Confession

OK, so I have a confession to make…and it’s a doozy. I have not yet started writing the next book for Conduit. Gasp! I know….I deserve a kick in the butt. I have however mapped most of what I intend to have in the sequel to the first book. It’s all stored safely away in one of the dusty vaults in my mind.

Do I have an excuse? Sure! I have a bunch. Get ready for the sob story and queue the violin.

First, writing is an escape for me – a way to get away from the typical work week that I put in that actually supports me and my family. So unfortunately, work has to come first for me and it’s eating up my time and has become extremely busy of late. Second, I do have a two year old daughter who is a treasure and I don’t want to miss a moment of her toddler life – even at the terrible two’s stage that she is going through filled with tantrums and crying fits. Honestly, aside from the really bad mood days, the terrible two’s aren’t so bad. Third, it is summer time and whatever time I get, I like to be a lazy bum like everyone else out there. Yes, I’m sure there are those that will tell me that I need to write everyday for x amount of time – but I’m human, not a machine.

So have I been completely lazy and will I never write another story? Heck no! In fact I’m still busy getting my novella, “Beautiful People” ready to go – I’m aiming for fall this year. I’m really excited about this story as it really fits to a lot of what is happening with society today. Now here is the exciting part if you’ve managed to make it this far in my rambling: I will be following a slightly different release plan for this story and will first load the book to Smashwords. This means that I can offer coupons for free on advance copies as a contest promotion. I will cover the details around the free copies in another post shortly.

I’ve also been working on a long running novel about alternate timelines – which still remains to be titled. I’m approximately 40,000 words in and believe I’ll finish the story with at least 60,000 words. I don’t usually talk about word counts because I’ve grown to believe that word counts and setting targets of word counts are a thing of the past. I don’t want to be an author who fills pages upon pages of extra wording in order to satisfy a word count target. The story is complete when the story is complete – regardless of how many words are in the book. I only reference the word count as a way to gauge how complete I think this story is – roughly 67% on the first draft. Yes, still more to go but I’m getting there.

Hopefully some of the above explains my absence from the blog and lack of news surrounding the sequel to Conduit: The Beginning. I promise I’m working my way into picking up where the first story left off. There is a lot to add and it will be worth the wait.

Self-publishing is quite a journey. As hard as I tried to make sure everything was in order when publishing my story to Amazon, I succumbed to stupid mistakes – one of which applied to the formatting of my story.

I really wanted my story to stand out and look pretty on whatever electronic reader was being used. I love how the drop cap format looks at the beginning of chapters and tried countless ways to apply it to my book in the Kindle format.

For those of you that may not know what the drop cap is, here is a paragraph from my story, “Beautiful People” (Yep, it’s my latest story that isn’t even out yet – so here’s a sneak peak – but you will have to squint!), with the drop cap format:

Drop Cap Example

So yes, I spent hours trying to figure out how to implement the drop cap. I could do it in Word, but it wouldn’t transfer to the Kindle format. I tried everything. First, using the drop cap function in Word – no luck, then I tried forcing the format by making the font bigger for the first letter – looked horrible, finally I went through every chapter of my book and pasted an image in of the first letter and wrapped the text around the image. OK, yes, tedious. But I wanted my book to look a certain way. The next step was to import the story and check to see if the format transferred. Guess what? It did!

At this point, you are probably wondering where my big mistake was? I’m getting to it. It’s a good one.

I scanned my story for 50 pages or so and it all looked great. Pleased, I patted myself on the back and took myself out for a coffee.

It was about a week or so later that I was notified by a reader that the very last chapter of the book had a bunch of random formatting. After the last sentence of the book, it had random chapter headings such as, Chapter 20 Chapter 30 Chapter 10 – these were all listed in random order. Evidently the import didn’t like some of the chapter and drop cap images and moved them to the end of the book. I’m sure it left some wondering what my intent was or if there was an issue with their download. So if you are one of those with my uniquely formatted book, yes, you have all the content. Please consider it a one of a kind. I do have a planned sequel to “Conduit: The Beginning”, so I like to think that the random chapter lingo at the end of the book can signify the chapters in the future books to the series!

So what have I learned from all of this?

1) Check every page with every fresh import for your story, even if it’s small change.
2) Use a tool such as MOBIPOCKET eBook Creator

To my second point, I dabbled with the MOBIPOCKET eBook Creator to fix the format of my book. It will import a Word file with special formatting and convert it to a .mobi file which is easy for the Kindle import and it appears that it will accept a lot of special formatting without much hassle. From this point on, I will always be using this tool. You can grab a free copy here:


MOBIPOCKET Creator

Now some may be wondering why I’m sharing my stupid mistake with everyone. It’s my hope that others can learn from my error. E-publishing is a new world for all and though it is easy to post a book out on Amazon, there are plenty of pitfalls that need to be avoided as well.

Good luck if you are in the process of getting a book out there and I hope I have helped in some way!

I have been away from my blog for some time as I’ve been busy trying to get my second promotion off the ground.  If you have followed my book at all on Amazon, you may already know what a success it was.  Obviously, planning is a very important part of the process.

A month ahead of my promotion, I broadcasted the dates that I would be holding the free drive of my book, “Conduit: The Beginning” with the hope that some other sites might pick it up.

During the morning of the first day of the promotion, no one had listed my story.  By 10:00, I had given away around 150 copies.  Shortly after, the numbers doubled.  I realized then that someone had listed my giveaway.

By evening, I had surpassed my first giveaway by 3000 copies!  I was excited beyond words that so many people had downloaded my story.

My story ended up snagging the top 100 list for all free kindle books.  I can’t find words to explain how excited I am at achieving that ranking.  The total number of downloads for my two day promotion totaled to 5980!  The second day closed a truly exciting week for me.

Top 100 Best Sellers:

As always, I really hope those that downloaded my story find it to be an enjoyable read.  I look forward to seeing what reviews come in.  It is an extreme motivator for me to hear about someone who enjoyed my work.