#NaNoWriMo is 1 month away!

Okay, we are now one month away from NaNoWriMo. It is now acceptable for me to go crazy. Who’s with me?

NaNoWriMo-2014

November is NaNo-prep month. Of course I have already changed my mind a few dozen times on what I’m going to write. With less than a month to go I really need to make a decision. I think  I am going to tackle a new story instead of working on book two of my fantasy series. Mainly because I should finish book one before writing book two, but there is also a desire I have to get this one story out of my head and into words.

There is another reason I am excited about October… but you’ll have to wait until Friday to find out about that one.

Until next time…

Help-U-Pub: Publishing Service Provider Directory

I am so excited to announce the launch of a new website today: Help-U_pub.

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As the digital publishing industry is growing, the need for publishing service providers is increasing. The competition for readers is fierce and it takes an amazing cover and a well polished interior to attract and keep readers. Authors are great at telling stories. We put hours every day into crafting our prose and creating plots that capture the imagination of our readers. Once that is done, we need the help of other talented people to make our stories into a book readers will pay for.

While researching the process to publish my own book, I found that even though the world was filled with talented service providers ready to help me finish my book, they were all spread to the four corners of the internet. Wouldn’t it be great if there was one website you could go to and find these talented people?

This is why I am launching Help-U-Pub. When you visit HelpUPub.com, you will find a free directory of editors, cover designers, formatters, blog tours, reviewers and others that will help you get the most out of your book.

If you are a service provider and would like to offer your services to indie authors, go to our Submit Listing page, register and list your information. The other good thing about this listing: it’s free for service providers to register.

We do not charge service providers to be listed and we do not charge authors for using the directory. Help-U-Pub is not a middleman. Authors connect directly to service providers, as it should be.

Another service Help-U-Pub will be providing is information. We are working on a news page that will tell you of the happenings of the independent publishing industry, tips for getting the most out of marketing your books, ways to make sure you attract readers and other great information.

The publishing industry is changing. Being an independent author does not mean you have to do it all alone. We have to work together as a community to make sure we are creating the books people want to read. I hope you enjoy Help-U-Pub and if you have any ideas on how we can make a better directory, email me at web@helpupub.com

Until next time…

Eleanore Trupkiewicz Reviews “How To Write 50,000 Words In 30 days”

Book CoverI was just told about a new review of my book and I am excited to share it with you all. I would like to think Eleanore Trupkiewicz for taking the time to read and review my book. It is always nice to hear what others thought of my work. Please take a moment and visit her blog at http://bit.ly/1sY4fr5, read her review and leave a comment for her.

I would like to highlight one part of her review that really made my day:

Speaking as someone who has participated in NaNoWriMo or one of its offshoot Camp NaNoWriMo opportunities for a couple of years now, but never completed a work in its entirety or met my personal word count goal, I was cheered by the practical recommendations Coville provides, especially about setting goals.

For instance, Coville says, if every time you reach a certain number of words in your total word count, you reward yourself with something that you enjoy, then you’ll have something to look forward to as you work. Anybody in business, who has ever been an employee or who has overseen employees, knows that incentives help drive performance. It’s that simple.

If there is one thing I want people to take away from reading my book is encouragement to write. It really made me happy to hear that that idea came through for Eleanore.

Also, if you have read my book, tell me what you thought. Leave a comment on Amazon, Goodreads, or your own blog and let me know about it. Tell me the good, the bad and the ugly, hold nothing back. Every comment I get helps in someway and I appreciate you taking the time.

Until next time…

Repost: Holy Cow!! Thanks, KDP Select! How I became an overnight (okay 30 year) success.

This is a post from author Wayne Stinnett from kboards. I found it very inspirational for new authors, aspiring authors and just about anyone else that is trying something new. I hope you enjoy.

profile_2-221x287KDP Select is getting sneaky. They’ve noticed the slight drop in enrolled authors and are trying to keep the ones who are selling well.

