Category Archives: Blog Post

Monday Update: Back to writing…and hacked

hacker over a screen with binary code

 

Happy Monday, Crew!

Last week wasn’t as productive as I’d like, but I did get a few thousand words down. I’m gearing up once more, slowly, to start racking up big numbers. I plan to complete at least one book per month before the end of the year. That includes finishing Jack Kane and Almost-Super Heroes 2. So between now and the end of the year, I should be typing ‘the end’ on 5 different books.

Just needed to kick myself in the ass.

At least I’m putting words down. That’s the key.

Over the weekend, the Mrs and I had a wonderful time at the Kaa Boo festival (Saturday only). Got to see The Tubes (they’re still strange), Machine Gun Kelly, Janes Addiction, a bit of Muse, Garbage, P!nk, and a couple other bands I need to look up because they were all really good.

While we were there, I got a google notification that someone tried to access my account. Someone from Chicago. This prompted me to do two things I never thought I’d need to do. First, change all my passwords on every social media site, and other sites as well. Then I set up two-step authentication on all sites that allow that sort of ability.

Yes, a royal pain in the rump. But it’s done. It should have been done some time ago. So if you saw anything offensive on any of my social media during that time, my apologies. I have cleared up what I found.

That said, short update today. I need to finish this chapter in Jack Kane and get that back to Michell Plested so we can write ‘the end’ on book 2. We’ll be doing editing, getting that to the publishing, and start our planning for book 3 while we wait for it to come back and we can apply the edits and a publishing date on that one.

Yes, progress is slow. Very slow. Painfully slow. I intend to right the ship and get back on course. The only way to do that is sit, and write.

But man, Rick and Morty is some irreverent fun and The Orville is a lot of fun as well.

I digress. Words need to happen! I’m on that.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

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Monday Update: What day is it?

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Wow! Where did the summer go?

First, I hope everyone from all the fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes is doing well. I’ve watched a lot of news and it’s been an awful summer of destruction.

Secondly, thank you all who asked how I was doing. yes, I let June, July, and August slip on by with nary a word written. I’m not proud of that, but it all changes tonight. Tonight I’m back on the horse with both posting weekly updates and getting words down on the page.

Yes, yes. Goals have slipped regarding release dates and word counts. This happens. Dean Wesley Smith calls this the time of great forgetting when authors wake up from their long summer naps and realize that, whoa, where did the summer go. So I’m not alone in my slippage.

I also picked up another hobby. Yes, yes. I needed more to do.

My best friend from high school will be turning 50 next year and for his birthday, he wants to get the bands back together. Yes, bands. The first band he was ever in involved me on drums. I played drums in a couple of bands in the Navy (had a beautiful chrome set with black cymbals). Loved my drum set and playing drums.

When I got out of the Navy, I didn’t feel like dragging drums around anymore. They’re a pain in the rumpkiss to tear down and set up. So I switched to bass guitar. Played for a few years in Ded Bugh (I still have guitar picks from that one). Then my other friend and I moved from Colorado to San Diego and joined Defective and played punk and metal for a few years. Finally around ’96 I hung up my musical ambitions, finished school and that was that.

My friend who’s getting his bands back together didn’t stop. He’s played and played since high school. He’s been in a few original bands as well as several cover bands. He’s the one getting all his friends from all his bands to play one big birthday bash up in Long Beach.

So, I got myself a new bass. Hopped onto youtube, and started relearning how to play. My fingertips are finally toughened up. My fingers still ache a bit when I’m done from stretching across the fretboard, but I’m having a good time and learning a lot. Oddly, I’m learning more than I ever did when I actually played.

Why?

YouTube.

Back when I played, I bought Bass Player magazine, but it only had interviews and tabs. If you didn’t know the song, it was difficult to learn. Some people also wrote tabs that had crazy stretches up and down and it was difficult.

Nowadays, you can hop on YouTube and everything you need to know is right there. Want to learn a song? Search on Bass Cover <song name> and bam! There you go. Want to do some fingering exercises? Bam! Right there. Want to do right-hand exercises? Picking exercises? Scale? Bam Bam Bam! All there.

Honestly, I’m amazed at how much content is out there. It’s really helped me get up to speed quickly (I have until February at the earliest). I’ve also spent time listening to the songs we’re going to play and I’m impressed with how good we actually were (with Defective, not with our High School Band).

So I kind of dropped the ball on the whole writing thing for a while. Still spending time with family. Enjoying life. Working way too many hours (Hey, that happens). And doing all those little things. I stopped making writing a priority.

It’s now September 11th. It’s time to get moving. I want to bang out at least 300,000 words before the end of the year. I want to write “the end” on at least 5 more books before the year comes to a close.

One is almost done (Sorry Mike, I’ve been slacking). Another is half done. The rest I know start to finish in my brain and it’s just a matter of spending the time to write them.

