Category Archives: Status Reports

Odds and Ends

I had three possible posts I was getting ready for today, but none of them are ready. So, I figured I’d do a quicker blog covering some odds and ends…

I.  Print Edition Progress

The Print Edition of In Forgery Divided is compiled and a proof has been ordered.  There are certain design issues that cannot be checked or corrected until I’ve recieved my print proof (for example, I need to know what the cover looks like with a matte finish; from past experience, I know there can be contrast issues that don’t show on a computer screen).  It should arrive just in time to have it with me while attending Ravencon.  (Probably a good thing I applied too late to be a guest, there — I’m probably going to be going through the proof while I attend panels).

Of note, I am breaking my own pricing policy with this book.  In my Self-Publishing Roundtable series, I note that most physical bookstores won’t agree to carry your book unless you charge enough for them to make a profit — another writer\blogger calculated that if you (the writer\self-publisher) are earning a $2 royalty per sale in expanded distribution, the bookstore can earn a profit selling it.

However, to get that royalty amount, I would need to charge at least $20.80 (I used Amazon’s royalty calculator to narrow it to the nearest penny).  This is mostly because the book is that much bigger than my past books.  BUT… I’ve decided not to cross that $20 line; I’ve never seen traditional publishers charge more than that amount even for the most expensive of trade paperback books, so I won’t either.  Instead, I will keep it at the same cost as Book I, charging only $18.99 a copy.  I don’t exactly earn many royalties selling it at a price like this, but I’m still making a print edition made available for those of you who want one.  Just don’t complain about the price, please — I really can’t go much lower.

II.  Sales

In Forgery Divided had the strongest launch of any book I’ve released, at least in terms of day-one sales.  Sales have remained fairly steady (though there has been a surprisingly steep dive in sales so far, today).  Of course, a few good reviews can really help with that, so please review!

The most surprising thing, though, is that it really has lifted sales for my other books.  In Treachery Forged, book I of the series, hasn’t sold this well since May of 2014.

Even The Kitsune Stratagem (which has always disappointed me with its weak sales, even though I believe it’s my best written book to date) has posted more sales than it has since December 2014 (and may end the month even better).  I guess it proves the old adage correct — “Nothing sells Book I like Book II.”

The third bit of sales news is a peculiarity:  All of my sales have come through Amazon.  This is peculiar because it’s also available from Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.  In my past books, these stores haven’t been all that large of a percentage of my sales, but they were significant enough to be worth listing there.  So far, not a single sale on any of those has shown up.  I don’t know if this is because my past customers from those stores haven’t gotten the word, or if it’s because these ebook stores just aren’t selling anything, any more.  I’m strongly considering listing my next book with KDP-Select (the exclusive-to-Amazon program), just to test some of that program’s marketing tools I’ve sacrificed to keep my books available in wide release.

III.  Ravencon

As I mentioned earlier, I will be attending Ravencon from April 29th to May 1st.  As you might imagine, it’ll be a bit difficult for me to release a blog that weekend, but I’ll see if I can’t get something ready before I leave and set it to auto-release.  And, of course, I still should have a post for next week, as well.

IV.  Coming Plans

I’m not 100% sure which book, in my “to by written” list, will be next.  I hope to move straight into Book III of the Law of Swords series, but we’ll see.  I like the idea of it, but I was feeling a bit burnt out on things by the time I finished In Forgery Divided.

Hopefully enough time has gone by that I’ll be able to work on it again, but if I find myself staring at a blank page for weeks on end I’ll probably move to something else rather than just let my writing stagnate.  I also hope to eventually get The Merrimack Event out, but of course it still needs a round of editing and some cover art, as it has for over a year now.  My mother has offered to try her hand at the cover art (It sounds a bit lame to say “my mother made my cover art,” but she does have a resumé to suggest she can handle it.  She had collegiate training in artwork and design (had she not transferred to a different college to finish her degree, she would have earned a minor in it), and has continued her education in artwork all of her life.  Her career had included design for fashion in the past, and now uses her art background in her award-winning quilt designs.  I’m just not sure it all translates well to cover design), so we’ll see how that goes.

In the meantime, of course, I’ll be continuing this blog and working on… whatever I decide to work on.  See you all next week!

So, I’m Cleaning Up My Edits…

As I’ve mentioned the past couple of weeks, I’ve been cleaning up the edits for “In Forgery Divided” in preparation for its release (I’m still waiting on the cover art, as well. I was promised a copy of the pending-final-approval finished product “in a week” last Monday. Still 29 hours to go…). I’ve noticed a few things that should be mentioned (and those of you who follow me on Facebook might have seen a couple of these points before):

1. I’ve frequently heard “Your book will shrink by 20-30% as it’s edited.” When I edited book one (In Treachery Forged), this was largely true, but it hasn’t been true since. “The Kitsune Stratagem” increased in size, starting at just over 140,000 words and ending almost exactly 10,000 words larger. So far, about five chapters in, “In Forgery Divided” is keeping pretty darn close to the same number of words as it was in the first draft (despite a number of changes, the cuts and the additions seem to have balanced each other out). (I wish I could say what “The Merrimack Event” was doing, but I have yet to decide on an editor for it. In pre-editor self-edits, however, I did cut out about 30,000 words).

2. I’ve frequently heard “Those parts you struggled with the most when writing will be the best parts; the ones you thought were easy will wind up needing the most edits.” Again, this just hasn’t matched up with my experience. Through everything I’ve written, the things that I’ve had the easiest time with have had the fewest editorial comments (save some proofreading issues largely caused by my mild dyslexia; that doesn’t seem effected by the difficulty of the writing at all). The things I’ve struggled with the most in writing have had the most editorial comments. That pattern is (SO FAR) matching my experience with “In Forgery Divided” as well.

3. I didn’t really think of it as editing, but as I clean up the edits I recieve I’m doing a lot of editing myself. I’d say I’m more of a second-pass self-editor at this stage. I don’t just make the corrections my paid for (or bartered for, in this case) editor suggest; I read every word (well, more or less) and do my own editorial work. I don’t know if I do more edits than the paid for editor or not, but I do a lot of them.

4. I hate missing opportunities, but that can happen in the middle of a big project like this. When I was working to get “In Treachery Forged” released, I missed out on an opportunity to be part of a cross-promotional anthology because I was too busy. This time, an opportunity came up to volunteer as a beta reader for a bigger-named author — something which can really help a guy in the professional networking department. Unfortunately, I’m deep into the edits, and didn’t have time. I almost volunteered anyway, but by the time I figured out how I could handle it the author was full up.

5. Lots of people enjoy snow because it gives them time off. When you’re writing or editing, you get no time off; you lose time. You still have to work and you ALSO have to tire yourself (or injure yourself; pulled a muscle in my shovel arm) out shovelling on the same day. A blizzard can really kill your momentum.

I’m sure I’ll have more observations at some point. I may even get them into blog form, some day… but my blogs will continue to be a bit sparse until I finally get the book out.

I Can’t Possibly Make Any Money With This Post…

(Note:  I experimented with typing this post in notepad and pasting it here.  It seemed to have a few bugs with paragraph returns; I tried to fix the formatting as much as I could, but if I missed something I apologize)

Well, last week’s poll didn’t work.  There seems to be a bug of some sort in the polling plug-in, because it kept closing fifteen minutes or so after I posted it, and nothing I would do would re-open it.  So much for that idea.

I would love to be able to give you an update on the status of In Forgery Divided or The Merrimack Event, today.  Unfortunately, there is nothing I can tell you that I haven’t already said.  I’ve heard nothing new from editor, and have nothing I can post from my cover artist.  So, both still have some time to go.

