The Veil: Feedback

So we’re coming up on our third chapter for The Veil. It actually seems kind of amazing that we’ve already, yet only, been at this for a month now.

The views have been good, and the website’s traffic has definitely had a noticeable spike in activity, but the actual feedback has been silent. Thus, with this poll, I hope to see if we can gauge exactly how you all feel about the story thus far.

Go ahead and pick an answer that best suits you, and feel free to leave a comment below (or on one of my social feeds) about what you think of it. I’d love to know if folks are enjoying the story as it is, if they feel there are flaws that need fixing, or if there are other steps I should consider to improve the story.

Thank you for your time and attention,

~ James.

The battleplan is forming.

Earlier on, we talked about the results of my recent poll. Now we’re gathering around to see what I intend to do with this information. So grab some alcohol, take a shot every time I say something ridiculous, and we’ll all be shit-faced before the night’s out.

If we focus entirely on what the numbers tell me, it’s that folks are either split between what type of content they want to see from me, or they just don’t care. That said, the consensus I also saw was that people want to see me try and make my way onto the Kindle marketplace.

If we look at the discussions that have been popping up in the comment threads every now and then, however, we get a better idea of what folks want. The overall theme was, simply, “Write what you want, but do it for what you feel strongly about.”

At first, this notion didn’t exactly break my old question of, “What, amongst my many ideas that I long to pen, do I feel people want to see first?” Then I read some more feedback and an idea clicked. So, below, I’m going to detail my plan of attack for what’s to come.

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1) Short stories. Let’s face it, people are busy creatures, so even if a novel from a newbie is horribly inexpensive, it’s a massive time commitment. Something that not a lot of people will chance for a fresh face. To counter this, I will be beginning a staggered roll-out of short material onto the Kindle marketplace. I currently have Echoes, Guns of Asgard, Salvaging Life, and the novelette Blood in the Machine in the editing or reserve line that can fill this role.

2) Novel work. Under a Falling Sky is on track now. The story feels solid, the characters feel tight and gripping to me, and the world feels fitting for the story to tell. Work will continue on UaFS, I will do a number of editing sweeps on the drafts, then I’ll likely solicit other writers for a mutually beneficial trade.

We read, comment, and attempt to edit each other’s works. This will help keep costs down, but also open the story up to a critical set of eyes that aren’t my own. As for artwork … we’ll see when we get there.

3) Free, promotional content. Susan Miles had a great idea that I had given little thought to. As it stands, there are two stories that are available for a free download here on this website. Looking back, however, I can’t help but feel that they’re … lacking. She had suggested offering up some free short stories for anyone to chance upon and read.

I’m thinking of not only going with this suggestion, but taking it a step further. Before I continue on, however, I want to stress that this is not concrete and is open to feedback.

I’m planning out the notion of creating a serial piece of content of unknown length and posting segments of it up on the website at set times and dates. The segments would all be hosted online indefinitely, so anyone at any time could come back and read over the old pieces.

My hope is that this would act not only as free promotional content, but also generate an increase in my readership and in traffic to this website. There’s also the idea of putting it all together, after it’s all wrapped up, and making an “enhanced version,” of it and offering it at the minimum price on Kindle (a buck) while still offering each piece for free on my website.

I’m still building the concept for the story and the logistics of how I could make such a thing possible, with what time-frame, ect. What I can say is that I’d likely see it as the means to bring the character of Alec Rho back and to tell his story in a more proper way than he ever had before.

For those unfamiliar with Alec Rho, likely all of you, his original story was about how he was a normal, every day guy who gained the ability to see and interact with Angels and Demons. From there, his life is stripped away from him as he is pursued not only by the Demons that fear being exposed by him, but also by an FBI agent who is trying to find the truth behind Rho and his seemingly otherworldly abilities while maintaining the law.

Alec’s tale was one I had written my first novel on, but due to my inexperience at the time, it didn’t meet my quality standards so I mothballed the entire thing. The idea of using a serialized piece as a method to rewrite and bring his story back has me rather excited since it has been a tale that I’ve never been able to get out of my head.

