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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Epic Bundle!

Hey guys!

I have a VERY special announcement today. (I've been keeping this a secret for months) I am honored to be a part of this HUGE book bundle. We have a who's who list of authors that contributed to this fantasy book bundle, and we are giving it away for $.99! The preorders are up on all channels as I write this.

So there you have it. One dollar for fifteen fantasy books! I hope you are all as excited as I am.  :)

Barnes & Noble:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Series update

Hey guys! I figured it was about time to add another blog post. (It's been a while. I'm sure all four of you must be wanting something new) Something unusual happened to me while I was trying to write book 6 in the series. Now let me assure you all, I'm several chapters into it and its well under way. But I've stopped the project and put in on the shelf for now.

"Why would you do that, Jeff? I have a mind to kill you while you sleep!"

Ok, let me start by saying...please don't. I had another story burning inside of me, and I couldn't ignore the voice anymore. Seriously, it was becoming distracting. So now I'm working on a prequel to the series. A stand alone book 0 that features none other than Azek Lamanton, captain  of the guard for the city of Taron. I've been planning to tell the story of his early years for a while now. And I've decided that now is the time.

So there you have it. Of course I'll make an announcement when it's done. Alright guys, that's it for now! Everyone have an awesome holiday!  :)  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Legend of the Gate Keeper "update"

Hey guys! So I've told you all a bit about myself, and also made a few posts for those of you who are inspiring authors. Now I think it's time to get to the series you've all been following. As I write this, book 5 is in the hands of my editor and she should be done in a day or two. So what have I been doing with myself? Funny you should ask.

Yes, I've started on book 6 in the series. But this has been surprisingly hard for me. Let me explain... I always try to make sure there are no "filler" books in the series. In other words, the story should always take large steps forward, and the characters should each go through some pretty big changes. And book five is no exception. But here is where I'm struggling.

I generally take a quick break after I've released a new one in the series. I sit back and down a few beer - uh - mineral waters, and see how people are liking the latest installment. But since my editor got so busy, there has been a pretty serious delay in releasing book 5. Now I have to be honest. It's been really hard to push forward without having any idea what everyone thinks of the latest book. I tend to read reviews and get a good idea if the current direction of the series is working or not.

So, I am still writing every day, but not at my usual pace. Things will pick up once I'm able to get a little more feedback. I know I'm unusual in that way. Most authors just barrel forward, understanding that some will like where the story is going and others will not. I guess I just don't want to get 3/4 done with the next one, only to find out that I should have been taking the story in another direction. After all, when the fans speak, I listen.  :)

That's it for today guys! :)    

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

To outlline or not to outline

An outline, is basically a mini version of your book to be. It can be anywhere from a couple of pages, to forty or so. Many authors create an outline before they begin writing their book. This is one way to avoid suffering from the dreaded (writers block). Essentially, the book is already done. All the author has to do is flesh it out from the original outline. So...should "you" create one before you start your book? I suppose that depends.

As I mentioned, creating an outline can help a new writer avoid writer's block. Because the entire story has already been written in compact form, all he or she has to do is fill in all the detail. Another advantage to making an outline is that the author is able to write much faster. (More words per sitting) Because they already know the path the characters are going walk, there isn't a whole lot of (what should I have them do next) involved. Remember, the story is already complete and just needs to be told.

So why doesn't every author make an outline before they write? Well, for some of us this method just doesn't work very well. (That's correct. I don't use them at all) Why you ask? It's because I just can't think that far ahead. If I had the ability to visualize a complete story from beginning to end, I might use this technique. The truth is, I don't know what's going to happen until it happens. I change things on the fly. When I first start writing, I have very little idea of where any of this is going.

I once watched an interview with one of my favorite authors, R A Salvatore. He was talking about how the business works from being traditionally published author. He HAS to write an outline, then give it to his bosses in order to get the green light to go ahead and write the book. He talked about how they would look it over, give him the OK, then hand it back to him. When leaving, he would get as far as the secretaries office before throwing it right in the trash. All he needed was the OK to go ahead with the project, and now he has it.

I feel the same way. I can't handcuff the characters and force them down a premeditated path. By the time I start writing the book, everything I put in the outline will be void anyway. An outline doesn't matter to me because as the story progresses, I'm going to change nearly everything as I go.

So am I saying don't use an outline? No. I'm saying it can work very well for some authors, yet prove to be a terrible hindrance for others. Experiment, and see which kind of author you are. Find out which way works best for you.      

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Get your book into more categories

A lot of my readers are also writers as well. I thought today I might offer some additional advice to those who are trying to get their books noticed. (Now I'm not going to keep blogging about self publishing forever. It's just that I get these questions a lot, and this is a great opportunity to help many authors at once.)

Now, one of the most important things you can do to get greater visibility is to get your book into more categories. Most books end up being in around four or so. This is pretty typical. Now look at my link to Land of Shadows on Amazon. Scroll all the way down to the bottom.  A bit more than four, correct? So how did I do that?

First you get to choose your main categories. For example, my books are all in Epic Fantasy. But what about all those other categories? One's you can't even choose outright? Does amazon just put my book there? The answer is simple. You are allowed to use 7 key words that will help people find your book through the search engines. But what not everyone knows is those key words will help you land into sub-categories that you couldn't otherwise choose.

Here is a great example. Sword & Sorcery is one of the sub categories of fantasy. But you can't actually choose Sword & Sorcery directly. This is where key words come in. One of my key words is simply the word Sword. That got my book into Sword & Sorcery. Another of my key words is Arthurian. Guess which sub category that got me into.  :)

You see where there this is going. Too many authors type in the key words quickly, and never give them a second thought. They think they don't really mean anything. As you can see that is not true at all. So don't be afraid to experiment with your key words. If you don't like the results, change them up and republish again. There is no limit to how many times you can do that. (I'm sure amazon would not appreciate me telling you that)  :S

That's it for now. As always, everyone have a great day!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

What does it take to be a successful self published author?

I know what you're thinking. Write a great book, and success will come. The cream always rises to the top, as they say. Well, the truth of this business is that it doesn't work like that at all. There are so many wonderful books out there that never get read because no one can find them. They are lost in an endless sea of books. Amazon carries literally millions.

The opposite is true too. There are books in the top 100 of numerous categories that appear to have been written by twelve year olds. (I mean no offence, to any twelve year old reading this) So what gives?

Allow me to give a very brief outline on what any new author must do in order to succeed at this very difficult business.

My book is awesome! Anyone who reads it will love it, and shower me with admiration! Maybe that's true. But why would they choose your book over the other five million floating around out there. You need to standout somehow.

1. Have a professional cover made. DO NOT try to make it yourself. No matter what you've heard, people DO judge a book by it's cover. If your cover looks better than most, you have given yourself a huge advantage right out of he gate.

I'm an English major from (who cares) University! I never make grammar errors, therefore I don't need an editor. Good for you. You're the smartest person alive. But you STILL need an editor.

2. Ever wonder why you can see mistakes in someone else's writing but you never see them in your own. After all, you're still the same person with the same literary skills. It's because you're too familiar with your own writing. You're mind will fill in the missing words as you go. Someone else's writing is not familiar to you so you see the mistakes rather easily. In short...hire a good editor.

I twittered and facebooked about my new book for a year now! It's still not selling! Why? This one's going to hurt folks... It's because no one knows who you are. But I dropped the price all the way down to 99 cents! That changes nothing. They STILL don't know who you are. Why should they risk even a dollar on a complete unknown.

3. This leads me to my final tip. There has to be some reason for the customer to take a chance on you at zero risk. Yep, it sucks. You have to give a book away for free. If you don't do this, no one will ever take a chance on you. They need to decide for themselves if your stories are worth paying their hard earned money for. (even 99 cents)

Well that's it for now guys. Good luck to those of you who want to try and walk this path. PS: My editor does not work on my blog for me. See the difference... :(         

Friday, May 30, 2014

A quick bio

Alright, let's see if we can pad that last post a little.

Who is this guy? Why am I reading this? Great questions. So let me start by telling you a little something about myself. My name is Jeff Gunzel, and I am the author of the The Legend of the Gate Keeper series. And yes, that is my real name not a pen name.

I was born and raised in Chicago, but relocated to Colorado about four years ago. Growing up, I wasn't a particularly good student. In fact...I was pretty awful. While the teacher was trying to show us math and science, I was always daydreaming about fantasy worlds. Needless to say this does nothing to help your grades.

Much of my teenage years was spent playing D&D. My friends and I would play from Friday night until Saturday afternoon. Hours and hours went by in the blink of an eye. Although this might seem like a huge waste of time (and I have no compelling argument to disagree) I do think this was where my life as a writer started. I just didn't know it yet.

After graduating high school, I began to nickel and dime my way through college. On again off again, a class here a class there. I went only because I knew...well...that's what you're supposed to do. A year later with a few credits under my belt, I found out my girlfriend at the time was pregnant. After my son Justin was born, I stopped school altogether.

It wasn't until years later that I decided to try college one more time. After being a tig welder for nearly a decade, I really wanted to do something else. To make a long story short, I eventually graduated from Devry University with an Associate of Applied Science in Electronics & Computer Technology

Well, the recession of 08 made my degree nearly useless. I couldn't find a job in the tech world and wasn't sure what to do next. Frustrated, I sat in front if the computer one day and thought, I need to vent somehow. I think I'll write a book or something...

And that's what happened. I just started typing. No idea where any of it was going...I just kept typing. Land of Shadows was finished four months later. A book that was never meant to see the light of day. Something I wrote for my own entertainment. (Although I admit, by the time I was 3/4 done I started to entertain thoughts of self publishing it) Glad I did!

So, this is my first complete post. Now you all know a little something about me. :)


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Up and running

Alright guys. Looks like I'm up and running! (pretty short first post. I promise I will write more later)