Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Permanent Man Season Premiere Cover & Pre-Order

Things are starting to take shape with the second season of The Permanent Man. It premieres on November 11, 2014. As I considered this upcoming season, I had to choose between using the same cover template as last season or making a new template.

I chose the latter to help differentiate the two seasons when browsing books online. Some of my decision processes for this season focused on different items. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Take a look at the cover below and read on for the changes I opted to make.

The first thing you'll notice compared to last season is that the series name is less prominent. Before, it stood out nice and big on the top of the cover. Now it's broken up on the right side with the words mixed together similar to a crossword puzzle. I did this because I wanted the episode's title to stand out more.

The episode title is now at the bottom, where previously I had my author name. It is the largest type on the cover. My author name is moved to the top, as I feel that's not as important with this being an episodic series. If you look at the box set cover for Season 1 that I did, I all but completely removed my name from the cover. I feel this gives it that television series feel you would get when browsing TV shows to watch on Amazon or Netflix.

I also had to decide how I would label the episode number. Would I continue the sequence by calling it Episode 13? Or would I separate the fact that it's a new season and start over at one? I again opted for the latter since I was also changing the look of the cover. So I list "Season 2" and "Episode #" on the cover. Because of this, I've also gone back and updated the Season 1 covers to say "Season 1 - Episode #".

Some things stayed the same though with small changes. The background image I used is the same from last season, though it is enlarged and rotated to be slightly different. And the artwork image effect I'm using is also the same, but this time it's a little larger.

So the cover is done, and on that note, I'd like to announce that the first episode is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. You can pre-order your copy by clicking here.

So what do you think of the Season 2 Cover Template? I'd love to here your thoughts!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Unspoken Stories Discounted August 18-23, 2014

Starting today and running through August 23, 2014, Unspoken Stories is being discounted off the regular price. Normally, the e-book costs $2.99. But starting today, it is only $0.99. It's best to get in on this deal early because the price will slowly go up over the days leading up until it is full price again.

A collection of five science fiction short stories that reach beyond the mind.

Includes the following stories:

Copy Bird: Bill is trapped and lonely. He breaks free of his prison and finds something he doesn't expect.

Going Home: Promises are important to keep, and Commander Patrick Murphy never wants to forget that.

Josie Dorri And The Coffee Ban: What if the government banned coffee? See what happens to Josie Dorri when they do.

The Present: Miles Gray has a good life, but doesn't realize it. Often, a trip through time is all that is needed to open up a person's eyes to how good they have it. 

Running To Keep Her: Neil is obsessed with exercise and eating right, but it's not for his health that he does it. He does it to keep her.

Read, enjoy, and open up your mind....

Download now at Amazon.com.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Amazon vs. Hachette Thoughts

This past weekend, I received an email from Amazon regarding the battle going on between them and Hachette. If you're unfamiliar with the debate, a quick Internet search on the matter will get you up to speed.

Amazon requested in the email that the authors they sent it to send an email to the CEO of Hachette, Michael Pietsch, stating very specific things within it.

Let's me clear. I'm me. And I'm not going to have Amazon telling me what to write. However, I do have an opinion when it comes to e-book pricing. So I decided to send the email to Hachette, not as a puppet of Amazon, but rather voicing my thoughts. Below is the email I sent to Mr. Peitsch and Amazon.

Dear Mr. Pietsch,

I'm not going to lie and say I know all the ins and outs of the battle going on now between Amazon and Hachette regarding e-books, their pricing, and the debate of Amazon not selling Hachette books because of it. I've read news reports and editorials on the matter but am smart enough to know that their are two sides to every story. I don't take sides with either Amazon or Hachette on this matter, despite being a self-published author who uses KDP to make a meager income.

You are no doubt aware that Amazon has contacted their KDP authors with the request to email you and to even consider including several points that fit their side of the story and their agenda. I'm sending this email, not to say I support what they are doing, but to simply give you my point of view when it comes to e-book pricing and authors.

I'm not one to want a publisher to speak for me and include me in a battle. It's why I self-publish. And I write for a hobby, not a living. I like being in control of everything I write from start to finish without someone hanging over my head and determining changes to my fiction that should be made to appeal to a more mass appeal audience. Or any other request that might kill the voice of my stories.

