Learning the ins and outs of going with wide distribution in self-publishing has been quite an experience. I by no means consider myself an expert on it now, but I have a better idea what to expect with the next book.
Blood Curse is the second book I’ve self-published. It is the first I’ve gone wide with, however. When I published The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: the Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe season 1, I went exclusively with KDP. I’m debating whether to stick with that for the Pigg&Woolfe series or to take it wide, as well. I probably will stick with KDP for that one, since it is an episodic serial. (Look for season 2 to start in either January or February. I am drafting season 4 currently.)
I believe I will settle on a 6 month schedule for re-release of the first 7 books in the Waves of Darkness series. Look for Demon Bayou to come out around May 3rd, 2021. I’ve already done the first round of revisions on it.
Audio book editions will be announced when I have a better idea of how I will fund the production and which service I decide to go with.
I also will be putting up a TeeSpring store in the next few weeks. Once it’s up and running, I will put a permanent link in the menu bar of this site.
I will be creating content for my dormant YouTube channel and reviving it, as well.
First, I’d like to say thank you to my fellow authors on some of the writing groups we share on Facebook. They’ve been extremely helpful in my navigation of Ingram Spark’s submission guidelines. I highly recommend authors, whether new or veteran, to join such groups. They are especially beneficial to those of us whose schedules don’t mesh with in-person writing groups’ meeting schedules.
Meanwhile, I finally got started on the formatting of Blood Curse 2nd edition this weekend. I’m having to go back through and redo the italics because copying the text to the correct trim size undid all that work. Next up will be changing the font from Word’s default of Calibri. I’ve also installed Treasure Map Dead Hand as my font for titles and headers.
I know all this is tedious, but I’m enjoying the process. This will also help make producing the rest of the books in the series easier.
Meanwhile, I should finish typing up the final episode of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe season 3 this week. I will start plotting season 4 once that’s done. I plan to start publishing season 2 early next year. Somewhere in between now and then, I need to do some promoting on that serial.
That’s it for now. Enjoy your short work week, and I hope you had a good Labor Day weekend.
I finished final revisions on Blood Curse 2nd edition this past weekend. Next weekend (or sooner, depending on available computer time) I will work on formatting. I have to make sure the ebook version conforms to Smashwords guidelines, since I plan on going wide on distribution. I’ll probably still upload directly to KDP, and I’ll have to upload directly to Google Play. While Amazon will accept submissions from aggregators such as Smashwords, ebooks will go live quicker when uploaded directly. Google does NOT accept submissions from aggregators.
I also need to find out what book trim sizes Ingram Spark allows for paperbacks and what cover finishes they offer. I’d like to go with something smaller than the 6″ x 9″ trade paperback size, and a matte finish. Matte will photograph better than gloss and won’t peel with heavy handling. Ran into the peeling issue with my author’s galley of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: the Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe, season 1 with Amazon/KDP. I was carrying it in a book bag everywhere, and pulling it out to pitch the book. The gloss layer on the cover started to separate on the edges.
Oh yeah, and I need to buy some ISBN numbers, since they’re less expensive in bulk rather than buying one for each book at publication time.
I also need to work up some flourishes for the interior of the print version that won’t be included in the ebook. This is a 2nd edition, but it’s also a 10th anniversary edition. I want it to cause book-gasms for anyone who buys it.
Once the print version is formatted, and I have a page count, I can contract a cover.
I also need to start grilling my author/publisher friends about the best route to get it into audio book format.
I made very good progress on the final revisions/edits on Blood Curse this weekend, which was a pleasant surprise. Last weekend, I made absolutely NO progress, and it was a long weekend. I sometimes think I perform better under pressure (self imposed) and time constraints than I do when there’s plenty of time available.
Anyway, I have less than 100 pages left to edit of the manuscript. In its current format, it is 304 pages. That page count will vary between the draft, the ebook, and the print versions.
I did correct a minor detail this morning. I originally had Viktor saying to head south from Dorada’s island to reach open water. However, I changed the location of her island from the Caymans, which weren’t rocky enough, to Islas de Los Roques, which are just north of the South American coast, back before original publication. Neither I nor my editor caught that I didn’t correct the statement of direction when I made the change. Now he orders the ship northeast instead of south.
