Countdown to Schicksal Turnpike

I’ve Turned Up the Heat

I’m experimenting a little here with heat, folks. Mainly, seeing if it gets me motivated. I think it will.

Schicksal Turnpike is nearly complete. I’m adding a few more details, but it is around 90% complete.

A couple of months ago, I sent out the beta version to my readers. There were issues, and I’m taking those issues and working on them, adding the details that had been missing.

And knowing me, I could keep doing this until the end of time, dithering about and continuing to polish, edit, adjust. However, if I do something drastic, like upload it to Amazon as a pre-order, now I’ve turned up the heat.

My feet are dancing to get the last of the edits done. March 19th, 2018 will be the official release date. And while three months might seem like all the time in the world, I have a feeling it will go faster than I can even imagine.

Why a Pre-Order?

I’ve been listening to The Creative Penn podcast whenever I clean a house (my current day job). And I’ve been picking up a plethora of excellent advice on marketing my writing. One of the suggestions I took to heart was to make your work available for pre-order. It means that you can generate interest for your book, even get sales (you won’t get the income until the release date), and improve your rankings. You can also accumulate reviews from your beta readers before the release date.

I can also still make edits and upload the completed manuscript before the release date. This just lights a fire under my butt to get it done, and done right, while marketing the book at the same time.

Short Stories and Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine

Recently a blog post by a new favorite author caught my eye. Meg Elison, the author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and The Book of Etta, wrote in her blog that one of her stories will be featured in the latest edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine.

First off, I LOVED reading this magazine back in the 80s. And I had no idea it still existed. Color me clueless! My dad had a subscription to it, and also to Analog. I can remember that I was not allowed to read the magazines until he had finished with them. I was home first from school, however, and so I often got to page through it, and often read it cover to cover before he got home from work.

I have subscribed to a year’s worth of issues and can’t wait for my first issue to arrive. It will be a fusion of enjoyable reading and research. Because now that I know it still exists, I’m determined to write something fabulous and get it published in the magazine. What a blast from my youthful obsessions that would be!

Yesterday I was listening to Joanna Penn’s latest podcast of The Creative Penn, and she profiled Douglas Smith, a Canadian short story writer and they discussed how writing short stories can improve your writing skills.

I learned a lot from that podcast, and I will be following some of his advice. Recently, I committed to writing a short story each month, but I hope to increase that to two stories per month – one will be for my subscribers and free for them on this website with password access (see below for details) and the second will be for possible submission.

Mr. Smith gave some invaluable information about who to submit to and even pointed out that foreign language markets should be a destination for my work as well – and that you can sell the stories first rights in English and then do it again for a foreign language. Mind blown! He’s written a book that details some of these tactics, along with a good education in negotiating the best rights possible and I have it on order – Playing the Short Game. Yet another book to add to my reading list!

Now I need to add “work on those snippets and produce some short stories” to my to-do list!

Income Report

After bringing in a total of $2.32 in 2017 in writing royalties, I woke up in early November and thought, “Damn it, I’ve written FIVE books, why are they not selling?”

Short answer? Lack of marketing. So a lot has changed since then and by the end of November, I was excited to see a total of $114.77 in ebook sales and Kindle page reads.

This month has already exceeded that amount. Yesterday afternoon I noted that I was 77 cents short of matching the amount I had earned for all of November. Today, when I woke up, I had exceeded that. Earnings are now past the $120 mark.

Is this where I want to be? Of course not. I’ll need to be earning 20 times that to stop working at my cleaning biz, and that would just be for starters. I want to make a living at this.

And if you haven’t figured me out by now, I’ll let you in on one particular aspect of my nature, I’m a stubborn and rather determined person. I WILL make this happen!

Join My Subscriber List – Read Exclusive Material for Free

If you haven’t signed up for my free monthly newsletter, do it now!

One email per month, plus subscriber-only access to short stories that fill in the details of the vast Kapalaran Universe that exists in my mind. The Gliese, War’s End and upcoming Chronicles of Liv Rowan series are intrinsically connected to one another and you will get to see them firsthand.

