Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Guest Blog Post on Louise Wise Blogspot; India

U.K author Louise Wise was kind enough to invite me to post a guest blog to her site "Wise Words" (love it); it went live Monday 9/17, and can be found here at http://www.louisewise.com/  Many thanks to Louise for the exposure and opportunity.  I encourage you to read it on her site and give her the hits, but I've also posted it below for those who want to read it here.

On the home front, the epic fantasy novel (still untitled, so at this point it's 'EFN') is now well north of 100,000 words, which is a pretty amazing number when you step back and look at it as a part-time undertaking.  On the other hand, it's got 25 to 50,000 words to go, and will be tight to hit my self-imposed publishing target date of mid-December.

Amazon announced recently that Kindle Direct Publishing eBooks are now available in India, opening up a huge market of millions of potential readers for self-published authors.  The global market continues to expand, and the rising curve of eBook adoption shows no sign of leveling off.

Those of you who read my novella "A Fairy for Bin Laden" may be interested in "No Easy Day", Mark Owen's first-hand account of the inside of Navy Seal operation to take down Osama Bin Laden.  I haven't read it yet, but I'm interested to see how close my extrapolations about the operation match the actual account of the assault on Bin Laden's compound.


Stop Watching Jersey Shore!

There’s a New Sheriff in Town—Now Write

Stephen M Holak 

First off, a grateful tip of the hat to Louise for inviting me to post a guest blog here. As a newly-minted Indie author, I appreciate every opportunity to market myself and build an audience. Second: my personality lends itself very well to standing on a soapbox and pushing my views and opinions on that audience. Just ask my friends and family. I’m not shy; everyone is entitled to my opinion.

I headed over to these parts to introduce myself, my works, let you to get to know me, promote my stuff, you know? But then I changed my mind. 

I decided to do you all a favor and spank you. 

If you’re a struggling writer, a pre-published author, or a recent self-published / Indie author, what I’m about to tell you should strike a chord. A deep one. It should leave a deep red handprint on your buttocks, Lieutenant Dan. 
Tell me you haven’t said this to yourself: “I really don’t feel like writing today; what’s the point anyway? I’ll hammer away at something for days / weeks / months / years / decades on my lunch hour / train ride / midnight oil-burning session, polish the crap out of it, throw an agonized-over query letter over it, and submit it to an agent / editor / publishing house / magazine, and six months later I’ll get a polite letter thanking me for my submission, the story had promise, but it wasn’t a good fit for (whatever), blah-blah effing blah.”

Your self-imposed word-count for the day just went from one-thousand down to five-hundred, or five-hundred to two-hundred, or to . . . zero; you cracked open a beer, plopped on the couch, and dialed up last night’s episode of Jersey Shore. 

I know you do this. I did it for years. For decades. I didn’t work as hard as I could at my craft, and got absolutely nowhere. What was the point? Deep inside, I thought it was hopeless. I thought I had no control over a writing career, that I was playing a literary lottery. (Oooh. I like that!) 

I’m here to tell you, peeps, that those days are over. It’s a Brave New World. Nuclear winter is over—open the door and take a look. See the sun? I’m not yanking your chain. There are absolutely no excuses for the above excuses. None. There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Jeff. Jeff Bezos. (I’ll give you a minute to Google him.) 

In Ancient Times, the Gatekeepers guarded the, well, Gates. The Big Six publishing houses, (hereafter BS) , stood between you and your customers—the readers. BS decided what was good. They decided who would get the shelf space in bookstores. BS paid authors a tiny royalty and don’t-spend-it-all-in-one-place advances. They kept rights to works even when the print runs were over. BS kept over 50% of the price the reader forked over for your sweat, blood and tears--if you were lucky enough to win the lottery, and your chances are about the same—and be published, you got to keep maybe 15% after you paid your agent and traveled the universe signing and promoting your book on your dime 

What they really did, dear colleagues, was decide what they could sell. Not what was good, not what had literary merit or what they thought readers wanted or would enjoy reading, but what BS could sell. What could make BS money. They had absolutely no interest in you, or helping you grow as a writer. You were meat to them. If you weren’t marbled just right, well . . . the metaphor breaks down here, but you get the idea. 