I’d still like to talk books, though, rather than go into a ramble.  I recall, a while back, talking about a project I referred to as “This Book Cannot Make Any Money!”  The idea was to, instead of writing another blog series on Self-Publishing, to walk people through the self-publishing process while I compiled and built a new book.

However, since I’ve already launched (or am about to launch) three series of novels already, I don’t intend to write anything new for it.  Instead, I’m going to make it a compilation of a things I’ve written in the past that, for one reason or another, aren’t worth trying to sell… (at least not on their own).

So, in this first edition of the “Can’t Possibly Make Any Money!” blog series, I’ll assess what I’ve got in terms of content… and why I figured they wouldn’t make any money in the first place.

The first thing is a short story entitled “Voices.”  Running only about 1,500-2,000 words, it’s not exactly large enough to self-publish on its own.  I’m actually very proud of this story, but it’s a hard sell to literary magazines as it’s experimental\paranormal fiction (in more ways than one).  The story was inspired by more than one English teacher saying, with absolute certitude, that “You should never write a novel from the first person omniscient perpective — it will never work.”  So, of course, I set about to prove them wrong.  I decided to give it a very ambiguous ending (you’re left to decide if the character REALLY was as omniscient as he claims).  Years ago, I tried shopping this story around, but it was always rejected (though I recieved nice handwritten rejections from the likes of the prestigious Atlantic Monthly for it; sadly, my copy of that rejection was lost in a move, but in it the editor said I should make the ending less ambiguous… which went against what I was trying to do with the story in the first place.  Ah, well).

The second item is an (untitled, but I’ll figure one out before publication) five page short story written entirely as an inside joke.  This takes a touch of background to explain:  I once joined a small writer’s group (The LCPS “Writer’s Circle”) sponsored by my local county’s public school system (why?  Because it was the only writing-oriented thing I could find near me open to adults).

It was a… very interesting experience.  There were five “enrolled” participants (including me) and the “instructor” (because it was operated by the Adult Education program of the public school system, an “instructor” was required; his being an “instructor” was a title of bureaucratic necessity, only).  My fellow enrollees were as follows:  A children’s book author who didn’t like children (she said so repeatedly and insisted she wasn’t joking), a woman writing a memoir of her battle against Lyme Disease (ugh), a blogger for “Voice of America” who never returned after our first meeting, and an octogenarian nurse on the verge of retirement whose only previous writing experience was writing reports for her job.  All four of the other enrollees specifically said they hated science fiction and fantasy stories, like the ones I had hoped to share with the circle.  Yay.

The instructor was fairly knowledgeable, however.  He was a thriller\mystery novelist, and enjoyed reading in the science fiction and fantasy genre.  He had appeared as a panelist at some conventions alongside the likes of Kevin J. Anderson, and for the most part knew what he was talking about (or at least, I agreed with many of his opinons on things).  However, there was one small problem.  We were all responsible for turning in five pages of writing every week for discussion, and INVARIABLY he had the same comment for everyone:  “You need more details about [the scene\the character\the setting\the background].”  If we made things as detailed as he wanted, though, it would take far more than five pages.  So, as a prank, in the last week of the Writer’s Circle I wrote a five-page story that was so focused on these details that there was only room for two lines of actual story.  Along the way, I used every synonym of the color red I could find to describe things.

He got the joke, and was amused… but his comment was “You spent all this time on the visual, but we never got any details on the sounds and smells!”  *sigh*

It’s all an inside joke, and being an inside joke I don’t think it could make any money on its own.  At least, not without some explanation.  An explanation I could type up for the compilation without a problem.

And then there’s the third item on the list of things I plan to include in this compilation:  Poetry.  Which, well, every author I know of says you can’t make any money selling poetry… and honestly, these poems are probably not what people who LIKE writing poetry would try selling.  And, honestly, I don’t like writing poetry all that much.

“Wait,” I know (some) of you want to say.  “Why have you even written poems if you don’t like poetry?”

Well, uh… the poems I plan to include are partly the result of high school English-class poetry assignments.  There are three High School poems (well, two high school poems and a tryptych  of linked theme poems, two of which were added post-high school), some haiku I wrote for my days as a fanfic writer (there is a character in a particular anime I was a fan of who always tried to speak in haiku; I always hated writing his dialog), and maybe one or two other pieces I’ve forgotten about which I’ll find going through my old records.  Not enough for a whole book full of poetry, but there is some.

And that’s it for COMPLETED work that might be included.  However, nothing says I have to just use completed work — in the many years before I self-published, I wrote a whole heck of a lot.  Much of it will never be published (in some cases, as with my fanfiction, it isn’t legal to; in other cases, I decided it just wasn’t good enough; with the upcoming release of “The Merrimack Event,” we’ll be through all of the work I thought was publishable in my past writing; In Forgery Divided is the first novel-length work I’ve written since I started self-publishing).  Some of that body of work, however, includes material which might still be interesting clipped out of the original work.  Keeping with the theme, though, it’s not likely you’d make any money as a writer trying to sell clippings of books you’ll never publish.

I’m not really sure what genre I’ll file a collection that contains paranormal, high fantasy, novel fragments, and poetry all together… but that’s another blog.  (Note:  Next week is Star Wars: The Force Awakens week.  I’m probably not going to work on this blog at all, so my first follow-up on this post won’t be for at least two weeks)

Edit:  Comments disabled due to spamming.

Status Report

With Thanksgiving (and a lot of chores), I didn’t quite finish everything I intended for the blog post I had planned for this week (the “Merrimack Event”‘s back-of-the-book blurb). In its place, I figured I would do a status report for all the things I’ve told you I was going to be doing.

First of all, I’ve applied to be a guest at a few conventions. I haven’t heard back from any of them, yet, but I haven’t been rejected yet, either. I’m hopeful.

In Forgery Divided is still with the editor and cover artist. I haven’t recieved any information from my cover artist recently, but my editor says he’s through most of it, but there were a couple “problem areas” he’s devoting more attention to. I’m as tired of these delays as I’m sure my readers are, but I can’t put it out without a cover or any editing.

Over the last week, I’ve started approaching some more potential cover artists to get estimates for “The Merrimack Event.” Haven’t heard back from any of them, yet, but that’s no surprise in this timeframe. I’ve identified four editors to try and vet, but I have yet to approach any of them.

The Back-of-the-Book Blurb for “The Merrimack Event” should be posted next week, but I’ve got new ideas going from there. I’ve been cleaning out my office desk as I prepare to move my new computer from it’s temporary set-up to its permanent home. Found some fun things I could take pictures of (maybe. I hate taking pictures of any kind) and talk about here on the blog, including badges for well over a dozen conventions I’ve attended in the past — all from 2009 or earlier. And I’ve started a fun little research project I may discuss here, as well, even though it’s research for a story I probably won’t be writing for years.

A belated Happy Thanksgiving. And I’m giving you guys even more thanks for reading this blog. (I might be even more thankful if a few of you commented now and then when I was asking you guys for comments, but I’ll take what I can get).

Back-of-the-book Blurb POLL! In Forgery Divided

If you don’t follow my Facebook feed, you probably haven’t heard that I’m buying a new computer.  Still not assembled, yet, but it’s replacing the old computer on which I’ve written or completed writing all of my books (published and not), so far.  I’ve still got my laptop, but until I get the new desktop up and running I’m somewhat limited in the things I can do.

This shouldn’t delay any of my books at all, but it might disrupt future blogs a bit.  Depends how much time I need to set up the new system.  This blog, though, was mostly ready to go, so here we go.

I hope at least some of the dozens of visitors I get each day are real people and not spambots, crawlers, and the like (not that my comments sections are any proof of that, and last weeks poll didn’t exactly get many votes; I’d like to see at least a few more readers involved).  If you are a real person, prove it just by voting in this poll.

