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Projects for 2015

books

Yesterday I completed a list of uncommonly spelled words and names for my editor’s use in preparing a stylesheet for the publication of The Wolfcat Chronicles. The list is complete through Book Six, which is as far as I have gotten with he current round of revisions. I figure as I go forward l’ll add anything that appears to the list, though I believe most things are on the list already. There are some new characters for Books Eight through Ten, though. Already the list is eight pages long. It will exceed ten pages before I reach the end of the series.

The first order of business for 2015 is completing the revision on Book Seven, a process I’ve already begun. Sunday is a day off from my nn-wiritng job, so I’ll knock out several chapters. I’m hoping to complete the effort before January 15. I don’t foresee a problem in doing that.

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Beyond Book Seven I expect books Eight and Nine will take until the end of February. I’m allocating March and April for the rewrite I envision for Book Ten. Factoring in the time I’ll need to devote to substantive and content edits on both Books One and Two of the series, if I finish the revisions sooner, all the better. At some point I’ll be going through sub-edits and content edits for Becoming Thuperman as well, as I expect to release three books this year, two of them are part of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Because the entire series will be completely revised by April, I suppose it is possible that more book of the series might appear in print before the end of 2015, provided my publisher has the bandwidth to process them. Depending on how many of The Wolfcat Chronicles books are slated for 2015 release, I might spend most of my time with edits.

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Six new authors were added recently to Pandamoon Publishing’s family. So their books will be in production concurrently as well as follow-up novels from authors who had books released in late 2013 and throughout 2014. Christine Gabriel, Chrissy Lessey and Steph Post have new manuscripts. Jason Beem plans another novel. Emily Belden is working on a new project as well. Alisse Lee-Goldenberg is rumored to have a sequel for her fantasy Sitnalta that is ready to enter the editing process – nothing officially announced on that one yet, but you can expect something soon. So, there could be as many as 24 books released in 2015 from my publisher.

Then there are other projects I need to work on as well, including the sequel to Fried Windows. I need to finish writing that one. There is also a sequel to Becoming Thuperman envisioned, though I haven’t begun writing it. And there are a couple of other novels in progress that I have yet to complete.

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Once I complete the revisions on The Wolfcat Chronicles I plan to begin revising some other manuscripts I haven’t yet published. I’m not sure whether my publisher will produce any of those, but at least I’ll submit them. For 2016 and beyond I may decide to pull my self-published work, revise those for new editions and submit them as well. At some point I want to complete the One Over X thread that covers Andy Hunter, Terry Harper and Lee Anders Johnston who appear in The Wolfcat Chronicles as minor characters. Then there are the Power of X books, which fill in the background for Ela’na and clarifies her connection to Earth and Brent Woods. Additionally I have a number of books about Brent Woods, pretty much from childhood through college and his military service upto entering The Program. I may also revise a new edition of The Attributes, which is sort of a capstone for all the science fiction threads from One Over X, The Wolfcat Chronicles and The Power of X. All told there are forty manuscripts in various stages of completion, with twenty written in draft (at least) and about half of those have been revised and submitted. So, even if I were able to push out five books a year, which is highly optimistic, I am looking at eight years’ work.

Publicity and building a fan based continue to be major background efforts. 2013 and 2014 were years of building from obscurity. There’s still a lot I need to do. Foremost is establishing a worldwide street team prior to the launch of The Wolfcat Chronicles Book 1. My social media presence has increased significantly in the past year, but I’ll need to leverage those contacts in some way. A major problem is that the majority of my friends and followers are fellow authors. Understandably they are working on their own books and promotions. So networking and dovetailing fan bases is the only strategy that will engage them for supporting my work.

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My urgent goal it to find more readers and get the word out about my writing. Fried Windows has not received the attention I think it deserves. Yes, I know I’m biased because I wrote it. But I truly believe int he book. People who have read it believe it is one of the best fantasy novels out there. It has remained relatively obscure with all the noise out there from competing titles. There is no lack of good books in the marketplace, but the problem for readers is finding them from amongst the utter crap, some of which has come from major publishing houses. Quality control is not exclusively a self-publishing issue, though, admittedly, the bulk of published work comes from independents. A lot of work being published every day that is not ready for prime time – if it will ever be.

It is far too easy to self-publish a book in the hubris and euphoria following the moment of relief typing The End on the final page. Many a writer has put work out there that needs considerable amounts of professional editing. In the past I’ve been guilty of that as well. But I have learned.

Despite overtures to the contrary, quality control in self-publishing remains virtually nonexistent. The measures some, like Amazon, have in place are too easily abused. A book troll can complain about a novel’s quality over some bogus issue and the book will be pulled and the author notified that a revision of the issues must be completed before the book can be resubmitted for further review. The problem with all that is that the validity of the reader’s complaint doesn’t seem to enter into the discussion. There have been several instances that best selling self-published books have been yanked due to a reader’s complaint about an alleged grammar problem that is not based in fact. Many indie authors pay a lot of money to have books professional edited using established industry standards by major publishing houses. I wonder if a reader complains about a book from a major house if it would be yanked from the site?

#revisions #writing #TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #Publishing #StreetTeams #FanBase #Publicity #PandamoonPublishing

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About Launching A Book

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What has happened with the recent launch of Fried Windows is fascinating to the publicist side of my nature. It is not entirely unexpected, but some things have been surprising.

Let’s be honest. The initial response to the launch of Fried Window has been, in a word, underwhelming. As much as an author would like to sell hundreds of books on the first day and reach best seller status for a few moments in the spotlight, those things happen because a lot of factors converge at once. It is a false indication of the book’s overall potential for success. A book is a success because of the connect it makes with the public, not because of how many friends and family member buy it on the first day. So it is dangerous to read too much into a launch day spike – or in my case the absence thereof.

The problem is almost never the book. Everyone who has read Fried Windows in advance has loved it. It has a great, attention-getting cover. Although some friends have told me it is startling and a little over the top the book is unusual. I think the graphic captures that.

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The problem Fried Windows is having in the market place is the same as every other book from every one of the millions of obscure authors. It is a new book from what the public perceives as a new author. Readers are attracted to brand-name authors. They invest time as well as money in purchasing a new book to read.

My fan base response to Fried Windows has been lukewarm at best. That’s what is disappointing in that I have worked a lot on building relationships with others over the past few years. But I also understand that launching a new book without a lot of fanfare is like throwing a frozen burger patty into a skillet before it’s heated up. At first nothing happens. Heating things up a bit is all that’s necessary but it takes some time. Sounds simple, except it’s not quite as easy as turning a knob on a stove. As is true of nearly everything worth doing, there is a process involved and procedure to follow. The first step of that is finding out why promotional efforts in advance of the launch failed to produce the desired result – sales.

First of all, selling anything via social media alone – as was the case with this book – is difficult. People are online to be social, not transacting business. They tend to ignore direct pitches, especially since they are inundated with them. So despite FB’s claims that you can promote your page for a few dollars a day and gain all sorts of followers through likes, that in itself is not going to sell a book. Also, in the interest of bolstering their own business model, FB has altered their algorithm so that your messages reach perhaps only 7% of your friends. Unless you buy FB services what you post on your page will not reach all your followers. So out of the thousands of people who might have seen my message about a book launch, only a few actually received the message. Each social medium has its limitations. I’m picking on FB because they are the biggest and have most recently been playing games with their programming that counters whatever users may be doing to promote themselves in a social medium.

Let’s face it, people who will buy a book from a relatively unknown author have more than a passing acquaintance. And the mere fact that someone is a friend does not necessarily mean he or she will buy your book. For the moment, let’s set aside the real goal of an author, which is to have others read the book and sing its praises to others through written and posted reviews or spreading the word to their friends. It is a fan base problem.

Growing the number of fans is an evolutionary process. It cannot be rushed because attention and awareness must be cultivated and reinforced throughout your process, otherwise a fan will forget that he or she ever was a fan. The best connections are personalized through memorable events – like book signings or chatting online. Others may be people you know at your day job. They may purchase a book simply because they know you – even if you are not close friends – but usually co-workers will not buy your book unless they know you well. Why should they?

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Since most of my online friends are other authors, I have never expected a great number of sales from those associations. Why would I? Authors are busy hawking their own wares. Some have bought my book, though. Those tend to be people whose books I have read and reviewed and those with whom I have had repeated contact. Again, it is a matter of turning an acquaintance into an fan. With most authors, it comes down to quid pro quo and professional courtesy. I’ll buy your book if you buy mine. I’ll write a review for you if you’ll write a review for me. Sharing blogs with other authors exposes one author to another’s fan base. So it’s worth having other authors as friends as long as the relationship is cultivated beyond mere acquaintance.

What about all those people you knew in school or wherever else? Counting on the support of people you knew in the past is iffy. It will depend on how well you got along in the past and whether your relationship continued or recently resumed. Even then, simply having contact with someone you know doesn’t mean he or she will buy your book. However, if your book becomes popular and you become famous, that dynamic will change dramatically. People you never knew you knew will suddenly claim to have known you well.

The launch of Fried Windows has exceeded any of my previous work. That’s progress and it’s due to building my fan base. Once the interest in the book increases through other promotional efforts, the momentum will build as well. It may take months and the subsequent launches of my other books in order to stir the desired level of interest in Fried Windows but it will happen. The book is that good. Once someone reads it they understand that it is unique in many ways.