Author Archives: jrmurdock
What? Giant Robots? Yes, you heard right. I wrote a book about giant robots. Why? Because GIANT ROBOTS!
It was available for preorder, and now it’ officially up for sale! You can grab a copy right now for my $2.99!
I will apologize now if you don’t do Amazon. If you prefer an ePub version, drop me a note at email@example.com and I will get you a copy straightaway!
For the rest of you that do Amazon. Hop on over to http://www.amazon.com/Giant-Robot-Planetary-Competition-Entry-ebook/dp/B010F2ON6Y/ and pick up a copy today!
If you help spread the word by posting on your social media (anywhere will do), drop me a line at the above email address letting me know where you posted with a link to your post and I will send you any other book in my catalog FREE! Yes, ANY of the books you see, I will send to you. Don’t have Jack Kane yet? Pick up a copy of GRPC, post about it on Social Media, BAM! Free ebook in your hands. (Oh, and I will be gifting the books to you through Amazon, so it helps if you kindle :) )
If you’ve read the book and love it as much as I loved writing it, drop me a line, leave me a review, post about it on Social Media. Help me spread the word far and wide!
And thank you for being awesome!
There’s been a lot of focus on me the past two days (Father’s Day and my Birthday falling one day after the other. I want to take the focus off of me and spend some time on someone else.
Thirteen years is a long time for anything. For my favorite daughter, that’s how long she spent getting through school. From Kindergarten through her Senior year, it’s been an adventure. A journey. She’s gone from being my little girl, to my favorite daughter to being her own person (though she’ll always be little girl and my favorite daughter.) The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. She made sure to keep my wife and me on our toes. Just a small list of things that have happened.
Getting ready for Prom.
Getting ready for her t-shirt site launch (http://shopheartbreakers.com)
Getting ready for her t-shirt launch party
Photoshoot for her website
Launch party for her t-shirt company
Launching her website (did I mention http://shopheartbreakers.com)
Going to Prom
Getting ready for graduation.
Registering for college.
Going to her Baccalaureate
Going to her graduation.
Having an after graduation celebration
Audition for Fashion Week San Diego
Grad Night at Disneyland
Photoshoot for a local designer.
Then it was Father’s Day and My Birthday.
Suffice to say, I’m exhausted. My wife is exhausted. My Favorite Daughter is exhausted, but still eager to do more.
It’s times like this when I haven’t had a chance to really let everything sink in. We’ve been so busy with everything that somehow I missed the fact that my little girl has gone and grown up. She’s out of high school. She started her own business. She’s off to college. She’s doing her own thing and making her parents so proud of all she’s done.
Life isn’t without its ups and downs and this year started out tough. Through it all she’s made it to the end of school. She graduated with honors, technical recognition (for working in the Mac Lab and being the Career Technical Education (CTE) Ambassador for Valhalla High School). She kept everything she wanted to do on track and followed through even when things got tough. She saw her goal, focused, and hit her targets. Nothing deterred her.
I still see that little girl going to school for the first time. The awkward smile as we dropped her off. The way she twisted her hair around her finger letting us know just how nervous she was while putting on a strong face. How her teachers asked us why she was so quiet and us assuring them she was just shy.
Then seeing her at graduation. Running up to her friends, taking pictures, cheering loudly at how happy she was for them. Trying to find other friends and knowing she can reach out to them later, or texting them that she’ll see them at grad night. The confidence she showed knowing that she had everything under control and at the same time not wanting to admit it was truly all over and many of her friends were off to their own adventures.
Sitting here it’s hard to not post a thousand pictures of everything she went through at school from plays, to volleyball games, to parties, to… well, you get the point.
It’s been a long thirteen years and they’ve gone by in a blink. Now she’s on to bigger and better things. We couldn’t be prouder.
My Favorite Daughter. She’s kinda awesome. Congratulations kiddo. We love you!
YES! That’s right. Big giant robots that like to smash things are coming your way.
