Another milestone, or three.

Good day friends, I hope this finds you well. Here’s another quick update on my journey to become a successful author.

First, I’ve made the leap and have enabled “Expanded Distribution” on Amazon, which means that Restoration is now available for bulk/wholesale orders from bookstores, libraries and academic institutions (not sure about that last one, maybe it will be required reading in English 101 someday? <grin>). I waited until six months after publication to do this because, quite frankly, I wanted to make sure I had a solid product. As of now, I think it’s as good as it can get (at least with my current level of knowledge and available editing resources) and I have (hopefully) found and fixed all the errors that slipped by in the initial release.

Second, I am starting to put myself out there in the hopes of connecting with book and film industry professionals. My ProConnect page on Kirkus is but the first step of many in this direction.

And finally, I have joined the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and am going to my first writing/publishing conference in April, where I hope to be able to meet lots of successful and hoping-to-be-successful authors like myself. And, if our schedules permit, I’d love to connect with as many of my Chicago-area friends as possible!

Next on the list? Scheduling a book tour with signings at local bookstores and finding potential speaking opportunities for book clubs, sci-fi groups/conventions, etc. And figure out how to do all this while writing, editing and publishing at least two new books this year…2019 is going to be a busy year indeed!

As always, thanks for reading and thank you for your continued encouragement and support!

Restoration Audiobook in Review

Just a quick note to let you all know about a new milestone: the audiobook version of Restoration is in review by Audible! The recording and editing is complete, now we just wait for 10-14 days to make sure it passes Audible’s quality standards. Assuming it does, it should be available by the end of the month!!

I will let you know as soon as it’s live. As always, thank you for your continued interest and support. – Dan

Happy New Year!

Well, here we are, another year come and gone. I hope your 2018 was filled with blessings and joy, and that your 2019 will be your best year yet!

My 2018 was a healthy mix of opportunities and challenges and I am looking forward to many more of both in the year ahead. Releasing Restoration was an important milestone but now I have to show that I have staying power, which means consistently producing stories that people will want to read!

My goal for this year is to release two books…and then two more every year thereafter. I have lots of ideas but the challenge is getting them from brain to paper. But that’s okay because if it was easy I’d get bored and move on to something else¬†because that’s just the kind of guy I am.

On a related subject: Congratulations to the winners of my December Goodreads Giveaway! As of this morning, 100 lucky winners have received free e-books on their Kindles and 256 more have tucked the book onto their Goodreads “I want to read” bookshelves for future consideration. Here’s hoping that they can’t wait for another promo and decide to spend the $2.99 and get it today! ūüôā

Happy New Year everyone, and may 2019 bring you all of the joy and happiness you deserve and then some!

Restoration is moving up on Amazon!

Just a quick post to celebrate some new firsts for Restoration on Amazon. As of today, it’s climbed to #14 in the Sci-Fi/Colonization¬†Top 100 Free category, #41 in Sci-Fi/Genetic Engineering and #51 in Sci-Fi/Dystopian. Yay progress! Now I just need to hit the overall Top 100 list (only 3705 to go)!!

A big thank you to everyone who is encouraging and supporting my work. I can’t wait to share more of the Restoration story with you in 2019!

Happy holidays, get Restoration for free!

Hello friends and readers,

To celebrate the holidays I am giving the e-book version of Restoration away for free! The free book promo starts tomorrow Saturday, December 15th and ends at midnight on Monday, December 17th. If you aren’t am Amazon Prime Member or Kindle Unlimited reader, this is your chance!

Also, I ran across this article today that I find both interesting and timely. One of the central underlying themes of the Restoration series is the concept of humans exploiting advanced technologies because we can without ever taking time as a society to as the big questions: Should we do it? And what are the long-term consequences of doing it?

Human history is rife with generations of people kicking the big can of problems down the road to future generations. I feel like we are living at an important inflection point where we can choose to once again kick the can, or we can bite the bullet and deal with the can today!

What’s in the can today? Well for starters we have the monstrous U.S. national debt, which as of this writing is rapidly closing in on 22 trillion dollars. Beyond that, we have the looming collapse of the U.S. healthcare system, massive privacy breaches because of the over-collection of personal data by a whole host of companies, the advent of the “sharing” economy (which to me seems like a lame excuse for corporations to not pay people a fair wage and benefits), the rapid development of AI and how it’s already having a significant impact on our financial markets, massive trade imbalances and wage disparity around the world and, of course, climate change.

I could go on but I think the point is well-illustrated and, quite frankly, it’s depressing when you sit back and really think about it. One of the reasons I wrote Restoration was to, hopefully, start a conversation. Will it work? Only time will tell.

As always, thanks for reading and happy holidays to you and yours!

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

My Goodreads Giveaway for December is Live!

Good day everyone. I hope your December is off to a fantastic start and that the last days of 2018 will be happy, joyful and blessed for you and yours.

Before I get to the giveaway, I have some very exciting news: I’ve actually sold 11 copies Restoration to readers outside of the U.S.! According to Amazon, four were from Canada, four from the UK and one each from Japan, Spain and Germany. I think it’s incredibly cool that people from all over the world are (hopefully) enjoying my work! Now I just need to sell a few million more copies and life will be grand. ¬†ūüôā

And on that note, I am pleased to announce that my Goodreads Giveaway for December is live! I am giving away 100 electronic copies of Restoration for the holidays. Enter today for your chance to win!!

A quick update on my in-progress books: My goal was to have The Fourth World ready for release by this month, but it’s not going to happen. I am on track to have the first draft done, but there is no way I can get through editing and revisions before the end of the month. So, it’s probably going to be January or maybe even February before it’s ready. And that’s going to put me a little behind on Revival, book two in the Restoration series. I will provide better dates when I am a little closer.

