jon_chaisson: (Default)
Wait, it's Saturday already?  When did that happen?  It was a fast week of Day Job stuff and catching up on writing, and not much else of import, so time seemed to fly by rather quickly this week.  Not that I'm complaining.  Midweek had some crappy weather as well, but currently there's no clouds in the sky so it looks like it's going to be a really nice weekend all around.

I'm still concerned that I might not make my autumn deadline for Meet the Lidwells but I think that's mainly because I'm having a bit of trouble at the moment.  The first act is done (creation of the band up to their initial success), and now I have to shift from that to act two (the highs and lows of success and creativity), and it's a bit harder than I expected.  If all else fails, I think I'll have to just make a hard shift there for now, and smooth it out in revision.  We shall see.

Secondary Project, aka The Apartment Complex story, is slowly evolving via the 750 Words site (much like I did with Lidwells a few years ago), and this one promises to be a lot of fun to write.  I'm coming up with some really fun characters and story ideas for it.  I don't think I'll be outlining this one as strictly as I did with Lidwells, but I should at least get the characters and places down. 

Related, I think this might end up being my writing process for a while.  I like the idea of working on new ideas in a playground atmosphere to let them grow and expand (thus letting me work on them during slow points of my day), while dedicating more serious writing time to the current project (which I'll have given a deadline for finishing).  This not only gives me a quicker turnaround, but also lets me work on and self-publish more projects.

Which of course brings up the question, do I want to keep self-publishing?  Well, funny thing about that:  yesterday I got a completely unexpected email response from an agent.  It was a rejection for a submission of A Division of Souls and I couldn't find the date of my original response...so I have no idea when I sent this.  This was before I ultimately decided to self-publish, so this must have been at least around 2015, possibly earlier.  I'll be honest, I'm amused and touched that they got back to me even after this long, even if it was a rejection!  But at the same time, it really put things into perspective: I simply don't want to spend all my time waiting for a yes/no from an agent or a publisher and not knowing either way until then.  I don't seek vindication...I just want to know if I'm Doing It Right or not, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to go that route.  Sure, self-publishing means a hell of a lot more work, but I've already proven to myself that I'm willing to do it all.

Anyhoo...going to have a relaxing weekend here, hope you have the same! :)

Crickets

Apr. 17th, 2016 03:59 pm
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
So yes, The Persistence of Memories is out there, and has been met by...crickets. A few sample downloads, but that's about it.

But I'm okay with that. No, really! I am! Even though I consider it the best of the bunch!

I know very well why, of course. It's because I haven't done all that much advertising and shameless plugging at all. I posted the news on all my blogs as well as Twitter and Facebook, and that's a good start, but I have to do more than that.

Much, MUCH more than that.

See, this is the hard part. This is where I'm going to have to spend money to make money. I'm going to have to do a bit of advertising. I could very well go to all the writing websites and Twitter feeds and do a bit of plugging, but there's only so far I can go with that. I've got to get past the Ultimate Don't Wanna's (my next psychobilly-blues band name) and face the demon that is Sales. I just cringe at the idea behind it, mainly because I'm more than aware of how fake it can be, especially when you get a sales rep who's less than interested in what they have to upsell. [Believe me, I HAVE BEEN THERE. It truly is a soul-sucking experience.]

BUT. This needs to be done. And I've already made up my mind that I don't just want to learn how to be a better writer, I want to learn the whole business.

Why am I totally fine with crickets on the first week of release? Well, that's the thing, isn't it? I'm not a publishing house that needs to see immediate sales to know whether or not it'll be a moneymaker or a bomb. I'm not a film production company that needs to make back its multi-million dollar investment within the first couple of weeks. I don't need to rush it; to be truthful, I'd rather not, because that would give me more chances to screw it up. I'm learning as I go, and I'd rather learn it right the first time, that way I can do it right again down the line.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Wait, there's less than two weeks to go in the year? How did that happen?

Well, I'm not actually complaining that 2015 flew by too fast this time out...this past year has been quite creative and productive for me, so no real complaints here. A few unexpected changes in project deadlines, some frustration here and there, but I'd like to think I finally made a tremendous amount of progress.

I've made a lot of serious decisions with regards to my writing career this year. At the top of that list is my decision to self-publish the Mendaihu Universe novels, as well as the decision to do so with my other projects down the line. This decision didn't come lightly. I didn't do it because of all the rejection letters (or more to the point, the lack of any response), although part of my decision did in fact include my frustration in the seemingly infinite wait time between querying and production. I didn't do it because 'they don't believe in my brilliance'. I'm not that stupid. No, the reason I did it was because I wanted to see if it was for me, simple as that.

