Tag Archives: CreateSpace

Let The Good Times Roll

(J.D McPherson reference!)

Well, I promised a big announcement in January.

First of all, I’ll note something that’s not really a surprise, it’s a question of simple math: I published Welcome to Newtonberg in 2012.  So 2017 is the fifth anniversary of that book.

Has it been a success?  Financially, no.  I mean, I’m certainly not out any money since it cost little to publish it. I did all of the file preparation, design, and editing myself (along with a small group of beta readers looking for both typographical errors and continuity problems).  But any profit to speak of is minimal.

However, I’ve always said the entire process was more about getting the books out there: getting the stories told.  And in that respect, it’s been successful.

But 2017 doesn’t just mark the fifth anniversary of Welcome to Newtonberg: it actually marks 25 years since I wrote the first Newtonberg story.  “A Tear for Billy” was written one afternoon in 1992 in the computer lab at Buffalo High School in Buffalo, Texas.  It was written on an old IBM PC Jr (remember those?) using whatever word processing program was available (it might have been WordStar, but I honestly can’t remember).

“A Tear for Billy” wasn’t a great story, but it established the town, and over twenty years later, it served as the springboard for All That Remains.  For these reasons, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for it, no matter how pretentious and horrible it may have been.

I can hear you saying to yourself now: “Great.  Wonderful.  What’s the announcement?”

There are two, really:

  • Announcement #1: In Fall 2017, I will release a special “25th/5th Anniversary Omnibus Edition” of The Road To Newtonberg, a one-volume collection of all three Newtonberg stories. While there won’t be sweeping changes to the content, I will take the opportunity to correct a few errors that I’ve found, clarify a few plot points, and set everything up for…
  • Announcement #2: I am currently outlining/researching my next book. I can’t promise it will be published in 2017 as well, but I’ll try my hardest.

    While not set in Newtonberg, it is connected: it involves Ray Murchison. Who is Ray Murchison? He’s Rick Murchison’s younger brother, and Stu Murchison’s father. I won’t give much away in terms of the plot, but let’s say it involves first love and a lot of 1980s pop culture references in the small town of Schaefer, Texas (about 75 miles from Newtonberg).

    (For those of you have been following this site for a while, you might remember a vampire book in the works at one point.  Turns out I don’t do supernatural well.  While getting the characters established for that book, I found out that the main character, Ray, didn’t really want to go fight vampires.  He had another story to tell — this is it.)

What’s that I just heard?  A collective sigh from readers silently complaining to themselves that they’ve already paid for three separate books and now I’m asking them to pay again for a one-volume edition?  Well, actually… no (and yes).

If you downloaded the eBooks, I will also be updating the eBook files on Amazon and SmashWords.  So you can go back to those sites, log into your account and download the latest version for free. (In fact, if you bought it from Amazon, you can log into your account and go to “Manage Your Content and Devices”. It will let you know there that an updated version is available.)

If you bought the physical books, I’m afraid I can’t offer free copies of those.  I will be updating the text files at CreateSpace so all subsequent printings will have the same corrections/updates that are in The Road to Newtonberg.  However, if you purchased the print books and want to read the corrected versions as eBooks, contact me through my email or Facebook and I’m sure we can work something out.

Still, if you are considering upgrading your collection to the one-volume edition (or if you only bought one or two of the books originally), I plan to offer the print version of The Road To Newtonberg at $14.99 retail, which is only $5 more than one book in the series on its own.  The eBook will likely be $3.99, which is only $1 more than Back to Newtonberg on its own, and $1 less than buying All That Remains and Back to Newtonberg individually (since Welcome to Newtonberg is always free for download from SmashWords)

So there you have it: my big announcement for 2017. To quote Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters (the original, good version from 1984 — not the remake):

“I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! LET’S DO IT!”

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Filed under All That Remains, Back to Newtonberg, Notes from the Author, The Road to Newtonberg, Welcome to Newtonberg

My Little Town

(Paul Simon reference!)

Lots of important news!

First of all: November 1, 2014, is the launch date for Back to Newtonberg.

On that date, it will be available as an eBook from SmashWords and Amazon. Over the next few weeks, it will make its way into the Kobo store, iTunes, and other online retailers. It is already available for preorder from Amazon & SmashWords.

Both the regular and large print books will be available from Amazon and CreateSpace immediately, and from Barnes & Noble and other retailers after that. Your local bookstore should be able to order it for you if you don’t want to order it online.

Secondly: the large print versions of ALL of the Newtonberg books will now be available from Barnes & Noble and other retailers. Up until now, they were only available from Amazon and CreateSpace.

And last of all: eBook prices have changed at SmashWords. Back to Newtonberg will still be $2.99. The cost for All That Remains has been reduced to $1.99.

And Welcome to Newtonberg is now FREE.

That’s right — FREE.

No discount codes. No coupons. No nothin’.

Gratis.

F-R-E-E.

Now for the caveat: THIS IS ONLY AT SMASHWORDS. Due to their restrictions, Amazon will not allow me to set the eBook price at their site any lower than $2.99. So if you buy any of the eBooks there, the price is still $2.99. I can’t do anything about this unless I give them exclusive distribution of the title, and I won’t do that.

So there we have it, folks. Just because I’ve been slow in updating the blog doesn’t mean I’ve been bone-idle. I’ve been busy. Working to bring the new book to you a month ahead of schedule. And in the immortal words of Bryan Adams: “Everything I do, I do it for you.”