I’m trying out some write-ups for the “Back of the Book” blurb for “In Forgery Divided.”  I’d like to see which, if either, of these blurbs you prefer.  Now, “blurb” means two things, in a  literary sense — one is the one-line quote you can get from a fellow author, professional reviewer, or celebrity promoting your book (these frequently appear on the front cover, though sometimes you’ll see a compilation of them on the back).  The other meaning is the text on the back of the book that ostensibly tells the reader what the book is about — or rather, it’s the sales pitch for the book by the author.  It usually runs about 100-150 words, split among 1-3 short paragraphs.

Now, all I really NEED you to do is vote, but it would be nice to have the occasional comment on this blog now and then, so if you want to explain your vote, comments are open.  (Note:  I do have to approve your initial post so as to keep the spambots off of here; if you’ve posted and I accidentally deleted your post thinking it was spam, please contact me either through twitter, Facebook, e-mail… heck, a telephone call would do, if you know my phone number, and I’ll try and make sure to re-enable your ability to post comments).

Keep in mind this has to entice people who are unaware of the content of this book, and hopefully even people who are unaware of the content of book one.

BLURB VERSION A (this has been the “temporary” interim version used on the website; however, some seem to think it contains too many spoilers):

Maelgyn may have proven himself to be a High Mage, but he’s only one man.  His wife is captured during a massive battle, his new King turns out to be an imposter, and the Dragons are entering the battle.  Despite all this, Maelgyn has to turn his attention to a rescue mission which pits him up against an even bigger threat:  The Elves.


With the defeat of Paljor, Maelgyn proved himself the strongest Mage in the Human world, but there are more powerful things than Mages he has to worry about.  He returns home to find that his old enemies can still hurt him while new enemies threaten to tear his kingdom apart from the inside.  The Law of Swords is supposed to protect them from this sort of internal conflict, but it is actually helping his enemies.  And then there’s the Elves to deal with….

(Note:  Comments are temporarily disabled due to spammers, but the poll remains open.  Please prove that you are human by voting)

[poll id=”4″]

Two Blogs in One: On Conventions (and a response to the news of the week)

One administrative disclaimer before I get started:  In the past week or so, a number of stories have popped up in the press or commentary (or comics) about images being used and\or hotlinked to without the artist’s permission.  The webcomic the Oatmeal (particularly the issue entitled “You’re doing it for the Expo$ure”, though I also saw a story about the Huffington Post deep hotlinking one of their comics without permission) is centered on a couple of these stories.

I do occasionally hotlink to artwork — webcomics or whatnot.  As a policy, however, I try to use those images appropriately.  Either I’ve read and am following the artist’s policy on hotlinking (many webcomics have one), or I find the artwork using a “free for use” search.  Similarly, when publishing, I might use fonts or fleurons that are labeled (or licensed) “free for commercial use.”  Or might read an eBook which is being sold for free on Amazon.  I always believe, in good faith, I have permission to do so… but there is always the risk that something has been mislabeled or stolen and released as someone else’s work.

So, if you ARE an artist of an image I’ve used, and you don’t want me hotlinking and\or embedding said image, PLEASE let me know and I will remove it (or change the accedition, or whatever else you want me to do with it).  I know I don’t want my work used by someone else without permission, and I would never knowingly do so with someone else’s work.

And that takes care of the news of the week.  Now that that’s out of the way….

A couple days ago, in addition to adding more books to my A-Store, I updated my Convention Calender by adding new 2016 (and a couple 2017) dates for twenty-three conventions.  As always, I have to remind people that no, I am not going to all of the conventions listed.  I don’t think it would be possible even if I had infinite funds and resources to try.

I do, however, intend to attend a few of them — I usually attend two or three a year, and 2016 isn’t going to be an exception… but I have yet to make final decisions as to which conventions I’ll attend.  As In Forgery Divided and The Merrimack Event are nearing publication, I’m considering applying as a guest to some local conventions.

