Monday, September 16, 2019

Ready for a New Week

This weekend I finished up editing the beta version of two Halloween stories. The first is “Dead and in Working Order” which features mummies. The second is “Masonic Werewolves” which might need a bit more tweaking. I am hoping to have the final tweaks on this story completed in the next few days. I also just sent out the mailing list email for the month, so that will hopefully work well. The only thing I haven’t had much luck on lately is writing my main novel, but that will hopefully change this week. I am hoping to knock out three chapters of the main novel this week.

The only other downside is that my audio book bundle of Vampire Caving 1 – 3 hit a snag that I thought might happen. Apparently for every bundle you need a unique intro/conclusion. Hopefully I can get that fixed up and ran through extremely quickly. I’ll email ACX once that’s in to see if I can get any kind of rush on that. The hope is to give out Audio Codes on that September 24th. Normally it takes two weeks to go through audio review, so that’s an extremely tight timeline.

Another interesting recent change is that I’ve been using my Evernote to capture more and more random writing advice tid-bits. The hope is to build up a big reserve, then sort it into a style where it will be easily accessible. I also want to start “book reviews” in my Evernote that list what I liked/disliked about various books. The hope is to emulate the good stuff and edit out any of the bad stuff in my writing. With luck, my writing will get better and better, or at least more even. Onto a brand new week, with Halloween around the corner!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Tired but Accomplished

It has been a ridiculously busy week for writing. I’ve had to work towards preparing multiple stories for Halloween. I’ve now completed them and need to continue the process of cultivating them through the various stages. With any luck, I’ll have a Halloween Bundle #2 ready for 2019’s Halloween. I also put together a bundle of Vampire Caving 1-3, so that I can start sending that out. I’ll know if that works through the systems over the next couple of weeks. My hope is that I get that completed before the month is through.

Ultimately, I have a massive amount of work I am trying to figure out, but in a way, it’s worth it. By using these systems I’ve discovered, I can have my work pay for itself. That means that by the time I am full done with each story, I have a new well-rounded product on Amazon. These stories have been edited, decent covers, and some reviews. They have multiple ways to consume the stories (digital and audio) so that they gain the most readers possible.

I think that this is amazing and exciting! I’ve found a path that allows me to build stories without the massive out-of-pocket expense that many authors face. I get to choose what makes me happy to write, so that if I want a trio of Halloween stories, I can do that. If I want to build more in a particular universe, I can do that. If I want to try out longer books, I can do that. Any subject I choose, any length I choose, I can get them out into the world. I am feeling tired, but happy in what I’ve produced over the last few weeks.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Feeling Accomplished and With Direction

Time is tricky, because it can feel so abrupt and life can feel so large compared to what time we have. I think with this writing thing, I am having success because I am ignoring how hard it can be. If I stopped and thought about all the work I’ve poured in, and all the work I have left to do, I would be paralyzed. In this moment, however, I’ve just accomplished a good chunk. 

  • I have another small story done and thoughts for yet another story. 
  • I’ve built a release schedule based on promotions I have planned out. 
  • I have the promotions planned out, to pay for the production costs. 
  • Finally, I can see the trajectory of my current marketing and how well it is working.

I am feeling accomplished because I have the direction I need for the next year+. There is a lot to accomplish, and I am excited about building those accomplishments. With any luck, this writing thing will continue to grow, and I’ll grow alongside it. In time, I would like to split the royalties that are made with this effort three different ways: producing more books, retirement funds, and some fun money. It would be nice if this effort could grow and grow, until it got to be something sizable and amazing. However, looking back at where I am at now, it feels sizable. I got a lot of amazing stuff and I am looking forward to building even more stuff.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Organizing Notes Using Evernote

I am trying to get back in the habit of writing daily. I think the first source of that needs to be with having and organizing inspiration. I’ve worked hard on discovering what I can do to organize that inspiration. I dug through connections between Google Docs and Google Keep (notes) to try to divine a workable system. After becoming frustrated with that, I stumbled upon an article ( ) on how to organize for a novel using Evernote.

I downloaded the app on my phone and tried out a number of features. While there is still some improvements that need to be made, this should suffice for the moment.
Some of my favorite features include grabbing snippets of web pages and sorting them into specific folders. I also like the style of being able to see multiple notes at one time. That way if you have several photos of something, along with some description, you will see those at the same time. What I would like improved is a method to place a picture embedded within a text note and I would love if I could link a Kindle book area. I have a lot of eBooks as references, and it would be great to have a quick link to those references. At the moment, I am stuck either typing those references out or making a screenshot. Both of those can take a lot of extra time to complete.

