As a full time writer. Actually, it was September 17. The day, one year ago, that my regular paychecks stopped, my cell phone allotment ceased, my ridiculously generous healthcare insurance ended, and “the man” quit paying for my car (and gas). ONE OF THE BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE! Life has been hectic…no doubt about that…but I have never once looked back. Probably because I don’t have the time! Here’s what I’ve accomplished in the past year. Published 423,772 words broken down into: 3 Novels—The Perseid Collapse, Event Horizon, Point of Crisis 3 Novellas for Kindle Worlds—First Contact, Last Betrayal and Sanctuary (coming very soon) 1 Non-fiction collaboration on personal readiness and disaster preparedness—Practical Prepping: No Apocalypse Required. Pursued several franchising opportunities: Re-edited and re-issued 2 books—The Jakarta Pandemic and Black Flagged. Launched 4 audiobooks through Audible—The Perseid Collapse, Event Horizon, Point of Crisis and Black Flagged Redux. The rest of the Black Flagged franchise is on the way. Signed a deal with Amazon Crossing to translate and publish The Jakarta Pandemic in German. E-book and hardcopy. Signed a deal to translate The Perseid Collapse into German. I’ll publish it as an e-book. Sounds like no time for fun and games, right?
And I have Amazon Infatuation Syndrome. It started nearly four years ago, when I decided to forego sending query letters to agents, after reading Joe Konrath’s blog from top to bottom. I independently uploaded my first novel to Amazon’s various retail platforms and sold 5,000 copies (with minimal marketing) within 6 months. I quickly decided that self-publishing through Amazon presented a viable path to becoming a full-time writer. I published my second book (in a completely different genre) one year after my Amazon debut, selling 8,000 copies in six months. A new book followed every six month—all while I worked a lucrative day job and dreamed about the day I would resign to pursue full-time writing. Each book brought me closer, until I finally developed enough sales and readership velocity to escape the gravity of an easy, six figure salary job. Amazon didn’t write my books, but they played a more than nominal role in my quiet success. For that, I’m a little infatuated with Amazon. Nate Hoelfelder at The Digital Reader thinks I’m deluded because I’m happy with Amazon. Read his article. His blog post is the latest reaction to the ongoing corporate negotiation battle between Amazon and Hachette Publishing. In essence, he says that
UPDATED 11/13/2011: Thank you for a great launch week! So far, the total raised for the campaign is $253.50. Simply fantastic. I am extending the matching donation campaign one more week. All proceeds from sales for this next week will go to the Disabled American Veterans organization, and once again, I will match them. Spread the word! Early holiday gift? Purchase from all sources here: http://www.blackflaggedseries.com After some masterful stalling on my part, Black Flagged is now available and ready for public consumption. Only one year after my first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic…not bad for a part-time writer? Now that I have settled into a regular writing routine, the next one will come quicker. What’s new about Black Flagged? This time I did it right from the start. My first novel was a learning experience across the board. A good story from the beginning…but I had to relaunch the book at the start of the summer, with professional editing and a real cover (by a real artist). My sincere thanks goes out to everyone that somehow overlooked the editing issues and enjoyed the story…or just didn’t say anything. At this point, with 101 reviews on Amazon, and countless reader emails…my
There is a Twitter tradition called #samplesunday, and this will be my first time participating. To celebrate, I will release Chapter One of Black Flagged. If you are paying attention to the Word Count box on the top right corner of my blog, you’ve noticed that I am making considerable progress with this novel. I should have a rough draft finished by the middle or end of September, and if all goes well, I’d love to launch it before Thanksgiving. What is Black Flagged about? This is my biggest challenge as a writer. Quickly explaining what my book is about. I still don’t do any justice to The Jakarta Pandemic in casual conversation. I guess I need to start developing a blurb. Better to start now. Here it goes…very rough. Black Flagged centers around Daniel Petrovich, a former covert military operative with a past he buried long ago. An explosive past he’s gone to extreme lengths to keep hidden from everyone around him. Daniel is about to find out that some secrets have a way of clawing back out of the ground, and he’ll be forced to resurrect a part of him better left for dead. Thrust into the middle
Not sure how this will look on my blog…this is my first mobile posting. The vessel in the picture is the reason I have written a grand total of two pages in two weeks. Painting, waxing, buffing, varnishing, washing…more waxing. Leaving town for Memorial Day weekend didn’t help either. Vessel Name: Dolci (Italian for candy or sweet). She certainly is a sweet boat, and well worth the distraction. Thanks to April showers, she’s almost three weeks late reaching the water. Today is the big day. One more excuse for a low word count…but can you really blame me?
