Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Giveaway!
Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Giveaway!
Scott Roche, a close personal friend of mine is doing something CRAZY! He’s giving away books. Not just any books mind you, signed books! and not just any signed books, but books from SOMEONE ELSE! Like I said, CRAZY!
Scott is giving away a whole BUNCH of books! Books by the great and wonderful Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine (also close, personal fiends of mine). Tee and Pip have written a series of books entitled: The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Their latest book is coming out on March 25, 2014.
This is a rafflecopter giveaway (I can’t post the script on my wordpress site) but I can link to it! GO HERE! GO HERE NOW! Do all you can. There are signed print books, ebooks, much happiness and madness to be had by all. If you have no idea what these books are about, hop onto Amazon and pick up a copy of their first book! They’ll make you happier.
If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer, but Mr. Roche is probably the better person to ask.
More about the Ministry Initiative
Find out more about this endeavor and support the Kickstarter here: http://bit.ly/ministry-initiative
I’m very excited about this project for two reasons:
1) I am a Ministry agent (buy my story here or here)
2) I played Bulldogs in high school! BEFORE it was a real game! That’s where V&A Shipping came from. WOO WOO!
So to say I really want to see this happen is an understatement! I’m crazy super extra want to see this happen. I want to see it happen, that I’ll give you a chance to win all my currently published ebooks! That’s right. Just for stopping by here and leaving a comment, I’ll put you in the running. If you tweet about this, facebook it, pinterest it, G+ it, anything, I’ll add you to the drawing. All you need to do is come back here and drop the link to where you posted. That means if you tweet it, add a comment here to your tweet, that’s 2 entries to win! If you facebook it and add a comment to link to your facebook post, that 2 more entries! See how easy this is?
Here’s what you have a chance of winning!
That’s right! Just by leaving a comment (or tweeting or blogging or facebooking or whatever) you have a chance to win all seven of my titles currently available! What are you waiting for? Spread the word! WOO WOO!
Visit the Kickstarter project! Click Here
Why I went the Self Publishing Route
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.
New Story Available
You went to the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences to listen to my latest tale, didn’t you? You say you’re not a fan of audio and you’d rather read the story I wrote in Tee and Pip’s world? Well wait no more!
Head on over to Amazon today and pick up your own copy. What are you waiting for? It’s only 99 cents for some steampunk goodness! GO GO GO!
If you’d prefer you can also pick up a collection with my story and three others for only $2.99! Head on over to B&N and pick up a copy of that.
Leave a review, leave a comment, pick up Tee and Pip’s books, read, enjoy!
Daily Update: Still banging words out.
I’ve been writing daily. Not just writing, but writing as much as humanly possible. Okay, not even as much as I possibly could. Just as much as time allows before life intervenes. For June I’ve already written over 35000 words. About a 15000 blog post and 20000 new fiction. I’m writing like CRAZY! But even with 20,000 words of fiction so far for this month I’m behind on my JuNoWriMo goal. I still have 30000 more words to write before I go on vacation. I might not make it. Even if I get close, I’ll be happy. Very happy.
I’m super excited right now because I’m presently 46 days ahead of schedule for the year. I’m 55000 words ahead of schedule. I thought I might be able to get a little ahead for the year, but I never thought I’d be that far ahead. I mean I’m still doing my day job, my favorite daughter is off for the moment from volleyball, and there are still other things that need to be done. The fact that I’m ahead on fiction compared to blog posts is a big plus.
My word count spread sheet for next year will be different. I’ll have to different goals. One blog post goal, one fiction goal. These will add into the overall goal for the year, but I want to try and hit two writing goals for the year. It’ll be a little more challenging and after 2012 we’ll see where those numbers fall and what I plan out for next year.
Obviously writing every day has helped me get significantly faster. I don’t misspell as much. My typing is getting faster (I should do another typing test and see how much faster I’ve gotten.) and it’s much easier to sit and just start writing instead of looking at a blank page for a time. Writing in Of Gnomes and Dwarves does help. I’m excited to be writing in that book, I know where it’s going, and I can’t wait to sit and actually write.
My plan at this point is to finish Of Gnomes and Dwarves book 1, put it away for a time, and start work on V&A Shipping book II. After that, Astel Book II. Both of these are also exciting properties and I can’t wait to jump and and start going on those one more time. I’ve already got them plotted out, it’ll just be a matter of getting he words out.
Speaking of V&A Shipping, I’m still waiting to hear word back from the publisher I sent them to. I know these things take time. It might be time to drop another friendly reminder. Maybe I can wait another month. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.
Speaking of publications! Check out my story over at The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences! http://www.ministryofpeculiaroccurrences.com/2012/06/12/podcas-volume-two-four/. Reginald Coffey takes us into the wilds of China to stop…well, you’ll just have to read it. I had a blast writing in Tee and Pip’s universe and if you like the story, pick up a copy of their books to show you support. That’s right, the second book of the Ministry is out there for you. While on their site, check out the trailer for the book. It’s AWESOME!