4) After the serialized piece’s conclusion and possible future post-completion, Under a Falling Sky would be released on the Kindle marketplace. This plan, then, effectively comes across as a serialized piece to catch some people’s attention and be free content for anyone, gets followed-up by short fiction on the Kindle marketplace to try and create a profile for myself there, then concluded by the release of a full-blown novel.

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This plan will be a lot of work and effort. It’s going to require that I apply myself to this harder than I have yet in order to be finished before we’re all old and gray. At the same time, it seems like not only the more logical of approaches, but also the most fulfilling to both current and potentially new readers.

That said, this plan is not entirely concrete yet, especially item #3. The details and planning still need to be smoothed out and fully mapped before I start truly bringing this idea to fruition. At the same time, I am also open to feedback on all of the points discussed here and in every facet.

Think waiting that long for a novel is dumb? Want even more short fiction? Despise the notion of having a premium collection of the serialized work while the story segments are free to read? Cool, let’s discuss it and I’ll hear anyone and everyone out on it.

For now, this is the course I am setting. Until everything is firmly set in stone, as far as the details go, this at least provides me with a rough direction to go in. As always, folks, feel free to leave your thoughts either below, in the comments section on your social site, or drop me an email. For now, I have some details to plan.

Some recent findings.

I decided a few nights ago to share a poll to my readers in order to see what kind and method of content from me that they’d like to see going forward. The reason for this is simple, I have enough projects on my plate that I crave the chance to do, but I can’t decide on which one to buckle down on. So I took it to the readers to try and help cure me of my predicament.

First off, if you missed the link to the poll that was on my social feeds, it is right here. It’s still open, so if you want to contribute, just click the link and pick an answer.

So what kind of data have I been able to gleam from the results? Actually, there are three separate pieces of info I’ve been able to gather from the results thus far. First, let me detail what votes have been cast and where.

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A – Go for a novel – 3 votes.

B – Pound out short stories and submit them to magazines – 1 vote.

C – Write and assemble a collection of short works and release it on Amazon – 2 votes.

D – Write and release separate short stories, novelettes, ect, on Amazon – 2 votes.

E – Do whatever the hell you want, moron – 3 votes.

Now, these answers have provided some rather interesting pieces of data for me. Let me explain how I’m interpreting this info so you can see where I am coming from.

1) I’ve got 11 votes. While I haven’t been shoving this poll down everyone’s throats, I think this is indicative of a smaller audience. As far as the readers go, this isn’t a bad thing.

To me, however, it means that I should be looking into ways to expand the existing readership and start bringing in a newer crowd. This could include things like promotions, giveaways, ect. Who knows, but it is definitely something for me to think on. This might also tie directly into the next couple of points though, so we’ll see.

2) The magazine option only has one vote. Sure, we haven’t seen a terribly large results base, but this seems rather interesting. Is it that you all would rather see projects from me that are entirely independent from other publications? Do you lot believe my stories and their quality are able to stand up entirely on their own in the Amazon marketplace? Also, could moving independently into the Kindle store create more visibility and increase my readership size? It’s an interesting question.

3) The “Do whatever the hell you want, moron,” option is tied for the lead with the novel approach. This makes me wonder if there really is a preference amongst the readers about what sort of content that is desired. I had almost expected the short fiction or collection options to take the lead, not either a novel or whatever.

While the “whatever you want,” option doesn’t help solve my priorities question, it definitely raises my eyebrow. Does the notion that some viewers want to see a larger, grander effort while others don’t particularly care what they get so long as they get more actually ring true?

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So, do these findings raise my hopes or give me a sense of direction? Yes, in its own way, it does. It gives me hope at the prospect of moving into the independent marketplace, relying more on my own stories and their quality rather than a magazine and the other contributors to help sell it and possibly cast attention my way.

I’ll continue to watch the findings and see what further results or feedback might develop. However, if you want to make your thoughts on these questions heard, feel free to leave either a comment or email discussing your feelings on the matter.

