Tag Archives: Indie Publishing

Just a quick mo’…

Just popping in to provide the means to acquire a professionally edited, reasonably well-written, and ABSOLUTELY FREE  story about a fantastic character.

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/juris-lunence

 

Juris 2nd draft covr

 

There. I’m done. Please return to your awesome day.

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Red Pen-marks are not scars on the soul.

Juris Lunence just went live yesterday. It’s the origin story of one of my favourite characters in To Drown in Sand, mainly because when he stepped on stage in my mind, I had no idea who he was. Then he started doing Very Awesome Things, and became a lynchpin plot figure for the climax of the novel.

Juris marks the first time I’ve gone beyond Beta and self-editing, and it shows. My amazing editor, Chad Horton, graciously offered to edit for me pro bono. His warnings were clear:

“I will be merciless.”

And, thank the Saints, he was.

This is what I got back,over a very nice lunch.

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What surprised me, though, was that no tears fell onto my Fish and Chip dinner.

Instead, I was more excited than ever before. He had magically taken my work, sensed exactly what I was trying to do with it, and pushed me back to tweak the language and structure. I learned so much from rewriting Juris that I shudder to think what it would have become without him.

Yes, there were rewrites and revisions afterwards. Typos caught and created, little mice to chase through the pages. But the PLAN was clear.

 

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It wasn’t like before. No doubt-filled story arcs and soul-squashing plot questions. I had a plan; a highway, with signs, little yellow marker-bars, and a destination. And I saw the difference in the end result between this story and other stuff. Not that it wasn’t good writing; I really think it stands up.

But not as pain-free as having a qualified eye take my work out of the jar that is my head, and look at it through the microscope of the objective reader.

Thus, my new rule.

Get It Edited.

I was editing before, but not in the way that created the separation required. It’s a lesson I’m ecstatic to learn, especially as an Indie.  Call it a corner in the path, I guess.

Nice view from here onward.

 

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What I’ve learned: 4 months post-release.

It all started with an initial wave of increasing sales every month. Upon a Wake of Flame was released as a test in the fall, and Sand was released just before the beginning of December. I watched the KDP sales reports like a maniac. By February, I was closing in on 100 copies sold. Then things slowed, and I realized I had probably run out of friends who bought my writing out of support. I watched this thing return to a state of rational conduct.

But, something silly had happened. I stopped Writing, and started Marketing.

I had let something happen that I had promised not to; I had fallen for it. I had let myself enjoy the film. Suspended my disbelief, and let myself buy in. I’d grown accustomed to the 4 months of increasing sales, and the little rush of beating last month’s numbers.

But, as it inevitably had to, things calmed down, and, in February, To Drown in Sand was raised from its comfortable sit, propped up by its little arms, and set free. No more Facebook sales drives. No more Pinterest jamming. I want to see what it can do; what happens when someone doesn’t just BUY my writing, but READS my writing, and tells someone else about it. So, now, the book is up on its own legs, and is taking its staggering, uncertain steps forward on its own.

Hard to watch. The coffee tables around here have very sharp corners. I’m holding my breath.

Since the beginning of March, sales have continued in the UK, which is great, because word is getting around over there. And that’s a huge surprise. In the US and Canada, each month brings someone new to Alseiry Beach, Shastre, and the Boddies, so I’m more than cool with that.

So here’s what I’ve learned:

An Ebook is NEVER finished.

Endless tweaks. Endless. Each new upload of even the smallest change results in catastrophic changes in page breaks, margin changes, and even accusations of disorganized formatting in reviews. Such things are taken, considered a part of the exercise in education and live formatting, and fixed.

Speaking of which;

If I read my reviews, I pretend I’m someone else. As in, a potential reader. And then I forget about it. Back to the keyboard.

Pinterest is fun; a great, free, promotional tool, and a substantial time-sink.

I spent a LOT of time fishing on Pinterest. Which was fun, but killed my writing time. And, while I did see direct sales from it, I had much more enjoyment discovering new writers like A.J. Wilson, Brian Parker,  Terry C. Simpson, and Holly m. Kothe, and promoting them on my Pinterest boards.

Facebook is a sticky, ego minefield.

Facebook  groups became a bit of a mire; free advertising that resulted in direct sales, but it taught me a lot about the demographics of Indie writers that spend time there. Some people don’t really want advice when they ask for it. They want you to tell them how awesome they are. They want to smack you in the face with their books. IF they’ve really published one. There are a lot of writers who haven’t actually published anything, which shocked me. And a lot who probably shouldn’t have published what they did. A quick glance at a free sample of their writing shows which writers think their story is too precious for an editor, and which editors weren’t real editors, and which writers really, really want their work to be good.

Others, though, are incredible folks who want to accomplish what you want to. They want to be Writers. Find those, and you have comrades.

Overall, no big loss of time. I learned volumes from the exploration. Biggest take-away? Just like my heroes say.

Get back to writing.

It’s true, you know. The only thing that will sell your last book is your next book.

Thus, I dove back into the fray. That awesome, loving, splashy, ridiculous fray. On went the headphones and the Steve Jablonsky music. And man, it was good to go back.

Thus, Juris Lunence was born.

