Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

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Dominion of the Damned by Jean Marie Bauhaus

Book News: Dominion is Back, and All my Indies are Everywhere!

Dominion of the Damned by Jean Marie BauhausWhat I thought was going to be a quick project that would take a couple of months at most but ended up taking about as long as an actual pregnancy has finally reached fruition: the brand new, revised and updated edition of Dominion of the Damned has finally arrived. And I think it was worth the wait.

If you’re new around here, Dominion is my post-apocalyptic novel depicting what would happen if a zombie outbreak happened in a world in which vampires secretly existed. From the vampires’ perspective, this would be akin to a mad cow disease outbreak on steroids occurring at the same time as the blight from Interstellar killing off all vegetable matter. In other words, their choices would be reduced to take drastic action or starve. They choose drastic action, and humanity pays a steep price for those actions.

The novel centers on Hannah Jordan, a newly orphaned nursing student burdened with the responsibility of raising her infant brother, and her fight to keep them both alive in this terrible new world. Along the way she makes both enemies and allies and also finds love in unexpected places.

I first published this novel in 2012, and although it was well received with enthusiastic reviews and reader reactions, as I read it last year while gearing up to finally write the sequel, I realized that my writing style had matured since then, and I didn’t want there to be a noticeable difference between this book and the next. So I set out to give it another polish and then turned it over to my husband, who is a freelance editor, for what I expected to be a quick proofread. But then he found even more stuff that needed to be tightened up or smoothed over, so it took longer than I’d counted on. And then we had to move, and then holidays, and life, and so on.

But he finally got the last of the edits done last week, and since there weren’t actually that many, it didn’t take that long for me to comb through and apply them. And now the revised edition is finally here, all new and improved, and I can cross that project off my list just in time to start revisions on the sequel, praise the Lord and hallelujah.

If you previously purchased a Kindle copy of Dominion you should be able to log into your cloud library and download the new version, if it didn’t get automagically pushed to your device. It includes a first look at the sequel, so you might want to grab it just to read that, if you didn’t already see it when I sent it to my newsletter last fall.

If Dominion is new to you, you can find links to all the retailers currently carrying it here.

In other book news…

Yesterday, all of the indie books I had re-enrolled in Kindle Select expired, so as of today they are no longer available in Kindle Unlimited. But I once again put them in the queue for wide distribution, so in a day or two they’ll be available at all the major ebook retailers in addition to Amazon.

You can find all the links to all the books here.

Whew.

Counting this new edition of Dominion, that’s three books released in three months. I hope that’s enough to tide y’all over for a while, because I’ve got three more books in the queue that need to be revised and edited (including a novella that I’m about two-thirds finished drafting), so I’ll be taking a break from publishing anything new during the spring quarter to focus on getting these books ready to release over the back half of the year.

Onward!

Rearranging the Furniture

I spent some time over the weekend tweaking this here blog and making the theme look a bit more custom. I spent a lot of time and needless energy last week worrying that I needed to build myself a brand-new “profeshunul author” website and trying to envision something I’d be happy with that tied my personality/interests in with the type of fiction I write — which, let’s face it, are kind of unmeshy, as far as vibe goes. But I’ve since come to the conclusion that a) with a few more tweaks, such as replacing that big image at the top with a slideshow to prominently hawk my books and services, this blog will do me just fine for the foreseeable future; and b) I really like this theme and think it actually does a pretty good job of meshing both vibes, so why create extra work for myself?

Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World - Kristen LambThis is, of course, all stemming from finishing Kristen Lamb’s book, Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, which has me all motivated to fix everything I’ve been doing wrong in marketing myself as an author. I also made some tweaks to my social profiles, and started developing a master plan to make this here blog more organized and professional and non-neglected.

In other news, this is day two of going gluten- and dairy-free. Well, mostly gluten-free. Last night I made stir-fry for dinner, and though I’d planned to use a pre-mixed, gluten-free spicy Thai sauce that needed to be used up, there ended up not being enough of it to flavor the whole dish (I made four servings, enough to feed me till the middle of the week), so I had to improvise and ended up using the gluten-containing soy sauce we had on hand. So I guess I won’t actually be free of gluten until that dish is all eaten up. Also, I’m not worrying about gluten cross-contamination so much as I am just avoiding it as an ingredient.