I understand the dilemma that publishers have today. How can they maintain the print publishing part of their business, which is so lucrative, and also sell e-books without one killing the other? The simple solution is to price the e-books comparable to the printed edition. This way, if someone wants the e-book, more profit is made per sale for the consumer's "convenience" factor. But also, some might just buy the print edition because it's the same cost and they get a physical copy. This is poor business adaptation.

Let me illustrate. As I said, writing is a hobby for me. My job that pays the bills is working within the printing industry, and I've done so for close to 20 years. Things have drastically changed in the industry due to high speed copiers and the Internet. Some customers can do printing themselves at a low cost or opt to not have it done at all and stick the newsletters, brochures, or other items up on their website.

At the company I work for, we have managed to stay in business by adapting. How so? By looking at the industry and figuring out what items still need the printed sheet. Letterheads, flyers, and brochures may not be needed but other items might, like large format signs and banners. We've adapted our offers to the consumer to make printing more relevant in more ways than I've listed here.

Of course, a book publisher has less versatility. But true to the human spirit, it doesn't mean they can't be creative or even know when to let things go and take their course. Lower prices are always more beneficial to the consumer and sometimes can lead to more profit because of increased volume in sales.

When a company plans ahead one, five, or 10 years what they want from their business, where the world will be at that moment, and how they can take advantage of those predictions, they thrive. It's why companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google stand where they do. But print publishers have been shortsighted in their focus. They want to maintain the old standards while adopting the new. Imagine if a horse dealer from the first half of the 20th century that tries to maintain that part of their business while also selling an automobile they made. Eventually, part of their business would become all but irrelevant. And which part do you think that would be? Imagine if they continued to stubbornly hold onto that portion of their business using strategies to keep both afloat. What if they told dealerships that sold their vehicles they must also sell their horses and at prices for both that they require? Would those dealerships agree to sell their products? The answer is obvious.

That is what I have to say on this matter. It's not exactly what Amazon wanted, but again, that's because they don't control me. I'm my own person with specific views. And even though I believe some of what they are doing is ridiculous, I know that they will continue to sell my e-books. And yes, I price my e-books much lower than my print edition books.

Lower e-books costs are beneficial for the consumer. They can be beneficial for your business. But that's only if you're willing to find a way to make it beneficial as opposed to punishing those who buy books from you.

And let's be honest, most people care very little about where their books come from. With the amount of books out their for people to choose, one publisher not being available won't hurt them. In fact, maybe there's a chance that a lack of publisher's books will cause the reader out there to find one of mine.

If that happens, I thank you greatly!

Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

Desmond Shepherd

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Permanent Man Season 2 Update

It's hard to believe that a year ago around this time, I had written all 12 episodes of The Permanent Man. Some were already finalized and ready to go and a few still needed that last copy edit and cover made.

Fast forward to now and things are much different for Season 2. I've written almost the first four episodes of the season. None of them has been copy edited. And I don't have any covers made.

Yes. I'm way behind schedule.

Life does this thing where it gets busier. I have a family with three children. I have a full time job. And I have other personal responsibilities that take up my time. Writing is not a career. Writing can't take the ultimate priority for me. My approach to it has changed over the past few years. Now I write when I can and if I have the energy. It is a hobby.

A few months back, I began considering not publishing a second season of The Permanent Man. Demand wasn't there for it, nor the money. So unless I began getting a flood of emails asking where the second season is come November when I said it would be available, I wasn't going to worry about it.

But there's this nagging bit in my brain that wants to continue writing the season. I know it's impossible to release on November 11, 2014 and then have an episode ready every week for twelve weeks or so. My time won't allow for it. Where I used to write a lot a couple of years back, my personal life has changed that.

So what can I do?

I could release them still, as I complete them. But even this I didn't like. It reminded me of what I did with the first book in the Miscorrection Trilogy. No, sporadic and TBD releases for each episode wouldn't be fair to those who have read and enjoyed the series.

I came to the conclusion that I could maintain the "TV" style formatting of the show but rather than work on a week-to-week release for each episode, I would do it month-to-month. This gives me time to write each episode. Edit. Make a copy. Release. Start over again. It puts me ahead of schedule.

For those who have become fans of the series, you can still look forward to the first episode releasing on November 11, 2014. And I have to say, it's a great episode. As the cliffhanger ending of the first season hinted at, the series moves in a new direction. Patrick Hold is still trying to make his way home, of course. But with the series now set in ... oh, I better shut up. I wouldn't want any spoilers for those who plan to read Season 1 and those looking forward to Season 2.