Site Updates

My, but things are moving fast, aren’t they?

Regular visitors will notice a fresh new look to the site. This theme may get tweaked and adjusted a bit over time, but for now, I’m happy with it. If you look at the navigation bar, you’ll also see that we’ve also got a fancy new forum. Now if you want to have a discussion longer than a few comments, you can do so! It is probably going to take a while before the forum sees any significant use, but I’ll try to pop in once or twice a day to see if anyone has shown up and said hello.

At any rate, that’s two more things off of my to do list. What do you folks think? Any other wants, needs, or desires?

New York Comic Con (and a Whole Lot of Little Things)

A handful of small announcements have piled up, so I figured it would be wise get them all out here before I forget.

First, NYCC. My spare time is split between writing these novels and doing articles and reviews for BrainLazy.com. That site started as a way to justify all of the time I spent saying stupid stuff and playing video games, but like the books, it has taken on a life of its own. Aside from the steady stream of video games to review, BrainLazy gets us press access to some pretty major events, including PAX East and New York Comic Con. For the third year in a row, I’ll be attending NYCC while wearing my journalist hat. However, since I now have a legitimate product that might interest attendees, for the first time ever I’ll be wearing my author hat, too! I even had some cards made up!

Joseph Lallo: Card Carrying Author

Take a close look at that QR code by the way. Yep! My card bears the mark. I’ll probably be attending NYCC on Saturday, Oct. 15th, and Sunday, Oct. 16th. I won’t have a booth or anything. I’ll just be pacing the floor, looking for cool stuff to write about and trying to hand out a few business cards, but if you’re going to be there too, send me an email or post a comment if you want to meet.

Speaking of BrainLazy, keep your eyes peeled for a little bit more crossover between this site and that. I created www.bookofdeacon.com to avoid polluting the BrainLazy front page with news about the books. (Technically, I created it because a friend of mine bought me the domain for my birthday, but offloading my book-related yammering was the best use I could think of.) Every now and then, though, a topic arises that would be of interest to both the readers of my books and the readers of BrainLazy. When that occurs, I’ll probably do a double post: Once here as myself, and once at BrainLazy as my somewhat more abrasive alter ego, Decoychunk.

Another cool thing I’ve learned is that the iBookstore, which is one of the many retailers that carries my stuff, will be distributing it to 26 more countries. Not just my book, naturally, but everything in the Smashwords premium catalog, and presumably everything ELSE they have for sale. Here’s the list of countries:

Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland

I’m not sure how many sales these new countries will send my way, considering most of them aren’t native English speakers, but it’s neat to know that the iPod, iPad, and iPhone bearing public in a host of new nations will be able to download my books if they wish.

Finally, I’m beginning to gather requests, comments, and suggestions regarding how best to connect with my fans and readers. I was recently asked if I have a Facebook fan page for myself or my books, and while I don’t right now, that’s something I could certainly create. There has also been talk of a forum. The mere mention of it to my web guy made it magically appear, though it isn’t quite ready to be deployed to the general public. I’ve been seeing a lot of search hits on my site indicating that there are people out there with great concern for some of my more popular characters and little patience to find out what happens to them in the long run. Obviously I won’t be putting up a big list of spoilers to set their minds at ease, but I could certainly imagine that sort of thing showing up in a forum for readers to discuss. Expect a few changes to the site, and an update to this very post when they roll out.

A New Review!

Hi, everyone. Pure Textuality has posted their review of The Book of Deacon. If you have a moment, please check it out. I can’t thank them enough for giving my book a chance. The same naturally goes for Best O’ Books and Ebook Apothecary for their reviews as well. The amount of praise and support I’ve received is flattering beyond words. PT is planning on adding interviews to their site, and I’m lucky enough to have been asked to contribute. Hopefully I can provide interesting or useful answers to whatever questions she may have for me.

