Geek Log – Star Date 4.25.2019

As of this week I have finished the second season of Star Trek Discovery and, while I know I will read some blog post bemoaning over-used tropes and character complaints, I maintain my love of this series.

Michael Burnham’s character continues to engage me, and the resolution with her brother Spock was satisfying to the extreme.

Speaking of Spock… The actors who continue to reprise this role have all done so with great respect to the original – our beloved Leonard Nemoy – and I find myself loving each incarnation. Ethan Peck’s version was everything I needed it to be in this season – though I did prefer the beard.

The surprise for me was how much I loved Christopher Pike. I want very much to follow this character, though I recognize the story will likely not take us via Enterprise again.

I am uncertain where season 3 will take us, but I look forward to finding out.

Writing and Business and the In-Between

As of this evening my novelette “Torven” has a completed rough draft. Given its very small length (16006 words) I have been toying around with the idea of giving it away for free or really, really cheap (after it’s gone through a rigorous editing) which has led me to the normal marketing spiel/debate.

I’ve been here before. Often.

In fact, I’d like to say I’ve dipped my toes into murky depths of marketing since Sedition was first published five years ago. (Five years? Really? Sheesh.)

I have not, however, really committed to a marketing plan. Up until this point my focus was on my craft, wanting to just write the next story and grow as an author, and while none of those goals have changed (and never will, because that’s the whole point of taking ownership of your craft) … I can say that I am going to step intrepidly out into the realm of marketing.

I started, quite comically, with a giveaway of Tapped today on Amazon. The giveaway lasted all of an hour, which … really showed me how bad I am at math. (5 books + every 5th entrant wins = about an hour’s worth of giveaway time. Just in case anyone else needs this information.)

But I learned a great deal about what I want to do in the future. I’ve set up a pretty little timetable to follow for marketing – when I want to do what promotions and at what sites – and even color-coded it … because I’m a geek like that.

I am also in the process of revamping my website … with help because I’m really not great at it.

As to writing itself …

With “Torven” done I can go back to Dead Weight, the sequel to Tapped. I’ll be revamping the outline based on the things I learned in James Patterson’s Master Class (still an awesome thing and if you write, you should check it out.)

Basically, I’ll be going over the outline once a week through the month of April. Start to finish. Tightening the plot. Adding elements of the suspense genre into my science fiction … basically implementing everything Mr. Patterson set out to teach me in 22 lessons.

I’m excited.

It’ll be fun.

And I’ll record all the mayhem here because I can … and maybe it’ll help someone else down the road.

 

Self-Publishing Journal Entry #6

Dear Diary,

As expected I made every mistake there is to make while self-publishing a novel. After its “Hydra leak” on the 1st of January I went through the Kindle version and found no less than 25 translation, formatting, or just-plain-dunce errors that had to be fixed.

Orange Beast
Orange Beast

The Orange Beast is still laughing at me for that.

However, I do feel better about this because if I hadn’t been so hopped up on cold medication I would have found those errors in the week prior to its official release anyway. This just means that those unfortunates who purchased the leaked novel are going to have a one-of-a-kind “whoopsie” version that no longer exists.

I’ll laugh about it in a couple of years, I’m sure.

In any case, the novel was fixed before its official release. (To include the spacing issue that had the printed version sitting at over 500 pages. That would be one of the just-plain-dunce errors.)

What have I learned from this whole self-publishing adventure?

1) Editors are worth their weight in gold. 

No, seriously. They are. Those 25 errors were mostly formatting and translation problems that happened while I was bouncing between Scrivener and Word.

2) Never work while on cold medication. 

‘Nuff said.

3) Marketing is pretty much the same on your own as with a small press. 

Yeah, there’s really very little difference here. As much as I love my publishers and the validation they gave me for even accepting my work to begin with, a book doesn’t just fly off the virtual shelves on its own.

That said, I’m still not doing much marketing-wise. I’ll submit Tapped to various review sites and all that, but Scornedotherwise I’m not going to stress this point. I made this decision way back when Sedition was first published and while it makes no “business sense” I’m sticking to it.

I want to be a better storyteller. I want to tell stories that move people, even if it’s only a select number of people. I feel totally awesome about the readership I already have. (Hey, Readers! I uber loves you all!)

