Tag Archives: I Wish

Name the nameless and empower the powerless- a contest

In the Witches of Desire universe the women are in control of everything. There is a strict power hierarchy. Every Family is run by a Matriarch, the oldest living member of their family. Her first daughter, called a First Daughter, is her successor. All other daughters are referred to as Second Daughters. Second Daughters are the the bottom of the social totem pole. Even men, who don’t have Talents, have more status than even the most powerful Second Daughter. In charge of everyone is the Coven. It’s made up of the Matriarchs of the 13 most powerful Families in Desire.

Every witch has a distinct Talent that she can perform. Her Talent is often related to the Talents of the other members of her Family. For instance, Thistle’s Talent is the ability to manifest anything she can imagine by speaking the words “I wish…”. Her grandmother can force her will on anyone who reads what she writes and her mother will never forget anything that she’s ever read. They all have power over words, either written or spoken.

Now that you have a little background, here’s what’s up. I was sitting here working on my outline for Your Word is My Bond (random trivia: the titles of all 3 books are based on Talents of different characters. I Wish is obviously about Thistle’s ability and YWIMB refers to Ramona’s power over people) and I thought it would be fun to collaborate a little.

What I’m proposing is that you guys help me pick 3 names and a Talent. Now we’re not talking about throwaway characters here. These are going to be major players in the story. The names and Talent can be anything you can dream up. I mean we’re talking about a story where the main character is named Thistle Nettlebottom, so no worries. Well, within reason. I can’t get behind something like Boner McCocksmith, I’m afraid.

Rules:

The rules are simple. I’m looking for 2 female names, 1 male name, and 1 Talent.

Leave me a suggestion anywhere you feel comfortable, in the comments here, on my Facebook wall, on Twitter, or in an email (wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com). You can suggest 3 names and a Talent or any combination of them. Name the characters after your dog, your kids, your best friend, or your math teacher. You can even suggest your own name.

I will compile all the suggestions into 2 polls on Facebook, one for names and one for Talents. Anyone can vote on their favorites so feel free to share the poll and encourage ballot stuffing. In the town of Desire anything goes and I think it’s only fitting that the same be true of these polls. The Coven would approve.

Suggestions need to be in by the end of the day on Friday. I’m going to start compiling polls on Saturday and voting will end on Tuesday. I will announce the winners on Wednesday. I need to find out who my new characters are so I can make any changes to the plot necessary to accommodate them.

Prizes:

If your suggestion wins, you will receive a free copy of I Wish (you know, the book I keep talking about nonstop) for yourself and your shadiest partner in crime.

You will be given an acknowledgement in the first pages of Your Word is My Bond with a paragraph or two to tell the story of your name if it has a special significance and a link to your blog, book, or whatever crazy site you want. I will honor any link within reason (nothing offensive or adult in nature), so I’m asking that Stephanie Meyer not apply because I’m afraid that I can’t get behind vampires as sexy. Vampires are zombies with better PR, people!

I’ll also set up a static page on my blog with that same information. Imagine the publicity that will bring you. 10s of hundreds of people will look at your link! What a deal!

You will also receive a free copy of Your Word is My Bond for yourself and the same shady friend. Or a different shady friend, if you’d rather. It’s up to you. I won’t judge. Loyalty isn’t the strong suit of my witches, guys. Sorry!

So to sum it up, I’m giving away 8 copies of I Wish, 8 copies of Your Word is My Bond, and 4 deeply personal acknowledgement blurbs with totally self serving links. So start suggesting. And tell your friends so they can make suggestions too, but only if they swear you’re the one they want to share their books with.

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KDP Select; 2 genres, 2 outcomes Part 2

In part 1 I discussed how I Wish was doing in the day immediately following coming off the free list. Yesterday marked the end of my second full day of being paid. It was significantly better than the first. At one point my stats looked like this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

They’ve dropped some since then, but not so much that I’d complain. It’s interesting to me to note that the categories change from time to time. I thought you could only be in 3 categories at a time, but it actually appears you can be in several, they’ll just list 3 at once.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

I’ve noticed that I sell a lot more books in the evening than I do during the day. But then so does everyone else because despite selling as many as 65 books in an hour, I didn’t move at all. Here’s the breakdown so far.