I just got an email from KDP saying I was chosen to receive a “KDP Select All-Star Bonus” for the month of August. My author ranking, they say, qualifies me for a $2500 bonus and Fallen Out ranked well enough in August for an additional $500 bonus. Icing on an already really sweet cake for August sales. That’s a 14% bonus! Never got that big a bonus as a truck driver.

For all you new folks wondering if your dream can ever come true. Yes, it can! But, dreaming about it won’t do it. You must act. Ben Franklin once said, “Failing to prepare is the same as preparing to fail.” He was of course, talking about preparing for war with the British once the Declaration of Independence was signed. But, I’ve come to realize all those old guys from years ago were probably the most intelligent group to ever live at one time, in one place. Much of the things they wrote can be taken myriad number of ways.

Did I dream about making a better living for me and my family with my story telling? Yeah, for many years. Since before most of you on here were born. But, I was target fixated. That’s when a fighter pilot concentrates so hard on the tango he’s trying to shoot down, he completely misses the other one coming up behind him. My target for nearly three decades was getting on the bookstore shelves. I’d never heard of an ebook. Then, our oldest daughter and her husband (the one who is one of Amazon’s lower level execs) gave me a Kindle for Christmas two years ago. At the time, I didn’t even know he worked for Amazon. He was good to her and provided for her and that’s all that mattered. When I mentioned once that I’d been reading a lot of authors I’d never heard of on it, he told me they were probably self published. When I mentioned I’d been trying to get published since the eighties, he explained and showed me on my laptop how to do it. That was in June, 2013, one year and three months ago.

A month later, I took out those dusty short stories from 1987 and began writing my first novel based on them. I was determined to do it. My goal was to compile and lengthen those three shorts into two novels and with any luck, I could make enough to buy tools for a wood working shop. I wanted to get off the road and work for myself, building furniture, cabinets and most of all, boats.

I cranked out my first book, with little or no guidance, in three months and published it last October. I put it out of my mind completely and started on the second one. Though it was 20K words longer, I cranked it out in 2-1/2 months. Mind you, I was working upwards of 70 hours a week as an over the road truck driver and writing in the sleeper of the truck. My first goal was getting both books published before Christmas and that’s just what I did, 178K words in less than six months, publishing my second book on 10/23. January sales were over $2500, more than enough for all the tools I wanted.

That’s when it hit me. I could make a living at this. Something else hit me at about the same time. The numbers. I realized I’d written 178,000 of my own words in two stories, in 178 days. One thousand words a day. And those two stories earned me $2500. It wasn’t hard to calculate that two more stories in six months would double that income. I hadn’t yet learned about ranking and exposure caused exponential sales of multiple works. I knew nothing about book marketing, or even proper editing, cover design and formatting. I was wet behind the ears at 55.

That’s about the time I found these boards and what a blessing that was. I spent a month learning everything I could, soaking in the vast expanse of accumulated creative and marketing knowledge that are right here on these boards. I learned what worked and more importantly, I learned what didn’t work. Armed with better weaponry, I attacked my first two books with a vengeance and rereleased them as second editions with much better covers, formatting and marketing plan. Sales climbed slightly and I started on a third book, but without the guidance of those short stories.

I wanted to write about something that I was emotionally too close to, so I sought the help of a young Marine who’d recently left the Corps after three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Infantryman. He’s the son of a friend and suffered post traumatic stress. At first he was reluctant, until I told him about my own demons from Beirut. It took us a while, but I like to think we put together a fictional story that might help others to seek out someone to talk to. I published Fallen Pride in early April, 2014. Sales that month were equal to my best month as a truck driver. I was almost there.

From these boards, I learned a “feeder” was needed, but I was reluctant to reduce the price of my first book, or EGAD, make it permafree. So in just six weeks, I cranked out a 53K page prequel to the others and knowing that my dream was doable and already having a good emergency savings and retirement in place, I QUIT MY JOB half way through writing it. Fallen Out was published on May 30, two weeks before the one year anniversary of the first time I ever heard about self publishing. Since day one, it’s been my sales leader, drawing in more and more readers. I intentionally made it a little jerky, to more closely match the pace of my first book.

Last month, I earned more than four times my best trucking month and now KDP wants to reward that hard work by slapping on another three grand? Yes, my friends, dreams really can come true. But, not without sacrifice and hard work. Oh, and planning to succeed. In the Corps, I had a Platoon leader who always reminded us of the “Seven P’s”, “Proper prior planning prevents p!ss poor performance”.

Dream big. My wife and I did this together and then we laid out a detailed plan, in writing, exactly what we need to do to make that dream become a reality.

Learn. I was shooting emails back and forth last night with one of my favorite writers, who is now a close friend. Although I didn’t discover his work until after I’d started writing my second book and his were years old, we both agreed that our works were eerily similar. We both chalked it up to being kindred spirits. He said, “There are no original thoughts, Wayne. Only reorganized ones.” There’s nothing you can think of doing that hasn’t already been done. My dad always told me, “A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of other men.” These boards are full of successes and failures. Fortunately, you’ve stumbled onto a place where people don’t mind sharing both. If something didn’t work for other people, why would you try it? Some ideas on here, you can tweak and “rearrange the thoughts” to make it better. It’s all here, though. Learn it.

Work hard. One thousand words a day, by habit, will create four 80K-90K word novels a year. You won’t make squat with the first one, so hammer out something that’ll lure and hook readers. When you have withdrawals because you’re not writing that thousand words a day, you’ll start to see some success. In some genres, that might happen fast. In others, slower. You might well be a talentless hack. That’s okay. Do you honestly think Tiger Woods first game was three under par? Learn and work hard to gain that talent. It’s not a sprint. My feeble success was thirty years in the making. That’s an ultra-marathon. Sure, there are the very rare few that hit exactly the pacing and many readers happy button and hit it out of the park very early in their career. Odds are you’re not going to be one of them. Work toward the future.

Set your prices high. Don’t let the market dictate that you should be giving your stuff away cheap. Get that second book out in less than three months. Do a little marketing, so you’re part time gig can make enough to pay for itself. That’ll keep your significant other from screaming that you’re squandering the savings.

Keep writing. Hone your craft. Don’t be afraid to experiment, there’s always a delete button. If you don’t like it and you’re writing in the genre you like to read, others probably won’t either. But, don’t let that be your limiting factor. Play around and have fun.

Write what you know. Don’t try to write about how beautiful the ocean is if you live in Nebraska and have never seen it. It will show. I’m fortunate. I’m old and have seen a lot more than most. From the islands of the Caribbean to the Columbia River, from the foggy cliffs of Maine, to Rodeo Drive and everywhere in between. I’ve visited and lived in more foreign countries than most people have visited cities. Write in the genre you most like to read, you already know the pacing of what you like. As a reader, my books are exactly what I love to read.

It’s not a dream for the faint of heart. People will call you out in reviews. Friends will tell you it’s not possible. I spoke to a guy I used to work with the other day and he asked who I was now driving for. I told him I was still working for myself as a writer, four months after quitting my job. “Ah, unemployment, huh? That won’t last forever.” I didn’t tell him I’d already made way more since quitting, than I did all of last year. An easily discouraged person without a plan will sell one copy a month of their one and only book for many years. If a $2 a month pension is okay with you, by all means stop right there. If you want an income stream you can leave to your kids, ignore the nay sayers, think positive, make a plan to achieve your dream and work hard to get there.

But, it all starts with a plan. A dream without a plan is just a wish. And their ain’t no dang genies.

What do you think? Did you enjoy? Besides leaving me comment below, please take a moment and go to Wayne’s website and let him know you appreciate his story.

http://www.waynestinnett.com/

Until next time…

What do I like about being a writer?

book_of_fantasySeeing as how I just passed one year on my blog about writing, I thought I would examine why I like to write. You see, I have always been a creative person. As far back as I can remember I was creating things. I grew up with a family of race fans. In upstate New York with had D.I.R.T. racing and these cars had awesome paint jobs on them. I did a lot of drawing and designing my own paint schemes for race cars. It really got the imagination going.

Then I was introduced to Dungeons and Dragons. That’s when I learned about world building. I would create whole kingdoms for my friends and I to adventure in. You can probably guess it, but I was the Dungeon Master most of the time. I took on the challenge of creating the most dangerous, detailed, and fun environment for my friends to adventure in.

Then there were board games. Not always happy with the ones I could find, I made my own. I once transformed a Stratego set into a Marvel super hero Stratego game. The whole time I was still creating things.

No wonder that I took to comic books in middle school and high school. I would draw comics and write my own. I had millions of story ideas I wanted to share with others, limited only by the fact that I had no way of publishing them myself. This was probably the first time I tried writing stories, I just did them with the idea of drawing the comics to go with them.

It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I tried just writing a story. I had no idea what I was doing, I just tried to tell a story. It was horrible of course, but man was it fun. I was also discouraged again by the fact there was little chance I would be able to publish the story and share it with others. Vanity presses were just getting started and they were well out of my price range. I also heard the horror stories about how hard it was to get an agent, let alone to find a publisher for your story. So I moved on to other creative things like graphic design and web development.

It as about two years ago that I watched as my daughter Samantha really got serious about writing her own story. 2012 was the first time she attempted NaNoWriMo. It was so cool to see her writing, that it inspired me to reconsider doing it myself. It took time for me to work up the courage to try it again, in fact it was not until NaNoWriMo 2013 that I actually took it seriously.

Over the last year I have learned a lot about writing. I have read a lot about writing, and I feel, I have gotten a lot better at writing. I have a first draft manuscript of nearly 100k words that tells a story I can’t wait to share with others. I am about halfway through re-writing it and putting into practice the things I have learned the last year. I have also published a book about what I learned during NaNoWriMo 2013, How To Write 50,000 Words In 30 Days.

I think that is one of the biggest differences between 10 years ago and today. The ability to publish myself, for little to no cost, makes it possible for me to share my stories. I hold no delusion that I’ll become rich and famous through publishing, but it does allow me to make my stories available for peopel to read. And that brings me back to the title of this post. What do I like about being a writer? I like to share my stories with others. In the past, whenever I was being creative, it was to share something with others. From my race car pictures that I would show my family, to the D&D adventures I would create for my friends. From the comic books to the fiction stories. All along I wanted to create something that I could share with others.

Though I never had a race car painted in my designs, never had a D&D module published of my content, a comic was never published that I wrote or drew, I never stopped wanting to create and share. It was the incredible technology of the internet and digital books that has finally made it possible for me to do this. I would want nothing more than to publish my manuscript now and share the story of a blacksmith names Deran with you all. Luckily I have family that loves me enough to remind me to wait until the story is at least grammatically correct before publishing it. there are also plot holes and messed up dialogue to fix before I publish. Because, no matter how much I can’t wait for others to read my story, I want it to be a good story even more.

So, what do you like about being a writer? Where does your passion for story telling come from? And if you like to create stories to share with others, and you don’t write for some reason, let me encourage you to give it a try.

Until next time…

Happy First Anniversary!

Today is the first anniversary of the Random Thoughts blog!

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One year ago today, I was preparing for NaNoWriMo and decided to write a blog to connect with others that were doing the same. Because I like stats, here are a few about this blog over one year:

  • 214 Posts
  • 727 Comments
  • 6,232 Views
  • 1,004 Followers!

I would also like to thank my top commenters:

And thank you to all the other commenters. Your input has always been welcomed.

It has been an amazing adventure, and I look forward to what the next year brings. For now, I am off to work on my WIP and to plot my NaNoWriMo story to be written in November.

Until next time…

 

How to Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days… and survive to tell your story

I would like to thank Donna for reading a reviewing my book. It is always appreciated to hear what others think. Please take a moment and read the review on her blog.

How to Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days… and survive to tell your story.

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