Here is what my subscribers get in each monthly email:

  • The link and password to the FREE short story of the month (companion pieces to my already existing fictional works)
  • Updates on any upcoming free book promotion and discounted ebook deals
  • A summary of all of my blog posts (I post in four different blogs on a variety of cool subjects) for the month
  • An organizing “tip of the month” (remember, I wrote this GREAT organizing book)
  • Updates on any upcoming classes I’m teaching
  • Updates on book projects

I will never sell/share your email address, there is no cost or upsell, and you can safely unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to sign up!

 

 

Big Day Today!

I woke up this morning to learn that the last day of November was my most profitable (in Kindle Unlimited page reads) yet. And I also made over $6 since midnight while I was still snoozing.

That’s super cool, folks. I look forward to doing the work to make that number grow and grow.

Dishing Sci-Fi on the Radio!

I’m excited to announce that I will be on the radio today talking with Gina Kauffman, the host of KCUR’s Central Standard to talk about writing sci-fi.

If you are a wannabe sci-fi writer, a reader, or just think sci-fi is cool, then tune in!

Tune in between 10 and 11 a.m. to 89.3 FM here in the Kansas City area or go to their website and click on Listen Live to hear it in real time. I should be appearing during the Arts segment of the show, between 10:25 and 10:40 a.m.

Update: Here is the link to the show. My segment starts about 15 minutes in…

Every Dollar Counts

At the beginning of this month, I made a teeny tiny goal – I wanted to earn $1 per day on my writing. I made that goal and then proceeded to nearly quadruple it. Here is a snapshot of my earnings for November.

And while it isn’t enough to retire from my “day job” of running a cleaning business, it is enough to inspire me to greater heights.

Get Your Free Copy TODAY (12/1) and TOMORROW (12/2) Only!

My first fiction book, War’s End: The Storm is available for FREE download today and tomorrow on Amazon.

In the day after tomorrow, after the socioeconomic collapse of the United States, one young girl fights for survival. Violently ripped from her family, abused and now pregnant, Jess must somehow survive while fleeing those who pursue her. Jess must come to peace with the life growing inside her as she struggles to return home.

Reviewers have said…

“A great story. This felt like it was written by the hand of someone who actually was there. The book moved me from tears to hope. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.”

“This story is different. To me, it is unforgettable (although I would like to forget some of the parts portrayed). It is a heartbreaking, but uplifting story of a group of young children who are thrust into a very grown up and scary World, and how they deal with the grief and savagery around them. It is also about love, and finding family where you least expect.”

“This very compelling book follows Jess, a young girl whose parents did not prepare. They are killed and she is left to fend for herself. What follows is a great deal of pain and sadness. Be prepared to cry—I did. But in the end, Jess and her rag-tag collection of young fellow survivors live on to become an example for all of the strength of the human spirit facing adversity. It is a bit tough sledding during the darkest part, but inspirational in the end. Bravo!”

Download it today!

Subscribers Rewarded

I’ll say this clearly – I’m NOT SELLING YOU ANYTHING. I’m only asking you to let me give you something free to read.

What do I mean by that?

It’s simple. If you add yourself to my subscriber email list, you will ONE email per month. Inside of it will be my newsletter that will provide the following:

  • The link and password to the FREE short story of the month (companion pieces to my already existing fictional works)
  • Updates on any upcoming free book promotion and discounted ebook deals
  • A summary of all of my blog posts (I post in four different blogs on a variety of cool subjects) for the month
  • An organizing “tip of the month” (remember, I wrote this GREAT organizing book)
  • Updates on any upcoming classes I’m teaching
  • Updates on book projects

I promise to NEVER share or sell your email address and you can unsubscribe safely and easily at any time.

Have a fabulous day, folks!

Further Marketing Madness

I’ve long joked that I clean houses because I’m a writer. “The two are directly related!” I quip. And many of my clients are also some of the first people to get to read my books.