I’ve started working out the specifics for the professional edit of my second book, but based on the feedback of a very helpful reader, I am confident that the current revision has taken care of all but a few major errors. That means that the editor will only need to iron out the finer details, like the perplexing conundrum of when to use a hyphen, or my old foe the semicolon. The money for that has been set aside, but while I was initially hoping to get covers for the rest of my books with the next chunk of money earned, it was brought to my attention that I should probably be thinking about how much of my earnings Uncle Sam is likely to want. Silly me, never anticipated earning enough for that to be a concern. I guess this is the self-publisher’s equivalent of puberty: Not the most pleasant experience, but at least it means you’re growing up.

Until the next piece of news, thanks for reading.

 

Notifications

Hey, everybody, just a quick heads up. I just got my notification of the professional edit of The Book of Deacon from Amazon, so if you haven’t, you will soon. As I’ve said, all this does is fix the admittedly copious amount of typos, and opting in will wipe out any bookmarks or highlights you’ve done, so update your book only if you wish. You won’t be missing any new content. Also, if you end up re-reading, you’ll probably find, as one eagle-eyed reader has, that there is at least ONE typo that remains to be corrected. Curse you perfection! Why must you be so unattainable!?

Coverage!

I’m not sure if it is an alignment of the planets or just dumb luck, but in the past week or so I have had three eBook blogs tell me that they were interested in reviewing The Book of Deacon. First was Pure Textuality, who I found out will be looking at my book immediately following GAME OF THRONES. (Not too confident about comparing favorably to one of the greatest works of Epic Fantasy in recent memory.) After that came Ebook Apothecary, and then Best O’ Books. I cannot say enough good things about these blogs. Even ignoring their excellent content, the people behind each of these sites have been pleasant and helpful without exception, and you can be sure that I’ll jump at the chance to work with any of them again in the future. At the moment, Best O’ Books and Ebook Apothecary have both posted their reviews. You can find the Best O’ Books review here, along with a short guest post by me. The Ebook Apothecary review is here. If you get a chance, please check them out.

After batting a few ideas around and bouncing them off of my braintrust, I’ve decided that my next big expenditure for the books will be a professional polish for The Great Convergence. My friends and I have done our best to wring out as many typos and name-swaps as possible, but considering this is at least the third time we’ve done so, the chances are very good that we’ve still missed some. The idea of someone reading through the professionally primped Book 1 for free, then dropping hard earned dollars for a flawed sequel strikes me as something of a bait and switch, so I’m trying to see to it that the full trilogy gets the same expert treatment ASAP. I sent a message to my trusty editor, but she’s in high demand, so it will be at least a few months before I see a corrected version.

If sales continue to defy all explanation, I’ll probably be getting covers made for Jade and the Sci Fi books next, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Sci Fi sequel isn’t even done yet. (It is nearly as long as its predecessor, though, with a fair amount of plot to go. Good news for fans of my longer stuff, I guess.)

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Learning the Ropes

Hi again.

I’ve got a few small announcements to make. First, after a bit of fighting and formatting, I think I finally got the professionally edited version of the first book into a form that looks right on a kindle. (I do not yet own a kindle, so this is actually difficult for me to determine without shenanigans.) I have thus informed the Amazon folks to send out notifications, but they are a busy bunch, and I am low on the literary totem pole, so it may be a while. On the plus side, in my various investigations and analyses, I discovered that there is a way to directly request to receive an updated edition of the book. (I’ll warn you that this is untested by me, so pursue at your own risk.) In the words of Amazon’s Support page, in reference to how I can receive a new copy of my own work:

… We request your explicit permission, and will do the same for any customers who contact us to receive the updated content, prior to sending the revised file because the new version will not have previously saved Highlights, Last Page Read, Bookmarks, and the location of notes may not match. If this is acceptable, please email kdp-support@amazon.com confirming your permission and which title/s you’d like to have re-sent. Thank you.

Note: Customers who purchased the old content can also contact our Customer Service department to have the new file delivered.

So there you have it. If you are impatient to see the multitude of minor adjustments that have been made to Book 1 (and to a lesser degree, book 2) in the trilogy, and you have a kindle, feel free to give that a try and let me know how it works out.