Day 1 – 48 sales, 22 lends

Day 2 – 234 sales, 56 lends

Day 3 (so far) – 223 sales, 19 lends

Total – 505 sales, 97 lends

And I feel like it’s significant enough to mention again, I’m priced at $4.99. I am so glad that I stayed the course on that because if I had dropped my price to $2.99 or $.99 I would have attributed all my sales to the price rather than whatever book mojo I have going on right now and wouldn’t have considered changing it back at all for fear of losing sales. Maybe I would have a higher rank if I dropped my price, but I’d be trading on my belief that a book is worth more than a pack of gum. It’s just reassuring to me that people are still wiling to pay book prices for a book.

I’m not trying to start a pricing debate or anything. I just think it’s interesting enough to bear mentioning. When conducing your own KDP Select experiments, you might consider a higher price point.

Is KDP Select a magic bullet? Well, it certainly was for I Wish, but I don’t think it’s universally true as evidenced by the other book I have in the program.

I put one of my adult titles in Select and immediately started the free days. I let it run last Wednesday and Thursday and then took it down for the weekend because I read somewhere that those are the busiest buying times. It’s free again now and will be until Wednesday night.

To say it’s not doing as well as I Wish would be a gross understatement along the lines of saying that trying to hug it out with an angry grizzly bear while kicking her baby in the face is a good idea.

This title had a lot of early success, selling hundreds of copies a month, but it’s tapered off until recently it’s only been selling between 10-20 copies a month. It’s the first in a series so it seemed like a prime candidate for the program. After 3 full days in the program and including any sales (because I haven’t been tracking it very well), it’s sitting at 607 downloads. It’s enough to put it at #510 in the free store and #61 in the erotica category. I think if I hadn’t already seen what free could be like in ideal circumstances, I’d have been delighted with this progress.

So far I haven’t seen any huge surge in sales. Not of the book itself this weekend and not of the other titles in the series. I’ve still got a couple of days of free left before I can say for sure what might happen, but it just doesn’t appear that it’s going to take off the way I Wish did. I’ll admit that I’m surprised because it’s always sold so much better than I Wish and you always hear how sex sells. At this point I’m having hard time even giving it away.

Conclusions:

  • The Select program can launch a book to high sales, but a lot of factors have to align to make that happen. Being picked up by sites like Pixels of Ink is huge.
  • Don’t put a book in if you are selling well outside of Amazon. Unless your book takes off, and it might not, you’re going to lose all that income and alienate those reader.
  • There are a lot of things to be gained (aside from sales, although that’s an awesome thing too) from going free no matter how you achieve it. I’m on a lot of new Also Bought lists, I’ve gained 6 new reviews, and I have almost 16k new readers who now have the chance to become invested in my series and buy the next two books. If I’m lucky these new readers might blog about me or recommend my book to their friends so the possibility exists now that I could go viral. Realistically I know that won’t happen, but “might” is so much more attractive to me than “never”, which was the case before.
  • If you only have one book and know that you’ll be releasing another soon, wait for that before you go free. I’ve had so many hits on my blog from people looking for Your Word is My Bond. If they are willing to go to the trouble to search for it, they were probably also likely to buy the book. Except, surprise! The book isn’t available yet. D’oh! Seriously, wait. You’ll be happier if you do.

It’s too early for me to say what I think about the KDP Select program. It’s been helpful to me and to many others and if you have nothing to lose by enrolling than why not? But it’s a total crap shoot. Nobody knows why some books take off and others don’t and it’s impossible to predict if your book will be one.

I am a little worried about what the influx of free books will mean in the long term. As customers become accustomed to having all they can read for free, they might save their purchases for a few of the heavily hyped traditionally published books that they’ll never get for free. A savvy shopper will be able to figure out that their favorite author has all their books enrolled in the program and will sooner or later have them all available for free and just wait until a free day to pick up their entire backlist.

