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Archive for the ‘Business of Writing’ Category

Just a short note:  The inestimable Jessica has returned a well-clawed manuscript back to me, thus beginning a three-day effort to incorporate them into the final manuscript.

If you’d like to read something I sent out in my Bill’s Worlds newsletter earlier this month, take a gander at one of the characters in Riddled Space, Celine Greenfield.

Remember, launch date for Riddled Space is Monday, August 28th!

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Authors often hector their readers for reviews, which seems strange.  What?  You have no idea if I even like your work or not, and you’re asking me for my opinion?  OK…here goes!  There actually is a method to this madness.  Reviews are important to an author.  I wrote my newsletter subscribers about the importance of reviews.  I thought it important enough to post here, as well.


At the end of all my works, there’s a request for a review.  Reviews are, quite simply, your opinion as to whether you would recommend my work to another reader.  I have no doubt that there are some of you that would not recommend my work.  That’s fine–my kids don’t eat some of my cooking.

But if you do like what I have served up, please leave a review.  You don’t actually have to give your name in the Amazon system if you don’t want to.  I also won’t give you grief about your review.


Why am I asking for reviews?  Am I that desperate for an ego-stroke?  Isn’t the royalty enough?  There are very prosaic reasons that authors want reviews.
  1. Feedback Mechanism:  I need to know how my readers feel about my work. Do you want more of this and less of that?  If you don’t email me (by, for instance, replying to my newsletter) and you don’t write a review, how am I to know what you want?  Now, while I prefer that criticism is in email, and praise is in reviews, I really do want to know what you all like.
  2. Promotional Eligibility:  Many promotional services (like Book Barbarian, InstaFreebie, and others) require a work to have at least 10 reviews, and a certain average rating, in order to make the work eligible for their particular megaphone.  There are other criteria, too, but without reviews, I’m shut out of those ways of promoting my work.
  3. Industry Notice:  Industry awards are also dependent, at least in part, on reviews.  It would be nice to win an award.  I was nominated once for an award from the British Science Fiction Association, and I can’t describe the lift that gave me.

“Bill, why are you bugging us?  Why not just pay to get a bunch of click farm critters to crank out a bunch of five star reviews?”
This is going to sound corny as hell, but here it is:  I want reviews of my work to be honest feedback by my readers.  The reason for this block of text is to inform you why I want reviews, to explain their importance, and to ask you for your honest feedback.  I know other authors have a lesser punctilio in their dealings with the indie ecosphere.  Me, I want to sleep at night knowing that I did everything with honor.

“OK, then, what about ARCs?  You ask for people to read copies of your book in advance of launch in exchange for a review.  How is that not ‘paying for a review’?”
Interesting question, and one I know is on people’s mind.  It all goes back to the idea of feedback.  ARCs or ARC-like behavior is an accepted practice amongst nearly all the arts.  How many movie commercials begin with the words “Critics rave about <movie x>”?  How can those critics rave about a movie that hasn’t been released yet?  Simple–they attended an advanced screening, the movie version of a ARC.

Here’s where I differ.  I cannot  control what is in your review, or whether it appears on the book page.  Sure, you get a free book.  I don’t penalize you if you don’t write a review.  I don’t penalize you if you write a thoughtful negative review.  You are under no pressure to even write a review, although I wish you would.

I think I’ve beaten this dead horse enough, don’t you?  So, here’s a list of my works and their review links.  If you have read any of them, I am interested in your comments.  If you have not read them, please don’t write a review–that would be dishonest.


The Paradisi Chronicles Stories

God’s Sandbox 
Nuking the Noomies
Live Wire
Eye of the Needle

The Family of Grifters Stories

The Longest Con
Ownership

The Legacy Fleet Stories

Gauss

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Without going into dreary details, I was suddenly presented (about 10 minutes ago) with an opportunity: did I have a space-based SF short story, size in the 2-3k range, that I was willing to submit?

I turned to my Writing Portfolio spreadsheet (uh, you catalog your stories, don’t you?) set the words column to look for under 3500, and shazaam!  Three good candidates.

I relate this because between now and the end of July, there is no possible way I could write at 2-3000 word story.  As it is, I will have trouble making my Riddled Space deadline of 31 July.  But because, back in July of 2015, I wrote “Command Decision” for a market called The “Gernsback Writing Contest”, got rejected, but never deleted it, I have something to get to the editor tomorrow.

In the writing business, you have to be able to strike when the iron is hot.  It helps if you have a backpack full of ammo, ready to rock and roll, instead of pouring your minie-balls there on the battlefield.

Write.  Write often.  Submit to markets.  Save ALL stories.

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Subject to change, of course!

Under the gentle prodding of other Indie authors, I have finally put together a launch schedule for the rest of the year.  All of these dates are subject to change, of course, and it’s always a good idea to sign up for my newsletter (http://SmartURL.it/BillsWorlds) to get all of the latest info.

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There will be a short delay in the pre-order page for The Longest Con.  I plan to have it completed and submitted by Super Bowl kickoff (that would be Sunday, Feb 5)  I will be posting and hitting the email list with the link as soon as I get it.

Thank you for your patience.

PS–I had a glimpse of the next tale in the Family of Grifters universe.  NOT a sequel, or prequel, or any other kind of ‘quell.  Just another story, set in the same environment with the same protagonists.  Yeah.  This one will be fun!

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Way back in September, just after I finished the 3-Day Novel Contest, I looked at my hard drive.  I mean, really looked at it.  What did I see?  Seven novellas, all of which did not make the cut for 3Day (I’m not altogether sanguine about my chances this year, either).  Of the group, one will never see the light of day, a second is actually a far-distant sequel to The Honorable Thing, and the third (“Live Wire”) is still in the judging queue.

That left me four novellas, of the seven, that were suitable for self-publication.  So I picked one.  I then reached out to other 3DN participants.  Hey, if I am going down a road, why not have friends along?  I have three or more who really want to see how things go with me, then they will join me.  Not a problem!  One I completely empathize with.  I am glad to have a cheerleading squad on the bus with me.

So, I buckled down, shook out the novella, and sent it to a beta reader and an editor.  Tremendous feedback returned.  Both of them, highly successful professionals, stressed how much more they wanted to know about my characters and demanded sequels.  Thus, the Family of Grifters series was born.

The Longest Con was a 2014 3DN entry that garnered zero attention from the judges.   But it was both one of my favorites and one of the shorter works I have done.  Now, I’ve been asked to add something to it (understandable), and get it published.  I engaged one of the great upper mid-range cover artists, Christian Bentulan, to create the first of what I hope will be many covers for the Family of Grifters series.  Oh, you want to see it?  Here it is!

The Longest Con

The Longest Con

Pre-order opens on 2/1/2017, TLC launches on 2/10/2017.

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I’ve gone ahead and crossed out the steps that I have already taken to set myself up as an independent author.  Now I am down to the last two:

  1. Create a Amazon KDP account.
  2. Panic because I forgot something.

I am actually somewhat pleased with myself–I have almost a whole week to plot my 3 Day Novel entry for this year.  I know I’ll have to do some research, but I had to be ready to leap when the publication date for Paradisi Chronicles gets set.  So, I am testing BookFunnel now by spamming my friends.  I really hope it goes well.

Did you miss the signup for my newsletter?  Click here, and you’ll be part of the launch of my indie career, and read some fiction that you might just like.  Some stories are going to only go out to newsletter subscribers, so don’t be left out.

 

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