It’s going to be a new experience for me.  If it works out, I might wind up writing a blog about it.  I’ll also be “tagging” some of the conventions I have listed to reflect whether I’m attending, attending as a panelist, attending as a guest, or (in the future, if I’m lucky) attending as a guest of honor.

Oh, and I’m testing something for next week’s blog post (which would have been this week’s, or even last week’s, but I couldn’t get the first plug-in that I tried for this to work):  POLLS!

[poll id=”3″]

A (slightly inaccurate) Map for “In Treachery Forged”

First, a progress report:

I have begun searching for a cover artist and editor for “The Merrimack Event, since I can’t have the same people doing that as I have working on “In Forgery Divided” and expect either one to be done any time soon.

Speaking of “In Forgery Divided,” my cover artist has sent me some concept sketches and my editor is… still only about a quarter of the way through the book.  Sigh.  I’m also investigating some marketing opportunities for all of my books, but I hope I don’t go as overboard as in this article. (I know explaining a joke can ruin the humor, but thanks to Poe’s Law and some writers who might actually go close to that far, I think I should warn you that the linked-to article is satire).

Now, on to the actual point of this blog as referenced in the title…

Now, I know I can be a little boring, but you might find this article interesting.  It’s on JRR Tolkien’s maps and sketches for the Lord of the Rings.

A lot of sword and sorcery\high\epic\whatever-you-call-it fantasy novels are accompanied by maps that show the world the story takes place in. Tolkien’s world is famous for its maps; I have one of them poster-sized mounted on my library wall, in fact.

Well, “In Treachery Forged” isn’t all that different — it, too, has a map. But this map hasn’t been included in the books, and probably won’t, for a variety of reasons.

To start with, it’s in color.  When switched over to greyscale, some of the boundaries marked on it aren’t distinct enough.  Also, some of the handwriting is hard to read, at least when reduced in size for a paperback\eReader device.  Finally, the map was made long before the book was completed, and there are a few errors in it, most of them very minor.

But it’s around… and, since the second book in that series is currently in the “editing and design” phase, I figured I could post it here, mention what the flaws were, and see if anyone thinks I should get it fixed up for the book.  (Please, actually COMMENT if you are interested.  No, really — comment.  It isn’t that hard)  I’m posting it full size, which might be slow to load on some systems, so click on the “read more” link to see it.

Continue reading A (slightly inaccurate) Map for “In Treachery Forged”

In Anticipation of Upcoming New Releases…

Believe it or not, I should be releasing two new novels, soon.  After so long, it’s a shocker, I know.

I haven’t talked much, recently, about my upcoming Science Fiction novel, “The Merrimack Event.”  This book was supposed to be out a full year ago, but it still isn’t ready yet.

The real hang-up for that book has been editing.  It’s been done for a long time now (years, actually).  It was in my trashbin, more or less, gathering dust.  I completed it at almost exactly the same time I finished “In Treachery Forged,”  but unlike that novel I didn’t think it was worth considering, initially, once I made the decision to self-publish.

But after “In Treachery Forged’s” success, I gave it a second look.  And while it was in very rough shape and some sections needed to be completely rewritten, I discovered I actually liked it.

There was no way I could release it in the state it was in, but I didn’t think it would take too long to get it ready.  I figured I could do a quick run-through of it in a couple weeks, send it out to an editor, and get it ready to go in two or three months time, maximum.

That turned out to be more than just overly optimistic.  It was almost six months before it was ready to send off to the editor — longer than I seem to remember it took to write it in the first place.

Then I contacted an editor who I’d previously vetted, explained what I wanted, and made the basics of a deal.  All I was waiting for was a cost estimate.

I initially put off starting my next book while waiting to hear back from him.  He’d claimed he would have his edits done in two to three weeks time, starting from when he recieved the manuscript.  I figured I would barely have time to get started before he got back to me, and I had other things I needed to do (in that period, among other things, I started setting up this blog, though it would be months before I actually used it).

