Fun Friday

Fun Friday: Cover Polls

Today, I thought I’d have a little fun and gather a bit of information about my books. An author hears some things but never quite all that is needed to understand what readers like.

Covers fall into a category of attracting attention visually. I spend a good bit of money on totally original cover art because epic fantasy demands it.

With that in mind, I think it’s time I found out which of the covers among my books readers find the best. I’ve added polls for each type of covers, the ones I’ve commissioned and then ones I’ve done myself. My DIY covers were done on a shoestring because they are for free books (or nearly free) so I don’t have money to sink into them (though I wish I did for the sake of consistency). Also, I include in my DIY cover, one that is not part of The Bow of Hart Saga story-arc, just for fun – after all, it fun Friday!

First the commissioned covers:

  

Now the poll:

 

Now take a look at the DIY covers:

   

Now the poll:

The pols are live for a week so feel free to share them and invite anyone to visit and vote. Please leave your thoughts on the covers in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Advertisements

Fun Friday! What’s New for 2018 Part 2: Writing Goals

With 2017 soundly in the rear-view mirror, I turn in earnest toward 2018 and begin work on the next steps. Yesterday, I discussed my blogging goals among others so today I turn to writing goals. I’m slightly behind in posting this goals/resolutions/business plan but I’ve been under the weather some for over a week. I’ve also taken my time to assess the past year and take a long look at where I’m going as a fiction author.

As I mentioned previously, 2017 was both a good and bad year. I spent most of the year out of work – you know, the kind you don’t quit just to write. But the job quit me and I filled-in with writing until now. It was a good thing I had the writing. I managed to complete the last two books of The Bow of Hart SagaAn Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow, respectively – and begin penning the first books of two new series.

  

Along the way in 2017, I ended up signing with an agent which was a thrill and another goal accomplished for the year. I had several other related goals that did not pan out – at least not yet. However, when my agent first spoke with me on the phone last February, she asked me to pitch some ideas so she could get a grasp of my writing career beyond The Bow of Destiny and the following two books. I gladly obliged with ad hoc pitches and my agent latched onto two ideas, requesting sample material and proposals for them. At the point where she had a good feel for my writing and how to place these proposed books, I was offered an agency contract.

Signing with the agent was the good news but I was then hooked to the plow for these books. Around completing the other two books, I dutifully went to work on my new projects, alternating with them and The White Arrow over the summer months. With the publication of The White Arrow, it’s been mostly work on these two projects for my agent while they are proposed to publishers.

So, I begin 2018 with two projects underway which is encouraging since I’m not sitting around trying to figure out what I should be writing. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are several other projects that need my attention. With the agent also came a few unexpected opportunities for submission of other fiction projects that are under consideration. If these work out, I’ll pause my work on the two aforementioned books to complete these. But these submissions are shorter projects by far and should not take up too much of my time.

Prioritizing my efforts is the most important part of approaching my 2018 planning. I’m making more concerted efforts with marketing but writing is the foundation of my plans for the year. So, I’m working on my current books until the rough drafts are completed – hopefully the first quarter of 2018. I won’t be done with them since they both need some significant background development but I’ll been in a good position to self-publish them should they be rejected entirely. That places both of these book solidly on deck for publication no sooner than late in 2018 – October or after. That’s good but I don’t want to wait too long for actually publishing a book this year and, if I sign with a publisher, they definitely won’t be out this year.

I don’t want to go the entire year without a book published. With that in mind, I’m slating two shorter projects for development and writing as side-efforts which I intend to begin sooner rather than later. I suppose completing the rough drafts of the novels should receive my full energy as much as possible so I can put my full energy into these other projects very soon.

One of the short projects is a parallel novella series of The Bow of Hart Saga which I’ve shared previously as what got cut from The Bow of Destiny. I like the sub-plot enough to develop it for a shorter series under the working title of The Goddess Veil. If all goes well, I should be able to develop the first novella rather quickly for editing.

Another project on my mind is another one I’ve also shared about in my Fun Friday posts, The Broken Shield Chronicles. This is intended to be a series of books, shorter in design, a bit gritty and based on the sole-surviving member of an elite company of knights after a coup in the kingdom he served. I like the story-line and even have some of it written. I plan to develop the plot of the first book so it can be written and edited this year so it can be ready for publication as needed.

Along the way, I have a few plans for The Bow of Hart Saga. It’s no surprise I’ve been angling toward print publication of the series. I’ve had a number of inquiries about print so it’s definitely in my plans. The print formatted version has been completed as has the cover art. My only hold-up has been the cost of publication due to being out of full-time work. That’s about to change, so I’m likely going to release the print version in short order – hopefully this month. I’d like to spend a bit of time re-releasing the entire book, including e-book just to add a bit of traction.

An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow will take a bit longer since I’ll have more work to do and more money to spend on artwork. However, I hope to release both by June, also using the print releases to do a general re-release of each book. The set-up for re-release may cause me to take more time with the print versions.

There’s another consideration around these re-releases: audio. I’m intent on releasing audio versions of each book this year. I’m in talks about it with a publisher and considering my other alternatives too. So, audio may be worth delaying print for each book. I’ll make a decision within a few weeks and make an announcement but the plan to move to print and audio this year with a re-release of each book.

All these projects and plans will make for a busy 2018. After last year, I’m more determined than ever to make a go of being an author. I’m not willing to rest on my proverbial laurels. I love writing and engaging with readers so I’m pressing forward with all the projects I have and I’ll play the year by ear somewhat as things develop over the first quarter. My exact plans will solidify as I know more from publishers, but I’ll target publishing at least 1-2 books minimum this year and see where the rest leads me. Here’s to a fun, busy year of writing. Thanks for coming on the ride as I hope to share progress on everything as the year progresses.

Thanks for reading along today. Please leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section and I’ll reply as soon as I can. Also, if you would be interested in joining my groups on Goodreads or Facebook please leave a comment or contact me otherwise about your interest. I’ll have the links for these announced soon. In the meantime, please visit with me in my Goodreads Q&A group and leave a question or comment if you have the time.

What’s New for 2018 Part 1: This Site and New Groups

I’ve been taking my time assessing last year and planning for this year, partly because I’ve been sick but also because I’ve been assessing what directions I need to focus my efforts for 2018. Today, I’m addressing changes to my website/blog and tomorrow, I’ll get more detailed about my writing plans for the year than I did in my previous post.

Site Plans for 2018

I have a number of goals with this site that I’d like to address this year. I have previously posted a lot about Scrivener on my blog which has been great. However, since I’m contributing over on Story Empire with similar content, I’m going to post most of my new Scrivener tips there, leaving my site for more content around fiction – mine and whatever I run across.

As far as the site, I think I’ve outgrown the current free-hosted model so, as the year progresses, I’ll likely migrate toward a self-hosted site. I simply need the ability to do more with this site than in previous years which requires the flexibility to work with more plug-ins and widgets than currently available. WordPress’s free-hosted model has been an incredible help for almost 4 years now but it’s time to grow and develop the site further.

Regarding content, my plan is to offer more news about my writing as I have several projects in the works (more about them tomorrow). Additionally, I want to post more commentaries about my published books and other fun tidbits around them. I plan to post these types of blogs on Thursdays much like this one though with some variety. Also look for plenty of posts from my feature, “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” as I am able to find guest posts or interviews from other authors or people related to speculative fiction. I hope to have a few starting this month as time allows.

On Tuesdays, I want to take some of my short stories and post them as serials for readers to enjoy. I have a number of stories just lying around doing nothing and gathering digital dust so they may as well be brushed up and posted to be read which is what was intended for them. Look for one to begin next Tuesday.

I’ll continue post the Fun Friday feature where I’ll mix in some polls, writing ideas and a few, fun oddball notions otherwise.

Other Developments

Also this year, I’m starting a couple of groups for readers to join for preview content of books and even some ARC opportunities. One group is under development on Facebook. I’ll announce that as soon as I have it ready to go.

The other group is underway as a Q&A group on Goodreads which I posted about last week. This is a place where anyone can join and ask me questions about The Bow of Hart Saga. I’ll host Q&A’s several times this year as there are new developments with books and releases. If you are interested in the current on just click the button on the right for more information.

Additionally, I may host a more private group on Goodreads like the one on Facebook where readers can enjoy alpha/beta content, provide feedback and receive ARCs and other freebies.

Overall, the year should be busy and fun with a number of new developments with my website, blog and groups. Join me tomorrow as I reveal my specific writing plans for the year. Thanks for reading today. Feel free to leave you questions and thoughts in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.