I’ve just finished the latest draft of the new back-story for one of my favourite characters from the 10th Regiment. Even got a new editor to take a look at it, and rip into it with his red pen. (More on that next time).

Great fun was had by all. My awesome graphics designer Dylan Edwards is hard at work on a cover, and the final draft will be ready for release soon.

I don’t have any free stuff. Everyone says “You gotta have free stuff.”

So, we’ll go with that for this release. It’s about 25 pages, but they are 25 Very Good Pages. Juris Lunence was a great deal of fun to write, and will go in the stack that will eventually create a short-story anthology; a complete prequel-set for the 10th Lunen Regiment Trilogy.

Here’s a glimpse of the (very) rough draft of one cover concept; Dylan is drafting a few more that I’ll be too excited to contain, and therefore will pop up here for perusal.

Juris Lunece Concept

More updates on its release as things unfold.

Onwards!

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Of Reviews and Such.

Across Kindle, Indigo/Chapters, and both the .com and .ca Amazons (which don’t share reviews both ways, I was saddened to learn), both ‘Wake and ‘Sand have garnered some pretty great reviews.

Scattered as they are, I thought it might be swell (as in, my Ego) to gather what readers have written thus far, put cheek in hand, and bask for a bit.

Feel free to join me.  However vain, one should bask once a day. It keeps the spirit shiny, especially when reality pokes one in the knees with sharp, pointy sticks.

Upon a Wake of Flame reviews:

http://www.amazon.ca/Upon-Wake-Flame-Lunen-Regiment-ebook/dp/B00ELP2LOS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388674197&sr=8-1&keywords=upon+a+wake+of+flame

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“I thoroughly enjoyed this short story/intro piece.

The pacing was good for it’s length and it did what few books are able to with me: quickly bond me to the characters. Within the first few pages I was genuinely concerned for the characters and their struggles, which is exactly what I look for while reading.

It has fairly detailed and graphic battle “scenes” as well.

For being an intro short story it is of excellent quality in my opinion.”

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“This short story was a pleasant surprise. Not having read much of the Sci-fi/fantasy genre recently, I was expecting more of the same old good verses evil theme and somewhat predictable plot. That is not what I found. I found interesting characters, descriptive narratives and a plot that kept this reader engaged. There were also some subtle insights into the more complete novel to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and will look forward to B.C. Laybolt’s more extensive adventures in his upcoming novel. A great introduction to a new author. Good read.”

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“A short prelude to the upcoming debut novel by B.C. Laybolt, which is a brilliant way to introduce yourself as a new author. After reading it, the first thing that came to mind is that gritty opening to the Fallout games, “War never changes…” It is an intense, action packed, brutal wartime sci-fi story. Great characters that you DO NOT want to get attached to, because they may -realistically- be torn apart at any moment. Great tension, because you DO get attached. A great read, but what really hooked me was the dark and foreboding hints of what was to come. Excellent foreshadowing! Check this out! — Justin Killam, author of Seven Crows.”

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To Drown in Sand Reviews:

(This first one really got me. Still gets me very emotional to read even now):

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/to-drown-in-sand/9990011527775-item.html?ikwid=To%2520Drown%2520in%2520Sand&ikwsec=Home

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Science fiction FOR soldiers.

Coming from the infantry and finding good science fiction is always a problem for me. Nine times out of ten the author just doesn’t “get it”. They either try too hard, with over the top clichés, or don’t bother to even attempt to understand and it ends up silly.

This is author is different. The characters are visceral and the combat is intellectual, which is the opposite of most others. The story is compelling and rolls along at high and low paces, mimicking normal army life nicely. I am not sure if Laybolt ever served, but he rights like a veteran.”

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http://www.amazon.ca/Drown-Sand-Lunen-Regiment-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00GWRQLQW/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1

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“Having read B.C.Laybolts introductory short story “Upon a Wake of Flame”, I was eagerly awaiting the first novel in the trilogy of the Lunen Regiment. The book did not disappoint. It was a very engaging story with great character plots, suspenseful action and explicitly graphic. A very gripping novel that was hard to put down until finished. Highly recommend this novel to any one and will patiently wait for the next in the series.”

~

“I enjoyed this book a lot even though I think felt there were many flaws. There seemed to be too much missing information for the reader to adequately understand the plot. When I finally found out the motivations of Issep, Ter Ense, and others I still don’t get it. I feel like the author has character files somewhere with detailed histories, goals, and motivations, but chose to only provide 5% of that info for the reader.

As for the setting, we can kind of piece together a brief history of the Triumvirate, but the differences between the three member-states are never explained. There was also some kind of fantastical/paranormal stuff happening that the characters didn’t seem to find all that strange and yet didn’t seem to be at all normal in the setting.

I rated To Drown In Sand four stars because the experience was enjoyable. The setting has a lot of potential. The characters are good and the dialogue even better. The writing is clean. If some more information was revealed during some key scenes I feel like this would be a real winner.

Sorry if I’m rambling, but this is a hard novel to review…”

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Not too shabby for the first month of release! I’ll post more as they roll in, unless they begin to  cripple my soul. Then I may not. I may quit the whole thing and begin a short career as a clumsy tree pruner. We’ll see.

Onwards!

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