Musings About Writing Another Novel

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Revised and Extended Walker I


After editing Walker Chronicles IV, I wanted to let it sit for a week before the last reading.  However, I also sent it off to Forest for a healthy grammar and spelling check – he is picky and finds all sorts of stuff I never notice.

Part of my advertising plan is to offer the first Walker novel at a reduced price and also free for a couple days.  I’ll do that in hopes that folks will get interested in  the series and then buy the next three novels.

So, I read the first Walker over again to see what kind of editing it may need.  The first thing I noticed was that my writing has improved a lot between the first and the fourth novel.  That is, I didn’t really want to use the first Walker novel to represent the others because the writing quality was not the same.

Nonetheless, I wanted to keep the storyline of the first novel.  Actually, I had to keep the storyline of the first novel because some of it was mentioned, in passing, in the following three novels.

Which means . . . I had some work to do to bring the first novel up to the quality of the others.  And, that took a while!

As soon as I got Walker IV published on Amazon, I went right back to the first Walker and started editing.  Really, in this case, what I call editing might better be called “revising and extending” because that’s exactly what happened.

Along with correcting a few things, another 18,000+ words got added.  The characters are better described and some technical aspects of the story are downplayed some.  Oh . . . and I made a better cover for the book:


That done, I sent the text over to Forest to see what he thought about the changes.  Turns out, he had a lot of suggestions, all of which I used.

That project ended up being quite a lot of work.  But, truth be told, I actually enjoyed doing it.  To me, it was almost like writing a new novel, but without needing to develop a whole new storyline.

Actually, I was surprised how easy it was to slip in another 18,000+ words and none of the editing I did was really that difficult.

So now Walker Chronicles I is reposted on Amazon with the new and reduced price of just 99 cents.

As part of my advertising plan, I’ll eventually be offering Walker I free for the three days allowed by Amazon – probably one day at a time every other week for six weeks.  I hope that will stimulate interest in the series. That’s worked well for others and so may work for me.

But first . . . I think I’ll take a critical look at Walker Chronicles II to see what that might need to bring it up to the level of the fourth novel. 

That’s what I’ll be starting this week.  But first I want to catch up on a few articles on writing and publishing and see what I might learn.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Walker Chronicles IV is Published


Walker IV has been available on Amazon for a few days now.   Amazon had it up about five hours after I hit the post button, which is fast for them – they say it will be twelve hours. 

Funny thing happened when I went to see if it was available:  Someone beat me there and bought a copy.  That’s okay with me, of course, it just seemed strange because it couldn’t have been available more than a few minutes.

Ann looked over some of the text and found a couple of my errors.  I went over it multiple times.  Then I sent it to Forest, who won his masters in teaching before I was even born (he’s old!).  He found some grammar he wanted changed and even found a couple more spelling errors. 

Each time I “edited” the word count grew.  After Forest got done with the text, I read it over yet again and again made more changes and added a little more here and there.

Oh, and I used a different cover, too:



For some reason, I liked this one better than the one posted below.  The one below might fit in with the text a little better, but I guess it doesn’t matter all that much. 

Will there be a book five in  the series?  Yeah, probably.  That was the plan, anyway.  I thought that I would start a little advertising with the fourth in the series while writing the fifth.  Then stop writing for a while after the fifth was publish and dedicate some of my time to advertising. 

Meanwhile, now that I have some writing practice, I’ll go over the early books to insure the quality is the same in all of them.  Because, when I reread the first novel I saw that it needed work. . . .  

Hey . . . I’ll admit it.  The first one was practice.  I’ve improved a lot since then.  So, I’m working on the first one to raise the quality a lot. 

I don’t expect to win any writing awards with this project, but I want the novels to be readable and interesting.  And I sure do not want any glaring errors to distract from the story.

So, I’ll be busy for a while.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Walker Chronicles IV Almost Ready to Release

It’s taken me a while to write this novel.  That’s not because I’m slow or didn’t work at it, either.  Nope, part of it is because I ran way over the Amazon suggested word count for a Kindle novel.  Also, because I’m becoming more fussy, I guess. 