I do think that in a few months so many books will be in the program that it’ll be next to impossible to get any attention for your titles that way. At that point you’ll be locked into the contract with Amazon and unable to sell anywhere else. When my 90 days is up, I’m planning to pull I Wish from the program and sell at every online retailer available, something I still haven’t done with my shorts even.

Don’t be blinded by my numbers. They are amazing, but they won’t last. It could be a year from now (I wish!) or next week (way more likely), but sooner or later my sales will normalize and I’ll go back to selling at a steady, realistic pace again. Hopefully that pace is significantly higher than it was before, but eventually even the best seller slows down as everyone who cares to read it, already has. It’s so important to plan for the long term.

You can’t live forever on a single book. The only way to have a secure future as a writer is to keep writing. I’ve said it before, but it’s so true, you don’t need to have a bestselling book if you’ve got 20 moderate sellers working for you. However it goes with I Wish, I plan to finish the Witches of Desire trilogy. And then I’ll tackle some of these other projects on my plate. And when those are done, I’ll find something else to do.

I’ve let myself spend the past few days ogling my stats because it’s felt like I’m a poor kid who just won the lottery. I can’t believe it happened to me. But now it’s time to get back to work. I’ve got words to write and an outline to finish so I can start putting words on paper for book 2. It’s tempting to try to market my book to death, but I’m trying to content myself with knowing that I’ve done as much as I can at this point. The best thing I can do for my career now is to let it go and turn my attention to the other books that need to be written and let those books be promotion for the first.

I’m off to write now, but amazing things have been happening to me that I’d love to share so before I go I’ll leave you with these two screen grabs.

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Seeing this really excited me. I think it’s that little green arrow telling the world I’ve been hanging out in that list for the past 2 days, but maybe it’s the fact that I’m ranked so high in such a broad category. Do you have any idea how many teen books there are out there? And I’m #22? Freakin’ crazy, man.

wpid-iwishbywrenemersonbestsellingpopularchildrensfictionbook-2012-02-7-07-39.png

Or how about seeing that I Wish is the 4th most popular children’s ebook. The top 3 books above me? Also happen to be the #1, #2, and #3 bestselling books on Amazon right now. And next is me? Hell yeah, I’ll take that.

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Filed under I wish, promotion

Welcome new readers!

I see that I’ve recently gotten a lot of traffic from people who have recently discovered I Wish and the Witches of Desire world. That’s awesome! Hi, guys!

Looking at the search terms that brought some of you here I can see that there are a couple of questions that people are wondering about so I thought I’d make a post to address those things.

What ages is I Wish appropriate for? – I Wish is a book with some dark themes of betrayal, obsession, and murder. It’s filtered through the 1st person POV of Thistle Nettlebottom who tries to keep a sense of humor about things. There is one scene in the book that features a little bit of heavy petting and a reference to her “down there”.

Depending on your comfort level with those topics, the book is probably suitable for readers 13 years and up. But again, it’s ultimately a personal choice about what your let your kids read.

I will say now that I’m struggling with the sequel. As it’s outlined now there will be some sex scenes. They will be “closed door”, meaning that it will be mentioned in passing, rather than a blow by blow description, but those scenes will be referenced in terms that make it clear that sex is happening because it’s important to the plot. The references will not be written to titillate, but it might change your view on whether the book is acceptable for your young readers.

At this time I am planning to have a censored version available, but I’m unsure as to whether I’m going to post it for sale because I’m afraid it might cause confusion. It’s still early to plan for it since my outline isn’t finalized yet so those scenes might be cut anyway. But I will address the details closer to the release date.

When will Your Word is My Bond (book 2 of the Witches of Desire trilogy) be released? – I’m an indie published author. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing. On the plus side, I don’t have to wait on an arbitrary publishing schedule, I can release my stories as soon as they are written. The bad news is that I don’t have a set in stone deadline I have to meet. Which is why I ended up taking time off from writing mainstream fiction to focus on other projects and so the sequel to I Wish hasn’t been written yet.

