Friday, January 17, 2014

Week One on the Racks

Thank you all for a great week one. It's proved quite an interesting ride. Many of you now have copies of the book, which is great! Many more of you have told me you still plan to grab it which is awesome as well! I'm humbled at the support all of you have offered.

Looks like I'll be doing a book signing in Athens around the first of March. Hopefully we can get the word out to many people by then and get a great turn out. I'm working on a few other means of getting this thing pushed out there as well.

In that same note, I could really use your assistance. If you've read the book, please review it on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, iTunes and/or anywhere else it's for sale. The more reviews we can get the more we can get people to take a look at it.

Also, drop me a note (or post on here! Blogs are for feedback!) with your thoughts on it. What worked? What would you like to see expanded on? I'm hard at work on book two, so feedback is always encouraged!

One last question for the day. For those of you who've read it, what would you classify it as? I can explain the book well but when people ask what to classify it as I find there doesn't seem a perfect fit. Amazon originally put it in "Children's --> Religion --> Eastern" of all things, which obviously doesn't really work. While there are many Eastern religion (along with a wide variety of other theological/mythological) aspects in it, I wouldn't really classify it as such, and it certainly isn't a Children's book. I've settled for now on "Fantasy --> Paranormal" and "SciFi --> Adventure". Not sure if those are the best places, but it's the best I've been able to come up with myself. Thoughts?

Thanks to you all!!!!!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Post Release Day - A Look Back and Forward

I've always loved stories.

I loved telling them, I loved hearing them, I loved reading them, and I loved playing them. When I got to college my first degree was in Photo-journalism, where I was able to collect and share stories. I then switched to theatre, where I was able to act out stories. I moved to Austin and I switched my major to Radio-Television-Film with an emphasis on screenwriting. I couldn't tell you how many creative writing classes I took along the way, but it was at least one per semester almost every year of my (slightly extended because I kept changing my major and was having fun) time in college.

I remember my Dad telling me around fifteen years ago that if I decided I wanted to do my own business he would help me get started. He asked what I wanted to do, and I said be a writer. He laughed and told me he could do many things, but by me a publishing company wasn't one of them. And he was correct, because fifteen years ago you really were at the mercy of the big six publishing companies if you wanted to get anywhere. It was as much or more luck and who you knew to get a book out as it was dedication and skill.

So I moved on to other things. I did videography, I did tech writing, and when I needed a steady paycheck moved into things like tech support and eventually insurance. The past several years I've worked as a trainer, where I've managed to continue telling stories in an effort to make my classes more interesting and keep my reps interested. I continued writing training documents and screen plays for training films and web based training, as well as technical documents and the occasional interview items. I published a poem here and there over the years and became a go-to person for coworkers who wanted to make their documents more interesting. In the back of my mind I always had that little dream though. For me being a writer meant being an author, and that was something I would one day do. One day.

Then something happened while I wasn't really paying attention. The world of fiction publishing had a clash with technology and self-publishing bloomed. I looked around and many of my friends who had continued writing for hobbies suddenly found themselves writing for profit, publishing their works and getting it out for the world to see. Some sold thousands, some sold two, but they were all doing that thing I had said that one day I would do.

I realized, a little over a year ago, that the only thing that was really stopping me from being a writer was me being a writer. I could either continue spending my eves watching TV and playing video games, enjoying other people's stories, or I could start spending my evenings writing my own stories. I could then do that thing I had long said I would one day do.

So I did.

For the past year I've spend much of my evenings after work back on the computer typing and retyping my story, getting it from the back of my head to the computer screen. I started with a few short stories. One of them was about a guy who woke up from a car accident to the realization that he didn't survive, and this weird guy was showing him around his new afterlife, which wasn't at all what he thought an after life should be. When my wife read it, she thought it was interesting and wanted to know more. So I started expanding it. After some 40,000 words or so, I realized there were more stories that needed to be told that my first person perspective didn't allow for, so I started over and rewrote it from third person, adding in more characters and more details.

I passed it around to a few friends kind enough to take time out of their lives to give me feedback, then proceeded to rewrite it several more times as they passed feedback back to me of what they liked and what they didn't like. I also began taking time to research how to do all the things I would need to do to self publish.

For those unaware, publishing companies do a lot of the work for an author, in exchange for a large chunk of the profits of a book. Self publishing means you get to keep more of the share for yourself, and in exchange you take on the massive workload that the publishing companies would have done for you. I followed blogs, I listened to friends, I watched what other self publishing authors were doing and what worked and didn't work for them and set about trying to make my story a real book. I found a friend whose art style matched what I was wanting for my cover and hired him. I found out how to get Amazon, iTunes, Barnes&Noble and others to sell your book. I edited and re-edited and then re-edited it again. I quizzed friends and listened when they gave me unsolicited advice. I started the often awkward feeling job of self-promoting and attempting to generate interest in my book.

