Posts Tagged ‘kindle’

The cover is here! I struggled with a title and a story for a while, but it’s just now starting to materialize. And DIS COVER…


It communicates the entire book perfectly. Now hopefully I can finish a story that can do it justice.

I have the next ten days free from work (yay vacation!). But now I will be doing another kind of work – working like a madman to finish my book and hopefully go through a round or two of edits before December gets started.

Wish me luck!


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.

Just finished the first round of edits for Evolution. After the first draft, the book felt weaker than Book 2, but stronger than Book 1. Now, I think it has a chance of being the best of all.

The book had been expanded from 48,000 words to 55,000 words…making it the longest installment of The Wasteland Chronicles to date. The end had a huge makeover – there was more tying up, and more setting the the new stage of the adventure that will be Book 4. All in all, the plot was a bit more complicated than the other two books, which might be why it’s better.

I think I was able to experiment by adding several subplots that also enhanced the main plot. The first two books were pretty straightforward, road trip-like adventures. By the end of the book, though, everything starts to come full circle, and what felt disjointed at first now connects with the first two books, bringing it back to what makes the heart of the series.

The xenovirus continues to evolve and do crazy things, outpacing the abilities of the characters themselves (hence the name Evolution – and also, on another level, the characters and their relationships to each other also evolve). At the end of the book, the xenovirus takes something from them they hadn’t counted on losing, and the books ends on a cliffhanger that I feel readers will love to hate me for.

I plan on one more round of edits, though I feel the first 80 percent of the book will remain little changed. The ending will probably have to be tweaked a bit, but I’m fine with doing that. After that round of edits, which I will hopefully have done soon (at the earliest, next weekend), I can start all the publication steps…copyeditor, beta readers, and then publication.

I wish I had more time to work on it. If I could just have one week of time, then I could have it out by this weekend. At the latest, it will be out in August…but hopefully, I can have it out much sooner than that.

I haven’t had much in the way of news lately, as I’ve been busy writing and working. But now, I’ve just finished my third book in The Wasteland Chronicles. This one is titled Evolution.

Some fun facts about writing this book:

1. This book wasn’t supposed to exist to begin with. Now, it kind of does.

2. Originally, the Wasteland Chronicles was only supposed to be a series of four novellas that could all be considered to be a large novel. Now, it’s going to be a series of seven novellas that can be seen as an absolutely colossal novel.

3. I originally tried to plan this whole thing out from the beginning using a super detailed outline. I got word 30,000 of said outline, only to scrap ten thousand words of it and throw my outline out the window. I guess I truly learned what type of writer I am. I am a pantser all the way!

4. From beginning to end, Evolution took the least amount of time to write. It might mean I’m getting better at this, I’m not sure. I’m certainly learning that I can write a lot faster than I used to.

5. The word count of the first draft is almost, almost, 50,000 words. I was actually expecting it to be much higher than that, and it will probably come out to be more in the end, especially if I decided to add any scenes.

6. As it stands now, the entire word count for the series is about 142,000 words. The series is about halfway done.

Hopefully, I can get this bad boy edited, smack it on the bottom, and publish it as soon as possible. It would be amazing if I could have the whole series done before the year is out. I think I can manage it, but I’ll have to write like a madman to finish three books in the intervening time.

My next project will probably be a prequel, entitled Darkness, and then it’s on to the last two books of the series, Extinction and Xenofall.

Finishing the first draft of a book is always a good feeling! Now to celebrate with…something, perhaps.

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.

If I were to tell my full story of life and writing, it would be many thousands of words. If I were to write this fifty years from now, it might be a hefty book (or two).

Now, I just want to concentrate on my thoughts of my writing and my life in the past few years.

For as long as I remember, I’d always been fascinated with reading. When other kids were out getting into shenanigans, I was in my bed reading J.K. Rowling, Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov, or whatever author I was into at the time. I would read whenever I got the chance, between classes, on car rides, wherever. By the first grade, I was a book junkie, and by high school, my addiction had manifested into the desire to become a real life writer.

