Category Archives: Blog Post
I am remiss in announcing that My Teacher is a Vampire is now available for sale! I will update the site later today, but for now, here is all the sales info.
The third in the Supernatural Learning series, this completes the 8th grade collection. The next book will start the characters in 9th grade. There will be 4 books for the 9th grade collection and involve more creatures of the supernatural world.
I post regularly over at sffworld.com and here is a post that some might find of interest. It’s most of the reasoning behind why I went self-published vs traditional published. The main thread is here.
My two cents:
I decided to go the Indie (self-pub, whatever you want to call it) route. I’ve been writing since the 90s, been submitting stories and books since 1999. Been on these forums for quite some time. I’ve developed quite a thick skin. Over those years I’ve written over 100 shot stories (most of them are terrible) and 14 novels (a few of those suck and a couple have been completely rewritten). I’ve submitted to publishers and agents both big and small both via snail mail and email. I’ve collected a large number of rejection letters (all of them form letters for my novels). I’ve even attended conferences and had one publisher that said pull me aside for a personal conversation and had me pitch him my novels and asked me to send them along. After more than a year with no response, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.
First of all I’ve been watching the self-pub movement for quite a long time. I’ve watched the vanity presses suck in authors with hopes and dreams and watched people get taken. I’ve watched people toss their one book they spent 15 years writing and re-writing and watched them fail because no one bought their one book. I’ve watched podcasters skyrocket to stardom (Scott Sigler, Mur Lafferty, Nathan Lowell, Tee Morris, Philipa Ballantine) and a couple do very well being persistent and release multiple podcast novels to coincide with their novel releases (both traditionally and self-published), and others release one novel, release a book, and wonder why it failed. I’ve watched J.A. Konrath and read all his blogs. I’ve watched Dead Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathrine Rush, Michael Stackpole, Amanda Hocking, and many others go the self-pub route and have great success, but I’ve also watched a LOT of other smaller name authors have a level of success that has allowed them to quit their day jobs and write full time pulling in a nice annual income with many titles.
What I’ve seen is those that can produce a large volume of work reap the rewards. Those with one or two titles generally fail because they don’t see immediate success and throw up their hands and give up. This isn’t a game of throw your book out there and you’re guaranteed success. You can’t force people to your book in 6 months and expect it to be a hit. That just doesn’t happen. All of the people I know that have made it spent years working hard to improve their craft and wrote a lot of books. Amanda Hocking release 9 books her first year and did so in a hot genre that helped her gain popularity. J.A. Konrath acquired his backlist and got better editing, better covers, and re-released them all. Same with others I mentioned. They fought for their backlist, got it, and put it out there. People couldn’t find their backlist due to publishers not giving these authors priority. They’re a rare handful.
As for me, I’ve done a couple podcast novels, but due to life happening I stopped. I had released one novel myself, but again, life happened and I stopped. This year will be different as I never stopped writing. I have a backlog of 14 novels and several in process of being written and/or plotted out. A couple of my older books I will be re-writting because I know I can make them better. I have a great and inexpensive cover artist. I have three friends that all proof read my work (one is a technical writer with a background in editing, another went to school for editing because when she retires she wants to be an editor, the other is just good at picking my stories apart for content). It’s taken me many many years to reach the point where I’ ready to get my stories out into the world. I also have a backlist of my own stories that I’ve had edited, I just need covers, book layout, and I can get these books out the door and into readers hands. I’ve spent nearly a decade watching the market, the self-pub movement, and keeping an eye on what’s worked and what hasn’t.
I didn’t come to this decision lightly. I would love to have a standard publishing contract from a major house, but I’m not getting any younger and I’m frankly tired of waiting and submitting and waiting and being rejected. I haven’t been idle and I know it’ll take a long time to gain readers. Going this route, for me, won’t mean overnight success. It might take me another five or ten years to gain an audience, but I need to keep at it and keep trying. Getting my books out there, going to cons, doing interviews on podcasts or where ever I can, and doing blog tours, anything to get my name out there. I also need to keep a steady stream of books flowing out. I need good covers. I need good editing. I need to be patient.
If you’re wondering, I currently have 5 titles out (2 middle grade, 1 collection of short stories, and 2 novels). I currently sell about one book every other day. That’s since the start of this year. I’ll be releasing two more books next week (1 middle grade in the same series, 1 sci-fi thriller novel). I’ll be releasing another novel next month. I’ll be re-releasing my first self-pubbed book with better editing the month after that. I’ll be releasing at least one novel per month for the rest of this year. If I’m lucky, I hope to sell a book a day by the end of the year). I’ve got next year planned out and I’m writing books to release next year, this year. I’ve got 10 years worth of books planned out and I have no real intention of stopping. I’ve got many more ideas than I can write in a short period of time and I am a fast writer. Last year I wrote 490,000 words. This year I’ve written 100,000 thus far and I’m shooting for 365,000 as a good goal given my release schedule. I’ve got a spreadsheet to track my progress. I’ve got friends pushing me to stay on track. I’ve communicated with my family my goals for the coming years.
