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Monday, November 25, 2013

Price Drop on Volume 2 & Volume 3 - Now $0.99

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post detailing my experiences through my first year as a published author.  One of the points I made was how it was a struggle to get some consistency on readers and the ups and downs with sales.

After writing it, I started to think about what I wanted as a writer.  I realized that with my modest sales, I wasn't going to retire to a gold plated mansion anytime soon.  What mattered to me was getting people who would actually read and complete the series I have planned, a point I made in the post mentioned above.

Thus, I've decided to lower the price of my books to 0.99 cents.  Volume 1 will be free, as Amazon permits, and Volumes 2 and 3 will be 0.99 cents.  In the end, I find it more rewarding that I have some avid fans of what I wrote, and I think by lowering the price, I'll broaden my audience.  Here are the links to my author page where you can find the books, in case you want to break the bank and spend a buck:

Amazon Author Page:

Hopefully with drop will increase my audience, just in time for some Thanksgiving fun.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Series Phases and Volume 4 Update

Hey Fans!

A quick update.  Volume 4: North of the Halfkind Series is moving along nicely.  I decided to quicken my pace for Volume 4 compared Volume 3: Alphas.  The reason for this is I've really been finding my groove in writing Volume 4: North.  Volume 3 was much more difficult to write because it's the bridge between the beginning stages of the series and what I have for the ultimate ending.  Alphas dramatically changes where you might think Halfkinds is heading.  It certainly is darker than the other two, not because of the violence, but because the direction the series takes.  It's a "turning point" novel.

In fact, when mapping out the overall plot of the series, I divided it into 3 "arcs" or phases.

Phase 1 sets the stage for the Halfkinds world and givbes information on their origins.  This includes Volume 1: Contact and Volume 2: Horus.

Phase 2 is the bridge.  Includes Volume 3: Alphas and Volume 4: North (tentative title)

Phase 3 is the resolution.  It rounds out the series so that means it's Volume 5 and 6.

So I don't really view Halfkinds as a set of 6 different books, more like a giant book divided into 6 pieces.  I'm really looking forward to when this will all be done, and finally my story will be told!  Stay tuned true believers!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thoughts On Writing After Year One

It's been about a year since I published my first book, so here are my thoughts on the past year so far....

First Few Months
When I started my quest into the literary world, I came in with reserved expectations.  I thought maybe I'd sell a book or two a month and that's about it.  And honestly, for the first few months, it was pretty much like that.  Sales were slow.  I think it was because I still had an old mindset and was banking on the paperback more than investing in the power of e-books.  But during those few months, I noticed that of the few sales I had, it was mainly in e-books, so I decided that it was a new and growing market.

I would lie if I didn't say that the slow movement wasn't discouraging.  Ever since I was a teenager, I wanted to publish a book.  I thought writing it was the hard part, and that when I published it, someone, ANYONE, would take a stab at it, especially when it was priced at 2.99.  Yeah, in reality, that's not the case.  I didn't have many expectations, but I had some, and if I wanted to get the ball rolling, I had to have reality in check.

First things first, I needed to get book two out.  Book 1 itself was already hard to market.  The concept is a bit 'out there' and there are some things in the book that are pretty divisive for readers (multiple first person POV's, jumping timelines, repeating scenes from different POV's).  The reviews pretty much point that out.  I think the plot and the world I set up is imaginative, but it wouldn't really go anywhere if I didn't have more.  The book itself is not a good stand alone novel because of the mechanisms I use, and I realize that.

Luckily for me, I had finished a lot of novel 2 by the time I published 1.  A few months later, Volume 2: Horus was released with not much fan fare.

March and After
At that point, sales were still slow, and I realized one hard fact: the average person doesn't read that much, and if they do, they probably weren't interested in what you're writing.  I couldn't rely on people I knew solely to spread the word and generate sales.  I needed to branch outside of my circle.  That was the only way to generate real buzz, to attract real readers

I started investing time and money into ads, attacking specific sites that catered to my target audience.  I tried to maintain a resonable budget, always considering if the investment would return.  My initial results were once again unfruitful.  I felt like I was wasting time and money on frivilous endeavors.  But through trial and error, I was able to find a method that worked somewhat.  I took note of which ads were effective and which weren't.  Over the course of the summer, I was able to grind it out to finally get what I desired: consistency.  At that point, I was averaging a sale on Volume 2 a day, and Volume 1 downloads were flowing.