As for my release schedule. Yes, yes. As soon as I have book covers, I’m ready to start dropping books. Keep your eye on this space. My book cover designer also had summer fever and hasn’t exactly been working hard. All that is about to change and things will hopefully progress quickly.

I need to get some words done. The time is now.

How has your summer been? Hopefully relaxing and productive.

Until Next Time!

WOO WOO!

Monday Update: Hey, Jay, where’ve you been?

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Wow. Where did June and July disappear to?

This summer was crazy busy! That’s putting it lightly. We took, in total, 3 major vacations. We traveled to Costa Rica for 10 days, plus a 1-day layover and a total of two days travel time. That ate up most of June. July we took a week vacation to Vegas. And finally a long weekend camping trip south of Ensenada, Mexico.

I’m tired. That was a lot of time off, yes, but we packed in so much into every trip. I loved every minute of every day. It was great to shut down and recharge the batteries.

That said, on the work front, things are in a bit of turmoil. The company I work for is looking to merge with a major media empire. Because of that, monies for projects are tied up waiting for the merge to happen and new directions for teams to be freed up. We’ll see what the coming months bring.

So where am I at with the writing? Pretty much where I was at the end of May. I haven’t done any writing in two months. I plan to change that starting tomorrow, August 1st, 2017. My goal will be to attempt to write 100,000 words a month each month until the end of the year. Yes, I’ll still be spending time with friends and family. I’ll still be doing holidays and all that. But I also plan to write as much as possible. If you recall, my goal is to complete 10 books in the next 12 months. Well, that goal has changed slightly. Let me explain.

When last we spoke, I think I was back from Costa Rica with a few new story ideas. I plan on branching off a couple of pen names to write some of those books. Try to follow along with me.

J.R. Murdock will be my main writing name. That won’t change.

Jay Bob will be the pen name I use for more adult titles. Things I won’t do in J.R. Murdock titles. Things like swearing, graphic violence, sex, etc.

Jay Robert Murdock will be my romance/ rom com pen name. I promised my wife I’d write her a romantic comedy and a romantic Christmas book.

Under Jay Bob and Jay Robert Murdock, those titles will likely be ~50,000 words long and no more. They will be short punchy stories.

J.R. Murdock, I will still aim for 80,000-100,000 word lengths.

The reason for the multiple names is so you’ll know what you’ll be getting.

So, what will I be writing? Here’s a sample of the next couple of months

Finish Almost-Super Heroes 2

Finish Jack Kane 2

Write The Bassist 1: Dixxx Rocks (This will be a mock rock autobiography)

Write Rod Lance: Space Dick 1 (An erotic space detective)

Write a Christmas Romance

Write a Telenovela style romance (think over-the-top with every possible trope thrown in for good measure)

Then I’m back to V&A Shipping 3, Almost-Super Heroes 3, and GRPC 3.

Now, you might be asking yourself, where’s Golden West 3?

Yes, yes, I know. I was going to try and have that out in early July. Well, on vacation with me was my favorite daughter and, unfortunately, she didn’t have time to get them done. Hopefully, this won’t delay the release of GRPC2. Time will tell.

So, if all goes well, I hope to write 100,000 words a month each month until next year. Yes, a crazy amount of words. 500,000 words over the next 5 months. In that time, I will finish two books in progress, and complete 7 books. That’s my hope. We’ll see what happens. You have a front row seat to watch me fail brilliantly.

Starting tomorrow, I want to try and write, on average, 3000 words or more per day. Every day. Vacations are over. Summer is done. It’s time to get to work. These books ain’t gonna write themselves!

What are your plans for the coming months? I’d love to know.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: Another Lazy Week/Weekend

 

Sometimes you just want to sit back and play Candy Crush…and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Returning to work after two weeks away, I came back to a lot. A lot of emails. A lot of instant messages. A lot of conference calls. Plus, I don’t have an official boss right now and the other two team leads (I’m also a team lead) were on vacation. So everything for the team came to one person. Yup. That was me. Needless to say, it was a little overwhelming. Pile on top it was my birthday and we celebreated a few times, and I didn’t get much of anything done last week.

I’m still very much relaxed and ready to jump back into it. Just doing my best to get my brain back in gear. I’ve got a lot I need to get done. I had hoped to be on track to finishing Almost-Super Heroes 2 before the end of this month. Being that I’m about 40,000 words away from the end, that’s most likely not going to happen. Sorry to disappoint you on that front.

I will be kicking things into gear in July and I’ve set forth a couple of challenges for August and September. I thought May was a challenge? Let’s see what the next two challenges bring. 🙂

First some sad news. I’ll be attending a funeral for a friend. That news hit me rather hard last week as well. He died the day before Father’s day and a few days before his 58th birthday. His birthday is the day after mine and we had celebrated several together. We had grown apart over the years and he’ll be missed.

