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?

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Monday Brainstorming

Muses

If my current brain activity could be displayed as a meteorological map, most of the US would be safe from bad weather…

Seriously, it’s Monday and I’m been slacking off quite a bit lately by not blogging. I’m going through an intense period of introverted blah blah and not being very active with social media or much involving Internet activities.

Anyway…

It’s Monday and I feel that I should talk about something today, being the beginning of the week and all that so here we go…

1) Brainstorming: Story Ideas have been coming in fast and furious lately so writing them down has become more of a priority than in the past. I would say that for every five ideas that go into the Idea Folder, only about one or two of them actually become complete and published stories. Granted, I’m playing catch-up with cleaning out the folder, but is there a rush? I really don’t think so.

2) Sequels: Amidst my introspection, I’ve found myself considering revisiting the worlds of Corona, The Three Safeties, and Vessel. While I enjoyed putting out these stories, I never planned for them to go any further than one-off stories. I keep very detailed notes so coming up with new material isn’t much of an exercise. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback concerning Vessel so I won’t rule out sequels sometime in the future. I work on one story at a time so nailing down specific dates is problematic at best. I guess you’ll have to stay tuned.

3) Lights and Shadows: Rocking and Rolling through Chapter 13 at a slightly slower pace than usual but moving forward at any rate. I’m working very hard toward getting it finished by the end of September. Between you and me, my enthusiasm for L&S has plateaued a bit, but I’m not one to quit a project after I’ve passed the mid-point.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m off to do some more scribbling elsewhere so much love to you all and have a great day. 🙂

Metaphor Monday

Note: A special thanks to the folks at http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/metaphor for the dictionary definition of today’s topic.

Oxford Dictionary defines the term Metaphor as follows:

NOUN

1A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable:

“’I had fallen through a trapdoor of depression,” said Mark, who was fond of theatrical metaphors’

‘her poetry depends on suggestion and metaphor’

1.1A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract:

‘the amounts of money being lost by the company were enough to make it a metaphor for an industry that was teetering’

That being said, on with today’s discussion…

Metaphors add flair to what may be otherwise dull and lackluster prose. Let’s face it, when you are trying to show and not tell, adding a little spice to your wordage can reap dividends when using dialog and exposition to their fullest potential.

In Corona, I use very subtle metaphors to foreshadow future events with the story and how my Present Day characters deal with events that aren’t very Present Day.

In The Three Safeties, I use a time machine not only as a plot device to move back and forth between the Ordinary and Extraordinary Worlds but also as a metaphor for changing perspectives within the plot.

In Vessel, the use of certain metaphors within the plot allow for my main characters to transcend their surroundings and explore new ways of thinking and acting.

In Parallax, Space itself is a metaphor for Life and each light-year traveled is a step forward for my main characters and how they must adapt to new circumstances and grow from each experience.

What are your thoughts on using metaphors? Feel free to add to the discussion with your comments and remember that all of my books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

Settings Sunday

There are characters that often go unsung in stories.

I’m referring, of course, to Setting, the surroundings that our characters interact with and among within a story. Without good settings, all you have are characters milling around talking to each other. If that’s what you’re going for, then bravo. If not, then let’s examine the importance of Setting in Storytelling.

1) What is Setting?

As I stated above, Settings are the surroundings that characters interact with and among. Settings are slices of the world they exist in. A room, a car, the pizza restaurant they eat at. Think of them as the stage backdrops to a literary performance, complete with sets, props, etc.

2) What qualifies as a Setting?

Anything can qualify as a Setting. In Corona, for example, I used a haunted Victorian Hotel as the setting for the story. In The Three Safeties, I used a variety of settings including a suburban home, a coastal Chesapeake Bay City, and a secret complex located in a warehouse, among others. In Vessel, underground cities, The Earth’s surface in Nuclear Winter, an alien planet and a couple of spaceships here and there. In Parallax, I pulled out all the stops and used the Milky Way Galaxy. There are no limits.

3) How important are Settings to a Story?

Settings are important because they literally add the world to stories. Even if for some reason, the writer decides not to describe a setting at all, they are still adding a setting because the reader will fill in the blanks with their own imagination.

4) How much description should go into a Setting?

I don’t feel that there’s an easy answer to this one except to say that in many cases less is more. You can go into intricate detail over it or you can simply describe enough to give the reader a general idea of where each scene is taking place. I don’t think there is a wrong way to do this.

5) How do I pick a good Setting?

A good way to decide is to remember these steps and let your imagination and creativity take it from there: Who, What, When, Where, and Why

6) A Pizza Restaurant?

Yes, I like Pizza. 🙂

As always, comments are always welcome and the books I’ve mentioned here are available on Amazon. You can find the link to my Amazon Author Page on the Right Sidebar.

Happy Writing!

Special Thanks to The UK

I’ve noticed some increased interest in Parallax and Vessel over in the UK and I wanted to take this moment to thank those who bought copies and are reading them on their Kindles. You guys make me feel a little like when Hendrix went over and made it big before returning to the US.

Thanks ever so much. 😀

Parallax and Vessel are available on Amazon for $4.99 and $.99 on Kindle, respectively.

Four Books, Three Different Universes

While I was working on The Book Redesign Project, I took a moment to analyze what I’ve created thus far in terms of where they fit in their respective story universes. What I discovered was interesting, but not surprising in retrospect.

Corona, The Three Safeties:

Both of these books exist in The Falling Stars Universe (Falling Stars isn’t finished yet, but I have every intention of knocking it out one of these days. It’s one of those books that I always wanted to write, but have been delayed for one reason or another. A lot like how Parallax evolved to be.)

Vessel:

It occupies its own pocket universe, one that I’ve thought about revisiting but have shied away from because when your choices are War and War, it doesn’t leave much wiggle room. Apologies if I’ve inadvertently given out a plot spoiler.

Parallax:

The Flagship novel that established its own story universe. I’m working on the first of two sequels, Parallax: Genesis, as part of an overall book trilogy that I am thinking of expanding into a new series that will pick up where Parallax: Darkfall (as yet unwritten) leaves off.

All of these books are currently available through Amazon.com in both Kindle and Print formats. There is a link to my Amazon Author Page in the “About” Section of the Blog.