Lastly, the audiobook of Restoration is also running behind but I am hoping it will be ready for release this month. More on that in the next couple of weeks.

As always, thanks for reading and have a fantastic week ahead!

photo credit: whale05, Galeries Lafayette РChristmas Decorations via photopin (license)

The Importance of Editing

First, a couple of quick updates: Restoration continues to attract new readers (yay!), and I continue to work my marketing plan. Someone in one of the Facebook writer’s groups I participate in said it best: Being a successful author is a marathon, not a sprint.

So far, I’ve sold 142 copies and given away 204. I’m happy with these numbers because it means that ¬†I’ve progressed beyond close friends and family and have started to garner interest from complete strangers…an important first step!

Assuming current course and speed, the audiobook version of Restoration will be out sometime in mid to late November. I plan on doing a good bit of marketing in November and December let people know about this option.

My second novel, The Fourth World, is coming along nicely, but I am still a couple of weeks behind schedule. My wife and I are going on a ten-day vacation in November, and then comes Thanksgiving, so I am going to have to be especially diligent to not get further behind.

With regard to the title of this blog post: I just learned some valuable lessons about the editing process and how important it is to have beta readers. I went through a rigorous editing process before publishing Restoration, and I even paid a highly recommended professional editor to give it a final once-over. Even still, the book went to press with more errors than I would have preferred.

Most of them were minor punctuation and spelling errors, but I was shocked to see how many of them slipped through my process. “What was your process?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you!

Of course, I read the book…about two dozen times in fact, and in multiple formats (printed on paper, PDF on my laptop and Mobi on my Kindle Paperwhite). The problem with that was that I read it so many times I became blind to what should have been obvious errors. So, to combat that phenomenon, I purchased some editing software.

It identified a bunch of stuff and made some very good suggestions, but it had the annoying habit of suggesting corrections that I knew were wrong or didn’t reflect what I consider to be “realistic” speech between characters (it struggled at times with comma placement and dialogue).

Next, my wife and a couple of close friends read it…and they too had some great suggestions. But things still manage to slip through that gauntlet. So, I went back and re-read the book again, fixing errors as I went and hoping that my eyes would be open to anything else that had been missed.

After that was done I felt pretty good about the overall quality and decided to publish the book (fingers crossed!). Guess what…there were still errors. Thankfully, my father, being the loving, supportive parent that he is, bought a copy and dove in. The good news is that he loved the book and gave me a lot of positive feedback, but he also found several dozen errors that he was kind enough to type up and share with me. It probably helped that he is an English major, but I think that his critical eye and sincere interest in my success were the principle motivators behind his diligence.

The lesson I learned? Find as many people as possible like my father…people who not only have a good command of the English language (or whatever language you write in) but who also have a vested interest in your success. I wish the technologies in my book were real and I could clone my dad, but they’re not so I will have to improvise.

Please let me know if you would like to be a beta reader for future books, or if you have suggestions on how I can improve my editing process.

As always, thanks for reading!

Photo Credit: With Associates, The review part 1 via photopin (license)


My Writing Process, Part 2

First, a big THANK YOU to everyone who picked up a free copy of Restoration yesterday! As a new author, eyeballs and reviews are far more valuable than dollars. So, if you read it and enjoy it, please do me a HUGE favor and take a moment to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or both!). We all have limited time, and your review might be the thing that convinces someone to invest some of theirs in reading my book.

In Part 1, I talked about the importance of goal setting and time management. I won’t rehash that here except to say if you want to be a successful writer (or almost profession for that matter), set goals!!

A friend recently asked me how I keep track of things like interwoven storylines, logistics, and character development. Specifically, he wanted to know if I fully mapped out the storylines and character backgrounds before writing the novel since, as he put it: “The logistics in the story are very complex – but are fairly easy for the reader to keep up with”.¬†

He was, of course, talking about Restoration, and I took his question as a huge compliment as that is exactly what I hoped to accomplish! The truth is that I don’t have a process for keeping track of all of that stuff. For the most part, I just keep it in my head. Oh sure, I do have some story notes here and there, and I have a bullet list of characters that includes their full names, relationships to other characters and important events…but that’s it.

Here is my approach to writing in a nutshell:

  1. Come up with a story idea.
  2. Imagine the main characters and events that are required to drive the story forward.
  3. Think about the story and characters until it coalesces in my mind with enough clarity that I can “watch it”.
  4. Watch story play out in my mind…like watching a movie.
  5. Write what I see, hear and feel until the movie is over (ie. the book is done).
  6. Go back and re-write as required to clean-up mistakes, improve flow, strengthen dialogue and enhance character depth/interactions.
  7. Edit, edit and edit again. (This part drives my wife crazy, and I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Aren’t you done yet?” in the last months of writing Restoration. Each time I’d say “Almost, just one more round of edits and it should be there!”. Note to wife: I love you, baby. Thanks for keeping me on track!)
  8. Say a prayer, cross my fingers and click “Publish”.

And that’s it…at least that was it for Restoration. For my next books, I am hoping to add one more step in between 7 and 8:¬†7.1. Give an advance copy to my friends/Beta Readers so they can provide feedback BEFORE clicking “Publish” rather than after.

It’s difficult for an author to see all of their mistakes since our brains tend to show us what we think should be there (at least mine does). Since it’s new material to you, you will probably read it once and find several obvious mistakes. As the writer, I’ve probably read it twenty times and missed it every time!

In order to implement that step, I need a pool of people who love to read, enjoy providing honest feedback and who have the time (and the desire) to invest in someone else’s success. If that’s you, please let me know and I will add you to my list of Beta Readers. There simply is no substitute for another set (or ten) of eyes.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great week!