Author Archives: jon

Pokémon Go is going to get me in trouble….

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Of course I jumped on the Pokémon Go craze, which, if you haven’t heard, is an augmented reality game on your phone where you have to physically walk around different areas to capture Pokémon to compete in battles with.

2016-07-08 17.45.40Among other things, it’s a fun way to encourage people to get out and exercise. Also, I found that it helps with other tasks such as going to the grocery store.

Well, then I had an embarrassing incident. I left the game on while I was in the parking lot, and I heard the notification that a Pokémon was in the area, so I quickly pulled into a parking spot, pulled up the phone, and started looking around for the Pokémon.

I found it! Just to my left outside the car window. It was a really cool looking one too, so I grabbed a quick screen shot of it before capturing it.

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Then, after successfully capturing the Pokémon I put my phone back, and before pulling out of the spot I noticed the car next to me wasn’t empty. Two older people were in the car staring at me, probably wondering why I was taking pictures of them. Oops 😳

So I leave you with this word of wisdom, be careful who you are pointing your phone at when you are capturing Pokémon. Or at least scream loudly that you have to capture them all so the person moves in a freaked out panic, leaving you to capture your Abra in peace.

Or have the cops called about some lunatic wondering around videotaping people they are screaming at. Either way, it gets you out of the house!

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(Rattata captured while on a Pokémon hunting walk.)

 

How are you enjoying Pokémon Go?

Teaching Our Kids About Who God Is

One of the scariest things, as a Christian father, is imagining my son growing up not knowing who God is. I try, through my life, and through leading my family in devotions (although not as often as I would like), to raise a son who knows God. But theology, that is “the study of the nature of God,” is a difficult subject even for most adults! Let alone trying to teach that in some manner that our kids can grasp.

This is of the utmost importance! Our kids spend all day being taught lots of crazy things that turn them from God. My son put his hand in a beam of sunlight one morning and said “I feel awake now! My bus driver said we get energy from the sun.” Really? These crazy ideas are coming from every direction, bombarding our kids with worldly, ungodly deceptions.

So what do we do?

You must get this book, Big Truths for Young Hearts, by Bruce A. Ware, a theology professor at a Baptist university.

This book is awesome. It’s only a couple of pages per chapter, each focusing on a different aspect of who God is, starting with the basics of how God reveals Himself to us, and the importance of His word.

Get this book, and go through it with your child. Help build them up in the Lord, give them a strong foundation, because if we don’t, the world will, and that path leads to destruction.

So you want to self publish, but where?

There are a lot of reasons to self publish, and a lot of reasons to go the traditional route. If you are willing to do a lot of work yourself, then self publishing might be a good fit for you. Or maybe you want to self publish for another reason?

Either way, once you have decided to self publish, the next step is to figure out where and how you will get your book out there.

Amazon

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Yes, Amazon is getting it’s own section in this list. There are several services that will upload your work to multiple retailers for you, but many of them don’t have Amazon on their list. Amazon is different and stubborn enough you will probably just want to upload directly to them yourself without using third party services. Don’t be afraid, this task is not as daunting as it sounds. Head on over to the website and you can get started in minutes, fill in all of the information, and, after a brief approval process, your book will start to appear on Amazon as a Kindle download.

It’s really easy, with fairly easy to read reports and as the largest ebook retailer you will not go wrong. As long as you keep your book in the $2.99 to $9.99 price range, you receive 70% of your cover price. If you go outside that range you will only get 35%.

KDP Select

Select is a special program you can enroll in after you upload your book to KDP. To be in Select you have to agree to keep your digital book exclusive with Amazon, for 90 days at a time. In exchange, your book will be listed in the Kindle Online Lending Library (KOLL), which includes the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. You will also be given access to promotion services, the option to give your book away for 5 days (out of every 90), or have other sales.

There is a lot of talk about if this is worth it or not. Many people say that having their book in KOLL gets them more money than all of the other distribution services combined. Others say that it’s good to diversify. It’s up to you.

Personally, I didn’t find that many readers through KOLL, but so far my works are all short stories and I’m a new author. Your mileage may vary, but as the contract is only for 90 days, you can test it out and see how it works for you.

