Friday, September 18, 2015

Fall is in the air....

As you can tell, I'm not much of a blogger. I try, but its like talking into a black void. I don't have the members like some blog posts have, and that's okay. I use it mostly to communicate what's going on in my world and if you're reading this, well, then you're a fan of my work. BTW, thanks!

Fall is in the air, and for me, that means school is about to begin. No, I'm not in high school, I'm in college full time. I've got a lot on my plate, but I'm also going to try to continue doing what I love... which is writing. I've been slacking lately because I've been going through a transitional period in my life where I have to discover what my new norm is. Don't worry, all is well. However, there is no excuse for slacking in my writing. I apologize for that because I know many of you do enjoy my writing. You either write, or don't. There is no middle ground. I need to work on writing more often. The story is there, it just needs to come out.

It's been over a month since I last wrote. The other day I picked up my notepad and glanced back at the last few pages I wrote. Aside from thinking "wow, this is good stuff!" I was pulled into my own story and like you guys, long to find out what happens next. When you can get pulled into your own book, that's a good thing. As a writer, sometimes there's a disconnect because you know what's going to happen, who's going to die, how it's going to end, etc. but there are times when you can glance down at a certain section of the story and think "wow."

An example of this, is when Carol tells the little girl "Look at the pretty flowers." For most of you Walking Dead fans, you can see that scene in your head because it was a powerful moment. There's a scene in my book where a ReGen grabs a zombie wolf and rolls into a campfire on purpose, igniting both of them. (For those who don't know what a ReGen is ~ in my book Self Aware (A Zombie Series With A Fresh Twist! & Revenge Of The Fallen) there are a handful of people with a mutated form of the zombie virus that heals and regenerates human tissue back to normal, instead of causing it to decay like all the other zombies.) That's a cool scene because it's not often you see someone set themselves on fire intentionally in order to kill a monster and save the group. Oops! Did I give something away? No, not really, because you know me ~ I'll hint at something but I can also take it in any direction.

So that's the news for the time being. I appreciate all you guys out there, and if you've read my books and loved them, then please leave a review so others will pick it up. Thanks!

Stay crunchy, even in milk!
Steven W.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend (Update)

It's been a while since I posted a blog update so I'm just chiming in to keep you guys up to date. I've been working full time at a job that is very interesting. No it's not a full time writing job, (I'm not there yet.), but I get to carry a gun with me everywhere I go. Contractually I'm not allowed to say who or where I work, so I'll let your imagination fill in the blanks.

As far as writing, I'm still aiming to complete Self Aware 2, by Christmas of this year. I'm the type of writer that plots out everything from start to finish on paper and then goes back to fill in the rest. This acts as a guide or map for me to follow, keeping me on track. Believe it or not, the characters do the talking. I just try to keep up and get their words all down. It's funny, when you type something someone says, you automatically hear a response, or in my case, see an action or reaction in my head, so I write what the other person did.

I've been doing an experiment ~ seeing how my book sales are doing with no marketing or advertising. The answer: Not good. That's good to know, because that tells me that while I am busy with work and writing, I need to focus some time on marketing and advertising. With more and more writers publishing books, competition for you, the reader, is getting harder. Especially since there was a report the other day from microsoft saying that goldfish now have a higher attention span than humans. (You can read more on that article here)

So much data and information passes in front of our eyes, almost every second of our day. We choose this, pick that, or buy this. Our attention bounces around, multi-tasking on all kinds of things. With people not buying my books - it's not personal, or that they suck, it's just that there's so many other things competing for you attention that if I don't actively engage you or let you know "Hey, here's a great ZOMBIE book you might want to read while you're waiting for the next season of the Walking Dead." How are you to know? Someone else, who's doing the same thing will let you know they have a book. Then all kinds of factors will come into play (book cover, description, price, if you looking for another book to read, etc.) that will make you make a choice (buy or skip to the next one.)

The important thing I take away from this, is that while yes, it's important for me to continue writing the best book I can for part two of Self Aware, I still need to try to compete for your attention. I will do my best to blog and tweet more in the upcoming months, as well as continue writing. For now, I ask you do me one favor... tomorrow (or today, depending on when you're reading this), will you take a few minutes out of your busy day and give thanks/appreciation to those who gave their lives in the name of freedom & liberty.

Memorial day is just a reminder, that great men and women, straight, gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender and from all kinds of backgrounds & nationalities, gave their lives in service of our country, going as far back as our own Civil war, to the most recent conflicts. Lets give them thanks, even silently ~ if just for a moment in our everyday, busy lives...



Friday, January 16, 2015

The harsh reality of self publishing from someone on the front lines...

In 2009, when I started writing my first book, there was a revolution going on. People by the hundreds of thousands were grabbing pitch forks and torches and storming the gates of the Big 6 gatekeepers. These guys were the "gods" who deemed whether your book was worthy or not, regardless how good it is. However, Amazon released the kindle and gave writers direct access to every reader who wanted to see your book.

This was never heard of before... it was incredible! It was like when the Internet was being opened up to the world all over again (I was on the Net before it changed everyone's lives so I remember it well.) Well, now that we had fun stormin' the castle, and the torches are burnt out, reality is setting in. Just because we can publish a book on Amazon doesn't mean what it used to mean.

Yes, it's still a big deal for every author/writer when we hit the publish button (at least to us) but that was just one step on a journey of a thousand miles. There are a lot of steps still ahead. There is so much work you must do to make yourself seen, to be heard, and to get your book in the readers hands that a lot of people are quitting because it's work and they don't to do it.

Many people (including myself many years ago) believed in the potential of making a lot of money. I still believe in it, but it's not as easy as many people once thought. Now there's a lot of competition and things that pull people's attention away from seeing your work. Society is one giant ball of ADHD where we're multitasking and making split second decisions without even noticing because so many things are trying to get our attention.

Colors, lights, flashy thingies, pop-ups, catchy tunes, there's such a psychology and marketing brew going on all around us, 24/7 that people don't realize we're attracted to. It happened when I was a kid with clever marketing towards me when I was watching saturday morning cartoons. Example, if I say Tucan Sam's line... "Just follow my nose..." and you fill in the blank ____________. (If you answered "it always knows." Then you're hooked.

See, I just went A.D.D. off the subject! What was I saying? Oh yeah - people's attention is always in flux. As an author, my job is to not only write, but to capture these butterflies (people with ADHD) long enough to let them know "Hey, check this out." After all is said and done, my job is to also sit back down and write some more. Why? Because to be successful, I need to keep adding to my 401K, and not the one you're thinking of, but an author's 401K.

What's incredible about writing is that once you're done, it's going to make you money forever (or at least past my lifetime) because the kindle revolution has changed the world the way the internet did back in 1993. (Does anyone remember when AOL was 9.99 an hour? Gah! You Got Mail!) Every book I write adds money to the pot (not much to live off of - but a little) and it makes me feel good because I enjoy writing and creating. I even LOVE the feedback from my readers who also love the characters in my books. To them, they are real, and they care about what happens to them. There's a certain magic - to be able to do that.

So going back to the harsh reality I mentioned... for those thinking this is a get rich quick scheme? I say - HA! Never in my life have I worked harder than I have these past six years. I say that because when we stormed the gate, there were no rules, no safe path to follow. We were trail blazing and exploring new territories...

Well, here we are! Not sure where, but a lot further ahead and wiser from the lessons learned. Now what?

I still believe "there's gold up in them - there hills!" but we need to haul our ass over all the obstacles that get in our way, and it's no easy task. Ask any somewhat successful author and they'll say they worked their butts off. In the long run, people will find those of us who didn't quit or burn out, and we'll have our day in the sun. My advice is to write not for the money, but because you want to... because you have a story you need to tell.

Do you know what's so awesome about writing? You get to play make-believe all over again. Ever play lava floor? Where you jumped from couch to couch, avoiding touching the floor because you make-believed it was lava? Being an author is being that kid again, but you're inviting more people into your world to play with you.

That's why I write, and if I get lucky people will buy my work - which is even better, but if you do what you love, the money will follow regardless. Don't give up... this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Beginnings...

Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over and things are quieting down for another year, I'm actually looking forward to 2015 with a very positive and hopeful feeling. I'm excited to be adding the ability for people to buy books directly from my website via Paypal and early reports from people who are reading my book are very promising. It's going to take time for my book Self-Aware (A Zombie Series WIth A Fresh Twist!) to take off and who knows... maybe i'll get lucky and it'll become a best seller?

They say that being an writer/author is not a sprint, it's a marathon... that it's not what happens in just a few days or a few months that determines your success... it's what you do over the long term. Write, edit, publish and repeat... over and over. People will find you, people will talk and before you know it ~ it'll snowball. For now, keep doing what I have been doing since 2009.

My goal for this year is to finish book two of Self-Aware (Revenge Of The Fallen) by Christmas 2015. That means I need to get on the ball soon (And I will.) Anica Storm (my first fantasy novel) will have to wait until book 2 is done (unless some how I can write two books at the same time.) Who knows?

2015 promises to be a better year on so many levels. I can't help what the rest of the world does, but I can help what I do as far as writing quality content, making it available for my readers, and being there for my fans. Without you, no one would enjoy my books and all this would have been for nothing. Yet, you guys are enjoying them and having a blast and that makes me so happy. My goal is to someday make enough to quit my day job and stay home full time - writing. I'm not there yet, but I'm one step closer thanks to you.

I wish you guys great success and fortune on your adventures and whatever you are striving to do. I hope the world comes together this year and realize that time on this planet is very short. No one is promised tomorrow, so let's make the best of today. On that sappy note, I'll say Happy New Year and end this post.