Friday, December 30, 2016

Failure, a new book, and the death of a princess / Happenings In The Outhouse 30-Dec-2016

First off, the big news: the death of Carrie Fisher.  AKA Princess Leia.

As a youngster, the picture above was my first vision of Princess Leia from the original Star Wars.  A bad-ass with a gun who had no troubles standing up to Darth Vader, the evil dark lord of the Sith.  Even when her home planet was destroyed by the Death Star, she didn't cry in the corner and whine about her safe place.  She was even more determined to destroy the Galactic Empire once and for all.  And, to top it all off, the final scene in the new Rogue One, which had me in tears (honestly!) skyrocketed her character into a path of hope for the galaxy.

Secondly, also earlier this week, Dean Wesley Smith published a blog post that pretty much sums up my publishing career.  It's called Failure must be an option.  Read it when you get a moment.  So many indie authors bitch and whine when they only sold a few hundred copies of their book in a given month and seem to focus more on selling than writing.  Dean teaches that one should just keep publishing and the sales will work itself out.  No, I will be honest when I say I have never (yet) sold a few hundred copies of a book in a single month, aside from Guest of Honor when it was free.  But sales of my books have gone up over time.  Give Dean's post a good read with an open mind.  If you tell yourself it can't be done, stop yourself and ask yourself . . . what if you did?

Lastly is The Christmas Letters.  The book is complete.

Here is the Amazon link to the ebook.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Accomplishments for 2016 / Happenings In The Outhouse 23-Dec-2016

The other day, I reviewed how many words I've published since 2012.  If my calculations are correct, I will publish more this year than any previous year.

In 2012, I published only 1 for 6,500 words.

In 2013, I published 3 for 105,000 words.

In 2014, I published 3 for 88,000 words.

In 2015, I published 10 (most were short stories) for 86,000 words.

In 2016, I have published (keep in mind, this includes The Christmas Letter, which as of this date still is in the editing phase) 5 for 171,000 words.  This year alone, I have published 3 full-length novels.  Although, if The Christmas Letter doesn't get published until after the new year, it will still be over 2013's total with 119,000 words.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Where am I at for 2017? / Happenings In The Outhouse 16-Dec-2016

In October 2015, I posted a blog in regards to my goals through the end of 2017.
My focus has still remained the same: publishing more.

Seems simple.  But what am I publishing?

In reviewing where I want to be in twelve months, I have enhanced the vision for my publishing empire.  There are three components:

1) Publishing

2) Educating

3) Marketing

First, let's tackle publishing.  In Q1 and possibly Q2, I am going to finish the last two books in the Shadowkill Trilogy.  From there, I want to start on a superhero book or two, a nonfiction book on travelling for type one diabetics, the fifth book in the Central Division thriller series, and even put together a novel that incorporates those involved in my successful novelette Guest Of Honor.

But that isn't all.  I have a number of books I've written and would like to do a complete re-write to bring them to a publishable form.  What do I have?  Two horror novels and a fantasy epic novel.  I do have another horror novel (a deer hunting horror story), but I'm not quite certain about that one.

Okay, on to educating, the second leg to the empire.  And before you ask, no I am not doing the educating.  I am furthering my education.  As I mentioned last week, I am going on a podcast fast.  This will still continue into 2017.  There are a few choice podcasts I will still listen to, but even those will be far and few between.

So, what am I educating myself on?  First is reading fiction.  I find myself late to the party on many great books/series, and will continue to read these.  Not that I haven't read books, but this time I will be taking it to the next level while cutting back on other needless activities.  Next in the education category are web-based training like James Patterson's Masterclass, Dean Wesley Smith's WMG workshops, and David Farland's Story Doctor training.  These are fairly inexpensive ($99 for the Masterclass is the most of the three) due to a limited budget.