In other fun news, I’ll be buying a bass. My best friend from high school will be turning 50 next year. We were in a band together in high school with another friend who lives in Long Beach (and is the lead singer in Electric Funeral, a Black Sabbath cover band in LA). The three of us will reunite on stage in February. We’re currently discussing the songs we’ll be playing. I’m really excited to be picking up a bass after…a lot of years. I’ve been thinking of getting one just to noodle around with. Now I have a reason to get one. If I can track down old recordings of us from back in the day, I’ll post them. Our band was S.C.R.O.G. Inc. and we were a bunch of nuts with little-to-no talent. We’ll have to see what shows up.

I’ll also see if I can track down the band my friend and I were in back in the day after I’d gotten out of the Navy and switched from drums (I’d gotten better since high school) to bass. We were Defective and had tons of fun playing in clubs all over San Diego. I’ll have to see if we can convince our old lead singer to come down and join us on stage for a song. That’d be a hoot.

Back to writing. Since I didn’t actually put my hands on the keyboard to create a story, I though up an entirely new series I want to write. This one would be over the top steampunk with a floating city.

But Jay, that’s been done before.

No, it’s a floating castle.

But Jay, that’s been done before.

No, like the entire country is on an airship. I know many of these ideas have been done before, but I think I have a different take on it. I’ve got the setting and characters all fleshed out. I just need to come up with a storyline. For that one, I might just start typing and see where it goes. Man-o-man do I have a lot more books that I want to write now.

Speaking of books, I read a lot. Like, a lot. I try to read a book a week. I haven’t reviewed much because I have so many Facebook Friends who’d I’d like to review their books, but Amazon likes to erase them, so I stopped. I was thinking of teaming up with another person who’s first name it J. and we might start the J & J Book Review podcast. We’ll have to see how that fleshes out. I’ll keep you posted when we start doing that.

Next week I hope to have Golden West 3 released. At least the ebook. The print edition will probably come the following week. I still need to do some editing and redo all the covers. I have some ideas and ran them by my favorite daughter who likes the idea of doing some book covers for me. She’s busy filling out scholaship forms and getting ready to transfer to Newschool of Design and Architecture in the fall. So she’s also a little busy. Again, I’ll keep you posted.

There’s a lot that’s going to happen this year. There are many more stories to come. I know I need to write and this week, I’ll be getting back at that.

Until Next Time

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: I’m Back.

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Didja miss me?

So I spent the month of May writing a LOT of words. Writing 90,000 words in a month, working my day job,  spending time with friends and family, seeing movies, packing for a 2 week vacation out of the country. May was CRAZY busy.

And exciting at the same time.

So where have I been for the past two weeks? Recharging. It’s  been a hectic first half of the year. Not just from the writing perspective, but from a work side as well. I’ve been burning both ends of the candle. The downtime was needed. It was also well planned, my my wife and her sisters.

We spent two weeks in Costa Rica. A day in San Jose, two days at the foot of the most recently active volcano, two days in tree houses, a day at the top of a mountain, and four days at the beach. We saw hummingbirds, butterflies, so many birds, sloths, iguanas, lots of ants, alligators, raccoons, and lots of monkeys. Anywhere we went, animals were everywhere (as were the bugs). It rained daily (Costa Rica is a rain forest after all). We hiked many many miles (kilometers even) and every minute was time well spent.

It was one of those, I can’t believe this is my life moments. Eleven of us went, my family, 3 of my wife’s sisters and their families. We traveled to a lot of different spots, ate great food, met wonderful people, and I couldn’t be happier with our trip.

I could honestly go on and on for days about all our adventures, I may in another post. Watching monkeys on the beach trying to steal people’s items was pretty funny. But I’d like to talk about the power of a writing streak.

When I got back, I thought I’d hit the ground running. Oh my was I so wrong. I wrote a little on Saturday, just shy of 1000 words. Sunday was Father’s Day.  I’m writing this blog post, but I will write tonight. Most likely not 3000 words as I was doing in May, but I’ll get some words down. It’ll take me a bit to get back up to speed and once I get my feet under me again, I’ll start making big strides once again. It’s weird right now to think I was cranking out so many words and now I have an issue getting my brain to focus. As I said, it’ll take time to bring it back to that focus I had before, but it’ll happen.

One of the things that happened to my brain while on vacation, I got ideas for three new series. I keep trying to think of just how much I can write in a month so I can write all these books, lol. One title I’ll need to write under a pen name as the titles I write under J.R. Murdock are intended, for the most part, for all ages. These three new titles all would be shorter books (30,000-50,000 per book) and all of them would be a stand alone book in a series (think Doc Savage, The Hardy Boys, Conan, The Executioner, The Destroyer). I’m thinking of titles that I can crank out quickly and drop on a regular schedule.

Why, Jay, why?

Money. It’s really that simple. I love writing V&A Shipping, GRPC, and all those titles. I will still stick to my 5 year plan with dropping a book every other month, but with these new titles I could start writing these books and drop them without impacting my schedule. Especially if I can keep up my writing pace. That’s the biggest challenge I have. Keeping up the speed, the quality, and the schedule.