The Prologue isn’t written yet.  But the text is probably done and mostly edited.  I’ll give it another read during the week and see what kind of errors I can find.  The problem with that is that I usually add more to the story line and then have to edit again.  

Okay, so now we come to the part about making a book cover again – which is never one of my happier moments for the project.  I was playing around with this for a while.  It sort of works with the storyline:


I’m not sure that will be the one to get published, but it might. 

So then I’ll have four novels at Kindle.  They’ve been selling a little, but not all that much.  Of course, I haven’t done any advertising yet.  And by any, I mean nothing whatsoever.
Three guys have been helping me in the background just a little, though.  As I mentioned before, two big city politicians took an interest in my books.  It wasn’t exactly a favorable interest, either.  Now a third from another city joined in. 
I have no idea if these three guys know each other, but their questions and comments seem to be similar.  

Anyway, I’m not writing about their city.  As readers may realize, no city is mentioned in the novels.  The setting could be any large city.  That most large cities have the same types of crime by politicians is understandable – there are only so many types of illegal things they can get into and keep their office.  

The ideas for the novels come from reading the newspapers from major cities over the past fifty years.  So, yeah, most of these things happened in one form of another somewhere.  And, unfortunately, most of them are still happening in big cities somewhere.  Such is the nature of life. 

Therefore, when a politician writes to question me, I just kind of chuckle a bit and wonder if maybe they are not seeing some of that at their city hall.  Who knows, they could even be part of it.  

More importantly to me personally, now that I will have four novels published on Kindle, it becomes time to try to market them. 

And, sure, I’ll admit to being a newbie at that.  Fact is, I know absolutely nothing about promoting and marketing books.  So, I just started learning. 

All of the “best sellers” on Amazon have blogs and a few have written “how to do it” books.  Nowadays, sometimes when I should be writing, I’m reading about marketing tips instead.  

Along the way I’ve noticed that there are many people marketing their services and “expertise” on various aspects of editing, formatting and marketing novels.  But, when I search for the novels they sold, I find zero.  They push themselves as experts, but never did it themselves.  I’m staying away from those. 

On the other hand, there are quite a few authors who make a very good living selling novels on Amazon.  Some of those are nice enough to give out some rather useful tips.  So, I have a lot of reading to do in the next few weeks.  Studying, actually. 

When I’m not around, it’s not that I wouldn’t rather be blogging, writing zappy one-liners on Twitter, of browsing Facebook.  But for me this is like going to school again and carrying twelve credit hours.  Yeah, when it comes to the marketing aspects, I often feel like I’m pulling a few all-nighters studying for the finals again.  

But, in this case, a better score on the tests will mean more money in my retirement account. 

So, after a couple weeks of fooling around with marketing ploys, I’ll start on novel number five.  Actually, I already have a good start on it because it has been well foreshadowed in books three and four.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Walker Chronicles III is Posted


It took a little while because I’m a slow editor.  Ann helped some.  But every time I read the novel over I found more spelling errors and typos.  But I think I’ve got it right now.

Yesterday afternoon I sent the novel off to Amazon.  It usually takes a day or two before it becomes available.  But this morning I was surprised. Kindle had Walker Chronicles III available for sale.


Along with that, I realized a good advertising point:  I’m now offering three novels in a series for just under $9.00.  That’s less than they sell one paperback for in most places.  Maybe people will be interested, eh?

I’ve got some housekeeping I would like to do around here – and my computer needs some work – then I’ll start on the fourth in the series.  Actually, I’ve already got a little of it written in my head and just have to squeeze it out of there and onto the computer. 

Meanwhile, I’m writing the novels in Word on a laptop running Windows 7 that only has 2 GB of RAM .  Two GB of RAM is good for most things.  But strange things tend to happen by the time I’m getting to the end of a novel.  These are things that I can only attribute to memory problems.  Last night I looked up all the specs for my laptop.  I can run 8 GB on this thing and that should cure that problem.

So now it’s time to clean up the mess I made while writing the last novel and get things ready to start all over yet again.  My office in the loft will be a busy place this winter.  I would like there to be at least five novels in this series.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Third Novel is Almost Done


Finally, I’m about done with the third in the series of The Walker Chronicles.

Folks have written to me saying that I should write more here but I’ve mostly been busy trying to play author with the novel.  I should be writing more on Twitter and sometimes Facebook, too.  But after a few hours I just get tired of typing.

Those who have written novels probably know that it’s sort of a bummer closing out the story.  But, it’s time that Walker III gets put to bed.  I’m writing the last couple chapters now.  Well, I think I am, anyway.  We’ll see how the story goes.

There’ll be a fourth in the series started just as soon as I take a couple days to do a few things around here.

I’ve also been playing with my new Eee Pad Transformer tablet.  I can type rather well on that thing and it’s fun to use for all sorts of things.  I’ll write a little about it next week, including the couple little problems I’ve found.  It’s a great alternative computer, though.  I’ll be using it productively.

Anyway, there’s a good chance that Walker III may be completed next week. I’m not sure that I’ll also have all the editing done, too.  But maybe.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Walker III is Almost Done


Yeah, I know that I really should write more here.  But, after I read the news and tech blogs, then write for a few hours, I’m ready to get off of the computer for a while.

Anyway, the next in the Walker series is more than 80% written.  About 75% of it has been well edited, too.  That is, I’ve been over and over it many times looking for typos and words used improperly. 

Last week I intended to write some here.  Then I reread the whole novel instead to edit.  Funny thing is that I found some things in there that I forgot about. . . . 

Even better, I found very few things in there that needed fixin’.  But, of course, I added a little here and there anyway, just because I could.  After all, the art of writing is rewriting.  I can easily write a 750 word political op-ed in one sitting without rewriting.  But with fiction, I often seem to want to fool with it a little more.

As I’ve said before, these stories more or less write themselves.  That is, the characters do what they’re going to do their own way.  Right or wrong, I don’t interfere.  But, that’s what makes the story.  Everything can’t happen my way all the time.

People have asked where I get the ideas for the story.  Generally speaking, they come from reading the newspapers over the past fifty years.  Most of that stuff actually happened, just in slightly different ways so I protect both the innocent as well as the guilty – most of whom are probably out of prison by now.

Even so, I’ve received a letter or two from big city politicians inquiring if I’m writing about past events in their city.  I’m not.  But I suspect some will keep asking anyway because these very same things have happened many times in many large cities – and will probably continue happening.

Meanwhile, I’ve been playing a little on Twitter.  I do a little advertising there and have also had an opportunity to discuss writing with some rather good authors.  At the moment, there are about 200 good authors following me and more than that that I’m following.

To date, I’ve read some of the books by these authors at Twitter. I’m here to report that they are very good novels, too!  So, instead of paying $9.99 to $20.00+ for books at the store, I’ve been paying .99 cents to $3.99 for great quality reads.  Most are $2.99, which is what I sell mine for.  Also, I much prefer reading novels on my e-reader now.

For those of you who have read my novels, please leave a comment on the Kindle book site.  That’s important to help beginning authors get noticed.  And, yeah, I would like people to notice my novels. . . . 



Monday, October 3, 2011

Still At It Strong


Would this be a good time to take a break and say that I’m still writing a lot?  Well, I am.

The third novel in the Walker series is now about two-thirds completed.  Well, it is if I keep somewhat the same word count as the first two, anyway. 

Right now I have absolutely no idea how the novel will end and mostly no idea what will happen in the last one-third.  All I know for sure is part of the scene I’m working on right now. 

There’s been one major distraction:  The computer chair I’ve used for many years finally crashed.  We went looking and found another that sort of fits me properly but it ain’t the same.  It’s not nearly as comfortable.  But, the one I have is much better than the many others I tried.

Anyway, the novel is moving right along.  Maybe not as fast as I expected, but I’m certainly not having any writer’s block. 

Oh . . . with a lot of help from another author, I got a new book cover for the second novel and it is now posted on Kindle: 


Also, I already have the cover done for Walker III, which is great! 

That took a couple days of playing around when I could have been writing.  But, it is necessary and I’m really glad for the help.