And somewhere deep in your brainstem, you knew this. (This is why, by the way, Jersey Shore has such high ratings.) 

Amazon, and the explosion of self-publishing options like Kindle Direct (KDP) and Createspace and Smashwords has changed all that. You can publish yourself. With one terrifying click of the mouse, the barriers between you and your potential readers, between anonymity and notice, vanish. Poof. 

Repeat after me: There are no more gatekeepers. Readers are free to judge your work on its own merits. If you work hard at learning your craft, if tell a good story, if you edit the hell out of your stuff and edit it some more, if you learn eBook formatting and cover design (or pay someone to do it for you), write a good blurb, and upload the effer to cyberspace and market yourself, people will read your stuff. 

If they like it, they’ll buy it. If readers like your product, you’ll not only be a published author, you’ll be an author with sales. (If you care about those sorts of things, that is. I do. That’s partly why I’m here. The other reason is the spanking.) You can write more works and publish them and build an audience and make some money. 

So use that train ride, that lunch hour, that rainy Saturday, that restless night. Buy a case of Red Bull and a book on editing (better yet, spring for a good editor; it’s an investment) and a book on eBook publishing and learn Photoshop or marry a girl who owns Photoshop and bang out some great covers (which you by the way, have complete control over), and publish your work. Be a writer. Be an author. No one is holding you back any longer. 

No BS stands between you and your potential readers. Stop reading books on writing and blogs on writing (except for this one, and mine, and maybe Joe Konrath; he’s good and I want to be like him), and write, damn it. 

Luke Skywalker: Whine, whine. 

Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.” 

Oh, I almost forgot, my novella, “A Fairy for Bin Laden,” about a foot-high pixie named Tinkerbelle who helps the CIA and Army track down Osama Bin Laden, is available on Amazon.com. (http://amzn.com/B0088IBE3I) Please buy it. And my other novella, “O’Reilly’s Sacrifice,” if you like baseball fantasy stories like Field of Dreams. And my epic fantasy novel coming out in December.

I missed a dozen episodes of Jersey Shore writing this, and feel the Universe owes me some compensation.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Roxanne Crouse Interview; Last Day for Free eBook Promotion

Author Roxanne Crouse was kind enough to publish an interview with me on her blog / website; the exposure is greatly appreciated.  A link to the interview on her site can be found here.  I reproduce her interview below, but please read it on her website and give her some traffic, if you would; thanks.

Also: today is the last day for the free eBook promotion of "O'Reilly's Sacrifice," so if you haven't downloaded it, please do; tell your friends and family and fellow readers, and as always, honest reviews on Amazon.com are greatly appreciated.  It's done well, sitting solidly at 3# in sports fiction bestsellers, and even spurring some sales of "A Fairy for Bin Laden," but the volume is about half of what it was for "Fairy;" understandable, since the genre is a bit more focused.

Here is the interview Roxanne posted; once again, thanks for the exposure!

1.           Pairing Bin Laden with a Fairy is an odd combination. Where did the idea to pair Bin Laden and a Fairy come from?

A: Two things germinated the story.  I was so sick of the glut of paranormal romance / vampire stories out there–I was determined to bring a different spin to the between-species romance thriller, at least in a short story format.  Two or three years ago, before the CIA ran Bin Laden down, I read a news item on the Bin Laden search and the use of drone aircraft, and the idea of a sci-fi sort of surveillance story popped into my head, followed pretty quickly by the idea of a fairy.  The search at the time was in the hill and cave country out there, and the thought of a fairy trained for black ops seemed like a good weapon for rooting him out.  Bang: CIA fairy romance.  I made a few half-hearted stabs at the project and shelved it.  When Bin Laden was taken down last year, and I read the account of the operation, everything came together and I hammered out the story in a half-dozen sittings.