I’ve got a lot to do. I need to get an episode of EarBuddies recorded for Jack Mangan’s (http://jackmangan.com) deadpan podcast. I should have done that when I did all my recording the other day. I’m so behind on a lot of things and since I’m so far ahead with my writing I really should attend to those other things.
Like getting my duck post written.
Daily Update: Today is a good day.
Initially I was Sneezy and Grumpy. I took my Doc’s advice and was Dopey and Sleepy. What I really want it to be Happy. Heck, I’d even been glad to be Bashful.
Today is a good day. My sinuses are feeling a little relief. It’s dark, it’s a little chilly (I’m still wearing shorts and a t-shirt) and it looks like rain is on the horizon once again.
My nose, on the other hand (or would it be other face, hmm) is red, raw, and sore. My ears hurt from all the nose blowing. The residual headache is a bother, but hey, I’ll get over that. At least I don’t have a leaky nose. Well, not as much as it was.
Yesterday I wanted to go see my best friend’s daughter run track. She’s really good at the hurdles even though she’s only just begun. She’s got those crazy long legs. Being that I used to run track, I miss watching all the events. I will make it to at least one of her meets this season.
I also missed my favorite daughter’s volleyball practice. Hearing her talk about it, I missed a good practice. I will be practicing with her later today and a little tomorrow. She’s got a tournament on Sunday and I want her to be prepared. From what she told me, she will be.
I’ve wanted to record. I think I’ll do that tonight or perhaps tomorrow. I need to record the latest episode of Golden West for the Action Pack Podcast. I need to record my story for Tee and Pip. I need to record the promo for the Action Pack. Unfortunately with my head as congested as it is (was) it just wasn’t going to happen. Even though I had an awesomely low voice because of all the snoring I’ve done the past couple of days, I couldn’t make it though more than a few words without coughing. That would have been an editing nightmare.
On the plus side, I knocked out 2500 words yesterday. Most of that in My Teacher is a Werewolf. This will be the next story in the Teacher series. I need to come up with a good title for the series. Something like Unnatural Teachings or something like that. I’ll give it more thought. I plan on doing more of these stories. Why? Because they’re fun to write and I can get into the story quickly. This one might be a little longer than the first, but hey, I’m good with longer. I already like where the story is going and I’m confident I’ll plow through the first draft quickly.
If I’m lucky, I’m past that little sticking point. I didn’t like struggling to write words. I still wrote every day and I know why some people might not write while sick or when they don’t feel well. But I’m happy I did it. I worked through a difficult time and I have more words. Even if some days it was only a slight amount, it was still words I didn’t have before.
Speaking of words, I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo. That should be no surprise. But I found something called JuNoWriMo. It’s basically NaNoWriMo in June. I’ll do both this year. My goal right now is to work on Of Gnomes and Dwarves book 1 in June, edit it in July, and work on Book 2 in November, and edit it in December. Then I’ll release those in 2013. Possibly sooner depending on how I feel about where the stories are at. Each book currently is at around 60,000 words. Both I wrote very quickly on the first draft so I’ll use those plot outlines as a guide, but I’m going to completely re-write them both.
These were the first two books I’d ever written and they’re rough. Very rough. But when I’d written them I had a vision of where I wanted to go and I did just that. I will revisit the universe and this time I’ll keep a character list as I go as those books have a lot of characters and I’m sure I’ll get lost if I don’t keep track. Even typing up this paragraph I’m remembering how much fun it was to write those stories. Maybe I won’t wait for June. J
There’s a lot of writing still to come this year. I’d better get on it. So…
Daily Update: When it rains it pours
It’s a little damp in San Diego today. It rained while I was in San Fracisco, now it’s raining at home. Oddly it rained up North it hit me and hit me HARD. Back home I took the good medicine last night. Sorta wiped me out, made me a little groggy. My head wasn’t in the game. That happens. I’ll get over it.
Unfortunately it’s affected my word count a little bit. I’m falling behind on my Lent goal. Ah well. I will do what I can to catch up. I’m still 11 days ahead of my annual goal so I’m not overly concerned. I’m pounding out words and I will keep at it on a daily basis.
I got approval for my final script for my MoPO story. The next keyword from the Tee and Pip podcast was “Jungles of China”. Oh yeah, I’m a tease. Final approval means I get to record. Being that it’s raining (not just a little rain but HARD rain) means I won’t get that done today. I’d love to record, but the rain would provide way too much background noise. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
I also need to record another Unorthodox Writing Tips for Mike Plested’s Get Published. We talked during the week and there is no hurry for it, but he’d like to have one handy just in case. I’ll keep writing them. Oh yes I will. Someone is getting benefit from them I’m sure. It’d be nice to hear from anyone, but I’ll keep writing them all the same.
My favorite daughter had a volleyball clinic today. This one was with the varisy coach from her school. Many girls showed up to this one unlike the last clinic. They walk through some very basic things which is good for the girls in my daughter’s group who’ve been playing for a while, but haven’t had those simple things explained.
Speaking of my favorite daughter, she convined a couple others in her class to read Astel. Maybe you heard about this book? I self-pubed it last year. It’s still out there and I sell a copy or twoa month. Not a lot, but hey, I’m happy.
