Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hot off the Virtual Press!

If you’re a reader of my blog, you’ll recall that my advice to authors and would-be authors is to sit down at the keyboard and write. Write every day. If you’re not writing, work on the plot. If you ever intend to write as a professional, you can’t wait for the ‘muse’ to strike.
I take my own advice. We’re approaching the end of July, and I published my 11th novel, NEO: Near Earth Objects, yesterday (on Amazon).
So what does this have to do with ‘write every day’? It’s the third novel this year. I published The Ship last December. Since then, I’ve published the second book of the series, NFI: New Frontiers, Inc in March, The Return, the fourth book in the Darwin’s World series in mid-May, and NEO yesterday. I’ve got four months to go…and I’ve already got two new projects waiting on my desktop.
Take a look at NEO; I think it’s my best book ever. It’s $3.99 to buy, free to borrow if you have a Kindle Unlimited account. I hope you like it.
https://www.amazon.com/NEO-Earth-Objects-Three-Frontiers-ebook/dp/B01J8HUWKS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1469794091&sr=8-4&keywords=Jack+L+Knapp

Selling your work

This is a rough time of the year for writers. Sales of Kindle books are generally down, or so say my correspondents. Mine certainly are.
The solution, of course, is to write more books. But so many outdoor things are calling everything from attacking weeks to watering to summer trips. It’s not easy to motivate yourself and ignore as many distractions as possible!
The good news is that NEO: Near Earth Object is half finished. From now on the book takes on a life of its own and enthusiasm builds until I’m working those long days just before it’s ready for release.
Next month, with luck!

Blogs, Writing, Publishing, and Rebellion

I subscribe to a blog called Mad Genius Club. Most of the time I find suggestions I can use, because it’s written by professional writers/authors. I suspect others enjoy it because they also write, or intend to someday. This morning, the post was there but the author explained why, and ended with “The floor is yours.”
Where a bunch of writers could see it? BIG mistake! 😀
So I wrote the following:
Ooooh! The floor is mine? Let the rebellion begin here!
I got an email from a writer this morning. He got through the slush pile but never managed to get his book published, so he left Baen (I’m taking him at his word). Now he’s getting ready to publish independently, and he’s too hesitant. Several editors. Beta readers. But importantly, not published.
So what would happen to me if I tried, say, Baen? Or worse, one of Hachette’s companies?
Slush pile, for four months. Discussions. Get an agent, son. You have to have an agent. More time gone.
The agent will then make a deal. He won’t tell the publishing company, “No. That’s not good enough. I’ll take the book somewhere else.” He won’t get paid if he does that, so he’ll accept an offer on my behalf. I’ll sign, and then the publishing company will own my blood, sweat, tears, and probably snot.
For, shall we say, not a fortune? No indeed. “Son, you’re a new writer. We’re taking a chance on you, you know. We could lose money!”
The important thing is that I would almost be guaranteed to lose money.
There are a few errors in the publisher’s assumption. I’m NOT a new writer. There’s no need for me to send my manuscript to the slush pile. No need for an agent. No need to smile and bob my head, “Yes, massa.”
Because I do it all myself. I write. I proofread, do the final editing too. I format. I assemble the document, prepare it by adding front material and end material. I write the blurb. I buy a cover from a professional. I publish it on Amazon, choose the 70% option (the other is for suckers; I was, for a while), price my book where I think it will sell, choose Select, and let that book fly. I wait until I have reviews, then advertise via ENT or BookSends. I’ve tried others, they aren’t reliable; FWIW, BookBub hasn’t seen fit to take my money.
Having done those things, repeatedly, I’ve reached ‘midlister’ status. Or I think I have. I don’t depend on income from writing, but if I had to I could live very comfortably on what I’m earning now.
It took me two years to reach this status.
Had I chosen to go traditional, I might have one, maybe two books in print by now. And how much money would I have earned from a publisher?
Less than I’ve made this year alone. Actual figures (horrors!): Amazon currently owes me about $17k dollars, and May isn’t over yet. That’s the sum total of what they’ll pay me at the end of May, end of June, and less than they’ll pay at the end of July because my books will continue to sell through May.
I doubt I’ll ever be nominated for a Hugo. Tsk.

