Steampunk Hands Around the World

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by Ray Dean

by Ray Dean

What do you like about steam­punk?

What I like is the fact that many peo­ple like and even love steam­punk and they don’t even know it. That would have been me a few years ago. I’d watched steam­punk inspired movies and ani­ma­tion, total­ly dig­ging the spiff and shine, the gad­getry and mag­ic, and the mash up of gen­res, tropes and imagery to cre­ate some­thing, well…unnameable. Except it does have a name. Steam­punk.

Until three weeks ago I nev­er thought for a sec­ond that I would do more than read a steam­punk book or watch a movie. This will soon change.

Steam­punk Hands Around the World is the brain child of the Air­ship Ambas­sador, Kevin Steil. I was invit­ed to par­tic­i­pate by group mem­ber, Suna Dasi, who had put out a call to attract a mul­ti­cul­tur­al group of women to par­tic­i­pate in this quirky, fun event. I am so very glad that I accept­ed. The Mis­sion State­ment reads as such:

Steam­punk Hands Around the World is a month long event in Feb­ru­ary 2014 show­ing and shar­ing that steam­punk and the com­mu­ni­ty is glob­al and as such, all steam­punk every­where are con­nect­ed. There are new friend­ships to be found in every con­ver­sa­tion and event. “Hands” is pre­sent­ed in mul­ti­ple for­mats from blogs to videos to live events. Each per­son is respon­si­ble for orga­niz­ing their own con­tent and for­mat, but the cen­tral theme is that of glob­al con­nec­tion and friend­ship.

While con­tri­bu­tions to this event will be unique and var­ied, by an equal­ly unique and var­ied group of artists and steam­punk lovers, my part will be a short sto­ry ten­ta­tive­ly titled The Gold­en Bird. In keep­ing with the theme of this event, it will of course, be a steam­punk tale and it will be mul­ti­cul­tur­al. I’ll be post­ing it right here on Feb­ru­ary 23rd. And, if all goes as planned, The Artist will pro­vide a unique piece of art to go along with my sto­ry. I am both excit­ed and ner­vous because this puts me on a dead­line. *shud­ders*

So…I’m sign­ing out now so I can get back to work on this sto­ry.

by Ray Dean

by Ray Dean

Why My Book is Free and Writing and Reviewing With Integrity

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AUW_ebook_1875x2500_72dpiAbout every 9–12 months I feel the need to reju­ve­nate my writ­ing and my writ­ing goals. I reached that breaking/building point about a month ago. I real­ized that while I’ve been writ­ing, none of it was coher­ent, con­nect­ed, or pro­gres­sive with regard­ing to devel­op­ing my craft or my career as an inde­pen­dent author. I made some promis­es to myself about what I want­ed do. I said these things out loud, which I believe will press me to be account­able, and I’ve set dead­lines, so that I will be account­able to myself.

I believe that dead­lines are essen­tial.

One of the things that I have decid­ed to do is join the Sto­ry Car­tel pro­gram, where­in I offer my book, An  Unpro­duc­tive Woman, for free for a peri­od of about three weeks. Each read­er who reviews my book is auto­mat­i­cal­ly entered into a draw­ing for the chance to win a $10 Ama­zon gift card. Sto­ryCar­tel will choose the three win­ners. I first heard about this rel­a­tive­ly new pro­gram via a newslet­ter and then lat­er in a pod­cast by K.M. Wei­land (http://www.kmweiland.com/wp-content/podcast/storycartel.mp3). K.M. Wei­land placed her new book in this pro­gram as part of her new book launch to drum up inter­est and fresh reviews.

Before mak­ing the deci­sion to try out Sto­ry Car­tel, my inten­tion was to low­er the price of AUW on Ama­zon, open it up on oth­er out­lets and then for­get it exist­ed. But, I start­ed to think about my WIP and what I would need to accom­plish to do a rea­son­ably pro­fes­sion­al pub­li­ca­tion and launch. As cheap and easy as self-pub­lish­ing is, some of these tasks will cost mon­ey. I am guessti­mat­ing I will spend about $600 to $1000 in the process. This will cov­er the cost of an edi­tor and a cov­er artist and pos­si­bly some­one to for­mat my WIP for Kin­dle. (I for­mat­ted AUW for eBook myself but it wasn’t fun and I’d rather not do it again.)

My hope? That I will make a few dol­lars on my cur­rent nov­el and use those pro­ceeds to fund my cur­rent WIP. I’m hop­ing that more reviews will make this hap­pen for me. Hop­ing.

I’ve made AUW free on Ama­zon before via their KDP pro­gram, and I have giv­en away many free copies as well. I have a nice num­ber of reviews (total­ing 45 pri­or to Sto­ry Car­tel) but I was hop­ing that if I can man­age to dou­ble those reviews I’ll light up with­in Amazon’s com­pli­cat­ed sys­tem of algo­rithms and gar­ner more atten­tion and pos­si­bly more sales. Also I will have access to the email address­es of all of the peo­ple who have signed up to down­load, read and review my book. They can be added to my newslet­ter list for my next book launch. It is a win-win sit­u­a­tion.