Now having confessed that, I am committed to getting the sequel out as soon as possible while still delivering a great story. Fortunately, I already know what happens. Nothing that happens in book 2 or 3 of this series is a surprise to me. I plotted the series arcs before I wrote word of I Wish. At this point I’m just working out the details. I hope to start writing by this weekend. My anticipated release date is mid April at the latest. Because the main focus of this blog is my writing process, you can check back here from time to time to find out how the book is progressing and for “behind the scenes” peeks at my creative process.

What other stories take place in the Witches of Desire universe? – I’m just going to steal this list I posted on my Facebook page:

I Wish – A full length YA novel which follows the story of Thistle Nettlebottom, a teen who returns to a hometown she doesn’t remember only to discover that she’s a witch from a town full of them. She has to learn to navigate the complex matriarchal society dominated by women who inexplicably hate her while learning to use her newly discovered powers.
 
As if high school isn’t hard enough, throw in a tough choice between two hot guys, a best friend who refuses to talk to you in public, but won’t explain why, and dodging attacks from someone who wants you dead. She always wanted a place to call home, but now that she’s got it, she’s learned that it’s best to be careful what you wish for.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
 
The Second Daughter’s Second Daughter – A stand alone short story that is both a prequel and sequel to I Wish (as in it covers things that happen before the events of I Wish, but really makes more sense if you read it afterwards). It’s best if it’s read after I Wish, but shouldn’t spoil things if you read it first. It’s in the anthology The Glass Heart Chronicles. It’s the story of a young girl’s first love and the tragic aftermath.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
B&N
Smashwords
 
The Hazards of Desire – A stand alone short story that delves into some of the reasons that falling in love in Desire isn’t a very good for your health. It’s included in the anthology Every Witch Way but Wicked. The proceeds of that anthology go to Kids Need to Read.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
B&N
Smashwords
 
The Lies We Tell Ourselves – This micro short story can be read alone, but adds some character development to one of my favorite characters from I Wish, Zane Littlebury. He’s hiding a secret from everyone in Desire, including himself.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
B&N
Smashwords
 
Your Word is My Bond – The sequel to I Wish. It’s should be available for purchase around April 2012.

I read I Wish and loved it. I’m a huge fan now. Is there anything I can do to help spread the love? – YES! A hundred times yes. Word of mouth is the single biggest factor in a reader’s choice to read a new book. You might be thinking that you are only one person, what can you do? Believe it or not, you have the power to make a career. If you love a book, not just mine, any book at all- tell people about it. Tell your friends, blog about it, tweet about it. I’m going to copy myself again (I’m a dirty plagiarizer today. Sorry!) and use this list that I published in May around the same time that I published I Wish:

So you read my book, I Wish… and you loved it. How can you help my fledgling indie writing career and show your support of my book? Let me give you a list of ways.