Busy: the life of an Indie author and publisher

I published my latest book, The Ship, in December. It started slow, but soon it was on a wild ride that’s only slowed down this week. It was my first attempt at a long hard-science novel, and I’m sure I made mistakes.
As a result, ratings have ranged from five star to one star, two of them. Most have been four star, but it only takes a couple of bad ratings to hut a book’s average.I take bad reviews seriously; as a result, I’ve gone back to see whether I had indeed been too wordy, employed too much dialogue, used too many details.
I’ve gone back to review the chapters of my new book, NFI: New Frontiers, Inc very carefully.
Not everyone feels that the one star reviews (the only two I’ve ever gotten, BTW) were justified. A gentleman made his opinion known, and I’m grateful. I won’t repeat it here, but you can find it if you look at The Ship’s ratings. I’m glad to see someone defending my book, but the greatest defense is that last month, readers read more than 776,000 borrowed pages.
I learn from bad reviews, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy getting them. Nor does any other author.

Neglect

I’ve been neglecting my blogs for a couple of months, and there’s a reason.
On July 15th, I had knee replacement surgery. The surgery went well, the recovery less so. I ended up staying more than a week in the hospital and the rehabilitation hospital; as it happened, when I tried to exercise and use my new knee (painful!), my blood pressure dropped. But eventually I got out, then went through a rehab process that got me walking and climbing stairs. There’s still quite a bit of pain, but as long as I don’t overdo it, I can deal with the pain. And that without drugs, which is a major accomplishment.
I’m only now beginning to write, and the first thing I did was decide my work-in-progress needed reworking. I can eventually use most of the 50 000 words I had written by then, but it’s going slow.
Still, if I can just write a little something, maybe half a chapter a day, I’ll soon be back in the groove.

Summer Sales, or the Lack Thereof

Is this the dreaded Summer Slump? Soon to be followed by the Back-to-School Blues?
No idea yet, but sales have shrunk to a trickle. Even my count of books borrowed and read is way down.That, by the way, is going fairly well. So far, I’ve recorded 25,862 pages read via Amazon’s subscription services. Near as I can tell, that puts me above most. It’s keeping my Author Rank on Amazon from dropping through the cellar.
Meantime, the solution to all ills is to write more books and hopefully keep quality up. I’m starting Chapter 15 of The Ship and it’s going well, not very fast but well. I’ve had too many recent distractions to write fast, but I write as time permits. The Ship will be my 8th novel, first in a third series, and I’ve also begun work on Siberian Wizard, the fifth in the Wizards-ESP series.
If you’re interested, all my books are available free through Amazon’s KU program, among others, and $3.99 or less if purchased.
http://www.amazon.com/Jack-L-Knapp/e/B00K35MWNA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1429376991&sr=1-1

Data; Books, and Readers

I’ve been watching Amazon’s new program with great interest. So have a lot of authors.
The KU/KOLL program allows subscribers to borrow books. Amazon gets a monthly payment from those enrolled, authors get paid for borrows but at a rate that’s less than we would earn from royalties on sales. It gives Amazon a regular income stream and since readers aren’t charged by the book, they’re more willing to borrow a book by an unknown author. For those of us who don’t have a following, we get readers.
At first, authors were paid a set amount for each book borrowed. That created dissatisfaction, because the length of the borrowed work wasn’t taken into account. Writers got the same amount for a borrowed short story that they did for a full-length novel. Amazon’s new system intends to change that; authors are now being paid for each page read. Granted it’s not much, about $0.005, but that can add up.
Meanwhile, it’s giving writers information we’ve never had. How many people read our book all the way to the end? How many read a page and abandoned it? Or perhaps read ten percent (the trigger for Amazon paying an author for a borrow) and then gave up?
But counting the number of pages read let’s the writer know. So far, I’m quite happy. Readers read 10,700 pages in the first two days. Today’s count looks to be about the same, although it’s early. Actual sales of books aren’t great, but borrowing looks likely to pick up the slack. I’m cautiously optimistic.