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Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Shadow

Alright guys! I'm procrastinating when I should be writing. So I've decided that talking about the new edition to my series (in a blog that's been horribly neglected) would give the illusion that I'm actually working! ;) So here goes...

The Shadow was an idea I've had for a while. In fact, I actually stopped writing book six in order to redirect my energies toward this other story that had been tugging at me for some time. The book is a prequel, and features the early years of one of the main characters from my Gate Keeper series. (Azek Lamanton) Since it has little to do with the prophecies, it's actually a true standalone, and can be read by anyone who hasn't read the other books.

Now because it is a standalone, I decided to experiment and enroll it in Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program to see if I might get some borrows on it. The idea here is that maybe I could reach a whole new audience. The crowd that doesn't normally buy books, but like the idea of a paid service where they can pay a flat fee (similar to Netflix) and read all the books they want.

So far, the results have been mixed. I've gotten a few borrows on it, but not nearly enough to justify keeping it exclusive to Amazon. (For those who don't know, that's the deal. Enrolling in KU means you are not allowed to publish anywhere else)

The contract is 90 days. After the contract is up, I'll revaluate and decide if it's worth keeping The Shadow in KU, or going wide and publishing it everywhere. At that time I'll blog again and let everyone know what I've decided.

I guess that's it for now. Time to get to work! Everyone have an awesome day!  

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!