Digesting the future

So about a week ago, I got back from a Master Publishing Workshop. Seven days of three sessions per day, high-end information about what used to work in publishing, what works today, and what might work tomorrow. Enough to make my brain melt. Took a whole week just to digest everything. And I have fifty pages of notes, and three pages of to-do list to get through yet.

One of the things I will need to do more of next year is more and more-targeted advertising. My sales have been good (better than I expected, actually, so thank you to everyone in the sound of my voice) so far this year, and have hopefully left me poised to step up a level over the next year. I dropped the fourth Jessica Keller novel (Goddess of War)  three weeks ago. At the same time, we dropped the price on Auberon to $0.99 (Hurry and tell your friends, the price of Auberon goes back up on November 1) in an effort to boost the whole series and get exposure to folks that only want to buy cheap books.

(Personally, once I get you to read book one, I’m pretty sure I can get you to read the rest. I can compete on story-telling with professionals, which has been a psychological breakthrough for me this year.)

So the month of October has been a success on that score. I look at Amazon, and all four of the Jessica novels are currently in the top 200 in the Hard SF category, and selling really well, day over day. Hopefully, I will have made enough new fans that I can sustain these sales through the winter. There will be a coffee table art book for Jessica, coming out early next year. Then book five, Flight of the Blackbird, in the late spring.

What’s coming next in our world? There will be a newsletter with more details and a prize, going out in a few days. But for those of you not on the newsletter list, a few hints and peeks as a teaser to go sign yourself up.

One of the topics that got my attention at the workshop was the growth of audio books. They are about to do what ebooks did a decade ago, namely explode. The process will be slower, mostly because a novel requires so much effort to read and edit, but this is a whole new revenue stream available.

For my part, I have found a woman to do Auberon as an audio book for me. She’s hard at work, but I have no idea when she’ll be done, since she has her own life (she just got back from Europe last night), and I want her to be happy enough with me to want to do all NINE Jessica Keller novels.

At the same time, I used to do training video things, as well as work on stage when I was a wee lad, so I am going to do some of my own audio work on a few projects. The initial expense is not that extreme: a recording device, some software, rearranging my office for audio tone, and time. (I have no plans to do my novels–leave those to the professionals.)

I think I have mentioned elsewhere that I have six volumes of poetry stashed in a hard drive. The Desert Ring, The Blacksmith’s Song, and The Forestal are only bits I have ever published widely, but I have lots more. My plan is to record small pieces (poems) to learn the new technology, and put them up on my website for free for people to enjoy. Later, I’ll assemble them into longer pieces and put them up for sale, as rings, as stories, and as volumes.

It is the future, and I can do anything I want.

One of the things I took home from the workshop is that the only limits to my career are my imagination.

My imagination?

Y’all are f@#$%^g doomed!

The goal is not to become a USA Today or New York Times bestselling author. That would be nice, but Kim Kardassian and Snooki both hold that title, so it’s not that impressive any more. And I have read books by people on how to game the system to do it.

What I want is the money. I want to grow up to be Bernie Taupin, the most famous person nobody knows. (Bonus cookie if you can identify him without looking the man up first, but that just proves my point.)

To do that, I am going to experiment in a variety of places, each of which will hopefully generate me a steady supply of nickels. I don’t want my career eggs to all be in one basket. Right now, most (nearly all) of my money comes from Amazon, and more specifically, space opera on Amazon. I am going to expand outside of that category. (Spoiler alert: WAY OUTSIDE.)

I don’t expect that all of you will come with me into new fields. That’s not why I’m doing this. I want to get more fans, from other genre, who might be willing to buy stuff in their one interest, without pressuring them to cross over. But if I put enough octopus tentacles into enough places, I will have a nice, stable platform of interest and revenue to get me to the place where I can afford to build myself a castle on an isolated bluff over a quiet lake, way the hell away from civilization. (Never dream too small – Dean Wesley Smith)

So what y’all could do to help me over the next year is tell your friends about me, especially if one of my new projects is something they would find interesting. Plus, let me know when you think something works really well, or fails. I succeed as a writer by producing stories and things that people like you find worth the money invested, to the point they want to spend more.

Nickels. Lots and lots of nickels, but nickels and not hundred-dollar bills. At least, not yet.

You are a much better judge of how I’m doing than I am. I plan to throwing wet spaghetti at a wall all year, and hope that enough of it sticks to move me forward. Nobody knows what the hell they are doing. I learned that much from the workshop, surrounded by pros who support themselves with their writing.

But we’ll get there.

Reminder: Newsletter coming out soon with entirely different details. Sign up today if you want lots of other stuff not available here.


shade and sweet water


West of the Mountains, WA

One thought on “Digesting the future

  1. J. D. Brink

    I’m jealous that you went to the workshop. I’d love to go someday.
    It’s reassuring, though, that “no one knows what they’re doing.” I know I sure as hell don’t, but if that’s pretty universal then I don’t feel so far behind. 🙂
    Keep up the good work!

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