The Room 3 Tour Continues -and- Some Quick Thoughts

Welcome back folks. Today the Room 3 tour is still ongoing, this time stopping over at Vaempires for a quick post about the real-world locations in Room 3. You can check it out at http://www.vaempires.com/the-room-3-tour-a-guest-post-by-jonathan-d-allen. We’re also giving away a ton of exciting prizes and today I can finally offer you the opportunity to join in the giveaway via Shaggin the Muse. This is our Rafflecopter, and please, feel free to do any or none of these. I’m itching to give these books away, and would love to send them your way!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s exciting to see the book finally beginning to take off after the show last Saturday, an appearance on BookGorilla, and now this. More is in the works, however; in June I’m going to take Room 3 KDP Select exclusive for at least the next three months, which will accompany an appearance as the Kindle Nation Daily eBook of the day in July (tentatively July 11th, more news on that in the near future).

Now as for more mundane news – the nuts-and-bolts of writing. Things have been a little slow with my vacation, but they’re picking up. Pathways of the Dead currently sits at 96K words and I’m anticipating it to finish somewhere between 105 and 110. It’s funny, the process this time has been a tad more difficult than Room 3, but the lessons that I learned in writing Room 3 have kept me on a way more even keel.

I also have two other novels in the hopper in addition to the Among the Dead series and Mirror Untrue. One is about a painting that turns out to be a prophecy of murder (trust me though, this one isn’t supernatural, more of a thriller) and the other is about a woman who begins to see her insular community in a very different fashion following a traumatic event. The former came from a dream. The latter came from reading the Facebook of an old high school acquaintance and realizing what incredibly different worlds we occupy and wondering what might happen when those worlds collide. Both already have titles and it’s just a matter of when, not if, I will write them. All in due time.

Oh, and hopefully the cover reveal for Pathways will be later this Summer. I’m working with a new, very talented cover artist who is revisiting the original visions for the Corridors cover now and has a great idea for the Pathways cover. Again, all in due time…

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Room 3 Tour Starts Today With the Avid Reader -and- Pathways of the Dead

Hey all, still on something of a self-imposed sabbatical to finish what had once been called City of the Dead…okay, well, sort of.

Let’s start with the tour information. First of all, there’s a giveaway! I’m working on getting the Rafflecopter code for it – you can check in here tomorrow for that – but for today you can hit up the current stop at The Avid Reader. That post features an excerpt and an interview with yours truly. I felt like this was a pretty good interview and worth checking out. Here’s a quick sample:

The Avid Reader: If you could travel back in time here on earth to any place or time. Where would you go and why?

Jonathan D Allen: Assuming that I could come back, I would love to see what came before the Sumerian and Babylonian cultures. I’ve always felt that the evolution of civilization felt incomplete, as if something were missing in the transition from tribes to cities. A lot of my work is about speculating on that connection, and I’d like to see just how off-base I might be.

I’ll be updating every day this week with every stop of the tour, and the tour runs for quite some time, so don’t panic if you can’t get in on the Rafflecopter right now.

In other news, Pathways of the Dead is now very close to the finish line, on the first draft at least. I thought I’d have it done by now but something popped up and it’s looking more like next week. With what remains of the book – finishing critique group, beta readers, editors, and loads of my own changes in between – I think we’re looking at early October. We’ll see, though. I’m definitely ready to get back into the blog swing of things, though. See you again soon.

 

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How to Use Draft2Digital to Simplify the Publishing Process

Today we’re going to be talking about Draft2Digital, a service that can take just about any Word document formatted with a semi-consistent style sheet, turn it into the proper eBook format for a service, and submit it to that service.

Draft2Digital media-leaderboard

It’s been four months since I published a book, and in this industry four months can be an eternity. Little did I know that a lot of folks consider Smashwords a bit outdated (and I can agree with that) and that its throne as a multi-level distributor is being chipped away by a new company, Draft2Digital. I learned about the new kid from a group of self-publishers who are big advocates for the site, and while it sounded great, I had some valid questions.

