Posts Tagged ‘Apocalypse’

I’ve been having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around how fast things seem to be taking off.

I have been stunned by the response the The Wasteland Chronicles has gotten in the past week. I really don’t want to say numbers right now, but let’s just say I’m getting more downloads a day than I got a month, at least when I first started out. It was all because of setting my first book to be permanently free, which probably increased my sales by a factor of three.

Then, on the twenty first, the BookBub promotion, went out, which kickstarted my first book to visibility. Apocalypse got to, and stayed, in Amazon’s top 100 free for five days straight. It peaked at #7 on the twenty second, and hung in the Top 25 for a while after. On Apple, Apocalypse has been the number one downloaded science fiction (or at least held that spot) every day since the twenty first. It’s tapering off, now, and it’s been so much coming in that I’m starting to wonder whether this is going to last a lot longer that the one month I originally expected it to.

It is absolutely amazing. I haven’t really told anyone about it except my parents and family, because I’m still afraid it’s not real. I never expected this much of a reaction. I will be at work, and then the thought will hit me: I’ve sold over 100 books today. It doesn’t seem real. It seems ridiculous.

And it’s not only people downloading the books, they are leaving good reviews and even reaching out to me to let me know  how much they enjoyed them.

In short, it’s a dream come true. This September has been my craziest, best ever month in writing. But I wouldn’t be here today without all the support I’ve received, from friends, family, and fans. And of course, working hard through the times when I’d go days without a sale.

I’m hard at work on Book 4, and it should still be out on the 1st. Needless to say, a lot more people are waiting on this release than Book 3. The pressure is on, but it’s a good pressure. It makes me want to continue improving. I’ve gotten a lot better since book 1, and I’m trying to keep it that way.

So far, Revelation is 71,000 words, the longest installment so far by a long shot. I’m adding on a few more thousand words, but it’s already been edited through three times by yours truly. The majority of the weekend will be spent editing and getting rid of typos. I will have my dad helping me out with that, and maybe some other people. It’s a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. I plan on hitting publish Monday night, so it’s available in the  morning.

I can hardly wait. Thank you so much to everyone – to everyone who found the book for free, and everyone who took a chance on it back in the day. It means the world to me.

For the first time in a while, I’m going to write a post. I used to do this more often, but I have just been letting general busyness get to me, I guess. I think that is a good thing, overall. With my new job, I have much more time to write, and it’s really showing. I began my new manuscript two Mondays ago (Aug. 5th) and it is already nearing 19,000 words. At this rate, the first draft might even be done by the end of the month – and hopefully from there, will be published anywhere e-books are sold by the end of September (and hopefully, a paperback will be available as well).

So far, I’m very pleased with how things are going. I think I’m reaching a point where all this hard work is starting to pay off. Don’t get me wrong; it was paying off from the very beginning. People are finding my writing, and (generally) enjoying it. I’m finding new readers, slowly. It’s encouraging, especially in that I do very little to promote my work outside of the occasional Goodreads giveaway (to which people enthusiastically respond, just from the sheer premise of the book and the cover art). It’s encouraging to see people going onto the next in the series. It tells me I’m doing at least something right.

I honestly couldn’t be happier (except, maybe, if I became, in the words of Forrest Gump, a “gazillionarie”). To me, it’s always been about the writing. Writing is what I believe I’m best at, and it’s what I have the most fun doing – which is why it’s amazing to see anyone read and enjoy my work. I’ve always known that if I wanted to reach the stars, my best chance of getting there was honing my craft and becoming the best writer I could possibly be. What I write isn’t the most intellectual stuff, but my goal is to write a fast-paced story that is hard to put down, something that hopefully has good characters that readers can grow to love (and hate) over the series. Basically, the kind of stuff I like to read, mostly in science fiction and fantasy realms (though I do read outside of those genres as well).

It’s always a work in progress, and I’m always learning. It takes a while to get where you’re going, especially when where you’re going is always changing. I expect that as I keep writing, my goals will always be shifting. I will always be aiming higher, to craft a better story and to reach more readers. I’d always intended to self publish the Wasteland Chronicles, owing to the novella format. In the end, it was the right decision. Self-publishing allows me to write, edit, and reach my readers faster than any other means.

It’s a lot of fun, and if you had told me a year ago that by this point I’d have three more books published, I’d want to find a time machine. Last year around this time, I was pretty depressed because I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I wasn’t writing (at least, not as much as I am now). I dreamed of getting to a point where I was writing and managing my books on a daily basis. On August 13th last year, I was working a depressing job and struggling to cobble together the first, short draft of what was to be called “The Wasteland Journals.” A couple weeks ago, I found a really old manuscript of that draft and thought it had been written by a retarded fish.