I have zero fan base. Please, don’t take that as a slight if you’ve been with me since day one. I know my numbers and I’ve sold a few books, but when I post on my blog, I see 5-10 hits on the post. When I drop a book, I see 5-10 sales and I’m lucky at this point to sell a book or two a month. That’s across all titles. I’m not a big name and I take full responsibility for that. I know I need to work on building my audience. To be honest, I’m starting from zero again and I need to do what many other authors have done. I need to get a loyal fan base of 1000 fans. That’s the challenge. I’ll post my journey, of course, and I’m so happy you’re here with me.

For now, vacation is over. It’s time to get some words down.

Until Next Time

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: Hey, Jay. It’s not Monday.

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So it’s the end of May. Yes, I know I missed my Monday update, but it’s for a good reason. Today is May 31st and I figured I’d get to the end of May and let you know how my 3K a Day in May challenge ended.

Let’s get that out of the way first. I hate long, drawn out conclusions.

I missed…by that much. I was close and if I were to stay awake until midnight I could probably still get there. But I’ve got work in the morning and sleep still sounds like a good idea.

How close? My target was 93,000 words over the 31 days of May (3000 words a day, you know, it’s that math stuff). What I actually accomplished was 89,296. I missed by 3700 words. About 4% away from my target. Yes, I got to 96%. If that were a grade, it’d still be an A.

So, I failed amazingly well. Honestly, as I said before, if I’d gotten to 50%, I would have called it a success. Getting to 75% a huge success. I never thought I’d hit 93,000 words in one month. That’s crazy talk right there.

And I didn’t change much in the way of my habits. I still did stuff, watched TV shows, saw movies, went to a dance show, spent Sundays with the family and went to church. All the normal things. I worked. Oh, and I got food poisoning which dragged me under for a couple days where I thought I might be able to get caught up but wow, do room spins and writing NOT go together.

I learned a lot about my writing and myself over this past month. Like what? I’m so glad you asked.

  1. I waste a lot of time. Like wow do I spend too much time watching the news and thinking “I should be writing.”
  2. No matter how late I would start, I would usually finish around the same time. Usually around 10pm. Yes, I waste a lot of time.
  3. I can write, on average, 1000 words every 30 minutes if I write and don’t allow myself to get distracted. Tonight, for example, I started around 8pm and finished my 3000 words before 9:30pm AND I cooked dinner in the middle.
  4. Communication is key. My favorite daughter and my wife both knew what I was trying to do, understood, and were supportive. I’ve talked with them about my short term (3k a day in May) and long term (see my 1, 5, 10 year plan post). If I hadn’t done that, they wouldn’t have known what I was up to and would have wondered why I’m typing away like a madman all the time.
  5. Starting a book in the middle of a large challenge like this is difficult. I completed Golden West 3 on May 12th and started Almost-Super Heroes 2 on May 13th. Two very different books with totally different plots, casts, and goals. Wow did my brain not want to start a new book that way. I’ll be going back to the first couple of chapters and doing a lot of cleanup, but it’s a good start and got me back into the character’s heads.
  6. Writing takes a LOT of energy. It’s mentally taxing. I wouldn’t have tried this challenge if I hadn’t completed my Lent goal and written 2000 words a day during Lent, and started 3K a day ‘Til May before running into May. It’s like any form of exercise, to maintain that kind of pace is challenging and you need to work up to it.

At this point, all I can say, I’m super excited for what I got completed in May. I’m happy with what I wrote and where the new book is going. I’m VERY happy with how Golden West turned out. I’m excited to hit June running though there will be a slight bump.

I’ll be taking a short break. I’ve been going non-stop on writing daily for 130 days. I’ve written 296,000 words over that time. I need a break, so I’m taking one. When I’m back, I’ll be writing like a fury once more. My goal to complete 5 books this year is out the door. I plan on going for 8 books. I plan on writing at least 8 books next year as well. Though I’ll only be releasing a book every other month, this will give me a backlog. That’s what I’m going for is a backlog of books so should something happen that knocks me off the rails, I’ll still be able to continue to drop a book every other month on schedule.

If I get far enough ahead, I’ll start to drop monthly, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Instead, I’ll focus on this year and seeing what other challenges I can set up and actually complete or at least get close to.

So how is your writing going? Have you set any challenges for yourself? Any targets you’re hoping to hit? Let me know how you’re doing. I’d love to hear from you. For now, May is done. I’m taking a break and will return with tales of adventures.

Until Next Time

Stay Awesome!

A Potential Path to Publishing Success

Note: this path assumes that you know how to write a complete 50,000 word story, create a cover, and edit your own work. It also assumes that you know how to record audio. Furthermore it assumes that you know where to put your writing and audio once it’s complete. This is also not my personal path and I will post a follow-up to this post explaining my own path.

A recent conversation with a friend of mine led me to realize how many different paths there are to get a story into a reader’s hands. This one will focus on serialization and possibilities therein.

Warning: There may be math involved.

If you’re looking to write, but you worry it’ll take you too long to write that monster epic you’re looking to produce, here’s a little trick you can try using.

