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.

Deacon has arrived

Just wanted to give everyone the heads up, The Great Convergence now has a high quality cover! This time around Myranda partners up with Deacon.

The namesake of the series finally shows up!

Quite the formidable pair, eh? I have no doubt that I’ve been driving Mr. Deligaris completely insane with my incessant emails, but he’s nearly there. Just one more cover to go! The next one is set to feature a trio of characters. Myranda will be joined by two members of The Chosen. I just sent a rundown of what I considered to be key details, then another panicked email with more details, then I had to physically prevent myself from sending yet another. It is like I’m sending my kids off to their first class picture or something. Once all three covers are done, and any potential final adjustments are made, I’ll get maximum resolution copies and push them to all of the retailers. I can’t wait.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet Myranda

I usually don’t post updates this close together, but I hadn’t anticipated the sheer speed with which the artwork would be completed. The cover for The Book of Deacon is complete. Here it is:

Pleased to meet you, Miss Celeste.

Do yourself a favor and give that a click to full size. I cannot put into words how thrilled I am with how it came out. It is the character exactly as I picture her. As I told my friends, the best part of the book is now officially the cover. I just dished out the details for the second cover, which will feature Myranda along with one additional character. As before, I’ll post it when it is complete. When all three covers are complete, I’ll push updates to all three books with the new cover art and credits for the artist, Nick Deligaris.

Thanks for reading.

Art is on the way!

Hi, everyone!

As I’ve said elsewhere, it is my plan to reinvest all of the money earned from the books back into the books, until they are as good as I can make them. Initially the first thing on the list was to have all of the books professionally edited. Well, editing is a lengthy process. Since I would like to stick with the same editor for all books, for the sake of consistency and loyalty, it will probably be months before the first book is completed and the second book can be sent off to be touched up.

I’m not the patient type, and I knew that the longer I waited to invest my earnings, the more likely I would be to spend them on something frivolous, so I decided to track down an artist and commission some covers. After a few days scanning Deviant Art for prospective cover artists, a friend suggested Nick Deligaris. I’d actually encountered his work in my initial sweep (it turns up pretty quickly if you search for fantasy or dragon), but I’d dismissed it as being far beyond my means. The guy is EMMY NOMINATED for crying out loud. As usual, my friends nudged me until I sent him an email, and as usual, I’m glad they did. He got back to me right away, and he has been beyond helpful with his advice and support. Never underestimate the insight of a skilled artist and graphic designer. He collaborated with me and guided me away from designs that wouldn’t translate well to book covers, as well as making suggestions on how to increase the impact of the images. On top of it all, he was extremely understanding and supportive of my status as an indie author. Even if I never ended up getting a picture, the advice and service alone makes him worthy of a recommendation.

Barring mishap, he will be supplying the covers for all three books of the trilogy. We just hammered out the final details for the cover of Book 1 this morning, so I imagine it will be a little while before the first draft makes its way to me. Until then, do yourself a favor and check out his other work at www.deligaris.com. I’ve had it open in a tab of my browser since last week. He does great work.

I cannot put into words how cool this is for me. It is like someone is going to finally introduce me to the character I’ve been writing about for all of this time. Like everything else that I’ve discussed in this blog, this is all thanks to you good people out there for giving me a chance and picking up my books. I appreciate your support, and I hope that I can continue to produce things that you will enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

UPDATE: I already got a rough draft, and it is magnificent. You folks will have to wait until the finished product, but for me, Myranda finally has a face.

25k! Unbelievable!

Amazon has been treating me very well of late. Even though the downloads have been tapering off, they have still not died entirely. As a matter of fact, some time yesterday the combined downloads of all of my books on Amazon.com crossed the 25,000 mark! Granted, the vast majority of those downloads are free copies of Book 1, but that does not diminish the fact that tens of thousands of people have my book in their digital libraries. This is a very big deal for me. I realize that most of you out there would suggest that it would be a big deal for any indie author, but people who know me personally can appreciate how monumental this is to me specifically.

I am intensely self-conscious about the things that I create. I always have been. The books in particular were a source of great embarrassment for me for reasons I’m still not able to fully articulate. On the day that I self-published, the number of people who were fully aware that I’d written a book, let alone a trilogy, was in the single digits. I would agonize over whether or not to tell someone, and swear them to secrecy about it. Members of my immediate family didn’t know. Now there are thousands and thousands of people who have the book. That is simultaneously the most exciting and most terrifying outcome I could have imagined. To my great relief, the experience has been extremely positive. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been perfect. I’ve received some reviews that I’ve described as psychologically ruinous. (Evidently there is at least one person out there who would have liked to see all of my characters die in a fire.) Most people who share their thoughts, though, are encouraging and helpful. For the others, I’m slowly developing what I refer to as a “review callous.” Very slowly.

I very much doubt that I’m the only person who has poured countless hours into a project, then sat upon it for fear of failure. Consider this an example of what could happen if you take a chance.

Rather than spend a whole post patting myself on the back, though, let me give you an update on what’s going on. I’ve finished doing another revision of Book 3. In the next few weeks that will go live, and those interested can update. Since I’ve received comparatively few complaints about typos and the like on Jade and Bypass Gemini, I’ll put off doing additional revisions of them in order to focus on the current book I’m writing. I’m not usually in a hurry to finish a book, but I am extremely interested in getting Sci Fi Book 2 finished and published. When I’m selecting books to read, I always feel a lot better about trying a new author when I know that, if I like their stuff, there will be more where that came from. Thus, continuing the adventures of Lex, Karter, and Ma is my current priority, so that fellow series readers will know that it isn’t one and done.

That’s it for now. As always, thanks for reading.