I have come a long way. And the progress I’m making now makes me look forward and dream to where I’ll be a year from now. A year from now, The Wasteland Chronicles will have long been done. I might be working on a second series by that point (perhaps set in the same universe). I might begin work on the epic fantasy series I’ve always wanted to write as a kid. I will likely have eight or nine + books published. By the end of this year alone, I will have at least two more published, and hopefully, with the time my new job affords, maybe even more.

I feel like nothing can stop me, for the first time in my life. I’m not my own worst enemy anymore. I’m finally doing what I want to do, and it feels great.

Well, I have not posted in a while, so here it is. A post.

Writing wise, I’m starting book 3, Extinction, and so far I’m really liking it. Just the way the book is set up, I can jump into the action immediately. I’m about 4,000 words in, and if the stars align, I’ll be setting pretty at 10,000 by the end of Sunday. I’m hoping to get into a good flow.

I’m pretty excited about this one. It’s going to be long, I can feel it. The characters have a lot of things to do, and they are not easy things. I would not be surprised at all if this one clocks in at 70,000 words or more.

This book will be very different from either Apocalypse or Origins. One, there will not be as many monsters. Or at least, I don’t think there will be. Actually…yes. There will be monsters, because monsters are cool. Scratch the entire beginning of this paragraph.

In this one, all the world building that’s been alluded to in previous books will come out in full force. The characters will be traveling to all the places mentioned, like the Empire, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. I’m very excited to explore not just these areas, but also the people that inhabit them. From Book 1 to Book 2, the world of the Wasteland expanded. Book 3 will be the same, and in fact the characters will spend the majority of their time outside the Wasteland. The pace will be a bit slower. Slower might not be the right word. Maybe thicker? I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.

Kind of like Book 2, Book 3 will very much be a Point A to Point B to Point C quest-type of book. Quest books are fun (think Lord of the Rings), but they can suffer predictability, because you know exactly where the characters will end up on the different legs of their journey. Hopefully I can find some way to mix it up…and just now writing this, it’s jogged my brain into thinking of the solution that creates more problems. Problems=good, as far as storytelling goes.

There will still be plenty of action – that’s sort of what Books 1 and 2 are about. But I’m not going to allow myself to rush too much. I think Book 3 is where The Wasteland Chronicles will finally find its heart, somehow. I’m not outlining anything, but am just going along with what’s in my head currently, hoping that I can surprise myself along the way.

In fact, outside of what I’ve written down just now, I don’t know much about Book 3. I have a feeling it could be the best one yet, and it is possible the scope of it might force a splitting into two books. Hopefully, I don’t have to do that, as it would mean my five book series would now be a six books series. But there’s something about the number six that does seem right for how long a series is…and that would give me a chance to use my alternate title for Book 4, and in that case Book 5 would take Book 4’s current title. Sorry if that was confusing.

Actually maybe I should do six books now…or not? I don’t know. We’ll see how long this one is, and if there is a logical place to split up the two. Definitely if it creeps up to 80,000 words, I’ll want to split it in half, which means the next time I release a book, I would probably be releasing two at the same time.

Actually, now that I mention that, I really, really like that idea. Hopefully it works out, or maybe that’s just the coffee talking.

I know for sure that I will not be releasing a 90,000 word novel. I want to keep each installment short, between 40 to 60 thousand words, because I like the episodic nature of the books. I think novellas work really well on Kindle.

Now that I’ve finished the fourth draft of Origins, I am somewhat twiddling my thumbs. The break is good and well-earned, but I find myself wondering about my next thing. There’s a fantasy novella I halfway wrote about a year ago that I’d like to revisit. Some ideas have been developing in my head on that front. It would be a good break from the Wasteland, as writing Origins was more work than I expected. In the end, I think that was a good thing. It taught me to not underestimate the amount of work necessary to do a good job…or at least what I hope is a good job.

One of my beta readers has already read it. She got back to me within two days and let me know she really liked it and it was better than the first. This is really encouraging because I had no idea whether it was good or bad. Her feedback is having me rethink one of the characters and I already have some ideas churning in my head that I’ll need to sleep on. It would maybe add 5,000 words to the story and a reworking of the ending. Not that the current ending is bad, per se, but this would make it much better. Whenever there’s a trilogy, or in my case a four book series, there needs to be a dark moment where all seems lost. I’ve thought of a way to raise the stakes way higher than I had them before in terms of the characters and their relationships. Only thing is, I don’t know if I can pull it off, yet.  It could be the case that I write that scene in my next book, but I think it could work here as well.