One of the best ways to get visibility is through consistency. If you put out content on a regular basis, week in and week out, you have a chance of getting noticed because people will follow those that continuously put out content. If you’re not putting out content on a regular schedule, this is when readers will forget about you and disappear. Trust me, I’ve discovered this the hard way.

If you only have one hour a day to commit to doing this, your path will be easier than you think. The biggest obstacle in your path will be staying on track and focusing every single day. It will require only seven hours of your time a week and will get you putting out content faster than you thought possible.

Step 1: Write 1000 words a day Monday-Friday.

This will give you an easy 5000 words a week. This sounds like a challenge. It is. I’m challenging you to week in and week out write 1000 words a day every weekday. Without fail. Don’t give me excuses about how tough life is. I never said this would be simple. You need to trust me. It’s not as difficult as you might think. Honest. You can do this!

Step 2: Edit and put a cover on your story.

Yes, you should learn how to do covers. If this is a serial, you’ll want to have a similar cover for all the weeks you’re writing the serial. In this step you’ll also want to assemble your front matter and get your ebook ready to publish in all the locations you want to publish. If you want to go wide, don’t go into Kindle Select. If you want to focus on Amazon only, go Kindle Select. This choice is really yours.

Yes, you’re into week one and you’ve already written a 5000 word start to your serial. Drop that out on Amazon for 99 cents. Ignore it! Don’t go checking your stats. Don’t even tell anyone. Trust me!

Step 3: Sunday – Record the audio of what you’ve written.

Yes, you wrote 5000 words. It’ll be short audio. It shouldn’t take you long to record and edit 5000 words. Put that audio up on your website. Make sure your hosting plan can support your audio and you don’t have to worry about. Again, don’t tell anyone what you’re doing. Allow this to happen organically. Make sure your blog post points to where they can buy the ebook version.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 for 10 weeks.

Yes, that’s right. Remember how I said you’ll need to do this week in and week out? Yes, you need to do this weekly. Every week. We’re going for consistency here. So if you can’t commit to doing this on a regular schedule, don’t start. I’m not saying give up on writing. I’m saying that this method requires commitment. A lot of it.

At the ten week point, you should have written 50,000 words, give or take. Assemble all your files into one book and drop that book. Make sure in the description of your book, you note that this is a collection of the first serial. You don’t want to upset readers that have found you along the way. The cover should either be the same or similar. For 10 weeks you’ve put out a 99 cent story of 5000 words all leading up to the end of your serial. Now you’ve got a completed book. Put that out for at least $4.99. This is a great discount for those that chose to wait, but if they want to follow along weekly, they’ll pay a slight premium.

Take all your audio, split it into chapters, and drop that onto Audible as a complete audio book. Price what you feel appropriate.

Now it’s 10 weeks later and you’ve got a total of 12 (10 serialized stories, 1 full ebook, and 1 audio book) items up for sale. How’d that feel? Weird? It should. You’ve come further than many will ever get and it only took you 7 hours a week to do it.

Some options you can mix in here.

Only publish every other week. Still write, edit, record, but release the ebook at 10,000 words. This gives the reader a little more. Then you’d be putting out 5 10,000 word serials every other week, and at the end of 10 weeks, one 50,000 word novel. That’s still respectable. Very respectable.

Want to do it even more aggressively because you have more time to commit and/or you write faster? Fine. Do 2000 words a day each weekday. Then you’re putting out a 10,000 word serial every week, an audio production, and every 5 weeks, a new book.

Why 50,000? If you’re doing a serial, you’ll need to be compact and pushing the action. This will be something that at the end of each serial you’ll need a cliffhanger to pull the reader back in to pick up again next week. Most pulp novels from the 30s, 40s, and 50s were 30,000-50,000 words long. That’s what you’re doing with this process. You’re becoming a serialized pulp writer. It doesn’t matter what genre you choose. Romance, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Mystery. Any will work with this method.

You MUST remain consistent to be successful. Look at the podcasters that made it to get their publishing contracts. They were publishing audio weekly, week in, week out. Without fail. If you’re not pushing out content on a regular basis, you will see things drop off.

This isn’t a trick. I’m not trying to pull a fast one on you. This is the new world of publishing and anything is possible. Even if you don’t have a rig to record with, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from opening up your word processor and writing 1000 words a day 5 days a week. An hour on Saturday to edit and cover, and wow, look at you go! This is possible. Very possible. I don’t know anyone personally doing this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there are many.

If you made it the full 10 weeks dropping every week (or every other week, or 5 weeks if you went for 2000 words a day), this is your time to shout to the world what you’ve done. You should be excited. Now is the time to check your numbers. Remember, I said don’t check them. Why? Numbers disappoint people. If you’re out there every day looking at numbers, you’ll get depressed and stop. You don’t want to lose momentum.