In the meantime, I’m heading back to doing some editing for Guns of Asgard. I know the prospect of further work on that has at least a couple people rather excited, so I figure it’s time to get on with that. Afterward, it’s back to work on Under a Falling Sky. The foot is in the door, so now it’s time to capitalize on that.

The news from the lazy front!

So yeah, I think you’re probably all getting the vibe of what is going to be discussed in this post by the title alone. Not exactly like I’m trying very hard to cover it up or anything, that’s just how it is.

It’s been nearly a month since I last updated the page, and not much has happened. I’ve mentally been turning Under a Falling Sky around in my head over and over, trying to create a plot to follow that strikes me as a quality piece. So far, the ground work is there, but it needs some work and refinement to even be something I consider worth starting the writing on.

If I haven’t been working on Under a Falling Sky, what have I been doing then? The answer is: not much. I’ve been working (slowly) on the refinement of Blood in the Machine and trying to get that ready enough for me to consider throwing it at an editor and praying for the best, but that’s about it.

Yes, I’ve been violating the cardinal rule of all writers, “Write something every day.” It just hasn’t been there for me. Part of the reason why, I believe, is in how I manage my time and where I set some aside for writing. Up until now, I’ve been attempting to set aside time for writing during the night time, once I get home from work. By this point, I’m generally kind of beat and tired, just wanting to screw off for what’s left of the day.

That’s changing.

I’m going to try and shift time around on my schedule, setting aside some time in the AM – before I go to work – to write. If that means revamping my sleep schedule, so be it, but progress must be made and it isn’t happening in the PM.

Second thing I’m gonna do? Set my sights in a ludicrous goal. I even already have one in mind that I have a story concept for, I’ve just got to make it happen. Is it brash? Yes. Is it foolish? Quite likely. Is it insane? Probably, but what hasn’t been on this whack-ass journey thus far?

Am I gonna tell you what it is? Likely not, at least not for now. I want to try and take my shot at it first. I’ll just say this: If I actually accomplish this, and it’s a success, I’ll have been grossly underestimating myself.

Well, off to go cause a ruckus. See you guys on the tubes!

The State of the Mind.

Well, this has been awhile. So what’s going on? Well…

1) Flash Fiction submissions. I’ve recently written and submitted two pieces of Flash Fiction out and am waiting to hear back on. Both are technically pieces of contemporary fantasy, though in their own way. As a whole, however, I am actually thankful to be done with Flash Fiction. The restrictiveness of it, while great as a learning instrument, is just unbearable for someone like me. I enjoy having some room to elaborate and unveil things, something that Flash Fiction doesn’t afford you in the slightest.

2) Under a Falling Sky is back in the re-working chamber. Not after a draft, mind you, but on the conceptual front. I’m just not pleased with the current state of the story, so it’ll be being reworked and re-engineered for now. It is a setting and a story I want to show, but it’s just being a little … difficult.

So, why don’t I just shelve Under a Falling Sky in favor of working on the Dark Stars universe? Well, I’d rather not have my first novel out the door being part of a larger, sprawling series which is rather intertwined. So, for that reason, I am wanting to make this story be my debut, but I want it done in a proper way.

3) On the revisions and editing front, I have Echoes which needs a plot revision before I post it up for beta reading. I also still have Guns of Asgard which needs a load of edits and revisions, so there’s that. Then, to round that off, Blood in the Machine still needs some work, though actually only a little. So, as you can see, there’s still plenty to be done.

4) On the gaming front, I’ve actually become quite engrossed in three titles for the moment. I’ve fallen back in love with The Secret World & Diablo 3, while I’ve also been starting to play Defiance. All three are unique and quite enjoyable. In case anyone wants to track me down, I’ll make it easy for ya.

TSW: Vaerys; Defiance: Alec Rho; Diablo 3: Makon#1350.

Anyways, I am off to go grab a few groceries, stew on some ideas for UaFS, and see about getting into trying tea (the proper English way), so I’ll be off for a little while. Ciao.