Re-release of The Hidden Dome Trilogy

When I first embarked on this indie publishing venture, back in 2011, I had a lot to learn. After eight years, I still have a lot to learn. Oh boy.

Still, slowly getting a handle on things. I do spend more time learning to be a better writer than I do learning to be a better sales and marketing person. For me, writing is more fun. Yes, it would be nice to connect with more readers, but hey, I’m still around after all this time. Some of the others I knew back then seem to have slipped away (come back, we miss you!).

The Tunnel was about the third novel I published as an indie. I had fun with it, though of course I did still have a lot to learn as a writer (hmm, there’s a theme there). Still, I think it stands up as a sci-fi action, adventure story. It was followed by two more books in the series, The Deluge and The Eye.

The first cover was for The Tunnel, well, not so great. The second was, well maybe a little better (I’m not showing them here for fear of embarrassment). Now, I’m rebranding the whole series, with a look I kind of like, and a better consistency. New blurbs too (another whole thing I’m slowly learning about).

Not that I expect to suddenly find more readers with this. For me the point is to practice having better covers. I like the “Captain Arlon Stoddard” series covers, but do need to go back and work on the “Karnish River Navigations” covers.

Also, I’ll keep writing all the while (after all, that’s the most fun).

 

The Hidden Dome books are available from all the regular places. eBooks for $5.99, print (through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and so on) for $15.99

Amazon

Smashwords

And the universal book links for each of the books.

The Tunnel from Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc.

The Deluge fromBarnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc.

The Eye from Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc.

 

 

Rebranding gradually

Ship Tracers 2018 thmbI’m very conscious that while I’m a pretty good writer (ahem), and I’m okay with most of the business side, I’m really pretty lousy when it comes to sales and marketing.

Key point for an indie writer, right? Market yourself.

Some of my books have fairly bad covers. Some have terrible sales copy. I don’t even have a mailing list. This site sits in WordPress’s paid domain, but free side. I’ll be upgrading that (*update, Saturday – upgrade done – already I’m out of my depth with customizing the look. Good – out of my depth means I’ll learn to swim).

All of that was okay in the early days of indie publishing, but times have changed. Around me. And in my dozy state I’m just beginning to notice.

So I’m making a few changes. My website. Trying to figure out managing a mailing list. Trying to get a handle on, you know, the basic stuff if you want to gain a few readers here and there. I did start a facebook author page – here where this blog posts to and I do occasional separate posts. That’s a whole other area of learning – social media.

Now I do have some covers and copy I’m proud of – my Captain Arlon Stoddard series books look okay to my mind. Not up there with the $2500 professionally designed books, but still doing okay.

So this will be a time of experimenting. First out of the blocks, I’m going to update the covers and blurbs for the first series I released, starting back in 2012 – The Hidden Dome. Here’s a preview of the new covers. What do you think?

I’m looking for a consistency of branding there, so at least I think I’ve got that. Next step: amazing sales copy. Then the whole repackage, getting them out as print and ebooks again (somehow I never got around to putting The Eye out as a print book, so it will be good to have them all done).

Will I get more sales? Who knows? The thing is I need to work on my branding, my sales and a whole bunch of other things. This is like a practice round.

The Map Maker of Morgenfeld thumbAfter that I do have a second book coming out in my Morgenfeld fantasy series – The Stairs at Cronnenwood. At the same time I will update the original’s cover (see the current cover here – too many design faults there, though I might even use that image). And if I can figure it out, I’ll create that mailing list and have a giveaway Morgenfeld story for signups.

Plan is to have The Stairs at Cronnenwood out in September.

Then there’s another Captain Arlon Stoddard novel to come out. And the third in the Chronicles of the Donner series. I’m not short of material, but I have so much to learn about getting into the hands of readers.

 

 

 

2014 in review

2014 in review

2014 has been kind to me. I’ve acheived a couple of lifelong goals: having a story published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, and winning a writing competition – The Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest.

I also wrote more than ever before. In 2012 I first took on measuring my output and writing every day. That year I managed around 507,000 words. 2013, still writing everyday, I hit 519,000. Last year I also made sure I only submitted stories to paying markets (that’s a long story for another time).

This year my current count is over 566,000 words and I might even hit 590,000. As well as the two pro “sales”, I sold numerous stories to semi-pro markets (some of these publishers have been very supportive as I’ve developed my writing: I have a soft-spot for them). The second half of the year has seen a slow-down on acceptances, but I keep writing new stories.

As well as numerous short stories and collections published indie, I managed to get out The Deluge, the sequel to The Tunnel in my Hidden Dome universe. Current writing plans have the third book The Eye out next year.

Speaking of next year: more focus on novels; more focus on getting things to publication; still writing every day; still learning about craft; more learning about business; less goofing off – I might have to give up a block of time to the new Tomb Raider game due out in 2015, but writing will still happen :-).

Overall a pretty good year (actually, an astoundingly good year). It’s given me a lot of energy to push on and feel confident I’m on the right course.

The Tunnel – preview experiment

Just trying a little experiment with ways of letting my novel The Tunnel be out in the world. Issuu is a cool way of publishing documents. Magazines seem to favour it, but then I discovered that I could publish an excerpt from my novel in a relatively straightforward way. So with a click here you can read the first 18 chapters free. Yes, this is slightly stolen from James Patterson, but I’m still learning about marketing and so forth.

At the page there’s a link to buy a print version for $11.09. I don’t know what that’s about (you can buy a print version of the whole book – 100 chapters – for $14.00 from Amazon… why buy just a segment?). Still I hope you enjoy reading a few chapters of it this way.

Book in hand, typos… in hand

The proof copy of the paperback edition of The Tunnel arrived today. It’s very cool, I’ve got to say, to hold the physical result in my hands (as you can see from that goofy grin). The idea of a proof copy, I guess, is that final check before it gets properly published. I knew there would be some tinkering with the cover to do, but what I didn’t expect was to open it up and spot a typo immediately. This is after three proofreads (one by me, and one by someone else [who’s not to blame at all!] and another by me). It’s just a silly thing too – an “at” when it should be “as” – which makes that sentence (“And as Morgan was leaving…”) make no sense at all. Guess I’m going to have to proof the whole thing again. I might have to do that backwards. At least I know that the ebook version is correct (checked it just now – I guess I got the paperback proof printed before that final proofread. Silly).

The Tunnel – The Hidden Dome Volume 1: new cover and updated text

My novel The Tunnel, available at Smashwords and other ebook retailers, has a new cover (subtly nicer, I think, richer colours, better layout) and (very importantly) updated text. It’s been proofread (yet again) and more typos have been corrected, plus a few clunky sentences. I seem to have this habit of dropping the last letter from a couple of words (“her” for “here” and “the” for “they”) and missing it in initial proofreads. So now it looks better and reads better.

The little pic here is how the old cover looked, for comparison’s sake.