Whether I will have time to use this much for a while or not remains to be seen. Between work, family, and helping Kayla with her books it will probably be slim. Not that I am complaining!
I will put a book or something here later, for now you can enjoy this random picture..
Monday, May 20, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
We got up early on 4/20 and began getting ready. The signing at Bookman's was not until eleven but we wanted to get there at least thirty minutes early to set up. Once we had everything packed and ready we headed out, dropped our two year old daughter off at her great grandparents, grabbed some drinks from the gas station, and drove toward Bookman's.
The Bookman's on Speedway and Wilmot shares a shopping area with several other stores and restaurants. Like most shopping centers and malls, they all share a big parking lot. To my dismay over half of the entire parking lot was closed off for repair, on a Saturday. We have visited Bookman's many times on the weekend and it is always super busy. There have been many Saturday evenings were we have gone and barely found a parking spot--now that lot had been cut in half. We drove around the asphalt, weaving in and out of parking rows for ten or fifteen minutes before we finally found one. It just so happened to be the furthest spot from the book store.
It was about fifteen til eleven now and we were only just getting out of the car. I grabbed the giant Tupperware (or that's what I call those big clear plastic tote things) full of heavy books and followed Kayla in. As soon as we entered I noticed a group of people crammed into a corner to my right but didn't see any signs indicating that was where we were supposed to go. We wandered over and found the organiser of it all who let us know we could sit at one of the tables in that corner, or that there were a few other tables spread around the store. I am still not sure if it was the best decision but we decided to go with that large group up front. After Kayla was situated at her three feet of table I walked around and looked at the location of all the other tables. No one had taken any of them yet. I was tempted to ask Kayla to uproot from her spot and go to the one back near the paranormal/urban fantasy section, as that is the same genre of her books, but it was nearing eleven and it would have been a huge hassle to pick everything up and move it across this huge store. For better or worse, this is where she would sign books for the next two hours.
As she sat there selling and signing books I mingled a bit with some of the other authors there. I approached some, others approached me. I was quite surprised to see that everyone there was quite a bit older than we are. The next youngest most likely being twenty or more years Kayla's senior. There is nothing wrong with that of course, just an observation. Another thing I noticed was that very few people there were providing fiction books. In fact, none were authors of fiction in any category close to Kayla's. The lady to my wife's right was selling books about training dogs to alert their diabetic owners when their blood sugar was too high, low, etc. The man to her left had a book that was mainly comprised of letters and diaries from soldiers during World War 2. His Uncle had been a pilot during that war. One author had a photography book, another had a book about happiness and how to obtain it. I noted only one other author with a clear fictional novel. He called it an 'outdoors mystery'. It was basically an adventure book about the rugged outdoors.
I want to pause a moment more before I get back to Kayla's signing to talk about how amazed I was that all the authors I talked to seemed so unknowledgable about publishing. I do not want to step on toes at all or put myself out as some sort of expert, but many of these people were clueless. I will relate an event that happened while Kayla and I were still setting up her table.
One of the authors from across the room approached me and the conversation went a little like this.
"Hi there, where did you guys get your books printed. They look nice." (Author)
"Createspace, what is that?"
"It's the paperback print on demand company that Amazon owns/is affiliated with."
"Are you saying your books are on Amazon?"
"How did you do that?"
"We just uploaded the file to KDP - Kindle Direct Publishing. Just type KDP into Google and go to the top link, it will get ya started."
"But how do they know what to put?"
"What do you mean?"
"How do they know what your book is."
"You upload it."
"Yeah...did you write your book on the computer?"
"Yeah, I made it on the computer."
"Well you get that formatted for Kindle, then just upload it and they sell it."
"So Amazon just gives people who want to buy your book your email address and then you talk to the customer and send them the book?"
"...no it is digital..."
"Yeah, they can buy an e-book of it so they can read it on their computers or on tablets, phones, and that sort of stuff."
"But how do the customers contact you so you know they want your book?"
