Monday, January 31, 2011

Who Are You?

What defines a person? Is it their career? Their hobbies? Their personality?

Many things tell people who we are, but often, we use our career to define ourselves. I’m an engineer, I’m a mechanic, and I’m a pizza delivery person. But is a career so important that it makes us who we are?

In my full time employment, I am a customer service representative for a printing company. It’s my job. It helps me pay the bills. But by no means do I believe that having that job defines who I am as a person. I believe many things define a person and trying to pinpoint all of them would be near impossible.

When I look at myself, I see many different aspects. Essentially, when it comes to this blog, I’m a writer. That is what I define myself as here. At home, I’m a dad with a family. When I’m with friends, I’m something else. And it just keeps on going.

We are who we are when we need to be it. No person should limit himself or herself to being one thing. It takes away from who you are as a person, and gives others a very shallow view of what makes you, you.

Never limit yourself to a field, description, or one word. We are all complicated creatures, and it is only appropriate that we portray ourselves that way.

 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kindle Direct Publishing

If Amazon did not allow self-publishing on the Kindle format, part of me believes I may not have begun writing the Miscorrection series. Once I saw that they allowed for it, I had my first motivation to write.

More importantly, Amazon made it easy to self-publish. If a person was compelled to write something, they can use Kindle Direct Publishing to get that work out there for others to see and purchase.

You can upload your printed work to the service in a number of formats, but I find that saving it in an HTML format works the best. If you upload from Microsoft Word, the files have a tendency to get a little messed up. The great thing is you can save your written works to HTML from within Word. So, you don’t need to know all kinds of coding just to make it work.

After your HTML file is made, put it and any linked graphics into a folder. After that, compress it and save it as a ZIP file. Then it is ready to be uploaded through the Kindle Direct Publishing web site. Fortunately, you will be able to look at a preview of the file as it will appear on a Kindle to see if everything uploaded without a problem. If you do find problems, just go back to your original file, fix them, and go through the above processes again.

To get the best results, make sure to setup your paragraph settings and page breaks in your word processing program before saving to HTML. This will save you the headache of trying to get the word formatting consistent throughout your entire published book. Also, I ran into problems with my cover graphics not showing up in the final Kindle file. There was a weird linking issue to the graphics that went wrong in the HTML. This is an easy fix though. Just right click your HTML file and click to open it with Notepad. This will bring up the HTML code. Browse to where it lists the graphic in the HTML. You can see what the file is named by looking in the folder where you placed your files. Most likely, the image names were changed to ‘0001.jpg’, ‘0002.jpg’, and so forth. A quicker way to find the image link in the HTML code is by clicking ‘Edit’ along the top menu bar and then clicking ‘Find’ in the submenu. Then you can type in the image name easily. My images were showing as being in a folder like this: images001.jpg. All I did was delete the ‘images\’ part of the code. This told it that the image was within the folder where the HTML file was. After this, my front and back cover images showed up in the preview window properly.

This is very basic information on using the Kindle Direct Publishing. For deeper information, they do have a support section along with community forums. With those tools you should be able to find the answer to any question or problem.

So what are you waiting for? You know you have a great idea or story to write about. Make it happen!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Felix Culpa Teaser

Below is the teaser paragraph that can be found on the back cover of Felix Culpa:
My name is Adalyn. Imagine having the perfect life. In this life, you live in a beautiful home and neighborhood. Your parents have successful careers that allow you to live comfortably. Take all of that and twist it around. That’s what happened to me. I found the life I knew was swept out from under my feet. On my first day of this new life, things would take place that would make me long for what I had in the past. Despite the horrible events that happened, that day was important. And in the end, I wouldn’t trade it away for the solar system.


Felix Culpa will be available on Amazon for purchase, once it goes through Amazon's certification process. That should be approximately one to two days.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

From a Nobody to a Nobody

Writing the Miscorrection series has been a lot of fun. While I enjoy writing it, my goal is for other people to enjoy reading it. This means that I have to somehow put the stories out there and make people aware they exist. This is a very difficult task, mainly for the reason that I am a self-published author and writing is a hobby for me. Since that is the case, I have no marketing dollars to advertise the series. So how can I get my writings noticed by other people?

Phase One: I attempted to use Facebook ads to promote the book. Facebook had given me a $50 credit for advertising. I put it to use and do you know what happened? Nothing. Sure, I got some impressions and a few clicks on the ad. But the result was that my Miscorrection Facebook page saw no additional fans and no additional sales of the series.

Phase two: Twitter. I began using Twitter to advertise. Since the Miscorrection series is mainly available for the Kindle, I searched Kindle related posts on Twitter. Whenever someone was looking for something to read, I would suggest Miscorrection. I offered to loan the stories and even give them away. The result? One person said they would read Sunrise if I loaned it to them. There was no increase in sales.