My hope is to slowly build this collection of writing components so that a methodology is shown. The idea is that I can regularly cultivate inspiration the way that others would grow vegetables. I think that when you are emerged in a story that it becomes more fun to write. You can’t wait for the next thing to happen, so you get excited about writing it. That’s the focus that I am trying to head for with this writing craft. I don’t know if I’ll be successful, but I hope I will be. I do enjoy writing and I want to continue to make it fun to write.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Balance Among Writer Tasks

Writing every day is extremely difficult because there are so many things to try and work through. As an author, you need to build the marketing along with the product. That can be great to build a wonderful synergy, but it can also lead to inhibitions on production. That’s because you need to almost do both at the same time. Writing every day and working with readers to get that writing in their hands. I am not sure how to build that balance. It would be easy to build that balance if the tasks were all set in stone. However, often times the tasks are from a regular consistency.

For example, I need to work through several edits of a story, respond to review copies requested, try to work with Audible customer service, and yet… write for several hours. I can’t produce all that. I can do a little of each, but not all of it. So the best I can resolve is to prioritize and build out the parts that need to be done. The first and foremost is to cater to the review copies, then followed by figuring out support. Once that’s done, it was working on grammar for a potential story and then trying to produce this. Again, it’s a balance, and I can’t be angry with myself for striking that balance. I produce a lot, and sometimes I just need to accept and enjoy all that I create. Hopefully I will continue to build at this wonderful level and I can make more and more connections. Only the future will determine that though.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Trying to Build a UK Mailing List

I am finishing up a book called Newsletter Ninja that talks about some of the basics behind setting up an author mailing list. Overall, I think about 80% - 90% was already understood, but it did give out a few pieces I hadn’t known. However, I am now trying to decipher another potential gain, but I don’t quite know where to go. I’ve asked the Sub Reddit group I am in about it, with not much luck so far.  The focus I am aiming for is to build a new mailing list focused around UK readers.

There are three main reasons on why to focus on this market. First off, any books I produce can be read without much (or any) modification. The second reason is that this market is smaller and may have less competition than the main USA market. The final reason is that Audible has a UK site with unique codes. I get a lot of these review codes for the UK market and I’ve never been able to really give them away. I’ve given maybe a dozen away total, over all my books. I think if I can build a UK audience, it would really help boost things.

So far the advice on the Sub Reddit I’ve joined is basically a shrug. The sources I find potential readers is worldwide, so if UK readers join, then great. However, the majority of this source of readers is still the USA. I am going to dig into some online resources to see if I can’t find a way to build out this portion of my mailing list. If I can, it would be a huge gain I my growing author career / habit. I may also start to tag any email addresses that end in “.uk” or perhaps tag any country specific emails that are from the United Kingdom.

I would love to have three lists total: My Main USA list, My Main UK List, and my experimental list. The experimental list is more for group promotions, trying out new techniques, and trying to offer value back to other authors. The main lists I want to be groomed and well-maintained, where the experimental list should be focused on figuring out random feedback and group promotions.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Role of a Writer

"The Muse Rewards Action"

Lately I’ve been thinking of the role of the artist. What is their specific purpose? I am concentrating on a particular concept. A line I recently found is ‘the muse rewards action’. That resonates with me, because it is almost like an artist’s role is to be active in that rewarding action. An artist’s goal is to take the action, get the inspiration, and form that inspiration into a product. The world then consumes that product for a number of reasons. Perhaps for escapism or perhaps to show a vital truth that wasn’t uncovered until recently.

The next question then becomes, what kind of product does the artist want to build, which is much easier. I want to build something elegant and approachable. Something that is almost a common extravagance. I want to build something like a cup of Starbucks coffee. It’s more costly than coffee at home, but is done in a way that is more delicious than what I could brew. In addition, it still has a low enough cost that it can be afforded on a regular-ish basis. When I have a cup, I feel a bit fancier than if I were to drink from a mug I brought from home.

So the question becomes, what does it take to build that elegance? The answer to that is: pre-work. Research and study ahead of time. Using methods to help elevate what would normally be done. The thoughts I am trying to sort is what pre-work methods can be done that would be most effective? What modes of inspiration help start the cycle the best?

I’ve started with using music and images to help with inspiration. I’ve tried out using books to help me learn more about the craft. Hopefully, I can build that common luxury item that people enjoy. A splurge to make their lives a bit better and help them escape things. I still need a better system, and I hope to get to that end. For now, it’s a matter of trial and working things out, bit by bit.

My current thoughts are to use some kind of system between Google Docs and Google Keep. These can be connected together, are accessible from anywhere, and are backed up in the cloud. However, I haven’t yet thought of how to weave these together. Perhaps I need to look at the strengths of each and play to that end. I could build “bonus keep notes” in the main documents and these would be temporary storage to hold onto concepts I am looking into. However, they would only be used in a temporary capacity, with any more concrete capacity being Google Docs? I am not sure how this will look now, but I feel like I need to build some kind of system to capture all the various components I am gathering. Perhaps the best way to do this is to look at how I would consume the random bits and then play towards that? Again, I am not sure of the proper system here.

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