2.       Did you do any research for A Fairy for Bin Laden?

A: I read all the online news articles on the search timeline and operation, and ultimately the Wikipedia resource for Operation Neptune Spear–the SEAL’s code name for the assault on Bin Laden’s compound–became the structure for the last third of the story.  The news clippings that I used for epigraphs in some parts are true events, and actually took longer to research; I wanted to intersect Belle’s timeline with actual terrorist take-outs by drones in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Some of them fit like a glove right into the timelines of the story, but it took me a while to track them down.

3.       What about an outline? Do you map your way through a story or go by the seat of your pants?

A: You caught me.  Normally I’m a meticulous outliner–Act by Act, chapter by chapter, scene by scene.  This story, however, just burst out of me in a linear word-dump.  I woke up at the keyboard, stared at my fingers in wonder, and went right out and bought a PowerBall.

4.       What was the most important thing you learned while writing A fairy for Bin Laden? What have you learned in general?

A: I usually shake my head at most decisions made down there in D.C., but I had to take my hat off to President Obama (who I am not a big fan of), for having the balls to make a very gutsy decision.  I read a lot about the debates behind the scenes on what to do once they thought Bin Laden was in that compound in Pakistan.  He listened to a lot of options and opinions, but he took the burden of the call on himself, and when he did, there was no vacillation.  That operation had a very good chance of going pear-shaped.  (I’m old enough to remember President Carter’s cluster of an attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages in 1979.)  He took responsibility, showed leadership, and made it happen.  Way to lead from the front.  Now, let’s talk about the economy, Barack . . .

5.      Is anything in your story based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

A: Obviously, the terrorist takeouts and Bin Laden search and the assault on the compound are factual.  Major Kincaid was a caricature of  someone I knew in the Navy.  Belle . . . Belle grabbed the keyboard and wrote herself, so it’s difficult to say if she was a product of my imagination or not.  The Navy SEALS . . . well.  I was stationed in the Navy near the major SEAL base in Coronado, CA, and some of my best drinking buds were SEALS, so I know the type and mindset well.  One thing I learned hanging out with them: leave before they did, because whoever looked at them funny in the parking lot when they stumbled out was  . . . unfortunate.  I’m not one to gawk at train wrecks.

6.      Did you try traditional publishing before self-publishing? What happened? What made you decide to self-publish?

A: I went through the circle of the SF / F Writers sanctioned magazines: Clarkesworld, Apex, Bull Spec, etc.  I got pulled from the slush pile and had some serious consideration from a few, but ultimately, it came down to the usual “fit” for the magazine.  I decided my “fit” was with the readers I knew I could connect with.  I knew I had a good story.  ”Fairy” was a dry run on Kindle Direct Publishing in advance of the publication of an epic fantasy that I’ve been working on for a few years.  Needed to get a handle on the process, formatting, marketing, etc.

7.      How do you market A Fairy for Bin Laden? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

A: I took out a Facebook ad, promoted myself through my FB fan page, dropped stuff on some online fan forum boards, BestIndieBooks.com, Goodreads, blogged, and reached out to bloggers and reviewers like you to get exposure and build an audience.  No one can quit their day job on the strength of a few novella sales, but I’m interested in getting my name out there, gaining exposure, displaying my chops as a writer.  ”Fairy” (and the second novella I published last month), have been a good experience, and I have a small base now.  I know how wide and deep to go when I launch the big Kahuna in a few months.  I’m ready.

8.      Are there any other self-published authors that have grasped your interest or inspired you to self-publish?

A: J.A. Konrath.  He’s a thriller writer–not my genre or cup of tea–but a huge evangelist for the self-pubbed author.  He turned his back on the Big Six publishing houses (BS) and he’s making a ton of money as an Indie.  I encourage everyone to check out his blogs and go through his archives: he predicted the shift to eBooks and the impact of self-publishing them years before the actual wave broke.