July 1st I start a new series. Giant Robot Planetary Competition: Entry Level is the first book in the GRPC series. These will take place in the same universe as the V&A Shipping books. I’m super excited to get this one out there. I’ve had the idea for some time, and now it’ll be in your hands! (or at least on your ereaders).
Beta Readers loved the book with great things to say like:
“What did I just read?”
“You did a bait and switch on me. This isn’t funny at all.”
“I loved the part <deleted> and then things <deleted>.”
“Are you sure you want to release a book like this to the world?”
So yes. You can see there is much excitement about this book already. Is it funny? No, not really. This is a departure from V&A Shipping in that it’s not humorous. Are there funny parts? Yes, but not as many as you’d expect from someone that wrote a short story with Vampire Cows! Is it entertaining? Well, it is giant robots trying to destroy each other. I thought it was rather brilliant.
The book does follow the life of Ravikanth Helio, an orphan, as he’s abducted from an orphanage, put into slave labor as an asteroid miner, and finally used as a pawn in the galaxy’s greatest competition. A competition where one thousand giant robots fight for the mineral rights to an entire planet!
I’ll make sure to shout loudly on July 1st when it’s available! Until then, check out my other books I have available. I’m sure I’ve got something to tide you over until then.
Two and a half years ago (or more depending on who you ask) Michell Plested and I began work on a book. We wanted it to be funny, filled with action, and readable by people of all ages. He pitched it to a publisher, and Ta Dah! Jack Kane and the Statue of Liberty found a home.
It’s been a long time and a lot of work to get here and it’s incredibly exciting. We’re so happy to share this book with everyone and hope that it finds its way into the hands of millions (not just because we’re greedy, but because we love to have people read our work and feed our egos as well as our bank accounts). If you’ve found a copy, I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as we did creating it for you to read.
So if you’re one of the millions who will read Jack Kane, thank you. If you haven’t picked up a copy, here’s where you can find it. Bear in mind, that it’s currently ebook only. Once we sell a hundred copies, this WILL become a print book as well. So if you’re holding out for a print edition, convince your friends to buy the ebook. The sooner we hit 100, the sooner it’ll be in print. It’s only $2.99 and oh so worth it!
Champagne Books: http://champagnebooks.com/store/index.php?id_product=527&controller=product
There are some places you don’t want to go. Some places you dread. Some of these places haunt your nightmares. You think about them during the waking hours.
Then there are places you didn’t even know existed.
I have a story in an anthology that came out this week in Dimensional Abscesses. Portals to places you never knew existed and places you certainly don’t want to go. Need a little scare? Want something to make you jump. Maybe even laugh a little? Well, come on over and check out what Jeff Hite and Michelle Plested have brought together.
Hey! What’s that? a new cover for V&A Shipping? Why yes, yes it is. (recovering, see what i did there?).
Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the cover that Starla did for me. I love all the covers she did for me. But i ran into an issue and it had to do with cost. I have a lot of books and need a lot of covers. So rather than wait until i have enough money for new book covers, i decided that the best thing to do was take a the time needed to learn enough about PhotoShop and build my own. I also took the time to rebrand all the covers so there is a common theme not only for the books in a series, but across all titles. So I’ll be posting all the covers here over the next few days while i get ready to post new titles in the coming year. I have three books done, written, complete, ready to rock and roll. So while I spend some time posting those covers here, I’ll be getting those ready to post for sale.
It’s an exciting time. I can’t wait to get these news books out there. I hope you’re excited as well.
Now, for the sale!
For Cyber Monday week (sure, why not. All week long) if you buy any one of my books and email me your receipt, I’ll send you any two of my titles FREE! Just let me know what you’d like and what format, and I’ll send it on over. So what are you waiting for? Get on over there and buy a book!
Until Next Time!
Hey, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry about that. It’s time to get back on track, I think. Life has been hectic, and hopefully has settled down to the point I can get back into a routine. We’ll see how it goes.
I won’t elaborate here as to just all that has gone on, but here it is in a nutshell.
Lost three online friends to cancer. Helped my mom clean and list her bar for sale. Stressed out about work (a lot more than I needed to). Got angry about my favorite daughter getting cut from volleyball. Allowed everything to get into my head and put all my writing and blogging on hold.
