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Posts Tagged ‘Learning’

I received an e-mail earlier today from Amazon that their x-ray feature had been activated or was at least available on my books. X-ray provides a function somewhat similar to the dictionary where you can get a description of a character or term in the book. Overall, a very good thing in a fantasy story, I think.

So, the first thing I did when I got a chance was to check THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. Sure enough, x-ray was enabled.

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But what they list as the description is just the very first sentence to contain the character’s name or the term. So, this means I need to go through all of that and change it to something actually useful. And then do the same for all the other books in the series. And then check all my other books.

Like I didn’t have any writing to do. I’ll squeeze it all in somehow. At least I have a four-day weekend coming up.

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I’ve been trying to figure out how to share a sample from the audiobook of The Shaman’s Curse.

TSC Audio

Of course, you can listen to the sample right there on Amazon, but I wanted to share it more broadly.

Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me share the audio, here. (Well, they would, if I was willing to pay for the privilege.) And Facebook doesn’t let you share audio, even though you can share video–which makes little sense to me. But anyway. Then today I was watching a podcast from ACX University where it was suggested to make a video by just using the audiobook cover and the sample.

Well, that diverted me into getting the software (free) to do that and create said video. Of course, I still can’t upload that here. But I can upload the video to Facebook–it just takes a really long time, for some reason.

I’ve been waiting for Facebook to finish, which is in part why this post is so late. But it’s still thinking. Eventually, you may be able to listen to the video on my Facebook author page. I hope.

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I’ve finally gotten through that part of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING that I’d already done in first draft.

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The last few chapters are still a bit rough–as rough drafts are apt to be–but I managed to confine myself to only making changes for consistency.

So now, I’m ready to move forward with new chapters and try to actually get through to the end of the first draft. That’ll be fun!

In other news, the audio version of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE is finally here!

TSC Audio

I’m planning out how to promote that, which will be a new experience for me.

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. . . because it’s been that kind of few days.

First, I wrote that scene in BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING that I’d been fretting over in my last post. becomeblueUnfortunately, I think I’ll probably end up deleting it in the revisions, but that’s for later and by then I may change my mind.

Second, I haven’t done much writing or critiquing for the last few days. It’s just been too hot here (and humid, which is unusual for this area). My brain just doesn’t function as well in that kind of weather. Let’s face it, when making the bed brings out a sweat, it’s time to stay indoors (near a fan, if possible), drink lots of water, and not move around much. So, I’ve basically wasted the last couple of days on computer games. Fortunately, it feels like the weather is shifting back closer to normal–at least for a few days.

Third, I have also been trying to work out why a particular story I just read didn’t really work for me, as writers do. (No, I’m not going to mention the title. Stories are very personal and subjective things. What didn’t work well for me might be a book you really enjoy. And why should I take that from you?)

In this case, it’s the latest book in a series I’ve really enjoyed, so the question of why I didn’t like this one as much might, possibly, shed light on some greater story-telling truth. Unfortunately, I really think it mostly comes down to two things.

The main character being out of her usual milieu–not out of her comfort zone, that happens in just about every book. But outside of her usual stomping grounds–and away from the people she usually interacts with–her general snark just can’t shine as much. There have only been three books that took her away from home and I only really enjoyed one of those–the one in which at least one of her usual friends and relations went with her.

But I think the main reason is withholding–when a point-of-view character knows something (or would have to be deaf, blind, and in a coma not to realize something), has every reason to think about and react to that knowledge, and doesn’t. Withholding is one of the two issues that can cause a knee-jerk reaction that makes me want to pitch the book against the wall (impractical in this case, anyway–I was reading on my computer). This wasn’t that bad, but I think it did pretty much ruin the book for me. It made this POV character–fortunately not the main character of the series–feel inauthentic, which he never has before.

Now that the weather is improving, maybe I can get some more real work done.

 

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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.

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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,

 

BitPurple

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.

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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.

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