I think that most of us know why hon­est reviews are impor­tant, espe­cial­ly as a self-pub­lished author. Though our sit­u­a­tion has improved over recent years, many read­ers still have the sneak­ing sus­pi­cion that our writ­ing will be sub-par. In truth, it some­times is.  But some­times it is not. Some­times our writ­ing and our sto­ries are phe­nom­e­nal and just as good as any tra­di­tion­al­ly pub­lished author, which brings me to the top­ic of writ­ing with integri­ty.

This morn­ing I saw a call-out on Goodreads where­in one mem­ber  offered book reviews for five dol­lars each. She stat­ed that all one has to do is send her a syn­op­sis of the book and the five dol­lars in exchange for her review. While not sur­prised, I am ecsta­t­ic to see that every­one who respond­ed to this call-out, called this per­son out for attempt­ing to offer such a dis­hon­est ser­vice. Kudos indie authors! Keep liv­ing and writ­ing with integri­ty.

So, this is why my book is cur­rent­ly free. Please put the word out on my behalf. Tell any­one you believe might be inter­est­ed in a good free book. Check me out at Sto­ryCar­tel, http://storycartel.com/books/464/an-unpro­duc­tive-wom­an/. Click the link and tweet about it or post it to your G+ or Face­book. This indie author would appre­ci­ate your sup­port.

What do you think about pay­ing for fake reviews?

Is there ever room for them?

Would you respect or read an author you knew had received fake reviews?

What do you think of authors who review their own books?

I would love to know what you think.

Old Endings, New Beginnings & Getting Down to Business

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Blank Pages In An Open NotebookFor about the past year I’ve been exclu­sive with Amazon’s KDP pro­gram. Ini­tial­ly I saw an upsurge in sales. Noth­ing huge, mind you, but a notice­able dif­fer­ence. Then I ran into some major hic­cups. My ebook kept show­ing up for sale on oth­er sights, mak­ing me not so exclu­sive, and KDP would kick me out of the pro­gram. I have my past with Smash­words and my very unfor­tu­nate past with Xlib­ris (hor­rif­ic van­i­ty pub­lish­ing) to thank for that. Each time I man­aged to get my ebook removed from one mar­ket, I’d sign back up with KDP. Each time this hap­pened, about four times in total, I found that I couldn’t recov­er and sales were even few­er.

I real­ized that I was prob­a­bly going about things all the wrong way. Go fig­ure, I’m new at this, and besides hav­ing lit­tle time, I’m lazy. I want­ed to make sell­ing my book as sim­ple as pos­si­ble. I also spent more time wor­ry­ing about that book than I spent wor­ry­ing about my cur­rent projects and about this site.

Along the way I also just got off track with my writ­ing. I was los­ing my resolve and my hope. Then I came upon this fair­ly new and inter­est­ing pod­cast called Rock­ing Self Pub­lish­ing host­ed by Simon. I encour­age you to lis­ten to a few of the inter­views. They are incred­i­bly enlight­en­ing and edu­ca­tion­al. You will quick­ly learn just how gen­er­ous oth­er indie authors are as they share some incred­i­ble infor­ma­tion about self pub­lish­ing. A site that always helps set a fire beneath my cre­ativ­i­ty and give me indie author hope is that of Lind­say Buro­ker, author of The Emperor’s Edge series. Besides being a suc­cess­ful and pro­lif­ic indie author she imparts some amaz­ing advice over at her site.

So, I made the deci­sion to make some changes. We are always chang­ing aren’t we? It’s sup­posed to keep us on our toes, I guess, but to be hon­est, it tires me out.

  • I didn’t sign back up for the KDP pro­gram. What’s the point? Few­er venues means less vis­i­bil­i­ty and few­er sales.
  • I’ve repub­lished An Unpro­duc­tive woman on Smash­words and as a result it will soon be avail­able at many out­lets. In this case, more is more.
  • I’ve come to the real­iza­tion that I need to STOP avoid­ing out­lin­ing and give it an hon­est try. I’ve been pants­ing myself into lit­er­ary holes. I can’t seem to stay jazzed about a sto­ry or com­plete a sto­ry because I end up float­ing in space with no direc­tion.
  • I’ve decid­ed to start work­ing with some inter­nal dead­lines. I need to com­plete one of the mul­ti­ple projects I’ve start­ed over the last year. Not hav­ing done so when I know that I am capa­ble has dealt a blow to my writer’s self esteem.
  • I’m active­ly look­ing for reli­able betas and rea­son­ably priced edi­tors. So if you have any sug­ges­tions please send them my way.
  • I’ve dust­ed of the pic­ture I pur­chased over a year ago with the intent to use on a book cov­er. I’m using it as the back­ground on my desk­top to keep me moti­vat­ed about this project that I whol­ly believe in.
  • I’m get­ting back to my old sched­ule, where I rise at 0400 to get some writ­ing done.
  • I will take no pris­on­ers or excus­es.

See you at suc­cess.