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After many years and many posts talking about it, the paperback version of the first Bardsworth novel, Starting Over, is now available for preorder!  From now until Sunday, May 31st if you preorder the paperback version of Starting Over, you will receive a signed copy and a coupon code for a free ebook version through Smashwords!  I might even throw a little something extra into the envelope when I ship the book to you.  ;-)

For those of you waiting for the digital version of the book, that will be available by next week through Smashwords, Amazon, and Google Play.

Just click on the picture below to go the Bardsworth website and then click on the “Buy Now” Paypal button.  (Note:  I have the shipping cost configured for just one book; if for some reason you wish to purchase multiple copies, I will contact you with a request for the extra cost of shipping.)
ebook_preview

I am absolutely dying to release my new book, Starting Over. My goal was to release it in April, and I was so, so close to being able to do so. But I made a series of good decisions that has led me to a later release date.

The first two I’ve already mentioned in other posts. One was to hire an illustrator to do my cover, and while I adore the cover she made for me, I had to wait until I received the final product before I was able to prep it for my ebooks and print release (had to add the text that goes on the front and back). The other was utilizing beta readers for the first time, so I had to wait until I received all my feedback from them (and all the feedback I received was valuable).

One of the other decisions I made was on the recommendation of my wife. Katie suggested that I not release the ebooks before the print books as I planned, and after thinking about it I decided to listen to her. I’m glad I did because I put an awful lot of red into the proof of the print book.

There’s something about seeing the words in a different format that helps you find things you never noticed before. About a third of what I marked was misspellings or grammatical errors. Another third was formatting errors (exclusive to the print book, so that won’t affect the ebooks). The last third was last-minute language changes that I wanted to make.

So there’s something to be said for having a little bit of patience. I know the book still won’t be 100% perfect, but at least I didn’t jump the gun on it.

Still open to suggestions about marketing it, though.

Soon…

It’s a project that has been very long in the making and, like many projects in my life, suffered delays for various reasons. But I’m happy to announce that the Bardsworth novel, “Starting Over”, will be available for preorders very shortly! Here’s the cover (which was done by my amazing illustrator, Jackie Zysk):

ebook_preview

For those of you who are regular readers of my webcomic, which the book is based on, you’ll have fun reliving some of the funnier moments and getting a more in-depth look at the world of Bardsworth. For those of you who have never read the webcomic, this will all be a surprise to you and I think you’ll enjoy the lighthearted nature of the story.

I’m just waiting for my proof copy to arrive so that I can double-check everything, and then you will be able to preorder the ebook and/or a signed print copy.

And then it’s on to the next project…

Liebster Award

liebsterawardI don’t typically do these kinds of posts, but I felt like straying from what I usually do for once.  I was nominated for a Liebster Award, which really just means I answer a bunch of questions and then choose five other people to say, “Tag, you’re it!”  I was nominated by the author of A Muse Who Likes to Muse.

Here are the rules:

1.) Mention the person who nominated you, and link them to your post.
2.) Answer the questions the blogger has asked you.
3.) Nominate five other bloggers.
4.) Create you own questions for the nominees to answer.

Questions:

1. What gives you a sense of purpose in life?
I suppose I would be a horrible husband and a father if I didn’t say that my wife and child give me a sense of purpose in life, right? But for longer than my son has been around and for longer than I’ve known my wife, artistic creation has given me a sense of purpose. I’ve been an artist and a writer for as long as I can remember, and without being able to draw or to write, I would be empty.

2. What is your ideal weather in order to be overjoyed to be outside?
Warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt, but cool enough that I don’t sweat. Also, some cloud cover to keep the sun from beating down on my pale skin the entire time I’m outside.

3. What advice would you give to your younger self if you could?
“You will fail. Constantly. But the successes that come along once in a while make it worth the pain.”

4. What are 7 things you love about your life?

  • I get to be a stay-at-home dad.
  • I found a woman that I’m completely happy with who feels the same about me.
  • I’ve experienced a heck of a lot in 33 years of life.
  • I’m stubborn. This comes in handy when trying to complete a task.
  • I know how to brew my own beer.
  • I live in an era when I can self-publish my own works without having to deal with the drudgery and frustration of the traditional publishing model.
  • That when I get passionate about something, I get PASSIONATE about it.

5. If you could choose 10 musicians/bands to share with the world, who would you choose?

  • They Might Be Giants
  • Dream Theater
  • Ben Folds
  • Animals as Leaders
  • Sithu Aye
  • Hum
  • Guided By Voices
  • Bad Religion
  • The Pixies
  • Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

I don’t really read blogs much anymore because I don’t have time, so I only have two nominees:  Kat Micari and Alice Nuttall.  If anyone else wants to do this, feel free to lie and say I nominated you.  ;-)

Here are the questions for the nominees:

1.)  What is your ideal day like, from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep?

2.) What routines do you have to keep yourself productive?

3.) What’s your favorite food-related guilty pleasure?

4.) Coffee or tea?  Why?

5.) What is your current passion/obsession?

Have fun!

Starting From Scratch

I published my last book over a year ago, and I stupidly did not market it very well. I debuted it at a small press expo and I did my usual social networking, but that was about it. And now, as I’m gearing up for my next book release, I’m left wondering what has changed in the landscape of self-publishing in terms of marketing.

Granted, I’m writing this post before I do any research. It’s kind of my way of getting everything out of my head while at the same time hit my personal deadline of getting a post written. I’m sneaky like that.

Back in 2012 when I released Blood of the Mother, people suggested several things that I haven’t seen much of these days. One was to make a book trailer, a short teaser video for your book. I saw a spike in these around that time, but never did one myself, and now I haven’t seen one in a long time. Unless I’m looking in the wrong places, they seem to have gone the way of the buffalo.

Another tip was to get reviewed by a book review blog. This was something that I did try, and it was a major pain in the butt. For one thing, the landscape had become so bloated with book review blogs that audiences were spread pretty thin, leaving me to wonder who actually had readers and who didn’t. Another problem was that more than half the blogs I found weren’t accepting any submissions because of taking on too many of them already, and of the remaining blogs many of them had guidelines that I didn’t meet (no self-published works, no fantasy genre, etc.). And nowadays, I rarely hear of anyone talking about trying to get reviewed anymore, leaving me to wonder if this is no longer a viable solution at all.

Social networking is, of course, still around, but does it do much good? Facebook’s algorithms, powered by greed, keep many fans from seeing anything posted on a given page. I’m doubtful that much good marketing comes of Twitter these days because of the sheer number of people tweeting constantly. Tumblr is only good for silly pictures and television show/movie fandoms. Google+ is just an vacant lot full of chirping crickets. So where do I go next? Is there anywhere new to go? Or is social networking a dead end, too?

So I’m left with the odious task of figuring out how to market my next book in a world that has changed by leaps and bounds in just the last three or four years. But then again, I have to look at the fact that I’d be completely out of luck if it wasn’t for the internet. While many of the things I mentioned may not pan out 100%, at least I can aim for a minimal percentage while figuring out where to concentrate my efforts.

And I am aware that by mentioning the word “marketing” and using it as a tag, I’ll probably get a bunch of likes on this post and new followers with no intentions of ever paying attention to this blog or reading my books. But at least I’ll feel popular for about ten seconds.

Loss of Control

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but for those who have forgotten or are just tuning in, I’m a bit of a control freak. It permeates many areas of my life, especially when it comes to my creative endeavors. That’s why I self-publish; it gives me a large amount of control over what I do.

One of my biggest fears about being a professional author, as I mentioned in my previous post, was that editors would want me to change things that I didn’t want to change in regards to my stories. It’s not as if I can’t accept criticism; on the contrary, I like to hear what other people have to say about my work. But it doesn’t mean that I agree with them 100% of the time, and with editors working for a publishing company you kind of have to. Does that make me a difficult person to deal with? Maybe, but I like to think of myself as steadfast.

Okay, fine, I’m stubborn. Still, much of what I write is crafted in such a way that pulling certain things out of it is much like playing a game of Jenga – pull out too many pieces or one important one, and the whole thing comes crashing down. Maybe no one else will be able to see the jumble of wooden pieces at the end of the day, but I’d be able to. And a large part of me always feared that much of what would have been changed had I been traditionally published would have been due to marketing and trying to reach certain demographics and trying to conform to how things have been always been done and so on and so forth.

Typically, I let Katie take several passes at my work. Like me, she has spent most of her life reading and, if I may say so, is exceptionally intelligent. She does very well at finding the nitpicky grammar stuff as well as telling me what doesn’t work big picture storywise. And I trust her more than I would trust an editor whom I know nothing about on a personal level except that they are doing their job. Maybe that’s a mistake, I don’t know. All I know is that it works for me.

But for my Bardsworth novel, I’ve decided to test the waters and get a handful of beta readers. This is a little nerve-wracking for me. I can debate with Katie when she makes a point that I disagree on. I can’t do that with people who are offering their time to help me out; that seems a little disingenuous. I don’t plan on disagreeing too much, since they represent my potential audience, but I know there will probably be a few things said that I don’t want to hear. And I just need to suck it up and accept it, think about it, and make an intelligent decision based on it.

Or I could cry in the corner with a glass of whiskey. That works too.

Literary Anarchy

For someone who grew up always having to do things his way and attempting to rebel against authority of any kind, I sure have rough time accepting that since I’m an indie author who gets to break the rules.

I touched upon this a bit back in October when I talked about the wordcount of the Bardsworth novel, but I still have yet to truly take it to heart. I worry about things like my chapter lengths being too short or too inconsistent in size. I worry about my story structure lacking a traditional plot arc since it focuses more on characters. I worry that there’s too much dialogue and not enough description. I worry, I worry, I worry. Sounds like an app from Apple – the iWorry.

Sorry, bad joke.

A large part of my problem is that I started writing long before the internet made self-publishing a viable option. Sure, self-publishing existed back then, but it was mostly so-called vanity publishers, and God forbid you ever even think about considering that as an option. So I studied up on how to make myself look good to the agents how to conform my stories so that an agent wouldn’t feel like it was too great of a risk to take me on. And you know what my worry was back then? “What if they make me change the way I write my stories?”

Irony, my name is Pete.

Sure, there are things that should be kept sacred and rules that I should abide by. But there are a lot of things that I need to be able to look at and say, “You know what? I’m doing all the work, I can do what I want. If the readers don’t like it, they don’t like it.” And the fact is that readers are gradually becoming more and more used to the way things are becoming, not the way things have been for decades.  So why not be a part of the new culture and leave the old one behind?

I’m the punk rock of the writing world, baby. Deal with my three-chord stories.

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