But after a few weeks time, I still hadn’t heard back about the estimate, and he’d not taken the manuscript to get started.  I sent him a follow-up e-mail and got no response.  I went checking his accounts on twitter and Facebook, and found no activity for some time.  He hadn’t been on the internet, as far as I could tell.

I hoped he was just having computer problems.  I was pretty sure he wasn’t pulling this disappearing act as a scam or anything — he’d recieved no money and no manuscript, and usually scam artists only flee after you’ve paid them — but I wasn’t sure what was going on.

I was really looking forward to working with this guy — I believed, from his track record, that he was a very good editor, and held out hope that he would eventually get back to me.  But I no longer was waiting for him — I had started my next manuscript.

It’s been almost ten months, now.  I’ve sent the guy a few follow-up e-mails, but haven’t heard any reply.  I eventually gave up on him, but by then I was too embroiled in my next novel to try vetting another editor, and I didn’t want to tie up the other editors I’d worked with when I was hoping to use them all again, soon, too.

So “The Merrimack Event” has been languishing, waiting for me to finish that manuscript so I could start hunting down a new editor (and cover artist, but that should be easier to find).

That manuscript was “In Forgery Divided,” the sequel to “In Treachery Forged.”  I initially planned to release this book back in January, but that turned out to be when I started writing the darned thing — run-over from “The Merrimack Event” had delayed me that long.

While it initially moved along at a fast pace, writing “In Forgery Divided” slowed down to where I was managing my lowest ever net-words-per-day average (I say “net,” because there were times I ended the day almost twenty thousand words further back than I started, having to rewrite an entire section before moving forward).  This book has been fighting me every step of the way.

But there are lights at the end of the tunnel for both of these books, finally.  “In Forgery Divided” is now with the editor (he’s slow but he’s free… well, I help babysit his son in exchange, so not quite free.  Given the going rates of professional babysitters, I’m not sure I’m getting a real bargain, here).  Cover art has been commissioned (though I do wonder if my cover artist has become distracted — he just announced his engagement on Facebook a few weeks ago).  Right now (cross fingers, knock on wood, and whatever other counter-jinxes you can think of) I might have things ready to go by the end of October.  Well, November, more realistically, considering my editor’s estimate for completion, but it’s “soon.”

And then there’s “The Merrimack Event.”  I’ve identified a few cover artists I’m going to approach for this one (I employ a different cover artist for each series), and I’ve finally got the time to start looking for another possible editor.  Hopefully this time my editor won’t disappear on me.

In the coming weeks (assuming things go according to plan), don’t be surprised if my weekly blog consists of things related to my pre-publication preparations.  If you’ve been coming to this blog for its “educational” benefits, think of this as an example of the sort of work that would be a good idea (I almost said “needs,” here, but some of these things I didn’t do for my first book, and that turned out okay) to get done prior to getting your book out.  When the books are out (or at least the blogs relating to these book releases are mostly out of the way), I’ll be resuming the research series… and maybe getting that software series off the ground, finally.

Edit:  Comments on this post have been disabled because of spammers; contact me if you’re a real person and want me to re-open comments.

In An Effort to Actually Use This Darned Blog Thing….

For months now, I’ve been trying to figure out something I could do with this blog.  I wrote up one convention report… and then I still couldn’t figure out anything for several months, at which point I came out with another convention report.  Most likely, my next post will also be a convention report, as Capital Con is lingering just around the corner.  (Of note:  I am scheduled to appear on a panel at Capital Con.  My first time as a panelist since self-publishing my first book, and my first at an science fiction convention (though I used to regularly do fanfic panels at local anime conventions, including multiple Katsucons, Otakons, and the very first Nekocon).  I was hoping to have a book or two to release during this period, but I’m way behind on them.  And, really, I don’t think you want to read me talking about how “I wrote another 376 words today!  I’m that much closer to finishing things off” every day.  Trying to devote more time towards my books to complete “In Forgery Divided” has also contributed to my lack of blog posts.