Now, at the ripe age of 25, I’ve written five books, two of which are self-published (and a third that will be within a week). If I had started realizing my potential earlier, maybe I would have written much more.

In the past four months alone I’ve started taking this writing thing a lot more seriously. I’ve done more for myself and my writing than at any other point in my life. I was stuck in a rut, writing-wise, for a long time. I feel like there were a lot of years where I wrote hardly at all, and if I did, the book was never finished because I didn’t know what else to do with it.

In 2010, I finished my first real book, with my friend Jelani Sims. It took two years of outlining and writing to finish it, but it got finished. Looking back, it could have, and should have, been done a lot quicker.

We had no idea what we were doing. We just worked on it, taking our best guesses on what should be done. We stopped outright at several points, only to start writing on it again somewhere else down the line.

Then, I learned the job wasn’t over when the book was finished. I learned about the joys of editing, copy editing, formatting, and marketing.

Well, we really did not learn that (at first). We published Night of the Necromancer in early 2011. It was exciting at first. There was a lot of fanfare, and it got some press. I think even to this day the book sits somewhere in OU Gaylord’s illustrious halls (perhaps in the professional writing alcoves)?

But after the first string of sales, everything just…died. It became clear, a few months in, that it was only our friends and family that bought it. No one else was interested, and I had no idea why. The book was great…wasn’t it?

Yeah, the story was good. That’s what a few random reviewers said. But why wasn’t anyone buying it?

I’d read some articles about some authors who found a lot of success by lowering their book prices to $.99 in order to get exposure, so I thought that might be what the problem was. So, we lowered the price from $3.99 to $.99. We got a few more sales, but by the time all was said and done, the royalties about broke even.

Then, I just got depressed about it, because I truly believed that was all there was to it. You write something, it either works out or it doesn’t. I think that depression created a block from me ever writing. I would write, but the projects wouldn’t get finished. I vowed that my next book would see an agent next time.

I attempted a fantasy novel a few times, always getting slammed to a halt about 50,000 words in (always when they got to that dreaded oracle scene). I may have attempted a few other things, I’m not sure. I was also working a job that was just downright depressing and boring, which certainly did not help.

I think the overall feeling was one of powerlessness. I tried to make something work, and it didn’t.

I didn’t know anything back then. I didn’t know what I had done wrong, but now I know exactly what I did wrong. And I’m learning what I’m doing wrong all the time. I’m still doing a lot wrong, but the most important lesson is learned: I have a sense of power, and I recognize that even if I make mistakes, I can correct them or at least do better next time. And as I keep on doing that, my writing will get better, and the way I get my writing out there will be better.

What I did wrong:

1. I had bad quality. My problem was not pricing, as I had previously thought. After all, who backs down from paying $3.99 for a book they want to buy? Hardly anyone. Actually, $3.99 is very cheap for a book, even an e-book. That’s just a little over the price for a gallon of gas. The problem was one of quality. Not quality of story, but the actual text of the story. The formatting was horrible and not user-friendly. There were typos galore. The cover art was good, but even good cover art can’t make up for typos. This is just a fact. There are hundreds of other choices within the same genre that a reader can go to. Yours has to stand out above the rest, and be professional, or you will not be taken seriously. Recently, a reviewer pointed out my grammar and typos, giving me one star. At first, I felt upset and angry. Then, I realized that it was my fault. Maybe I couldn’t fix my characters without a complete rewrite, which is something else this reviewer pointed out, but I could at least hire a copy editor to fix the typos. I did. And the book is better for it.

2. I did not stay updated with the industry. I did not read blogs, articles, or forums where other writers gathered to talk about writing and the promotion thereof. I wished every day, when I was not writing, that I had a great community of writers to learn from. For some reason, it never occurred to me to go searching for one online. I think as I read the Kindle forums, KBoards, and blog posts of other self-publishing authors, I started to learn what I was doing wrong. If I had done this earlier, I could have taken advantage of many opportunities to advance my career, opportunities I will never have again. Then again, I’m glad I am wise enough to keep updated with self-publishing related things, because now I am more conscientious of what I need to be doing to be successful at it.

3. I did not promote. You can write the greatest book in the world, but no one will read it unless they find it. And readers can’t find it unless there is someone to tell them about it, in some form or other, whether it’s the author his or herself, or a friend. I have done almost zero promotion for the past month, and it shows. If I had promoted a bit more, solicited more blogs, done more giveaways, or found new avenues for promotion, my sales would not be so slow.

4. I did not read enough. Reading inspires you to write. When you read great books, it makes you say, “Hey, I want to write!” It really is like magic. I find my writing flow is so much better when I’m reading constantly.

5. I did not write enough. It’s really hard to talk about all the steps, and how they work together, but this one is a biggie. I had major lack of motivation. I think it stemmed from the lack of success and discouragement of Night of the Necromancer (which came from a skewed perspective of what “success” was). Success is the journey, not the end. Truer words have never been spoken, because the journey never ends. Success is getting better, being better than you were yesterday, and not giving on something that truly matters to you. Give up on everything else, but don’t give up on something that matters to you – and only you can be sure of what that is. I’ve never doubted, for a moment, that writing was what I wanted to do. I have the talent, I have the drive…why not go for it? Why waste my short life doing things that don’t matter, in the end?  I sort of lost focus on a lot of things post-college, and it took a while to find my feet. It’s important that in whatever field you choose, that you make it your passion and learn all you can about it, and correspond with others in it.

It’s also important to recognize the brevity of life and to do what you want with your life, while you still have it. That realization was very big for me. I have other goals in life, too, but writing books is the main one for now.

I think it’s amazing that anyone can publish a book using Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Sony, etc.. I think it’s amazing that someone on the other side of the world can buy one of my books. I think it’s amazing that someone on the other side of the world can buy one of my books and completely trash it.

I know that I have been downloaded in the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Japan, among other places, I’m sure. The few giveaways of done where thousands of copies of my books were downloaded were mind-blowing. The almost two thousand people that requested copies of The Wasteland Chronicles on the Goodreads giveaways section was also mind-blowing. I’ve had real life successes that give me fire to go on, which was something I was lacking before. So far, I’ve sold hundreds of copies of my books. I don’t think I’ve hit the thousand mark overall, but I’m closer to a thousand now than zero. Not enough to live on, but enough to keep trying and to keep pushing. I feel like by the end of this year, things will be moving a lot faster. Even if they’re not, I’m going to keep writing. Because that’s what writers do. And that’s what I’ve learned to do.

Maybe self-publishing isn’t the right path for everyone, but it is the right path for me, at least at this moment. As long as you’re self-motivated enough, and you have the talent and the drive, you have a shot at succeeding at writing. Not a guarantee, but a shot. That’s what I want: to succeed at a job that I’ve always wanted to do, which is to tell stories that entertain, and hopefully, when I get better at it, make people laugh, cry, and think.

Since college, I’ve never truly wanted any other job, other than to write full time. I always just assumed it would happen, that a muse would drop out of the ether and God would somehow write through my pen. Don’t worry, I’ve come down to Earth a bit since then. I’m trying my hardest to succeed, and I am getting better at this. I’m not there yet, I haven’t really found my voice yet, but I will.

Hopefully, I can tell more of my story at some future date. Right now, the main goal I have is getting Origins online. I’ve incorporated my copy editor’s fixes and all things are go as soon as I give both books 1 and 2 a back to back read. That should happen on Saturday, at the latest.

After that? Time to write Book 3, Extinction. And hopefully update the paperback of Book 1 to get rid of the typos. And promotion. Always, always, promotion.

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.