I just don’t want them to be the ONLY people reading my books.

And if Hugh Howey, the author of Wool can do it, then so can I. And quite honestly, I’m tired of waiting for the writing ship to sail in, give me those dollars I’ve been dreaming of, and whisk me away from cleaning toilets to days filled with book tours, interviews, and wordsmithing.

So my brain turned ON yesterday and hasn’t stopped for a moment since. Seriously, I had to force myself to go back to sleep at 1 a.m., 3 a.m., and then every half hour after that until I finally left my warm bed at 5:20 this morning. And with the exception of fixing meals and running to a cleaning this morning, I’ve been focused on marketing ever since.

Free Kindle Book Giveaway

I was pleased to wake up and see my rankings in the free Kindle store had risen to #439. A huge jump from 24 hours prior when I was at 50,000 or so in the ranks. I’ve dipped down #573 and I’m also at #8 in Post-Apocalyptic and #9 in Dystopian in the Kindle store.

I would have liked to get into the top 100 in the free Kindle store – but it seems that goal is evading me this time around.

I gave away 380 ebooks yesterday and currently, I’m seeing that 105 have been given away today. I am actually making a little bit of money as well since at least one person, possibly more, clicked instead on the Kindle Unlimited button instead of “purchasing” my ebook for free. Under that program, I get about 1/10 of a cent per page that is read (maybe 1/100), so it isn’t much, but since yesterday 97 pages have been read. So…hooray?!

Local Marketing Through FB and Interested Clients

I posted in our local neighborhood Facebook group. It was part of a post asking for local business owners to tell about their businesses. I had posted earlier that I cleaned houses, but damn, writing counts, right?!

I also dropped a book off with one of my local cleaning clients. She sounded interested in it and her husband reads dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction.

Facebook Book, Author and Promotion Pages

As I waded through the book promotion pages in Facebook, I began to notice that more pages were being suggested to me. So I joined a few more. I now have a list of nearly 300 promotional pages of Facebook to go to in order to promote my books. Not all of them allow sci-fi, some are for other genres, but my list of sites grew from just under 250 to nearly 300!

How much do these sites matter? I’m not sure. But I do know I’ve received at least five messages from folks who were very interested in the book and made sure to download it. I’m sure that there are scores more than that.

Quite a few of the Facebook promotion pages are also open to other things, such as enticing folks over to my author Facebook page, website/blog, or to sign-up for my monthly newsletter. So I’m going to try and use those tactics as well to build readership and followers through Facebook.

Author Podcasts?

One of the suggestions I found on 17 Steps to Earn Your First $1,000 on Self-Publishing was to try and get on a podcast or radio show to be interviewed. And to that end I found:

  • RadioGuestList.com – where interviewers list the people they would like to interview (basic version is free)
  • InterviewGuestsDirectory.com – where you list yourself as available to interview (this one costs)

Wait! There’s Radio Too!

Back in 2008 I ended up on the radio, talking to Walt Bodine about home and office organization. That was pretty cool, let me tell you. He was a wonderful guy, and is dearly missed by many. My dad grew up listening to him.

It was also a huge turning point in my life – and just five months later, I had written and self-published my first book Get Organized, Stay Organized.

In any case, I did a little bit of internet sleuthing and pulled up the info for KCUR as well as the email for Gina Kaufmann, who I met all those years ago when she was Walt’s assistant and co-host. I also sent an email to a programmer on KKFI inquiring if they would be interested in interviewing me.

Will anything come of it? Maybe. All I know is that it doesn’t hurt to ask.

The Long and the Short of It

In the end, the one message I’m getting nice and clear is that writing the book is only HALF of the job. If I ever want to set down the toilet brush and be taken seriously and make money at this, I have GOT to get out there and put myself in uncomfortable positions marketing/pimping my books out.

And I really, REALLY want to stop cleaning toilets.

So book marketing it is. I will be a book marketing wunderkind.

December Update

What Do I Have to Lose?

