Monthly Archives: May 2012

I Sold Out and it Felt Great.

So I followed both the poll’s advice, and the advice of some friends on Saturday, and became exclusive for the next 90 days with amazon.  As part of that deal, I can have my book free for a few days.  I get no compensation during that time, but it’s a good way to actually get my books into people’s hands.  I decided to have that first free day be Memorial Day, and this was obviously the right decision, since by the end of last night I was number 12 on the Epic fantasy chart for Kindle!  300 more people have a copy of this book in their hands now, so I am definitely feeling like everyone gave me the right advice, thank you!  Plus, it did not hurt that this was on reddit 🙂

As originally a nook owner (I now have both kindle and nook apps on my tablet and read both) this felt a little strange, but the results are worth it.  Taking this advice and seeing it work out so well has me now mulling over other advice from people doing the indie scene.  One of the similar pieces I have of advice is to have multiple works out as soon as possible. It seems ok if a couple of the other works are novellas instead of full novels, but having a volume of work seems to help for multiple reasons.  One seems to be your shorter works can be cheaper or free constantly to get your name out, and the other is you are higher on searches if you have more than one work out.

I can see the wisdom in this, and I do have two short stories I am writing in attempts for anthologies, but that really does not match the advice given here. The problem is if I write a novella or shorter work then it delays my work on the second book of the current series.  I do not mean George RR Martin type delays (it only takes me about half a year to do a novel at the latest, once combined with editing it would be done much sooner than a year) but I only have a finite amount of writing time.

This of course, leads me to today’s poll:

What should I do about trying to get a novella or two up as soon as possible:

1)With the help of your larger editor army, get one of your previous works edited and out. This may mean breaking it down into 2 books (one of the finished ones is huge, but needs editing badly).  This way your actual writing time investment stays on the current book, and the majority of the effort is on your editors (since you really only have to put in the re writes, or maybe make it break into separate books better).

2)It’s your current works that people are actually looking at. Take you time to write a novella set either in the same world (maybe a different island) or at least the general clockpunk genre since feedback shows that is one of your selling points.

3)Just focus on getting the next novel in your current series out.  It may take longer before you have more than one work published, but when you start a series that needs to be your only focus until it is done.

And for feedback:  I have gotten some feedback and critiques which I think will help strengthen my next work.  One of them is the flashbacks confused some people.  In the first book, I noted the timing (if it was a flashback and when, or “now” if the chapter after a flashback) in the chapter header.  The next book I will take that information and take it out of the chapter title and bolded right before the first paragraph.  Thank you, your feedback helps me a lot!

Also, I have no reviews up now, but if any reader of this does put one up, besides being honest about the rating,  please if we have a connection (friend, relative, editor of book,  etc) make sure to disclose it.  On amazon, that is the proper etiquette so it does not look like you are attempting a “shill” review. 🙂


Select Markets and Noble Abilities

There is a promotional move that I am considering but I am kind of torn.  Kindle has a Select program with its independent authors, where you can enroll in that program and get more exposure, and also recieve some compensation when someone checks out your book in the Kindle library from being a Prime member.  This gives your book a much wider exposure which is great for an independent author, as letting the masses know your book even exists is one of the toughest things at the beginning.

However, like all things in life, there is a catch.  If you do this, your book has to be exclusive to Kindle electronically for at least 90 days.  Today I recieved my formatted manuscript for my publisher to Nook, iBookstore, Sony, etc today or this weekend.  The way things are, I would be allowed waiting the 90- days to have it up in that bookstore, but I have several readers who already told me they only use nook (as I used to) and so they will have to wait three more months from when I start until they can read my book.

At this point my question is twofold.  First, will more new people be exposed being the Select program to make up for the loss on all other platforms?  Second, even if this is true (which may be possible) is this something I want to do?  I know if I was still tied only to the nook platform that would annoy me, and maybe even make me care less about the book when it did come out on my platform.

This all ties into today’s poll, a rather simple but important one:

Should I join the Select program and be 90 days exclusive to Kindle?:

1)Yes, the benefits outweigh the negatives.

2)No, the negatives outweigh the benefits.

Pretty simple question, but more important than most of these polls in my mind, since I will make my decision over the weekend.