I realize this old mistake didn’t really hurt the story, but it bothered me to find it. I truly want to keep any Real World references as accurate as possible. I feel I owe it to my readers, especially the ones who WILL fact check me, and to myself to maintain the best quality I can.
In other news: I have even more incentive to finally carve out some time to do some promo videos. I’ve been interacting in the comments sections of several BookTube videos lately. This has already garnered me some promotion space on one of the channels I follow. The Brothers Gwynn have a unique way of announcing premiering books each month by showing a compilation of authors pitching their books and giving release dates.
I will be participating in this once I’ve nailed down a specific release date for Blood Curse rather than the vague “sometime this Fall.”
I also need to create Instagram and Twitter accounts for the purpose of querying some of the reviewers who run the various BookTube channels. Most of them don’t use FB.
I’ve made significant progress on 1st round edits of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe seasons 2 and 3. At this rate, I’ll need to start drafting season 4 before long.
The most enjoyable part of all this editing, both on Blood Curse and The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe is re-reading and re-familiarizing myself with manuscripts written a few years back. In the case of Blood Curse, the original draft was started in 2006, and the first publication (in ebook) was 2011. I think it’s a good thing for authors of series to go back and read the earlier books again periodically. It helps them see where they’ve been and better visualize where they’re going, both in their writing skills and story continuity. While some may bemoan the skill level of their earlier works, they can also look back and visit with old friends with a fresh perspective and, hopefully, fondness — and then whip up freshly revised 2nd editions to hook new readers. (Insert mercenary grin here.)
Nothing like going through first edits on a rough draft written a few years previously and spotting gargantuan plot holes. In case you haven’t guessed, or are new to this blog, I have returned to working on my steampunk serial, The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe.
I’m finally getting episodes 13 through 24 (aka Season 2) ready for publication. I’m also seriously entertaining the thought of having a new cover done for the Season 1 omnibus, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, as well as doing new illustrations for it.
“Why?” you ask. Mainly because sales have been all but non-existent, and I never really got marketing off the ground the first time through. This will mean pulling all the current versions down and republishing.
Yes, I am a masochist. I must be to intentionally put that much on my plate.
Meanwhile, back to why I started this post. I’ve found myself trying to keep supposedly intelligent characters from unintentionally looking like bumbling idiots. In other words, I originally wrote some scenes which turned into “wait-a-minute” moments. So, I have to figure out why I had a character do something a certain way, when an obviously better way was available.
Specifically, why did a character LEAVE a communications center to deliver a message rather than send it via a secure means already available to them. It would’ve been quicker to use the system rather than leave the building and head into a subterranean system of tunnels and lifts to reach a place deep underground.
Not to worry. I did find a plausible excuse.
Messages sent through that system, while secure, have to be entered in the log if they originate from the communications center itself. The character didn’t want this message to be discovered by her supervisor, so she feigned illness to be excused from the rest of her shift. She also didn’t encounter any message stations along her route before encountering other major characters.
The rough draft of Hunting the Dragon (Waves of Darkness book 8) is in the bag. The first 10 chapters are with my alpha reader, and she’s promised feedback notes, hopefully by next week.
The remaining chapters are still in handwritten form and need to be typed up. I will start on that soon. I have to admit that the back half of the rough draft is a hot mess and in need of some scene rearranging and serious polishing.
Meanwhile, I’ve completed inking all the Dragon Poker portraits. I will be doing a color accent version of them for special edition sets of the cards. I’m told those will be offered in a wooden case.
Next on my agenda is the reformatting and revision of Blood Curse (Waves of Darkness book 1). The new edition will be in the 5×8-ish (not sure of the exact measurements right now) size rather than the 6×9 trade paperback version it was previously published in. I plan to snazzy up the interior as well. All this is necessary before I can order a new cover design, since I need a page count to determine the width of the spine. The size change will change the original page count, of course.
Finally, happy news: someone bought one of the 6-episode mini-omnibus ebooks in my The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe steampunk serial. This is the first sale of the year and the first sale in months!