I’ve also been getting plenty of excellent feedback in the form of emails and comments, and I am, as always, glad to hear from people. Strangely, hot on the heels of my recent appearance on Pure Textuality, I received a message and a twitter follow from a certain Ebook Apothecary. Aside from indicating she was planning to feature a review of my book, and graciously offering to take a look at the updated version, she also brought to light one or two ways in which I had been remiss in my authorly duties. Based on her observations and suggestions, my twitter presence has gotten an overhaul, which hopefully will make it more clear that the jrlallo floating around on twitter and the Joseph Lallo making the eBook rounds are in fact the same person. I also spruced up the appearance of my twitter page to bring it more in line with my overall visual style. There was also talk of other things authors tend to do, like book giveaways and interviews. While I did do something of an interview a while back, I hadn’t really thought about doing a giveaway for my non-free stuff. I’ve got one or two ideas of how that might go down, now. I haven’t made any firm decisions, mind you, but you may just see me hand out some Smashwords coupon codes ’round about the time my next book comes out.

That about wraps it up for now. Until I have something interesting to say, thanks for reading.

UPDATE: Amazon let me know that they will send out notifications within 5 business days, so you’ll likely be contacted sometime next week if you bought it through them.

Pure Textuality

A few quick updates.

I got an email from Jena Gregoire yesterday informing me that she would be featuring The Book of Deacon on her blog, Pure Textuality. I took a look at the site, and it looks like a great place to find eBook news, reviews, and lists. Certainly worth checking out. My specific post is here, if you are interested. My thanks to Jena, and a special welcome to any new readers who found me via her posting. She also mentioned that she is planning to give my book the full review treatment after her current project, so I will nervously look forward to learning what she thinks of my work, as I do with all reviews. Fingers crossed.

In other news, the professionally edited version of Book 1 is live in virtually all retailers. I’ll nudge Amazon to send out notifications shortly. For some reason, I’m noticing a minor indent problem that Amazon’s file conversion is introducing to the end result, so I may need to fiddle with a few settings and push a new copy, but I don’t think it impacts the book too heavily. Earlier this morning, Smashwords and Amazon got a freshly revised version of The Great Convergence as well. This isn’t a professional edit. A friend of mine who read the books prior to their publication took the time to read through again and caught 80 or so minor typos, so I corrected them and pushed a revision. A few minor format alterations have been made to bring it more in line with the new look for book 1, too. As always, there are no changes to plot or dialog beyond minor phrasing adjustments, so if and when you receive a notification of a new version, feel free to ignore it if you want to hang on to any bookmarks or highlights you’ve applied, or if you simply don’t mind the errors. Expect similar treatment to be given to book 3 in a week or two.

Sci Fi book 2 is creeping closer to completion, but it is becoming increasingly clear that I’ll need to run through it once or twice after it is finished to make sure that all of those involved are justified and properly motivated… at least, where justification and motivation are called for. The various threads are beginning to weave back together, though, so the end is in sight.

Thanks for reading.

A Letter From The Editor

Late last night I got a message from Anna Genoese, the editor who has been working on Book 1 of the Trilogy, and guess what it said? The polished up copy is finished! I skimmed through it today, and the degree to which my grasp of the English language differs from the official one is downright horrifying. I sent my sincere thanks to her, along with a few points of clarification. Once everything is squared away, I’ll have to tweak the version she gave me into something that fits the format requirements of Smashwords and Amazon. Once that’s done, and I’ve delivered my final payment to her, I’ll push it live.

I’d like to make a few things clear before this edit goes live. First, this is merely a cleaned up, proofread version. No scenes have been added or removed, so for those of you who have already completed it, the story you know and love (or hate) remains intact. Second, as always, even after I push the update, it will be a while before Amazon will send out update notifications, and if you don’t mind the typos, feel free to ignore the notification when it comes.

Now that this edit is nearly out of the way, I’m officially left with nothing going on in the background. I’ll have to wait until I know precisely where I stand regarding finances before I move forward with either sending off Book 2 for similar treatment or having covers made for the remaining books. Until then, you can check out the recently added Coming Attractions section under books on the menu above in order to see a slice of the current book I’m working on. I’ve got some vacation coming up from my day job. Maybe I’ll get a chance to churn out a few chapters.