At this point I was starting to have a hard time explaining it to her. I realized I was not dealing with someone that didn't understand how to use KDP, I was dealing with someone that didn't even understand the concept of the new revolution in self publishing. This lady had gone through some local vanity press and spent thousands that she will probably never earn back. I am sorry to be blunt but it is the truth. I did my best to explain things to her until the event started and she thanked me, wrote down some websites, and went back to her side of the room. And no, the conversation above was not exaggerated...if anything I toned it down.
I was stunned.
A similar scenario repeated itself at least two more times during the event, although to lesser extents. I tried my best to let them all know things that I have learned. They were all amazed that we sell literally 300-500 times more digital copies than print. E-books aren't the future I told them. E-books are now. If you don't have that self-published paperback available in digital ink on Amazon, Nook, iPad, etc...you are missing out on tons of money.
Now, back to the event. I was disappointed with it altogether. I am extremely thankful to the host, Bookman's, and the organizer...I just know it could have been better. A lot better. The lady hosting it admitted to us all that it was the most authors they had ever had. (I think there were about fifteen.)
I will go in order of things I think could have been improved with ease, to make a better signing event for both the authors and, more importantly, the customers.
First off, there was no advertisement for the event. I don't mean to sound like they should have made radio announcements and TV commercials; I am not talking about paid advertisement at all. Bookman's did not even advertise the event on it's own website! To find the event you needed to go to their website, then go to their events calendar. There was no Facebook post prior to the event or on the day of. There was no tweet. There was nothing. The only thing at all to let people know there was an event going on aside from a mark on their calendar was a tiny sign inside the store. The sign was about six inches by eight inches and stood on a four foot metal pole right in front of the author signing area. Most people that came over to the tables were family or friends of one of the authors attending, or an occasional Bookman's shopper who saw the sign.
The next thing was how crowded the signing area was. I understand that Bookman's was not getting any compensation for hosting this, and as I said before I am very thankful and grateful for them doing the event, but they could have made a little more room. The tables were set up in a U shape; the entrance for customers to walk into this little alcove of authors was maybe five feet across. Well over half the time of the event this entrance was completely blocked by people talking to the two authors at the end tables. I watched many people stand there for a little bit, looking over the blockers' shoulders to see what was going on, then walking off to browse the store because they couldn't get through. There were also many times when a family group would be standing in front of Kayla's neighbor and blocking people from seeing Kayla's stuff. It was unintentional, but was detrimental and could not be helped in such an unopened space. This could have been fixed in a way that would have not taken up any extra store space. I believe the organizer should have had the author's tell her their genre. Then set up spaces in the section the author was writing the same genre as. For instance, Kayla would have had a table in the Teen/YA/Paranormal area. The man to her left would have had a table in the Military History section. The lady to the right would have been in either the pet books or health section. This would have put just a few authors at each pace throughout the store. The customer's who were interested in those types of books and was coming there to browse them anyway would then be face-to-face with an author from their genre. There would be plenty of room around them to see their wares as well as talk. I intend to send this suggestion to Bookman's for their next event in July.
The time limit was the next problem. The signing was only two hours long. The space was not being used for anything else so I think letting the signing run longer would have been great. Even having the event run in the evening instead of lunch time would have been better.
The last thing is something I had already commented on. The parking. This one was not Bookman's fault at all, but it did suck. I saw lines of cars leave after not finding a spot. Kayla's own parents almost gave up and left before finally finding a place fifteen to twenty minutes later.
All in all it was a fun experience. Kayla sold and signed nine books. Most of the other authors there unfortunately sold none. I got to network a bit and got some contact information from other local authors who are just now starting to discover the digital revolution. I will send my constructive criticism to Bookman's and sign us up for July. Hopefully they improve on everything and it is even better than this one. Even if not, though, we will go and have some fun. And who knows, maybe I will have something out by then. We will see.
As always, thanks for reading!
Friday, April 19, 2013
One cool thing about this book is I got to write some of it! I mean, Kayla has let me add in many parts in past novels, and we have spent many...many hours brainstorming and talking about what should happen next...but she actually let me write the last chapter in this book! Okay...it is more of an epilogue than a real chapter, but still cool! I basically got to set the stage for a possible follow-up series that revolves around...well...I don't want to spoil the book so just read it and see!
I am sorry for the lack of posts in this last month, I have been super busy! Not only have things been crazy at work lately, but I have been engrossed in helping Kayla with all the book related deadlines. It was definitely hard to get Destiny out by the date we had told everyone, but we did it! We have also been preparing paper-back copies of the sequels, as well as preparing for Kayla's first book signing event tomorrow! If anyone is in the Tucson area we will be at the Bookman's on Speedway and Wilmot from 11am to 1pm. Come by, grab a free bookmark, and buy your very own signed copy of Twin Souls!
Next up on the to-do list is going to be getting The King's Hourglass edited and formatted. The cover artist did an awesome job on it and I can't wait to get it out on the various retailers to see how it does. I will leave you with that cover as I rush to go get some more stuff done.
Thanks again, as always, for reading!
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Luckily, right as Kayla started to complain of soggy pants, the clouds parted and a few brief rays of warm sun beamed down. Although the sun didn't last, it was at least the end of the rain. By this time we had already walked around most of the fair (It was huge!). On our first circuit many of the booths were sort of shut down, sporting weighted down tarps to save their paper goods. Our second loop was much better.
There were booths for just about any kind of book or genre you could think of. I suppose it is not surprising though that a large number of displays were from local companies and businesses. There were some big names out there too, of course--Cox, New York Times, and CSPAN for example. Emily got the most out of the trip I think. She came out with a dozen stickers or more, a Winnie the Pooh book, a Bookman's bag, an orange balloon, a dog balloon-animal, and (as pictured above) a face painting! All for free!
As we weaved through the masses of people and random booths, Kayla really wanted to find someone that writes in her same genre. Surprisingly, we only found two people who also specialize in Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy. They were sharing a booth. We stopped and talked to them for a few minutes as my stomach began to growl for some of those grilled corn-cobs people kept walking past with. Both of these authors are also self published, and from the sounds of it have been doing it slightly longer than Kayla. We shared a few stories of our findings with Kindle Select, Createspace, Freebies, and Smashwords. For anyone curious the two authors can be found here Natalie Wright, author of Emily's House and Janine Caldwell, author of The Vortex Series.
After this we took a detour to the restrooms, then headed back to the parking garage. By this time my stomach was really roaring for some of that corn on the cob, so the only logical thing to do was go to IHOP for a Denver Omelette!
So, in the theme of this whole book convention/fair I figured I would also post about the up and coming book fair/signing that Kayla will be participating in. It will be at Bookman's here in Tucson (the Speedway location) on April 20th, 2013. It is pretty exciting since it is her first! She will be there from 11:00AM to 1:00PM. If you are in the area come say 'Hi', grab a free bookmark, and maybe even buy a book or two from us.
In preparation for this event we are kicking things into overdrive. We have a lot we are wanting to get done by April 20th, and it is going to be tough. So far we only have a table cover prepared. We will be ordering 20 or so copies of Twin Souls to sale, custom bookmarks to give away, a banner/poster, and setting up a bin of candy. Those are the easy parts. Our real goal is to get both sequels (Hybrid and Sacrifice) into print before this date so we can have them available for sale.
I will be focusing all my book related efforts towards that goal. I will be doing a quick re-edit of both novels as well as beginning the print formatting process this week. Kayla will be doing something even more important--finishing the fourth and final book in the Nevermore Series (Destiny). She is currently about 40,000 words into this novel with an estimated 30,000 left to go. It is unlikely it will be completely written, edited, and formatted by April 20th but it is possible. If she does complete the writing process I will immediately put other projects on hold to get book four through the editing and publishing phase.
So as it stands, here are our to-do lists.
Re-edit and format Hybrid for print release.
Re-edit and format Sacrifice for print release.
Edit and format the second episode of Darius
Edit and format Avarial - Book One: The King's Hourglass
*Edit and format Nevermore Book#4 when ready. In this event it will precede all other goals.
Finish writing Destiny, Nevermore Book 4.
Create a cover for Darius, Episode 2.
Finish writing Avarial, Book 2.
Begin outlining for 'The Archivist'.
Get Debit/CCard Swipe
Wow, putting it down into words like that makes me realize how full my schedule is for the next few months hehe. We can do it, though! And the more prolific we are, the more rewards we'll reap.
Now it is time for me to go lay down my little munchkin to bed, and get started on some of this stuff. I will try to do another post later this week if I can. As always, thanks for reading!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I have written stories almost as long as I can remember, but have not completely finished one (aside from school assignments) since I was maybe eight years old. The first thing I can remember writing was an illustrated story called 'Adam's Island' when I was very young. It was a story about myself getting stranded on a desert island. There was nothing in the story about survival or hardship, in fact my main character thrived immediately - befriending and talking to animals, building a series of tree houses that were connected with skateboard ramps, and so on. Thus is the mind of a child, I suppose. No worries, no hardships, all fun. That is the last story I remember completely coming to a conclusion on (aside from school assignments, like I said). That is pretty bad seeing as it is now almost nineteen years later! I have had no lack of ideas since then, and have started many stories...but never finishing more than a few chapters. And when I say I have no lack of ideas for stories and books, that is a fact. I try to jot down and save any overall arcing idea I have just in case I ever do flesh it out. My little notepad file currently sits on the desktop with nineteen book ideas. The notepad in my head has countless more.
So, taking a 180 turn from my last finished project of 'Adam's Island' when I was eight, this current story is about people with real hardships. Real desires, and more often than not, they are not the positive kind. People who decide to give up their struggle and offer the last thing they have in order to succeed - Their soul.
The Devil's Artifacts
What does everyone think about this idea in general? What did you think of my rough draft for the prologue?
Sadly, I do not know if I will ever write this book. As I said earlier, I tend to start hundreds of stories and never finish. I will try to make time though, as long as it does not interfere with my other priorities.
As always, thanks for reading!
Saturday, February 23, 2013
At the very start it was going to be another book, but after reading some advice from fellow writers we decided to turn it into a serial. I suppose part of this is due to it being much easier to manage, as well as to get novellas out, rather than working on another full book series at the same time as Nevermore. Another awesome thing about a serialized story is that you can get a whole lot more story in over the entire course of a 'season' than you could in a novel (without bloating it, at least). And of course another bonus is how fast a new title can come out! Readers will not have to wait months for the next episode.
I know some of you reading may not know about serialized stories, but they have been around forever. The most famous case for their history lies with Charles Dickens himself. Think of a serialized book as a TV show. It isn't quite as long as a traditional novel, and the overall arcing story comes in spurts. Each episode of that story's season contains both a 'Monster of the Week' and a step towards the arc of the series. Some good examples to relate this to in recent media would be Merlin, Stargate, The X-Files, and so on. In Merlin, each episode generally contained some sort of danger that was worked out in that individual episode, however there was always a step forward in the overall story of Merlin and Arthur. For instance an episode might contain a mysterious undead knight who is using magic to try to slay Arthur in an accepted duel. Merlin must help Arthur defeat this, but he also has to keep the secret of his magic safe from the king and public. By saving Arthur, Merlin continues his quest to protect the prince as well as his own secrets - one more step towards the prophecy the imprisoned dragon under the castle has foretold to the young mage. Some episodes contain more arc-forwarding than others.
The serial that Kayla has been doing definitely has a monster-of-the-week and an overall arc. Each episode is around 10-15 thousand words (About 1/6th the size of a Nevermore novel), and will continue the story of Darius. Without going into too much detail I will give a short run down of this series. Darius is suddenly transported from his home world/dimension (a world where magic acts and mystical creatures are common place) to our planet. Much to his horror, it seems that he has actually replaced a Darius in our world. At first his main problem is fitting in, and not using magic. Fitting in is much harder than he thought, especially after he discovers he was not the only thing sent through the rift in his world and appeared here on Earth. Each episode of this story will deal with his challenges in our world, as well as stopping some of the more sinister things that have crossed over. Each episode will also further the story of his quest to return to his home world and help save it from whatever has caused all this mess.
Hopefully I explained all that correctly and did it justice.
I am excited to see how it does, and excited for all of you to read it and give us feedback. As today is one of my days off my salaried job, I will be spending a bit of it formatting Darius, Episode 1 for all ebook channels. Expect to see it out relatively soon, and as always - Thanks for reading!