The third part of my publishing empire is the marketing leg.  Or the dreaded M-word.  First is to capitalize on the Central Division series by making the first novel free and offering other freebies.  Others include creating better covers, enhancing product descriptions, and even reviewing keywords.  Then, I will be looking into some paid advertising.

As you can tell, I'm still keeping it simple.  Publishing, educating, and marketing.

What are your plans for 2017?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Question everything, asking why, and podcast fasting / Happenings In The Outhouse 09-Dec-2016

As you may (or may not) know, I listen to a fair number of podcasts.  Several I have listed in this blog.

But, from time to time, I find the sheer number of episodes daunting.  Other tasks seem to take a back seat just so I can listen to them--and typically the shorter the episodes the better.

I've cut the number of podcasts/episodes from time to time.  Now, I want to cut it back so much that I literally go on a podcast fast for a month.  It may not be a complete fast, but if there is a podcast episode I want to listen to, it must really be an important one.

Why the fast?  Well, first of all, I listen to most of my podcasts in the car.  And, right now, there are a number of fiction audiobooks I want to listen to--honestly, there are days when I feel like I'm late to the party when it comes to many great books, even some of the classics in science fiction/fantasy--so the podcasts are going on hiatus.  I'm currently listening to Frank Herbert's Dune.  I remember going to the movie as a kid, but never read the book.  Again, late to the party.  And it's about time.  I'm also starting to slowly read Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series.

Lately, I've also been asking myself why I do certain things.  Why listen to this, why watch that show, why read that book, why read this blog . . .

Asking myself why I do things has really opened up new channels of thinking.  I start to question everything.  During the latest political race, I've gotten to the point of questioning everything I read.  Just because a headline or article says something doesn't mean it's the truth.  And, speaking of politics, certain publications are obviously slanted left or right, and especially in those cases I would question the "truth" of what one reads.

Open your mind.  Question the source.  Ask why.

Then, if you answer something with, "because I've always done it this way," stop doing it.  I'm positive I won't miss much from the podcasts I normally listen to.  It's not that I don't like learning--I love learning new things--but one can learn while you work.

Try it.  Stop doing something you normally do "just because."  See what happens.  Pretty sure the sky isn't going to fall.

Friday, December 2, 2016

"The Christmas Letters" cover and blurb

Here, at last, is the cover for my upcoming Christmas-themed novel The Christmas Letters.

Here's the novel description:

What legacy do you want to leave behind?
Meet the Wilkins.  The typical busy American family.

But when Grandma Wilkins passes away, they discover her old Christmas letters in a shoebox.  Molly, the youngest grandchild, soon decides to start where her grandmother's legacy left off, writing about future events, no matter how unrealistic they may seem at the time.

Stats on my first standalone novel / Happenings In The Outhouse 02-Dec-2016

My latest book, a Christmas-themed standalone novel titled The Christmas Letters, was written over 65 days.  First draft.  This doesn't include editing, which I'm still working on.

Will I be able to publish it before Christmas Day December 25th?  Time will tell.  Editing has been going well so far.  I've averaged 2-3 chapters a day.  And with 41 chapters . . .

When I reviewed the stats on The Christmas Letters, I found that during those 65 days, I had written on 48 of them.  That means there were 17 days I did not write a single word.  On average, counting only the days I had written, I had an average of 1,126 words a day.  If I count all of the days, whether I wrote or not, that number dropped to 831.

From here on out, I'm going to document how many words I write each day and how many days it takes each novel to write.  Keep in mind, life happens and that's where the 17 non-writing days come into play.

But still, if I had written on those days, I could've finished The Christmas Letters much, much sooner.

As I updated my writing spreadsheet (where I keep a tally of all my writing projects), I realized that The Christmas Letters is my first novel that is not in any series.  At first, I thought this was a typo.  But it's not.  All of my other novels are between two series: the Central Division thriller series and the Shadowkill trilogy.  Oh, sure, I have other standalone stories, but they're shorter, novellas, novelettes, and such.