Thursday, December 04, 2014

Hootsuite

I rarely rave about products, but I must say Hootsuite just keeps getting better and better. If you're one of those social media crazies like me...well, you have far too much to keep track of. But Hootsuite.com allows me to track my Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram...(actually the list goes on) all at once.

 

And it's allowing me to write this blog directly to my Blogger account. So I'm just testing it out.

 

I get no money from Hootesuite. In fact I'm paying them for a pro account. But it really is saving me time...

 

End of product placement portion of this blog.

 

Art

Hootesuite

 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Last Minute Ideas

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 So this is my second day in the office as WIR at the Regina Public Library (WIR stands for writer in residence--I like the acronym…it sounds like things are whirring around me). I’m here every Wednesday from 1-9 PM. My day started out with the two and a half hour trip from Saskatoon. This is office time, too, because I listen to audiobooks as I travel. Today’s book was a BBC version of the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov. It…ummm…sounds very ‘70’s at times but certainly captured my attention and is classic science fiction. I was reminded that when Asimov pitched this series he’d already set up an interview with an editor (I guess you could do that in the old days) and was on the bus on the way to his appointment when he realized he had no ideas to pitch (nothing like waiting until the last minute). He happened to be reading Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and thought, why don’t I pitch a series of novels about a galactic empire that is in decline? That’s what he pitched and that’s what the editor bought. And the rest is history. Or psychohistory…for those who’ve read the books. It’s an example of how sometimes the big ideas can come at the last minute and from a simple concept. It’s the work of the writer to find those ideas and turn them into a story that readers will want to read.

 One more note: I took the above shot on the way down. There was an overwhelming abundance of clouds in the big blue sky. The STOP sign is important. Is it telling you to STOP what you’re doing and start writing? Or is it telling you to STOP and look around and capture the moment? Technically it was telling me to STOP and LOOK before turning onto the highway. An important thing to remember.  
  Art

Friday, July 18, 2014

Creating with Createspace: Print on Demand

    I've been curious about Createspace's print on demand book publishing options for some time now (It's just one of the many arms of the Amazon). Since my novel Megiddo's Shadow was out of print in the US, I decided to use it to try out Createspace. It is a relatively easy way to self publish a book. All you need is a Word file. They provide a template that I just copied and pasted my novel into (there were a few hours of fussing a fidgeting to get things right, but I expected this).

The actual book cover design system is also very easy to use. They have a variety of covers and styles that you can use. Since the novel is inspired by my grandfather's experiences in WW1, I decided to use his picture. Again this took me at least an hour of fussing--if I had better design skills it probably would have gone faster. And finally I submitted all the files and ordered my proof. It arrived a month later (there was some odd delay and when I informed them that it had been a month Createspace immediately sent new copies of the books to me). Here's what it looked like when I got the books:


Overall I was quite happy with how the book turned out. The font is perhaps a little small for my ancient eyes, but the whole process cost me less than $30.00 and now people in the US & UK can order physical copies of the books for $8.99. Which means I still make $2.41 for each copy sold. I don't expect to sell many copies, this was just an experiment to see how it worked. I also hope that it will actually help sell more ebook copies of the book because the ePrice looks better by comparison. Am curious to hear anyone else's experiences with Createspace or other print on demand publishers.

 Art

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Whoa! Year three of selling eBooks to the world!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...well back on February 5th of 2011, I launched my novel DUST as an ebook.
  

 I just wanted to experiment with this new fangled book form called Electronic-Books-That-Aren't-Printed-On-Paper! Read about the beginnings here:  beginning. By this time last year I'd sold 8406 copies of my ebooks. This year my grand total is 9383 books. That's less that 1000 books sold in this last twelve months. In the business we call that a big drop off in sales. I see this as a sign that the sales in the ebook world has slowed down (at least for me). Everyone's ereader is stuffed with books. It's not the wild west anymore.  Here are the sales from the first 7 months of 2013.


In total I brought in around $1000 for my bottom line. Since I didn't have to do any extra work selling these books, it's a pleasant amount (but nothing like the year before when I made $6000 from ebook sales). My sense is that sales will continue on in this vein, making it a comfortable addition to my income, but not a game changer. I did decide to take my Northern Frights books off of the ebook market and sell the rights to HarperCollins (who will be putting them out soon). This is mostly because YA books still sell the majority of their copies in paperback. Kids are reading paper books! Those rebels!

I did write a book intending to release it as an ebook but at this point am holding on to it to see if there is a better option for me.

Tune in next year when you'll hear me say: I didn't see that coming*

 Art

*what "that" is, I don't know at this point.

Here are the requisite clickable links to my books, including the two "grown up" books I've published under the name Stephen Shea. If a book isn't available in your area as an ebook, it's because I'm still negotiating the erights for that book.



 




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Modo Graphic Novel Kickstarter

Well, we're kicking off our second crowdfunding campaign for Modo: Ember's End. And after just over twenty four hours we've already raised half our funds. Whoa! Feel free to join the team.
   
The book is inspired by my Hunchback Assignments series--steampunk set in the wild west. Honestly, we can't wait to get this book out. The artwork that Chris has been cooking up has been just excellent along with the work of our two colourists... Here's a sample:

Did I mention we can't wait to get this book done? I do feel like a kid again working on this story. And that's a good thing.

Take care everyone,


Thursday, June 06, 2013

My Modo: Game of Thrones Moment

So I'm madly doing the mock up lettering for Modo: Ember's End...when I suddenly channeled this lettering instead. For Game of Thrones enthusiasts: