Here you can follow the blow-by-blow account of my attempt to transform myself into a (regularly) published author.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chapter 4 - Bury the Hatchet in Dead Mule Swamp

Bury the Hatchet in Dead Mule Swamp
Chapter four begins to move the story along with a big announcement. But, hey, I'm not going to give that away here!

I think my writing is improving. I managed to show a lot more emotion than telling it in this chapter.

This is from one of the sections my writers' group especially liked last night

An excerpt from Chapter 4:
    Two cats watched me from the porch railing as I got out of the Jeep, and an aging beagle heaved himself from the grass and waddled toward me. “Ar-oooo,” he said, without much enthusiasm, but he had his duty to do. I reached down and scratched behind his ears.
    “Hello, Bub,” I said. Janice appeared on the porch. Her face was red, and she was wiping purple hands on a towel.
I'm forging ahead with this book even though I don't have all of the plot elements nailed down. Some people seem to write this way all the time. I guess I'll find out if I can do it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lots of Writing, Little Inspiration

I wrote my monthly column for the Ludington Daily News this morning. It wasn't brilliant- pretty much a straightforward account of my recent hike.

I've written a whole lot of content articles for Textbroker and have about half the money I need to attend Blood and Tea.

Now, I'm trying to work on Chapter 4 of "Bury the Hatchet..." No inspiration. Will have to settle for slogging along. OK, back to work.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chapter 3 of Bury the Hatchet in Dead Mule Swamp

Bury the Hatchet in Dead Mule Swamp
This writing is moving very slowly, but it should start to speed up a bit soon. I've been having some trouble getting into the groove of this story.

However, I spent a lot of time on Chapter 3, and it paid off. I read it to the West Side Gang (my local writers' group) last night, and with a couple of places that need some tweaks, they greatly approved. I think that's significant since I was still doing a bunch of backstory and local flavor.

I've also heavily reworked the first two chapters, because they were, I have to admit, a bit shoddy. I wrote them in a hurry. No apologies- getting something down gave me a draft to improve on and got the story going.

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 3:
    A few other people were seated in the restaurant, but most of the breakfast regulars had left and it was still a bit early for the lunch crowd. Two older men nodded at us as we entered. The odor of grilled hamburgers and onions hung about the room, with overtones of black coffee.
    For the most part, the Pine Tree hadn’t tried very hard to keep up with the times. From past experience, Cora and I headed directly to the booth to the left of the door, but not the one by the window. I knew those vinyl benches had fewer duct tape patches than others, even though it only mattered when you slid in and out and the rolling corners of the tape caught against your pants.

Is the Pine Tree Diner in Cherry Hill like one you know?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Content Writing Again

This is a really tough way to earn money. Nevertheless, if I want to attend the Blood and Tea mystery writers conference, I have to come up with the money from somewhere other than my regular budget.

The easiest (in one sense) place for me to do this is Textbroker. The pay rate is pretty low when you consider the research time, but you know what you are going to get, and you get paid every Friday, if you have $10 or more in your account. I'm ranked at 4, so I get the next to highest rate of pay.

I used to be rated at 5, but they have VERY strict rules about comma use, which I've never been able to figure out, so I got demoted. That was a downer, but I've become philosophical.

One can choose the assignments, so you don't have to write about anything that is too far out of your range. I know a few people who really make a pile of money there. One of those people has specific expertise, and he chooses assignments that match that so he has to do very little research. That seldom happens for me.

So, I will slog along for a few weeks writing as many articles a week for them as I can tolerate to earn my registration money.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Sales- July 2012

North Country Cache
  Such a guessing game! Should I post sales numbers so readers will know how few books I sell yet, or should I post them because they aren't too bad for a relatively new self-published author?

I'm going to do it for the past month, because I did make a personal goal, whatever its significance.

With all venues together that I know about (North Country Cache is in a number of bookstores on consignment. I won't know those sales numbers for months), here are the July results. All the others are ebook sales.

Devotions for Hikers- 1
Fall Off the Couch Laughing- 2

North Country Cache (paperback only)- 2

News from Dead Mule Swamp- 43
The Hollow Tree at Dead Mule Swamp- 977 (free)
Paddy Plays in Dead Mule Swamp- 27

Total ebooks sold for money- 73

My goal was to have more than 2 sales a day, and I made that. I've been promoting quite a lot, so my goal for August is 3 sales a day.

Sometimes it's really discouraging. It takes a ton of work to get people to buy, even with good reviews. All of the books now have several reviews by people who are not friends, but how is a potential buyer to know that? How does one continually find new pools of people to promote to?

It's a challenge!

Hey- if you haven't "liked" the books on Amazon, or agreed with the tags, it would be great if you would do that. It only takes a minute!

My Amazon author page

(A month after I made this post I realized that I had not been checking the Smashwords report from their other distribution outlets. So in addition to the above, I sold 16 News from DMS, 2 Paddy Plays in DMS, 1 Toby & Harry, for a total of 19 more books.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blood and Tea!

Blood and Tea Conference

Come to beautiful Ludington, Michigan for a Mystery Writers' Conference, September 21,22, 2012.

Presenters are: Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli lives back in the woods between Mancelona and Kalkaska, on a small lake, much like the protagonist of her Emily Kincaid mystery series.

D.E. (Dan) Johnson, a graduate of Central Michigan University, is a history buff who has been writing fiction since childhood but had to hit his midlife crisis to get serious about it. His first novel, a historical mystery entitled The Detroit Electric Scheme, was published in 2010 by St. Martin’s Minotaur Books

Lev Raphael is the author of 22 books, including 7 mystery novels, two novels, Winter Eyes and The German Money, and three memoirs, Journeys & Arrivals, Writing a Jewish Life, and My Germany.

Aaron Stander spent most of his adult years in the Detroit area, where he taught English and trained writing teachers. In 2000 he and his wife left college teaching positions and moved permanently to their cottage near Traverse City. Aaron is the author of Summer People, a mystery set in Northern Michigan.

Registration is only $175. You need to find your own lodging.

See more at Ludington Visiting Writers