I finally had my first clarification question about a character and their abilities in Private Mail, and in case others are wondering I wanted to add a caveat that might help in reading.  I want to do it in a way without giving spoilers to those very early in the book so here it is – remember everyone has two parents, and many of them are from different noble houses so there are multiple types of abilities each person might have access too.

Also along those lines, people have asked about noble blood and powers, here are a few (but there are others, and Artists and small guilds have their own abilities too)

1)House Nemeni — power over metals that manifests in making clockwork gadgets that can break the Grand Laws of the Universe, or more mundane clockwork gadgets but do not need to be wound if used by a member of Hosue Nemeni.  They can “call” out to the gadget and it works.

2)House Tanello – power over water, this shows mainly in manipulating and detectingwater over distances, they are experimenting with steam engines

3)Various families of Lontor — amongst other smaller islands, they have power over Wood, and make the much needed cloudwood  that all airships use, and can sculpt it with their bare hands

4)Artists – control and molding of earth and marble and stone

Keep sending questions, and I may have some interesting news next week about another project I am … well we will just wait and see.

Of Limbo and Second Novels

We are now at an interesting stage.  The book is out on Kindle (which you probably already know but here is the link just in case ) but not in other formats yet.  The other e-book stores will get their copies from my publisher, and the formatting of my manuscript for them is still occurring and won’t be done till later this week.  After that it still needs to be electronically distributed to the other stores, which could take one to two weeks.  The publisher is how I will have free copies to give to reviewers in most cases, so I have a book out, but with no reviews.  That makes me effectively in limbo, even though it’s published on one platform, which is kind of weird.

Also, this is not part two of the Artist related blog as my artist was not able to do the interview this weekend, so that portion will have to wait until her schedule clears 🙂  That means a new topic is needed for this blog, and it is going to tie into today’s poll (which due to the results of the last poll will happen very frequently, but like my last blog announcing the book being out it will not be every post).  Today’s poll is about an interesting topic for me at least, the next book.

I do have some chapter fragments for it already, but I have not written the first chapter on that and I have just started doing so recently.  The first chapters of books in a series are special creatures for they simultaneously need to give new readers at least enough ground level information that they can comprehend the book even without as much insight as readers of the first book, yet they need to catch the interest of continuing readers too.

As is known for anyone who has started reading the books (I assume no one has finished it yet) in the series there a bunch of flashbacks for one of the characters.   My current plan is to use one of those flashbacks to introduce half the remaining cast and the background on the world and the massacre that drives the book, and the next chapter to introduce the current status quo and the rest of the survivors of the massacre.  I’m taking advice on whether this is seen as good, or if I should come up with a new framing device (such as a minor secondary character having a journal that recounts things or a historian writing of them after the fact).  The other idea would be to focus on actions occurring and let new readers be a little lost but have them catch up through little bits of exposition grafted in a more natural feel into the normal narrative.  Here’s a chance to help with the next book!

A)Use the flashback for chapter 1 and then continue from where you left on in the last book for chapter 2 to re-introduce the world and its concepts, and then move the plot along.

B)Make up a whole new device (journal, historian, etc) for chapter tone to catch new readers up

C)Hit the ground running and start things right after how they ended up in book one.  Your readers will catch up as long as you start putting little bits of information about the world in there.

As you read the book, let me know if you have any feedback.  It’s nerve wracking to see it sell a little, but not hear back from anyone that had not read it before : )

And the book is Available!

I was not expecting this post so soon.  You can buy the book on Amazon right now!

Click here to go see it!

Please share this post, as an independent author that is the best way to get the work out about this book, by word of mouth!  The more twitter feeds, facebook statuses, etc. reproduce this, the more people will know it exists. Thank you everyone for all your help!  I look forward to discussing the contents ofthe book more, now that people can actually read it 🙂

Cover Art Part I: The Art!

Without much further ado ladies and gentlemen : The Cover!

Book 1 Cover

I’m very pleased with it, and it is way beyond my expectations.  The interview of Tatiana, the artist, whose choice easily won my poll will occur this weekend.  I will probably be able to post that early next week, hence why today’s blog is part 1.