I don’t know, my thoughts are kind of skewed on it, so we’ll see.

In the meantime I’ll be thinking of what to do next. Eventually I’d like to do a map and a glossary, and possibly appendices, that would go more in depth into the world of the Wasteland, its critters, and the science of how it all works. Not real science, this is fiction after all, but I’d like there to be more of a basis for how it all works. I’d have to sci-ency research stuff so I don’t sound like a complete imbecile, but I’m fine by that. This extra stuff would be about twenty thousand words or so, maybe longer.

I’ve also been thinking about doing a prequel to Apocalypse. I have title called Darkness in my mind, and it would follow the story of Alex’s grandfather and father during the Dark Decade, ending with them being holed up in Bunker 108.

I think a prequel could be very cool. It would add a lot of depth to a time period only alluded to in the series: what would it be like for the whole world to watch its demise approach in the form of a meteor over ten years? If nothing else, it would make interesting speculative fiction. A prequel would give me the opportunity to explore that.

I don’t know if I would write that one next, or after all is said and done. It would make the series five books total, and probably 200,000 words (or more). Appendices included, more than that.

I think adding a bestiary (nerd alert!) for all the different kind of monsters found in the Wasteland would be really cool. And there a lot of critters, and more are being added as I think of them. Apocalypse contained some infected wolves and ,of course infected, people, not counting plants, but the virus does some pretty crazy things to Earth life in book 2.

I think having all that done by the end of this year would be very, very cool. And granted I do get it all done, I will be a much better writer at the end of it. I can go on to something else that’s even better than this. Hopefully.

The perfect end to this year would be to have all (prospectively) five books in one volume, available in both e-format and physical format, with maps, appendices, and a glossary, as well as having them available as separate titles, with some slick formatting, a table of contents., and NO typos…typos shall always and forevermore be my bane, Achilles tendon, and kryptonite, pick your cliche. However, the prospect of doing all that is exciting. I’d like to hold a book thicker than War & Peace in my hand and say, “Yeah. This book thing. I wrote it. BAZINGA!”

Although, War & Peace is about 550k words, or so I hear, so it would still be twice as long as anything I wrote. It’s the principle that matters, folks!

And, there is always my romance novel I want to write. I have more ideas than I know what to do with. I guess an overabundance of ideas is a good thing for a writerly fellow like me.

I know people are curious, and it seems when I post these crazy numbers on Facebook, it might seem like I’m taking off.

I don’t believe I’m going to “take off,” although I do believe if I keep at it, keep writing quality books, and keep promoting, I’ll experience a gradual climb as a result of hard work.

That’s what I’ve done. I’ve worked really hard on my writing in the past couple months. I’m starting to see the first results now, and I’m starting to re-preoritize finishing new projects rather than promoting the ones I already have.

So that leads to the question – am I really a gazillionaire? No. I work in a warehouse, so I definitely don’t think I’m a gazillionaire. Although I’m making more than I did before, I still have yet to see my first royalty payment. That comes at the end of February (for the month of December…a writer is always paid, but always late), and I won’t see any royalty for January until the end of March…and by that time, Origins will be out, and hopefully my fantasy novella will as well.

So this month, without counting the free promotion I did, I had 119 downloads on Apocalypse.

My thoughts: that’s over twice as many as I had last month. At this time two weeks ago, I had less than thirty sales in January and three reviews (Now, there’s eight reviews and hopefully more are coming). That’s pretty cool. What’s cool about some of these reviews is that I believe  they are from people I don’t know, and they are generally rating the book 4-5 stars. Which is awesome.

How much money is that, exactly? Probably about $236, minus taxes. Nothing to sneeze at, but I’m not quitting my job any time soon. If I had several other books, maybe. Despite what you see in the news, runaway bestsellers (one-hit-wonders, if you will) are actually pretty rare. That’s why they make the news, because they are the exceptions.

I’m telling myself not to check my sales page as often as I do, but I keep coming back to it. I need to at least have a few more books out there. In fact, I should be writing now instead of writing here.

But still, I’ve never had that many downloads in a month. Ever. It’s really cool and I hope it lasts.

The reason is clearly because of the two day free promo. Maybe they don’t work for everyone, but it seemed to work for me. It’s almost two weeks later and I’m still seeing a boost. All I know is I’ve had 80ish downloads in the past two weeks.

Currently, I’m holding off the promotion (though when the paperback copy is ready to go for Apocalypse, I plan on doing giveaways on Goodreads). Right now, I have to finish my sequel, Origins, my fantasy, and my romance. Yes, I said romance. I don’t know if I’ll actually finish that one, but we’ll see. It’s been interesting to write, and something out of my normal purview.

It came five days earlier than I expected. For the most part I am very pleased with it.

I don’t know what it is about print, but it is so much easier to find typos. I’ve read this book I’ve read at least a dozen times or more and it still has typos. This has given me a lot more respect for copy editors as well as the humility to outsource that task in the future. I’m definitely not good at the tiny details.

It is very cool to hold my book in my hands. I can’t wait until the corrections are made and I can start promoting it some more.

20130131-201320.jpg

20130131-201333.jpgBy the way on the second picture it looks like my Radiohead poster is part of the book. It is an illusion! Pictures aren’t the greatest, I know, but I’m too lazy to retake them.

Also, reading a physical copy makes me realize that the book does start out a little slow. But something happens around page fifty that made even me, someone who’s read this story countless times, want to read on. This was from entering the “first door’. I might blog about “the first door” later.

A couple nights ago, on a whim, I decided to use two my five free days to give away Apocalypse, curious to see how many copies would be downloaded without any other form of promotion.

The result is, more people have my writing in their hands from two days than over my entire life. It’s kind of weird.

As of 7:53 p.m., here’s the current breakdown:

United States: 2059

United Kingdom: 110

Germany: 21

Spain: 2

Italy: 4

Japan: 5

Total: 2201

What’s crazy is there are a bunch of blogs where you can upload your book, and they’ll feature it for thousands of people on your free days. I did not use any of these blogs (though I did for Night of the Necromancer, which is due to go free next weekend), so if I had used them, the total downloads might have been a lot higher.  I may have even broken the top 100.

Still, this number is far more than I was expecting. This morning, I was ranked #1 in Science Fiction Adventure, #2 in Science Fiction, and something like #80 in all genre fiction. I just barely missed being in the top 100 of all Kindle books, coming in at #131 at my highest point. Here are the pics:

ImageExhibit A: Yes, that is my book next to a man who goes by the name George R.R. It’s probably the only time my name will appear next to his, ever. 😛

ImageExhibit B: This next one is me at #80 on the Genre Fiction list. The funniest part about this list is I was pretty much the only book that was not romance/erotica…lol.

I was holding my breath to make the Kindle Top 100 Free, but it didn’t end up happening. Perhaps some day, and I feel like I could have made it if I had let blogs know a few weeks in advance I was going free. But, like I said, I did this on a whim out of curiosity. What I learned is, when you have a popular genre, a great cover, and a short and to the point blurb, as well as a well-formatted and intriguing sample, your book is very likely to be downloaded if it goes free. I’m sure lots of reviews and likes help as well, but my book is new and has had any exposure yet (I guess until now). Or, it could have just been luck. There were thousands upon thousands of books that were free at the same time as mine, yet somehow mine climbed its way close to the top of the heap.

All in all, not a bad run. It felt pretty good to get so high on those lists, and to refresh my page every second to see all the downloads. The only thing is, I don’t know how many will actually read the book, because I’m sure a lot of people are just like “FREE!” and they get it, and never read it. I know I have about 5 free books queued up myself, that I keep telling myself I’ll read someday.

Also, if everyone had actually bought those books, I would have made about $4,500. Really, this wasn’t money “lost” per se, because none of these people likely would have downloaded my book anyway, much less have seen it.

All the same, it’s really cool. I have no idea if any of this means anything, so we’ll see if I get a little bump tomorrow from sales or the coming week. The biggest thing I can hope for is that people read the book and like it. Ultimately, I think if you have an entertaining yarn, people will like it, look out for your next thing, or tell others about it. I’m also hoping for some positive reviews, but I recognize there are some things wrong with the book..like the ending being too much of a cliffhanger without enough resolution…but I think ultimately it’s probably the best piece of fiction I’ve written. And I will get better, and am already bursting with ideas for book 2 (but first I want to finish the first book in my new series, Dark Prophecies…hoping to have that one online in mid-Feb at the latest).

If anything, five people in Japan have my book now. Whether they read it or not, that’s a cool feeling.

Also: to everyone who downloaded my book, THANK YOU! I hope you read it and enjoy it. You should also leave a review on Amazon (preferably glowing, but honest works too!).

Double also: As of this edit, the book is still live for another 2 hours and 38 minutes, CST…so go download it!