Making An Appearance

I know it has been a while since my last post but when you have a crisis of faith, it becomes necessary to stop and take stock. Yes, I started doubting my ability to write entertaining stories because I got hung up on where I was on the Amazon Ranking System and the slowing of my sales to date. I took on a second job and scaled back my writing activities accordingly in the hope that the additional income would carry me through my perceived drought.

However, over the past few months, I became more and restless as my lack of creative pursuits began to gnaw on me. Do I leave my characters, both actual and conceptual, languish in limbo? Do the stories that beg to be put on paper stay locked away for a future date?

The answer that I came to was a resounding NO. Stories that need to be written should be written. Characters deserve to be given lives for everyone to enjoy, hate, sympathize, whatever. I write because I love it and to be honest, that’s the only legitimate reason in my mind to put my energies into it at all.

I fell into a kind of production rut and nothing beats the fun out of a pleasant activity than forcing yourself to perform it on a scheduled day in and day out. Maybe other people can do that but not me. I need to feel good about what I am doing and punching a time clock (real or virtual) isn’t something that appeals to me when I am on my own time. I’m not saying that creating writing habits aren’t a good thing. They are. They only turn sideways when one starts to feel forced to operate under them. We are not machines and Life has a way of throwing monkey wrenches into the gears from time to time.

My hiatus had a negative effect on my writing because it’s been going on two years since I started writing the sequel to Parallax and I’m playing catch up to recover lost ground on Parallax: Genesis if there is lost ground at all.

Well, that’s it for now but hopefully, it won’t take me months before I check in again. Have a good one.

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Good Tuesday To You

After a few abortive attempts, I’m once again running a month-long pair of advertising campaigns through Amazon Marketing Services for Parallax while I write Parallax: Genesis. I say abortive because setting up a stable writing budget to fund this endeavor proved to be something of a challenge and I prefer to err on the side of caution with respect to these things.

But I did it and I’m glad I did because despite all the romantic notions I’ve ever held as a writer, making a living at it requires some sacrificing and hard work. After all, you can’t eat fun though you can eat FOR fun. Of course, it costs me very little on average to put out a book even though I would prefer to have some kind of return on my investment and have my books pay for themselves (and me) over time. Balancing a Day Job and a Writing Career isn’t as fun as you would imagine.

I’m still coping with the effects of putting Lights and Shadows on hold but anything is possible with it including revising it later as a future episode of a new series I’ve thought about doing after The Parallax Trilogy is complete involving John Pratt and his merry band of wandering do-gooders.

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to at the moment. Back to outlining Parallax: Genesis so have a great day. 🙂

Parallax: Genesis (The Planning Begins)

I’ve been getting a number of messages from people asking me when I’m going to start work on Parallax’s Sequels and though I am loathe to work on multiple projects at once, I’ve decided to dust off the files and get to it.

A little background on where I am at this moment:

Parallax: Genesis takes place immediately after the last battlefield scene in Parallax. Pratt and his crew find themselves trapped in Hyperspace after the ship’s Hyperspace Regulator module overloads and burns out. This poses a dilemma because while the ship’s fusion reactors provide a large amount of power, it is not infinite and when the fuel runs out (exacerbated by unique Time-Space conditions inherent to Hyperspace) everything including their Life Support Systems will shut down. In other words, if they don’t fix the problem, they will eventually drop into Normal Space feet first. Therefore, the first story event in P:G will be a race against time with plenty of opportunities for character development and drama. While I could probably put together a fairly good tale using this by itself, I plan for Pratt and Co to solve their problem and make their way to Earth, where the remainder of the plot will unfold.

This particular sequel is an expansion to the original outline I wrote for Parallax but decided to break into three parts because I felt that it was too extensive for one standalone book.

Considering Amazon Marketing Services

Note: Remember that you read it here first…hehe.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that while I consider myself a good writer and storyteller, I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for promoting my books. I suppose it’s the last of my naivety to think that merely putting out a story with a snazzy cover would be enough.

Apparently, I’ve learned that the reality of putting out my stuff with little to no support isn’t a good idea. We live and learn by doing.

I publish through Amazon and Createspace and lately Amazon Marketing Services has been sending me advertisement emails talking up their ad campaign opportunities. I’ve known about then for a while but have been resistant to invest the necessary funds for fairly obvious reasons. However, I’ve been reconsidering that option because even as stubborn as I am known to be, I can’t deny the logic that even though I personally don’t like to promote my stuff, paying someone else to do it for me isn’t a bad way to go.

Amazon Marketing Services generally charges around $100 for a 30-day ad cycle, which wouldn’t break my finances, but as I consider this option as a test case, I’m stymied by one simple yet thorny question:

WHICH BOOK DO I USE?

Currently, I have three novelettes and one full-length novel out there. Each would be well served to be the first but I’m having trouble deciding which to choose for my experiment. I won’t say that I have much to lose here (maybe $100) but the potential for growth makes any risk acceptable.

Pro-Conning this is becoming a pain in the backside but I want to choose my next steps very carefully. Once committed, there’s not much point in turning back.

Thoughts?

Speaking for Myself

I know it’s been a while since my last post but I’ve been on the horns of a dilemma for the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing stories. Love em, love em, love em… I like to think of each story as a potential pilot for a new series.

On my computer, I have an Excel Spreadsheet that outlines the writing projects that I want to work on. It’s not easy for me to work on a schedule so when my inner rebel starts acting up, creativity tends to lag. I’m not making excuses, merely telling it like it is.

During a relatively sleepless night this past evening, I took advantage of the time to do a little self-analysis and I came to the conclusion that I have a bad habit of creating routines that aren’t sustainable over the long term. Lights and Shadows is moving along at a snail’s pace and while I have faith in its potential, I feel the pull of the Parallax Sequels.

In retrospect, I believe that I didn’t take enough time off between projects and because I made a personal commitment to Lights and Shadows, I’ve been feeling a little stuck. Down Time is important whether we realize it or not and while finishing by September is certainly attainable, creating new story worlds and characters for each and every individual story from scratch gets a little tedious after a time. However, the process is as it is and no amount of complaining on my part will change that. It feels good to vent a little though…hehe.

Back From Hiatus

I’m a tinkerer by nature so when I see something that isn’t working exactly as I want, I try to fix it. My writing “career” as it currently stands, needed a little examination to see if it needed some improvement. It did, but as I discovered, not in the ways that I originally thought. I’ve adjusted keywords, updated descriptions, rewrote blurbs; all the usual things to get the stories noticed.

As I updated, it occurred to me that I was spending more time adjusting what was already out there instead of the one thing that was most important: writing and releasing new material. Stories have limited shelf life and after a while, no amount of effort will improve them after a particular point. They run their course and have to be let go in favor of new material. That’s just the way of things.

I’ve read that a following doesn’t truly start until at least the fifth book and since Lights and Shadows is my fifth book before I jump back into The Parallax Trilogy, I take heart that although my current sales are less than stellar, I’m on the right path.