It was only after I gave myself that September 3rd deadline and learned the entire process from top to bottom that I realized that I actually loved doing it. I loved creating the cover, figuring out how to correctly format everything, forcibly distancing myself from the story for editing purposes, and even being creative with the release processes, including editing the galley copy for the physical version. I made sure I knew what I was doing and what I wanted to do. This was a creative and financial endeavor that was 100% my own.

Put it this way: my aim wasn't to be on the bestseller's list. It was to be out there in the world. And I achieved that. Twice, actually! There was the release of A Division of Souls but also the Uniquely North Quabbin collection (I have a short entry in there which also contains a few of my pictures). And I plan on doing it three more times in 2016: the second and third book in the trilogy, and Walk in Silence.

So what's in store for 2016? Well, I'll hit upon that in the next week or so for my final post of the year. I'll also be posting some of the year's pictures on my Tumblr, a retrospective of my writing at Welcome to Bridgetown, and my end of year music lists at the WiS blog.

But yeah...2015? I think overall it was a Very Good Year indeed.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Like I've said elsewhere, I'm feeling twitchy. And when I feel twitchy, that means I'm wasting time somewhere that could be better utilized. Not to say I'm about to ban fun and goofing off of course. Just that my time management could use some tweaking. Must look into that.

In other news, I now have two avenues of finite self-promotion open to me that I need to follow up on within the next few weeks. One is a website ADoS is available at, and the other is my hometown newspaper. Which means I should probably get my ass in gear and write a decent press release for myself! :p

Long term: Thinking about what I should be working on in 2016. I mean, aside from releasing The Persistence of Memories and The Balance of Light. I've got a few non-Mendaihu Universe projects that I'm thinking of releasing, that I could start working on. Also thinking of what new stories I could begin as well. Am I going to be a Stephen King and release eight books in a year? Heh, probably not, but if I can do more than one, that's cool with me. We'll see.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)


Thanks to a little more fancy footwork using Photoshop, PicMonkey.com, and CreateSpace at Amazon, I've created the official cover layout for the print version of A Division of Souls. I quite like how it came out! The back cover is actually a zoomed-in crop of the top right of the original Shutterstock image. My only gripe is the kind of boring spine, but apparently I could not change the font or placement, only the color. Actually, my other gripe is that for some reason I had to price it at $18.99. I think that's a little steep, but apparently with Amazon's weird royalty setup, that's the lowest I could do it and actually make any profit. Granted, it is 500+ pages (500+ nicely laid out pages in Garamond font, I should add!), so it'll be a bit on the chunky side. This being the first edition, I'm sure I'll have forgotten something ridiculous or missed exactly one typo, but the good thing with Print on Demand is that I can do a quick fix, upload that version, and Bob's yer uncle.

It's not available in print just yet; the Powers That Be at Amazon have to check and make sure it's all groovy and everything. I will of course let everyone know when it is! That said, once this goes through, this will mean that ADoS will be available pretty much everywhere. Yay!

I will say that if you're wondering where to buy it, I have two suggestions:

1. If you buy the e-book via Smashwords (and it is available via all formats, including Nook and Kindle), I will end up getting the highest amount back. With the book at $5.99, my take is $4.69, the rest going to Smashwords for being the awesome people they are. Not bad at all!

2. Thanks to it also being distributed by Kobo, the book is also available through many brick-and-mortar bookstores that sell e-books on their website (for instance, I'm available through my local bookstore just down the street, Green Apple Books, as well as via Books Inc, a well-respected Bay Area mini-chain). If you buy the e-book through your local retailer that does the same, I'd be thrilled to give them a portion of the money as well.

Of course, if you want to buy it in your usual way, via B&N or Amazon or wherever, I'm cool with that too. :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
"I just got my first purchase order notification for A Division of Souls. Yay, I'm a legit paid author now! BASK IN MY $4.69. #booyah"
--Me, tweeting yesterday. :)

So yes, I have made money off my book! I know of at least two friends who bought it so far, and hey, I'm okay with that! It's only been a couple of days since the drop date, and it's going to be available forever anyway, so I'm totally fine with being a slow burner. This is just the beginning.

[That's not to say I may have felt a passing twinge of "OH GOD I REALLY DO SUCK" the other day. I heard back from BookLife, who reviews books for Publishers Weekly, and they've decided to pass on reviewing. Granted, they get thousands of requests each day and can only select a tiny amount, so it was kind of expected. But I let that twinge pass. Onward and upward.]


Has anything changed, now that I have something to measure my writing career? On the surface, no, not really. I'm still Workin' for the Man during the day and slogging through my writing in the evenings and weekends. On the other hand, however, it's definitely changed my frame of reference. I may still be thinking about writing the next book, or simply enjoying the process of writing a novel, but I've now added the business side of it. I'm actively thinking about what steps I should take, where I can go with it, and everything else...taking it a little more seriously now. Like I'm finally working on it as a career instead of a pipe dream.

