitely a writer, not an author.

And the writer finally managed to publish another title (that’s because the previous ones were in Italian, that’s why I didn’t announce them here, but I usually publish something every other week)! πŸ™‚ Ladies and gentlemen, The Death of Queen Amazonia is finally live on Smashwords, Kindle and Kobo! And here’s the final cover for your eyes only.

QueenAmazonia_resizeThe Kindle version unfortunately doesn’t have the internal illustration of Smeraldo and Kyrio I already uploaded on this blog, but the Smashwords and Kobo files have it. I’m so happy My Books on Kindle are all Smashwords files! πŸ˜‰ On XinXii and DriveThruFiction, the mobi file has no inside picture, but the PDF and e-pub do.

I’ll leave you with the usual writerly links. Krish Rusch on the death of publishing – or not. About Ang Lee and the uncertainty of success – something we can all relate to! πŸ™‚

Aaand – last but not least – it’s Smashwords Ebook Week again, so check the great deals from Unicorn Productions! Some titles have gone free, the rest is 50% off (including the new release) – only until Sunday! πŸ™‚

And I’m not the only one doing the sale – check Mighty Joleene Naylor’s sale and if you’re an adult looking for a vampire story, don’t miss her Amaranthine series that starts with Shades of Gray which has nothing to do with 50… and it’s free for the week! πŸ˜‰

Or, if you’d like to try some gay erotic fantasy (paranormal with demons from what I could gather from his blog), try Ciaran Dwinvyl. He’s already on my wishlist, but I might just grab the opportunity and get his books with 50%off…

Look for more e-book deals on Smashwords… Have a wonderful week!

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 stopsΒ  snowing on my blog! πŸ™‚ If you’re new to WP, it’s under Settings – General – tick the box for “snow until Jan 4th” and have fun! πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ˜‰ Star Minds book 1 – 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! πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ˜‰

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! 😦 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! πŸ˜€ Happy writing!

Writer Wednesday

In spite of driving me crazy with the premium distribution and the NCX (not sure the meatgrinder recognizes the word Chapter in another language, which means manual TOC on Italian titles, sigh), I’m still loving Smashwords. They’re even doing some promotion a la Amazon! In my latest trip on the site to leave a review, I saw in the left hand column “People who recently viewed this book also viewed these books” and “People who purchased this book also purchased”. It’s not on all books, but it’s a start, so yay for Smashwords! πŸ™‚

Now, even if Amazon saved your life, like it did for Jessica Park, don’t forget the Kindle is not the only e-reader on the market, and that if you go KDP Select you’re not reaching the part of population that read e-books in e-pub format (Sony, Kobo, i-Pad, smartphone apps, etc)… We want to reach every possible reader, don’t we? It’s an international market, remember? The US might be at the head at the moment, but the rest of the world is following and Amazon hasn’t opened everywhere yet… so for the sake of your readers, try not to give exclusivity to anyone.

Now, about reviews: I never respond to any review on any of my books (OK, sometimes I have to remind the reviewer to post it everywhere, but I never ask to change anything), neither good nor bad. Yes, I read them. Yes, I pout over the “bad” ones. That’s why I don’t check my B&N page anymore because there are plenty of anonymous no-text reviews that are only a waste of my time. And I don’t think adressing the reviewer is professional in any way. But you might want to read the point of view of someone else – and the comments as well. I never respond to reader reviews. But this is a free world, so do what you feel comfortable with! πŸ™‚

Just remember – it’s the end of the world as we know it, especially in publishing. Kris Rusch’s analysis is spot on, as always. I still think the best marketing tool is writing a good book, publish it, and write the next one.

Now I’m falling behind with CVE3 because I’m not happy with it, but by the end of the week I should be ready with the new version. Still looking for betas, in case anyone is interested. Then I’m back to finishing the sci-fi title so I can send it to betas for a summer reading. But I’d love to publish CVE3 on August 1st, so if there are any volunteers, please let me know ASAP.

And this month I’m not publishing anything, becauseΒ  I was supposed to upload a couple of Italian short stories. None of my Italian friends volunteered to review what is already out, so why bother? Yeah, Facebook friends,Β  I know! πŸ˜‰ Anyhow, Italians don’t read, so what’s the hurry? I’ll take June off from publishing – except the last week I’ll be formatting and relettering like crazy to put stuff on DriveThruComics. But that’s another market – comics and graphic novels don’t always go with prose.

By the way, Dear SKYBAND Reader, I’m coloring chapter 11. Our heroes have reached the former Black Empire (due to the skin color of its inhabitants, not because they’re eeeeevil), so I had to do some research (like for the Islands Empire) for new architecture… here’s a sneak preview of the first town they reach (there’s no lettering at all – I’ll do that when I finish coloring).

Now as DayJob gets crazier and I prepare to my two weeks off (but don’t worry, I’ll be offline only for one week, mwahahahahaha!), as the weather is hot cold hot cold rainy sunny rainy sunny and whatnot (Mother Earth must be really pissed at us, can’t blame her) and my blood pressure goes up and down accordingly, making me sleep at all times and my stomach struggle with any food, I’ll just trudge on my path, looking forward to this brand new world! πŸ™‚

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