Anyway, I’ve felt pretty good all day. I had to write some content mill assignments this afternoon, and that usually leaves me feeling mentally wiped out, but check it out: I still have the mental capacity to write this blog post. If I’m already feeling this much better after only a day and a half, then I imagine this is all going to turn out to be a worthwhile endeavor. I really did miss the cheese in my spinach omelet this morning, though.

I also put down 500 words on the new new novel this morning. AFTER I walked a couple of miles and did some light yoga. So go me.

Have I mentioned here that I finally started writing the sequel to Restless Spirits? I can’t recall if I did. At any rate, I’m currently more than 1,700 words into it, so I guess it’s officially underway. If you care to track its progress, there’s a little word count widget down there in the sidebar.

So far it’s flowing really well. I’m not working from an outline, but rather kind of a vague idea of what needs to happen to get to the end. That’s how I wrote the first one, so it seems appropriate. If there’s time after posting this blog and checking in on my social networks, I might try to add some more words to it before dinner.

The new TV season has just gotten started and I’m already behind. It’ll be the weekend before I’ll have time to watch Once Upon a Time and Castle — though to be honest, I’m not in a big hurry to watch OUaT anyway. I just can’t work up any enthusiasm about what they had planned for this season. I’m probably the only person on the planet who still hasn’t seen Frozen, mainly because I just haven’t had the opportunity. I’d still like to see it, and I’m afraid this show is going to ruin it for me. I’m also really tired of the way they constantly pile on new characters while neglecting characters I already care about.

I haven’t seen the new Agents of SHIELD yet, either. Matt missed the last six or so episodes of last season, and for some reason we failed to get caught up over the summer, so we’re working on that now. I think we’ve got three more to go before we can watch the season premiere.

I have started Sleepy Hollow, as well as the new Ioan Griffuth vehicle Forever. The latter has promise, and the former is still my favorite show that isn’t Hannibal or Doctor Who.

And of course I’ve been following the new Doctor. Twelve is starting to grow on me. So is Clara, finally. They’ve done a lot to improve her character this season and I find I’m no longer pining for the Ponds, though I can’t really see myself missing her quite as much when she’s gone.

Oh! I also finally managed to retrieve all of my book cover files off of my old, defective laptop over the weekend, so expect a cover reveal for Midnight Snacks later this week, if I can fit that in around implementing suggestions from the beta readers and getting that book ready to publish.

Anyway, does the new TV season have you rejoicing? Tell me what you’re watching in the comments!

Links: What’s Steampunk, Sleepy Hollow preview, and more

I didn’t get all of my freelance work done before the weekend, so I’m having to work today. It’s mostly my own fault for not managing my time as well as I could have, but then again this was a pretty hectic week that involved more errands and more reasons to leave the house than usual (including a second trip to Bixby to pick up Pete’s meds from the vet because she didn’t have them stocked when we were there on Wednesday. Let me tell you, that is quite a long way to drive for such a simple errand), so I’ll go ahead and cut myself some slack.

The plan is to get this last article written before lunch, then I’ll be free the rest of the weekend. Except I also have a couple of short things I need to write for a Fiverr client by Monday evening. I’m still dithering on whether to buckle down and get those done today so I can take Labor Day off, or just wait and do them Monday so I can enjoy most of my Saturday. Considering that “enjoying” my Saturday involves laundry and vacuuming the house, I’ll probably hold off on the extra work until Monday.

Also on today’s agenda: trimming my unruly hair (still debating whether to give myself straight bangs or keep them longish and side swept, even though I usually regret straight bangs because they never lay down like I want them to, and yet I never seem to learn), fiddling with the outline for the new novel, and pulling my horror short story collection together for beta readers.

And now I’ll leave you with some links that are open in my browser that might be of interest to you:

There’s a reason I don’t vlog or do podcasts.