9.       Would you take a publishing deal if you were offered one? Why?

A: Probably not.  Why would I wait 18 months to two years for a limited shelf-space print run, about 17% royalties (vs 35 or 70% on Amazon), and an eternal battle for the rights to the work that I sweated out of my body, when I can push a button and start getting read immediately?  It would have to be a huge offer, and maintaining control of eBook rights would have to be on the table.  (See Konrath’s blog for more on that.)

10.   What new projects are you working on now?

A: My big project is an epic fantasy trilogy in the spirit of Stephen Donaldson’s “Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.”  I’m pushing 100,000 words in the first volume, and it feels about 70% done.  I see myself committing a half-million words to the tale.  I’m still working on the tagline (and title), but: “A wealthy North Carolina aristocrat investigating the mysterious disappearance of his pregnant wife discovers that his family is central to a magical realm’s ancient prophecy.”

11.   Is there anything about writing you find particularly challenging?

A: finding the time.  I steal time on my train ride, lunch time and evenings.  I have challenging full time job, and I teach scuba on weekends.

12.   Who came up with the cover design and where did the art come from?

A: My friend Jerry Branch.  I’ve known him for years from back when he ran the graphics section of the marketing department of a company we both worked for.  Very talented guy, with reasonable friend and family rates.

13.   Did you hire anyone to help you edit? Why?

A: I’m a pretty good (and compulsive) copy editor, and I edited the hell out of “Fairy”, but I will definitely hire one for the longer works.   No one can see all the flaws in his or her own stuff.  I look at it as a necessary investment in my career.

14.   Do you have any advice for other writers?

A: Write, re-write and publish.  There are no more gate keepers.  No excuses not to write.  Find the time or make the time.  Stop reading books and blogs (except Roxanne’s, mine, and Konrath’s) on writing and sit down and write. The Big Six (BS) and their poor judgement no longer stand between you and your audience, so there is no one to crush your dreams when your stuff is ready for publication.  If you write a good story, compose a good blurb, get a catchy cover done, hire an editor, and get your work out there, it will be judged by the only people who matter: readers.

15.   Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

A: I’m here for you.  Reviews are greatly appreciated. I write for myself, and primarily for you.  I’m a reader too; I enjoy a good story, and as an author I want to publish the best story I can.  Read my blog, read my stuff, and above all, give me feedback so I can forge myself into the best writer I can, and I can deliver the kind of story you’ll enjoy.

16.   How can fans who enjoyed A Fairy for Bin Laden find out more about you and what you have coming out in the future?

A: Please Like my Fan Page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/StephenMHolak), and subscribe to my blog: http://stephenmholak.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"O'Reilly's Sacrifice" Now Free on Amazon

Free novella; promotion ends 8/6.  If you like sports fantasy like "Field of Dreams," you'll enjoy this story.  Tell your friends, tell your family, tell anyone who reads.  Please leave an honest Amazon review; that would be greatly appreciated:


The Curse of the Bambino:

In 1919,the Boston Red Sox sold of one of their rising young stars to the New York Yankees. That rising star just happened to be George Herman Ruth. The Babe. The Bambino. Babe Ruth.

You may have heard of him.

After the sale, Ruth went on to star as perhaps the most famous--if not the greatest--ballplayer of all time for the hated rival Yankees, who won championship after championship, while the Red Sox labored under nine decades worth of inexplicable misfortune and frustration; many came to believe the team had fallen under a curse.

It had.

On October 17, 2004, the beleaguered Red Sox were down, three games to none, to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. The team was trailing, late in the game, facing elimination.

But a despairing and determined Red Sox fan decided to take matters into his own hands and lift the Curse -- with a little bit of dark magic, a hostage sportswriter, and the ultimate sacrifice.

"O'Reilly's Sacrifice" is a 7500-word novella: a darkly humorous--but ultimately heartwarming--story
about a fan who truly lived and died with his team.

