Because of Twitter – A Sneak Preview of Book Three’s Cover

When I logged into Twitter today, I was offered the chance of updating my profile.

Now, if you haven’t been keeping up with Twitter news, they’ve decided to make several changes to your personal profile page. In the end, it makes it look very much like a Facebook profile page.

This isn’t a bad thing. I’ve often wished Twitter would allow a larger, and more prominent, banner image. Another handy feature is you can pin a post you specify to be “Featured” on your profile. The featured post will always be listed at the top of your profile.

Now, as an Indie Author, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to pimp my wares. So I created a new banner, which is very similar to my Facebook page banner for one exception… it has a picture in the place where book three, Resonance, will go. And yes, that picture is the beginning of the new cover. It’s not a hoax, or a stand in. The image you see will in fact be the background image for Resonance’s cover.

More elements will be added, to keep it in line with the design style of Harbinger and Suture, and when that happens, I’ll be posting the completed cover image here first.

In the meantime, here’s the beginnings of Book Three’s cover, as seen now on Twitter.

Book3-Cover

Progress on Bleeding Worlds Book 3

Bleeding Worlds Book 3 - TeaserHi everyone.

I’m lousy at maintaining this blog. I often say that, but I’ve yet to find a cure.

That said, I think it’s important to keep you all up to date with The Bleeding Worlds and progress on Book Three, Resonance.

So, the short answer is, things are going slowly.

The longer answer is to say the book has become a victim of my failings as an author.

Failing number one is my inability to outline. I start with an idea, get excited about it, follow it down the rabbit hole, and reach about 15,000 or so words. And then I hit a wall. Not just writer’s block, no I could probably handle that. Instead, it’s the inescapable sense that I’ve taken a wrong path and the book no longer meets my vision.

The solution usually takes the form of a mass purge.

I start over.

The few things that survive do so in thought only, they require total rewrites.

The happy news is starting over always makes me happier with the book and, certainly in the case of Suture, delivers a superior story than the one I started with.

The second failing I have as an author is not being able to work through my moods. Those authors who attain true success sit down everyday, crank out their desired word count, and move ahead in their work, regardless of their mood. I’ve yet to master that skill.

When I’m depressed, words don’t flow.

When I feel overwhelmed, or tired, ideas don’t take shape.

And the worst part is the longer inactivity continues, the more depressed I get because I’m not making the progress I want.

I hoped Resonance would be nearing completion by this point.

It’s not even close. In many ways, it’s just starting to live again.

But I will not fail you, or myself. The story will be told. I will write the best book I am capable of, and The Bleeding Worlds will come to a conclusion.

This happened with Suture last year, and I was able to release the book in the first week of August. I think I’ll be a little earlier than that with Resonance, but I don’t realistically see it being released before July.

Which is still faster than a lot of authors release their novels, but I had hoped to improve my release times by now.

So there’s the update. I’m still writing, the new direction is a huge improvement over the first words I wrote, and the book will be out this summer. I hope you’ll hang in there and join me when that time comes.

Thanks for all the support,

JR

My Books Have Been Pirated

Pirate skull and bootyBeing an Indie Author is an odd thing.

So far, most of the work on my books has been done in-house. My wife and I designed the covers, I did all the formatting for the eBooks and print versions, and the editing/beta reading was kept to a few close, and trusted, individuals. When the books released, they flew off into the ether and the only way I knew anyone was reading was by sales and comments left on websites.

It’s a very solitary production.

I never see lines of fans, nor do I have thousands of ratings and/or comments. When I walk into a bookstore, none of the staff are excited. Heck, I hardly have over a thousand followers on Twitter.

So to have Google alerts send me an email directing me to a website where someone requested pirated copies of my books, and then see said link, is odd. Someone wants to obtain my books illegally? Why?

My initial reactions is to freak out-a mix of anger, sadness, and disbelief-and mourn all the lost sales.

Then I take a deep breath, and think about the times I’ve seen Neil Gaiman talk about piracy. He basically equates it to book lending.

As we avid readers know, book lending, either from friends, or from libraries, has been an integral part of author discovery for ages. I think, Perhaps this link will lead more fans to my other work.

Then a pissy inner voice screams “But the friggin book is only $2.99!”

Which is true. My books cost less than a specialty espresso drink at Starbucks. I remind the voice you can buy songs for $1.00, and those get pirated all the time. Price doesn’t seem to be a factor.

That same voice grumbles, “It’s easy for Neil Gaiman not to care, he gets a fat advance and always ends up on the NY Times Bestseller list.”

Yes, that’s true too. The only money I make is from copies sold.

I ask the voice, “What would you have us do?”

“Email the website. Threaten lawyers,” it responds.

