Friday, May 27, 2011

Wag The Blog - Type M For Murder

This is a fun blog.Run by a conglomeration of around eight authors, this is an excellent place to visit if you want to be inspired, get some insight or just kill a few hours reading when you should be writing... Not that I ever do that....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

eBook Thoughts - Whispering Ferns Update #1

I released my first self-pubbed eBook, The Whispering Ferns, roughly three weeks ago. I'd planned it as a kind of soft release, partly just to test the waters and see what exactly went into the procedure of releasing an eBook, in advance of the release of Mr. Pale Steps Out, which is my adult novel being completed right now. I hadn't planned on any real promotion, just a few posts here and there, a couple of announcements to friends

Which is good, because the second I hit publish, my personal life got busy and I haven't had time to do much of anything. Sure, I checked the stats obsessively for the first few days, but that was about it. Tonight was the first time I've checked them in a week.

So how have I done? So far, between Smashwords (Which includes Kobo, iBooks and a few other sources) Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I've sold 7 copies of my book.

Which isn't going to make me rich any time soon, but I have gotten a positive review (Which, admittedly is from a friend, but one that is always quite honest and candid, so it still felt good) and that's enough for a dinner out. As long as I don't order drinks and my wife stays home....

But y'know what? It's been super educational, and despite any misgivings, you can freaking type my (Pen) name into google or amazon and see my awesome cover. That is cool, and this is just the beginning of my journey.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go write so I have more than one book to jabber about!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Place I Visit

I've loved William Lashner for years, his books are irreverent and clever, with the main character often flawed and more human than a lot of his contemporaries. Lashner also has a huge encyclopedia of love for the genre in his head, which makes his blog such excellent reading. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

eBook Thoughts #2 - What is an eBook?

What is an eBook? Essentially, its a book in digital form, designed for reading on any number of electronic devices. eBooks aren't new, people have been reading books on computers for years, but with the creation of the eReader, they've taken on a new significance. I actually remember reading a few novels and comic books on my computer back in high school... It wasn't the most pleasant of ways to do it, but they did the trick.

At the times, it was a glorified text file, often even opening in a text editing program to be read. Slowly, comic books became more widely accepted in digital form, since the geeks are usually the first to accept anything but changes to Episode IV. A few reading programs and formats came out, like the .cbr (Comic book reader) format, which was similar to a pdf file, allowing the reader to zoom in and flip pages in a more natural fashion.

Technical and scholarly books were around too, some even offered free in libraries and a few enterprising authors posted their work online for the masses to read. A large jumble of "Fan Fiction" slinked out there too. For many a young man or woman, these fan created stories about their favorite characters from movies, cartoons and video games were their first experience with the eBook reading method. (Be warned, most of Fan Fiction is sexual in nature, so search with care)

Text files are small, too. An entire library of books can take up less space than a single movie file, or a collection of photos. One early method of disseminating bootlegged, scanned copies of books on less reputable sites was to embed the novel in a photo of the cover. Downloaders could then manually change the extension and unzip the book.

eBooks are cheap too, of course. no dead trees, no dead glue monsters, the foil rats have grown to dangerous populations in Norway without the production of covers to cull the herds. All you need is a edited book, a decent cover and a computer.

But reading a book on a computer screen is kind of crappy. It's backlit, flickery, bright, fake and awkward, even on a laptop. And of course, it loses all of the charm a real book has. So for a long time, that's how things stayed.

Then e-Ink was created....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This is a still from the 1933 film Dragnet Girl. I think it's a great shot. My father in law has a plastic version of the RCA/Victor dog, which was based off of a real dog named Nipper.