And I kinda like that. :)

Oh--and I think I'm pretty happy with first-day Smashwords numbers:
Sample (20% of book) downloads: 3
Full downloads: 3
Page hits: 100+

It's of course gone down since then, but I expected that. This is where shameless self-promotion comes in. I'm still working on that. ;)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Wow. I can finally call myself a published author now.

It's still sinking in. How many years did it take me to get to this point? And compared to that, how few months did it take for me to go from making the decision to reality? I'm still amazed by it all.

But yeah...it's official, A Division of Souls is now available for sale! :D

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/565782

jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Not gonna lie. The excitement of seeing your first book officially listed on websites like Barnes & Noble does not get old. I'm still stuck in 'how the hell did I pull this off?' mode here.

I went into this self-publishing venture completely expecting (and accepting) that I'd be shouldering all the work from start to finish. I faced each part of it with a balance of seriousness and enjoyment--I refused to do a half-assed job with any of it, but I also had a blast doing it as well. It's true, it's been exhausting juggling all this with the Day Job (especially when the Day Job has been stressful with an unexpected rise in work volume), but in keeping an even head and remaining dedicated has paid off.

The Final Line Edit is finished as of late last night (to the tune of Failure's Fantastic Planet, for those playing along), five days ahead of schedule. All I need do now is clean up a few endpage fiddly bits and start work on the final formatting. I'm probably going to be spending tomorrow on that.

Then I get to do this twice more for books 2 and 3. Woohoo!


Oh, and shameless link:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-division-of-souls-jon-chaisson/1122455721?ean=2940152073201
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
I really should not feel this exhausted by an afternoon of concertgoing.

Granted, this concertgoing includes quite a lot of walking, eating really bad things (including a cheeseburger with bacon utilizing two full glazed donuts as a bun) (yes I have photo proof) (YES IT WAS TASTY), constantly breathing in secondhand pot smoke and vaping vapors, and walking home afterwards. I'm not old, really I'm not. I'm just...out of shape. Yeah, that's it!

Various pictures were taken yesterday for Day 1 of Outside Lands (which I will be posting to Walk in Silence soon enough). In record time, I was told by OL Staff that my nicer camera was not permitted as I did not have a press pass, even though it's a) a personal camera, and b) has a detachable lens no bigger than 2 inches (okay, I measured it and it's 2 inches plus 1/8 of an inch, but let's not be pedantic asshats, shall we?) and was told to put it away. This kind of put a damper on my mood for the rest of the day, as I was really looking forward to taking good pictures. I don't want to be that photographer who flouts rules until caught. I went for the music first and foremost, so I was happy enough to take pictures with my phone yesterday (and got some really good shots!), and will be taking my older point-and-click today and tomorrow.

And yes, even despite being on my feet all day, eating bad food and grooving to good tunage, I still found time to work on the ADoS edit when I got home. There's a good chance that's the source of my exhaustion, but it's totally worth it.

OH! And speaking of A Division of Souls...I can't tell you how giddy I get looking at this page, making it official: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/565782

:D
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/565782

Just reserved a spot at Smashwords. Which means I'd damn well better stay true to my word and get this damn Line Edit done and this manuscript all nice and formatted before 8/20.

Eighteen days to do 250 pages, plus a day for formatting. Yipes. O_O
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)


After a slight bump in the road, in which I had to call Shutterstock to get them to process my payment correctly, I purchased a package of 5 downloads (which is good, considering I can use the others for books 2 and 3) and commenced playing with both Photoshop and PicMonkey to get what I wanted. I also consulted A. for her input on the visuals, asking what seemed to work best for a reader like herself.

The picture was taken by Tommy Zhang. :)

The funny thing is that I'd used Photoshop only for the cropping, as I was less than happy with the fonts they had available. And since I needed to work within the submission parameters most want, I had to make sure I had the right ratio. Which meant eyeing it because I can't do ratio math to save my life, measuring the picture using an actual ruler against my monitor (LIKE A BOSS) and considering it done. It's as close to the 1:1.33 ratio as I could get it.

As for the fonts, I used PicMonkey.com (thanks to Meagan for the suggestion!), which is what I'd used for the original outtakes. Goddess knows I did not want to use the Papyrus font (aka the pseudo-Celtic Wiccan font you see on all the New Age books), nor did I want to use the same science fiction fonts everywhere else. Something just that bit unique, but not overly so. The title is Geo Sans Light (bolded), and the subtitle and author name are both De Walpergen Pica.

So, total cost today? Just $41 for the five download credits on Shutterstock. I already own Photoshop, and used the free level of PicMonkey. Not bad at all.


Next up: Continuing the work on the final line edit, and uploading. :)

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