I know I already mentioned that I’m on Patreon, but here’s a dorky video in which I and my frizzy, way-overdue-for-a-trim hair explain it in person. Dorkily.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfFPkd3aJo0]

Seriously, this took me like 10 takes and this was the best one. I am not made for the front of the camera.

Evolution of a Paranormal Romance Cover

Restless Spirits version 1Out of all of my books, the one by far that has gone through the biggest identity crisis is Restless Spirits. It started out as a paranormal fantasy novel, although it’s kind of chick lit, written as it is from the first person POV of a twenty-something woman trying to sort out her afterlife. The cover had a dreamy looking barefoot girl in a white dress beckoning to the reader. It did a pretty decent job of getting the romance across, but not much else — not the touches of humor, and certainly not the more frightening dark fantasy aspects that verge on horror.

DOMINION Free Run Post-Mortem

Those Fiverr gigs I mentioned last week have been keeping me busy — hence the slowdown in posting here. Unfortunately, it also resulted in a slowdown (or more like a full stoppage) on my novel WIP, but I have plans to get back into that tonight. I know I don’t usually blog in the middle of the day, but for once my freelance writing is done for the day. I’ve been wanting to talk about the results of my recent free run of Dominion of the Damned, so I figured I’d seize the opportunity to give a quick rundown so I can focus on noveling this evening after Husband turns in.

Quick recap: Last month I enrolled my zombievampocalyptic suspense novel, Dominion of the Damnedin Kindle Select. For five consecutive days earlier this month, from May 5th through the 11th, I made the Kindle version free on Amazon. Here’s the rundown of how that went:

  • On the first day I reached the Top 20 Free list in my selected categories (Dystopian and Dark Fantasy) in both the US and the UK. By day two I’d moved well into the Top 10, and stayed there for the rest of the free run, getting as high as #3 in Dystopian. At some point I also charted in the Top 10 in Austrlia, where I got as high as #2.
  • I ended up giving away 2,114 books total — far, FAR more than any free runs I’ve done on other titles. That breaks down to 1,799 in the US, 270 in the UK, 12 in Germany (surprising, until I remembered that I have a friend who used to be stationed there who probably made some recommendations to his Air Force buddies), 3 in France and 2 in India (both of those are just plain surprising), 15 in Canada and 13 in Australia. Interesting that 13 books is enough to chart at #2 in Australia but 15 didn’t even crack the top 100 in Canada. Clearly, there are a lot more Kindle readers in Canada than in the UK or Australia.
  • During the run I racked up two more verified purchase reviews and sold two copies of Restless Spirits.

Sounds great, but the true test was whether it would continue to give me a boost in sales and visibility once the free run ended and the price went back to normal. Well, since then I’ve sold 10 more copies of Dominion (nine in the US and one in the UK), and a copy of Eucha FallsGranted, those sales aren’t enough to let me lay aside freelancing any time soon, but they’ve added up to enough royalties to cover one of our smaller bills, and considering it had been weeks since the last time I’d made a book sale, and months since I’ve sold a copy of Dominion, I’m pretty happy with those results.

As to visibility, I also had another positively glowing verified purchase review, AND reports have come in from the wild (okay, one report, from my sister, but I’ll take it) that Dominion has begun to show up in the book recommendation e-mails Amazon sends out to its customers.

All in all, I’d call it a success — so much so that I think I’ll plan to rotate through each of my titles and do a free run every six weeks or so, except for when I have a new release, in order to ensure that my books stay visible.

And once again, I’d like to thank David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible! for helping me pull off a successful execution of this strategy. If you’ve got books to sell, you should definitely read this book.

The Dominion Shuffle

Not long ago, I decided to start querying agents about Dominion of the DamnedMore recently, while I was doing research on querying self-published novels, I became convinced that it would be a good idea to take it down from all the places that were selling it. But then wiser and more knowledgeable folks than I convinced me that I’d made a mistake. So now it’s back up on Amazon, at a lower price point and with a new and improved plot description.

I’m still planning to send out queries on it, but I’m also going to start marketing it again (or just start marketing it, period; really, life kind of sidelined me before I got a chance to really put any kind of effective marketing campaign into motion for this book in the first place) and try to boost the sales numbers first. I’m finally reading David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible, and I expect it to be very helpful in this regard.

