Monday, March 16, 2015

The two paths to reviews.

So, bit of a strange week for me here. Guardian of Isolation has been out for a little while now, and I've been trying to get ready to do something special for it. My thoughts had been focusing on Wayward Guardian and in doing another free promo for it in an effort to hook people and drive interest toward Guardian of Isolation.

Now I've done a free promo before. I learned a lot from my run, and then I had the chance to do another promo for my friend Vance Smith for his book series, Jack Lantern. This second promo I did for Vance went a heck of a lot better than my first one for Wayward did. Whereas I got 180 downloads for mine, he got 1800. I chalk it up to lessons learned of course. But you've heard this story before.

Back to the Guardian series. One of the hurdles with being both and independent author, and with doing a free promo, is at any given time, a large number of other small authors are trying to do the same thing you can. You need some way to stand out. The accepted wisdom on that is to get reviews on your book. That's a bit of a viscous cycle, because if you don't have reviews, no one wants to read your book, and if no one reads your book, no one reviews it.

Bit of a problem isn't it?

So how do you over come that? Over time you'll accumulate a certain quantity of reviews based just on sheer numbers, but you can't get those numbers if people don't want to take a risk on your book. Those first five reviews are the hardest, and arguably the most important.

The reason for that importance is that most book websites won't run your promo if you don't have 5 for more positive reviews on your book. But of course, if you can't run the promo, how can you get the reviews?

Two methods are open. Book bloggers, and paid reviews.

Book bloggers are fickle bunch, and get massive waves of review requests from all the authors that find themselves in a situation such as I do. They can't, and won't, read everything, and unless you are really compelling or (surprise surprise) have a few reviews already saying it's not a massive waste of time, they just won't. Or you'll have to wait forever. But book bloggers do have an advantage. They're unbiased. Well most of the time anyway. A review from a book blogger that says you're book was good, feels good, because you know they actually enjoyed it. It means more.

However, paid reviews have their own advantage, you're guaranteed a review, and usually within a time frame. But I've run into the uncomfortable fact that you can't be guaranteed an honest review, just a quick one. I had the pleasure of working with one nice reviewer, and I could tell by what she wrote on her reviews that she was an honest reviewer, but unfortunately, she stopped taking reviews. It really was a shame. I've found it difficult finding a paid reviewer that feels impartial and honest. I'm hopeful that I may find some, because the quick turn around time is very useful when you're trying to plan a marketing blitz.

I've decided that I might well start doing my own reviews on this blog, as I kind of feel it's a do as I do situation. We'll see. I'll start small, after all, I'd rather write my own stories than reviews.

Till next time, Wizard out.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Assorted madness

Good day readers. The Wizard reporting in!

I realize you haven't heard from me in some time, just been working on some lovely little writing projects. We've got a action packed year coming up for Ravania Entertainment. Of course by action packed, I just mean full of books.

Genesis Project is going to be flying off the ground this year, lots of books by the big cheese Aaron Smith, as well as many short story collections. GP has long been out flag ship line, but we've not had the books to back it up. We've had a lot of learning involved in this thing, and it's been a long road, but this year, we make it shine.

This is doubly exciting for me, and this is how I twist it back to me on my blog, because my fantasy novel is set in the GP universe. I am very excited for this book. It's all written, and mostly edited, I just need a cover. Well that, and the big cheese is going over it for me. It's going to rock.

In other news, my dear friend Vance is working on a story blog, it's called the Wish charmer saga. You can check it out here. It is shaping up nicely, and I really liked the format, so I've decided to one of my own.

Mine will be a comedic story about a mad scientist down on his luck. Hilarity will ensue. At least it will if I have any talent left. That'll be launching near the end of April, look forward to it!

The next thing on my list here is the great Johnny Mead. Johnny is a character in the Jack Lantern universe (Also done by vance, also totally awesome, check it here) who has been a long time waiting to see the light of day, but friends, that day will soon be upon us! Johnny will grace your lives with his overwhelming presence and will finally stop pestering me about it!

Well, I'll let you all know when that happens. For now, Wizard out!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

To do: Make a to do list.

So as you may or may not have noticed, Guardian of Isolation is in actual fact, not out yet. This is disappointing. Mostly to me, but I'm sure you've all been at the edge of your seats in anticipation.

Why the delay you may ask? It's simple really, I am apparently really bad at staying on task. Though mercifully, that isn't really the whole problem here. No, in this case it's more like I forgot what all needed doing, so I kept thinking that the finish line was close than it was.

This is a lesson that can be applied to life too, it's a very good idea to realize just what it is you are trying to do, and all the steps that are needed to get there. Seeing as I've only published one book, and that I wasn't as worried about building up Ravania at the same time, I might be forgiven for not really known what all I had to do. This time around, I've got more on my plate, because I've got promotions, and advertisements, and all kinds of good stuff to go along with the release of the book.

In the future, what this means is that I'll have to keep a to do list so I don't get carried away in my belief that I'm almost there. The to do list also has another bonus. As I check things off the list, I can look at it and be reminded that I am in fact getting stuff done, which is a huge boon when you want to keep moving.

Anyway, that's all I had to say tonight.

This is the Wizard, Wizarding out.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Guardian of Isolation.

Hello mostly humans!

I thought I'd drop by today and give you an update on my next book to come out. This is the sequel to Wayward Guardian, called Guardian of Isolation. It'll be the second book in the series, following an all new cast of characters, with a couple of old faces still showing up. It'll take place 40 years after the events of the first book, and will hopefully help to set the stage for the last two books.

I feel as though Wayward Guardian is kind of like Star Wars Episode 4, A New Hope, in that it's written in such a way that it could just be its own stand alone thing and be just fine right there. Of course, observant readers will notice that unlike George Lucas, I have opted NOT to wait to see if it was a success before releasing the second one.

What can I say, I'm impatient.

I'll be posting the cover images on the Ravania Facebook page shortly, giving you all a real sneak peek. I'm really happy with how the images turned out .

Now I've just got to get cracking on book three, Guardian Elect. Very excited for that one too, I just hope I'm up to the story telling challenge.

I'll be doing a special promo on Wayward Guardian in anticipation for the launch of Guardian of Isolation, so keep your eyes open! I'll announce that on the facebook page too.

Until next time, keep on keeping on. Wizard say what? WHAT!

Friday, December 12, 2014

One more day.

What would you do if you had one more day?

Frequently I ask myself that question. The answer always changes based on the kind of things I'm going through in my life. It's never exactly the same thing. There's frequently similar themes in my answers to this question, but I find in my thoughts a realization. If I only had one more day, then I've run out of time.

That is exactly what it means, I know. What I mean by that is if I'm only down to my last day, then I've failed in my mission. I want to make beautiful things. Things that move people. Things that touch people on a special level. I want to tell stories, make movies, make songs, be creative. I want to spread that joy that I've managed to find in my own life. If I only had one more day, then I haven't done that enough.

I'm working hard that I can do that, and that I can do that whenever the inspiration strikes me. Right now I work to bring my life around to a point where there are no more obstacles between me and my acts of creative expression. One by one, I break down those barriers. And one day at a time, I manage to find a little more freedom for creation.

But maybe that's been the wrong approach really. Maybe I should worry about what I can make today. The long projects have a place, a very important place, but maybe there's smaller things I can do that will help people now. Does that mean I'll write a short story every day? Or a poem? Hum a song? Probably not. I think what it means is I'll look more earnestly for small things I can do for people now.

If I had one more day left, and I had to decide what to do, I want my answer to be 'nothing different'. It seems like a fools errand. Everyone's always going off looking for happiness, but seldom do they seem to find it. I'd like to put forward that if we're trying to find happiness for ourselves, we'll never find it, but if we seek to help cause it for others, we'll be able to enjoy the surplus overflow.

Till next time, Wizard out.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Captain Fullside, Unintentional Pirate.

So I was at a bit of a loss as to what I should write today. I decided I'd do a little primer for a story I'm working on.

Last week I mentioned a long list of projects I'm working on. I mentioned on that was kind of light hearted sci-fi with more details to come. Well here are the details to come!

The project in question will be following the adventures of Captain Horrace Fullside, unintentional pirate. Horrace is kinda this loveable clueless chap. He's always wanted to captain a starship, and working at his fathers interstellar courier company, he'd been allowed to on a few occasions. But he always had more paper work to do when he got back, and he never felt like he got to be out on a ship as much as he'd like.

Well when his father won an election as the sector government, Horrace and his brother were left in charge of the company. Unfortunately for Horrace, this meant yet more paper work, so when his brother suggested a special mission for him, he jumped at the chance to get in a captains chair, for what might be the last time.

From here, the first part of the story will show how that might not be true. The universe I'm making is one with so much red tap and legal clap trap as to make it impossible to do something without cheesing off someone, or some government somewhere. As a result, almost by accident, Horrace becomes a pirate.

But he realizes that being a pirate is the most freedom he's ever had, so he just kind of runs with it.

I've been writing the first bit, and I'm already immensely attached to Horrace Fullside. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this I can tell.

Unfortunately, I will need to ask hard question on how I want to tell story. I think it could be really good as a serial, but I'm also rather impartial to full books. That's what I'm thinking over right now.

Well, there you go, ta ta for now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An alliance of Minds

Napoleon Hill, in his books about success, has an concept which he coined a 'Master Mind'. The idea behind this is that one would assemble a group of people with a shared vision, and together, work to bring this vision to fruition. There is a lot more to the concept, and a lot more depth to it than will be offered by that paltry sentence. If you aren't familiar with Napoleon Hill's works, I suggest you become so.

It occurred to me that I and the boys at Ravania have done exactly that. We are a group with a shared vision, who are all working together for a common goal. While it is true that each of us has a different flavour to said vision, we each understand that by working together, we stand to gain more than by working alone.

It also occurred to me that we had done so before I myself was familiar with Hill's work.

I just consider that a point for us really.

I never quite realized just how much I appreciated working with a team such as the one I'm part of until recently. We've got a diverse set of talents, and, more importantly, a myriad of different story telling styles and voices. It helps us to keep each other on our toes. We can look at the each others work from different angles and see things that the creator may have missed.

Not only that, but we also support and cheer each other on, this is especially important in the early stages of this game when you don't really have a whole lot going on for you. I suspect it'll still be important when we've started picking up speed, except it might be more as a means of keeping each other grounded.

Another thing is our ability to approach the problems of building our entertainment empire from different angles as well. It opens a host of new ways of solving said problems, and spreads the responsibility more evenly around.

All in all, it's very good. I'd highly recommend being part of a team. Anything you can do solo, you can also do as a team, and then you've got someone to split the pizza bill with.