Saturday, March 30, 2013

Grandiose Plans

El Tajin Ruins - Big show the evening before Spring.
"Life is what happens when you're making other plans!" (Author unknown)

Ever since I first saw that phrase on a wall in the movie "Kuffs", it has been one of my favorites.  Because it is so true, as I have recently discovered, once again. 

I had a lot of grandiose plans for book promotion, marketing, and taking advantage of the Amazon KDP Select promotions.  This all came to a screeching halt when a member of my family had a medical emergency.  It was one of those situations where I had to just drop everything and handle necessary matters.  It turned out to be a full week of unplanned activities, all prior to a planned week in Mexico to visit with friends and family.  The good news is that the family member is doing quite well now.  And thanks to my many loving friends and family members, I was able to continue with my trip to Mexico.  Fortunately, for you, I won't step through all the details and pictures from my trip. (As awesome as it was!)

What's this have to do with writing?  Well, per the phrase at the top, things happen.  There are things that carry more weight than my personal desire to write.  I thrive on my relationships with my family, friends, and my spirituality.  My writing takes a back seat to these things.  This also helps me to keep my balance.  Sure, it would be nice to just lock myself up somewhere and do nothing but crank out words till a book is completed.  But life doesn't work that way for me.  I would like to think that keeping this view helps me to be a happier and well balanced person.

Okay, yes! There is a point here.  Don't let life interrupting situations deter you from your goals!  Just because I've had to put things on the back burner for awhile, it doesn't mean I've abandoned my goals and my direction.  It also helps to be flexible.  Realize that there will be things that interrupt the writing process.  Go with the flow.  Take care of what is important and then continue.  The books and stories might not happen when you originally thought they would.  But if you keep at it, they will happen, and you will reach your goals.

Driving to a Destination

One thing I will mention about my trip to Mexico is that I got to do some driving while I was down there.  It was a enlightening experience.  Road markings, signs, lines, and lights are merely suggestions.  It's not NASCAR driving but it IS like Formula One.  You get as close as possible, dive for position, with as much speed as nerves will endure, and just go for it.  In a sense, it was actually refreshing.  And when I reflect on the whole experience, it has the appearance of a large dance in which everyone enters a room surrounded by doors.  Everyone manages to reach their destination with a minimum amount of contact.

So, I'm back on track.  I've reached a destination and I've actually managed to pick up a passenger along the way.  I had one of those moments where I was dreaming and I was able to wake up well rested and still had the dream in my mind.  It sparked an idea for a book.  I spent several hours that day writing down the ideas.  It was pretty exciting.  Each idea and plot in the story lead to more ideas.  I can't wait to get started on it. 

However, first things first!  I have to put the ribbon on Zegin's Abduction, get it edited, and then published as the next story in the Zegin's Adventures series.  I'm preparing to do some promotions via Amazon's KDP Select program with the help of a few promotional outlets on the web.  I'm hoping for some good results.

Speaking of results:

Latest Statistics

Klout Score: 53 (+1) Page Loads for the past month: 870 (-207)
Twitter Followers: 1603 (+190)
G+ Peeps Following: 578 (+153)
Zegin's Infection Sales/Downloads: 17

The lack of promotional activity for two weeks has contributed to the drop in the page loads.  Plus, I've not posted to the blog for a while.  However, the Twitter and G+ increases are nice.  I'm starting to post the book downloads as well.  Yes, this is pretty low.  But with all things considered, I'm actually pleased.  Aside from some Twitter and G+ postings, I've really not done much promoting.

I did receive another review on Amazon while I was in Mexico.  While it's for 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 on Amazon), it's a very fair review and I'm pleased with it.  I haven't been fishing for reviews so I feel pretty good about what has been said.

Well, that's the update for now.  Keep on reading and writing!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Post Release Post

After the Release

Zegin's Infection has been on Amazon for a whole 7 days.  Needless to say, I've been busier than a one legged skate boarder on a sail boat.  Mostly with marketing and promotions via Twitter, Google Plus, word-of-mouth, emails, and a Book Card (left). 

The book card took several attempts to get just right.  I kept messing with Microsoft Word (again, I learn the hard way) which took a whole evening to tell me that it wasn't going to do what I wanted.  When I went to to get one of their templates for my card stock, I discovered that they have a very cool online card designer that does a pretty good job of integrating images and text.  I managed to have a nice set of hand out cards in less than an hour of layout and printing.  And I've been handing these out to friends, family, waiters, baristas, gas station attendants, etc.  While the use of self-printed card stock is okay, I do plan on ordering some professional looking cards as well.


So, I know you're itching to hear the figures.  Book has been out for a week.  How are the sales?  Well, are you sitting down?  Here it is - twelve.  Yes, just 12.  But hey, I'm a new fiction author, no current fan base (aside from some folks at work, a few friends, and family members), and it is a "short" story.  I actually like to call it a "lengthy" short story. ;)  Anyway, it's a good start with all things considered.  I'll admit that in the back of my mind I was thinking how nice it would be for 1-2% of my Twitter followers to be interested in buying.  Let's see - 1413 followers x .01 = 14.  So, I'm 2 short of my Twitter market goals.  Heh. 

Actually, I'm not disappointed.  This is just a start and it is going to take a while to build a following.  As word spreads and reviews come in, I'm sure the sales will pick up.  I don't expect to make my investment back any time soon.  But once I get the next release out (Zegin's Abduction) and demonstrate that I'm serious about this series, the sales will pick up.  This is a long term effort and I went into this knowing it would take time and persistence. 

A Check List

I came across a wonderful check list on one of the Google + communities that I visit on a regular basis.  I wish I had this list when I started this whole process.  But I was quite pleased to see that I'm pretty close on following this list.  The list is from the book, Indie & Small Press Book Marketing
by William Hertling.  Thankfully William has provided a dropbox link to the PDF file for this checklist.  Which is also a great idea for promoting a book - give something away for free!  Here's the link:  And yes, I did ask William for permission to re-post.  (Thanks William.) 

First Review

The first review from a reader has been posted on today.  It is a nice and fair review (even if I do say so myself) and I will say that it came from one of my co-workers who purchased and read the book.  Feel free to check out the review here.  Four stars for my very first fiction release - woot! (Does a happy dance.)

Regarding, I just discovered yesterday that I could create a Author's Profile page.  (Thanks to Alexandra Apostol for the tip.)
I should have known this since I had a book on Amazon since they started.  But part of the reason I didn't know about the profile is due to it not being a link from the KDP site.  It has to be set up and configured from  So, now my Author's Profile can be found at   

Latest Statistics

Klout Score: 52 (+2) Page Loads for the past month: 1077 (-199)
Twitter Followers: 1413 (+196)
G+ Peeps Following: 425 (+65)

Twitter and Google + have had nice jumps.  Klout continues to make a slow gradual climb up.  I'm sure I'll hit some type of plateau there since I'm not engaging in massive amounts of Twitter spam.  The drop in the blog visits I attribute to my not writing a significant posting for a couple weeks (not counting the small release announcement).

In a few weeks I'll be taking a break from the marketing and postings to focus more on getting some actual writing done.  I figure that I'm currently spending around 4-6 hours a week on postings, marketing, and reading other posts/blogs.  That is significant when I could be spending that time writing.  And all while holding down a full time job, 10-13 hours a week in community services, and taking care of my other responsibilities.  Whew.  How do I do it? No TV!  Okay, I might watch a hour or two each week but that's about it.  And I have significantly reduced my gaming.  I said goodby to Eve-online and rarely hop onto Minecraft or Star-Trek Online.  It's all a matter of priorities.

So, set your goals, keep reading, and keep on writing.