The biggest trick, writing the next 50,000 words. Yes, you need to keep this going. Celebrate, but continue to put out the content. Don’t let it slip and fall behind schedule. That’s how you’ll lose readers. If you can keep it up, you’ll put out 5 books in a year (take two weeks off at some point) and you’ll have written 250,000 words (or 500,000 and 10 books if you go for 2000 words). That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re sticking to this schedule, it’ll add up so quickly. Don’t be too aggressive until you know what you’re capable of.

If you can stick to this schedule for a full year producing serials, ebooks, and audio, I would recommend starting up a pateron. This is another revenue stream and I won’t go into it here. Do your own research. Just know that consistency is key to all of this working. Stay on track and you can do it.

Do I guarantee this will work? Simply, no. I don’t know you. Your situation. Your writing ability. If you try this and it doesn’t work out for you, look at what you’ve accomplished no matter how long you try. Seriously. Are you further along in your writing than you were when you started? How many books did you complete? Did you follow all the steps as closely as possible?

If you do try this, let me know how it goes. I’d love to follow along. I want to cheer your successes. If you have questions, ask. I’d love to do all I can to help. Honestly. I’d love to see this work for someone. Give it a try. You’ve got almost nothing to lose. If you have fun doing it, then all the better.

I’m off to go make words happen

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: Stay on target. Stay on target!

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63,190 words.

So far for this month, I’ve written 63,190 words.

I…no, seriously. I’m astonished. I was a touch behind, but now…I’m a tiny bit ahead. I’ll be doing my words in a little bit. I don’t want to lose that tiny bit. I’d like to stay on target.

Never did I think I’d maintain this pace for half the month. Now with ten writing days left, it looks like I might actually make it. Another 30,000 words and I’ll do it. I’m not sure what to say. I guess we’ll see where I land.

As I said from the start of this challenge, I’d be happy to hit half my goal. That would have been 44,000 words. I’m already past that so I’m excited! Like… very excited! Currently, I’m 100,000 words ahead of my annual goal. I think I’m going to leave that goal of 438,000 for 2017 in the dust. In fact, I’m already looking at 2018. I’ll be bumping up that goal to 2000 words a day and see where that takes me. It’s very likely I’ll come close to that goal this year, but we’ll wait and find out. I’ve a couple more challenge months I’ve set aside, so we’ll see where that takes all this.

I’m also thrilled that I’m knee-deep into Almost-Super Heroes 2. I’m so excited that I decided to do a little timelining on when these books will drop. As I said in the last post, I’m looking at a 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year plan. As it stands, here’s what I’ll be dropping for the rest of the year.

July 1st, 2017 – Golden West 3: Showdown

September 1st, 2017 – Giant Robot Planetary Competition 2: Villain

November 1st, 2017 – Almost-Super Heroes 1: Escape

Yes, I’ve already plotted out 2018 releases as well. All of this will lead up to the Military Sci-Fi trilogy I have planned with the 4th book in V&A Shipping, GRPC, and Almost-Super Heroes all tying in.

In total this entire story arc will take place across 15 books. Yes, a massive undertaking. That’s a lot of books. A lot of teams. A lot of moving parts. To be honest, at this stage in my writing, I’m finally ready to take it all on. I can’t wait to start dropping books over the next two years to see what happens.

All of this wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t challenged myself to see what was actually possible. I’ve had a few of you following along and thank you for your encouragement. It means a lot to me. I’ve cleared away many roadblocks and mental challenges that I’ve had. Those prevented me from really allowing myself to move forward with this.

I’ve got a lot of words to write and I’m going out tonight (Yes, I still have a life beyond writing) so I’m off to make words happen.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: My 5 Year Plan.

Image result for derek jeter quotes

My kid has a thing. My family had a thing. I need to  be somewhere else. I’m tired. It was a long day and I just want to relax. I’ve got so much else to do. My favorite show it on! I’ll just watch the news for a little bit.

The list can go on forever. I get it. I honestly do. There are a billion excuses that can be made for not writing. The biggest being “I need to do my job.” Ok, that’s not en excuse. You need to do your day job to pay the bills. It can’t be your excuse for doing nothing.

I have a day job. I watch TV with my wife. I do things for my favorite daughter. I spend time with family, friends, go see movies, etc. I’m doing all that.

I’m also writing 3000 words a day. On average! If you recall last week, I put up a bit of a buffer. This week I had some other things going on and didn’t write 3000 words a day every day. Here are the numbers.

Monday: 3127
Tuesday: 4314
Wednesday: 3042
Thursday: 3292
Friday: 1427
Saturday: 2040
Sunday: 720

Yes, that’s only 2566 words per day. I needed to be out of town on Friday and Sunday was Mother’s day. Saturday I was plain wiped out and took a 4 hour long nap.

I had excuses. I still wrote each day. I wanted to hit my numbers, but life prevented me. I still found time though. So, I lost my buffer. I was a day and a half ahead of schedule. Now, I’m dead on. This week isn’t about getting caught up or trying to get ahead. No. It’s about staying on track. It’s about making sure excuses don’t get in my way. It’s about setting my priorities and moving forward.