BONUS MATERIEL:  An except from the author's story, "A Fairy for Bin Laden," a tale about a foot-high pixie who helps the CIA and Army hunt down Osama Bin Laden is included in this purchase.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back on the Grid--and Some New Promotions

I hit the ground running yesterday after returning from a 10-day scuba-diving trip to the Florida Keys.  Our group's mantra is "this is not a vacation; it's a dive trip," so I got absolutely no writing done during the span of the gruelling trip--which is fine; I needed to decompress before the last push to get the novel done.  (My target is to give birth just before the Christmas book-buying and certificate-giving season.)  I checked no email, and stayed completely off the grid.  No news, no social media.  Nada.

OMG: there are Olympic Games going on across the Pond.  Who'da thunk?  (I have no idea how we're doing.)

Now, back to the wheel.

I blasted off 1500 words yesterday, picking up threads without missing a beat.  Good to be back.  Sort of.

I'm launching a few new promotions, encouraged by the success and exposure of the Amazon giveaway of "A Fairy for Bin Laden."

There's an ad running on Best Indie Books to promote "Fairy," and starting tomorrow I'm launching a 5-day free giveaway of  "O'Reilly's Sacrifice" on Amazon for Kindle.

I've been getting some great positive reviews for "Fairy"" on Amazon; very gratifying.  The promotion gave me good exposure; however, I'm still waiting for that to translate to sales.  This whole writing business for an Indie author is a learning experience, and just that: a business, which needs to be run like one, with attention to sales, marketing, etc.  It's a lot a fun, but eats up a lot of time too.  If the traditional publishers weren't such blood-sucking assholes, I'd certainly get in bed with them to do that side of the house.

Now, we return to our regularly-scheduled program . . .

Monday, July 16, 2012

Post-Promotion . . . Post

The free five-day eBook promotion for my novella,  "A Fairy for Bin Laden" went even better than my highest expectations, with triple the number of downloads I had projected.  It peaked around #70 on the free books in the Fantasy category, and even gave a paid sales bump to "O'Reilly's Sacrifice;" it reached #66 in Sports Fiction on Friday.

Thanks to everyone for participating or helping to spread the word.

I'll be putting on a free promotion for "O'Reilly's Sacrifice" in early August; look for it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rocketing into the Top 100

I had certain expectations and goals when I started this promotion, but in three and a half days I've already doubled my download target for the whole 5-day period--along with some very nice 5-star reviews.

In addition, the story's crept into the top 100 in Amazon's very loaded and competitive Fantasy category.

Thanks to everyone for your support, and for making this happen.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rockin' and Rollin'

After only two full days of the free Amazon promo for my novella, "A Fairy for Bin Laden," I've exceeded my targets and expectations for the full five days.  I thank everyone who's participated, and I hope you enjoyed the story.

It's been hovering around 2,000 in the Amazon rankings; help me give it a bump into the upper tier by telling friends, family, and fellow readers about the promo, and encouraging them to leave a review on Amazon.

Don't have a Kindle?  Email me or leave a comment below, and I'll send you a .pdf file to read.

Let's keep this thing moving!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad . . .

The free Amazon.com promotion of my novella, "A Fairy for Bin Laden," about a foot-high pixie who helps the CIA and Army hunt down Osama Bin Laden, has really taken off, with far more downloads than I expected in the first 24 hours, and has pushed the sales ranking for the piece from the 400-thousands (out of over one million) to around 2,000 (1,964 as of this posting.)

My goal was to gain exposure, build an audience in advance of the publication of my epic fantasy near the end of this year, and to spur sales of my other available novella.

As Meatloaf once sang, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."  So far, the free download has not translated to a bump in sales of the other work, but I am getting exposure, and reviews are starting to trickle in.

Help me by spreading the word to family, friends, and other readers of the genre; if I can crack the top 1000 with your help, and the top 100 in a genre ranking, I'll gain even more visibility, and this thing will really take off.

Sorry about the Meatloaf reference, in case that brings back any horrible memories.  For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, DO NOT search for that on YouTube--you'll be sorry.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Promo! "A Fairy for Bin Laden" is Free Until Saturday Night

Free book promotion! Starting today, my novella, "A Fairy for Bin Laden," about a foot-tall pixie who helps the CIA and Army track down Osama Bin Laden, will be available for download for FREE through midnight Saturday 7/14.


I ask, as always, that you consider leaving an honest review on Amazon.com. Please help me build an audience with word-of-mouth -- spread the word to your friends or readers you know that enjoy that genre.

Those of you without Kindles can read the work on the free Kindle Reader apps available for all smartphones, PCs and laptops.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back in the Saddle; New Story on Amazon

Things have slowed on the writing front coincident with a much needed vacation: a scuba-diving trip to Bonaire.

But not only am I back in the real world, I've published another story, now available for Kindle on Amazon.

"O'Reilly's Sacrifice" is a tale about a rabid Boston Red Sox fan who, in 2004, attempts to lift the "Curse of the Bambino" from the team.

The Curse of the Bambino:

In 1919, the Boston Red Sox sold of one of their rising young stars to the New York Yankees. That rising star just happened to be George Herman Ruth. The Babe. The Bambino. Babe Ruth.

You may have heard of him.

After the sale, Ruth went on to star as perhaps the most famous--if not the greatest--ballplayer of all time for the hated rival Yankees, who won championship after championship, while the Red Sox labored under nine decades worth of  inexplicable misfortune and frustration; many came to believe the team had fallen under a curse.

It had.

On October 17, 2004, the beleaguered Red Sox were down, three games to none, to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. The team was trailing, late in the game, facing elimination.

But a despairing and determined Red Sox fan decided to take matters into his own hands and lift the Curse -- with a little bit of dark magic, a hostage sportswriter, and the ultimate sacrifice.

Also included in the download is bonus materiel: an excerpt from my novella, "A Fairy for Bin Laden," a story about a foot-high pixie who helps the CIA and Army track down Osama Bin Laden.

Both stories were a lot a fun to write, and I'm sure they'll be a lot of fun to read.


Friday, June 15, 2012


It been a productive week.  Even with today taken up by real-work issues and a trip to the dentist, I've penned over 5,000 words on the novel since Monday (up to 77,000, and climbing.  I feel like it's little more than halfway; best guess is it will weigh in at about 120,000 words when it's all edited.), some serious edits of the new story (incorporating some great ideas from my cover artist, Jerry Branch), and finalizing the story's cover.

O'Reilly's Sacrifice is a novella about a rabid Red Sox fan, who, in 2004, with the Sox down 0-3 to the hated rival Yankees in the American League Championship Series, tries to lift the 86-year-old "Curse of the Bambino" from the team.

Here's the cover proof:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Now, Back to the Grind

The dust has settled, and the excitement from the publication and the small flurry of sales has died down.  I got away from it all this weekend by putting my scuba instructor hat on and running Open water checkouts for a great group of kids.  Also in my class was a nice man with early onset Alzheimer's, who is trying to check off his bucket list items before the disease progresses.  Gratifying and bittersweet, there.

Happy Monday.  It's back to the mortgage-paying job.  On the list today: polishing up my next short story for publication, "O'Reilly's Sacrifice," a baseball fantasy about a rabid Red Sox fan who decides to make the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to lift the "Curse of the Bambino" from the team in 2004.  (It worked, by the way; the Sox won the Series that year.) I sent my thoughts on the cover to my wonderful cover artist, Jerry Branch, last week, and I'm anxious and excited to see what he comes up with.

And of course, back to the grind on the novel, now up to 72,000 words, with the sinking suspicion that we're just past the halfway mark.  The planned trilogy, at this rate, may push a half-million words.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Vanity is OK, I think, If You Crack the Top 100

Granted, my novella, "A Fairy for Bin Laden,", is ranked only at about 33,000 of the one-million literary offerings on Amazon, but still, I'll allow myself a hit of vanity for hitting #82 in Books > Science Fiction and Fantasy > Science Fiction > Anthologies and #94 in > Science Fiction and Fantasy > Fantasy > Anthologies.

No, I have no idea why a single story is categorized as an "anthology," but I'll take the 15 minutes of fame, WTF.