Amazon Notifications and Other News

I’ve just learned that Amazon has sent out the notifications about my corrected version of The Great Convergence, so if you have been waiting for it, it is either already sitting in your inbox or will be arriving soon. (Though ‘soon’, it has been pointed out, has an entirely different interpretation for large corporations.) The message claims that it is correcting formatting errors, which isn’t strictly the case, but it is probably better to say that than “a frankly embarrassing number of grammatical errors,” which is what I would have said. It is worth pointing out that the message also warns that updating will cost you your highlights and bookmarks, so if you’ve made significant use of such features, you may want to avoid the auto update. You won’t be missing out on any plot alterations, just a few moved commas, a few word substitutions, and a few corrected spellings.

The Amazon Sales Anomaly seems to have finally tapered off, with new purchases trickling instead of gushing, but I couldn’t be happier with the results. My thanks to all of you who made this possible. I earned enough to finance a professional edit of Book 1 – which is still a few months away, mind you – and I’m within spitting distance of getting the same treatment for Book 2. I’ve also got a bit set aside to commission some new covers. I’m still waiting to hear back from the artist that has been recommended to me, so if any of you have artists in mind that are taking commissions, I’d certainly take them into consideration. Likewise, if you have any thoughts on what the covers should depict, I’d love to hear them, too. Obviously keep spoilers to a minimum. As always, if you’ve got something to say that you think would spoil things for those who have not finished reading, you can drop me a line directly at the email address on my contact page.

Before I sign off for now, I’ll give you an update on my current project, a sequel to Bypass Gemini. I still haven’t picked out a name, but I’ve got a few ideas now. Giving you an idea of the length of an ebook is tricky, but so far I’ve reached 51,000 words, which is just over a third of the way to the average length of the books in the trilogy. It has got a long way to go, and real life has been conspiring to slow down my progress, but I’ll keep plugging away.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Smashwords Sale

Hi, everybody! Although the vast majority of you probably found your way here due to the Amazon edition of my books, all of my novels are for sale on Smashwords.com as well. This is good news for anyone looking to finish reading my trilogy (or pick up one of the other books) but iffy about paying $2-3 each, because Smashwords is having a huge sale.  For the month of July, all of my books (except the free one) will be half price if you apply the coupon code on each book page (SSW50). There are plenty of other great books from indie authors that are slashing prices as well, with discounts of 25%, 50%, 75%, or even 100% off. So head on down and take a look at the promotion. You can also find links directly to my novels via the Books page.

I also realized that, as I’ve been receiving comments and reviews, there are some questions that have been asked frequently. The standard operating procedure when that starts to happen on the internet is to produce an FAQ. So I did. As I find more people asking similar questions, more will be added. If you have questions that are not answered there, and are itching to ask, go right ahead. In the mean time, I’ve got to get back to work on Sci Fi Book 2.

Thanks for reading.

Book 2 Updated

Just a quick heads up. I just pushed fresh copy of The Great Convergence to both Amazon and Smashwords. If you haven’t read that book yet, or plan to read it again, you can download a new copy immediately if you bought it from Smashwords. If you bought it from Amazon, the new copy will be up in a day or two. If you got it from Barnes and Noble or one of the other retailers, it will probably be few weeks.

I read through and got rid of a few glaring typos, including the infamous “reign/rein” problem that a number of people have pointed out. There are also a few awkwardly worded sentences that have been reworked, and one or two lines added to clarify the literary equivalent of stage direction. I’m not saying I caught all of my mistakes, I’m just saying there are fewer now than before. It is probably a side effect of a Computer Engineering and Information Technology background that I’ve been treating these books like programs, complete with patches and updates every few months.

After a short break to regain some sanity, I’ll try reading through book 3 and giving it a similar update, along with continuing the Sci Fi followup.

UPDATE: June 30th, 2010 7:35 PM

It looks like the updated Amazon version is live. You can replace your current version if you like.


Testing the waters

Hello, all.

Progress has been a bit slow on the next book, I am afraid. (I’m about 33,000 words in, or about half the length of Jade. That would put me at about a quarter of the way to my target length.) It has been a while since I gave you any updates, though, so I figured I would take this opportunity to get your thoughts on a thing or two. I’ve gotten a lot of reviews and comments since last I posted. Some were justifiably critical, but most were very positive. A handful have even remarked that it is a shame the books aren’t available in print. In the past I had looked briefly into what would be necessary to have some paperbacks made, but at that time it didn’t seem worth the effort, since I’d had a grand total of four sales. The time may have come to revisit the area.

Naturally if there were a print edition there would be some differences. Foremost, I wouldn’t be able to offer Book 1 for free. Considering the sheer number of pages in the book, in fact, the minimum price is going to be pretty darn high. A quick estimate puts it at $10+, which I personally think would be a tough sell. Since my readers wouldn’t have the ability to download corrected editions free of charge, I would want to wait until I had a professionally edited manuscript before shipping it off to be printed. (In all fairness, I should have done that for the ebook version, but it is doubly important for the print edition.) It would also be a good idea to get a snappy cover made. There would be decisions to be made regarding what form factor I should shoot for, what typeface, what font size, and no doubt a few dozen other things I’m not even aware of.

All of the considerations above boil down to a fair amount of money and a fair amount of time. Since both of those things are very valuable resources, I’d like to know what you folks think. Should I give the dead tree version of self-publishing a try? Most of you are reading this because you already own and have already read at least one of my books, so I wouldn’t expect you to buy a second version of the same story. The real question is, do you think that printing the book would be worth my while? What benefits do you think there would be? I’m interested in your opinions, so if you have a thought you’d like to share, please comment.