Novel #14 is now complete and published. The Norwall Pirates, softball team and liars club, take on an ancient undead Chinese wizard. All of it takes place in small Iowa farm towns during the Bicentennial summer of 1976. But some of the major players in this life-or-death struggle are immortal, and most of them are only high school freshmen, fifteen-years-old and still quite awkward in the face of a dangerous and arcane world full of the difficult problems of growing up.
The novel is called The Boy… Forever. Icarus Jones is a main character like Peter Pan, faced with the possibility of living forever, but never growing older than ten.
For now, I haven’t settled on the next one. But Number 14 is done.
My book advertised here is the best book I have that hasn’t gotten a single reader yet. I am trying to promote it by giving out free Kindle e-book copies for free this weekend. That tactic is supposed to generate readers and reviews. So far, two days in, only one free book has been selected by anybody on Facebook, Twitter, or here on WordPress. I mean, even clicking on a free book and then never reading it helps me as a marketer. But I am not getting any of that.
I did better with Recipes for Gingerbread Children, especially the first two days. But I admit, even though it shares a time, parts of a plot, and characters with The Baby Werewolf, it is a better book.
But tying the two books together has no visible effect.
I will, however, keep trying. I have other good books to promote as well as this one. Perhaps people are too afraid of werewolves to buy it, even for free.
Click on this if you’d like a free e-book. Every single one clicked on helps.
My book is free this weekend in e-book format. This book is a werewolf story, a murder mystery, a comedy, and a slice of life in the lives of the kids who make up the softball team and liars’ club that is the Norwall Pirates.
I have been running free-book promotions on Twitter and Facebook with limited results. But people are reading my books. Now that I will soon have 14 books published and available on Amazon, I can run one free-book promotion per month, as the author’s right to run that sort of promotion without paying for it renews every three months for each individual book.
This month I am promoting The Baby Werewolf for the first time.
Here’s a run-down of the previous promotions.
So, as a reminder, the next promotion I am trying this next week is for the novel The Baby Werewolf.
My new novel, finished the first time the day before yesterday, is not what writers call a rough draft. My writing process consists of doing rough draft, revision, and proofreading chapter by chapter. Or, as I call them, canto by canto.
It was written following an outline that existed first in my imagination as it was played out like a television show, dreamed up episode by episode knowing what would ultimately happen by the end of the story.
So, the process about to begin is not a second draft. It is not a revision-step either, though minor revisions may happen in the final pass before publishing. It is merely a final proofread where the story is reread as a whole, and given necessary corrections of typos and boo-boos. As a writing teacher, I have seen too many young writers skip this final, critical step. They don’t go back and read the whole thing as one piece of writing, stepping back far enough to view the work of art as a whole. How can any good writer only read the thing through as he or she writes it and figure it is good enough as it is? It may be that, but it is probably not.
Adjustments will occur for me because this new novel uses characters from a series of novels in which time passes and people change. Those adjustments are what you can safely call revisions. The character of Milt Morgan is appearing in the novel as a narrator. He has appeared in the story cycle three times now, in three different novels, and this is the first time he is ever used as a first-person narrator. He has changed and grown up a bit from novel to novel. This time he is no longer a virgin. He has freed himself from the cycle of abuse that he and his older sister both endured from alcoholic parents. He has a deeper understanding now of what magic really means and what meaning it gives to his life to call himself a wizard. But he has yet to come to terms with how lying and fantasizing about life can lead to consequences. That part of his future story will be tackled in another story that is a novel in my head, but not yet written out in novel form. That is a future writing project called TheWizard in His Keep. So, I must check this novel to be sure that all the pistons in the engine of his personal story arc firing properly in this book to ensure that it carries him forward into that new adult character he must later become. Those pistons in the engine are what revision is really all about.
Characters will die in this novel, as they do in almost every novel I write. Usually at least one bad guy, and one good guy. Of course, the doomed ones are not fated to change in this book. The story is set. I won’t be surprised by a death in this story the way I was with Snow Babies, and The Bicycle-Wheel-Genius. Of course, this story is about Immortals, and it is possible that a character dies in this book who doesn’t stay dead.
