Sunday, November 26, 2017

Mixing Personal And Professional

Recently, I broke one of my cardinal rules - I allowed my personal feelings to come out when dealing with a fellow author.  I shouldn't have, but this individual wrote a blog post that I found insulting, and rather than let it go, I jumped into the swamp with both feet.

The post in question was only pseudo-political.  I didn't start some diatribe about President Trump or talk about how I hated Hillary Clinton.  There was no rambling sermon about lacking in Christian morality or a screed about keeping religion to yourself.  Instead, this person wrote a post that mentioned certain aspects of my personal life and choices.  No, it wasn't directed at me per se, but rather at those who do what I do for a living.  And the post was almost comical in its ignorance and the stereotypical way it portrayed stuff.

That said, I should've moved on, but I was already annoyed with some things at that point, so I jumped in.  I screeched.  I railed.  I lambasted this person for the condescension shown.  In short, I did everything I tell everybody else not do to - I allowed my personal life to invade my professional one.

I have gone to great lengths to avoid politics on this page.  I've also gone to great lengths to not get too detailed with what I do for a living.  I've done this for two reasons - first, although the vast majority of people are supportive of what I do, some people will make judgments about my profession from a position of ignorance.  I've been told that my job is only done by those who couldn't find anything better, and that I'm a pawn for "the elite."  This is born from those who have little association with reality, but the attitude still exists within a large swath of the population.  Second, I haven't gone much into it because there is a stereotype about the way most who do what I do must lean politically(marginally true, but not universal), and that could alienate half of my audience.  It all comes back to what Michael Jordan said in 1990 when asked why he wouldn't endorse Harvey Gantt in the North Carolina Senate race against Jesse Helms - he pointed out that Republicans buy shoes too.  In other words, it's not real bright to intentionally alienate half of your potential buyers.

I shouldn't have jumped into this person's display of ignorance.  It goes to show how emotion can get to all of us if the mood is right.  I should have just let the individual continue to live in the eternal bliss that comes with being an uninformed fool.  Even now I wonder whether I should've written about it, but I had to get this off my chest, and it could be an object lesson on two fronts.  The first front being that we should try to not mix our personal and professional lives if at all possible.  The second being that this person has indeed alienated a good swath of the audience by going down the controversial path chosen.  We are more divided today than I think we've ever been, and I think this writer will hurt audience outreach by being so open about personal beliefs and biases.  The writer is already successful, and maybe that makes the person feel immune, but I can guarantee that it doesn't take much to piss off fans and find yourself without many future or new readers.  As for me, I'll simply stick to expressing my personal views the way I always have, by not buying any future works of the individual.  Others are free to do as they like, but since it upset me enough, I'll exercise my own market choice.  It will likely make no dent in the author's sales, but I don't have to be a part of the person's success either.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Salvation Day Thank You

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who has supported the release of Salvation Day.  It has done better than I thought it would out of the gate, and I'm grateful for all of the support from those who've bought it.  As much as I would like for some of you to do an Amazon review, I'm more thankful that you've picked up a copy, and I hope you are enjoying it.  It's people like you who help keep me going.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Breaking In - Traditional Versus Indie

Those who've been around a while know that I'm a huge supporter of indie publishing.  And having recently released a pair of novels, I'm doing what I can to become a success.  My efforts got me thinking more and more about the difference between doing so in an indie environment versus a traditionally published one.

I know a few writers in both realms, and the differences aren't as stark as one might imagine.  From everything I can tell, there is a little more reach in the traditional arena, mostly through catalogues and bookstore sales pitches/agreements.  However, the fuse-to-bang ratio is short, meaning that if a new author doesn't catch on quickly, then the traditional publisher will soon move on to the next project.

What's more, my traditionally published friends are expected to do the same things we indie authors do without being prompted - market ourselves, promote our site and our books, look into the various avenues we can appear, etc.  The biggest difference is that they often get nudged to do various things that might not have otherwise occurred to them, while we indie folks are expected to just think of it on our own(and it's a little more hit-and-miss).

From what I can gather, the biggest advantage to the traditional world happens after you take off.  If your work shows some modicum of success, then a traditional publisher can use its extensive reach to spin things into the stratosphere - larger bookstore appearances, displays in windows, talk show bookings...the whole nine yards.  We indie folks have a little more trouble getting larger marketing avenues to take us seriously.  Sure, there have been some successes, like Andy Weir and William Paul Young, but usually even the most successful indie writers, like Hugh Howey and Joe Konrath, are not very well known to the public.  Yes, they sell well and have devoted followings, but it's not to the levels of the former.

Does this mean that a writer must go traditional to have any level of fame?  Or course not - it means that you have to have realistic expectations and an understanding that you will have to work harder.  To me, that's not all bad.  First of all, I love this writing thing(even the "boring" business part).  Second, I feel it's a small price to pay for control over my craft.  If I don't want to change something, I don't have to.  If I have a vision for my cover, I can run with it.  Until a writer becomes a massive success in the traditional world, that level of control is assumed by he publisher rather than the writer.  I'm a control freak, and I wouldn't do well in that kind of an environment.

It all comes down to your personal preference, but don't be fooled into thinking that all you will have to do is write if/when you get a traditional writing deal from a publisher.  The first steps will always be on you.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Beyond The Veil

Yes, I know I'm a slacker.  I haven't written a post in two weeks.  Life has been very busy at my day job, so blogging hasn't been high enough in my priorities.  However, that got me thinking about a good idea for my return blog - that in-between place where one is trying to make the successful transition to this professional author thing while still trying to put food on the table until sales get high enough.

First off, I'm not delusional - I know that Salvation Day isn't a New York Times bestseller.  I'm building a career, and that is going to take time.  Regardless of how highly I think of my writing skills,  it's going to take time for word to get out.  After all, I'm still a relatively new author.  My other novel, Akeldama, has only been out for about six months, so my presence in the market isn't large yet.  That will change over the next few years as I release at least two more novels in the next year and a half(the plan being to release four in the next two or so).  Hopefully one will catch on, which will translate into people checking out my other work.

Still, getting from A to B is challenging.  Becoming a professional writer requires dedication, and, above all else, time.  You've got to put yourself out on forums, in bookstores, into marketing, updating your website, going onto other websites, etc.  It's time consuming enough when that's all you do, but doing it while also holding a steady job?  That's tough.

Some will say that I should quit my other job and focus entirely on writing(and marketing my writing).  That being my sole revenue source will supposedly be a motivating factor.  Sounds a movie.  However, I have a family to take care of, and I like them to not freeze to death in the winter, so I'm keeping my day job for now.

Therein, however, lies the rub.  It's hard to break out unless you can devote lots of time, but it's hard to devote lots of time until you break out.  I know better than to just put my work on Amazon and hope someone notices, but most writers starve.  I'm trying to find a happy medium between feeding my family and pursuing my dreams, and I'll bet that I'm not the only indie author in this boat.

Hence my reasoning that, like a ghost, I'm stuck in the veil.  I can't completely manifest myself in the physical world(my day job), but I can't move on until I let go.  Maybe as time moves on I'll be able to figure it out, but it's exhausting(as my lack of presence on this blog over the last couple of weeks has shown).  On the plus side, work is now lightening up(the past two months have been brutal), and I've got some time off for the holidays.  Perhaps we'll find out what more I can do.  If nothing else, it'll keep me on the go.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Book Release!

Salvation Day has been released and is now available for purchase!  It has been a long time coming, but I'm happy the day is finally here, and I'm extremely proud of this work.  The book is out on all major publishing sites(Amazon, Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and Apple iBooks).  As a reminder of the plot...

Mike Faulkner wants to kill God.  No, he doesn't want to convince less people to believe; he wants to confront the deity Himself and watch Him die.

After he lost his baby girl to a childhood illness, his wife, consumed by grief, committed suicide.  Through a series of (seemingly) random events, he comes to know that his wife's soul has been sent to Hell for this violation.  However, Mike is a theoretical mathematician whose equations show the potential for a new form of energy that can affect the bonds of reality.  In the midst of this discovery, he's approached by a demon from Hell's ruling council with an offer of immortality in exchange for creating a new weapon to storm the gates of Heaven and confront the Almighty.  The demons promise to free his wife and give him absolute power for his efforts.  And all it will take is destruction on an unimaginable scale, as well as the discarding of conscience in order to satiate anger.  After all, what's the harm in annihilating Heaven if that means the cruel will of God can be overcome and real justice established?

Salvation Day is a paranormal thriller that takes us from Mike's grief to his temptation to his corruption to his redemption, stopping at every emotional place in between.  Mike's journey is for everyone who has ever had questions of faith, the meaning of existence, and a longing to know why life sometimes seems unbearable.  How would each of us react to being given the power to create our own version of paradise, and would we truly understand the repercussions of that desire?

This is my second release, and my third should be coming out next summer(probably in July).  I've got the process down now, and this release has proven far easier than my first.  I hope to have at least five novels(preferably six, depending on what happens with the Canidae re-write) out by mid-2020.

As with Akeldama, if you pick up a copy of Salvation Day, please do a review on it.  I hope you enjoy it and give the book a good rating, but obviously that's your decision.  All I really ask is that you do a review.  Tell me and others what you think.

You can buy the paperback here, and the Kindle ebook here.  You can get the Smashwords version here.  Apple iBook version and the Nook version should be ready by this weekend.