For the month I’m sitting on 42,127 words. Honestly? I’m still shocked I’m hitting the numbers I’m hitting. I set this goal and like all my other goals, I’d be happy hitting half my target. To think that I’m on track to hit my goal, I’m stunned.

I’m also having a great time. I’m getting stories done I’ve been waiting to get done. I cleared away all my excuses. I communicated my goals with my family. They’re helping me and pushing me. Motivating me. I have friends both IRL and online giving me encouragement. It’s empowering. it’s a driving factor and helping me put up the numbers you’re seeing.

I’ve not only broken through a writing block that’s plagued me for years, I’ve also overcome the misconceptions of I need to write slow to write well. I blew past the myth that I could only write X number of books a month. From what I can tell, at this point, is there is no true upper limit other than the ones I put on myself.

I took 53 days to write GRPC2. I took 32 days to write Golden West 3. Sure, one was 97,000 words and the other 80,000 words, but guess what, they’re both done. Yes, last week I finished Golden West 3. That trilogy is done. Finished. I most likely won’t go back into that world of revisit those characters. I have a different direction for my writing now and I need a lot of books done to start on that target.

Yes, I still have a master plan. Do you want to know what it is? Here is goes.

Golden West 3 will come out later this year. Probably July. I need to record book 2 and book 3 for audio. Book 1 is already recorded. Then I’ll look at releasing GRPC2. I need to record books 1 and 2 so it’ll most likely be September before I drop that book. Then I want to release Almost-Super Heroes 1 in November. I need to record that one as well. I’m currently writing ASH2 and should have it done before the end of June (vacations need to happen). After that I’ll be writing GRPC3 and ASH3 as well as V&A Shipping 3. If I can keep up my writing pace, I’ll have those done before the end of the year and start dropping them in January, March, May. That will complete what will be leading into a Military Sci Fi trilogy. There will also be ASH4, GRPC4, and V&A4. That will be a total of 12 sci books before the end of 2018.

That’s when I’ll reassess where I’m at. If I release that many scifi books in 2 years and I get little or no traction, I’ll be flipping to Fantasy for two years. That’s when I’ll jump into Of Gnomes and Dwarves and write the 10 books I intend for that series. I’ll also write a few books in the Astel series. That will be nearly 2 years of fantasy.

After that, I have a fun idea for another series, plus I can work on books in the Supernatural Learning series. I could easily spend a year writing 10 books in each of those series (I’m planning on those being 30,000-40,000 words long each, so much shorter books.

Now, that’s a five year plan, subject to change and depending on the level of success for any of those. If my Sci Fi takes off, Fantasy will take a back seat. My goal is to make money at this endeavor, so if I’m making money and having fun writing the stories, why would I stop? If I’m not hitting the numbers I want to hit, I have SO many other stories I can write.

After 5 years, I’ll assess where I’m at. I’ll keep writing, but if after 5 years, I’m not getting any traction, I’ll most likely write for another 5 years and then reassess again. If I write at this level for 10 years and I’m still not making money at it, I most likely won’t be having any fun with it either at that point.

So let’s review the 5 year plan. Shall we?

I’ll be writing 10 Sci Fi books to have a total of 12 across 4 different series. I’ll be writing 10-15 fantasy books. I’ll be writing 20 paranormal fantasy. I’ll write somewhere between 40-50 books in 5 years of varying length across different genres. So you think that’ll make an impact? I honestly have no idea what will happen. I’ll hope for the best, but honestly have no expectation that this will be anything more than me writing a lot of books.

So you’re reading all that right. it sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Not if you look at the pace I’m writing. it’s actually less than I’m capable of. And it’s all subject to change at any given time. It’s subject to life happening. It’s subject to a large number of factors all which may be out of my control at any give time.

My hope for the coming months it to average 60,000 words a month. I know I can do more and get ahead of schedule, but mostly I want to set an achievable goal and have shorter term targets like I’m doing to try and push myself from time to time. I don’t want anxiety to creep in and I give up.

There it is. It’s out there. My 5 year plan. go back up and reread that Derek Jeter quote. I saw it on a friend’s feed and had to share. There are a lot of writers out there that are better than I am. Faster. More popular. More successful. I’m not measuring my success on theirs. Don’t measure your success on mine. Work as hard as you can toward your own goals. Set your targets. push yourself. if you know you’re not putting in the time you know you could be, push harder. If you’re not working as hard as you can on your own goals, there’s only one person that can change that.

I’m off to get my 3000 words in. It’s late, it was a rough day. I watched too much news. Now it’s time to put those excuses away and write.

Until Next Time.

Stay Awesome!

Monday Update: Wait…what?

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Call me nuts. Call me crazy. I spent the last two weeks of April trying to write 3K per day. And failed. I did write a lot of words over those two weeks and had a LOT of fun. Even though I failed, I still succeeded by writing more words than I thought I would. Percentagewise, I made it to 77% of my objective. 42000 words in two weeks. Sheer madness!

