Welcome to my first of what will potentially become dozens of posts on all things indie. Author, that is. As I am embarking on the writing process of my third novel, I thought I’d document my work flow and the reasons behind each step that I take. My game plan is to touch at least once on each of the following:
- Initial story concept
- Idea development
- Story/world creation
- Establishing a writing schedule
- Story development
- Time management
- Completing the first draft
- First round of edits and rewrites
- Second round of rewrites and additional editing
- Third, fourth, and fifth rewrites
- Cover design
- Logline writing
- Blurb writing
- Synopsis writing
- Use of beta readers
- Kindle Scout discovery
- Submission to Kindle Scout
- Monitoring of the Kindle Scout process
- Dealing with rejection
- Avenues of self-publishing
- Preparing the manuscript for self-publishing
- Launching a new book into the world
- Ads for the self-published book, and marketing
- Follow up with marketing attempts
I am sure there could be more topics, and the list above is in no particular order. For instance, I am in the middle of writing my story’s Act I, and I have already completed my first attempt at the logline. I also have the books cover complete as well. At the same time, I am about to launch a huge marketing campaign for my first two books. That topic alone could generate a number of blog posts. Plus, even though I’m nowhere close to being ready to submit into the Kindle Scout program, I am already thinking ahead to the point of running my campaign. My mind is thinking of ways of setting things in place so that it will run as effectively as possible.
My goal is to write a few entries a week, from now until the end of April, when I will hopefully be getting an acceptance/rejection email from the fine folks at Kindle Scout. Between now and then, I will write any number of entries on the above topics, depending on how my work flow is proceeding. Also, during that time, I will be taking two vacations, and I plan on staying focused on my project while away, albeit at a reduced capacity. Regardless, the writing will continue, and the project will move forward.Finally, please take what I’m about to document with a grain of salt. This is only one process, and it is by no means the only process. It’s just the culmination of what I’ve learned over the past two and a half years while writing two novels, and several short stories. It will no doubt continue to evolve, but it is currently my
Finally, please take what I’m about to document with a grain of salt. This is only one process, and it is by no means the only process. It’s just the culmination of what I’ve learned over the past two and a half years while writing two novels, and several short stories. It will no doubt continue to evolve, but it is currently my system and encompasses what I’ve picked up from following other authors and learning on my own. Be sure to bookmark this page and you could even subscribe to the blog, by entering your email over there on the right, to be notified when each new entry is posted. This subscription is different from my newsletter subscription above. That newsletter is key to future marketing endeavors, and it will be covered in one of the topics in the coming months.
So, without further ado, Get in, shut up, sit down, and buckle up! It’s going to be a fast ride as I write my next novel!
Wow, where has the time gone. My last entry here was at the end of August last year. I had just begun the seven episode publishing adventure for Borrowed Souls. I had full intentions of updating every two or three weeks through that process, but something didn’t quite work out. I know exactly what it was, and it was myself and my overindulgent publication schedule.
My self-imposed deadline timetable dictated that I stay on a pretty rigorous three-week schedule for writing and editing each of the episodes. Granted, the episodes were smaller, around the 12,000 to 14,000-word count. But, regardless of the minimized story size, writing—rewriting—editing—rewriting, and finally editing again certainly takes a lot of effort. It left me with very little time to do much else, so the blogging took a back seat.
But, I’m here now, and I’m hoping to right the ship. All seven episodes of Borrowed Souls have published, as well as has the omnibus. And now I’m about to begin to focus my time on a new project. This new project is going to be a little bit different from what I’ve written before. It is back into the science fiction arena, but it is heavily laced with an espionage/thriller motif. Think Jason Bourne in outer space. It’ll be a Spi-Fi! You like that? I think I just made up a new genre.