I think everyone out there already knows what a crazy, fly-by-night carnival roller coaster ride 2020 was, so I won’t dwell on it.
I hold hope but no expectations that 2021 will turn out better. It’s already off to a rocky start. Still, there is some promise. (Just try to ignore the ongoing political $#!t storms. Hurricane season has nothing on U.S. politics.)
Time for a personal progress report.
ART: I’m almost done with inking the Dragon Poker card art. Just 2 of the 17 left to ink. There has been some discussion of making a top tier version of the game available with color accents on the face cards (not full color). I will probably add those digitally. Antiquarian Boardgames plans to debut the cards at this year’s LibertyCon, provided it doesn’t get postponed another year or go virtual.
I will be putting some sort of promotional video for the cards on my YouTube channel later this year.
WRITING: I’ve made some progress on Hunting the Dragon, but not much lately. I’ve been concentrating on the Dragon Poker art during the longer winter shutdown of my day job. I do have plans to attack reformatting Blood Curse later this month. This is a necessary step before contracting for a new cover. The reformat may change the page count, especially since I haven’t decided whether to stick with the trade paperback size of 9×6 or a slightly smaller page size. The page count determines the thickness of the spine and is required data for most of the cover artists I’ve researched.
I also plan to have new cover art for the episodes of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe as well as The Girl Who Fell from the Sky done prior to publishing episodes of season 2 later this year. I apologize for the extended delay of the serial, but I’m still learning the tricks of self-publishing and the marketing of such.
YOUTUBING: Yeah, I think I have been a little over ambitious with my plans to revive the channel in relation to actual available time for all this. I’m not giving up, just not gonna promise a lot of content in a short time period. The new videos will be added as I can manage.
CONVENTIONS: So far, LibertyCon is the only regular convention I’ll get to attend this year. Chattacon is virtual this year. My dealer table/membership is supposed to roll over to next year. I do plan to check out the online program content, but I won’t be presenting any this year. ConNooga is canceled this year due to COVID. I have no plans for any other conventions at this time.
That pretty much sums up my updates for now. See you here again soon, hopefully.
I am at an age (and in my hometown) where I usually read the obituaries in my local newspaper. I saw in Sunday’s paper that one of my old high-school teachers passed last Friday.
William Joseph “Jody” Norris, age 70, was the sponsor for the school newspaper during my sophomore and junior years at Soddy Daisy High School. Most of the time, journalism class was more like a study hall. Coach Norris is partially responsible for The Adventures of Pigg &Woolfe existing.
In order to give us a grade once, he gave us a creative writing assignment. We were to take a nursery rhyme or classic children’s story and rewrite it. I chose The Three Little Pigs and wrote a space opera short story. I was very into Star Wars at the time.
Decades later, I took the names of my two main characters, Clyde Pigg and Draeyger Woolfe, and concocted a steam punk serial for them.
You never know how you will touch someone’s life. …Or how they will touch yours.
I was finally able to upload character images to go with most of the profiles I’ve created thus far. Please feel free to check them out. I will also be doing some “Meet the Characters” videos on my Youtube channel in the near future. (read: before the end of the year, hopefully.)
Here’s an inventory of items I will be selling in the dealer room at Chattacon this weekend.
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe season one 9 copies
Waves of Darkness books (Physical copies of books 1 & 2, Blood Curse and Demon Bayou, are sold out/out of publication. However, I will gladly email a free digital copy to any new readers who purchase any of the other books in the series.)
Silent Fathoms 5 copies
Black Venom 5 copies
Hell’s Dodo 5 copies
The Daedalus Enigma 3 copies
Maelstrom of Fate 3 copies
I will also have prints of a Dragon Riders of Pern fan art I originally created for Dragon*Con ’89. The work is pen and ink stipple art titled Young Queen and Rider and is printed on 8×11 card stock.
This copy was signed by Ms. McCaffrey at a book signing in 2002 held at Legible Leftovers in Longwood, FL.
And finally, I have a few jigsaw puzzles, should anyone be interested in them. These will be at yard sale prices: 25-50 cents, depending on number of pieces, and 10 cents for those missing pieces. I got them at yard sales and have had my fun with them. It’s time to pass them on.