The final pass through The Boy… Forever will not be a rewrite either. Rewriting is what I am doing to AeroQuest where whole chapters (cantos) are added and left out, New characters are created. Old ones are deleted. And the plot changes in how the details come together. And though the main plot points remain, spread over four books instead of one, they are reorganized and better fleshed out.
That book is becoming books. The original and the rewritten are quite different from each other. For one thing, the new versions will make use of my cartooning skill and allow the books to be far more illustration-filled. Rewriting is a total do-over.
So, my baby book is still not quite ready to be born. But it is a complete book. Only the messy business of giving birth remains.
I am no longer willing to rely on the definition of the words, “traditional publishing”, anymore. My book, Magical Miss Morgan, is now out of print because Page Publishing has a need to charge me for keeping my book on their Print-on-Demand paperback book machine and in their e-book database . I paid those parasites to edit and publish my book. They made money off a totally incompetent job of editing, trying to pass off incorrect proofreading whose corrections all had to be re-corrected by me. Their publishing consisted basically of buying me an ISBN number and providing the same level of publishing services as Amazon does for free.
The cover was basically designed by me. I did the drawings and photoshopped them onto the background. They provided the the Title/Author graphic.
So, really, I paid them close to three thousand dollars for things I had to do myself anyway.
Well, I own the rights completely to the formatted manuscript and the cover. I spent three months getting it all legally returned to me, which they could’ve done in a week if my case manager hadn’t gotten married in the middle of the process. I am obviously not entitled to special treatment of any kind, since I wasn’t willing to pay their pointless maintenance fees.
I will now republish this book on Amazon and never again publish anything where I rely on anybody but me in the process. It is a very good story about a Middle School English teacher who is a combination of me and a female colleague who was a very gifted teacher. It also tells a tale of making reading assignments such a magical experience that fairies invade your classroom. It was a contest novel that didn’t win anything but made it to the finals in the judging. Nobody reads my books because I have no means of effectively marketing them, but this is one of my best and deserves to be available for as long as I can make it so.
After running a second free-book promotion on Snow Babies, things look as bleak as ever for my publishing goals. It started well. Seven books ordered on the first day tied the best I had ever done on a give-away. But the second day saw a new record set with only one additional order. The three days after that… nothing. I can’t even give my books away for free. If you are reading this today and want to help, click on the link above. You understand e-books. You would be helping me out even if you never read it.
But, I have no illusions. My book is good enough to make a splash if people read it, but nobody will for a variety of reasons. People who knew me growing up in Iowa would be happy to read and support me if the message could get through. But my contact with them is limited by Facebook and its algorithms. Facebook will connect any political post to those on my friends-list who will argue with me and call me a socialist libtard cuck, but even family members don’t get notified of any post that is even remotely like an ad for one of my books. I try to post that kind of thing on friends’ pages, or direct message them, and Facebook steps in to call me a spammer. It is entirely a matter of me trying to advertise without paying any ad money to the greedy bahstidds of Facebook’s data-collection empire. (And yes, I know I misspelled the word about illegitimate birthings.)
My book ads fell on mostly deaf ears (or, rather, blind eyes) on Twitter as well. The #WritingCommunity is supportive, but they are all writers like me, dedicated to getting their own books read and loved. I know that many of them see a free-book ad like mine and think, “Ah, one more hack novelist’s hack novel that takes forever to read, and if I read it, they will never read mine in return.” I know they generally think this because I have slogged through some poorly written Indie novels and left a positive review, and got not even a thank you in return. Of course, nobody there actually knows anybody else. And, like me, they can’t afford to spend money on other people’s books. Although, like me also, they do now and again find books they can’t resist and spend money they can’t afford on those. Those authors won’t read my books either though. (Except for Ted. Ted Bun reads and loves my books as often as I read and love his.)
I will continue to slog through. I will continue to write and read what others wrote. I will continue to labor at this marketing-waste-of-time-formality thing. And I will continue to be depressed about the results. Besides, how else am I to proceed? Great writers are supposed to die alone in poverty and addiction, with no friends and no money. How can I pass up a reward like that?