Everything…from the ground up. Uhhh. I’d like to sit here and tell everyone that I’m always a “do it yourself” kind of guy. I framed our attic for its eventual transformation into a beautiful 800 square foot home for my son’s Xbox 360 (that’s about sums up its purpose now). I even did all of the trim work, built shelving and helped paint (I hate painting). But I didn’t mow my own lawn last year. Why? Because I’m not obstinate when it comes to the do-it-yourself mentality…and when a good price comes along, I’ll let someone else breath noxious fumes and spend two hours on a lawn that’s going to brown up in August anyways (no matter how much water or fertilizer I pour onto it! Even The Lawn Dawg couldn’t prevent that). It doesn’t look like I’m going to win the noxious fume argument this year. My wife wants to direct this money elsewhere, which is fine…I really don’t mind mowing the lawn. So, what am I talking about at this point? Self-publishing. I get a lot of inquiries about my experience, from other aspiring writers and curious friends. The question I get from everyone is: “Did I choose
Artist Jeroen ten Berge created an incredible cover design for The Jakarta Pandemic. Check out his write-up of my novel…along with more of his influential design work. Jeroen ten Berge
book review. I turned 40 at the end of February, and the event was anti-climactic. I didn’t feel the decay of old bones, or slight degradation in my eyesight. One more candle, and a wonderful family birthday party. I was spared the surprise, “this is your life” event that I’ve seen unfold for other quadragenarians. My book turned 30 last week, which kicked off an exciting flurry of review activity. I had high hopes for the 30th review…looking for a reason to celebrate. The title of the review? “Wow…this book.” And not in a good way. A one-star 30th birthday review for The Jakarta Pandemic. The review was quite lengthy for Amazon, and had nothing good to say. The only positive? I could tell that the reviewer hadn’t read the entire book, probably not more than 30 pages. Needless to say, I was a little irritated. I wrote a nice response and let it go. Not everyone is going to like this book…or any book. Little did I realize that this would be the first of nine reviews written in four days. Thick skin? I would have felt better suited up in Kevlar. Every time I checked Amazon, I cringed.
And I don’t mean add more books to it. Consider reading a different genre. I learned a cool lesson the other night. I recently joined a local writing group…let me correct myself. I was finally invited to join by a friend. I was concerned about presenting the opening scene of my new novel to the group…because it’s violent. Not overly so, for me…but I needed a better gauge of the group. I asked the host to describe the types of writing involved at the meetings, and he gave me a list. Person matched with genre. Crime fiction- That was my friend’s work. I had already read a few chapters. Excellent. Memoir-Huh? OK, I just read a book written by a Navy Seal…definitely memoir. Not the best book, but memoir. I know what memoir is…just being dramatic More memoir-Oh boy. And both memoir writers are women. I’m still not too worried. Poetic Memoir-Now I’m worried. I think I’ll definitely keep my book’s prologue on my own computer. Eight people are shot to death in the span of thirty seconds. Not very poetic. I have other chapters to share. Literary Fiction – I was an English major. No worries here. Young Adult
in 19th Century London…what a mess. My wife is reading a very thick, fiction novel set in 19th century London, and she occasionally draws my attention to passages from the book. Yes, she interrupts whatever I’m reading to do this, and since I love both historical fiction and my wife, I’m usually game to take a look. I’m always amazed by the richness of detail in these novels, which can at times almost appear obsessive. From the era appropriate napkin folds at table settings, to intimate descriptions of every article of clothing that adorns a character…and not just the main character, but everyone in the scene. This is one of the main draws to period or historical fiction. The details of another time. It’s an amazing feat, which must involve painstaking research, travel and imagination. As a part time writer, I’m thankful for Google and an active, roaming imagination. The other night, she pointed out another feature of this tome she’s lugged around for a few weeks. The dialogue. I couldn’t believe it, but the author had taken pains to mimic the speech of the 19th century London too. I can barely understand some of the thicker British accents even