Back when I was preparing Gliese 581: Departure for it’s final revision and upload to Amazon, a friend of mine said, “Wait! Why aren’t you sending this to a publisher or agent?”

I thought about it for a few minutes and replied, “I’ve just never had luck with traditional publishers. And I guess the idea of going to an agent and asking them ‘pretty please’ to take 20% of any potential income just seems silly to me.”

My friend was concerned for me, though. “It’s a good story, it has such potential. Aren’t you limiting yourself by self-publishing?”

And, as much as I would like it, the chances of me becoming a female Hugh Howey (author of Wool, which went viral and ended up earning him a publishing contract) are pretty small.

So I told myself I would give it six months.

My first fiction book, War’s End: The Storm, sits at six reviews. My second work fiction, the sequel to The Storm, A Brave New World, sits at five reviews on Amazon.

So in terms of total reviews, Gliese 581: Departure, now at 21 reviews, has been a screaming success. And I’ve made about half of my investment back (not counting hours put in writing and editing) so that’s something.

But it is time to push it out into the bigger world.

I bundled it up and mailed it to a potential publisher today. They may look at it and say, “Wait? It’s already self-published? Forget it!”

And if they pitch it into the circular file and move on, I’ll try again. After all, the postage was right at $3.00 when you include the SASE. They may say “no” – and the next guy might say “yes.”

Being self-published, having the book up on Amazon, might be a death knell. But then again, it might not. The times, they are a-changing and self-publishing is slowly becoming less of a bad thing.

We will see, I guess. What do I have to lose?

Two Weeks of Writing Immersion

I have declared us done with homeschooling until after the New Year. Specifically, nothing but fun and relaxation from now until Tuesday, January 3rd for the kiddo.

And that means I get to write!

I am hoping I can knock out a good chunk of the needed parts of Schicksal Turnpike in the next two weeks. I would love to have it edited and some advance reader copies out there and ready with reviews by the time I upload the book to Amazon in the spring.

A Special Present – Just For You

A few years ago, long before I finished Gliese 581: Departure, I wrote a short story titled Forward Reach. It is set approximately 30 years after the events chronicled in Departure. It has been sitting there, unloved, in a file folder on my computer for far too long.

Earth after the devastating plague is a very different one from the Earth of today. The image of families, of mothers and fathers raising 2.4 children is a thing of the past and Forward Reach offers a glimpse into that world, and the effects of the planetary breeding and repopulation program.

On Christmas Day, as my present to you, you will be able to read the story here.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Three Free Days for Gliese 581

Gliese 581-Departure

So today, tomorrow and Sunday will be the last free days on Gliese 581: Departure for a while.

I’m racking up the reviews but I could always use more!

Here are some recent reviews:

reviews

I’m just one chapter away from having my first draft of Schicksal Turnpike done and headed for my editor. Schicksal is…well…consider it the prequel, to the prequel, to the prequel, to Gliese 581: Departure. Set within the same universe it is set in 1950s Kansas City.

So get Gliese 581: Departure. Read it and review it, and I’ll try and get this next reading adventure ready for you.

 

That’s Why I Need YOU

A while back I felt it click on – the single-minded desire that I have experienced, off and on, for most of my life.

“I want to be a writer.” I thought, “I want to spend a majority of the rest of my days on this Earth writing stories and sharing them with others.”

I realized I was tired of wasting time. I had put it off in the face of economic upheaval, life changes, and more – way too often. And it was time to change that.

And so I have begun to lay the groundwork.

You are going to see a LOT of my posts centering around my writing. Feel free to unfriend me on FB if it becomes too much. I know it isn’t for everyone. It is a line I walk, trying not to be obnoxious about promoting my writing, but also not languishing in obscurity.

I will be posting about free days, discounted days, my reviews, my stats, and my word counts regularly.

I will also continue to offer pdf copies of my books to anyone who asks (and often doesn’t ask) because I want to spread the word.

I am a one woman, writer, publisher, and marketer. I get to do it all!