Pretty cool.  I'll enjoy it now; tomorrow, no doubt, it will sink to 788,000 on the lists.

Selling Yourself, II

I wrote yesterday about my forays into marketing myself via social media; today I created a Facebook Page for my public persona, and also began to push out some advertising to select Friends that indicated that they have Kindles--since my posted novella is exclusive to Amazon Kindle for 90 days.

My Facebook Page (Stephen M Holak (author)) can be found at https://www.facebook.com/StephenMHolak

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Selling Yourself

I mentioned in a past post that Joe Konrath's blog, "A Newbie's Guide to Self-Publishing", has been an inspiration and motivation.  Joe also stresses writing as a business, as well as a craft; a writer must market and promote his own work, particularly the self-published or "Indie" writer.

In the spirit of that, I've expanded my social media in to Twitter (@stephenmholak), and am preparing to launch a public Facebook page as well.  I've also responded to several Kindle board requests for author interviews and guest blogs, so those will be coming out in the next few weeks or months and will hopefully boost sales.

A short story has little earning potential,and it may seem a waste of time and energy now to promote both myself and the story before I have longer works ready for publication; but I'm of a mindset that the habits should be ingrained now, at the beginning of this career, and it's never too early to gain exposure or experiment with building a fanbase.

Monday, June 4, 2012

"A Fairy for Bin Laden" Published to Amazon

My 6700-word novella (short story, whatever) is now available for the Kindle on Amazon.com.  You can find the book here.

Every writer is interested in both improving his or her craft, and pleasing readers.  Please leave honest reviews on Amazon, or feel free to contact me via email.

It's an amazing feeling when your work leaves the nest and heads out into the big wide world.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"A Fairy for Bin Laden" Cover Shot

I wrote yesterday of the awesome cover concept for my story "A Fairy for Bin Laden" my old colleague graphic artist Jerry Branch whipped up.  Here's the final version, a collaboration between my initial vision and his magical talents.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

KDP, Baby

Yeah, it's been seven discouraging months since I last posted.  After a few more rejections of my short, "A Fairy for Bin Laden," I made it through the slush pile at Bull Spec for editorial consideration in January (never mind that I submitted in November.)  I just said, "fuck it; fire and forget."

After a few monthly follow-ups after March rolled through with no word, I received a semi-form letter back last week apologizing for the delay due to some logistical screw ups at their end; the bottom line, though, was a polite no-feedback rejection.


Last Fall I scored myself a Kindle to read on my daily train commute, and have done a lot of reading around not just the body of work published for the eReaders, but also around the self-publishing industry that eReaders and services like Kindle Direct Publishing have spawned.  After spending a week reading the blog archives of successful Indie (self-published, whatever) author Joe Konrath, I decided that perhaps self-publishing was for me.

I made a few more passes at editing the story, and dropped a line to an old colleague of mine, Jerry Branch, an amazing graphic artist.  He agreed to do a cover for me, and together we came up with an awesome concept and the image is coming along very well -- I'm pumped.  A good cover is no substitute for a great story, and won't make up for a poor one, but it -- and a good blurb / description -- certainly helps readers make decisions to pull the trigger on a sale.  I've downloaded some formatting and Kindle previewing software, and have been reviewing and tweaking the format to match the medium and present a professional product.  Sometime in the next few weeks I'll pull the trigger on uploading it to Amazon.

Don't get me wrong; I don't expect to make money on the thing; but I do expect a few sales and enough feedback and reviews to give me a reality check on whether I can hack it in this industry.  A short story isn't a novel (I've been pumped and excited enough to start making some progress on that again; thanks Joe), but writing is writing, and I'm going to expose my balls to the wind and see what sort of responses I get to my work.

I've decided, in the immortal words of Joe's guest blogger Stephen Leather, " . . . my overall opinion of the legacy gatekeeping system is that it can blow me."  

Let the readers decide.

In the meantime, I'm going to keep plugging away honing this craft.

Thanks, Joe.