With this new story, I will be writing a targeted 70,000-word novel that I’m will initially submit into the Kindle Scout program. What is Kindle Scout you ask? Well, it is a program that Amazon puts on that allows independent authors like myself to write and submit a story for publishing consideration. Once I submit the story, it will be put up on their website for the general public to read a short excerpt and vote whether or not they would like to see it published. It will stay on their website for 30 days, taking in has many votes as possible. In the meantime, their editors will review the book to see if it would be a fit in their publishing catalog. Then, at the end of the 30 days, they’ll tally the votes garnered by the reading public and combine them with the comments from their internal editors. They will either offer a publishing contract or opt to decline the title. Obviously, I’m hoping for the acceptance and the contract.
The contract will not be enormous, but it will be a published book, carried by a real publisher. A royalty advance is part of the deal, but it’s not enormous. And if I recall, the contract is for five years, renewable based on book sales. Either way, I think it’s a win-win. I will get a slightly lower royalty cut as opposed to publishing it by myself, but I will get the assistance of a publisher for marketing and promoting. If it does get declined, I have hopefully made it enough of an impression with some of the voting public that they will tune into Paul B Kohler, Author, and pick up the title after it goes live under my own imprint.
So, here’s my proposal: I’m going to write a blog post every two or three days outlining my progress on the project. Some blog posts might be longer than others, and I will certainly be talking a lot about my approach to this new book, as well as my writing process. So, I hope you continue to tune back in and follow along with this next publishing adventure I’m embarking on.
Today, I’ve made a big move on all of my print and ebook combinations.
From the very beginning of my self-publishing journey, I’ve taken advantage of the “Match Book” feature on Amazon. If you are unfamiliar with the program, it’s like this: If you buy a print book on Amazon, you can get an ebook copy of the book for a discounted rate. Until today, I have typically reduced the cost of the ebook by around 50% of the retail price of the individual ebook.
Again, that was until today. Now, I’ve changed the Match Book price to FREE on all of my books. I compare it to buying a DVD movie. Think about it: almost all new DVD or Bluray movies that come out these days include a digital copy for free. Why not do the same with books?
Obviously, I am making WAY less on royalties going down this path, but it’s not all about the money. It’s about capturing readers and gaining followers. I’m making this move because in two, maybe three years, when I write the next Great American Novel, I have a steady following of dedicated readers to push that future book into the best sellers list of what ever genre it happens to be in.
So, why not start the process now? I have two new releases out right now. They are the first two books in the Borrowed Souls adventure. Regretful Absolution: Borrowed Souls: Book 2 is only available for pre-order in ebook right now, but the print book is live and will ship in a day or so. If you get the print book, you will get the ebook free when it publishes on September 8th. The Soul Collector: Borrowed Souls: Book 1 is available in both ebook and print right now, and the same deal applies. Buy the print book, and get the ebook for free.
I plan on continuing this strategy on ALL of my upcoming publications that I have control over. Eternal Devotion: Borrowed Souls: Book 3 will have the same Match Book setup when it comes up for pre-order on September 18th, as will each and every succeeding part of that adventure.
I’ve wanted to write fiction for quite some time, and I owe that desire to two people – Stephen King and Terry Brooks. Although The Stand was a looong book to start off on the journey through King’s back list, it was the first of his that I read. I remember being so engrossed in his dystopian world, I couldn’t get enough. That story alone set my love for anything dystopian. As for the credit I owe to Terry Brooks, I read Magic Kingdom For Sale when I was just 16. I was adolescent and was going through some hard times in life. Family crisis forced me to grow up too fast. I’ll save the rapid growth into adulthood for another blog entry, but I remember having strong feelings about leaving my life for something … else, after reading Magic Kingdom. The romantic connotation of being able to move into a fantasy world seemed like something I really wanted to do, and Brooks was able to write it so that I knew I could do it. It was about a year later that I fully realized what fantasy was, and I became depressed. Still, I was hooked on world building, and I knew then that I wanted to write – to create.
It wasn’t until my daughter was born in 1997 that I actually began to write. I wrote my first short story in early 1998, but I never did anything with it. I printed it out and let my family read it. They loved it, but I chalked it up as them humoring me and my hair-brained idea to become a writer. Some families can be cruel like that, by encouraging ones desires when they really shouldn’t. I felt like a loser for wanting to write and quickly dismissed the dream and moved on with life. I hate self doubt.
Even though I gave up, I still tinkered with writing. I wrote dozens of short stories through the years, never letting anyone see them. They were my own personal outlet from the real world. That all changed when I read about this up-and-coming author and his success with self publishing. His name was Hugh Howey. Timing had it such that the week I read about him, he was scheduled to appear in a local book store. I mentioned it to the family, and we decided to go. That was early in 2013.
Meeting Hugh and listening to him talk about his writing path was awe-inspiring. My desire to publish was reborn, and I began writing in my journal every day. You know – to make up for lost time. Most of that writing was garbage, with glimmers of story ideas sprinkled in for good measure. By mid-year, I had set a plan – to write and self publish a story by my birthday in September. Right after setting that goal, I got to work – narrowing down the multitude of ideas I’d been harvesting through the years. I settled on a time travel story that just felt right to me.
As I pushed through the outlining and world building, I made another discovery. An online writing forum that was filled with more authors similar to Hugh Howey. Hugh was even a regular contributor there. As I submerged into the forum, I happened to come across a thread that was looking for story submissions for a an upcoming anthology. There was no pay, and all the proceeds were to go to charity. I dug out that first story I wrote all those years ago and cleaned it up. I sent it in, and it was accepted right away. The curator of the anthology sent me a personal message telling me how my short story touched her and then made her cry. I was over the moon! I was able to make a person on the other side of the world, cry! With just my words. Realizing the power of the written word, I knew then that I wanted to continue to make people emotional with my stories. I know – A little sadistic.
Sorry, long post here, but I’m getting to the good stuff, I promise!
My short story just so happened to publish about the same time as my first solo project did. I published Linear Shift, Part 1 on September 19th, and I followed up with Linear Shift, Part 2 a few months later. Then, something happened. I became uninspired for my own story line. I began to think of other stories incessantly. I dug out another, unfinished short that I wrote years earlier, and developed it into something much longer. It was still a short story, but it was a complete story now and I published Borrowed Souls in early March of 2014.
That story – Borrowed Souls, is what inspired a reader to submit my name into a growing Facebook group called The Future Chronicles. That reader thought my writing was strong enough to contribute in their highly successful anthologies. The books were curated by a man named Samuel Peralta, and my jaw hit the floor when I saw what he was doing. He was able to wrangle some of the best story tellers in the market today, into contributing speculative fiction in a science fiction environment. Science fiction happens to be my favorite genre, but I have very limited experience in it. Granted, Linear Shift is a time travel story, but it is like diet-sci-if. It’s a lot of fluff, really. I appreciated the nod of confidence to contribute, but I knew that an invite to actually contribute something was a hurdle that I could never get past. Thankfully, Samuel surprised me by accepting my submission into The Immortality Chronicles a few months later!
My included story is called Rememorations, and is a short piece about how one’s own memories can cripple an immortal. Here’s the blurb:
Decades after receiving an immortality endowment, Nathan Duncan returns to the Lazarus Center for Extended Living to discover that his treatment was not all he was promised. The routine maintenance he requires will affect his past every bit as much as his future. Now, Nathan can’t help wondering: Is it the man that makes the memories, or vice versa?
The Immortality Chronicles wont be available yet for another few weeks, but it is available for pre-order here.
Now, I think everyone is caught up to speed. So, here it is!
It’s Chronicles Week, and it’s a celebration! To date, there are 7 titles already published, with two more available for pre-order. The current titles are: The Robot Chronicles, The Telepathy Chronicles, The Alien Chronicles, The A.I. Chronicles, The Dragon Chronicles, The Z Chronicles, and Alt. History 101. The two tiles available for preorder are: The Immortality Chronicles and The Future Chronicles.
In honor of this celebration, The Future Chronicles authors are giving away a brand new Kindle Paperwhite, pre-loaded with ALL the Chronicles titles already released. Each of these books have hit #1 in the Sci-fi/Fantasy Anthology list! Click below to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
After more than a year since I first published Borrowed Souls, it’s now time to take the story to the next level!
Beginning on August 18th, I will be re-releasing “Borrowed Souls” as “Borrowed Souls: Part 1: The Soul Collector”. Then, every two weeks after, I’ll publish another episode of the series. Each episode will be another story following Jack Duffy as he learns the in’s and out’s of soul collecting. The series will conclude on November 10th, with episode 7, which should be a dramatic conclusion of Jack’s story:
The publication schedule for the individual parts is as follows:
- Book 1 – (The Soul Collector) – Tuesday, August 18th.
- Book 2 – (Regretful Absolution) – Tuesday, September 1st.
- Book 3 – (Eternal Devotion) – Tuesday, September 15th.
- Book 4 – (Consequential Harvest) – Tuesday, September 29th.
- Book 5 – (untitled) – Tuesday, October 13th.
- Book 6 – (untitled) – Tuesday, October 27th.
- Book 7 – (untitled) – Tuesday, November 10th.
Each individual part will be priced at $1.49. BUT! I’m going to do something new here. I am also going to publish the “entire” novel on the same day that Book 1 publishes. That’s right, on August 18th, you can buy the ebook, “The Borrowed Souls, A Novel”. Initially, the ebook will consist of just the first part of the series. Then, every two weeks later, the file will be replaced with the next episode added. So, on September 15th, for instance: The ebook file will include books 1, 2, and 3. Then every other week from there, a new file will be available that will include the next volume in the series. You do not have to buy it again, and it should be automatic through your Kindle. Also, at any time when buy the complete novel, the price will change as the series nears its conclusion. Below will be the stated price for the complete novel:
- Tuesday, August 18th – $2.99
- Tuesday, September 1st – $3.49
- Tuesday, September 15th – $3.99
- Tuesday, September 29th – $4.49
- Tuesday, October 13th – $4.99
- Tuesday, October 27th – $5.49
- Tuesday, November 10th – $5.99
So, if you buy between August 18th and August 31st, you will pay $2.99, and every other week, your ebook file will be replaced with a new file, which will include the next episode. Now, if you buy between September 29th and October 12th, you will pay $4.49, and the ebook file will include books 1 thru 4 instantly. The file will still be replaced on the advertised publication schedule posted above. As you can see, it’s to your benefit to buy early!
Also, if you would prefer the individual parts as opposed to the complete novel, I will be putting each episode up for pre-order two weeks in advance at .99 cents. Then, on publication day, the price will revert to $1.49.
All of the above pricing information is for the ebook only. Print books will be available of all the individual parts as well, but at higher prices. As of today, those prices are not set.
Why not just publish the entire novel and skip the “episode” approach, you ask? It’s for a couple reasons, actually. Serial fiction has been around for many, many years, and there are many readers that enjoy reading in small chunks. Each episode will average anywhere from 80 to 120 pages in length. Another reason for the episodic approach is because not all of the stories are complete at this time. As of today, parts 1 thru 4 are all written, bit are at various stages of editing for completion. Parts 5 through 7 are still in development, and will be ready well before those publication dates are near.
Be sure to check back here, or on my facebook page in the coming weeks for a cover reveal and possible giveaways of the series.
Thanks for following along!
After nearly 18 months since starting Linear Shift, Part 1, the complete novel is now available on Amazon. If you haven’t read any of it yet, now is the time, because you can read from start to finish, and not have to wait like the readers from the beginning had to to. For those fine folks, I thank you for your great patience. Without you all, I could not have done this.
Now, if you have read all four parts, I will kindly ask that you jump online and leave an honest review. Reviews are like a virtual Tip Jar for Indie Authors. Please, leave me a virtual tip!
Finally, one more favor, por favor. Please share on Facebook or twitter or whichever Social networking site you currently worship. Muchas Gracias!