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Launch Pad 2014

It has been two weeks since my last post. The delay was caused by my attending Launch Pad 2014. Last year, I increased my blog schedule to post on the activities at Launch Pad nearly every day. I did not do this this time because most of it would have been a duplication of the events of a year ago. If you're interested in reading what happened day by day you can start here. If you are interested in reading the blogs of some of the other attendees, you can click here, here, and (especially if you want to see some of the presentations) here. I'm sure I missed some but those will give you a flavor for how well received this program has been.

I was accepted to my first Launch Pad event in 2012. I enjoyed it so much and met such a wonderful group of people that I practically begged Mike Brotherton (the program's founder) to return. He eventually said yes. Now, I help out by renting one of the vans and providing transportation from Denver to Laramie every year. I'm also hoping (once I learn how to do website maintenance) to help them out by becoming the web master for the Launch Pad site.

Pictures and videos of this year's as well as previous year's Launch Pad adventure can be found on my Flickr account.

Editing for Peacekeeper 2 is moving along at a slow but good pace. One of my more outspoken and helpful fans -- Lee Dilkie -- is doing a very good job of copy-editing for me. His comments have caused me to stop and think as well as to alter and improve the novel. Peacekeeper 2 might be slow in being released but it's going to be a much better book because of the help I'm getting. As soon as I'm done with my final editing pass I hand it off to my wife who looks for grammatical errors. Even after all these passes and multiple people looking at it, some errors are bound to creep in. That's why I ask my readers to give me feedback. I prefer constructive feedback so please just don't say "I didn't like it". If that's your opinion then at least tell me why so I can improve.

In other news - my new job at the nuke plant has been keeping me busy. I'm enjoying myself at this new job and I count myself to be among one of the lucky few who actually enjoy going into work every day. Writing database applications is fun -- I could do it 12 hours a day, 6 days a week if need be. But of course, that would cut into my writing time so that's not going to happen!

Time to get back to editing!


By The Numbers

Possible Delay of Next Week's Post
I leave for Laramie, Wyoming next Sunday to attend the 2014 Launch Pad Workshop. This means I may not generate a blog post next week. I'll be meeting another wonderful group of authors, editors, game developers, and others in the entertainment industry. In case you're curious, here's a list of who's coming:

            Ann Leckie                            Ann Toole
            Lisa Yee                                Malinda Lo
            Jenn Reese                             Meg Howrey
            WilliamLedbetter                    Amy SterlingCasil
            Eugene Myers                        Marc Halsey
            Geetanjali Dighe                     James L. Sutter
            SarahMcCarry                       AndrewLiptak
            Susan Forest                          Gabriella Harbowry

My apologies for the two missing links. I have not yet mastered the zen of Google. I also hope I got all the links right.

By The Numbers
As an indie author, I like to know where I stand in relationship to other authors – especially other indies. Writing is NOT a competition (which is why I'm not a big fan of awards), but knowing how well you're doing in comparison to other authors is very useful. If my sales figures are low then I need to work harder. Based on reviews it may be better writing or it must might mean I need to spend some time on the internet talking about my book. But, unless other indie authors share these results with the community there's no way to make a comparison. Everyone seems to know how much actors make – especially well-known actors. Why not indie authors?

I've discussed this topic in the past and I mentioned that I've compared my sales (not monetary income but units sold) with another author who is far more well known than myself. I've learned that I'm doing quite well. The daily sales numbers I'm about to present might seem low but they are steady and that's what an author wants – a steady flow of sales.

I'm going to share my sales numbers with you on a regular basis and, if I can find the time, I plan on posting them to my website. I hope that other authors may share their sales figures publicly so other indie authors can learn how well they're doing in comparison. Indies should stick together, share our numbers, share how we promote our books, and talk among ourselves.

I don't collect the data every month but usually do it about 3 or 4 times a year. There's a tremendous spike in sales beginning in October of 2011 and peeking in March of 2012. Sales then dropped and have been fairly steady for some time. Smaller spikes occur when I release a new book. Why the giant spike in sales? I wish I could tell you. I suspect Amazon may have featured Translight in their daily deals but I really don't know.

There's a lesson in the sales numbers – just because you have a good month – or several months – don't quit your day job. Sales can fall just as fast as they can rise.



If anyone else cares to share their numbers, I would be happy to receive them. If you do, please let me know if I can make them public otherwise I'll keep them private.

Peacekeeper is still being analyzed by my beta readers. If I get comments back before I head to Laramie I'll begin the final editing pass while I'm there. Then it's off to my wife for her proofing.


PK2 is Off to the Beta Readers

I would like to congratulate everyone on their Locus awards. I met Ellen Datlow at Launch Pad 2012 - she won best editor - congratulations.

A Day Late But Not a Dollar Short
I'm a day late in getting my blog out but for a good reason. We've been having some remodeling done and things have been very hectic around here. My wife has been up early and then out of the house while the contractor has been removing our old bathtub and installing a walk-in shower. I've had nearly 2 days of uninterrupted time to edit and that's what I've been concentrating on. The end result is that the first editing pass of Peacekeeper 2 is complete and the novel is now off to the beta readers. I don't expect to be getting the results back until I return from Laramie in three weeks where I will be attending Launch Pad 2014.

With the editing done, I find myself in a rather strange position. I'm heading off to a place where I normally expect to get a ton of writing done but I don't actually have anything I'm working on at the moment. What to do? The solution - I'm going to start fixing The Galactic Alliance Technical Reference Manual. It's a free publication that's available on my website and it's in dire need of a major upgrade. I don't write short stories or I would be working on one right now so fixing the GATRM is a good choice.

There is an art to editing and I'm still learning how to be a good editor of my own work. When you read books on editing you hear things like: "Each sentence must resonate with the reader"; "Every word, every sentence, every paragraph must be dissected, the useless parts discarded, and the remaining pieces stitched back together again to form a more coherent whole". Okay - I made those up, but you get the idea. Editing is hard work! My problem is I tend to rush through the editing process. I read the words as if I were the reader, listening to how they sound and looking for improvement ideas. I will occasionally stop and delete something or go back and add in something. But I tend to rush the process.

With PK 2, I hope to have a final product that everyone can enjoy. I'm going to try to take a single chapter at a time and read it, slowly, patiently, keeping myself detached from the story but engaged enough to spot errors. After each chapter is done, I'll take a break. It might take me another month to finish the editing but I think it's worth it.

I just finished replying to a fan who has found a few errors in Translight. Over the years since being written, I've gone over this book at least a dozen times and yet there are still problems in some of the words I chose. "Road" vs "rode", "sighting" vs "citing", and one sentence that had a word that should have been removed. It's embarrassing but I want my readers to point these out. That's how people learn. Just because you've done something wrong all your life does not mean it's the right thing to do.

The contractor should be finishing up today and our bathroom (except for painting which I will take care of) will be complete. We'll have a new walk-in shower and a new toilet. My wife wanted to widen the door but because of how the frame is built and the flooring around it, we'll have to wait until when we decide to replace the flooring in the living room and hallway. We plan on retiring here and making little improvements like this now is called 'planning for the future'.

One final note: Today marks the first official day of my new job at the power plant. I can now tell everyone I am a DataBase Administrator (DBA). Like my wife likes to say - "You're not AN I&C technician, you're not A planner, you are THE Database Administrator." I like the sound of that.