Look at it this way. If it ever does take off When I am noticed, I’ll shut up and spend my days writing.

I hear the argument, “You spent time writing this book, you should be paid for it.”

And yes, I agree. I would LOVE to make money writing!

However, due to my relatively unknown status in the writing world, the choice becomes:

  • Sell my books to a small handful of loyal friends and get a small handful of corresponding reviews

OR

  • Give my books away to a crapload of people and eventually receive a large number of reviews which will bring me to the attention of MILLIONS more readers.

Guess which one I’m going to go with?!

So if you email me and say, “I would really like to read and review your new book, Gliese 581: Departure.” I will happily send you an electronic copy.

And if you were to read that book and think, “Well, damn, that wasn’t half bad, I’d like to read War’s End: The Storm. Tell me, and I will happily send you that book.

And the same for War’s End: A Brave New World

And the same for my two non-fiction books:

Get Organized, Stay Organized

The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale

I know you don’t all want to read the books on your computer. That’s cool, I get that.

However, until I can make this into a successful writing career, there are only so many paperback copies I can buy and send out to folks who don’t have Kindle or a computer to read it on.

I hope you understand.

So if you want to read any of my five books that are currently out, let me know!

And if you know anyone who wants to read and review them, send me their email.

For me to get the word out and see that I manage to get as much as exposure as possible, thereby increasing my chances of eventually seeing some sort of income from my writing, I need YOU.

I need your reviews posted on Amazon.

I need you to drop my name to everyone you can think of.

I’m in this for the long haul, folks, but damn, this is hill is STEEP!

Follow me on Amazon here.

Sign up to be an official book reviewer here.

Or just get all of my blog posts once a month in one handy location by receiving my newsletter.

Back to the Beginning?

Having settled on an official name for my universe – Kaplaran Universe – my vision for how these stories are all going to play out is slowly clarifying.

I’m going back to the beginning.

Well, at least, the earliest story set on the timeline to date.

Kaplaran Universe

Schicksal Turnpike – a.k.a. Fate’s Highway is going to be my current focus.

Each time I tried to tackle The Chronicles of Liv Rowan, my focus would just slip sideways. That seems to be a clear indication that I am not ready to tackle it. I want it to be soon, but you can’t push a rope.

Although it may take off and surprise me, Schicksal Turnpike should end up being a short story. In which case, I may simply publish it on Kindle. We will see.

Meanwhile, here is a short summary/description:

What if you could start over?

What would you do if the slate of your life was wiped clean and you were given a chance to make everything different?

Would you make the right decisions the ‘second time’ around? Would you find your life to be better in the end? Dean Edmonds was given that second chance. He was given the opportunity to start again, to try things a second time around. Dean Edmonds found that it cost him the love of his life and gave him a chance to live life again. He found his second chance on a small and twisting road known as Schicksal Turnpike.

IMG_0466

Get Your Free Kindle Copy! Two Days Only!

Gliese 581-Departure

It’s time for me to stand on the street corner with my sign that says, “Read my book!”

And better yet, download it for free on Friday and Saturday!

The reality of self-publishing is this little thing we call marketing. But let me tell you a story first, because that is what I do. I tell stories – and some of them are even true.

Years ago, about a year after I first returned to the city of my birth, I went to work for Children’s Mercy Hospital. I worked in the Nephrology department. Nephrology, by the way, is the study of kidneys. Some doctors specialized in bedwetting issues, others in odd kidney diseases, all the way to kidney transplants.

Of the pool of doctors I worked with, along with three other secretaries, was this one firecracker of a doc. He wasn’t taking the transfer over to computers well. He especially was not interested in ever reading email, dealing with the new computer programs the hospital was pushing him to use, and he frequently would holler, “I don’t work with computers, I am not a computer technician, I AM A DOCTOR!”

He said it as if that answered everything.

I wish that I could flail my arms about and say that same thing – “I am a WRITER!” and have it magically make marketing go away.