4) This is fun.

In spite of my fights with Scrivener and my frustration with Word and staring at documents for hours on end while trying to make the formatting right, I had a lot of fun doing this. Don’t ask me why. I think only writers can really understand it.

To sum up, I will probably do this with more than just the Tapped series.

Yes, I understand the stigma that comes with self-published authors but I’m going to lean back on the real tradition here; the tradition of storytellers wandering from place to place, giving their entertainment away for lodging or food. Celebrities for a night or a day, or a holiday week, and then they faded into the background directly after their job was done.

They didn’t have publishers back then, just word of mouth and a distinct love for what they did.

Official Release – Tapped

I’m starting off the New Year with a bang!

ScornedOr … well … a mistaken “bang” on the 1st because in my NyQuil induced haze I accidentally “leaked” the novel online but we’re moving past that now. This is my first self-published novel and I’m equal parts terrified and pleased by it.

Tapped is a space-traveling adventure that follows the Barlow family as they unwittingly begin an underground railroad for refugees in Consulate space. It’s a story about what makes a family. It’s a story about the consequences of standing up for your convictions and a brothers-in-arms story all wrapped up together.

The original concept for this novel was that I wanted a mother-son story. We have a lot of mother-daughter, father-son novels out there but I haven’t seen as many dealing with the relationship between a mother and her son. And since I happen to be the mother of one incredible little boy it was important to me that the Greeks not get the final word here.

(No, really. The Greeks had the whole Oedipus thing that was really gross and weird. Just … yuck.)

In any case, I’m throwing confetti and will enjoy some wine and a comfortable evening celebrating my first self-published release. It has been an adventure learning how to format and prepare a book for publication and, to be honest, kind of fun.

Tapped Blurb:

Jorry thought winning a galactic war would be enough to buy a peaceful life. She was wrong. Running from the government she fought so hard for, she carves a simple life out for herself and her family. When her family is dragged into a black market deal Jorry finds herself directly in the sights of those she’s been hiding from and must decide how far she’s willing to go to protect the people she loves.

Self-Publishing Journal Entry #4 (I think?) — AKA, “DANGIT, HYDRA!”

Dear Diary,

I spent New Years Eve sick on my couch. I did not have the joy of watching the infamous “potato drop” in my home town. I could not smell the glorious turkey breast as it was cooking in my crockpot (Thank you to my Grandmother and to my Aunt Debbie for passing along that recipe, it was good even though I couldn’t taste everything.) And in my NyQuil induced haze I decided it would be a perfect moment to get some final tweaks done to Tapped before my January 13th deadline …

The Big Orange Beast warned me not to do this. He meowed and jumped onto the back of my chair andIMG_0238 bopped my head a few times and I, still in a medicated stupor, did not pay him any mind. I imagine he would be snickering at me but he’s too annoyed that the child has a friend over and is currently hiding under my desk.

I know because he keeps chewing on my toes.

After many a night pondering and working and trying things out I opted to use CreateSpace to help launch Tapped into the world. It was very easy to use.

Too easy to use.

I went through the Proof Copy, understanding that this was the phase my publishers would have called the “Galley Proof” but not understanding that once I approved said copy it would be IMMEDIATELY published to the CreateSpace store and … several hours later … to Amazon.

I was 99% certain I had given a publication date of January 13th earlier in the process but it seems I missed something. I’m blaming the NyQuil on that one.

After much scrambling and panicking and trying to figure out how to take down the novels suddenly out for sale I finally decided to roll with it.

So this is me mimicking Marvel after the Avenger’s trailer was released … “Dangit, Hydra!”

Tapped is on Amazon. You can find it in two different paperback sizes, the 6×9 (which is cheaper and Scornedlarger) or the 5.2×8 (which is two bucks more and smaller because I wanted something purse-size because I am totally the book-in-the-purse type … when I carry a purse.)

And, of course, you can find it for Kindle.

I recognize that this has the potential to hurt sales. Everything I’ve read about publishing and such says that the week before the book goes up (which should have been next week) I’m supposed to be running about cheerfully telling people about the upcoming release and building all the happy-vibes so that people will buy it and stuff.