Phase Three: Back to Facebook. Utilizing the Miscorrection and Amazon Kindle Facebook pages, I set out with a plan. First, for the Miscorrection Facebook page I stated that for every 50 fans the page receives, I will give away one copy each of Sunrise and Arrogation. On top of that, I vowed to give away an Amazon Kindle if the Miscorrection series made 400 total sales (this is still in the works, so make sure to follow the directions and you can win!). I also would help people on the Amazon Kindle Facebook page, giving suggestions and mentioning the series.

So how did Phase Three go? I found more success than before. Most of these attempts were in January 2011. And at the time of this writing, there were ten sales of the series in January. This is a lot more than the previous seven months, which totaled seven sales.

Another part of my marketing effort was to get people interested in the series. So, I decided that I would give away the first story of the series on my blog. There have been somewhere around ten people who have clicked through to download the free story. My hope is that this captures their interest and they will want to read the following stories in the series.

Overall, I can say that I have found some success in getting people to read my stories. I want more people to enjoy them, so I will continue my efforts. And if you have already found you have an interest in the stories, be sure to spread the word. I appreciate your support!

 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Felix Culpa Cover Art

After a long delay, the release of Miscorrection: Felix Culpa will happen within the week.

One important thing a book needs, even if it's digital, is a cover. You may have noticed that the covers for Sunrise and Arrogation look similar. I did this to help people who are browsing for the book to see that the stories are all part of the same series. They should be easily identifiable.

The covers have a few variations between them: The story title, the story's position in the series, and the background color. If you look at the background color, you will notice that it gets slightly darker with each story's release.

What I like about the cover art for all of the stories is that they are simple. The background graphic plays into the story well. And the look of it reminds me of old time science fiction.

Below is the cover art for Felix Culpa. This includes the back cover, which has a teaser for the story. Feel free to tell me your thoughts on the artwork and the teaser. I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Short Story, Novella, Novel, etc...What's the Difference?

When I set out to write my stories in the Miscorrection series, I decided to write them as short stories. At least that is what I decided to term them. My reasoning was that a short story is short. I concluded that if you could read the whole story in thirty to forty-five minutes, then that was a short story.

But an interesting thing happened as I began diving into writing even further to get a better understanding of things. And then yesterday, via Twitter, someone sent me a short story that he wrote. Its title is Epoch’s End. It really is a good short story and takes a span of about three to four minutes. I suggest you read it, if you have the time.

This is a true short story. And really, it testifies to how challenging it can be to write a short story. Epoch’s End is a little over 900 words, and yet it is able to tell you so much as you read it.

This led me to question what I am calling the stories in Miscorrection series. Can I label them as short stories? or are they something else? After doing some research, I realized that they are not short stories at all.

According to the web site Fiction Factor, my stories are actually novelettes. A novelette consists of about 7,500 to 20,000 words. The web site says “often a novellette-length work is difficult to sell to a publisher. It is considered too long for most publishers to insert comfortably into a magazine, yet too short for a novel. Generally, authors will piece together three or four novellette-length works into a compilation novel.”

This sounds about right to me. You may have noticed that each story for Miscorrection is a part of “Book 1”. Sunrise is “Book 1 – Story 1”, Arrogation is “Book 1 – Story 2” and so forth.

In the end, when the first book is complete, will this make my stories a novel? After all, it will probably be in the 50,000 to 100,000 words range. I would have to say no, it would not be a novel. While the whole story is told and makes up “Book 1”, the writing is not in the detail that you would find in a novel. Each story is its own, and through reading each story you will see a larger story unfold.

For a more thorough breakdown of how stories are classified, check out Fiction Factor and their descriptions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Can I Borrow Your Book?

Recently, Amazon opened up the Kindle to allow for book lending. It's about time that they allowed for this, since one of their direct competitors, the Barnes & Noble Nook, has had this feature for a long time. There are a few things that you need to know when it comes to book lending.

  1. A book can only be loaned if the publisher allows for it. (Don't worry, all books in the Miscorrection series will always be lendable!)

  2. You have seven days to accept a loan from the time you receive the notification that it is available.

  3. Once you have accepted a loan, you have fourteen days to read it. After this time, the book will be "returned" to the lender.

  4. If you loan out a book, you cannot read it during the loan period.

  5. You can only loan a book out once.

  6. Loans can be read on your Kindle device or on the Kindle apps that are available for various platforms.


This is all well and good, but you may be asking yourself what good is it for you. Perhaps you don't have many friends with a Kindle to loan and borrow books. Well, you're not the first person to ponder this problem. There have been several web sites set up to allow for easy lending and borrowing of books with the greatest number of people, the Internet.

The web site I am using is www.KindleLendingClub.com. The web site is very easy to use, and it is still in beta. After you setup your account, you enter in books you have for loan and ones you want to borrow. It's that simple. Then, just wait, and soon you'll be receiving emails saying your requested book has been loaned to you. And don't forget to check for those people who might want to borrow a book from you!

The one thing this has shown me is that the community is very giving. People aren't necessarily looking to trade. I've received a couple of loans without sending any in return. The more giving everyone is, the better this service becomes.

So what are you waiting for? Get loaning!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Get Miscorrection: Sunrise for Free!!!

Below you can find a link to a  copy of Miscorrection: Sunrise. I hope you enjoy reading it. I am looking forward to hearing your comments and questions about it. If you find this interesting, there are more stories in the series that you can find available for the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook.

While you do not have to pay a thing for this story, I do ask that you spread the word to people you know, especially if you like it (and any of the other stories in the series for that matter). Of course, if you would like to show your appreciation for the story, you can choose to pay whatever you want using the ugly "Donate" button below which will redirect you to the evil PayPal.



Sunrise (Miscorrection) by B.C. YoungMy name is David. On an ordinary day, my grandson and I had set out to do some ordinary tasks. However, the events of that day brought things that neither of us could have expected. The result may be something we do not like, but a motivation to try and make a difference. Whatever comes of that day is anyone's guess. There is no doubt that a new beginning is upon us, and as is the case with every new beginning, you never really know how it is going to end.

Miscorrection: Sunrise is the first in a series of stories. Each story stands on its own, but also will tell a larger story arc as the series continues.

Other stories in the series include:

Miscorrection: Arrogation (Book 1 - Story 2) Available on Kindle or Nook.
Miscorrection: Felix Culpa (Book 1 - Story 3) Available on Kindle or Nook.

Start reading the series that The Scattering blog has labeled as Kindle TV.

The files are available for viewing in the Kindle format or EPUB format. If you plan to read this using your Kindle, simply copy the PRC file to the 'Documents' folder on your Kindle. If you want to read it in the Kindle format on your PC, go to this link: http://amzn.to/NtyFL . If you will be reading this in the EPUB format, your ereader should have no problems using the file. If you want to read this on your PC, you can download the Adobe Digital Editions software for reading here: http://tinyurl.com/2eq6z8.

Thank you for your support and be sure to let you friends and family know about this free story!

To continue reading further stories in the series, look for the Miscorrection series on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Reveal

How do you write a story with an ending that surprises? That question is what I am asking myself as I begin writing story four in the Miscorrection series.

The direction my story is going to take is known. However, it is not known how it will unravel. My goal is to write the story to make the reader think that they know what is happening. They need to believe they understand what the ultimate goal is going to be. But at the end, while what happens will be in line with their thoughts, the ending will be more than they expect.

This is my dilemma. Slowly, hints of information will need to reveal themselves. Some misdirection will no doubt need to take place. All of this to reach the finish line that leaves the reader satisfied and not frustrated.

Perhaps it’s happened to you. You’re watching a movie, TV show, or reading a book. You don’t know how it is going to end, or you think you do. But when that ending comes, it pulls the rug underneath your feet. Rather than being impressed by the disclosure, you are left aggravated and you feel tricked by what took place. It felt as if the ending didn’t match up with the rest of the story.

I can think of a few instances where this happened to me, and I hated it. An ending, no matter how surprising, can’t leave the reader or viewer feeling as if he couldn’t have seen it coming. They must be surprised but conclude that had they looked at the evidence more closely, they would have reached the conclusion of the ending anyway.

So this is where I stand. Reveal too much and the ending makes no impact. Reveal too little, and the reader becomes annoyed. It must be just the right amount of revelation and hidden information. I will attempt this balancing act, and only you can tell me if it has success.

 

Kindle TV (review: Miscorrection series)

Below you can find a link to a review of the first two stories in the Miscorrection stories. A special thank you goes out to Isabela Morales of The Scattering blog for her review.

Kindle TV (review: Miscorrection series).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Felix Culpa...Who Is That Man?

An interesting thing happened when I told my wife the title of the third story in the Miscorrection series. She thought the title was the name of a character in the story.

I’ll admit Felix Culpa does sound like a character name. In fact, using it as a name would have fit right along with how I have named some of the characters. But this is not a name. Well, it’s the name of the story, but not of a person.

The title serves to define the events that take place during the story, much in the same way that Arrogation did. On the other hand, Sunrise had more of a metaphorical meaning for that story and the overall larger story. Felix Culpa is also metaphorical and compliments Sunrise very well.

How did I happen upon the name? Well, I was reading a book on my Kindle, Foundation’s Fear by Gregory Benford, when I came across the word felix. As I do with any word I’m unfamiliar with when reading on my Kindle, I immediately highlighted it to get the word’s definition. And from there I was able to find felix culpa. The phrase fit the third story so well that I had to use it for the title.

Names and titles are sometimes difficult to create. Sometimes they happen by accident. Sometimes the names are a result of trying to define the character in the story. Sometimes, quite plainly, I just make them up, forming my own names, such as the name of the Karhath.

So many pieces need to fit together to make the story enjoyable, believable, and unique. Names and titles are just one piece of the puzzle that helps to put it all together.

Look for Miscorrection: Felix Culpa soon, available for the Amazon Kindle.