Today that all stops and as I said, it’s time to get back into a routine.
Before I fell off the writing wagon, I was way up on my word count for the year. I was on target. I was feeling great. I got a great start on Asteroid Bunnies. I had gotten back into Almost-Super Heroes. I’d redone and resubmitted my short story Dans le Ciel and retitled it Contrat d’Oliviver. I was in the middle of getting edits done.
Yes, all that and then I fell off the map.
I started making my comeback when I looked at my book covers as a whole and decided they weren’t getting the job done. They were okay, but as a collection, too disparate. I needed something more cohesive. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing those covers and gearing up for the release of Jack Kane (hopefully later this year). I’ve redone most of my covers and am in the process of getting my blurbs also redone. I’ve found terrible grammar, typos, just a big old mess that I can’t believe I missed. So I’ll be fixing all of those when I drop the covers.
Then I’ll be re-reading all my books and getting them cleaner. This will be a big task, but needs to be done.
Speaking of Jack Kane; The editing process on that one, for me, was brutal. I began to question my ability and everything I’d done up to that point. Was I as good of a writer as I thought? Was I making far too many mistakes in my writing? Did all that red me I just plain sucked?
Well, no. What it was, for me, was a learning experience. I learned that I’m terrible with two things. 1) Commas. 2) Word Echo. 3) dialogue tags. (okay, okay, three things).
But you know what, that book was picked up by a publisher. Mike and I pounded though those edits, cleaned it up, did some needed rewriting, and, in the end, came out with a much better manuscript.
Publishing with a publisher is a partnership. Something in a manuscript that doesn’t bother me (like word echo) might be like needles in the eyes to an editor. It was an education that I needed and feel much better for it. I can’t wait for Mike and I to start working on Jack Kane 2!
So now that I’m back, I will be writing once again. I need to look at the unfinished manuscripts I have. I need to look at what I want to work on next. I really need to take stock in what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and get my nose back to the grind stone.
So I apologize for dropping off the map. Look for future posts about what I plan on doing with my books. As a hybrid author, I have the ability to do what I like with my self-published books, and in doing so, I hope to have an impact on my publisher produced books.
For now, I should be writing.
Until Next Time!
I must be losing my mind! Why else would I price a book at 99 cents? I mean, really. Who does that? It’s almost like giving it away! Well, this is your chance. If you haven’t picked up V&A Shipping yet, it’s now on sale at all your favorite ebook retailers for only 99 cents. That’s right, pick one! It’ll be 99 cents. If it’s not, send me a link, I’ll send you a free copy.
If you paid full price for V&A Shipping, email me. I trust you. I will send you a free copy of V&A Shipping II. If you already have V&A Shipping II, I’ll send you one of my others title (that I’ve published myself, this doesn’t include the anthologies). So drop me a line and say “Hey! Murdock! I feel like I got ripped off for paying full price!” and BAM! Free ebook for you just for being awesome.
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/275220
So check it out. Let me know what you think. Don’t forget, that V&A Shipping II is also out there (and only $2.99). That’s right, you can get 2 books for only four bucks (well, $3.98 if you want to be picky about it). So what are you waiting for? Head on out there and pick up something to read!
Until Next Time!
Back around 2000 I discovered the Palm Pilot. By 2004 I had a Dell PDA. On both I had downloaded and read books from friends and books that were free from some author sites. I’d even read books from the very few authors that were selling their ebooks. I was hooked on reading on an electronic device far before it was something easy to do and as popular as it is today.
One of the people I read on those devices was Mike Stackpole. For a long time I read his series “The Secrets” where he discussed a lot of things. One of his many topics was fighting with his publisher to get his rights back to his books. He did this so he could publish them electronically himself. The publisher (at the time) didn’t want the hassle of a noisy author and reverted his rights.
Mike had the foresight and the tenacity to get the rights back to his books in a time when publishers didn’t see any profitability in the ebook market.
As Mike put it, big publishers weren’t in the business of selling stories. They were in the business of shipping little white bricks.
And that’s what they still do to this day. They don’t sell a good story. They sell mass-manufactured little white bricks, and make a good amount of profit from selling ebooks, but that’s not their main focus and they still don’t understand it.
Many times reading author blogs, I’d see an author complain about the fact that they’d written a 190,000 word book, and the publisher was making them cut it down to 100,000 words. They’d have to edit, and cut out subplots, and trim their story down. They’d eventually say “It’s a much better book for the cuts.” Well, why did the publisher want they to cut the book down in the first place?
They’ve already sold that story to distribution houses. They need X number of books to fit into a box. If they story is bigger than 100,000 words, they would need ship more boxes and that costs money. So they need a shorter book so they can fit more books into a box.
The edits have nothing to do with improving a story and everything to do with shipping the most books per box. It’s all about the bottom line and nothing to do with selling the best story they can. The publishing industry (specifically the big 5) know exactly how many words a book needs to be to fit a perfect number into a case so they can ship the most books.
Now I know what you’re going to say, look at all the books that are bigger by authors like G.R.R. Martin, Patterson, Sanderson, etc. You need to understand that those are established authors. Their books can be any size they like because they know those books will sell and make a good amount of money. Probably never enough to cover the advance the author got, but they’ll make a good amount of money.
So where do they save the money those big authors are getting? You guessed it, saving in the shipping costs of authors that don’t sell at those levels. Trimming those books down so they’re small enough to pack more little white bricks into boxes.
What does all this have to do with ebooks? More than you might think.
Again, Mike Stackpole had foresight and pointed out many of the things I’ll be repeating here. From talking to him at conventions, to reading The Secrets, to listening to him on podcasts, he saw all this happening years before anyone else. Many of the things he’d predicted have happened and now others are predicting.
He saw ebooks becoming a big thing. This is why he got the rights back to his books. Publishers still didn’t see this happening and even around 2007, didn’t care. Certain noisy authors got their rights back easily just be complaining and sending letters to their publishers. The publishers didn’t care about ebooks because they were busy shipping little shite bricks.
Then Amazon came out with the kindle. Suddenly buying ebooks was easy. It was quick. People wanted to read on their computers, their hand-held devices, they bought kindle ereaders (which the first generation of ereaders really sucked). The big publishers still didn’t care about ebooks. They made half-hearted attempts to get books out there and if you were an early adopter, you know how bad early ebooks from big publishers were. Why? They weren’t in the business of producing electronic editions. They were in the business of shipping little white bricks.
Readers have NEVER come first with big publishers. With smaller presses, yes. I love me some smaller presses. Big publishers? They’re all the same now. They all produce the same books with the same luke-warm plots. You want a good book? Pick up something by a small press or an Indie. They look at readers first and will take a chance on a daring story.
So big publishers had the opportunity to get onboard with ebooks early. Very early. They warning signs were there. A few authors demanded their rights back, Amazon came out with an ereader, but still they did nothing to stop the march of technology. They could have sold direct from their websites. They could have gotten together and made their own ereader. They could have done anything. Instead, they put their heads down, put their fingers in their ears, and sang “la la la this isn’t happening.” They allowed Amazon to become a monster with the largest, world-wide distribution of ebooks. Why? They didn’t want to deal with selling ebooks. They were focused on getting their little white bricks to bookstores. Amazon wants to deal with ebooks? Let them.
And that is why we have the issue we have today. Hachette had dug their heels in against what Amazon is doing. Yet if you go back six, seven, eight years ago, Hachette and the other big publishers missed the boat. They not only missed it, it’d sailed years before they realized they needed to be on it. They continued (and some would argue still continue) to focus on shipping little white bricks to book stores. They try to convince gullible authors (and some of them very smart people) that they’re not making any money off of ebooks and that it’s actually more expensive to produce an ebook than it is to produce a physical book.
Think about that for one second. It’s more expensive to take an author’s digitally produced book and upload it to Amazon than it is to typeset, print, package, warehouse, distribute, taken in returns than it is to upload a file? Big publishers think their authors are really stupid.