Retail Distribution Services

There are several services that will upload your book to multiple retailers, saving you a lot of time and work, for a price. Usually these services will take 15% of what they receive from the retailers, and then send you the rest. This means you get an average of about 60% of the cover price of your book. You can use all of these services, just make sure that you don’t have more than one service delivering a book to the same retailer, as things may get confusing.

Draft 2 Digital

Draft 2 Digital is an easy service to use, with a simple UI, and some great features. Upload your word document to them and they will create your ebook format for you, including options to add front and back matter. If you have already done the work to create an epub, then you can upload that instead. They will still give you the options to add front and back matter.

After you upload your document you get to choose the distribution sources you want, and then just sit back and wait. Within 24 hours my book was up on the Barns & Noble Nook website. Within 3 days my book was on all of the retailers supported by Draft 2 Digital.

Draft 2 Digital does not have as many distribution channels as other options, but they have an incredibly simple UI (User Interface), easy to read reports, and extremely easy upload and conversion process. They do take 15% of what they receive from the distribution channels and they don’t have a way to sell your books directly through Draft 2 Digital.

Smashwords

Smashwords is just about opposite of Draft 2 Digital in every way possible. Their UI is bulky, but not too hard to understand, but the upload process through their “meat grinder” requires you to be extremely specific in how you upload your word document. And by specific, I mean it comes with a 117 page manual. (I kid you not…) They do, however, have a lot more distribution channels, some of which are incredibly hard to get into yourself (i.e. scribd), and they let you sell your ebook directly through Smashwords.

You keep 85% of what’s sold through smashwords directly, but for any sales done through the distribution channels they keep the same 15% as the other services. They also let you have discount codes so you can give away slips with free or cheap downloads to those who buy your book at conventions. This is cool!

If you want to skip the meat grinder process, they do have the ability to upload an epub directly, but their review and approval process is incredibly slow. When I attempted this my book was stuck in “pending” status for 3 months before I gave up on it. I couldn’t figure out who to contact either.

So, if you’re willing to do a lot of work to let smashwords format your book, this may be the way to go. Then again, it might be just as easy to distribute your book through the other platforms directly. But again, you may have a different experience with Smashwords.

I would, however, recommend uploading an epub to smashwords in almost any case (except if using kdp select, of course) just so you can have those discount codes as a way to help promote your book. I’m going to do this so I can give a free ebook download to anybody who buys a paperback book at my table at the next convention. I’ll let you know how that works out. If you are not distributing your epub then it doesn’t have to go through the pending process that my book got stuck in.

Physical Books

Along with ebook distribution there are several ways to get physical copies of your books. I only have experience with one, so for now that’s all I’m going to talk about. I’ll add more as I try them out.

Create Space

Create Space lets you get paperback copies of your book on demand. The process is fairly easy. I did run into some issues with my book not being formatted correctly the first time so the margins were huge, but it didn’t take too long to fix that once I started to dig in. You will get to see a digital representation of the book after you upload it, and then you have to buy a proof copy.

Receiving the proof copy in the mail, holding it in your hands, with that professional looking book cover that you made, is amazing!

The only thing you will want to know with Create Space is that shipping is expensive. It gets cheaper if you ship in bulk, though, so placing a large order (30, 50, or more) will cut into your book profit margins less than only ordering 10 books. And the cheaper shipping options are rather slow, so expect to wait a couple of weeks unless you shell out a lot of money for 3 day shipping.

It will take a couple of days for your book to appear on Amazon once you select that distribution channel, and then another day or two for Amazon to notice that this book matches your ebook and link them in the same product page.

Some of the distribution services (such as Draft 2 Digital) will do this for you, but I recommend manually uploading to create space. Granted, I haven’t tried using Draft 2 Digital to take care of my create space upload, but my paperback and ebook copies are all slightly different (I move the front matter to the back in the ebooks, for one), they have different covers, and it’s just a different enough product that costs money to produce that I want to manage it myself instead of letting an automated process take care of it.