And after all of that, "One Day" turned out to be yesterday. Because as of yesterday, the book was officially released. It's out in the public for the world to read, which is both scary and exciting. I put a lot of work into this, but I could not have done it alone.

Thank you to my wife, Crystal, for all of the help she's given me during this, and for putting up with me when I come home after being gone all day only to bury my head into the computer and start typing. Thank you to Deanna, Seth, and any others who gave me advice on the wonderful world of self publishing. Thanks to Crys, Charlie, Lyndsey, Deanna, Misty, and everyone else who read the early drafts of my work and gave me the great feedback that allowed me to write a far stronger story than I ever could have alone. Thanks to Misty, Shawn, Mom, Carolyn, Cindy, Steph, and all of my other friends and family members who have helped and continue to help in promoting me. Thanks to my Dad for his help in collecting many of the stories that would become part of this.

Thank you to all of you who have purchased the book already. I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, please write some online reviews telling others what you thought. To those who intend to buy it, a pre-emptive thanks to all of you as well.

And to you, the reader of this blog, thank you as well. Your continued support of me in this means more than you know.

It's been a lot of work, but it has been well worth it. I can now add "Published Author" to my list of accomplishments. But I have no intentions of stopping there. Book two is about half written. I've still got plans to do an audiobook version of book one. Other stories are already floating in my head, wanting to be told, and stories I wrote in the past now beckon me to return to them and make them worthy of publishing. Plus, there is a potential collaboration project I've been discussing with a friend that I hope turn into reality.

And of course, there's still a ton of promotion to be done on Waking Up Dead.

But for now, I wanted to take a moment to look back and appreciate all that has passed to get me here, and to savor the moment. Life if pretty good. Let's keep making it better.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Waking Up Dead is available!

Do you like Kindle version or paperbacks? Amazon has both here. Prefer Barnes and Noble for your Nook? No problem, you can grab that here. Want a specific type of download? Smashwords allows you to do that here. Prefer your iPad? I'm even in iBooks. Whatever your preference, I'm there. Download and enjoy, folks! Let me know what you think!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tomorrow's the Day! Want some exerts? (Spoiler free!)

What if death was not what you expected?

“Thomas, lad, I’m sorry to break the news... but you’re dead.”
Thomas ignored the absurdity of the statement and continued to take in his surroundings.

How would you handle saying goodbye to those who lived on?

“Will you love me forevers?” she whispered. It was the question she always asked. The reassurance that he wouldn’t do what he had just inadvertently done… leave her alone.
“For evers and evers.” He had always believed those words to be true, but now somehow it felt like a lie.

What would you do?

“Wait. I’m dead and you want me to work?”
Jack shrugged. “People get bored.”

Would you take risks?

“You better hurry, Red. I can’t keep this up!”
Heather didn’t need the reminder to know what the stakes were. When she first joined the Order, most of their jobs were fairly easy with two people. Lately every job had seemed a fight for their existence. This one was no exception.

Who would you trust?

“Listen, my son. I’m not here to turn you against your friends. I just hate to see someone used for their abilities without their knowing it. You are special, there’s no doubt about it, and many people apparently know it.”

Waking Up Dead

You know, I thought when I died…. I really thought at the time that was the end of my goodbyes. Either the Good book was right and I was headed to a place of endless happiness, or it was complete rubbish and I would just cease to be. Either way I was prepared. But this… After all this time I am still not prepared for this.

A River Sanctuaries Novel. Coming Jan 10, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Two Days!

Day after tomorrow! How would you say goodbye to your loved ones when you were the one who left them? Would you risk not seeing them again if it meant protecting others? What would you say if you could see those who have gone before? In two days you can find out what Thomas Salazar does when Waking Up Dead goes live!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's Done

I've heard it said that you never really finish a piece of art, you just reach the point that you're willing to let it go. I fully agree with that. Every time I read through Waking Up Dead I found new things that I wanted to add, update, alter, or otherwise edit. But there comes a time when I have to let the story go and move on to the next one, and that time is now. I've uploaded the for sale version to Smashwords (which sells to iTunes, B&N and others), Amazon, and CreateSpace (which will be doing physical copy versions). Covers are all completed and uploaded, including the back cover for the physical copy, which my awesome artist Greg was kind enough to create a new seal for:

Paperbacks are ordered, though I might not have them in hand until the Monday after release. Still, if any of my Austin peeps are interested in a physical copy, let me know and I'll be happy to pass them on (outside of Austin might take me a bit). Signed copies from me will be going for $10. Digital copies will be available for $4.99 online most anywhere in the world. I've put a lot of time and mind into this project, and I'm very heartened by the feedback I've gotten from my beta readers. I just hope the rest of you enjoy it at least half as much as I've enjoyed writing it. It'll be available a week from Friday. Thank you all for your support!