“But we don’t have a team of corporate lawyers.”

“They don’t know that,” it sneers.

I stroke its back, taking time to massage the shoulders.

“Here,” I say, “have a cookie.”

“Mmmmm…Cookie…”

From where I stand, I have three options

  1. I could contact the website and request they remove the link.
  2. I could ignore the link and act like it never happened (not likely, as I’m writing a blog post about it).
  3. Or, I could accept that it’s out there and trust the reading community to make their own decisions.

My novels have never had DRM (Digital Rights Management). I did this because I’d heard of readers having a hard time reading a legally purchased novel on multiple devices. But I also did it so friends could share the books and maybe find me some new fans in the process. Based on that intent, which has existed since my first book was published, option three best represents who I am.

In fact, here’s the link to the pirated version of Harbinger.

I’ve downloaded the file myself. It’s complete, but it’s not the most recent format. Still, the story is all the same. According to the website, it’s been downloaded ninety-nine times.

Just to avoid lawsuits, I’d like to point out I can’t guarantee how long the link lasts, or the safety of it. It’s strictly a Use at Your Own Risk kind of situation.

All I would ask (well, hope, really) is if you decide to download Harbinger, and enjoy it, that you be kind and purchase Suture. As I said earlier, the only money I make is from copies sold, no one has paid me an advance.

So there you go.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go medicate that pissy voice of mine. He’s going to blow a gasket when he finds out I posted that link while he was eating his cookie.

All the best,

JR

Books I Read in 2013

The Books I Read in 2013The one piece of writing advice you hear universally is, “if you intend to write, you must read.”

This seems pretty obvious. Thankfully, I love to read, so it rarely feels like work. When I enjoy a book, I like to talk it up over on my YouTube channel.

This year I had a bit of a reading slump. I only finished twelve books. In previous years, my average is usually double that number.

So without further ado, here are the books I read in 2013 in order of when I finished reading.

  • The Twelve by Justin Cronin
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  • Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
  • You by Austin Grossman
  • All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • Yukikaze by Chohei Kambayashi

So of the twelve books, nine belong to series. Of those nine, five were book one in the series, one was book two, and three were book three (and the final in the series).

I have three reading goals for 2014;

  1. Read more books.
  2. Specifically, read more science fiction.
  3. Read fewer series and focus on one off books.

What was my favourite? Well, it’s unfair to ask in a year where Neil Gaiman publishes a book. I didn’t even bother to do a video for it because I knew I’d just be gushing the whole time.

Aside from that, All You Need Is Kill really entertained me and inspired me to search out more Japanese authors who have had their work translated.

So what did you read in 2013? Which entertained you the most? Which made the biggest impression on you (if different from the one that entertained)?

 

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

Something Different Coming in September

Sometimes an idea nags your noodle so much, you have to work it out before moving on to something else.

Thanks to one such idea, I’ve finished a first draft on a novella.

Yeah, it kind of surprised me too. I thought I was just sitting down to jot some points for a future story, and found myself 15,000 words later being quite content with what I’d created.

It’s called Revelation Game and will be released on September 17th. I’m not ready to drop a synopsis quite yet, but let’s say this was born out of a love for the recent anime Sword Art Online and the classic .(dot)Hack.

Because it’s a shorter work, it’ll be an Amazon exclusive and be priced at $0.99.

It’s exciting for me, because it’s written in first person in the active tense. I’ve only ever written a short story this way before, and it was interesting to stretch it to a longer work. I’m not sure if I’m sold enough on it to write a whole novel that way, but I enjoyed it for a change.

And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten Bleeding Worlds Three. In fact, my wife said to me just yesterday that she wants me to get moving so she can read it.

I’ll post more when I’ve ironed out a few more drafts and written an official blurb.

That’s it for today. I’m seriously thinking of what I can start posting on this site to make it fun and interesting. I don’t want to be one of those Indie Authors that has nothing but writing advice, especially when I feel like I’m still learning and improving myself.

Anywho, until I find that next fun topic, all the best.

JR

Suture Cover Reveal – and a new Harbinger cover to match

Hello everyone. So I’m managing to keep my promise and returning with further news regarding Suture, The Bleeding Worlds Book Two.

The specific news today is to reveal the cover for Suture.

While I enjoy the cover Harbinger has sported for the past eight months, writing Suture made me want a change. I hesitated to do it, but I wanted new covers that would feature the series title more. So my cover designer and I went back to the drawing board and came up with the following….

harbinger-new-small-res

And now, for the cover of Suture…

suture-cover-web-res

The male models are images by GraphicPAStock http://graphicpastock.deviantart.com

All other photography and editing by Carolyn Macpherson.

Hope you all like the new covers. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.