Friday, May 13, 2011

 A Place I Visit

Margot Kinberg is a mystery novelist and teacher and her blog, Confessions Of A Mystery Novelist is very well-written. Check it out - she writes about Australian crime fiction, bullying, teaching, perception and all of it is beautifully related to great crime and mystery novels. I love it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

eBook Thoughts - #1 - Writing What You Love

Self Publishing eBooks.  Yeesh. I have so much to say about this, yet I find myself struggling to decide where to begin... I guess with my books. That would be a pretty cool place. I read a lot of blogs about writing and post regularly on a few forums, but I also know a few people read this blog that have no toes dipped into that pool, so I'm going to start with pretty beginner stuff here. After all, I'm a beginner.

I've always wanted to write, I filled long notebooks of rambling fantasy stuff back in junior high, longing for a computer or typewriter at home I could use to make them official. For a long time though, the urge faded. I'm not sure why, I was certainly as interested in reading as ever, but the writing side of me lay dormant.

Then my wife started writing a novel and it lit that fire again, seeing how much enjoyment she got from writing made me want to try too. So I started two very different books. A childrens novel and a book about a zombie attack. I also came up with about a dozen other ideas that I've since started to plot out.

I'm not a conventional typist, I hunt and peck with the best of 'em, however, usually just using my index fingers with an occasional tap or two from my other fingers, and writing a long book was a challenge. (Still is) But I kept at it, surprised at how the creation of the story in my head, even if no one else would read it was so therapeutic and exciting.

But a lot of my ideas are kind of unconventional. Sure, zombie books are hot right now (though I've been a fan for decades) but mine is a small scale novel, taking place in one location over the course of one eight-hour shift at a drug store. And it's told in short chapters from different points of view. My kid's book? Old school all the way. A little slow moving and good-hearted, with humor but not the scathing sarcasm that passes for humor nowadays. Mr. Pale Steps Out is a classic revenge novel that happens to take place in an alternate timeline 1960's where a biological weapon explosion has killed 85% of the population and left the rest infected or struggling to survive. And it's a short novel, pulp sized.

So I decided to write novels and promptly set about writing a bunch of books that I will never be able to sell conventionally to "Legacy" publishers. Then eBooks reared their digital heads... That's more like it!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Crab
This Piece is by an illustrator named Rodney Matthews. I don't know much about him, but he's created unique visions of fantasy for over 35 years, including Thin Lizzy covers, fantasy and sci-fi novels and some truly sweet heavy metal logos. You can see more of his work HERE.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On April 26th, I released my first self-published eBook. It's a fun little throwback to the adventure novels I loved as a kid, called The Whispering Ferns. It's written by my alter-ego, the good twin, Kristopher McClanahan and is the first in a planned series of kids novels about a fictional fishing village on the coast of Washington called Moonstone Bay.

I love the setting and the characters, and I adore writing the books, and I had some pretty positive responses from legit agents when I was sending it around, looking for conventional publishing, but the simple fact is that the novel doesn't have enough of a hook. It's a quiet novel about ghosts, friendship and bravery, inspired by stuff I love like John Bellairs, Encyclopedia Brown and the Hardy Boys.

If that sounds intriguing, check it out! It's available on Smashwords in multiple formats, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and will soon be available for iBooks, Kobo and more. Even better, it's only three bucks. Check it out and if you like it, please help out and review it wherever you can.

The simple fact is that this is an experiment. In the next few months I'll also be releasing a post-apocalyptic 60's revenge novel on eBook and The Whispering Ferns is kind of my dry run, letting me hit my growing pains before I get to Mr Pale.

Additionally, I'll be updating everything here on my blog - from the efforts and tricks needed to format your book, to choosing a cover, to how many pennies I make.

This is coming from a guy with no free time, no pre-built customer base and no money to spend promoting this, so think of it as the anti-Konrath. I used to love reading his blog, but nowdays, it's so full of self-promoting and aggrandizing fools that the thing I loved about it, Joe's humor and real advice about writing and publishing seems to have slipped to the wayside. That said, I love the cover to Flee, and can't wait to read it.

So come along for the ride, and if you have any questions or advice, chime in.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I cannot possibly add anything to this photo to make it more awesome.