(I’m not sure if I apologize for that bad song reference or not.)

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Filed under All That Remains, Back to Newtonberg, Notes from the Author, Welcome to Newtonberg

It’s Me…

It’s been a long time since I wrote, but it’s been a very productive time.

I finished the final edits and layouts of Back to Newtonberg and submitted them to CreateSpace. I am happy with the digital proofs for both the regular and large print editions, so I ordered print versions last weekend and I’m expecting them either tomorrow or Friday.

Also, CreateSpace has changed for the better — it is now FREE to put your book into expanded distribution (it used to cost $25). So now ALL print editions of my books — both regular and large print — will be available from all major retailers.

I have the eBook version mostly ready — I just have to go back and add italics, underlines and boldface.  When that’s done, it will be ready to submit to SmashWords.

Once I sign off on the print editions and get the SmashWords version approved (and the corresponding KDP version for Kindle), I’ll be restructuring the pricing on the previous books. I won’t reveal my plans now, but I will be making the announcement soon.

All in all, it’s been a long trip to get Back to Newtonberg ready for you, but I’ve enjoyed it.

I hope you do, too.

Next time, I promise not to take so long to post.

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Filed under Back to Newtonberg, Notes from the Author

That’s Just About Right…

(Title courtesy of Blackhawk)

Well, I finished the first draft of book three today at 10:49 am. It is 18,604 words, nine chapters and 111 pages. This places it right in between Welcome to Newtonberg and All That Remains in terms of length.

At the moment, the book still bears the title Back to Newtonberg, and I think it might keep that title. What started as a matter of convenience as a working title started to take on a new meaning as the book progressed.

So what’s it about? Well, it pretty much picks up the modern characters from Welcome to Newtonberg and some of their storylines, and throws a few new ones into the mix (including one major new character who is currently my favorite). Then it takes a bit from All That Remains (readers who were disappointed that Maggie and Billy’s relationship didn’t have a proper resolution should be pleased) and ties it all together.

I really like this book (don’t all authors say that about the book they just finished?). I especially like the chemistry between the new character, Mike and Janet. I hope you will, too.

One more editing session this week, then I’ll set it aside until July. Then I’ll read it over again, make any changes and release it to my beta readers for feedback.

More to come. Thanks for being patient, and I hope you’ll enjoy Back to Newtonberg once it gets released this fall!

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Filed under Back to Newtonberg, Notes from the Author

The Best of You

…Or, “Self-publishing, Mariachi-style”

I’ve been (re-)reading Robert Rodriguez’s books Rebel Without a Crew and RoadRacers: the Making of a Degenerate Hot Rod Flick. This must be my third or fourth time through Rebel and my second through RoadRacers, and it finally struck me: self-publishing is actually doing what Robert Rodriguez did, but with the printed format instead of films.

Let me explain: Robert Rodriguez made his first movie, El Mariachi, for $7,000. He was the entire crew. He conceived it, wrote it, shot it, edited it, and managed to get one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood to sell it to Columbia Pictures — even though that was not his original plan.

Well, the concept, writing, shooting and editing were, but he never planned on the movie being released theatrically. His original plan was to shoot three movies directly for the Mexican home video market, make all his mistakes there, and then show up in Hollywood ready to take on a “real” movie.

Self-publishing is doing the same thing. We are conceiving, writing, editing, formatting, and submitting our works to be published; either in eBook or print form, or possibly both. We ARE the crew. We’re learning as we go, and we’re saving a ton of money. And then, maybe… MAYBE… an agent or publisher will notice us and give us our big break.

Or not. Either way, the stories get out there for people to read, right?

In his books, Rodriguez talks about shooting “Mariachi-style.” This means taking inventory of your assets and working from there. When he wrote El Mariachi, he knew he had access to certain places for filming, specific guns, which type of camera. He knew his limitations and worked within them. Anything else would have cost more money.

With self-publishing, you do the same thing. If you have access to a computer with Microsoft Word, that’s great. You don’t have to pay extra. If not, use one of the free programs that are compatible with Word.

Need help formatting? Decide on your book’s size before you start, then download the free template for it from CreateSpace or Lulu or wherever you choose to publish.

If you’re designing your own cover, this means either utilizing your own artistic talent or that of someone you know who will work with you at a substantial discount — or better yet, free. In my case, it means going out with my sister and nephew to take pictures, then deciding which one fits my idea for the book cover.

One of the things I’ve talked about on this blog is free software, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. My first two books were written using Microsoft Office. For my third, I’ve swapped over to Atlantis, which is portable and free so I can use it on any Windows-based computer with a USB port that I have access to. I will still do my final layout in Word — but that will also be free, because I already have it. If my computer isn’t working, I can do it at the public library.

The photo editing software I use is free (and a lot of it is also portable). Between FotoSketcher, PhotoScape, and GIMP, I’ve got it covered. I use doPDF to create the final cover art and book file for CreateSpace.

The one place I fall down in Mariachi-style publishing is in self-publicity. While Robert Rodriguez is a master of putting himself out there, I’m still not at that point. I know that if I want to be more successful I’ll have to get over it. Or get over myself. Whichever it takes.

All I know is that I’m having fun. And if writing isn’t fun, you’re not doing it for the right reasons.

(Oh, by the way — that’s a Foo Fighters reference in the title.)

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Filed under Notes from the Author, Publicity