  • Word of mouth- The best thing you can do for any product you love is tell your friends. Tell them in forums, on your blog, Twitter, in person. Any way you can communicate your love for something works great.
  • Write a review- Reviews are like currency for indie writers. It let’s other potential readers know that people are reading and enjoying the book and makes it easier for them to decide to buy the book. You can post a review on your blog, the book seller’s site (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc…), reading sites like GoodReads. Or cross post your review on all of them. It’s an awesome gesture and so so SO helpful.
  • Rate, tag, and like my book on Amazon- Amazon has a bizarre way of ranking books that nobody seems to really understand, but doing things like tagging or rating a book only takes a second of your time, but helps get the book into the hands of the people who will most enjoy that type of book.
  • Give me feedback- If the book doesn’t work for you and you don’t want to hurt my sales with negative feedback, but you don’t feel like you can give honest positive feedback, please know that I’m open to hearing whatever it is that you want to say about it. I want to know what’s working or not. I am not the temperamental artist type so don’t fear my crazy wrath. And if you have nothing but good things to say, feel free to let me know that too. I’ll never turn down a little feel good.
  • Offer to host me on your blog- If you really love the book and you feel like I might be a good fit for your blog readership, ask me to do a guest post or an interview. I won’t say no and we both get something from the partnership- I get access to your readers and it’s a day that you don’t have to come up with a post of your own. Wins all around! Yay!
  • Put an excerpt of my book in the back of yours- Have a new book coming out and think that the first scene or two of I Wish would appeal to your readers? Shoot me a note and we’ll work something out.
  • Recommend the book- This goes along with the whole word of mouth thing from way up the list, but it bears repeating. If you see an opportunity to recommend I Wish… to someone who will enjoy it, it would help get the word out. Book bloggers, reading groups, friends and family members. A sincere recommendation can sell a book to almost anyone.
  • Read books by other indie authors- If you like my book then buy books by other indie authors. We’re all in the same boat as we struggle to promote our books. Buying a book from an indie not only helps them pay the bills, but it gives them a sense of validation to know that someone wants to read what they’ve taken the time to write. Buying indie helps to support our little community and without my indie writing friends, I might not have even heard about indie publishing.
  • Buy the book- If you truly loved the book and want to show support, buying the book would help out a lot. Of course there is the money that I’ll see from your purchase which is awesome and appreciated, but buying the book has the additional benefit of raising my rankings on site where you buy it, which will increase my visibility to other buyers.
  • Gift the book to your friends and family- Gifting the book not only counts as a sale (which benefits me as stated above), but it also introduces my book to a new potential fan who can then do all the things in this list.

How can I keep on top of updates to the series? – The easiest way would be to subscribe to this blog. Yeah, a lot of it is about writing, but sometimes I write embarrassing posts about myself. And zombies. Klout has told me that I’m kind of an authority on the subject of zombies. But only because it’s true.

I am also putting together a mailing list for updates on new books and stories that come out in the upcoming months. If you’re interested in being added, just send me an email at wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject line “mailing list”, no text necessary and I’ll make sure that you’re added. I won’t spam or sell your email so no worries there. I hate marketing, folks. So I’m especially uninclined to do something like that. 😉

How can I contact you? – I am ridiculously accessible. I have accounts at Pininterest, Flickr, StumbleUpon, Instagram and probably 10 other sites I can’t think of off the top of my head. I use the name wrenemerson or Wren Emerson everywhere I join. If you have an account some place and you want to be friends with me, search for one of those names and you’ll find me. I love meeting new people so don’t be shy. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter (@wrenem) or email me at wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com. And, of course, you can always comment on this blog.

Where can I buy vomit stickers for scrapbooking? – Ok, this was just for one person. I don’t have an answer for that, but it’s cool that I was even on the list of relevant sites? I believe I was something like 3rd or 4th. But even cooler is the fact that I’m the number one search if you’re looking for “zombie herpes badger”. Maybe it’s a silly thing to be proud of, but then again I’m the girl who was pleased as punch to find out someone was googling “Wren Emerson bikini” even if I do think that’s a terribly misguided search. Trust me folks, you don’t want to see that. I’m pretty much an escapee of a National Geographic magazine from the neck down. I blame the minions.

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Filed under indie publishing

Another chance to get free books from Emerson & Abel

Due to the overwhelming success of my time as a free download, which I’ll share in detail in a couple of days, I have decided to extend this promotion through Saturday. I’m sitting at #5 on the free list, which is blowing my mind. So if you didn’t get your free copy of I Wish yesterday, no problem! Feel free to spread the word. I’d love to share my world with as many people as I can.

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All she ever wanted was a chance to settle down in one place.

Thistle Nettlebottom knows her life isn’t exactly normal. She travels the country with her secretive mother and bestselling author grandmother in a pink RV going from book signings to crazy research trips. She’s never been to public school or had a boyfriend, but she can pick a lock and hot-wire a car. One day the phone rings and they set a course to a tiny town that’s not on any maps. Suddenly, Thistle finds her whole life changing.

She’s finally found the home she’s been searching for.