“Dangit, Hydra!”

Now I’m on to Battle Plan Bravo.

Why no, I did not have a plan B in place for this. But I’m like MacGyver and can figure a way through almost anything if I have a paperclip and a gum wrapper. (I really don’t care if I just dated myself either. MacGyver was totally my hero growing up and I maintain that he’s swoon-able.)

Excuse me while I go make Battle Plan Bravo for next week. In the meantime, my very first ever self-published novel is up for sale. I’m sure I made every mistake known to the publishing world in it and apologize in advance.

Self-Publishing

After much deliberation, research, waffling, and picking the brains of several writers I know I have decided to try this self-publishing thing. This is not meant in any way to snub or look poorly upon the small presses who have so graciously published me over the last few years. Wings ePress and Double Dragon Publishing have both treated me very well and I’ve learned a lot about publishing as a business through them.

And in fact, any and all works that I feel fit those two houses I will submit accordingly. (Yes, Trenna fans, this means Usurper will more than likely be coming out through Wings ePress next year. I have it scheduled for a clean-sweep editing pass and then Wings can decide whether or not they want to continue the series.)

Why am I self-publishing my next novel?

Several reasons.

1) Creative Control

Basically, I want control of this book and all its sequels. I want to be able to make novella’s on a whim — because I have several mapped out in this universe — and to let the series stretch from four books to seven. (Maybe, I’m still on the fence about that.)

2) Price Control

Because … sweet holy bananas on toast, people! Nearly twenty bucks for a print copy of my stuff? Even I don’t want to pay that.

Plus, you know, this way I can do the sorts of things I’ve wanted to do since first getting published. Things like — Hey! For the month of November all proceeds go to the Office of Letters and Light!

Which is something I currently can’t do.

3) Schedule Control

… Cause it’s nice to know exactly when I can do a cover reveal or book release party. Since I’ll be in charge of the galleys and what have you, I’ll be able to send out ARC copies with little to no fuss.

(You know, this post is beginning to make me look like a control freak.)

4) Audio Stuff

Right now I don’t have the right to produce any of my books in audio form, but I’ve always wanted to. This way I can. (Likely several months after the print copies come out cause … you know … WORK.)

5) Because It Scares Me

When push comes to shove, I don’t like it when something scares me. In fact, I tend to get all sassy and confront said fear with bare fists and teeth.

Which I suppose is exactly what I’m doing.

So!

Tapped is currently out on submission with an agency — has been for several weeks now, but it hasn’t passed the point of no return for a response yet. While I wait for its rejection letter — let’s be realistic here — I will be formatting and cleaning up the manuscript (yet again) to make the ARC copies.

I have chosen Tuesday, January 13th as the tentative release date of this novel.

… and now that I’ve written that down I might be panicking a little.

Nearing “The End”

By the close of this week I will have finished the edits on Tapped. I started this book two years ago for Camp NaNoWriMo and sent its second draft to a wonderful editor by the name of Gabriel Fitzpatrick. (Authors, if you ever see him advertising to do some work, take him up on it. He’s professional and he’ll infuse you with the belief that your book can conquer the world when it’s finished.)

My original deadline for completing these edits was the beginning of May, but I was still in school and things got a trifle crazy and an avocado bested me during a salad-making contest.

Yes, I’m talking about stabbing myself in the hand. And I’ll say it again — I really do know how to core an avocado. I was just in a hurry and wasn’t paying enough attention.

Still, the damage done to my hand in that escapade was extensive enough to make typing (a core element of the writing craft) really frigging hard, thus throwing my deadline back even further.

But I am not one to go quietly into the night.

Which is why the draft will be complete this week.

I’m not sure if I’m the only one who has this problem but sometimes, particularly in the last week of a novel, I want to finish so badly that I actually have to coach myself to slow down. So this week is all about taking my time to get it right. These last two chapters include a space battle where the ship we’ve been traveling on for several hundred pages now finally gets to show us what she’s capable of, and resolution moments for a couple of subplots.

And if I don’t get both of them right then the entire book is a wash.

So here’s me, rolling up my sleeves and preparing for the week-long plunge into all things “climax” and “conclusion.” I’ll see you all on the other side.