Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Self-Editing, What I Have Learned

I have always believed that editing is hard work, for me harder than writing. For many, to self-edit is almost impossible, but I think it can be done. I recently had my eyes opened by a simple fact – if you are self-editing, order a proof of the book and edit from it. Editing from my computer screen is the most difficult for me. Printing a hard copy and editing from that is a bit better but still not as good as looking at the book.
Talking about my CCC book
Which brings me to publishing eBooks, not sure that I could self-edit and publish eBooks without an editor. I have my readers, and I self-edit, but most of what I find are in the book proof.
 So what have I learned from this? Read the work in another form to finish the self-edit. This helps in finding, too long paragraphs, and too long sentences and misused words. I also read my novels and nonfiction works out of order, random chapters, last chapter first, and then skip around and read, and I read the chapters slowly. Some suggest reading the entire work backwards, this works, and for many works well, but not for me.
One of my chapter books for kids - fun read

From my self-editing experience, I have found two tips to be the best. First, know when to stop, sometimes I put in a comma or hyphenate a word then re-edit and take them out – Stop already!
Second, read aloud, hear yourself. And now I have a third, look over a proof of the book.
 If I were to put a fourth here it would be, now you are finished, send it off to an editor.
This is the proof of my western, still finishing final self-edit
I am not like writers that believe all works must be professionally edited. There are so many editors selling services it is important and hard to find a good one, and one who charges a fee that is affordable.  It takes quite a few sales to make back a thousand or more dollars in editing costs. Everyone that writes expects or hopes to have a best seller, but if you believe that the book will sell only a hundred or fewer copies stick with a good self-edit and get on to your next book.
So far my best selling book - several hundred copies

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Book Sales Looking Up

Not sure I will ever figure out Amazon book rankings, but they are fun to follow. Actually I do understand that they are based on the old, “what have you done for me lately,” principle. That means that rankings are by both total sales and sales today, yesterday and this week.

My books have stayed pretty consistent in the top million. Doesn’t sound like much but there are 14,000,000 books for sale on the site. Of those 2,000,000 are eBook only, the other 12,000,000 available as books and many as eBook’s also.

Today I have all three of my books that are available as print books in the top 130,000 on Amazon – wow three books in the top one percent of all books sold on Amazon.
What does all that mean? Not much unless they are your books, then it can get really depressing or really exciting. Today it’s exciting, in a few days I will be back to 800,000 or so, but it is still fun to watch.

In other news, still working on revisions for my historical western, Commitment, wasn’t happy with the original eBook. That book is still available but wait for another week or 10 days and the new revised copy will be available and the book should also be available for the first time.
Still looking good to get my book of Christmas stories in the West published by November 1.

Below see screenshots from today’s rankings. I am saving these until I see better ones, hope it is not too long.
Many thanks to all of you who have taken a look and purchased my books.

Blessed and Thankful.

Product Details
·         Paperback: 258 pages
·         Publisher: Old Trails Publishing; First edition (May 18, 2015)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0692394885
·         ISBN-13: 978-0692394885
·         Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
·         Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
·         Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
·         Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#1686 in Books > History > Americas > United States > State & Local

Product Details
·         Series: Mike and Moose and Me Growing up Novels
·         Paperback: 136 pages
·         Publisher: Old Trails Publishing; First edition (April 16, 2015)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0692434070
·         ISBN-13: 978-0692434079
·         Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
·         Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
·         Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
·         Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
o    #4185 in Books > Children's Books > Humor
o    #4945 in Books > Children's Books > Action & Adventure

Product Details
·         Series: Mike and Moose and Me Growing up Novels
·         Paperback: 132 pages
·         Publisher: Old Trails Publishing; 1 edition (April 16, 2015)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0692432965
·         ISBN-13: 978-0692432969
·         Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
·         Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
·         Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
·         Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
o    #1975 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Humor & Satire > Humorous
o    #4948 in Books > Children's Books > Action & Adventure

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What If?

What If?
What could a fence post tell us if  fence posts could talk?

That's how I most often come up with ideas, what if?
What if this way your only ride to town?

I have two new books coming soon, one a collection of Christmas stories from out west, the other a modern-day western. The book of Christmas shorts, there will be 15 in all, 14 are finished, and it truly is a collection of what ifs. This book will be released November first and is so far without a title. However, back to the subject.
What if this guy was a Zombie? What if he lived next door?

Here are the, what ifs, I used for six of the shorts. It is important to know that this collection, all westerns, contain stories for adults and stories for kids. Some stories are of Santa Clause, and some are more traditional Christian Christmas tales. Some are a mystery, some romance and one or two may be a bit on the fantasy side. What if an old cowboy found red ribbons at Christmas time in the sage? What if the stranger was not what he seemed? What if you can go home again?  What if Santa really was? What if Prairie Dogs celebrated Christmas? What if a discontented, modern-day urban dweller slipped back into the 1800s?
What if this place was your new home?

I did this with both of my children's chapter books, Melvin the E Street Ghost and, Then Mike Said, “There’s a Zombie in My Basement." And I did it with my western mystery, Commitment, a book available as an ebook and soon as an actual novel that readers can hold in their hands and place bookmarks on the last page read.
What if you had a taste for Big Horn for supper?

Every writer comes up with lot's of great ideas and I bet most of them, somehow, start with, "What if."
What if you were here and needed to be over there?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Wyoming Vultures

There should be a story here somewhere.
I hate it when I am out for a hike and these guys are staring at me like they are waiting for me to go down. I am an old guy but not ready to go down yet.
Vultures - They really are pretty cool birds

Thursday, September 3, 2015

School Has Started and I am Going Back to Work

Wow, what a summer! I managed to keep up with my blog posts, kind of but did little other writing. My western novel, Commitment, is out in eBook, and I had hopes of getting the physical copy of the book out by July 1. Now it is September and still no book. Why? I decided to do a rewrite of part of the eBook before publishing the hard copy. New goal, both out by October 1. Hope I make it. Meanwhile, I am going to do a .99 cent sale on it until I get the new copy finished. Not that there is anything wrong with  it. I am not changing any of the plot or the characters, not even the cover just felt like it needed some word changes - likely didn't. This might make a great writing exercise, read the .99 cent version (in a few days when it goes on sale) then buy the $3.99 eBook with the changes and compare - just kidding!

In other news, my two children’s books

and my nonfiction book about the CivilianConservation Corps have had a roller coaster of up and down selling weeks. I sell a few copies and the book soars into the top ten percent of all books on Amazon, then no sales for a week or two and they fall to number 2,000,000 - crazy stuff.

I have sold more than 100 copies of my CCC book around this area. Wish those sales could be reflected as Amazon sales. However, I’m not complaining, making more than I thought I would on all my books. Not big money by any stretch, but when I make $50 in a week for a few weeks in a row I feel pretty good.

Enjoying the research on my new nonfiction and hoping to release some bits and pieces soon. It deals with Fort Laramie’s role on the plains and along the trails west.
Fort Laramie July 4, 2015

Still setting hard on my goal of releasing at least three books by the end of May. Guess that is the old school teacher in me, my year is September 1, to the end of May.
I like this hike - refreshing

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great book going