Even with all of this in place, I still might fail. That’s a very real possibility. But if I don’t get books out there and try, I’ll fail before I start. I can’t have that. I have to give it a try.
So what am I getting at with all of this? Don’t just jump into self publishing without being aware of what you’re getting into . Don’t think this is a road to riches. If you’ve got one book, I would recommend rethinking and keep trying to get that book through a traditional publisher. Write another book, and another, and another while you wait. If you’ve built up a number of books and you’re still not getting anywhere with traditional publishing, then consider self publishing. Understand that you’ll need to learn cover design, you’ll have to learn scheduling, you’ll have to learn book layout, you’ll have to build your blog and your website, you’ll have to learn all the distribution outlets for your book and ebook, you’ll have to learn all those systems for getting your books into the hands of readers. Yes, you could take your word doc and throw it up on kindle tomorrow, but ask yourself what you’re hoping to get out of it? You’ll only get out what you put in and there is so much to learn.
I said a lot more than I intended. Wow! I’m sure I could say a lot more, but suffice to say, do your homework before making the jump. Don’t just jump and hope. Hope doesn’t sell books.
Perhaps you’ve heard that Mike Plested has been kidnapped, along with his entire family by the despicable villain, Lord Aquarius. What has he done wrong other than to write the book Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero and edit the wicked compendium A Method to the Madness: A Guide to the Super Evil? I think that trying to mix oil and water are bad enough, but trying to produce a superhero tome along with a Super Evil guide as well? He has gone too far!
As an interviewer of the SuperEvil (you can find my interview with Dr. Nefarious in this forthcoming tome) I can say this delights me to no end. I had thought that the SuperEvil of this town had gone soft. It’s not often in this line of work you get to see the Super Evil actually pull one off. If we’re lucky, Mr. Plested has not completed his editing work. I would hate to see this compendium of Evil Knowledge fall into the wrong hands (those of superheroes!). The interviews I have performed were never intended for their eyes. If you happen to see this book out in the wild, make sure to buy it, read it, and burn it before it can fall into the hands of heroes like Mik Murdoch! (no relation to this interviewer. See, his name ends in an H, mine ends in a K! K for EVIL!)
Hopefully in the near future I will be able to get a hold of Lord Aquarius to see what his plans are with the offensive Plested. I’m sure whatever his dastardly plans are, they will not go far enough! Stay tuned! I will be back with more on this topic in future posts!
J.R. Murdock – Interviewer of the Super Evil!
There comes a time in every man’s life when he must realize that he’s riding a speck of dust in an every expanding universe and that universe will do everything in its power to prevent you from reaching your goals. You must push past all that and work even harder to reach those goals. If you just try and will your way to victory, you will usually have a much harder time than if you actually write down what you want to achieve, then map out those steps to reach each goal.
The universe has fought against me tooth and nail. It’s thrown me curve balls. Tried to crush my head. It’s beaten me down and given me distractions beyond measure.
I’ve persevered. This hasn’t been easy, but I’ve continued on my path. And guess what? I pass the 425,000 word mark. I’m also half-way to my NaNoWriMo goal. I’ve written more word this year than ever before. Heck, I’ve written nearly as many words this year as I’ve written in all the other years of my writing combined! I’m shocked. I’m astonished. I’m thrilled.
I managed to do this by writing down my goals, looking at those goals daily, and realizing that I need to keep taking steps forward to reach that goal. Each step was a tiny step on the path to my larger goal. I took those steps as they came. I missed a few, but I did my best to catch up. I skipped a day here, a week there, and I always felt like I could be writing more than I was. I allowed distractions to distract me and pull me away from what I should have been doing.
Well, no more. I’m looking at all the words I’ve written this year and I know I’m capable of so many more than I’m currently producing. Not only that, I’ve avoided getting those words out into the wild. That’s the next step on my grand journey. I’ve taken the first steps to plan out next year and what books I will put out and when to publish them. I’ll also be planning on when to record, getting cover art done, getting editing done, doing layouts. I won’t announce a release date until I have all of these things completed. That’s right. I want to have the audio recorded AND EDITED as well as having the book ready to go all before I even think of announcing a release date. It will likely be one month after I get all that work completed and I may have multiple books in progress. All that I will be doing while I’m continuing to write new works.
I had said at the beginning of the year that I would treat my writing more like a part time job. I’ve done that. I’ve gotten my writing groove down. The next step is to treat my completed works like a product. I need to get that product to the public and see what happens. This year has been exciting seeing just how much and how often I could sit and write. next year will be double exciting as I see how many of those completed works I can get out into the hands of readers. I’m not just excited, I’m anxious.