Authors that are buying into this myth deserve what they get. I’m sorry. I said in a post earlier this week, I feel bad for authors stuck in this, but being that you don’t own your books, I have a hard time thinking you’re not getting what you deserve. There are a LOT of authors and a lot of information out there. Go do some reading. Ask for help. I’m confident that if you’re a popular author with a big press and you ask for help getting your books out on your own, you’ll get that help. You’ll get pointed to resources for doing it on your own. You can still “just write” and pay for services to get a book published. You can read and learn how to get your books into bookstores on your own.
I know it’s scary. Here’s where I’m coming from. I know some hybrid authors. I know authors with books that come from multiple publishers. Guess what, I couldn’t tell you which books came from where and I honestly don’t care. I never have. I couldn’t tell you which publisher produced which Chuck Wendig book, I buy Chuck Wendig books. I don’t know who published Mike Stackpole’s books, I buy Mike Stackpole books. I have no idea who published Stephen King’s books through the years, I buy Stephen King books. It has nothing NOTHING to do with the publisher and everything to do with the author.
I know I’m not alone. There are a lot of people like me that, when looking for a book, look for an author. Let that sink in. If you’re an author with a big publisher, think about what I just said. I buy an author’s book because of the author. Not because of the publisher.
Now I need to go make some words happen.
Until next Time!
I have no delusions of grandeur. I don’t write me no high-falutin’ works of art. My books won’t sit on the shelves of bookstores across America (or any other country). My stories will never be studied in school to determine their symbolism. I’ve never included any social commentary (at least not intentionally).
I write stories that are designed for one reason; to entertain.
It really is just that simple. In the land of big, rich chocolate candy bars, I’m an M&M. Just one among thousands. You might not even notice me as you look me over for something bigger and better. You may even sneer and say “Who really wants an M&M when I can have a Snickers?”
I can’t blame you. That isn’t the reason I write and sell my stories.
I’m not writing for accolades, acceptance among my peers (many who haven’t even read any of my works), or even for awards. I write firstly for myself. I’ve always wanted to write books and having written 17 books, I’m happy with what I’ve done over the years and how I’ve progressed as a writer. Making myself happy with my stories comes long before any other reason for writing.
The other reason I write is to make anyone who reads one of my stories happy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a chuckle and a tweet, or someone that gets a hold of me years later and says “Oh, man! I still remember, ‘Junior, bring me a hamburger.’” Yes, I still get people telling me that. I released V&A Shipping on Podiobooks.com back in 2008/2009. Five years later, people still remember my characters. I think that says something.
I also have people who’ll get a hold of me and ask me about a girl that rode a dragon and had to learn science or magic and what was the name of that book? Well, that’s Astel. It’s one of mine. It still make me smile when friends or readers ask me about that one.
Another reason I’ll probably never win an award is that I’m not traditionally published. Yes, I’ll have a book out later this year from an actual publisher, but that’s a different story for a different day. Being that most of my works are and will be self-published, I can’t even put them in for an award. If I could, I’d still have to go through the submission process and get the work into the award people’s hands. For now, that just sounds like a lot of work I don’t want to go through.
Me? I’d rather see a reader buy, read, and review three of my books in one day (this happened earlier this year with My Teacher is a Zombie, My Teacher is a Werewolf, and My Teacher is a Vampire). This is the kind of response I write for. People who want to devour my books and leave reviews explaining why they did so and how much they enjoyed them. Their joy in reading my books is compounded 100 times when I hear back from them.
All these things mean more to me than any award will ever be able to accomplish. Sure, it’d be nice, but readers expressing how much they enjoyed something that I pretty much wrote for myself…there’s nothing more powerful than that.
And, hey. I give away books for FREE! Check out how to get one. Sign up for my email list, email me and just ask, leave me a review, help me spread the word. I’d love to share more of my words with more people. If you like what I’m doing here, and I’ve given you a free book, leave me a review, buy a copy for a friend, write me an email and tell me what you loved (or hated) about the book you got. I’d want to hear from you.
Speaking of words, I need to go make some happen.
Until Next Time!