Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Amazon is like the farmers' market for indie authors

During the summer months, I frequent a local farmers' market most Saturday mornings.  Certainly, I can buy jams, vegetables, breads, and sweets much cheaper at the supermarket.  However, the foods I get at the farmers' market are, by and large, natural and not loaded down with a shitpile of preservatives.

This isn't why I do it though.  I do it because when I hand over my dollars, I'm giving it right to the person who produced it.

(okay, and they make some amazing goods too)

Amazon is the same way--by the large, minus a small percentage when you sell something.  So are Kobobooks, Barnes and Nobles, Smashwords, and other e-tailers.  Indie authors have a fair shake when it comes to readers.  They are able to bypass whatever middlemen or gatekeepers there are and go directly to the readers.

Instead of farmers having to send their goods to the local elevator or with the grandmother who bakes amazing donuts and breads, they can go directly to the people and sell their goods.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Happenings In The Outhouse 27-Jun-2014 / The final stretch for Killzone

Killzone: Book 1 of the Shadowkill Trilogy is nearing completion.

I have one final editing to do and then . . . it's on to publish.

And just because I already finished editing it, doesn't mean there wasn't anything to do.  Wrong!  In fact, I changed a lot of the way the story was told.  Much of the book is in present tense.  Yet, the bulk of the book was set in 2006, along with the prologue and epilogue were set in either 2009 or 2010.  When I went through the final edits by reading it out loud, I was struck by how confusing it was.

So I changed it.  The bulk of the book is in past tense.

Personally, I think it sounds a lot better.

I'm also striking out complete chapters too--well, one in particular.  It doesn't seem to fit and there's no clear point of view.

My plan is to have this book finished in 2-3 weeks.

What's next, you might ask . . . ?

I have a few things in the works.

As an aside, I got my official website,, up and running.  Okay, not quite, but it's now an official Wordpress site, and in the upcoming weeks, I'll learn more on how to make it better.  It's just a starter, sample page right now.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happenings In The Outhouse 20-Jun-2014 / No agents need apply

It isn't a secret for anyone reading this blog that I'm publishing my next novel soon.  Very soon.  I've had a few people ask me if I'm going to submit this to any agents or publishers.

No way!

I already spent decades of my life going down that rabbit hole.  And for absolutely nothing to show for it except loads of experience, rejection letters that are probably as tall as the Empire State Building (okay, not really, but it's quite a stack), and a handful of false hopes that, of course, went no where.

Why would I waste months and months of my time when I can start earning money from it right away?

Hence, that's the reason I have a sign on my door that says:

While I was going through Killzone I ran into a problem.  Most of the book was in present tense.  Yet, the prologue and epilogue were several years ahead of the time spent in the bulk of the book.  I then thought of the only solution: change the tense from present to past.
It worked.  So far.  I'm hoping by the middle of July to have this book ready to go.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What I Listen To - The Sell More Books Show

Thanks to Joanna Penn from The Creative, one of my new favorite podcasts is the Sell More Books Show.

At the time I write this, they are on their 10th episode, and trust me when I say if you haven't listened to this show before, go back and listen to them all.  I listen to them on the Stitcher app on my Android phone.

Roughly a year ago, I cut back on the number of podcasts I listen to, and have only added two lately (see next week's post for that one).  The Sell More Books Show is one of them.

The two hosts, Bryan Cohen and Jim Kukral, are energetic and brilliant.  They've been out in the field and have done great work in author marketing and entrepreneurship.  Both are authors as well.  They typically pick a few top tips at the beginning of their show, and after a quick pros and cons, pick which one they feel is the best.  Then, they go onto the top five news item in the world of indie publishing for the week.

Now, here's one of the big pluses for the show: its length.  Most shows run a little more than 30 minutes, and there isn't a whole lot of time wasted with mindless conversation you hear in so many other podcasts.  The Sell More Books Show is so concise and packed with useful information, it shouldn't even be free--but it is!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happenings In The Outhouse 13-Jun-2014 / Yes, it's Friday the 13th!