I’m not going to do what I did with Astel. I did take my time, but I didn’t make sure it was the best product I could. I will be getting a good edit on that book and getting it re-released. That’s just one I’m planning on for next year. I’m also planning what I’m going to work on next year as well so I can get more books written and be ready to record and produce those. It’s an exciting time and if I can keep books rolling out, that will help people find me, right? That’s the plan anyway.
I’ll be doing all of this as well as keeping up with my day job. And speaking of the day job!
Action Pack Podcast S01E06.
The latest episode of the Action pack Podcast is now ready for your enjoyment. Please down, listen, and enjoy (not necessarily in that order)
I’ve been a long time listener and reader of your work. I discovered you from your geek essays on Wingin’ It! O so many years ago. It seems like it’s only been a short time, but years have passed and I’ve only rarely reached out to you. I am poor at communication with others. This is a fault I’m working on.
Once I found your podcast I downloaded all your episodes and listened to them all and stayed caught up for a very long time. I listened to each episode and how you would give such great advice and you would admittedly say “It’s easy to give advice, but so very difficult to follow it”. This is human.
I watched as you morphed from writing essays for fun, to writing them for pay (Knights of the Dinner Table and Suicide Girls) and you would talk about your previous work on Role Playing games. I enjoyed listening to each of your podiobooks.
Sadly, as things happen, I ran out of steam and my enjoyment for podcasts has faded to where I only listen to very few these days, but I’m reading more blogs. I still read your blog posts and lately you said you’re suffering from depression and bouts of self-consciousness. I feel your pain. I’ve been there.
Being positive and upbeat is not an easy task. For me, I’m mostly an unknown person. When I do something I don’t have 1000 people looking at what I did. I’m lucky if 10 people a day see what I do. I have few comments on the work I’ve done and they’ve been mostly positive. So far I’ve managed to avoid any haters.
Then I see what you’ve done. I’m amazed at not only the quantity you’ve produced, but the number of people who consume your work. I could only hope for that at this point. I want you to know that I admire what you’ve done. I’m proud of what you’ve accomplished. It’s hard to see you down and I wish there was something I could do to pick you up.
I don’t know if you remember, but Mike Plested and I met you at WFC2011 in San Diego. Even though it was the briefest of moments, I was happy to shake your hand and make your acquaintance. You were busy with an interview so we didn’t talk much. I want you to know that you had an impact on me just by being there. I can now say I met Mur.
Because you’re so well known, I’m sure you’ve had your share of both positive and negative feedback. I know how much positive feedback can pick a person up. I also know how quickly one little piece of negative feedback can tear a person down. Pile on top of that all that life has to throw at us, and things can get quite gloomy quite quickly. I’m here to let you know that you’re not alone in having these feelings. I’m also here to let you know that I’m glad you share these feelings. I’m hoping that, even though I don’t comment much on what you do, that you know I’m here for you. I also know I’m not alone in saying that. Watching you struggle is something that many people do in silence and they let it over run their lives. Putting it out there for everyone to see is not an easy thing to do. I applaud you for doing so.
You are great at giving advice, but have a hard time taking your own advice and have said before you wish someone would give you some motivation for a change. Alright.
Suck it up, Mur! There are a lot of people who have remained silent for years and enjoyed what you’ve done. Please keep at it. Sit down, escape into the world of your creation and keep going. It’s not because we want something new from you, it’s because we need something new from you. We want to see you write and succeed! You’ve accomplished a lot over the years and better things are around the corner. Persevere and push forward. Don’t let negative thoughts get in the way of your work. Instead, put that negative energy to work for you and press on if for nothing else, just to spite those negative emotions. Write through and put it behind you.
Feedback will come and feedback will go. It’ll be both positive and negative. For the most part, readers and writers are introverts and the silent majority are enjoying what you’re doing and would love to see you continue until you’ve reached the top. You are motivation and inspiration for those of us who still want to get there.
Mur, thank you for all you have done, all you do, and all you will accomplish. I wish nothing but the best for you.
I was going to write a big post today but preparations for the big trip and getting a lot of work done at the last minute before I depart has prevented me from accomplishing that. Sorry.
I will be out of town until August 6th and time while on this vacation will be more sparse and inner net connectivity and cell reception will be sketchy at best. When I return, expect a flurry of words to spew forth from my finger tips. It will be amazing.
Upon my return I shall begin my daily duck posts. My daily writing prompt and of course resume with my daily updates. I will have a lot to say about this vacation I’m sure.
Until I get back!
I watched the Hunger Games today. Review will follow. I also player a touch of online poker (play money, not real money). I didn’t write today. But i’m well reseted mentally and physically. I’m planning on a good surge of words next week. It won’t be nearly as a demanding week as the past three weeks have been.
I itching to write some fiction.
And post some duck pictures.
And post some writing prompts.
And….well…do more than I have these past few days.