As always, thanks for reading.

UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that you good folks might want to see what a professionally proofread and polished manuscript looks like. Well, here’s a picture! (Click for full size.)

Updated Covers and Future Endeavors

Hi everybody!

I got the high resolution covers back from the artist, and I’ve since formatted them to match the requirements for Amazon and Smashwords and pushed replacements. I have likewise gone to Good Reads, Shelfari, and Library Thing and done my best to update covers there as well. (If any of you folks are frequent visitors of those sites, feel free to send me a friend request, by the way.) Once the updated books and covers have finished trickling to the far reaches of the distribution network, I’ll let Amazon know that they can send out update notices.

So what now? Well, Sci Fi Book 2 is still creeping along, but since I’m on the east coast of the United States, a cluster of natural disasters managed to shift my priorities for a few days. The aforementioned earthquake sent me home early from work, and the subsequent hurricane knocked out power for a few hours. Nothing devastating, thankfully, but distracting. Now that the random acts of God seem to have died down, I’m left with nothing but the still in progress professional edit of The Book of Deacon sitting on the back burner. Since I don’t feel as though I am multitasking properly unless I’ve got something going on BOTH back burners, I’ll once again ask for input from my readers.

My literary to do list is fairly full right now, so what I’m mostly looking for is ancillary stuff. I’m extremely new to this whole “author” thing, so I’m not sure where I’m coming up short. Is there anything you good folks would like to see from me? Recommendations for site features, perhaps, or questions you’d like to ask? Now that I’ve got nice new covers for the Book of Deacon Trilogy, the Jade and Bypass Gemini covers are looking positively childish by comparison. The chances are good I’ll be tapping the artist to produce some covers for them as well, if the money builds up enough. Until then, I’m open to suggestions for ideas of what to showcase on those covers. If you have any ideas of what I should be doing with my existing artwork, please speak up as well. A friend of mine has expressed interest in a poster-sized print, so I may be looking into that whole process. If anyone else wants one, let me know. If there is enough interest, I’ll talk to the artist about working out a royalty rate and see about selling them on the site.

I look forward to your input. Thanks for reading.

UPDATE: If you look down in the comments, you’ll see that I got a reply, and a good one at that. Rather than wait an appropriate amount of time and do a post about it, or post again right away, I figured it would be best to announce any changes that come as a result of this post as updates. The first request was a list of future projects, potentially with snippets. I threw something together quickly and put it up. Just mouse over the Books tab and you’ll see a drop down with “Coming attractions,” which will contain any preview materials I decide to distribute. Thanks for the suggestion!

Here it is, the third cover!

Technically this was finished on Friday, but after some technical issues took down my site and email, I didn’t find out until today. As far as I am concerned, it is well worth the wait. See for yourself.

Lain and Ether have joined the party.

Once again I am astounded at the ability of this artist to capture so much of the character within the image. Ether is a fiery spectacle, ready to pour all she is into the battle. Lain manages to be an indistinct shadow, focused on the task and little else. There are loads of details I love. Spectacular.

I’ve given this the thumbs up, so he’ll be looking over all three, making any tweaks he feels are necessary, then delivering the full size ones. Once that happens, I’ll push updates to all of the relevant locations and watch as the excellence trickles out into the wild. I’ll also update the contents of the book to credit the excellent Nick Deligaris for his work. This concludes what so far has been my absolute favorite part of the self-publishing process. I created these characters long ago, and they’ve been running around in my head, but it wasn’t until now that they really had any sort of tangible form. It is unreal to see them rendered with such skill.

The professional edit of the first book should be showing up near the end of September, so this cover represents the last significant update I’m likely to have for a while. The next book is creeping along, but a remarkable variety of things have managed to force me to set it aside recently, from the arrival of a review copy of a highly anticipated game to an earthquake. I’ll keep at it, though. Until then, what do you folks think of the covers? Have you got any other suggestions of steps I should take to improve the books? I look forward to your replies.