I didn't realize until I started writing this post that today is . . . well, Friday the 13th.

I also have two bits of news to share--okay, three!

First, I finally sold an ebook on Kobo!  Okay, to the vast majority of you, you probably could give three shits about that.  But I've had two ebooks (now three, as of last week) on Kobo since April and I haven't had a single sale.  Honestly, it doesn't discourage me at all, for I'm in this for the long haul, but it was exciting to see that sale number go up by 1.  Thanks to whoever in Canada bought it.

Second, I finished the editing to Killzone.  At least this round anyway.  This was a major rewrite.  Now, I'll go back through it another time, putting on a final polish, and then I'll publish it on Amazon KDP.

Speaking of Killzone, my third bit of news is the cover to the book.  Here it is:

Pretty cool, huh?

What have you been up to this week?  Please feel free to share in the comments.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Happenings In The Outhouse 06-Jun-2014 / The Cancer Chronicles

On the morning of June 1st, an award-winning author passed away--one completely overshadowed by the passing of Maya Angelou.

Jay Lake, science ficiton author of more than ten novels and three hundred short stories, passed away after a long battle with cancer.  What's interesting about Jay's cancer fight is that he's chronicled it all the way--from his first diagnosis to his passing.  He never pulled back and always told it like it is.  His obituary can be found here. 

On the Killzone novel, book one of the Shadowkill trilogy, I currently have four chapters left to edit.  Once I'm done, I will make one more editing pass before uploading it to Amazon.

(And, of course, I'm sure you've heard all about the Amazon/Hachette debate going on.  Frankly, my friend, head on out to thriller author J. A. Konrath's blog for his insight onto it in terms of the indie publishing community.  In fact, if you're an indie author you should be following his blog anyway).

Also, this week, my novella Guest of Honor has now been uploaded into Smashwords and Kobo's book stores.  I already have two of my other shorter works on other sites besides Amazon.  Frankly, they haven't sold much at all--but I'm thinking long-term, so this doesn't bother me.  I'm just going to keep writing.  When I have links to these other sites, I'll share them.

Monday, June 2, 2014

What motivates you? (Guess what, we're not all motivated by the same thing)

What motivates you?  What drives you to do what you love to do--assuming you already know what that is.

Let's take an athelete.  Is it to win a high school tournament, whether it's regionals or the state title?  Is it to go on to college and continue to play for the sport?  Is it to be a pro?

I grew up in a town in northern Minnesota that lives and breathes hockey.  There are a few professional players who have come from this town, and stories of one such player (who was on the 1980 Miracle team) who woke up in the wee-hours of the morning to go down to the ice rink and practice.  Most mornings he was down there by himself.

Nowadays, this same town has practices very early in the morning.  I'm sure if you asked the kids, they wouldn't mind sleeping in.  But the parents remember the story of the Miracle hockey player and want their children to skate in his same steps.  Nevermind that hardly none of them will ever be able to skate on a professional team.  What motivates the kids isn't the same thing that motivates the parents.

Why not just let them play for the fun of it?

Now let's take writers.  What drives them?

Is it to be published by a traditional, Big 5 Publisher?  Is it to have their story made into a movie?  Is it to win an award (like the Hugo)?

It could even be to have a stack of papers sitting on your desk, just as a conversation piece.

Why are you doing what you love to do?

Here's a hint: it's not all about money.  If it was, I'm sure we'd all be stock brokers or major in economics.

What motivates police officers to deal with the shit the public deals with them, day-in and day-out?

What motivates teachers to do what they love to do, even under tight government restrictions?

What motivates a med student to keep studying, counting the days until they too can wear a white jacket and be called "Doctor"?

Search for it.  It's in yourself.  Then, once you find it, go forth and conquer.

The world needs you.