Tuesday, September 24, 2013

And a Cloud of Dust

Hey, remember me? Things are settling down now, but it's been a busy week or two. With the launch of The Winds of Heaven and Earth in the rear-view mirror, and a few promotions put to bed, I can take a breath and turn my full attention to The Dark Paths of the World, the second book in the Keystone, Lodestone, Clarion series.

As exciting as it was to see the book in print and watch the first sales and reviews trickle in, I'm looking forward to getting into a gentler rhythm and just letting the creative juices flow. I'd like to have DPW out by mid-spring, and as of this writing it's about one-fifth of the way through the first draft. I stated in an earlier post that picking up an in-flight story is a lot of fun: no world-building or character development to get bogged down in, since those elements have already been established and planted in the reader's mind; it's just pure action and movement. Even as early on as it is in the tale, the story rips.

And on the promotions: I put up A Fairy for Bin Laden as a free Kindle download for five days (with a preview of WHE as bonus materiel), and it did pretty well, but not as well as some of the previous giveaways of the novella.

But the promotion I'm really pleased about was the Goodreads giveaway. I put up a signed copy of the print version of WHE as a seven-day drawing, and over 750 people entered with about half of them adding the book to their "To Read" shelf on Goodreads. The exposure from that promotion was phenomenal  and based on the response from that I'm planning on making that a regular monthly item.

The winner was Stacey F from Bridgeville, Delaware. Congrats, Stacey--enjoy!

Remember: independent authors don't have the marketing machinery of the Big Six publishers behind them; we depend on word-of-mouth and reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads. The biggest favor you can do me--or any Indie author--is to leave reviews and spread the word about books of ours that you like to your friends and fellow readers.

Happy reading!

Now back to work.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Exciting Day

Publication of a new book is exciting for any author. I can't imagine becoming so jaded that the blush is off the rose--insert your own mangled metaphor here--to the point where holding the initial printed copy of your work doesn't raise your heart rate. Even Stephen King and Dan Brown and J.K. Rowling and all those mega-selling authors still get a thrill when the stork drops in. At least I hope they do. If you don't, Steve, Dan, J.K., sit in my seat for a bit and remember what it's like.

The first one, though . . . that's gotta be up there with holding your baby for the first time.

All right--chill. Maybe it isn't, but in the moment . . .

I had that pleasure, that rush today when I tore open the package and inhaled the scent of paper and new ink. Ran my fingers over the cover. Flipped through the pages and skimmed words that are so familiar now I'm practically a walking audio book. Unless you've been there, you can't imagine the thrill.

The Winds of Heaven and Earth has physical form.

Everyone who's written a book will tell you how much work it is, how much dedication and commitment it takes to pull it off.  Even after you've typed "The End," there's a f-ton of work to do. The tunnel stays dark for a loooonnnnggg time, and just when you think you'll never come out, you see a stray photon or two, then a few more, and soon things brighten and you pop out the other end into clear bright sunlight and the world is fresh and new again.

Enough sentiment. Time to get back to work.  I've already downloaded .pdf proofs and made what I hope are the last revisions; with this print proof I need to go through and confirm structure: page breaks, headers, spacing, margins, page numbers, etc, and upload any corrections along with my revised materiel.  Then a day or two for the publisher review, and one more online pass as the final formatted work before I give approval for the book to be made available for print and distribution.

I'm still targeting next week, September 19th--International Talk Like a Pirate Day, (no, the novel is not about pirates, though it has a lot of nautical themes and there is a big battle between sailing ships, a la Master and Commander) for the formal launch though I'll release the Kindle Edition early on the 16th, and offer 5 days of a free download of A Fairy for Bin Laden to celebrate (with a generous excerpt of The Winds of Heaven and Earth as backmatter in that eBook) beginning on 9/19.

But . . . this. This thing I'm holding is me. My sweat, blood, guts. Train rides and late nights and weekends; time stolen from friends and family and self.

If you're a writer, you know it doesn't end here.  There's the new work in progress. Then the next book, and the next.

But now, for just a few more moments, I'm going to savor this.