319 words added to Radium Town today. I would post a non-spoilery snapshot, but my computer is low on resources and I’m afraid of what will happen if I open Scrivener again. This is the first I’ve written on it since last week (possibly since my last word count update here). I’m starting to be kept busy with work I’m getting through Fiverr, and also with optimizing my profile there to keep the work coming. I gotta tell y’all, Fiverr has been a revelation, and I’m planning a big blog post about it here in the next day or two.

I also had a heck of a time with not getting enough sleep during the last half of the week. I had standard insomnia coupled with a tension headache after I went to bed on both Wednesday and Thursday, then Friday morning I woke up shortly after 5 AM to Pete having a seizure (his fourth this month). Saturday morning he woke me up again at around 4:30 AM by just being restless and pacing the bed, acting like he couldn’t get comfortable, which went on for hours. Still, I managed to get yard work done on Saturday despite feeling like poo. Sunday, as you can imagine, was for catching up on sleep and vegging out in my PJs along with Matt.

I wanted to get more writing done tonight, but I still haven’t caught up on all my lost sleep, and I’ve got a big day tomorrow, starting with a vet appointment for Pete to see about starting him on anti-seizure meds, followed by needing to complete several freelance writing gigs for Fiverr. So once I post this, I’m heading to bed. G’night, everybody.

Stripped.

So, I redid this here blog. As much as I love my old custom theme, I felt the need to go back to basics, stop trying to live up to a “brand” that I’ve never been able to quite pin down and stop treating this as my “author blog.” It’s just my blog, and I’m just a writer, so I’ve stripped away distractions to focus on what really matters: the writing.

This is all part of rebooting my writing career. I’ve decided to go ahead and take a break from self-publishing for a while (except maybe for short stories) and try to give traditional publishing a fair chance. Like I said earlier, I can’t do it all by myself — at least not as well as I thought I could — so I’m going to try finding an agent and then go from there. This means that Intruder and any other Restless Spirits or Dominion of the Damned sequels are on hold while I see if I can find an agent and a publishing home for those two books. Meanwhile, I’m going to get back to work on Radium Town, and also keep writing short stories.

Speaking of short stories, I also rebooted my Patreon page to put the focus there. I’m still tinkering with the page — for one thing, I still need to shoot an introductory video, which kind of terrifies me — but as far as pledge amounts and what I plan to deliver it’s pretty much set. Although if you have any ideas for what you’d like to see offered there, I’m all ears. At any rate, I plan to write at least one short story per month and publish it exclusively for my patrons — which you can still become for as little as a buck a month. Do you wanna? Then click here!

In other news, I barely slept last night, and consequently got very little done today other than tinkering with the blog. I think I’m going to head to bed early tonight, but not before spending the next hour or so in House of Leaves. Goodnight, lovelies.

The truth is I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’m taking a break from my Stephen King binge to read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It’s been on my wish list for a while now and when I came across a (battered but readable) copy at the used book store the other day I snatched it up and since then I’ve been doing my very best to force myself to meet my responsibilities and obligations and not just lose myself in this book until I’m done. I don’t want to say too much about it yet — partly because I don’t want to spoil anything; you don’t read this book so much as experience it, and it’s really best if you come to it knowing as little about it as possible — and also because I get the feeling I won’t really know what I’m talking about until I’ve finished it. Anyway, it’s good. Scary. Scary good.

My patreon campaign isn’t going so well, which is discouraging, because to be honest this is kind of my last-ditch effort at being an indie author. I’ve been looking over my sales totals and, despite excellent reviews, despite decent publicity here and there, despite about a dozen other things, the numbers are just pitiful. I’ve said since I started this experiment that self-publishing isn’t for everybody. Now I’m starting to face the harsh truth that it might not be for me. At first I liked the idea of DIYing everything and being in total control, but the truth is I just can’t do it all by myself, and I don’t have the resources to put together a team to polish everything and make it look truly professional. And honestly, if you can’t do that, then you don’t have much hope of competing in this market.