But it doesn’t, so here I am.

So…

Consider this a friendly, upbeat reminder that my most recent book, Gliese 581: Departure will be available for download on your favorite Kindle device all day Friday and Saturday, June 3rd through the 4th.

I do this out of the hope that you will read it, LOVE it, and tell the world – starting with Amazon and Goodreads. I have provided the links there to both for your convenience.

Your opinion matters. Your opinion will make the difference between someone clicking “Buy Now With 1-Click” or moving on to the next Indie book in the list.

Download it for free.

Read it.

Review it.

And remember…

beauty

Progress – Almost Book Like in Appearance

Something odd is happening in the past three nights – I’ve actually had deep, refreshing sleep void of pain or restlessness. It’s been amazing! I guess you don’t know you are missing something until you get it again. I haven’t slept this well in months. And it is certainly helping with the writing, especially yesterday and hopefully again today.

I’m getting excited. I want to talk about the details, but more than that, I want it to be complete so I can start with the final edits and then get it out there so folks can read it. I really think a lot of people are going to like it.

Writing Those Science-y Details

My youngest nephew is brilliant, he’s 20 or so now, smarter than most, and certainly a far sight brighter than I am. I queried him the other day about light spectrums and such. As I explained to him, “Sure science fiction is fiction, but that doesn’t mean I can just make anything up. I figure there are a handful of jumps you can make, and then the rest has to be realistic. At some points you have to follow the rules of science, otherwise it’s fantasy, not science fiction.

Despite reading science fiction for years, I have found writing those science-y details a little intimidating. But I’m working on that, powering through, if you will.

Pushing That Word Count Up There

I believe I wrote in excess of 6,000 words yesterday. I may have miscounted, because the number (at least for me) seems overly large, but I did spend they entire day writing. This brought me up from the thin, anemic 74k it was before I began yesterday morning to over 80,000 by the end of the two chapters – Mr. President and Mars Needs Moms.

I typically shoot for a novel that has at least 80,000 words – in other words it isn’t a novella, but it also isn’t an epic tome.

And in case this brings visions of me typing a word and then checking the word count, let me put you at ease. It doesn’t work like that. I write until the story is done – having a goal for the word count is simply for my benefit.

Yesterday was lovely. I spent hours writing, crafting details and small glimpses into this world I am creating, adding richness to the universe of stories I will write in again, and it all flowed out of me peacefully and without difficulty. That’s the way I want the writing to come.

It always surprises me, too, where the story turns or banks. When I sat down to write the chapter Mars Needs Moms, it was titled Supply Shortage and was supposed to be about the colonists in the throes of the virus, desperate for more food. Instead it turned into a story about a young woman who was badly damaged by oxygen deprivation as a child, her younger half brother, and a stranger from one of the other Habs in the colony – the only three left after the rest of the colony succumbed to the virus.

Writing is fascinating to me – a sort of magic in how it springs forth from my mind, often far different from how I originally envisioned it.

The Tunes Help

What do you call a former stepson who you think of as the son you never had? I’m not sure, and I still hover between calling him “Bill, my son” to “Bill, my former stepson” – sometimes there are no good titles – especially for those keepers in your life.

I remember when Bill first picked up this guitar I had – and had never played – and began playing it obsessively. Pretty soon he was carrying it around, tied to his back with a cord. Fast forward fifteen years and I have this to listen to as I write. Pretty cool, and not distracting for me. I love listening to music, but the vocals distract me from my writing.

Writing, Marketing – Rinse and Repeat

I’ll keep reading the books on marketing and keep trying new ideas, but I’ve settled on this concept for now:

  • Every day I need to write
  • Every day I need to market my writing

How that marketing looks depends on my interest, willingness and knowledge, but I’ll never be the hard sell gal. I can’t stand it directed towards me, and I refuse to direct it towards others. I realize that there are more fish in the sea than ever, and that everyone is inundated with distractions, so my voice will often be lost in the din.

That’s fine, I’ll keep working at it.