Anyway, they had to do a project around the book and they decided to shoot a video. Today. In the rain. <sigh> So at two different points I had ketchup on me (simulated blood) and I got hit by lightning (I’ll have to edit that in) and fell onto the wet ground. So I smelled like a wet dog dipped in ketchup for a short time, but the video came out pretty good. I’ll post it to youtube at some point as they need it online to be able to show the class. We did each scene multiple times and there are some effects I’ll need to figure out how to add. If you’re a wiz with video editing and have a little time and would like to help, I’d love to hear from you 🙂
I may do a segment soon where I review not books, but authors. I’ve had contact with many authors over the years and it’d be nice to put something like that out. Not just reviewing their works, but my overall impression of the person. I started a list and I’m not sure how long it would run, but it could be a fun thing to start. I just don’t want it to come off as me blowing smoke up people’s arses. I’ll have to let that idea stew for a while and see where it goes.
I’m about to head back into the rain. Wish me luck! It’s supposed to keep going into tomorrow and possibly Monday. We needed the rain so I don’t mind. I just don’t like going out into it. Ah well.
Daily Update: Sharing is Caring
You listen to the Shared Desk, don’t you? If you don’t, you should. If you do great, skip the next paragraph, collect $200, and take a ride on the Reading Railroad.
So there are these two authors I know; Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine. A great couple of authors that have done great things on their own but put to the two together and you get two great things that are even better together. They’ve got this series of books out. Maybe you’ve heard of them. They’re the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. On their podcast they talk about this as well as everything else they’re up to and even a little bit about the world of writing.
Tee and Pip have another novel coming out in the MoPO universe. It’s called the Janus Affair. I have not read it yet, but you can’t be darned sure that I will. During the first novel they did a series of 99 cent Penny Dreadfuls. They were also called Tales from the Archives. Stories by different authors that tied back into the MoPO universe. They were all great fun.
Well, I’ve been holding back for a while, but some time ago I had inquired what their plans were for the second book. Were they doing a second set of Tales from the Archives? Had they sent out requests for authors? Could someone volunteer to take on an assignment? I asked a LOT of questions. I’m like that. I get overly anxious, a little excited, and somewhat starstruck when talking to world famous authors. Even though I’ve known that since before they were world famous 🙂
I sent off a writing sample and did the normal wait game. I’m getting used to this wait game when it comes to writing. No, really. The part I’m having trouble with is when you get the nod of approval then don’t want to go out ranting like a madman when you hear “Hey, let’s run with this one.”
Now, like most authors I suffer from insecurity. I also seek approval of my ideas. I like to think I keep things in check for the most part, but it’s difficult when you’re waiting. So when Tee gave me word that I was going to be included with the next round of Tales from the Archives, I leaped for my keyboard. I bashed out three different ideas and sent them off. And waited.
Yeah, writing involves a lot of waiting. I had an idea which he might go for and started my research in that direction and had a plot already formed in my head. As soon as Tee showed the slightest interest in the one I thought he might, I fired off a plot, characters, questions, and the like.
Then I waited again. Tee, now looking for a job, was slow to get back and I fully understand that. Me, being the eager beaver that I was, got to writing. I knew I could do re-writes if needed. I was excited, I was pumped, I wrote like the wind. I had the first draft done in three days, and was going through edits when Tee came back with answers to all my questions. I’d almost forgotten about my plot and questions. I was just excited to be writing a really cool story.
As stories are wont to do, mine changed course in mid-writing. I felt the initial idea had some weak points and I wanted something a little stronger. By the time I was going through the second draft, I read Tee’s answers. My response to him was “I must be a mind reader” as I had gone in the direction he’d indicated and later that day uploaded the first iteration.
I’ve been writing for quite some time. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how edits go back and forth. I wasn’t surprised at all when Tee sent me the message “Don’t be worried about all the edits, I’m digging the story.” Honestly, he changed far less than I expected and the story is stronger for the edits. There were a lot of little additions that made the story better, and some modifications needed so the story stood out from the other tales.
My re-writes are back and I’m just waiting for final approval before I begin with the task of recording. All I can say is WOO WOO!
I mean, it’s very cool to be included in the group and I’ve seen the names of the other authors. You’re going to want to follow along with this batch of tales. I highly recommend getting the other penny dreadfuls as I’ve read them all. They’re all separate or you can buy the bundles. Don’t forget to pick up Phoenix Rising if you haven’t already. I LOVED the book. But please don’t take my word for it.
When I attended World Fantasy Con 2011, I listened in on the panel for Steampunk by the founders of Steampunk. When the panel was asked “Who do you see as up and coming in the genre of steampunk” K.W. Jeter (the man who coined the term ‘Steampunk’) said instantly “Tee Morris and Pip Ballentine.” You can check out the video of this panel online. It’s worthy of your attention.
As soon as the story is available you can be sure I’ll be shouting out as loudly as I can about it. No, really. 🙂 If you listen to the Shared Desk they only hint you get about my story is the word “Terracotta”. Oh, you’ll have to wait. Yes you will. I need to get back to what I do best! So…