Just a bit of an update today. When I sent Discovered out for Alpha Readers, I started on revisions to 1,200. The book really seems to be shaping up in a good way, but they are going slowly. There are two reasons for this.
First, I was a much less mature writer when I wrote 1,200 originally. There are things the book needs just to give it the depth it deserves. That means some additional chapters and a bit more development and (a lot more) description.
That leads to the next issue. Back when I wrote this, I hadn’t started generating character sheets like I do now. So what I’m doing is generating a character sheet each time I encounter a character. That’s really what’s taking so much time. I keep having to stop. But this is worth it. Back in those days, I really leaned into my discovery writing tendencies, which made it easy to type, but don’t help very much when I’m trying to be consistent with (or have any) description. Once I get the bulk of these character sheets generated, the revisions will go by much more quickly.
I’m still a little more than a week out from when I asked Alphas to get Discovered back to me, but I’m nowhere near done with 1,200 yet. I do plan to finish this set of revisions before doing the Alpha Draft of Discovered.
I haven’t heard any good or bad news about Discovered, and that’s fine. I only mention it because I would give you updates if I had any. I tend to leave my Alphas and Betas alone. They don’t get paid or anything, so the least I can do is leave them be. I don’t know that I’ve ever had any be late, so it’s worked.
Once I get through revisions on 1,200, I’ll get back at Discovered, and get that over to my editor for a developmental edit.
I just wanted to give you all an update. I’m working as hard as I can given circumstances, and I will keep you up to date on my progress.
As always, I thank you for your support. It means a lot to me.
Boy do I love these sorts of posts! I am indeed happy to announce that the First Draft of Discovered is ready for any willing Alpha Readers.
Discovered is the conclusion of the Oneiros Log. I’m incredibly proud of this book and how it ends the series. My hope is Alpha Readers will help make sure that it’s every bit as special to readers as it is to me. There are several new characters to meet, all of whom are quite endearing in their own ways.
If you’re interested in being an Alpha Reader, please email me. Please understand my expectations. First, I would like to have any feedback sent to me by May 15. That gives me time to work on other things (more below) and then get right on the Editorial Draft of Discovered. Second, I’m most concerned with timeline and consistency issues. I’m also particularly concerned with how satisfying the ending is and the arc of the characters. We’re looking for things that don’t add up or don’t feel right.
If that’s you, click that link above.
While I wait, I’ll be working on the First Draft (REDO) of 1,200. I’m more ashamed it’s not already out in the world as I work on it. Yes, it needs work, but this book should have been out years ago. Honestly, I got carried away on Caught an other projects. But it’s time for that book to take center stage, and I’ll be ready for Alpha Readers somewhere around that May 15 date.
I’ll be swapping back and forth between those projects until we get Discovered out the door, and then I finally earn the right to get back to Images of Truth and finish that mammoth project. My hope is to make some headway on a lot of older projects once Oneiros Log is where it needs to be. I’ll also be starting Mercer.
As always, I thank you all for the tremendous support. I truly hope Alpha Readers are pleased with the conclusion to the Oneiros Log.
I’m very close to finishing the First Draft of Discovered. While I can’t quite put the call out for alpha readers now, I thought I could at least take a moment to introduce you to a character I’m very happy about.
Daniel is an orphan who’s experienced the harsher side of the system. He’s captivated by stories where boys like him turn out to be heroes or princes, but he knows better. He knows no one who thinks like him could be very heroic.
Here are the particulars of Daniel I can share:
Height: 63 inches – 5’3”
Weight: 90 pounds
Build: Lanky. Very thin. He’s homeless and underfed.
Skin Tone: Tan
Voice Quality: Quiet.
Hair Color: brown
Hair Length: Long
Hair Style: Messy. Dirty.
Eye Color: blue
Eye Shape: oval.
Face Shape: Dimond with a square jaw.
I feel like other information would be too spolierific, so I redacted it. This is the information I use when writing a first draft. I use a character sheet containing this information and more to apply realistic detail to a character in the fist draft. I’m a discovery writer at heart, and I want get the plot moving. I consider it a failing. I account for this in the first draft, where I pointedly go in and add description and look for opportunities to use those to not just show what a character looks like, but how a character thinks.
I think Daniel is wonderful in a lot of ways. He has every excuse to be evil, but he wants so desperately to be good. That dynamic next to other characters really works in my opinion.
I hope this gets you excited to volunteer as an alpha reader for Discovered when I’m ready (man would I love to be ready next week)! We’ll see if I can make that happen. I have two and a half chapters of additional content to write (scenes I realized I needed after reading the previous draft). Once those are done and tidied up, I’ll put out the call.
In January, I sold three copies of Caught, which was my best-selling book prior to this update.
That total fell to one in February, and I haven’t sold any so far in March.
This means my quota is definitely down.
I still can’t feel too angry about it in a way. First, this isn’t my main job, so it’s not like my family is losing food. Yes, I want to on day let this be my main job, but that may or may not ever happen. It doesn’t keep me from writing and publishing.
This just means I have to increase my efforts in other platforms as well as work on other books. Frankly, it’s been a down time. I’ve only sold six non-Hazel titles in the same 90-day period (including Caught). Without that title to rely on, I have to reassess and move forward.
This is honestly the only real option a guy like me has (I’m certainly not going to quit). If someone has other options, I’d be happy to see them in the comments below.
When I brought down my bids for other titles, I expected a decrease. Losing Caught’s marketing is absolutely a setback, but if I can get my other titles to perform, I could regain that lost ground relatively quickly. I’ll probably do another set of campaigns next month, and that’s all I can really do.
Hazel is still plodding along. She’s easily my number one seller. She’s not making enough for me or Collin to retire on, but she’s earning her keep.
This also doesn’t necessarily mean I’m losing more money. Sure, I’m not selling as many books (and I want to fix that), but I’m not paying as much for all those clicks. Remember, the original goal was to improve my ACOS.
I’m not spending nearly as much on campaigns per month, so when I start analyzing things, I might actually be losing less money. I’ll know more about that when I look at that next month.
This business (at least for me) is a little like running an ultra marathon on a roller-coaster track. You just sort of keep running. I’m making a lot of progress on Discovered, and I’m hopeful to get that out to beta readers sooner rather than later. I have a few more chapters to tweak, and I have to write three or four new chapters just to fill in some gaps. Once that’s done, I’ll be looking for Alpha Readers, and I’ll have my very first completed box set (as soon as I figure out how to make one).
So it’s fun to share the highs, but for this to be useful, it needs to share the mistakes as well as the progress. I’m not helping others if I’m hiding mistakes that you could avoid if I were willing to share them. I hope it helps.
This review brought up a major struggle I had with the book. The pace of the events left me in this strange position. I needed to keep thing moving within the timeline of actual events, but that made it very difficult to delve into the characters the way I wanted. I had always planned to give other characters time in the limelight, and I do the same in Discovered. However, that made it challenging to give characters the attention I wanted.
So this is a fair review that identifies something I felt conflicted over. I’m still proud of Betrayed, and I know there are those who loved it, but I can completely understand that it might be the least emotionally impactful story. Discovered will be (by far) the longest book. We meet several new characters, two of whom have POV chapters. Kira gets her turn after Dom had his in the previous book. I hope this doesn’t mean that Dom’s story will be diminished. I’m very excited to get this First Draft done and to Alpha Readers, who I hope will help me make sure the conclusion is as satisfying as it can be.
So I actually just finished another round of key-wording, which is where I collect new key words and use them to generate campaigns, and while I was doing so, I got notifications about my adds for Caught.
Here’s what the email said:
The following ads are non-compliant to creative acceptance policies :
Your ad titled “Caught: Book One of the Oneiros Log” no longer complies with our current Creative Acceptance Policies. Specifically for the following reasons:
Your ad contains content that is not allowed for advertising. Please ensure your ad does not contain any excessive violence or gore. The ASIN that needs to be corrected Is B01N9N5TUS.
After some research, I’ve come to learn that Caught does indeed violate that policy because the entire book involves some of that content.
The strange thing to me is that the horror genre is sort of based in violence. Still, after I think about it for a bit, I am more and more OK with it. Fans of the horror genre in general are going to find what they’re looking for (as with other forms of content). I would argue the Caught is rather tame in comparison, however, I do accept that there is blood and violence, so it should be restricted.
Then I went to study further, and I’m actually very happy with what Amazon is doing to protect people from content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. So I simply have to focus my efforts on my other projects.
I’ll have to see how this development will affect my sales. On one hand, I’ll save on clicks, so I wonder if I’ll actually end up helping my ACOS. On the other, Caught was one of my better selling books, and I fear this development might affect those sales.
Either way, I support this decision by Amazon. I am completely OK with any measure a company makes to guard against people accidentally getting to content they don’t want.
So I thought I’d mention this as I track sales over the next three months.
Welcome to year five of my eight-year commitment to go all in on becoming a successful author businessman. This is my fourth annual State of the Weech, where I talk about how the previous year went and talk about my plans for 2022.
The most important thing I did during 2021 was improve my marketing. I’ll talk about Hazel more in a moment, but without Hazel, I went from being pleasantly surprised I sold a book to regularly selling nine books a month. I’m convinced that this path is a good one. No, it’s not a fast track, but most good things aren’t “overnight” things. Steady effort in a solid direction usually yields good results, and I’m happy with what one year or so of effort has brought.
I released Betrayed. It didn’t have the response I was hoping for, but without being able to go to conventions, it’s hard to get word out. What I know is that anyone who’s said anything about it loved it, which is encouraging.
Then there’s Hazel. Now that was a success! Currently, Hazel sells about 38 copies a month. I expect that to calm a little. I tend to sell a lot of a book early, and then things die down. However, I’d be happy if Hazel continued to move at this pace. I know Collin and I appreciate every single one of you who’ve tried it.
I managed to finish the discovery draft of Discovered, the final book in the Oneiros Log, and I did a read-through of 1,200 in preparation for a draft I’ll do once I get Discovered to Alpha Readers.
So those are things I have done, but now I need to repeat something I mentioned recently.
I’m still writing as much as I can, but without conventions to bolster sales, money for editors and art is a serious concern. This means I’m going to make whatever progress I can, but I don’t have any real certainty on when things will come out because that just depends on how much I can save, how much I spend in marketing, and how many sales I get. So where the past years I had some pretty solid ideas on when I’d get products out to you, I don’t have that same ability this year.
But I am still working, so allow me to tell you about those projects.
Hopefully in 2023 (but don’t quote me on it): Discovered, the final book in the Oneiros Log. The discovery draft was OK, but it needs some work. I hope to finish the next draft in the next 100 days, which is when hopeful Alpha Readers can count on reading the early version. I do hope to get it out in 2023, but that depends on the things I mentioned above, as do the other projects.
The 1,200: I talked about this recently. I’m actually pretty proud of where that is now, but it does need some work. So each time I get a draft of Discovered done, this is the project I’ll skip to until Discovered is out. This will be the next release you can expect from me baring how long it takes to save up and what smaller projects I might get done.
Visits From A Man Named Nobody: This is my weekly Christian Science Fiction series. It’s larger than I thought (at least this draft). It’s growing in the writing, and I’m discovery writing it, which means it’ll have plenty of kinks to work out. I don’t honestly know when I’ll finish it, but once a draft is done, it’ll take its place in line for release. You can read it now if you want. I’ll do revisions and edits on it before its published through Amazon.
Perception of War: Images of Truth: I’m honestly frustrated I haven’t found a chance to finish the discovery draft. Other projects are more urgent, but as soon as Discovered and The 1,200 are out the door, this puppy is getting some work. This is a very ambitious project, but I can get the writing done, and I plan to. Again, this project is massive! So while I’m going to work very hard on it, it’s going to take time.
New Utopia: This is another older project that’s probably been sitting in a drawer for too long. It needs love, but the the next draft of this story (pitched as Mistborn meets Avatar), won’t be done until Discovered and The 1,200 are as far as I can get them and the Discovery Draft of Perception is done.
Mercer: Now this project could move in a lot of directions because it’s a series of shorter works. I call this Dresden meets Bones, and I love the premise and basic ideas. I haven’t really played with this much in a while, but that’s only because I owe fans of Oneiros a conclusion to their story. I’ll probably start chipping away at this once in between the above projects. So you might see Season One, Episode One before New Utopia.
Leah Saldawn and The Nick of Time: This probably the “older” project that’s farthest from being out. It’s a teen/young reader book that I think is cute, but it’ll have to wait behind those much larger projects.
I’m still working my way toward 60 sales a month. Because of Hazel, I have three averages: My total sales per month, Collin’s and my Hazel sales per month, and my non-Hazel sales per month. The goal for sales per month is still 60, and that’s always been an initial goal aimed at growing after I meet it. I lose less and less each year, and I’m hopeful I get to that first profitable year soon.
If I’m being honest, I’m never going to stop writing. The eight-year goal has always been more about putting in hard-charging, never-back-down energy. It’s spending money on marketing and things like that. I’m hopeful that bears some fruit, but if all I do is write and publish stories I enjoy, that’s OK. I’ll work as hard as I can, and if after eight years, I’m not earning an income, well, I’ll slow down on the costs of publishing and focus more on the writing.
If you’re interested in helping, the best way to do that is to purchase one of my books, read it, rate it, and review it. You can take it to the next level (if you like the book) by recommending it (or buying it) for a friend. In addition to God’s will, which I will always cheerfully submit to, this dream of mine isn’t possible without loyal readers.
I want to finish as I always do, by praising God, and thanking Him for all of you who read and enjoy my work. I’m blessed to have anyone enjoy my books, and a lot of you are just so wonderful to me with emails and help with reviewing drafts. Thank you.
God bless you all, and thank you for another year. I hope your hear has been amazing.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my progress on things so far, but that’s not because I haven’t been working.
I’d originally picked up 1,200 just to let my mind rest before I got moving on the first draft of Discovered, but then I just fell in love with 1,200. I was genuinely happy with how good I felt it was. I think there were some things that concerned me, but while reading it, I just really felt horrible for setting it in a drawer for this long. (This was either the third or fourth book I finished writing.)
It still does need a bit of work. I have to change the main character’s name, which is currently Steve, but with Oneiros having the success it’s having (relatively speaking), having two characters with that name would be troublesome. Then there are a few ideas I had that would flesh out a few details, but this book is great, and I’m excited to be putting this book out hopefully in 2022, more likely in 2023 (more on why below).
I started working on the official First Draft of Discovered maybe two weeks ago. I just finished Chapter 5. Given how many challenges we’ve had in the past few weeks, I feel like I’ll pick up speed on that, but it does need work, so please don’t be surprised if my Twitter account has big gaps. Those will be spots where I’m adding content (chapters or scenes) that I feel need to be added to help the flow of the story. It’s currently taking two sessions per chapter, and I usually get one session in a day.
Yeah, at 42 chapters, this means it’ll take at least 84 days to get this draft done, and that’s probably not enough time. I’m thinking 100 days is a safer estimate. Writing is obviously still a part of my life, but it falls way below God, my family, and the job that actually provides for my family. I do wish I had more writing time, but I promise I’m making the use of the time I do have.
Once I’ve finished that First Draft, those of you who want to be Alpha Readers can expect to see a post on this blog letting you know.
While Discovered is in Alpha Readers hands, I’ll get to work on the official First Draft of 1,200. In full honesty, I feel like I’ll want to get that draft done before I do the Alpha Draft of Discovered. Those of you looking forward to how this book ends deserve to understand why. First, I like to have projects rotating on a pretty regular basis, and I need to finish one draft of one book before I work on a new draft of the other. But even if I jumped on Discovered as soon as Alpha Readers got back to me, I’m not sure I will have saved up the money I need for the Developmental Draft. Discovered is already over 100,000 words, and that means getting edits done on that book will cost more than its predecessors. So rather than just sit and do nothing while I save up money for edits, I might as well get progress on other titles. This is the main reason why I’m going to finish another draft of 1,200 before I jump back to Discovered.
Saturday is the 1st, so I’ll do one of my annual State of the Weech posts, where I talk about current and future projects. But my hope is this post helps you sort of see the two major factors in how quickly I can release material (time and money). Even if I did find more time to write (which I would love), I don’t have many options on how to generate more money for edits and art (covers, chapter icons, and other things).
That’s where I continue to ask for your support. Please don’t misunderstand. Those of you who follow this blog are always so amazing. We’re a small clan, but I’m just humbled by how loyal and kind you all are. Hazel is definitely doing her part, but I only earn a percent of a percent of her royalties. I honestly am only just about to get the first royalties from that release here in a few days.
The best way to help me is to help my sales, which means telling your friends about my work, convincing them to try it, and posting reviews and ratings on all the bookish places. I’m in a place now where if I’m going to do anything for the business of writing, the writing needs to pay for it. We budget a bit each month for this dream, but at this point the marketing is still costing more than the books are earning. We’re moving in the right direction, but we still have a ways to go.
All this means I have to be patient. I wanted to be releasing four books a year, and now I’m in a place where it might take two more years before I get any new titles out. That really hurts, but in this world, the art matters, not the pace at which it’s released. I hope you’ll be patient with me as well.
I hope to have this draft done by mid April, when I hope Alpha Readers will be ready and willing to see that early draft. I’d love to try and get it to you sooner and get Discovered to Sara’s hands even sooner, but that would require things that I don’t have direct control over.
As always, thank you all for your wonderful support, and thanks for reading,
As always, if you’ve read some of my work, we’d be grateful if you’d take a second to offer a rating and review. I’m actually pretty close to 100 ratings on Goodreads, and I’m excited for that milestone.