But those are not the only reason this blog is so sparse.  I have no desire to use this blog just for convention reports and book releases, but so far I haven’t really come up with any content that seems worth posting to a blog.

Excerpts for upcoming titles?  Um… maybe some day, in the run-up to publication, but I’m not ready to start those, yet.  Advice on writing?  Well, maybe sometimes, but it seems like half the author blogs do that — I want to be a little more unique than that.   I love getting reviews, but I’m not comfortable writing them myself (my review style is to look for and write about what’s wrong.  Now, I only do this for things that I like enough to feel like commenting on, but I’ve known people who took things wrong when I did that).

I do have some ideas for things to post, but most of what I can think of only really works once this blog has at least a small following.  That makes these ideas catch-22s:  I can’t write these blog posts until I build an audience, but I can’t build an audience without having more blog posts.

Well, for the past few days I’ve been brainstorming to try and figure out something to add as content.  So far I’ve come up with the following ideas:

1.  A blog series on quirky things I’ve researched for a book… and never used.  I would avoid mentioning those sorts of things that might get you put on some sort of watch list, but instead concentrate (at least initially) on “things you wouldn’t think you needed to research until you need them,”  I would include details about why I was looking for this bit of research, how I went about it, when I gave up on it, and why I ultimately decided not to use it… or at least, why I’ve decided not to use it so far.

2.  A discussion of the software that I use to publish a book.  This would include programs like Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word, Scrivener, the (rumored defunct, but I’ve seen a release since hearing that rumor) freeware project Sigil, the Hemingway App, and more.

3.  A very few specific writing posts on certain things (such as a why and how for House Style Guides for the self-publisher… which might also include a small diatribe on the Chicago Manual of Style.  Though most of what I’d say on the later has already been said by CJ Cherryh here).

4.  Once I’ve built up a few posts on other topics, I might offer some author interviews (cross-promotion!  A subject I will probably mention at my Capital Con panel, among a dozen or so other things).  And, of course, I will continue to talk about conventions I attend… and, hopefully soon, I will actually get around to finishing those two books in my pipeline, and can post about them as well.

Welcome to the inagural “David A. Tatum Verbatim” Blog Post

I’ve had this blog set up for a couple months, now, but I haven’t posted anything because I was hoping to make it a really “Big” post.  However, I’ve been too busy to really bother making anything “Big,” so my blog has just been sitting here with the default “Hello World” post for days.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I should just quit waiting for the chance to write a “Big” post, and just post, well, anything.

I plan to use this blog for several things:

  1. Occasional status reports on my writing projects
  2. Discussion of my writing philosophy (because it seems every writer who had a blog occasionally talks about either the “how-to” or the business of writing).
  3. Book release announcements.
  4. Fennec Fox Press news (for ex., I’m considering opening an online storefront; if that comes out, expect an announcement here)
  5. Convention Reports (I attend 2-4 conventions a year)
  6. Possibly occasional “interviews” with other writers, characters, etc., if I ever find anyone interested.
  7. Maybe some sports commentary (I’m a hockey fan.  My team is the Washington Capitals.  You can laugh or commiserate as appropriate).
  8. Miscellaneous ramblings.

So, coming tomorrow (I know I said on Facebook it would be today, but after writing it all up I accidentally deleted it and will have to start over; I’m still learning this blogging software), I will be using this blog for #5 on that list with my Convention Report on Marscon 2015.

I may also be moving my Convention Calender over from the Fennec Fox Press site to this blog; the software I’ve been using there has gotten too buggy to regularly update that calender, and there may be a plug-in for this site that will work better.  I’ll test a few of those out over the next few days, so you may see it appear and disappear from this site over the next few weeks.