I’ve been kind of depressed about this, honestly. Definitely discouraged. Trying to figure out where to go from here. With nobody showing any real interest in Intruder (apart from a small handful of Facebook likes) I’m wondering if I should back-burner it and focus my wee slivers of writing time on finishing Radium Town and then submitting it to agents. Or if I should start submitting Restless Spirits and/or Dominion of the Damned to some small publishing houses. Or maybe even submit them to agents. I don’t know. I’m overwhelmed and flailing, and this is why I think I might need an agent, so he or she can help me figure out what’s best.

Or should I just stick it out and focus on getting two more books out there and see what happens when I get to the “magical” number six? Six books seems to be the average number when sales really start to take off and royalties start to become a livable wage. Am I just not being patient enough? Not tenacious enough? I don’t know. I only know that I’m very tired and the technical production and design aspects of my books leave a lot to be desired and I’m barely finding time to write, let alone to market them effectively, and it seems that teaming with an agent and publisher(s) could help fix at least some of those problems, but I fear it would also create as many problems as it solves.

Just thinking out loud here. Maybe I shouldn’t, but there it is.

In other news, Hannibal and Once Upon a Time both kind of broke my heart this week, and the Walking Dead season finale was kind of uneventful. Right now on Twitter everybody’s talking about the How I Met Your Mother finale, but I don’t watch that show, so I can’t comment.

And now I’m going to make some cocoa and dive back into my scary book and try not to think about my even scarier sales reports.

How To Help Me Write Faster

Note: This post is a bit long, but if you consider yourself at all to be a fan of my books, please read to the end. Thanks.

I’d been kicking around the idea of doing a Kickstarter to fund the finishing and production of Intruder. At the rate I’m currently going on it, managing to squeeze in between 500 and 1000 words per week (on a good week), my thinking was that a Kickstarter, if successfully funded, would allow me to set aside some time every day to work on it without losing income, so I could actually get the book written this year. I also hoped to raise enough to have it properly edited and formatted by a pro, along with a professional cover design for both Intruder and Restless Spirits. However, I don’t think I have a large enough fanbase to come anywhere near the funding I’d need to pull that off.

So in researching other options, I took a deeper look at Patreon. If you don’t know what that is, Patreon is a crowdfunding site based on the old model of artist patronage. It allows fans to subscribe and contribute small amounts — as little as a dollar — on a regular basis to help support content creators and ongoing projects. I didn’t give it too much consideration at first because it seemed to be aimed primarily at YouTubers, podcasters and web comic creators, but quite a few writers are experimenting with it to fund their creative writing. Creators can either set it up as a tip jar, or they can set up a subscription model to accept payments in return for regular content and perks.

The latter model seems like a good compromise. I’m not really comfortable with the tip jar model, which would feel too much like living on charity. But a subscription model would be an exchange of money for goods. It would fill in the income gaps and allow me to set aside an hour or two each day to work on noveling. Not only that, but it would obligate me to do so — I’d not just be able to, but have to give my creative writing the same priority that I give to client projects.

But how does a subscription model work with writing a novel? I actually have several novels in my To Be Written queue — enough to keep me busy for years, even if I’m writing full time. So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to serialize all of them for Patreon. If you decide to become a patron — which, again, you can do for as little as a dollar per installment (and you can put a cap on how many installments you’re willing to fund each month) — you’ll have access to each installment as I write them. You’ll also be rewarded with an e-book of the finalized book once it’s ready to publish. Higher levels of support will get you additional perks, including steep discounts on signed paperbacks and the opportunity to vote on which project you’d like me to write next. You can check out my Patreon page here to get all of the details, or just click the big shiny button below:

Become my patron on Patreon

If this takes off, I’ll figure out some more exciting rewards. For one thing, I’d like to be able to offer Google hangouts, but for that to happen I need to replace my computer with one that has a working webcam. But I hope to keep the lines of communication open with my patrons to figure out what they want so I can do my best to deliver.

And one more thing — even if you can’t (or just don’t want to) support my fiction in this way right now, some of the best support you can give me is word of mouth. Spreading the word about my Patreon page — and about my writing in general — will make you a Big Damn Hero in my book.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

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