At that time, I was proud of what I was able to do.  I grinded it out and worked hard for rewards that, though wasn't going to make me quit my job, was satisfying because I earned it.  I've worked far harder on promotion than I ever did on writing.

Back to Decline
At this point, one year later, things are slowly leveling out.  Sales on Volume 2 aren't consistent, and free downloads on Volume 1 are lessening.  I'm hoping that at this point, I've garnered some fans of my series, and that they'll be interested in Volume 3.  But I'm cautious on having high expectations.  The higher they are, the more disappointed you will be.

The greatest struggle has always been attracting new readers and hoping they'll latch on to what you're writing.  I'm a one man show, and sometimes I feel buried under self doubt.  Is anyone actually reading my work?  Am I wasting my time?  I've learned the life of a writer is a constant struggle for self validation.

Overall, it's hard to rate whether I feel like my foray into writing has been successful.  Some say that writing a novel is already successful enough, but I disagree.  Perhaps it's the ambitious part of me that thinks any schmo can write a novel, but only good authors can write good novels.

Yet, what defines a good novel?  Is it the sales?  Is it the reviews?  It's hard to say really.  With the inconsistent sales, sometimes I end up second guessing myself.  I think "if I was decent author, it would reflect in the numbers."  But I guess at this point, I don't care.  I feel my series has a good story in the end, and for those who have enjoyed it, whether it's a handful or hundreds, I will keep writing.  I'm at the halfway point in my series, but I feel I'm just at the beginning.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Legend of Korra - The Guide

Via Nickelodeon

After last week's side tour into the roots of the Avatar, we return back to the present day.  Long story short, Korra needs to enter in order to prevent Unalaq from releasing Vaatu.  She can only do this with the help of... Jinora?

Yes, it seems that Tenzin isn't the hero in this one, it's his daughter.  She can see spirits that others can't.  Personally I found Tenzin to be kind of jerky this episode.  His jealousy in his daughter's abilities and his reluctance to accept that his help wasn't needed was a big change in character.  I know he's normally rigid and stoic, but I never would have imagined that he would act essentially like a child over his daughter.  I'm finding the character to be inconsistent in the past few episodes with the introduction of his siblings this year.

Meanwhile, Unalaq is trying to release Vaatu.  But.... I'm not really sure why?  Maybe I missed something, or maybe it will be explained later on?

Legend of Korra is heading towards the home stretch, so I'm hoping things will wrap up in a nice package in the next few episodes.  And hopefully we'll see old man Zuko!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halfkinds Volume 3: Alphas - OUT NOW!

And after 8 months of dedication, writing, and editing..... Volume 3 is officially published!!! Halfway there! 3 done, 3 more to go!



Thanks to everyone for the support!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blazblue Alter Memory

Via Arc System Works

I'm a pretty big fan of the Blazblue franchise.  I can't say that my Ragna or Platinum is going to win me entertainments, but from an art and story perspective, it's a lot better than some of the other fighting games out there.

That's why I was super excited when I heard there's an anime out.  And you can watch it subtitled and for free!  So I tuned into the first episode.  Granted, the Blazblue storyline is a little confusing, especially when you only follow it from playing the games.  (Luckily, the wikia helps out).  But in terms of capturing it on the silver screen, it does a decent job.

The animation isn't completely superb (unlike the Persona 4 anime series, which I LOVE), but it's decent.  Some of the battles are cool.  The first episode was actually kind of a let down though, as it paced through the convoluted story and history of Ragna rather than diving straight in.  But I feel by episode 2, it picks up, and by the newly released episode 3, it starts melding all the characters together in one story.  The music is what you can expect out of a Blazblue game.  Lots of guitars, and you'll easily recognize your favorite theme.  So yeah, I'll be watching this til the end!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Legend of Korra - Beginnings

After watching last night's Legend of Korra, I felt a little mixed.  On one hand, I understood the importance of Korra going on her spiritual journey, as she's never been in tuned with the spirits, but on the other hand...I WAS PROMISED FUTURE ZUKO TWO EPISODES AGO!!!!  And now it seems Korra has left the Fire Nation and that ship might have sailed.