Individual Retailers

I am in the process of trying out several retailers directly (instead of using a distribution service such as Smashwords or Draft 2 Digital), and will add my thoughts on them as I can.

 

What other services do you recommend for distributing your book?

Daily Writing

Finding time to write has been tough! It’s hard to balance finding time to write, working a full time job, and spending time with family, without coming off like a jerk who is ignoring everyone who matters to him. Time is just so limited.

Quitting my job, while having a certain appeal, isn’t practical. I would need over 100,000 people each year to buy each of my short stories, and that just isn’t happening right now. Or probably ever.

So instead I have been trying to wake up early to write. However, that has its own limitations. By the time I shower and eat and get ready for the day (which I have to do before I write otherwise I feel guilty for not getting ready for work first), then my son is waking up to get ready for school, or my wife gets up early. Once others are up, my ability to write drops.

So, over the past several days, I decided to try something new. I leave the house extremely early, and stop off a place with great scenery to write. No other people around (except the occasional jogger), no temptations to spend money, no internet to distract myself with (even cell phone reception is slow).

So far it has worked! This lets me write for an hour or so in the morning, get to work even earlier than I was before! Then in the evening I can do some editing or planning, work that doesn’t require so much uninterrupted focus.

I have been sharing my daily progress over on my Patreon page. If you are interested in the behind the scenes stuff, follow me there.

Now to see if I can finish a novel! 😀

Where do you like to go to write, or read?

Star Wars, The Mystery is Refreshing

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When I went to see The Force Awakens with my friend Kevin J. Anderson on opening night, (which was absolutely awesome, by the way!!!) Kevin said something along the lines that while it was nice that his fans would defend his work so much, it was actually kind of refreshing to have a movie where he had no idea what was going to happen.

At the time, I really didn’t think much about it, because I WAS WATCHING A NEW STAR WARS MOVIE WITH KEVIN J. ANDERSON! However, after watching The Force Awakens for the third time, a few things clicked.

It all started when I was overhearing a conversation before the movie started, about what color lightsaber Yoda and Luke had.

“All lightsabers are blue.”

“No, all Jedi lightsabers are green.”

After hearing this go back and forth for a minute, I just had to turn around and settle the debate with my vast geeky knowledge. Okay, okay, I know, this wasn’t a debate requiring all that much geeky knowledge, but that’s beside the point.

<< WARNING: Mild Spoilers beyond this point. >>

If you haven’t seen the movie, this stuff will give a little away, but not everything. It might just make you more curious or make you pay attention to things better.

After the movie, the same group of people started a discussion about the origin of Rey. They went through a few different theories, and then asked me what I thought. Who was this Rey character?

And my answer?

I don’t know.

And I realized, that’s awesome!

tumblr_nzj2fo1lE71rr8ze4o1_500I know it sucks that they did away with all of the extended universe as Star Wars canon, but it gives all of us Star Wars fans a unique chance to experience Star Wars the same way those who lived the original release in the 70’s and 80’s got to experience it. With complete aw and wonder.

Think about it. When the prequels were released, we (big Star Wars fans) knew what was going to happen. We knew that Senator Palpatine would become the Emperor. We knew Anakin would be tempted to the dark side and end up fighting Obi-Wan near a lava pool, turning him into the masked machine-man that the galaxy learned to fear. We knew that he would be the father of two kids who would be strong in the force.

Overall, there wasn’t all that much that was a surprise for us. At least none of the major plot points. We went to watch the movies just to see how they pulled off what we knew would happen, and to complain if they pulled it off in a way we didn’t like.

But today, we can watch a new Star Wars series, and have no idea what’s going to happen! We have assumptions and conjectures, but we don’t know. Isn’t it great?

We don’t know:

  • Who Rey is
  • What will happen with Kylo Ren (will he become less emo?)
  • Why R2-D2 was such a sleepyhead and why he finally woke up
  • What will happen to the resistance
  • Who is Snoke, and where did he come from?
  • Who is that old guy in the beginning that has the map?

These next four years are going to be interesting, as we wait for Episodes 8 and 9 to come out. After those movies come out, we will have all the answers, we will have more books to give us way too much information, and we will dominate geeky conversations over every small point that can be conceived of. Then the balance will resume where when a geek is asked the origin story of some character they can come to the rescue.

But until then, let’s just enjoy this strange time where we don’t know what’s going to happen.

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What I loved about this movie

There were some really cool parts in this movie. One of the interesting things was that it showed an example of how the Jedi were first born, when they didn’t have anyone to train them in the ways of the force, but the let the force guide them through instincts and visions. Watching Rey come into her powers off nothing more than a few legends and visions, is neat.

They didn’t completely remake everything. There were several throw backs to the original series. When J.J. remade Star Trek, he basically threw away everything and remade everything with more flashiness than a ferengi knows what to do with. But in this movie, the TIE fighter weapons displays looked like what we saw in A New Hope, only upgraded. And the targeting computer in the Falcon was the exact same graphics and sounds used in the originals. They did an amazing job at adding new ships, droids, and weapons to the universe without feeling like they had to remake everything. And it was fantastic.

Also, watching the Millennium Falcon drifting on Jakku, awesome.

So yeah, there was a lot that I loved about this movie. The only thing that really bugged me was pretty much everything to do with R2, which sucks, since he’s one of my favorite characters. But all of that, hopefully, will be explained in a satisfying way in the next movie.

And now, to discuss THE BIG SPOILER.

<< WARNING: Huge Spoilers Ahead! >>

If you haven’t seen the movie, you really shouldn’t read any further than this!

First up, my favorite line in this movie.

Luke is a Jedi, but you are his father.

That line, says a lot. Yeah, Jedi can train people to use the force and have cool abilities, but nobody has more influence in someone’s life than their father. Good or bad, a father will impact you more than even Luke Skywalker.

But even a perfect father can’t guarantee that their son will stay on the straight and narrow. What’s up with Ben? That guy is way too emo. I understand that he has the whole light side dark side conflict going on inside of him, and his temper tantrums are funny, but the final scene where he needed help seemed to add more confusion than anything. Why? Why was that the task he needed to do at all, let alone needing his father’s help with?

Killing off Han, that was a low blow. I wish they didn’t do that. However, of any way that he could go, was there a better way? In a strange attempt to redeem his son from the path that he was following? I still think it would have been better to set his pistol on stun, knock the guy out, then drag him home and give him the whooping of his life, along with a lot of parental love, but that was a good death.

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I really hope I didn’t spoil the movie for anyone, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

What did you think of the movie? Favorite scenes? Favorite new character? Let me know in the comments!

It’s a New Year, Time For New Goals

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Welcome to 2016!

First up, a thank you for following me and being a fan! It has meant so much to me that so many people have been supportive this year, buying my books, leaving reviews, and sharing my works with others. You were such a great help in getting me to where I am.

2015 was a huge year for my writing. I went from just writing stories to actually publishing something! I self-published my first ever book, Rite of Passage, and then helped put together an anthology with some friends and my writing group. It was this year that I decided that I can turn my writing into something I can make a living at.

That is a massive undertaking. One that can be depressing to keep trying for without seeing any traction after several years. So, to make it easier to see if I’m making progress towards that goal and to work toward it in a logical manner, I created a ten year plan, breaking my dream up into smaller, manageable, parts.

 

Years 1-5

2016 marks year 1 of the 5 year plan. During this phase of my writing I have 3 goals.

  1. Improve my writing through a lot of practice, publishing at least 3 short stories and 1 novel each year
  2. Build a following of readers by releasing books and short stories
  3. Build a following through social media, monthly newsletter, and blogging

Years 6-10 Plan

This five year goal is to take the writing that I have been working on, and really focusing on making a career out of it.

I will still continue publishing at least a novel each year, and short stories as I can, but my main goal will be learning to market my works and finding an agent and book contract. This will mean writing an extra novel a year that I don’t publish through whatever means I have been using up to this point (self-publishing or small presses) and use the book to attract an agent.

10 years from now, in 2026, I hope to be able to quit my day job so I can pursue writing full time. God willing, I think it’s an obtainable goal.

2016 Goals

Okay, now that you have my basic plan, time to get to this year’s specific goals.

Writing Goals

  1. Write and release 3 short stories, although I hope to release 5 or 6 for my Patreon supporters.
    • Eternity’s Ark – part of the Sidekick’s anthology, I hope
    • Domesticated Velociraptor story – part of my writing group’s anthology
    • Soul Shifter story 3
  2. Release Gate Hacker as a novella mini series, with the full work coming out as a novel in December.
  3. Publish a blog post once a week.
  4. Send a monthly email to my followers with a status update about my writing.
  5. Plan out another novel before NaNoWriMo

Other Goals

For goals to be effective, they have to be in writing. Otherwise we forget about them too easily and are never reminded to strive for them. So, I might as well put all of my goals in the same place to make them easier to follow.

Several of these goals really should be daily, but I suck at doing things every day for more than a couple weeks at a time, so I cut them back to make them more realistically obtainable.

  1. Most importantly, I need to draw closer to God. I spend too much of my life trying to live my own way. Nothing matters as much as following God and serving Him. I’m not doing this out of a religious obligation to meet objectives and check boxes. I’m doing this because I want to be closer with God. I want my heart to yearn for the things that God wants. I want my life to be a reflection of Him, because He is awesome! Here’s how I plan to do this:
    • Read the Bible at least three times a week
    • Pray daily
    • Tithe
  2. Lead my family in following God by:
    • Family Bible time at least once a week
    • Praying with the family daily, especially for meals
  3. Follow a budget to improve our finances!
    • No stupid big purchases
    • Reconcile my YNAB budget at least 3 times a week.
    • Limit eating out by cooking at home and doing weekly grocery shopping.
  4. Get in shape by getting my bike fixed and taking Malikai out riding regularly.
    • Regularly being at least once a week, weather permitting.

I have a lot of goals to work on this year!

Several of which are weekly, meaning it will take a lot of dedication and constant reminders. There are other things I would like to do this year but making this list of 2016 goals too large will make it difficult to achieve most of them. I would like to learn how to play the Piano with Malikai, and I want to continue to learn how to cook awesome meals, but as long as the main things I highlighted above are achieved, I will be extremely happy.

I don’t know what this year holds for me, with the help of God, and the support of my family, I will face it. 2016 will not just pass by in a blur where I continue on unchanged. I will be intentional with the days and weeks, making the most out of them instead of letting them fly by in blurs of routine.

What about you? What are your goals for this year?

Star Wars Marathon and the Machete Order

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The big movie is out THIS WEEK! I can’t say how excited I am to get to see a new Star Wars movie in the theater. It will be legendary.

Such a legendary occasion cannot just happen. It needs preparation; time to get the mind and body ready to endure the absolute epicness of this mega colossal astronomical event. (Thank you thesaurus.)

It’s such a monumental occasion that you can’t just go to the movie. You have to prepare.

And this weekend, prepare we did.

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Quite possibly a Sith, using his mind control powers on my dog.

An elite group of Jedi, one of which I suspect may actually be Sith that I haven’t seen in years, did what few would even attempt. A Star Wars marathon. It was as epic as you would expect, and made for an extremely long day. We did take a few breaks to play some Battlefront and put chains on a truck, but for over twelve hours we indulged in a galaxy far, far, away.

Before starting on such an epic journey, a decision must be made.

What order to watch the movies in? Release order, or episode order? Or, something else?

Last year I found the Machete order where, in an extremely long detailed post, it is suggested that the best way to watch the movies is Episode 4 and 5, then take from that series to watch Episode 2 and 3, then finish off with Episode 6. Interesting suggestion, and I’m not going to bore you with all of the details. If you want that, you can check out the original post.

This article is going to be focused on my reaction to watching Star Wars in the Machete order. Even as a long time fan of that world, I really did see things a little differently.

It’s about Luke and Anakin

The largest thing that stood out when watching in this order was the main focus of the story.

Watching in release order makes it seem like much of the story is about the Empire and rebellion, and how one hero, Luke, is able to help overthrow that Empire. Then when you go watch the prequels, you see how the Empire, and Vader, are formed.

Watching in the Machete order, however, shifts the focus to being all about the Skywalkers. You see Luke finding out about the force (a great introduction to the force, by the way, letting the viewer ease into this mystical energy field), then starting his training under Yoda and ending with a face off with the bad guy, Darth Vader, who we shockingly find out is Luke’s father.

Then you step back from that story and start on Episode 2 and 3, where you find Anakin, a whiny yet powerful Jedi, and you follow his path to the dark side, ending with him killing younglings, getting cooked well done on Mustafar, and ultimately turning into Darth Vader.

Then you come back to the original story with Episode 6, where Luke has to face Vader, after making many of the same mistakes you just saw Anakin make 2 hours earlier, and the threat of Luke turning to the dark side seems more real. Luke realizes this and resists, ultimately ending with Vader’s redemption.

For this fact alone it was worth watching in this order.

Rise of the Empire

This order also tells the story of the empire in an interesting way. In Episode 4 you hear that the emperor just dissolved the senate, and then, in Empire Strikes Back, you get introduced to the Emperor as a giant hologram head. After you know what this Empire is about, and who the Emperor is, you go back to Episode 2 and 3 and find out way more than you wanted about how an intergalactic senate works, followed by who the Emperor really is and how he came to power. Finally, in Return of the Jedi, he gets destroyed.

It’s interesting how this order starts to bring up questions just in time to go get the back story that fills you in as you need it, instead of setting you up with all this information you don’t care about first and then getting into why it’s important much later.

Why skip Episode 1?

Well, there were a few reasons for this. First of all, we spent over 12 hours watching Star Wars movies (with a few short breaks between films) with just those 5! That’s a lot of movie to watch, and if we could do it and legitimately skip one, all the better.

Episode one really doesn’t add to the story in any way that is important. All of the characters and plots that you need to know about in Episode Two are reintroduced in that film, so the viewer isn’t lost by skipping a movie that adds a lot of weirdness. By skipping The Phantom Menace you skip out on all these memorably weird and bad moments:

  • Jar Jar Binks (almost entirely cut from the series)
  • Weird pedophile relationship between little boy Annie and a much older Padme
  • Midichlorians
  • Trade Negotiations
  • Jar Jar Binks

Granted, you do miss out on one of the best lightsaber battles in the series, and an awesome Jedi played by Liam Neeson, and some would argue the podrace scene would be missed, but, those don’t really add to the story. They don’t add anything to the Luke and Darth Vader story, or to either war that’s going on. Everything you need to know about the Trade Federation is already re-explained in Episode 2.

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So yeah, watching the movies in this order was not only a lot of fun, but it was also refreshing and, almost, new.

And now, I have just THIRTY SIX HOURS until I get to go see Episode 7, The Force Awakens!

Just to make sure I really like the movie and have a purely objective opinion of it, I will have to watch it multiple times. The things I do for my readers. 🙂

What about you? What are you doing to get ready for the new movie, and what order do you prefer to watch Star Wars in? Let me know in the comments!

Talking about my book, ON THE RADIO!

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Lynda (GalaxyFest), Lena, and I, on the radio!

It’s funny how sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expect. Tonight I was supposed to attend an after-work meeting to help give input for GalaxyFest, a Colorado Springs science-fiction, fantasy, horror, zombie, and pretty much everything else convention. However, when I got home, 5 minutes before the meeting started, I almost didn’t go. I was already late, wouldn’t have time to change, and was just tired from a long day at work.

But, I went anyway, despite being half an hour late. The meeting was good, and then it suddenly turned awesome. A comment at the end of the meeting got me thinking about how we could have some type of Author panel event, possibly as a part of NaNoWriMo this year. Brainstorming happened, and we started forming a plan, and picked a date. The event still have to be planned out and coordinated in further detail, but things are on the move and I got put in charge of a lot of the coordination.

Then it went from awesome, to epic, as I was asked to fill in for a last minute cancellation GalaxyFest’s Monday night radio show on Tailgate 98.5. EPIC!

I stopped by and picked up my writing buddy, Lena, and we got to go on air to talk about our works, about writing in general, and all kinds of stuff. It was great!

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Mike (our awesome radio host), Brian, Lena, and I, on the air!

So yeah, my advice is to put yourself out there, take the opportunity to connect with others in your community, and you never know what awesome things will happen.

If you will be in the Colorado Springs area on November 21st, keep your ears out for a NaNoWriMo/GalaxyFest event. It will be up in our calendar on NaNoWriMo, and probably on the GalaxyFest website.

If you will be in Colorado Springs next February 19-21, make sure you come to GalaxyFest! It has been a great convention every year, and I am hoping to have a table shared with some friends where you can buy my books. We shall see.

Also, if you haven’t yet, make sure you check out my latest book, Guardian.

Guardian - July 2015

Guardian – Jul 2015

Guardian, available on Kindle

Rite of Passage - Feb 2015

Guardian – Jun 2015

After many long hours of work, from myself, my beta readers, and my editor, I am proud to announce that Guardian, my latest short story, is available for download! Check it out on Amazon, and make sure you leave a review on Goodreads if you like it. 😀

Here is the description:

Cheveyo is the guardian of his Native American tribe, a position that comes with magical power so he can protect them from almost any threat. But will Cheveyo be able to survive when someone comes seeking the power of the guardian? A fun short story with action, adventure, and a bit of steampunk.

You can currently read this for free if you are a member of Amazon Prime, or Kindle Unlimited. The paperback will be coming out in a few weeks, either as part of an anthology, or as a stand alone story.

Check out the book and let me know what you think!

Finding an ebook distributor

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Why is it so difficult to decide something as simple as who will distribute your ebook? Okay, maybe that’s a rhetorical question. Distributing your ebook is never simple.

I have been looking at several different methods for ebook distribution outside of Amazon. The main choices seem to be either to upload the book directly to each retail outlet (Barns & Nobel, Kobo, iBooks, Scribd, Oyster, OverDrive, etc), or to go through an aggregate that takes an additional 10% of any money made in order to simplify the process of uploading your digital book to so many retailers.

The two big ones that everyone talks about is Smashwords or Draft 2 Digital.

Disclaimer: I have never used either of these services, yet. I’m just trying to do some research on the best route to take and am ranting or thinking out loud through my blog, because I can do that.

And of course the decision can’t be as simple as “which service is better.” That would make life too easy, now, wouldn’t it?

Smashwords has a greater array of distribution channels, and has a lot of useful features such as pre-sales, offering coupons for your books that you can give away, and did I mention it distributes to more retailers? But from all of the countless blogs out there talking about Smashwords they say the same thing. Updating and distributing changes can be incredibly slow, sometimes taking weeks to apply something as simple as a price change.

Draft2Digital apparently has a better interface, almost instant (or within 24-48 hours) updates, and more up-to-date sales charts. But they have fewer distribution channels, no coupon codes, and as the new kid on the block it is tough to know if the service will run into the same delays that Smashwords has when it gets more users.

Why can’t they just take the best of both services to make the ultimate distribution service? Call it Draft Smash 2 Digital Words, or something…

Or I could keep my extra 10%, and take the time to upload to all of the channels myself. Some are fairly easy, but others, such as iBooks, would require using special Mac Only software (which I have) and your own ISBN number (which costs $125 or more). Or I can mix and match… or… I don’t know.

Now that my 90 days is up with Amazon’s KDP Select it’s time to figure this stuff out.

What are your experiences with these services?

Update 5/11/2015 I have given this a lot of serious thought, and searched many more blogs, and I think I finally came up with my answer. Ideally it sounds like the best thing to do would be to go through each publisher individually so you get the greatest return in royalties, however, from what almost everyone has said using anything that isn’t Amazon results in very few sales. So it may not be worth the time just for a small handful of sales equating to less than $10.

So my plan is to use Smashwords for now so it takes less time to distribute my work to all of the retailers out there. If, for some miracle, one of the retailers starts to make several sales it may be worth creating an account to individually distribute through that retailer, but continue to use Smashwords for everything else. So that’s my plan.

tl;dr Using smashwords to simplify publishing to many retailers unless one retailer starts to shine, then I’ll upload directly to them but continue to use Smashwords for everyone else.