I signed up, though, and published a couple of books through them. Are they perfect? No, and this still isn’t the silver bullet that we’d hoped for, but it’s pretty damned close. Let me walk you through the experience and maybe see if you’d be interested.

First things first, you’re going to need to pull all front matter, covers, back matter, etc. out of your draft. No author bio, no blurbs, nothing like that. Further, no copyright page, as Draft2Digital will create that. Just for posterity’s sake, here’s what The Station looks like before going into D2D:

Draft2Digital - Initial Doc

Then, if you haven’t yet, you’ll need to sign up for Draft2Digital. It’s currently a beta product, so you’ll need to request an invite code. Don’t be intimidated by this part of the process. I received my invite code within three hours, and the most I’ve heard is a couple of days. It doesn’t seem to be a very arduous process at the moment. Once you have that, log in.

You’ll see the Draft2Digital dash. Obviously yours will look different from mine, as you won’t have any books in your library yet.

Draft2Digital - Dashboard

 

Just familiarize yourself with the dashboard before diving in. You do NOT want to click Add Book first. I made that mistake and ended up hating myself for it (okay, strong words, but you get the picture – huge pain).

1. Click the My Account link at the top of the page.

Draft2Digital - Step 1

 

2. Click Manage Publishers.

Draft2Digital  - Step 2

 

The Default Publisher is you, in your name. You’ll want to add a payment method, of course. If you want to set up a custom publisher, however, I’ll walk you through the entire process.

3. Click Add Publisher.

Draft2Digital  - Step 3

 

4. Click the + button.

Draft2Digital - Step 4

5. Enter your publisher information. Name is the only required field, but you’re probably going to want to add a payment method. I’m not going to walk you through adding the payment method in this tutorial, as there’s just way too much risk in putting that kind of information, even obscured, out there on the net. Sorry.

Draft2Digital - Step 5

When you’re done, your publisher choice should look like this.

Draft2Digital - Step 6

6. Click My Account.

7.  Click Manage Contributors.

Draft2Digital - Step 7

8. You should be set as the default Contributor. Click View Profiles. If you are not, click Add Contributor; the process is fairly self-explanatory. Once you have the Contributor set up, return to this screen and click View Profiles.

Draft2Digital - Step 8

9. Click Add New Profile.

Draft2Digital - Step 9

10. Name this profile in the Label field (this is used as a bio for your books, so I named mine bio), then enter your bio information in the Profile field. You can also add your author picture and website. When you’re done, click Save.

Draft2Digital - Step 10

Now we’re ready for the meat of the publishing process!

11. Click My Books.

Draft2Digital - Step 11

12. Click Add New Book.

Draft2Digital - Step 12

A quick word about the publication process. D2D uses a three-step process, going from Acquisitions to Layout to Publishing.

Draft2Digital - Three-Step Process

The first screen is Acquisitions, and it looks something like this:

Draft2Digital - Acquisitions Screen

13. Fill out the appropriate fields. The ones with a * are required. Don’t forget to upload your book file at the top of the screen!

Draft2Digital - Step 13

14.  Click Save and Continue.

Draft2Digital - Step 14

D2D saves and converts your file. Depending on the size of your document, this could take a little while.

Draft2Digital - Converting

We’re now at the Layout phase. Note that D2D generates a table of contents based on your headers, and this is where you run into one of the problems with this being a beta product, as it seems to only judge headers based on large, bold fonts or items that are set apart rather than actual header settings. This can cause trouble if you have sections with large bold “hand-written” fonts. I’ve had to request help on this issue, but if you’re lucky, things just work out and it looks like this:

Draft2Digital - Layout Screen

15. Upload your cover image and choose the items that you want. I’m not generating a Title Page since this book already has a decent one. First I click Copyright Page, which seems pretty straightforward, but this is why you needed to do all that work with Publisher and Contributors upfront.