Thistle soon realizes that Desire isn’t like other towns and she’s not like other girls. The family she trusted has lied to her about everything her entire life and the things she doesn’t know about herself could cost her everything. Her legacy as one of the most powerful witches the town has ever seen has made her enemies that have been waiting patiently for a chance to destroy her. Thistle needs to learn to use her powers to protect herself before they succeed.

Be careful what you wish for.

Thistle has a power unique even among the magic wielding witches of Desire. She can wish things into existence. At first she enjoys the freedom of having everything her heart desires, but she soon realizes that her power comes at a terrible price. She’s losing her grip on her sanity at a time when she can’t afford any weakness. Her enemies are closing in quickly, but she might not have the strength to save herself.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Charlotte Abel’s books are also still available so be sure to grab copies of the first two books in her witchy series. When it comes to paranormal, witches are obviously pretty close to my heart. 😉

wpid-enchantment_charlotteabel_small-2012-02-4-08-07.jpg

While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact sh’’s a witch.
 
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with“”dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys”” She ca’’t even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
 
Ther’’s a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. I’’s not worth the risk…. until she meets Josh.
 
Suddenly, the threat of death is’’t such a deal-breaker.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

wpid-taken_charlotteabel_sm-2012-02-4-08-07.jpg

Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives.

Gasp-out-loud action, heart-pounding romance and an OMG ending that leaves you hungry for the next book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Filed under I wish, promotion

Friday Freebie: Books by Emerson & Abel

Have you been interested in reading I Wish, but were a little unsure about whether you wanted to pay full price to try it? Now’s your opportunity to try it for free on Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. You can download free apps for your computer or phone through Amazon’s site.

wpid-cover_v0-5_web-2012-02-3-00-01.jpg

All she ever wanted was a chance to settle down in one place.

Thistle Nettlebottom knows her life isn’t exactly normal. She travels the country with her secretive mother and bestselling author grandmother in a pink RV going from book signings to crazy research trips. She’s never been to public school or had a boyfriend, but she can pick a lock and hotwire a car. One day the phone rings and they set a course to a tiny town that’s not on any maps. Suddenly, Thistle finds her whole life changing.

She’s finally found the home she’s been searching for.

Thistle soon realizes that Desire isn’t like other towns and she’s not like other girls. The family she trusted has lied to her about everything her entire life and the things she doesn’t know about herself could cost her everything. Her legacy as one of the most powerful witches the town has ever seen has made her enemies that have been waiting patiently for a chance to destroy her. Thistle needs to learn to use her powers to protect herself before they succeed.

Be careful what you wish for.

Thistle has a power unique even among the magic wielding witches of Desire. She can wish things into existence. At first she enjoys the freedom of having everything her heart desires, but she soon realizes that her power comes at a terrible price. She’s losing her grip on her sanity at a time when she can’t afford any weakness. Her enemies are closing in quickly, but she might not have the strength to save herself.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Also available for free today are two books by Charlotte Abel. I don’t read a lot of fiction for fun these days, but the premise is so cute I grabbed copies for myself. Check them out if you haven’t already.

wpid-enchantment_charlotteabel_small-2012-02-3-00-011.jpg

While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact she’s a witch.
 
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with “dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys.” She can’t even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
 
There’s a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. It’s not worth the risk … until she meets Josh.
 
Suddenly, the threat of death isn’t such a deal-breaker.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

wpid-taken_charlotteabel_sm-2012-02-3-00-011.jpg

Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives.

Gasp-out-loud action, heart-pounding romance and an OMG ending that leaves you hungry for the next book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Filed under I wish, promotion

New Stories and KDP Select

I’m writing this entry with MacJournal so it might take a few tries before I get it uploaded and formatted correctly. Sorry for that!

I now have 3 short stories available on Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. All three of them are free reads you can either find on this blog or others, but I thought it might be worth it to package them up and put them on sale for people who might not read this blog or who want them on their ereaders.

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Perchance to Dream

It’s just a doll. Nothing special unless you know what to look for. People who know are willing to do more than just kill to have her.

