Sector Storm is averaging 2 sales a day, which perhaps isn't bad for someone who's just getting started in self-publishing and who's done very little marketing for it yet. I've noticed a lot of book shares as well, and it's good to see! My best day so far was 7 sales.
I've been sick for the last 5 weeks. The drain on my energy has added up, as I've been working 5 or 6 day weeks and I find myself rather tired by the end of the day, lacking the mental energy to get much accomplished creatively. I'm forced to take some time off to recover my strength, but hopefully I'll be back to working on my upcoming projects shortly.
At least I was able to write the first two chapters to my next Sector Storm novel. I can't wait to get back into it. Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon. I plan for my next book will be complete within a couple months.
With the release of my second Sector Storm novel I intend to publish a free Sector Storm Companion which will feature illustrations, character profiles, races, etc. It'll be a reward for my supporters and will give the reader a better understanding of the universe. It would serve as an easy reference while reading, or simply as something interesting to browse through. I've had drawings of the different characters and races for some time now (as well as weapons and starships) and I'd like my readers to know what they look like in my mind.
The companion will most likely be available on my website for a free download, as I will be unable to give it away on Amazon Kindle. In time, as the Sector Storm universe unfolds, the companion will updated, book by book. I'm looking forward to creating this.
I'm soon going to begin conceptual work on my next Sector Storm novel. Usually I'll come up with some ideas for it and where a story may go (roughly,) and visuals start popping in my head. I take notes and spend time contemplating on it until I get a feel for it. When I actually write a story it usually unfolds differently than I'd originally imagined and it takes on a life of its own. I have so many characters that I'm looking forward to introduce in the series, as well as many story ideas.
Since it is a series, and a complex one at that, I didn't do everything in the first book. There is a lot more awaiting Jason O'Connor yet, as he returns to his old drinking habit and has yet to resolve the horrors of his past. Life aboard the Shade Marauder should only become more interesting. Actual alien life forms will be introduced in time, but they will be truly alien and will not have humanoid parts, speak vocally, stand perfectly erect, etc. They will be truly alien, as aliens should be. As well, I'm looking forward to introducing Mechanoid races, and eventually their Alkarob masters.
Life is far more mysterious than many like to think. History records established fact (be it true or not) and examines it so that it makes a kind of sense. Historians often uncover truths which contradict the official story of things however; as Mark Twain observed: "truth is stranger than fiction." Truth is exactly the kind of fiction that I enjoy writing; it's simply more interesting. I enjoy the mystery, the question in things; not assertions made by insecure and biased ideologies; that's just too boring.
A fellow writer gave me some useful feedback on my first self-published book, Sector Storm. I appreciated her honest and insightful assessment of my work, as such honest critiquing helps me to improve as a writer. This however has not been my experience with Amazon thus far...
After putting my book on a five day free promotion I received 3-star reviews from two critics, who although indicated that I had worked hard on it, were basically saying that they hadn't enjoyed reading it. They stated things about my book which suggested that they had not actually read it, but had skimmed through it and were nitpicking things which barely applied to the book.
One reviewer, Richard, stated that it "contains all the elements of Captain Kirk's Star Trek sexual escapades amongst alien females." My character falls in love and has sex, once, with one female character. He doesn't even flirt with another woman. How does this constitute him having "sexual escapades?" Richard makes other minor points which were necessary to getting the story (and characters) where I needed them to be for this particular story. His remark about me killing off “the red shirts” strongly suggests that my book is both familiar and predictable. I find that difficult to believe because I rarely knew what would happen next when I was writing it.
Imagine someone reading Animal Farm and complaining that the relationships could have been more complex or that the farmer seemed too stereotypical. They would have been missing the point of the novel entirely. Sector Storm is a philosophical, spiritual and semi-satirical examination of reality, science fiction, but most of all, ideology. I found it interesting that these free eBook critics had nothing to say about the intellectual ponderings of the book; whether or not they found them interesting, insightful or amusing. They ignored all the meat on the bone as if they'd merely skimmed through the surface content.