Draft2Digital - Step 15

16. Fill in the Dedication option, if applicable. Again, fairly straightforward.

Draft2Digital - Step 16

17.  For this exercise, let’s just say you have other books available in your collection. If you’re new, you won’t, but you may want to come back and add them. Click the Also By option and select where you’d like this in the book itself. I always choose End of the Book so if someone is interested after they finish the story, they can click right through.

Draft2Digital - Step 17

18. The up-front work continues to pay off. Choose to generate an About the Author page and select the profile that you set up.

Draft2Digital - Step 18

19. I usually skip the About the Publisher page, but you can add it here if you want.

20. One of my favorite features is the ability to generate a Teaser Page. When you select this, you can choose to tease one of your other books at the back of this one.

Draft2Digital - Step 19

21. Click Save and Continue.

Draft2Digital - Step 20

D2D finalizes your document.

Draft2Digital  - Finalizing

22. Now we get to where D2D really shines. You’re presented with the choices to preview book layouts for each of the four major services. This was one of my major beefs with the Smashwords publication service – so little control and view into what got sent to places like iBooks. I advise saving out the major ones that you like. There are many ways to get this to your favorite testing applications, but I favor saving the files, then emailing them to myself so I can open them on my iPad (though I also test them in the handy Amazon Kindle Previewer).

Draft2Digital - Step 22

23. Test the documents. Here is what the Kindle version looks like on my iPad. Note the About the Author page and Teaser page – all generated by D2D:

Draft2Digital - Kindle Sample

And the iBooks version (compare these to the original draft that I showed up top):

Draft2Digital - iBooks Sample

And, for funsies, here’s what it looks like in the Kindle Preview app:

Draft2Digital - Kindle Preview Sample

24. Do some tweaking to the information on the previous pages. Trust me. There’s likely something you missed – I’ve done this three times and missed something each time.

25. Once you are satisfied, check the “I have reviewed this manuscript…” box and click Next.

Draft2Digital - Step 23

26. At long last, we have reached the publishing stage. Choose your price and your chosen platforms. I can’t speak to the CreateSpace process, as I handle all of that myself, but apparently they can help you to get that thing in print, too. Once you’ve set your options, affirm that you own the rights to the book and click Publish my Book!

Draft2Digital - Step 24

27. Congrats! You’re all finished. Now to wait for the money to roll right in.

Draft2Digital - Success

One last note: you can always check the status and sales of your book by going to My Books and click on the Book Title. This page offers a lot of handy information and also allows you to download their version of the book.

Draft2Digital  - Status

So give it a shot and let me know what you think! I love it already.

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Moving in Stereo: Stepping outside of the Amazon Ecosystem

Morning all, and a great Friday and (potentially) weekend to you. This has been a long week, and I’m glad to see its ass-end heading out the door. Let’s just hope all of March isn’t so wild and inconsistent because I may just be forced to drastic measures. Evil measures.

Dramatic_Alpaca

Today I want to talk about the Amazon ecosystem and why I’ve recently increased my distance from it. Let me first admit to some trepidation at sounding a little out-of-touch with this post, as I’m quite aware that some people out there have come to the same conclusion. That conclusion being that the Amazon ‘game’ that so many of us play either doesn’t work or keeps us from seeing the bigger picture of book promotion. I have no idea how much of a trend this movement may be, but I still see an awful lot of posts about getting reviews on Amazon/Amazon sales rankings/Amazon removing likes/Amazon killing puppies, and I just wanted to say a few things about it.

ad-amazon-180x60-blue-bub

Getting this out of the way first: I have nothing against Amazon. In fact, I use it pretty much every day for ordering Kindle books or music or vitamin supplements or what-have-you. I run a thriving Amazon Marketplace business (Brown Pig Brown what) and use Fulfillment by Amazon. This is not meant to be an anti-Amazon post in any way. They’re a pretty spiffy business, and I respect them quite a bit, but let’s face it: Amazon is not – and cannot – be the center of the universe. I suspect not even the company truly wants to be at the center of everything, for all its attempts to carry a broad selection.

Yet for many reasons, some of them valid and some not-so-valid, the indie community has hoisted Amazon as the standard bearer for our movement, the place where you have to succeed if you want to be anything at all. Amazon rankings are held up as the gospel truth and people (even myself) hand over exclusive rights to their works in exchange for a small handful of cash each month, if that. Pretty much all of us have done it, and the Amazon ranking system is set up to encourage it, even if it seems that essentially zero readers actually pay attention to that system. Most that I’ve questioned don’t even know it exists, though it would be fascinating to see a study done on the topic.

Nope2

Thinking about this led to something of an epiphany toward the end of last year: a lot of people out there don’t use Amazon, or don’t want to use Amazon. Hell, plenty of people refuse to read eBooks. I know, I know. This should be self-evident, and I knew it on an intellectual level, but the consequences of that state of affairs didn’t truly settle on my bones until just then. Even with that revelation, it took quite a bit more time to understand that my target audience might truly be comprised of a lot of those folks.

With that in mind, I reworked my approach to marketing. I eased off of the online marketing gas and put more into personal appearances and sales to test this theory. I came away with some surprising data from my first appearance in December. Did I sell hundreds of copies? No, but then it was a small local craft show and I only attended for two to three hours. I did, however, totally blow away my online sales for January in the matter of a few hours.

Encouraged, I booked time at a convention, which has also been covered on this blog. The first few days were bleak, no lie about that, but I matched my total from the December show and outpaced online February sales by a decent margin. As surprising as this might have been, it fell right in line with my experiences to date: I’ve always sold more copies in person, face-to-face, than online, and with a much higher profit margin. Unfortunately, those “didn’t count”, as they didn’t show up in the Amazon rankings.

It sounds stupid. Hell, it is stupid. Money is money, and readers are readers. Who cares if a number on Amazon goes up?

Well, I did. I still bought into the Amazon ecosystem myth, right up until a few days ago, when it became crystal clear that my audience might not be on Amazon after all. So many people who buy my books in person seem less tech-savvy and show a much greater appreciation for the works once they’ve finished them. I don’t understand the connection as I guessed that my books appealed to a more tech-savvy populace, but whatever. I’ll go with what works, and I’m especially ready to cast off the chains of what has become a traditional online marketing approach.

Could this real-world success translate to online success? Haven’t a clue, but I’m not going to worry about it. The only real metric to success is finding an audience and then focusing on it, and those folks seem to be sliding into view, one by one. I hope that more authors realize this and get out there to pound the pavement. I know it’s easier to do this stuff from behind the keyboard, but I fear that the personal appearance and real-life book tour may fall by the wayside, replaced by canned guest posts and purchased reviews. That’s a damned shame because it’s a vital part of our cultural heritage as authors, Amazon ranking or not.

This post may not be for every one of you. I know lots of people who are walking the same path that I’m walking, and I raise my glass to you. I just think that it’s time to broaden horizons and maybe incorporate older approaches with the newer approaches. Have you been pursuing this path? I’d love to hear from you and share what works and what’s proven to be a blind alley. Every writer’s path is assuredly different, and it’s always fascinating to see what folks have dug up. Let me know in the comments.

Room 3 Launch Winners, Holiday Crush, and Planning a Tour. Whew!

Evening, readers. First of all, congrats to Cinta García de la Rosa for winning the $25 Amazon gift card in the Room 3 launch. If you missed this one, don’t worry – we’ll have a tour in early December for the rest of you folks. I’ll talk about that one shortly.

In the meantime, of course it’s a holiday week, and I’ve decided to take this week off from my day job. We’re heading out of town on Thursday to visit my parents and spend time with friends, so I don’t know how much I’ll be updating the site. Hopefully “enough” will do the trick? I don’t know. I’m focusing especially hard on City of the Dead right now, in hopes that I can get the first draft of that completed before the end of the year. Can it be done? I don’t know. I’m about halfway through, but it’s flowing out in a fairly steady stream, and it seems pretty good so far.

Fans of the series (all five of you) should enjoy it, based on how things stand now, and it’s far from having the early problems that I experienced with Room 3. The new characters are a lot of fun, and I’m enjoying spending some time with them. I’ll talk about them sometime in the future, but for now…a slight teaser: I think that the cover weapon (as it was a pistol for Corridors of the Dead and a sword for The Station) will be a scythe. Consider what that one might mean. Continue reading

The Mad God: Viracocha in Rural America

Good evening, steady readers. Hope everyone’s having a great week; my own has been crammed with updates, marketing, and writing. Writer’s dream, right? It’s actually kind of a relief to think of writing an ordinary update/entry, but here we are. First, just a reminder that my latest book Room 3 is out there, and I mean way out there. Heh. Seriously, if you like sci-fi, paranormal, urban fantasy…anything like that, I do think you’d enjoy it. Basically, I’m saying that I believe in the book and hope that others will eventually come to recognize what’s on the page.

In the meantime, I’m having a giveaway, because it’s what the cool kids are doing. If you want to get to the meat of this post, just scroll down until you see this bad boy: =====. Then you’ll know you’re past the icky promotional nonsense.

I’m offering a special 2-for-1 deal and giveaway. Here’s how it works:

  1. Purchase Room 3 between now and Midnight on November 18th on any qualifying site. Really, I’m happy with anything, even through this site.
  2. Send me an email at crimnos@gmail.com with the receipt and/or screenshot of the receipt.
  3. Indicate your preferred eBook format and preferred eBook (The Corridors of the Dead, The Kayson Cycle, or The Station).
  4. I’ll send you a copy of that eBook for free! I’ll also give you two entries into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. Pretty straightforward, right?
Now, I know – I’m not just using the giveaway as a tool to puff up my sales. Since memory is so important in Room 3, all you need to do to gain one entry is comment on this post and share one of your favorite memories. That’s it! I look forward to seeing what you have to share.

Now, where do you get it? Why, I’m glad you asked…

  • Smashwords is my current favored e-store for purchase, just because you can get it in so many formats with such little fuss. I’m offering a 10% off discount if you purchase it through Smashwords, in fact; use PL77Y as your coupon code at checkout and you can knock a little off of the price.
  • I’m sure many of you are looking for the Kindle version, and you find it at Amazon. Go go go!!
  • Barnes and Noble also offers the print edition and the Nook version, if that’s your cup of tea. I can’t offer you a discount there, but you’re welcome to check it out.
  • You can also purchase signed and unsigned print editions through my site.
  • The print edition is also available on Amazon and Createspace.

======

So anyway, tonight I’m on the cusp of finishing the first draft of a story that I mentioned awhile back called Passage of the Mad God. I originally wrote the story back in 2004 and serialized it on the Something Awful forums (http://forums.somethingawful.com) in an effort to elicit some feedback.

Let’s just say I didn’t like what I got, and I never did it again. Thing is, eight years on, I dusted it off because I thought the premise itself was so appealing and so close to my heart that I just had to take another shot. You know what? Those *assholes* had the temerity to be right all that time ago. Damnedest thing, right? I was not ready. 

Am I today? Well, I like to think so, and I hope that you read the story when it’s finished and out in the wild next year. Today, though, I’d like to talk a little bit about that “mad god” in the title. His name is Viracocha, and he’s based on this guy:

Now, according to the Incas, this dude was the founder of civilization itself. Continue reading

Room 3 Launch – Get the Details Here!

Hi readers! I am proud to announce that Room 3 is now available on all major eBook and print platforms – and coming to many more in the near future (including an audiobook that’s in the works).

I have a fun promotion and giveaway going on this week, but first, let’s look at the current lay of the land with where you can pick up my second full-length novel:

  • Smashwords is my current favored e-store for purchase, just because you can get it in so many formats with such little fuss. I’m offering a 10% off discount if you purchase it through Smashwords, in fact; use PL77Y as your coupon code at checkout and you can knock a little off of the price.
  • I’m sure many of you are looking for the Kindle version, and you find it at Amazon. Go go go!!
  • Barnes and Noble also offers the print edition and the Nook version, if that’s your cup of tea. I can’t offer you a discount there, but you’re welcome to check it out.
  • You can also purchase signed and unsigned print editions through my site.
  • The print edition is also available on Amazon and Createspace.
More editions are coming soon (I’m trying to work something out with Google at the moment); it’s just taking some time to get them into the pipeline, as usual. In the meantime, I’m offering a special 2-for-1 deal and giveaway. Here’s how it works:
  1. Purchase Room 3 between now and Midnight on November 18th on any qualifying site. Really, I’m happy with anything, even through this site.
  2. Send me an email at crimnos@gmail.com with the receipt and/or screenshot of the receipt.
  3. Indicate your preferred eBook format and preferred eBook (The Corridors of the Dead, The Kayson Cycle, or The Station).
  4. I’ll send you a copy of that eBook for free! I’ll also give you two entries into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. Pretty straightforward, right?
Now, I know – I’m not just using the giveaway as a tool to puff up my sales. Since memory is so important in Room 3, all you need to do to gain one entry is comment on this post and share one of your favorite memories. That’s it! I look forward to seeing what you have to share.
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News of the World: Bits and Pieces

Lots of irons in the fire right now – both on the “work” front and on the WORK front, if you know what I’m saying – so I’m going with something of an abbreviated post format today. Besides, I haven’t shared any news with you guys in a few weeks, so I figure I’m due. Here’s what’s up in my world at the moment:

  • Room 3 is nearing completion with my editor. She’s told me to expect the manuscript back early next week. Once that happens, I’m going to dive into making those changes and some that I’ve noted in my proofs.
  • Speaking of proofs, the Room 3 proof is in great shape. Still a few lingering issues, but they’re ones that always get cleared up with editors’ changes. The most important parts of the early proofing process, the cover and front matter, are all just how I want them. This hopefully means that we get one more proof and the book is ready. All this leads me to believe that I can get this book out on 10/24. That’s not a firm commitment just yet, but it is, however, the most solid date that I’ve had to this point. Only six months late, but what’s a delay here or there between friends? I believe that this may be an ebook-only date and the print book may be a week later, but I’m going to bust my ass to try to get both out on the same date.
  • In other news, On the Air should be out around roughly the same time, as part of the Somewhere in the Shadows anthology. There’s not a whole lot of information out there about the project yet, so I don’t want to be the one to break all of the news. Let’s just say it’s in the works.
  • I’m also working on a short story called Servant Girl that will appear in the first Emissaries of Speculative Fiction anthology. It’s a dark little tale with a neat twist (if I do say so myself). I really can’t tell you too much more without spoiling it. We’re shooting to get that anthology out in December, and I’m going to be handling formatting for both the ebook and print editions.
  • That reminds me, I’ve also agreed to take on the task of helping Marie Loughin create a print version of her excellent book Valknut: The Binding. I have to admit a certain selfishness to this project; I want to see a printed copy so I can get it autographed. I do, however, also think that it deserves a print run, and I’m glad to help Marie make it happen after all that she did to help Room 3 during its painful birthing process.
  • I will be at the Maryland Writers Conference on October 20th. I’m trying to get my books sold in the authors’ room, but still trying to work that out. If you’re attending, look for me, and I’d be happy to sign books or even just exchange business cards. It sounds like a blast.
  • If anyone has open slots on their podcast, I’d love to do another podcast interview. I’m actively asking around about this, but also throwing out a net here to anyone who might have an open spot and reads this blog.

So lots of exciting things going on and coming up, with some even more ambitious plans for 2013. I’m geeked, and I hope that I get to include a lot of you in this. See you soon, somewhere out there.

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Indie-Pendence Blog Hop Day 6: Announcing the Winners

Welcome to awards day in Shaggin the Muse’s first annual Indie-pendence Blog Hop Blowout. First things first, to those of you who commented: thank you. You’ve brought a new level of conversation to the blog, and I can’t undervalue that. I just wish that I could have been a more active participant. Count on that in the next blog hop.

Next order of business: the winners for the giveaway have been chosen. I’ve contacted everyone who left an email address and am working on getting them their books. As I promised, I fed everyone’s comments into a spreadsheet, gave each one a number, and used a random number generator from random.org to select the winners. Here we go:

Name Prize
Darlene The Newfoundland Vampire
Yvette Room 3 Advance
Kelly Ron The Kayson Cycle
Lisa Hackney Corridors of the Dead
Mel Bourn Corridors of the Dead
bn100 The Station
Donna/BLHmistress Corridors of the Dead
Angel Jennifer Valknut the Binding
Darlene Room 3 Advance
Denise Z Valknut the Binding
Paul Dail The Newfoundland Vampire
Aniko The Kayson Cycle
Angel Jennifer The Station
Kassandra Valknut the Binding
bn100 Valknut the Binding
Angel Jennifer Corridors of the Dead
Paul Dail The Station
James Garcia The Station
Aniko The Newfoundland Vampire
Darlene Valknut the Binding
bn100 Corridors of the Dead

Congratulations to all who won! Here’s where you come in: I’m missing information on how to contact Lisa Hackney and Jennifer Angel. I’m doing some digging to possibly find them, but if you have any information or happen to be them, please comment or shoot me an email at crimnos at gmail dot com and I’ll be happy to get your books to you.

Thanks again, and I’m glad you could join us. Watch for more of these in the near future.

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Indie-Pendence Blog Hop Day 5: The Emissaries of Speculative Fiction

Welcome to the final day in Shaggin the Muse’s Indie-pendence Blog Hop Blowout. First things first, to those of you who commented: thank you. I fully intend to join in the conversation once I get a free moment. It’s been quite the week with the holiday and pushing to get both a novel and short story finished on top of five blog posts. Spinning plates, my friends, spinning plates.

Next order of business: be sure to check in tomorrow, when I’ll be announcing the winners of this week’s book bonanza. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, we’re  giving away loads of books for free. Let’s review what you stand to win this week:

-eBooks of the Corridors of the Dead (limit 5)
-eBooks of the Kayson Cycle (limit 5)
-eBooks of the Station (limit 5)
-Advance eBook of Room 3 when it releases (limit 2)
-eBooks of the Newfoundland Vampire (limit 3)
-eBooks of Marie Loughin’s Valknut the Binding (limit 5)

That’s 25 free books ready for folks to win. And all you have to do is comment. Once you’ve commented, you’ll go into the drawing spreadsheet. On Friday, I’ll draw your number from the hat (a random number generator), and notify you of what you’ve won. Your odds are really, really good, and I know the involved authors would love your comments on our posts. I’m hoping this will be fun for everybody and spur some discussion.

Now, then. If you’re a new reader, I’d like to introduce you to our writers group, the Emissaries of Speculative Fiction, also known as TESSpecFic. The concept behind our group is very relevant to the Indie-Pendence Blog Hop, as it was originally created to bring together like-minded indie authors in not just marketing, but also supporting one another, whether it be through beta reading, editing, formatting advice, or just support when things suck. It’s the embodiment of the idea that I’ve pressed a few times here: that we, as indie writers, need to find ways to present quality and add value to works for readers. I had thought of guilds as a solution, and this is similar in nature. Each week, I typically handle a week-in-review retrospective showing what our team has been up to, but I think this week I’d like to take a look at each member. Continue reading