So while I wait for that interview I wanted to go just a little into what I liked about it so much. Originally I wanted to focus on the ship, as it was an iconic part of the book.  However when I got the first rough draft back the island so overtook the ship in terms of visual impression to me that I had her reduce the ships importance drastically.  Not to mention that the floating island showed off some of the uniqueness of the world even more than the ship does.

You will also notice two light sources, and this is due to their being the Sun Above and the Sun Below in this book, which the artist incorporated into the final version of the piece.  The font also is striking, and gives the book a slightly different feel then others, and tied into why I fell in love this with this cover.

Book status updates: both versions of the book, the kindle version and the one with my publisher are being formatted right now.  The process will probably take a little over a week for each, so I doubt I will have much news to give on either version next week, but does mean optimistically I will probably beat my July deadline of getting it published foreseeing anything major.

Before I go onto my poll I wanted to share another tidbit about the world since I have gotten to private emails about wanting to know about the Allmother (hey everyone, you can sue the polls for that too : ) ) and her church in this world.  Basically it has many similarities to the Catholic church during the Renaissance era but there are a few major differences too.  One, they worship a creator who is female and therefore the Priestesses in this church are too.  Most women except the poorest families either become priestesses or marry, so it is one of the few ways women have power in this society.  Another difference is instead of having one written book they have a collection of songs and tales told orally.  There are written versions of these tales but the primary ways they are passed on is through song in the church.  Although there are other differences the last I will bring up here is one of the main ways a woman born into poverty can have any amount of control of her life is if she is adopted as a ward of the church, and then eventually becomes a Priestess at that same church.

Now for the poll:

This is kinda meta, it’s a poll about polls.  I have noticed a drop off in the past few polls, so I wonder if people still want them.  Here are the choices.

1)Yes, polls every post please.  I just like answering polls.

2)Continue polls sometimes, but not every post needs a poll.

3)We don’t really need polls anymore.  They were fun when helping with the process and affecting how the book would turn out, but I would rather only see them if it was that level of impact again.

Also as always, the directions I take this blog depend upon what is said in the comments below!

Airship Pirates and Formatting!

The title refers to the results of the poll last week.  There was definitely less voting last week but more viewers than normal, which is odd.  I will focus on that subject more in a little bit.

In book news, the manuscript completely finished and edited.  It now goes through the joys of formatting, yippee!  The Kindle formatting does not look too cumbersome, and a friend of mine is helping me with that (Hi Rose!) so it might be done before the one that goes to my publisher.  My publisher on the other hand needs the document in a VERY specific format, as once you send it that way, it goes through a computer program and spits out your e book in the various formats that it can publish in.  Due to the same attributes that allows it to publish in so many formats there can be no deviancy from its 96 page style manual, so that one is going to take a little longer to be done!  The good news is there is a certain amount of crossover from what both Kindle and my publisher want so next time I can start off with that format and not have this issue next time as much.

The next good book news is I got the first draft of the cover, and I am seriously impressed!  The artist is working on the second draft (I only had a few minor caveats) now.  It’s a mixed media piece, and does indeed feature a large floating island.

Now to go more into Airship Pirates as per the poll.

This book is vaguely modeled on the Renaissance era when the Medici family was creating all sorts of art and through commerce basically ruling Florence without actually being nobility.  In real life there were few pirates then (more privateers than anything else like Sir Francis Drake who is not horribly out of that time period) and there are other issues that would hurt the historical accuracy of this book.  Thankfully however, this is a fantasy book with floating islands and airships that fly solely due to the magical wood they use, so I am not exactly bound by history.

In the novel when the devastating events that you read in the first chapter happens (if you have not done so already go to the top of the page this blog is on, and click “Sample Chapter” and read it and then come back) some of the survivors hide in the world of air piracy in order not to die like the House Nemeni.  Although some of the floating islands can be large enough to have river commerce occur on the surface of the islands, most actual commerce happens between the various floating city states by airship.  Each noble family in this world has some ways inherited by them to break the Grand Laws of the universe, and one of them allows them to alchemically change wood, so it has different properties than normal.  That’s how the Bleedshot in the opening chapter is created.  The most highly prized wood however is cloudwood.