Looking at their other reviews, it seems that they only read books which are cheap and likely listed for free when they reviewed them (both reviews appeared for my book just after the free promotion ended.) They will make comments where they claim that a book was good because it was "easy to read" and they were able to finish it in "one day." I fail to see how this necessarily makes for a good book, but it no doubt makes their job easier. What better way to build oneself as an Amazon reviewer than by reading free eBooks? It's a lot cheaper than paying for stuff. Once they're established, they can be handed all kinds of items to review for free, or even get paid to review them.
In the meanwhile they storm their way through free eBooks, complaining when a book is too long or complex for them. Indie writers like me work very hard on our books. A professional and honest reviewer would only review a book of a genre that they either enjoy or are knowledgeable of so that they can give an honest, clear interpretation of what they'd read (from their perspective) so that customers can be better informed.
I welcome honest criticism. Besides being an indie author, I’ve been a blogger, forum debater and have expressed personal opinions in YouTube videos, etc. Believe me, I’m used to taking strong arguments and receiving disapproval for my views or content, even personal attacks. I can take it. Normally I would never pick at a reviewer for expressing an opinion, even if they hated my book, but I do not find these two critics to be real book reviewers. They did not review my book; they muttered on about bits and pieces they’d noticed while breezing through.
Hopefully I’ll receive better quality reviews in the future (be they positive or negative.) Writing, like any form of art or expression, is only worth anything if it’s honest.
"My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent."
-- Ulysses S. Grant
Sick Nick, the first book in my Under-dwellers series, is now on Amazon. I will be adding a print-on-demand version shortly. The book reads as its own story, for anyone who doesn't necessarily want to start reading a new series. The book is a supernatural and psychological thriller, set in a fictional town in Rhode Island.
This was the book that I wanted published by a major publishing house, but I got tired of years of my life passing me by while my talent accomplished nothing. 'Supernatural thriller' isn't even a category on Amazon and there aren't many books in that genre published, even though they seem to sell well. People have always loved the supernatural and I feel that this is an overlooked market with great potential.
The book means a great deal to me and I hope it will inspire readers. I plan to write more in the future.
I ran a free book promotion for Sector Storm, for five days, with 622 copies 'sold' (given away.) Not bad for a beginning and it should help to get my book distributed. I've noticed it's found a lot higher in the searches now.
Midway through the promotion I noticed that I'd overlooked a number of grammar errors and typos. Normally when I'm in the editing phase I'll go over a book several times until I find myself nitpicking; an indication that I'm in overkill. But while working full-time at my night job and having done my 'creative editing,' I felt confident that one thorough review should find any technical mistakes. I was wrong. Lesson learned.
The typos are the trickiest to find; while scanning a page your brain reads the word that you meant to type, not what actually got written: "vehicle" instead of "vessel." This example isn't a big deal, but I'm a perfectionist at heart.
Getting started is the hardest part. How do you build something from nothing? One day at a time. However, I'm working full-time, occasionally 7 days a week, and yet I managed to finish writing a novel, format and publish it to Kindle. Now comes the dreaded part: marketing! I can come up with original, likeable characters and tell fun and imaginative stories. For me, that's the easy part. Making the world aware that I exist is quite another matter.
Science fiction adventure/space opera isn't too tricky to write, if you have the practice. A little science research and it should actually be truer to current theory than some rather familiar science fiction franchises out there. But the important thing is that you love what you do: passion will show every inch of the way. If you don't really care for the art, that will show too (in oh so many ways!)
My debut novel, Sector Storm, is now available in print-on-demand. That might help with reaching readers who either do not own a Kindle or do not like reading a novel in eBook form. As for marketing, I've been asking many of the large Amazon reviewers to take a look. One so far has at least expressed an interest, but warns it may take a while to get around to it.
“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.”
― Isaac Asimov