They’ll die.

Amazon, B&N, Smashwords

Interesting to note about that one is that it’s featured on a Succubus wiki. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Cool.

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Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle

The movies get vampires all wrong, but there’s one predator willing to explain how it works to a very interested woman.

Amazon, B&N, Smashwords

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The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Zane Littlebury has a secret. Nothing new in a town like Desire, but his is different. It’s something he can’t even admit to himself.

Kindle, B&N, Smashwords

You can find this one under my Free Reads page. It’s a piece of flash fiction that is just under 1000 words. It’s a bit of character development on one of my favorite characters from I Wish. It’a a bit more adult in theme.

The other major change that I’ve made recently is to add I Wish to the KDP Select program. I’m still not sure how I feel about the program. I think it’s a bad idea to give Amazon all the power over where a large percentage of indies sell their books, but at the same time I decided I should give it a fair shot before I pan it. Maybe it will revitalize my sales as it has for some people who’ve used it.

It’s only 3 months and my sales at B&N were low enough that it can’t really hurt to pull it. I’ll keep you posted of any radical changes that come from using the program. But I will say that in the 4 or 5 days I’ve had it enrolled I haven’t lent a single copy. I have a free day coming up on February 3rd so I’ll be watching to see if that prods things along. I made sure to have it happen in a new month so I could directly compare the difference between February’s sales from January’s.

I do see that they dropped the money pool for KDP Select from $700k to $600k in February. That’s not a reassuring sign. There was probably a huge Christmas rush with everyone buying ereaders and rushing to get as much content as they could. Now that’s slowing down. We’ll see how it goes for me. I’ve got a new cover that I like significantly more than the old one. I think it’s a little more in line with other YA paranormal books on the market right now so hopefully it finds it’s way into the right audiences.

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God Bless 3 Act Story Structure

I started looking at 3 act story structure last year. I didn’t have the first inkling when I wrote I Wish… I made an outline sure, but it was just based on a story that occurred to me. I was blissfully unaware that there should be a midpoint or that the B story should reinforce the theme. I didn’t even have a theme in mind. I just went for it.

It was an amazing feeling. Words just poured out of me and onto the page. But was it flawed? Oh yeah. Most notably is the ending. It ends abruptly. I reworked it a couple of times and it still doesn’t flow quite right.

For this first experiment with script writing, I’m relying really heavily on the Save the Cat beat sheet, which is influenced by Syd Field. I’ve watched around 8 or 10 movies since I started this project and they all pretty much followed his formula within a minute or two. I did have some troubles pinpointing the beats in Little Miss Sunshine. They are probably there, but the emotional highs and lows are so mild that it’s really hard for me to spot. A character dies and the family is no worse off than they were. The emotional low point is color blindness? Really? Oh well, it’s something I’m not getting, I’m sure. It has to be because that movie is pretty much universally agreed to be a good one.

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got my little digital cork board all set up with 40 index cards. I’ve got a story that’s sitting in my head in a fairly complete state. I’m still missing a few filler scenes, but pretty much every important scene is stewing away up there. Now I’m in the process of plugging those scenes into the framework. And incredibly they are starting to fit.

This isn’t going to be the script where I internalize the structure and neither will the next one or two, but I can see where there’s potential for it to happen. Before long I’m going to be able to write a script that hits the marks at all the right places without having to rack my brain and decide if what I’m thinking should go in the second act or the third.

This can only mean good things for the stories I will write in the future. I can already tell that my endings will be much better paced. In fact I’m going to take a look at my outline and make sure that there are clear cut beats for the midpoint and plot points. I think I had some idea of them when I laid it out before, but it’s definitely becoming clearer to me as I work with this concept more.

If you’re working on a novel and you feel like something is missing, it might be the underlying structure isn’t quite right. I’d strongly recommend that you read up on 3 act story structure and see how well your story works. It sure can’t hurt. And in my case, I think it’s going to be the best thing I’ve done to improve my writing yet.

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