For whatever reason this wood allows a ship to rise, no matter how much weight is put in it.  You can anchor yourself to an island, but as long as the ship stays on the edges of an island it will remain floating.  If pushed into the center of an island or flying to close over it, it may slowly sink to the ground, but it would not crash.  Since this wood works regardless of weight, the only limit of what ships made of cloudwood can carry is how big the structure is.  This has caused some of the banking and other houses to make giant floating castle like citadels in the sky that have a cloudwood structure inside and a marble structure outside.  This is done mainly for intimidation or security, but does give them a rather large blind spot underneath them.

Some bastards of noble families and some Artists can shape wood or marble with their bare hands, and this allows pirates who have members form those families to “carve” a way into these ships or citadels with their bare hands, if they get close enough.  The most famous Pirate is a “Captain Bloodeyes” who has gained his moniker from forcing blood to mist around his eyes in a mask like form during combat, which inspires about as much fear into your opponents as setting your own beard on fire would.  There is only one Captain Bloodeyes at a time, and it is rumored to be a title passed on as opposed to just one person (otherwise, he has been alive for about 200 or so years, which is doubtful considering the life expectancy of a pirate).  The actual book will go more into how they do it (which includes clockwork grappling guns, creative cannon use, and overall rapier sharp wits) but I wanted to give you a small taste of what they do and what it is like this world.  There are islands known to harbor pirates, and if some of the larger noble families were to ever find out extinction would probably be upon them quickly.

Now onto my next poll:

What would you like me to write about next?  Here are my choices –

a) Ok, you said your artist was awesome, so do something about her.  Give her an interview, show any of her art relating to this series, highlight her work however you can.

b) So I here you are talking to other authors.  Give them an interview, I want to know some of the people you have been talking too, and more about what they do too.

c) Reveal more about the world. There was some votes about the Allmother, go into that more.

d) I am stupid and want to hear you complain about formatting more.

Also I got some email about people impressions about the book who had never read it before, but I would love to see some in the comments to other than those who participated last time.  I am looking at you Dave. 🙂

Chapter 1 is up!

Yup, read the title of this blog, then go click on that new section that says “Sample Chapter” and read Chapter 1 of the book (checked with the publisher, it’s fine ). : ) Now you can comment on here both about the chapter itself, and knowing at least a small fraction of the world.  Like all fantasy chapter ones it has some exposition, but I tried not to make it to impenetrable or pull away from the narrative too much.

Now as for the results of the poll, B was overwhelmingly the winner, and I got some good suggestions both in the comments below, and in private correspondence, so here is the official long form description of the book, followed by the necessarily sparse short form (which had to be 400 characters or less including spaces). The short form is only required by certain publishers, and was quite pain to cut down to its current form.

Now the long form:

In a reality of floating Islands with a Sun Above and a Sun Below, every noble House has its own abilities to break the Grand Laws of the Universe. Cenive is a floating island filled with art, culture and, most of all, commerce. Long ago the Church and most of the other noble Houses banded together to annihilate the domineering House Nemeni who created clockwork marvels that once let their banking empire span all of the floating islands. Now years later the remnants from that house have emerged from their hiding places that span from the Church to a Piratical Airship to enact a well-planned revenge. Unseen forces and traitors cause their plans to careen out of control and quickly, a small remnant finds themselves on the brink of destruction. At the heart of it lies a prophecy of flames and destruction, but is it of extinction, or making way for something new to rise?

And the short form:

In a realm of floating islands, every House has abilities that break the Laws of the Universe.  The Nemeni, the bankers whose clockwork marvels let their empire dominate, was destroyed by its enemies long ago. Now a remnant has emerged to enact revenge but their plans fail with deadly consequences due to a prophecy of fire and upheaval. Is it one of extinction, or a rising from the ashes?

I hope by my next Teusday blog I have more details about he cover art, which has already been started.

Honestly my main revelation and discussion point this blog was the actual chapter itself, but I do have a Poll too.

This time the poll is pretty simple, what do you want to see next here?  Certain blogs will occur when they are relevant (cover, formatting, etc) but I plan on doing blogs in between the milestones, so what do you want to see more of?

Lastly, thank you all for when you share this by face book, twitter, etc, I can see the amount of individual views jump  versus non blog days, and that’s honestly my best chance to market this book without a traditional print publisher.

%d bloggers like this: