Monday, July 27, 2015

Indie Author: Lessons Learned From Lost Words

I’m running a series for my newsletter subscribers; a fantasy story that leads into Era of the Scourge Book 2: Warblooded, out this winter. Unfortunately (Lesson 1), I hadn’t finished it by the time the series started.

I thought I could rectify that this past week. I’ve been only a holy tear, cutting back on my social media so I could focus on finishing this story. Sure enough, I had a two thousand word day on Tuesday that would enable me to finish the story the next day.

Then, it was gone.

Three or four hours of work was flushed down the proverbial toilet just like that. Few things are more disheartening in this business than putting everything you have into an endeavor only to have it taken, leaving you with nothing to show for it. 

Unless you learn from it. Then, it’s worth something, at least.

I came away from the experience with a bruised ego and having to play catch up, but I did learn a few things I’d be happy to share.

1). Know Your Software.
My editor and I both use Scrivener and Dropbox to get stuff done. I write, upload to a folder, she grabs it, does her thing, and re-uploads. Simple, right?


Dropbox, like most cloud-based software, doesn’t like it when two people edit the same file at the same time. Dropbox has a workaround, though; it will create a “conflicted copy” which is a file of one person’s work, while the other person’s work will be saved with the original title.

See the wreck coming yet?

Often when I write, I’m offline, and I can’t sync until I get back to wifi. Then, the sync process happens without my knowledge. Both my editor and I were backed against the wall with our deadline, so she began work without my having synced the work I’d done on Tuesday. Hence, when I logged back onto wifi, her conflicted copy didn’t take my work into account, and for some reason, my upload didn’t record what I’d done.

A day’s work. I can still hear the toilet flushing.

I learned to always, always, ALWAYS ensure my work was uploaded to the cloud before turning my editor loose. Ensure the upload and then check, just to be certain.  Know the limitations of your tools and don’t assume. It may cost you.

2). Respect Your Deadlines.
I’m a plotter/pantser hybrid who’s trying to become more of the former than I am the latter. Writing is hard enough. But when you’re an indie, that’s only the beginning of your labor. After you’ve written, you have to market, release, and engage your audience. All of these can be herculean tasks on their own.

If I had finished the story before releasing it to the fans, I would’ve been able to spend much more time on the business aspect of things and I wouldn’t feel so rushed at the end of each week. Had I not felt so rushed, I would not have put myself in the position that cost me a day’s work and the end of the story.

Deadlines exist for a reason. Use them and respect them.
Writing is a craft and a passion, but it is also a discipline. In order for one to be successful at it, planning and careful execution is required. Plan ahead, know your limits, stick to an agenda and your errors will be greatly reduced.
Thanks for reading.

Avery K. Tingle is a brand-new writing coach and author of multiple short stories across varying genres. Epic fantasy “Era of the Scourge Book 1: The Ring of Asarra” was named a recommended read by Amazon and is available as an ebook or audiobook. Ask how to get a free copy of the audiobook!
Scifi/Romance  “The Anniversary” is available in print as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Oyster, and Page Foundry. Ask how to get a signed copy!
You can also read urban drama “The Price of Justice” for free.
Sign up for thenewsletter, never miss another post, and get more free stuff and discounts than his business manager is comfortable handing out.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Indie Authors: What Drives You?

I’ve been spending a lot of time with Bob Mayer’s “Write ItForward: From Writer To Successful Author”. This is unlike any how-to book on writing, and I recommend it for anyone pursuing the craft. Brutally and beautifully blunt, straightforward, with practical advice from a man who cut his teeth in special forces, this book spends a great deal of time drilling down to core of why we write; discovering our true motivations for writing so we can chase our goals down.

One of the best books on writing I've ever read. 

Reading this book (I’m about halfway through it) forced me to do a lot of self-examination that eventually helped me become better at what I do (I hope). The key question is; what drives you?
I challenge you to dig deeper. Yes, you’d like to make money with your writing. Yes, you’d like to make a bestseller list. But what’s beneath all of that? What is really at the core of your motivation?

For me, the answer was simple.

I love my phone. It’s relatively new, as new as most technology can be these days. I wake up and have instant access to my email, news, and most important messages without ever having touched the thing. Yet, once a day, I would gladly trade all the coffee in the world for five minutes with Mjolnir so I could bash the thing into a fine crystal powder.

"The Samsung Galaxy Fine Crystal Powder" just doesn't have a good ring to it.

That time is right around 0430; when my alarm sounds, jerking me from whatever world my subconscious has taken me too and forcing me back to this one.

With every fiber of my being, I cannot stand alarm clocks. I loathe them so much that I often wake up a few moments beforehand just so I can preempt it. More than virtually anything in the world, including brake-tappers and decaf coffee, I cannot abide alarm clocks.

This is the core of my motivation, and once I realized this, I became a lot more productive.
I believe that if I continue to work and produce content that people enjoy, I will arrive at a day where I can unset my alarm—and never set it again.

I am working as hard as I can for that day.

If you don’t know why you’re doing what you do, you may find yourself flailing in the dark.
But once you have a target, you can hit it.
Thanks for reading.

Avery K. Tingle is a brand-new writing coach and author of multiple short stories across varying genres. Epic fantasy Era of the Scourge Book 1: The Ring of Asarra was named a recommended read by Amazon. Scifi/Romance The Anniversary was just released in paperback. You can also read urban drama The Price of Justice for free.

Sign up for thenewsletter, never miss another post, and get more free stuff and discounts than his business manager is comfortable handing out.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Indie Authors: Alternatives To Amazon

In my last post, I discussed some of Amazon's new policies and how they affect indie authors. One of the questions fielded from that post was possible alternatives to Amazon. While it may be true that Amazon is the largest distributor for indie books on the planet, they certainly aren't our only choice, and in order to increase our chances of success, we owe it to ourselves to explore every possible avenue that may grant us greater exposure. We can release our materials either directly to other distributors, we can go through aggregators, or both.

Smashwords is an excellent resource for new authors. You can release your work for free, they've enabled assetless pre-orders, and their premium catalog gets your work on Nook, Kobo, and the other vendors. The only drawback is their rigid formatting requirements, which means you'll either have to invest in a formatting expert or a yourself. Scrivener is one of those programs that'll do this for you.

Smashwords has no word count requirement for pricing, so if you've created a standalone short or a lead-in to another story, you can throw it up there and charge whatever you like. I've found that releasing preludes, or other shorts for free on Smashwords leads to great results on Amazon. So what I do now is release free stuff on Smashwords, watch the downloads, and release the paid stuff through Amazon. I also use Smashwords to release stories unrelated to the fantasy series I have going on Amazon. Basically, I use Smashwords to find my audience.
Smashwords is an aggregator, which means they will distribute your material to multiple sources.

Another great aggregator is Draft2Digital. In addition to getting your work to all of the places Smashwords will, they don't have Smashwords' formatting requirements. Also, Draft2Digital is aggressively pursuing partnerships with Oyster (they may have finalized that deal by now) and othr distributors in hopes of increasing their reach. So they're not lazy and they've built themselves as the author's distributor.

I've gained greater exposure through Smashwords than Draft2Digital, but the latter is easier to use. I invite you to do your own research on both of these, and others, and use what works best for you.

Thanks for reading, and best of luck in your endeavors.

Avery K. Tingle is a brand-new writing coach and author of multiple short stories across varying genres. Epic fantasy Era of the Scourge Book 1: The Ring of Asarra was named a recommended read by Amazon. Scifi/Romance The Anniversary was just released in paperback. You can also read urban drama The Price of Justice for free. Sign up for the newsletter, never miss another post, and get more free stuff and discounts than his business manager is comfortable handing out. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Scifi Romance "The Anniversary" is Now Available In Print!

I am very proud to announce that my sci-fi/romance short "The Anniversary" is now available in print! Currently ranked in the genre's top five thousand on Amazon, the book clocks in a eighty-six pages.

You can buy it directly from Createspace or if you'd like a signed copy, message me.

Thank you all very, very much for your support thus far. This isn't possible without your assistance and place know I am very, very grateful for it.

Enjoy the read and thank you for following along.

Sign up for the newsletter and never miss another post. Plus gets discounts and freebies along the way. Sign up here.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Indie Authors: Time To Take Responsibility

Amazon has been making a lot of waves lately. Depending on your perspective, these waves either allow you to surf or they destroy cities.

Let's take this first wave; Amazon's new payment system. I admit, at first glance, I wasn't a fan of this system. After I took time to study it and read the fine print, the more I got behind the idea.

First of all, the new payment system only applies to books borrowed in the KDP Select program. This does not affect royalties from sales.

Personally, I really like this idea. There are a ton of cheap, get-rich-quick authors out there who churn out complete and total crap in the name of gaming the system. Under the old method, these people would be paid regardless as to whether or not someone realized their crap was crap at page one.

Now, when people borrow these books, and realize they have borrowed crap and return said crap, the crapper will be paid the little half-cent they deserve and be sent on their merry way.

I take a great deal of pride in my work. No story turns out as good as I envision it. I agonize over every little detail and I'm extremely difficult to live with on release day. This is not just my livelihood; this is my passion. So while I know my stories are not for everyone, I also know that I do good work.

So when someone chooses to buy or borrow my book, I believe they'll come away satisfied with the financial and emotional investment. I believe they will keep turning the pages.

Indie Authors Be Like

Now let's take that second, Godzilla-drowning tsunami; the fan review system, in which Amazon is now blocking or removing reviews to titles that were written by reviewers that have a connection to the writer.

I have fallen victim to this. I know others who have fallen victim to this. I'm not a fan. I believe it makes it harder for indies to succeed. Either Amazon doesn't know this, or doesn't care.

I understand that they're trying to improve the experience for the customer, but they've attacked the problem with a broadsword, rather than a scalpel. As indies, we have to forge our own connections with our readers so it's pretty safe to assume that most of our reviews will come from people we know. Reviews are already difficult to come by; this will make it even more so.

Here's a truth; I don't actively seek out reviews because I don't like to bug people. I'm grateful whenever someone chooses to spend their time writing up something that puts my work in a positive light, but their purchasing, enjoyment, and reaching out through social media? That's what I love.

Despite not actively seeking reviews I still move units on a fairly consistent basis. I rarely go more than one week without a sale. Hardly groundbreaking numbers, but enough to build on.

Amazon may be the big bully of the indie publishing world but they are certainly not the only avenues for distribution. It depends on your work ethic, and your mental agility. I plan to leave one of my series exclusive to Amazon while globally distributing my other stories. We'll see how this works out (I'll post results).

Is it a perfect system? Hell no. We can waste time pontificating on what this might herald or lamenting how things used to be, we can plan for a myriad of futures, but we have to work in the here and now. These are the rules of the day. We don't have to like them, or agree with them, but my success doesn't depend on my feelings. It depends on my actions.

As do yours.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Children of Divinity, A Superhero Fantasy by Garth Reasby from Talaria Press

"ReAwakened" By Garth Reasby For Talaria Press

While mankind slumbers, powerful forces plot to use humanity for their own purposes. As Children of Divinity begins, these forces move the pieces into place for a great and terrible awakening.
Our age has turned its back on heroes. 



Cu Chulainn. 

Joan of Arc. 

Their names ring through millenia. They were called gods, heroes, the sons and daughters of divinity. Now myths and legends.
Today we know their kind by another word: 


The Children of Divinity series has introduced thousands of readers across the globe to a world where ancient heroes still walk the earth under the guise of humanity; where monsters and evil men wreak havoc on the lives of average people.

Contained in this volume, are five stories set within the greater Children of Divinity universe, stories that shed light on individual characters, and that expand upon events to give insight into the actions and reactions of our heroes.

Included within are two familiar tales and three never-before-seen stories:

• Jill’s Run – First published in the Quests & Answers anthology, this story tells how a clever and brave teenage girl manages to elude highly trained operatives and wind up in the midst of the opening salvo of a global metahuman conflict.

• It’s my Nature first appeared in Once More upon a Time and gives us a modern retelling of The Scorpion and the Frog, featuring every girl’s favorite team leader, Jason Blackwell, aka Scorp.

• Blackwater shows us that not all metamorphs are wicked creatures like the Crimson Shark and his Vodnik mercenaries.

• The Path to Folly is Short gives us our first taste of what happens after Ascend, and lays the groundwork for the next installment of The Children of Divinity.

And finally,

• Hail to the Chief is a sweet tale of Jillian Law’s pug, Master Chief, set during the first night on their own in a new home. The story shows the sorts of misadventures that can arise when your owner is a superhero and how heart overcomes size.

Get ready to be ReAwakened to the world of The Children of Divinity in a whole new way.

The series can be picked up here.

Sign up for the Akting Out Newsletter and never miss another post. Plus sign up before July 3rd and receive the completed series Universal Warrior: Reclamation AND Era of the Scourge Book 2: Warblooded FREE on November 16, 2015!. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Does Anyone Want To Cross-Promote Their Work?

From July 3rd to November 16th, I'm going to be releasing a series of shorts that end in a novel. This is an epic fantasy series entitled Era of the Scourge, which chronicles the events of conquered Earth at the beginning of time. It revolves around a cast of characters as they eventually band together to overthrow their godlike oppressors. 

The first book "Era of the Scourge Book 1: The Ring of Asarra" as a short story that has done well on Amazon, It's been translated to audio format, and I have free codes available for anyone who'd like to listen.

"Era of the Scourge Book 2: Warblooded" will be a full-fledged novel, preceded by Universal Warrior: Reclamation and another treat for fans. I'd like to get together with other authors, or bloggers, and cross-promote our stuff together.

It doesn't matter if it's a novel, novella, blog post, flash series, or whatever. I can even put together copy if you like. The idea is we put all of our work on blast together. It also doesn't matter how small your following is in social media. The more eyes we get our work in front of, the higher our chances are of being noticed.

Between Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, I have about five thousand people I can get our work in front of.

If you're interested, contact me any way you like; comment here, reach me on twitter, message me on Facebook, email me, whatever works for you. Let me know what you'd like to promote and I'll do it. The trade-off is you promote my stuff as well.

Social networking has been an incredible tool for me as I grow as an author, and I'd love to help anyone who needs it. Just please help me in return.

Thank you very much for reading and hope to hear from you soon.

Sign up for the Akting Out Newsletter and never miss another post. All newsletters are sent out Sunday nights at 8pm PST. Those who subscribe by July 3rd, 2015 will receive Era of the Scourge Book 2: Warblooded (Complete Edition) FREE OF CHARGE. Sign up here.