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So, now I’m working my way back into the story of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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The last few weeks have been pretty much dedicated to getting a good start on taking my stories to a wider distribution. I’m far from done with that, but I think I’ve got the process down to where it should be fairly smooth.

Getting back into this story should be easier than it’s proving so far. But, well, each story is different and I think all the struggles I had with figuring out how to get the early story in, before I finally decided to publish it separately as BECOME: BROTHERS has affected my motivation for this story.

Brothers

Maybe this new chapter I need to write will help fix that–if I can ever figure out how to start it. It’s the first POV switch in this book and therefore just a little tricky. Plus, it needs to be one character’s reaction to what another character learned in the previous chapter, so I can’t just start with him being told the same thing.

I’ll figure it out. After tomorrow (when the school year ends), I’ll have approximately two and a half months to work on this first draft. I ought to be able to get it done in that time.

Today is the seventeenth Father’s Day since Dad died in October 1999.

Dad in Uniform

My father.

Fiftieth Anniversary

(Yeah, that’s me with my eyes closed. It’s really hard to get a picture of me with my eyes open for some reason. That was my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary, btw. Yes, they were married in December, hence the wreaths in the background. And, yeah, if a couple of my stories have tall male protagonists with short, fiery love interests, well, you might be looking at part of the reason for that right there. 🙂 )

I was outside earlier (despite the heat wave) using a gardening tool of Dad’s–one he adapted for the purpose. I’m pretty sure it started out as a hoe, but Dad straightened it out and turned it into a long-handled scraper. It’s the perfect tool for scraping weeds out of my decomposed granite driveway (where they’re impossible to pull out because the ground is too compacted). Which is what Dad used it for. (It also makes a pretty decent lever for lifting stepping stones that have gotten well set into my adobe clay soil.)

His generation did a lot of that. If you needed a tool, you didn’t just run down and buy a new one. First you looked around at what you already had to see if there was something you could use or adapt to the purpose. I need to think like that more often.

Thinking of you today, Dad.

I just now reviewed the handful of revisions to the audio book for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE

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And approved the book. If all goes well, it should be available in a couple of weeks!

Phase 1 is nearly complete. I’ve even had my first non-Amazon sale since 2014. Just a few more minor tasks.

I need to compile the .epub file for BLOOD IS THICKER and upload that to Draft2Digital.

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From there, it’s a simple matter to prepare the boxed set, CHIMERIA OMNIBUS.

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I also need to do one bit of cleanup on THE VOICE OF PROPHECY.

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For some reason I still haven’t figured out, the table of contents in the .epub I uploaded to Pronoun got altered. Their version includes an “untitled” line which seems to correspond to a blank Heading 3. (I use Heading 3 for my revision notes as I work through my manuscript. I delete them as I go. Evidently, in this case, the text was deleted but the style remained.)

Nevertheless, that line is not in my toc, partly because my toc deliberately only goes to level 2. The mystery is how it ended up in Pronoun’s .epub when it is not in the one I uploaded. Hopefully, I’ll hear back from them about that in the next few days. In the meantime, there’s no reason not to fix it. It’s just compiling one more .epub.

That’s all the books that can go wide for the next couple of weeks, at least. So, after that, I can work on preparing the others as time allows and, finally, get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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I have an idea for a new chapter I need to get to work on.

Well, I published BLOOD WILL TELL widely yesterday,

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so I now have books distributed through both Pronoun and Draft2Digital. No sales on either, yet, but that’s not entirely unexpected. I’ll probably have to run a promotion or two later in the month to get these noticed.

Here are my first impressions:

  1. I prefer Draft2Digital’s interface. Pronoun’s interface is much glitzier, but it feels like it’s trying to lead a novice through this process. As I’m not a self-publishing novice, that’s a little irritating. It’s also not as flexible as either Amazon or Draft2Digital. For example, Pronoun insists that you use all seven keywords. Also all prices will end in .99. (Though Pronoun will allow you to set the book free, which Amazon won’t.) And, for Pronoun, if you want to (or need to) opt out of Amazon, you’ll have to supply the Amazon link to prove your book is already published there.
  2. Pronoun does offer an Author Page, which is very useful, especially since you can’t include a link to your Amazon author page for books that will be distributed through other vendors. And, in setting up this Author Page, you can list other books, currently only published on Amazon (through universal links).
  3. Pronoun tries to be very helpful, though it falls a little flat. When you enter a keyword, Pronoun makes suggestions. As far as I can tell, they’re harvesting similar terms that have been used and trying to suggest the most popular. I can get that from Kindle Samurai, if I choose. And, anyway, the suggestions for my genre were not actually good fits and all seemed to be directed toward specific books–that were not my book.
  4. Also, under the heading of trying to be helpful, I was bombarded with emails from Pronoun–twice before I figured out how to turn it off (I hope)–suggesting that many of my books (all of the Dual Magics series, individually, plus Fire and Earth) could be in Amazon’s top 100 in the Arthurian category. The only problem with that is that none of them have anything at all to do with King Arthur. Not even remotely.
  5. Both Pronoun and Draft2Digital will put out new release emails, which is very helpful.

So, now it’s just hunker down and wait through a pay cycle or two to see how things work out. I’ll go ahead and publish the other book in the Chimeria series, BLOOD IS THICKER,

 

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through Draft2Digital. And explore some of their more advanced options that I haven’t had a chance to look at yet.

And I’ll prepare the rest of the Dual Magics series to go up on Pronoun when they’re clear from Kindle Unlimited. Then, in July, I’ll be able to tackle the rest of my novel-length works and make a decision about the shorter works.

And maybe, just maybe, get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

Okay, so far I’ve only tried Pronoun and there’s not much to report there other than I’ve gotten the process down to where it goes a lot smoother, now.

I started with BECOME: BROTHERS.

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And went on to the first three books in my DUAL MAGICS series.

Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Set

Though I haven’t yet put the boxed set up on Pronoun, because the short story, “Modgud Gold” is included in the set and it doesn’t come out of Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited until the 27th. The fourth book in the series, WAR OF MAGIC,

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also can’t go wide until the 23rd, for the same reason. Though I can prepare those files so they’ll be ready to go with little fuss. I’ve barely started that process.

Now, of those, only BECOME: BROTHERS and THE SHAMAN’S CURSE are available anywhere but Amazon, yet. It takes a few days for them to show up on the other retailers. And then I’ll have to rescan the universal links so that they point to all the retailers where the books are available. That takes about a minute, so not a big deal.

Also, I haven’t yet sold any through Pronoun, but that’s not entirely unexpected. It’s going to take time–and probably a bit of promotion–to get discovered on those other sites.

Meanwhile, I’m finishing up my refurbish of BLOOD WILL TELL

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with the intention of trying it and the sequel on Draft2Digital. Ultimately, the only way to know which I prefer is to try both, at least through a pay cycle or two. After the initial set-up, switching from one to the other, if that’s what I decide to do, ought not to be too difficult.

My other books are tied up until mid July, because of Kindle Unlimited. So, I’ll have time to work on prepping those. And I haven’t made a final decision about what I’m going to do with the other short works.

It’s an occupational hazard. We can’t help it. We obsess over things.

I had no sooner pushed the publish button for BECOME: BROTHERS on Pronoun,

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than I noticed I had gotten a three-star review on it on Amazon. And, of course, that makes me all kinds of nervous about this being the book I’m leading off with in going wide.

Now, this isn’t a rant about that review. It’s a fair review, based on that reader’s experience and expectations of the story. And, to be honest, I knew I was taking a bit of a risk leading off with a novella to start an epic fantasy series. That’s not usual. It’s just what seemed to work best for this story, for two reasons.

  • All my attempts to shoehorn this part of the story into the bigger story line just didn’t work and
  • I really believe that the relationship between this brothers is crucial for the main story–which will involve a certain betrayal of the trust they built in this novella.

Fortunately, there’s something I can do about that.

The Dual Magics series will need very little formatting work before I can upload that to Pronoun, too. THE SHAMAN’S CURSE

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will need very little work before I can upload it, too. Really just change the links from Amazon to universal links and a couple of other quick things and then compile the .epub and .mobi files. In fact, as of tomorrow, the first three books in the Dual Magics series will be out of Kindle Unlimited, so I can proceed with that. Though the rest of the series will have to wait until the end of June. Considering that readers on Amazon had to wait a whole year, one month doesn’t seem like it’d be too long.