Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Told ya so

Sometime yesterday afternoon Consider Us Even was downloaded for the 250th time over at Smashwords. I said we'd get there by the end of the month and we are a few days early. So that's pretty cool.

No idea how many people have grabbed a copy at Barnes and Noble, but I'm assuming some did. They rank their books and right now it's No. 57,066. That sounds horrible, I know. And, truthfully, it's not great. But I have looked and there are books wit numbers that are twice that. So that means some people have grabbed a copy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My first rating

Got my first rating on the Barnes and Noble site. Just two stars. Ugh. Wish it was more. At least three stars. That would have felt better. I have received some good comments from others on Consider Us Even and that eases the sting a bit. But the thing that may bother me more than the rating is that whoever left it didn't leave a review. That means I don't know what didn't work for them. I'd love to know why it was only a two star for them. I'd like to know if it's something I can work on or if it's just a preference thing for them.

That's all I've got today. Busy with the day job, but wanted to share that with everyone.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm up at Barnes and Noble's site

Unless you know me from Facebook, obsessively keep up with the "Where to Read Me" page up top, or stalk me all across the Internet, you don't know this. Consider Us Even has been uploaded to the Barnes and Noble website from the Smashwords catalog.

I'm stumbled across it the other day. I was expecting it to go up sometime next week at the earliest, but I was on the site the other day and figured I'd search my name. And there it was. I know that if things go according to plan then I'll have many, many books up at many, many sites. But this is the first time I've seen something I've written on a big site like that, and it's kind of exciting.

And a quick update on numbers. Not sure if anyone had downloaded the book from B&N, but we are at 245 downloads from Smashwords. I'm guessing we'll be at 250 or better by the end of the month. That will mark three months since uploaded.

Also, we are getting very close to releasing Chasing Filthy Lucre. I'm making final corrections and shooting to have it ready to go by the end of next week. A little later than I was hoping, but I want to get it right.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Do not have your story began with the main characters reflecting on life, thinking about their current or past situation, or contemplating doing certain activities. If the opening introduces something unique happening, or about to happen, chances are you have an appealing hook. Start at the moment closest to the beginning of the main conflict of your story as possible."

From a post by Sherry over at Dark Angel Fiction. Read the whole thing here. Good reminders if you've heard them. Good lessons if you haven't.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Smashwords Premium Catalog

Super busy with the day job now that Mubarak has stepped down in Egypt. This one will be short and sweet.

Noticed yesterday that Consider Us Even was approved for the Smashwords Premium Catalog. What's that mean? It means I formatted it well enough that Smashwords can now ship it out to all of the online retailers they work with. So you may soon be able to find my little story at barnesandnoble.com, kobo.com, diesel-ebooks.com, and others. It's a free book so Amazon and Apple won't accept it. For them you have to be for sale. Apple requires a price that ends in ".99" and Amazon won't allow you to sell for less than $.99. That may change soon, though. I'm thinking about sticking a 99 cent price on it and seeing how that goes now that it may be more widely available.

That's it. May check in this weekend with something better, but for now, that's all I've got time for.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Setting is more than the location in which your story takes place. It’s all the external elements that affect your characters and their goals and objectives. If you treat your setting as an additional character, chances are your story will be fully developed."

From a post by Joe Moore over at The Kill Zone. This is snipped from the end of a longer post on setting. Setting is something I've been thinking about a lot as I've started writing And the Signal Fell Silent. Trying to keep in mind that some time has passed between books so things are going to be a little different in New Eden.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let's talk point of view

We are dealing with a second bout of winter weather here in Dallas. Gina is missing her fifth day of school today. I'm sick of it. The ice, not Gina missing school. She kind of likes that, so I do too. Chances are the ice won't melt until late tomorrow since our forecasted temperatures aren't supposed to get above freezing until late Thursday or early Friday.

I keep saying ice and not snow because that's what we get here. We may get a little snow, but most often we'll get sleet and freezing rain, creating a layer of ice over everything. It makes driving almost impossible so you get socked in the house until things melt off.

I know that what we've had here this winter doesn't compare to what some in the northeast have had to deal with. Not looking to get into an argument about who's had it worse. Just saying that I'm sick of the winter we have had.

Anyway, that's not what I was going to talk about. Just needed to vent a bit.

What I did want to talk about was point of view. I've written Chasing Filthy Lucre in first person. It's told from the point of view of Weber Rexall and it works for that story. But now that I'm writing And the Signal Fell Silent I am really wanting to write in third person. I feel like that story would be better told if I could show what's happening with a couple of the minor characters without Rexall being with them. But the first person point of view that I'm writing in makes that impossible.

Now, could I do it? Write the second book in third person? Sure, it's my story. I can tell it how I want to. Write it the way I want to. But here's my question. Will it throw the reader off if the second story in a series is told in a different point of view than the first book? I read somewhere that Lee Child has written his Jack Reacher books in both first person and third person. The Reacher stories however aren't serial stories. What happens in one doesn't build off the others. Not like a soap opera or television drama. So does point of view make a difference if it's a truly serial series? And the Signal Fell Silent builds directly off of Chasing Filthy Lucre. The story in Signal picks up where the story in Lucre left off. Will it throw readers off if the second story is told from a different point of view. Please help me out here. Let me know what you think, either as a reader or a writer.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A good weekend

I've been trying to post three times a week. It's a bit of a resolution for me. Not an official one. I don't have it written on some laminated card or anything. Just a bit of a goal. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are what I'm shooting for. On an occasional Thursday I'll put up a quote I like.

Just thought you should know that. It doesn't have much to do with anything.

I have a habit of checking my numbers at Smashwords in a very uneven pattern. I'll be diligent about it, checking them daily, for a few weeks. Then I'll go a few days without looking. I'm in a diligent period right now. I checked the download numbers Saturday night. An unexpected five people grabbed a copy of Consider Us Even. That was a very pleasant surprise. Last night, before the Super Bowl started, I checked the numbers again. Four more downloads. So for the weekend there were nine downloads. That's my best two days in a row in a month.

I don't really know why there was a little run on downloads. I'm happy there were so many, believe me. I want people to grab a copy and read it. I want them to enjoy it and come by here for a visit. I want them to love Chasing Filthy Lucre and want to buy a copy. But I also want to know why they are downloading the book. How did they find it? Because, however they found it, I want to do more of that. It worked. Right now I can't figure out how this weekend happened. There was nothing I did to promote the book.

I'm also noticing more visitors to the blog. There seem to be spikes every few days. One day a few weeks ago we have 30 visitors in one hour. A record for me. Until recently it was the rare day that we saw 30 people in 24 hours. Not sure why or how more people are coming here, but I'm glad they are. If I can just figure out what it is that's attracting them and how to keep them coming back ...

If you're one of the new visitors, I hope you enjoy your stay. Please say hello in the comments.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"I will tell you my guiding light: writing is all about the reader. I never sit down and start out thinking about “what I’d like to write.” I start out with what I’d like to read. I’m even more interested in what others would like to read. I think about the reader all the time—where they are in their minds, where they want to go next—then I write until they get there. Writing is not about me. It’s about my readers."

B.V. Larson in a guest post on Joe Konrath's blog. Read the post. It's short. It's good. And Larson's sales numbers are staggering.
"You’re going to put something out there, make it count. Don’t [screw] it up for the rest of the authors — you know, the ones who actually put out a kick-ass book. Hell, some of this stuff goes for me, too. I can do better. I can always do better. We should always strive to improve our books, our sales, our connection to the audience."

Chuck Wendig at his blog, Terrible Minds. He's talking to all the indie authors out there. If you're indie or considering it read the whole post. It's a little tough love. But be warned, the language gets spicy.

Forgotten gems

Gems? Well. maybe not. But good stuff.

Gina and I have been trapped indoors as ice has decided that it needed to vacation in the Dallas area for a few days. It arrived very early Tuesday morning. Sleet woke Gina and I about 4 a.m. It was rattling the windows so loud that neither of us really got back to sleep. We tossed and turned until about 6 a.m. when Gina turned on the TV to find that her school district would be closed for the day. They haven't reopened since. Today is the third day that she's been out. To pass some time Gina went through some books on the bookshelves and started pulling out bookmarks. She got to one book -- a guide to Seville, Spain -- and I asked her to not remove that one. I'd used the book to get some info for the setting of a story and the page that was marked was the map of the street that was a big player.

Gina asked what happened to that story and why hadn't I ever done anything with it. Told her I didn't know why I hadn't done anything with it. Got me wanting to read it so I printed it and one other story yesterday and have been going through them. Neither are overly long. The story Gina asked about is just under 3,000 words. The other is just over 8,000. I've read one and am halfway through the other. And while they both need some work, they are both pretty good. I need to rework the beginning and the end of one, it's got good bones. Just needs a little remodeling.

The other seems a little closer to ready. There are a couple of spots that need to be fixed, but it's not far from being ready to publish. What publish means I don't really know yet. The better of the two stories is one of two that I wrote with the same character. It's a character I enjoyed writing so adding a couple more stories and making a Kindle collection is definitely possible.

Though I wouldn't say I'd forgotten about these stories, they'd definitely gone to the back of my mind.  Pulling them back out and looking at them again reminded me that I have some good stuff stuck on this hard drive. I need to make time to polish some of these hidden gems.