A Little TLC for the Website

As 2013 comes to a close, it seems as good a time as any to give the website a facelift.

It’s been a long time coming.

I recall a time when I couldn’t let a website design live longer than a month or two. Thankfully, I’ve calmed down a little from those days, but this feels like the right time for this particular change.

The coming year will see the end of The Bleeding Worlds and hopefully the start of something new. As we approach the new year, I can’t help but feel 2013 needs to be left behind and 2014 needs a truly clean start.

So this is the new look. Any thoughts? Opinions?

I’ll probably write something more official about the end of the year, but I thought I’d leave a little note marking the passing of one layout and the birth of another.

Hope you are all doing well.

Talk soon

JR

A Breakthrough

Hey.

I know, I suck at the blogging thing. I’ve been away for months, and all I’m going to deliver is something short and sweet. But I suppose if I did more of those on a regular basis, I’d actually have a living blog instead of this stale, past its expiry date by a week, one.

Anyhow, last night I had a revelation about book three. There was a big issue I was trying to tackle and I didn’t know how to resolve it in a way that made sense and remained true to the series. Well, it came to me last night. Thank the Lord.

There’s about 13,000 words committed to Scrivener at this point. Unlike everything else I’ve ever written, it’s not in a chronological order. I have the first chapter, the ending, and a scene that occurs late in the book. I understand some people write like this all the time, but it’s just weirding me out.

I’ll try to write more often (both the blog and the book). Just thought someone might like to know book three is underway.

All the best,

JR

Help an Indie Author Out

Let’s get something out of the way right now, I suck at marketing.

Sure, I read all the websites that promise their easy steps will tremendously boost my book sales. Tips like “find your audience” and “get involved with social media” do nothing for me.

The main reason I suck at marketing is because I don’t like it.

I see authors creating Facebook events for their book releases, blog tours, pimping their book every other tweet, they’re on message boards talking up their books, and offering all sorts of promos and freebies.

I go on those same social networks and post the cool article I found on little known facts about Return of the Jedi (this is the link BTW).

Sure, I post things on my website, and when a new book is coming out, or like the recent free promo for Revelation Game, I’ll do the odd post on Facebook or Twitter. But anything more than one or two makes me feel…Dirty.

Now, what I’m about to ask, it applies to all the indie authors you enjoy. Because all of us can use this exact same help. It’s only two simple things.

  1. Leave comments on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, wherever books are sold/discussed.
  2. Recommend the book to your friends who you think would like it.

Leaving Comments

I don’t need to explain this one to you. I mean, I buy books too. We hear about a book, or click on those “someone else looking at this purchased that” links, and almost immediately check out the comments.

When a book has lots of comments, I assume

  • It sells well
  • People are passionate about it.

And that’s not even counting what the comments say, or what the rating is.

Now I’m not saying you need to gush about the book. The best reviews are the ones that are balanced and honest. When I look at a book, I only look at the 2-4 star reviews. Because 1 star reviews generally hated the book so much I never get a sense of whether I might like it, and 5 star reviews love it so much, well, it’s the same thing.

Not that I would EVER turn down a 5 star review. Heck no. I’m super pleased when that happens. I’m just saying your views are valid, even if you didn’t totally hate, or love, the book.

To give you an idea of how few people comment; right now, on Amazon, Harbinger has 14 reviews. It’s not bad, and there are some great reviews. But this represents only about 0.5% of the people who have purchased Harbinger. Where are the others? What did all those other people think? Based on the number of copies of book two, Suture, that have sold, I’d say far more than only 0.5% enjoyed Harbinger.

So, knowing the importance of reviews, and how few people leave them, trust me, you are doing any author a huge favour by leaving a comment on their work. Not just for sales, but even to let them know how you felt about the work. I know I like hearing about it.

Tell Your Friends

I dream of being a “word of mouth” author. The thought that people would pass my book around, let friends check it out, is huge to me. That’s part of the reason I disabled DRM on my books.

When polls are done on how people found new authors, every single one I’ve seen puts “A friend recommended it to me” at the top. In the book industry, word of mouth has always been the most powerful selling tool. Hence why comments are so important. But hearing words of praise from a trusted friend, not just some random internet stranger, carries more weight.

If every review on Amazon hated a book, but my wife said she loved it and I would too, I would read the book. Because I trust her tastes and her knowledge of mine.

Shameless Begging

So hey, if you liked any of my works, go leave a comment somewhere, blog about it, tell some friends, and/or send me an email. Any and all of those are awesome.

If you want my participation in anything, send me an email or direct message on Twitter.

A Huge Thank You

To those who have taken the time to write comments, thank you. It’s because of you first, brave souls that my books have sold. And yeah, that includes even those who didn’t like the books, or found some faults with them.

Like I said, balanced comments are great.

So now that I’ve written this, I feel like I should be ashamed. I guess it’s because you’ve already done something great for me just by reading my book, or visiting this blog. You took time for my words, and in our time driven society, that’s pretty amazing. But I’m going to be strong and let this post live. And remember, all authors, especially lesser known ones, could use this help.

You might not realize how a few kind words about our books makes our day. Trust me, it’s powerful.

Thanks so much for checking this post out and giving it some consideration.

Talk to you again soon,

JR

Revelation Game Free Now Until September 25th

Revelation Game CoverMy novella Revelation Game is free on Amazon starting today and until September 25th. After that it reverts back to its normal price of $0.99.

If you grab it for free, I’d love to hear what you thought. Post your reviews to Amazon, Goodreads, or drop me an email.

I wrote a new book blurb for it, one that gives a better idea of the story;

Tyler Drake uses video games as an escape. His latest obsession is the MMORPG Revelations, that lets players choose the side of Heaven or Hell in a war for the hearts and souls of humanity.

When events from the game appear to bleed into the real world, Tyler begins to question his gameplay decisions.

Because if the game is real, he has committed terrible evil.

And Hell owns his soul.

Hope you get a chance to pick it up and that you enjoy!

All the best,

JR

Two Commercials That Evoke More Emotion Than Hollywood Films

I love movies. That said, most fail to make a considerable emotional impact outside of “That was cool!”

So imagine my surprise when I see two ads from Thailand that make me feel all welly-in-the-eyes.

The first has seen some considerable sharing on Facebook. The second I saw because someone posted it in the comments of the first. Both are inspirational, both deliver messages about how we should live and what truly matters in life. And sadly, they’re both trying to sell us something. But ignore that. Just watch the actual content and stop it before the real commercially bit at the end. I love these. And it shows you don’t need a long time to impact your audience emotionally, you just need to be honest and speak from your heart.

Revelation Game is Available Now!

Revelation Game CoverThe title pretty much says it all. You can pick up Revelation Game on Amazon.

The story deals with a boy who discovers the video game he’s playing may be something more than just a game.

The official blurb:

Welcome to Revelations, the MMORPG sweeping the globe, that lets you choose the side of Heaven or Hell in a war for the hearts and souls of humanity.

The revolutionary Neurolinx control device puts you into the game in a way like never before. What you see and experience will be so realistic, you’ll have to keep reminding yourself it’s only a game.

It’s a 50 page novella and is available for just $0.99 now. I hope you’ll give it a chance and that you enjoy it.

Now off to work on book three of The Bleeding Worlds.

Verizon’s Assault on Net Neutrality

So Verizon, not satisfied with their fat pocketbooks, have decided to take the FCC to court. They are arguing that the FCC doesn’t have the right to tell them to maintain net neutrality.

In a nutshell, Verizon wants to be able to block, or push back, websites that don’t pay for the privilege of being delivered to Verizon customers. In other words, little blogs like mine might be invisible to Verizon customers because I won’t/can’t pay Verizon to carry my site.

Now we can’t blame Verizon entirely. They are a corporation. And in case you haven’t been keeping up with corporations, they don’t give a damn about you, or me, or what is beneficial to a country’s economy. All they care about is making more money for themselves. They will do it on our backs or our corpses, whichever nets the best returns. So Verizon not caring about their customers having open access to any information they might want/need isn’t surprising.

The FCC argues that in order for the US to remain competitive and the economy to continue forward, net neutrality must be maintained.

I have an idea. One that, yes, would require government expenditure, but would result in many jobs, and in the long term, add money into government coffers; build a government run internet infrastructure.

Now I know, you’re all going to scream about how you don’t want the government to know what you’re looking at, etc. Well, in case you missed it, they already do. About the only real difference I see between me paying the government for internet access and paying some corporation is that by paying the government, my money goes towards paying for my health care, roads, defense, and much more. Instead of my money going to some corporate goon who’ll use it to buy a bigger house or a nicer boat.

All I’m say is, if the government truly believes in net neutrality, and their own justice system isn’t going to allow them to do it, then screw the companies, take it over. The second Verizon’s profits drop, they’ll be begging for net neutrality to be reinstated on their servers.

If you currently use Verizon, look to see if you can use a different provider, and if they win this court case, make the switch. And when you call to cancel, make sure you tell them it’s because you don’t need some greedy corporate overlord telling you what you can view on the web.

You can read the CBC article on this issue here.