So, I thought, why not try to do that for an entire month! Even if I fail, I’ll still have written a lot of words. Right? Why not try and see how close I can get. 21,000 words a week for 4 full weeks? I must be off my rocker.

How did the first week of May go?

I’m glad you asked.

Total doomed failure yet again.

um… Jay…no, it wasn’t.

Wait…What do you mean it wasn’t a failure?

Just that, you succeeded.

What? I hit my target of 21,000 words for the first week of May?

Well, not really.

I told you! FAILURE!

You overshot it by 3200 words.

*double take* Wait…what?

Yes, you read that right. I didn’t hit 21,000 words. I passed 21,000 words in the first week. 24,165 words to be exact. I know, I know! I’m shocked as well. After missing badly the first two weeks, I ran past it on the third week. Who’d’a thunk?

Here’s the breakdown of week 1

Monday: 3002
Tuesday: 3007
Wednesday: 3028
Thursday: 3067
Friday: 3090
Saturday: 3887
Sunday: 5084

I crossed 67,000 words in Golden West 3. I’m around 20,000 words from the end. That means, if I stay on pace, I’ll blow past the end this week! I started the book just 29 days ago. I’ll be done with the first draft in less than 40 days. I’m flabbergasted.

Now, I knew I could write quickly. I know I type faster than average. But with life, work, family time, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, friends, etc. I honestly didn’t think I’d hit my target, but I thought it would be fun to try.

If all goes well, I’ll be done with GW3 in 7 days. So far this month I’ve written 24,165 words. So far this year I’ve written 230,982 words. I’m more than half-way past my annual goal I set at the beginning of the year. Remember that? 438,000 words on the year. 1200 words per day. I thought it would be challenging. Averaging that many words a day for an entire year? I didn’t think I’d make it. Now I’m contemplating how far beyond that initial goal I’ll make it.

Not only that, how many books I’ll get written at this pace. I’ve already finished two books this year. I’m coming up on the end of a third. Mike and I will have Jack Kane 2 done soon. Before the end of the month, I’ll have these books done and unpublished.

Jack Kane 2: Jack Kane and the Kaiser

Almost-Super Heroes

Golden West 3

Of Gnomes and Dwarves 1: Chance Encounters

Giant Robot Planetary Competition 2: Villain

That’s 5 titles under my belt, ready to go. One will require publisher edits and timeline. The others are mine, all mine, to do with as I please. And I shall. In my own time. I was planning on starting my release cycle in July. I may postpone that slightly. I don’t mean to tease or not give you stories to read. I’m still working through how to best do this for maximum impact. As you can see, all of these titles are different series. They’re scattered all over. My brain wants to just drop them and move on. But I need to think about the business aspect of all this.

OGAD is a fantasy series. GW is steampunk. Jack Kane is steampunk/humor. ASH and GRPC are both set in the V&A Shipping universe.

What I’ve done is spread my efforts among many titles. I had the theory of “write one of each, see what sticks” and I didn’t give any of them a chance to make an impact by continuing my efforts in one direction. So I’m having to rethink my entire gameplan.

Yes, Golden West 3 will come out first. That’ll end that trilogy. It was always intended as a trilogy, it’ll be finished as a trilogy and I’ll be done with that story line. Jack Kane will come out when the publisher is ready to put it out. When I finish GW3, I’ll start work on Almost-Super Heroes 2 (already have the entire plot in my head). Then I’ll go ASH3, then GRPC3, and V&A3. Why? Well, let me fill you in.

All three of those titles, V&A, GRPC, and ASH, all are set in the same Universe and if you follow along with those stories, I’m leading into a major event. That major event will be a new trilogy that I’ve been planning for over a decade, but my brain was never to the point I thought I could pull off the storyline. Now I think I can. With those titles, I’ll be leading into a Military SciFi trilogy. I plan on making it epic and there will also be tie-in novels with the three other titles giving different perspectives of the event that will occur.

That means I want to get deeper into those books before I start dropping so I can release faster (one every two months). So you will see a couple of titles drop this year. Of Gnomes and Dwarves will have to wait until I get through my SciFi phase.

Why?

When I start dropping fantasy, I want to be knee deep into fantasy and drop that series all in a row. Not one book, then two years later, the next. I want to drop series titles in rapid succession. I’ll do the same with my Supernatural Learning series. I’ll do the same with <top secret series title>. I’ve picked up a head of steam. I have a direction. I have the motivation and the power of momentum behind me.

What I’ve always lacked over the years has been focus and direction. I’m somewhat confident I have both of those now and going into 2018, I plan to make a big splash…finally. It’ll be an exciting time and I’m glad you’re here at the beginning of it all. I’ve had many false starts over the years, but this time, I’m ready.

I’ve got a LOT of words to write over the next few years. If I don’t write ’em, no one else will. Stick around. Watch this space. In a couple months, things will start to get interesting.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!