Also, I have to say Part 1 of Beginnings came of very.... Disney Aladdin-ish.  He steals bread from the rich, and gives it to the poor, but comes off more like the Disney street rat than Robin Hood.  The difference is though that Wan yearns for power to help others while Aladdin yearned for power to help himself (get the girl).  The new art style was kind of tough to get used to at first, but by the end of the episode I appreciated it.

While Part 1 was a very bread and butter story, Part 2 was anything but.  We dive more into the story of the light spirit Rava and her eternal struggle against Vaatu.  This is where the direction shifted from the story of a down on his luck kid into full flown tragic hero.  I'm not gonna lie, the battles were pretty awesome, probably some of the best in the series.  Yet I felt a little sad when we learned of Wan's fate.  I won't spoil anything, but it was rather wrenching.

In the end though, I felt the two parter was a bit uncessessary.  Korra got her groove back, but don't know if it had to take so long.  I just wanted to see future versions of the Avatar gang!

Friday, October 18, 2013

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The Play in California Is Dead (Volume 3 Coming NOV 6)

November will be a busy month. Volume 3 Alphas will be released on NOVEMBER 6th!

As you can see, there have also been some site changes.  I've merged the my AVWRITE blog with my old The Play in California blog into one convenient site.

Now I have a complete archive of my writing history.

For those who don't know, The Play In California was my first foray into online writing.  It was a sports humor blog back when the sports blogging revolution was getting ground.  I was aspiring to be the next Deadspin or KissingSuzyKolber.  Admittedly, a lot of my posts were crass and silly, but I thought some were genuinely creative and I had a fun time doing it.  I even had a small following.  Over time, I lost interest in sports humor, and thought my style would be better applied to science fiction.

My writing was in a different world a few years ago, but at least I can look back and think fondly of my time as a sports humorist.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Volume 3 Completed and Cover Reveal

I've completed the writing for Volume 3!  Now it's time for editing.

Overall, I've been moving at a slower pace in terms of the writing.  I feel I was rushed to get Volume 2 out since I wanted to build that momentum for the series as a whole.  It's been about 6 months since Volume 2: Horus came out, and at this point, traction has been picking up.  But at the same time, traction for Volume 1 has been slowing down.  I'm not sure what to make of this really.

Hopefully with the release of Volume 3, coming in NOVEMBER, I'll see another bounce and gain a few more fans.  Thanks to all those who have supported me thus far, I'm hoping things are just getting started.

And without further adieu...COMING IN NOVEMBER.............

I actually design the covers myself :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Volume 3 Updates

It's been quite some time since I've posted in the blog, but that's because I've been busy writing Volume 3 :)  So far I'd say it's about 80 percent complete in the actual writing of it.

Then comes the editing, my favorite part...(not really).

For those of you who are wondering what's coming up next plot-wise, let's just say you'll be surprised.  I like to think of Volume 1 as an action book set in a Sci Fi setting, while Volume 2 is more of a straightforward Sci Fi novel.  Thus Volume 3 will head towards a different direction filled with a lot of suspense and mystery.  Get ready to see the return of the twists and turns that made Volume 1 so unpredictable.

Also, during Volume 3, I played a lot of Bioshock Infinite

So Iris's journey in #3 will be heavily inspired by Elizabeth's character. Take that as you will :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Original Cover Design

Since Volume 1 is only 0.99 cents now, I've decided to stop my weekly previews.  I'll still be posting tidbits of information.  Here's something I've dug up, it's the original cover design for Volume 1, and the original title 'Discovery'.

Improvement, no?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

$0.99 Pricing and Volume 2 News

Hello Readers!  I'm gearing up for the release of Volume 2 (coming out late February or early March).  The book has been completed, and now I'm going through the stages of editing.  Also the cover design has been done, check it out:
ALSO, as a way to hype it up and get more readers into the halfkind world, Halfkinds Volume 1: Contact will now only cost 0.99 cents, and that's not going to change any time soon.  The 3.99 price had a good run, but I really want people to test out Volume 1, because I think it's a really good story.  Tell all your friends, as there's not much risk in losing a buck versus for entertainment.  I've spent a lot of time crafting this whole series, and the greatest joy I have is having people read my work.

Here's the link to Volume 1: