The Kindle Wars Continue

on Saturday, May 28, 2011
So either our Kindles refuse to download an updated version of Paradise Seekers, or it lied and didn't actually update, because I can only pull the old (unfixed) version from Amazon.
Odd thing is I changed the description and that went through, so I assumed the fixed copy is also in (this isn't the typo fixing one, just the format one. The typo fix will probably get shoved out sometime this week).
I'm going to ASSUME this is my Kindle being dumb and not Amazon not updating, but I can never know for sure.
I learned my lesson though: make sure the book is 100% perfectly formatted before sending it up, because hassling with it after the fact sucks.

In more interesting news, I went to CONduit, met a lot of authors I knew and new ones as well, had a lot of great conversations and generally learned a lot. It was quite fun, and I'll probably blab more about it later.

Paradise Seekers and Effulgent Corruption - Now with 90% less whining

on Friday, May 27, 2011
So the last post was a bit...obnoxious, so I'm remedying it with this fantastic one.

Except I have little to say.

Paradise Seekers aka The eBook Revolution now has a glorious five reviews, and only two of them are from writing group (hey, nobody said that was against the rules!). If you bought the book or were an alpha reader, please review it! And my offer still stands to any other indie authors (or authors in general): if you review my book, I'll buy and review yours. Even if you didn't buy mine but pirated it, so long as you write a review the deal still holds. I'm just that generous.

But if you did pirate it, you are a cheap jerkface because it was freaking 99 cents. Just sayin'.

Effulgent Corruption is going well, if slowly. I finally got some writing done (Persona 4 and stressful work has been taking a chunk out of my motivation, as well as trying to get the word about Paradise Seekers out) and I am really liking the direction the novel is going. I realized this is probably the longest I've spent on a novel since my first, which again is motivation to get the dumb thing finished.

I'd estimate part 4 is half way finished already. As I said before, these ending parts are going to go fast, which means I'm going to have to substantially trim the earlier ones. In either case, I'm really enjoying watch pieces come together, especially since stuff you learned from the other characters directly and indirectly apply to what is going on here. Educating the reader in one situation, then testing their education in another. I really dig this when I'm reading books, and it's been a downright blast to do it in my own work.

After EC, as I mentioned, I'm going to Gears of Anbar to wind down. I'm also considering what to do with Steelgods. It needs an edit, but beyond that I'm torn between throwing it up on Amazon as soon as possible (having a large register of novels on there would almost certainly help with publicity), or actually submit it for traditional publishing. While it isn't the strongest of my novels I really enjoy the story (especially since it's my first fully-plotted series) and would like to at least give it the change for traditional publishing. We'll see how that goes.

I also am going to need an edited/sharable version of Effulgent Corruption by August for WorldCon, so that's another goal for the near-future. Man, I am not a huge fan of editing. But I'll do it anyway!

Back to Paradise Seekers, if you happen to review it and post it on your blog, again I'll return the favor. I don't require much to be happy, and having people read my books makes me happy. Also, doughnuts. Those make me happy too.

That's all from me today. Going to try and blaze through Part 4 this week. Hopefully CONduit motivates me.

Amazon formatting can suck it.

on Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Warning: I'm mad.

Since I'm mad I'm going to try to be as polite as possible. But the point I'm trying to make is amazon's built-in converter for publishing on their site BLOWS and drove me up a wall.

Here is the timeline of what happened:

1. Book went up. I thought everything was fine.
2. Heard paragraphs were messed up. Bought my own book (amazon wouldn't give me a free copy of my own book?), checked formatting: yep, screwed up.
3. Tried to do it the easy way. Went into word and literally deleted every word on the page that had the three-paragraph indenting issue and rewrote it by hand. Still didn't fix it.
4. Tried putting it on Windows version of Word and converting it there. Didn't fix it.
5. Tried converting it to HTML and uploading it. This fixed the paragraphing issues, but for some reason on converting it to HTML Word decided I didn't need page breaks anymore.
6. Went into the raw HTML. Learned Word's conversion to HTML is literally the exact opposite of "optimized." Found a huge, indiscernable mess so I couldn't put in page breaks. Not to mention it underlined EVERYTHING in red because even though it was in HTML view the program wasn't smart enough to realize html tags probably aren't "misspelled."
7. Found the tag  on the amazon site. Tried to find Word's messy version of page-breaks in their bastardization of HTML but couldn't find it. Well, I did, but it wouldn't let me find-replace because apparantly 8 gb of ram isn't enough for Word for Mac: It must take it ALL, ALL THE TIME and therefore chugs like a broken steam train when trying to do anything in raw code.
8. Got the genius idea of putting the pagebreak code (the mbp thing) in the original document so I'd have an easier thing to find replace. Oh silly Nathan, you so crazy.
9. Turns out it turns a single word into about six lines of code. Really. But luckily I was still able to find everything and replace it with the right code. Everything seemed a-ok.
10. Tried to upload. Amazon rejected it. Cursing happened.
11. Resaved the document and it decided to work this time. Checked and now the cover image on the main page isn't centered. But hey, the page breaks are there! I swear Amazon is just playing with me now.
12. Said "EFF YOU AMAZON" and left the thing not centered. It'll take 2-3 days before the updated version is on the site. But hey, it's fixed.

So that was my evening. This was instead of writing Effulgent Corruption. I'm still confused why the page-breaks didn't make it over to html when everything else did. Whatever. I also never had these issues (the indenting) when I'd send emails to my free kindle email converter, only when I decided to try and publish. WHY IS THIS AMAZON HUH?

But hey, at least Amazon is on the ball. It's been two days and the Nook version still isn't up. So you have that.

Enough whining out of me. It's fixed, go get it in a couple days. Those who have read it, please write reviews. Thanks for listening to my obnoxious rant.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go write Effulgent Corruption bed.

Possible format change and Smashwords

on Tuesday, May 24, 2011
First off, you can get Paradise Seekers on Smashwords now. Lucky you. They have every file format known to man, so if you really want a PDF version for some reason (or the "Palm Pilot eBook" file format) then you are set.

Second, I'm considering a layout change for this blog so as to better link Paradise Seekers on the side, as well as provide more noticeable space for book updates. But if you read it on Google Reader (like I do) then this doesn't really matter.

That's about it from me. Time to write some more EC.


Hey, look, what's that? Is it...could it be?


Now go buy/review it!
Also if you are following @TheUselessGod, you can retweet my obnoxiously boring message for a chance to win a free copy. You know, if $1 is out of your budget. ;)

Paradise Seekers eBook - Up Tonight for Reals!

Yeah I forgot it takes ~24 hours for an ebook to process before getting thrown up on Amazon/B&N. My bad.
Funny story: I fought with converter programs and formatting for weeks with this thing, culminating to me going onto my Windows side of my Mac Mini in order to download specific programs to convert my .doc to .mobi. It didn't work.
Then I read the actual upload instructions on Amazon and you can just throw a .doc on there. Guess what? It uploaded, converted perfectly, and was good to go. My weeks of work were for nothing.
Though I did get an .epub copy, which was helpful considering b&n's online converter is kind of awful.
I also wrote a fair amount in Effulgent Corruption. The realization the last book I finished was Steelgods back on the last day of September is motivating me. That's way too far back. Granted, I've done extensive editing since then (and written over 200k since January), but that isn't helping my case.
Point being: I'm going to work hard to finish Effulgent Corruption ASAP. I'll then probably take a two week break and then unwind by writing The Gears of Anbar. Steelgods still needs editing, but I'll burn that bridge when it is absolutely necessary.
Also, on pricing...I'm considering pushing Paradise Seekers up to the $3 price point after it's been out a few months (we'll see how sales go). The reason is:
- It's a full book. Most $.99 things on the Kindle store are short stories (like 3-6k words). PS rolls in at about 70k words, with a 5k Steelgods "bonus" at the end.
- You get 35% royalties if it is under $3. If it is $3 or over you get 75% (minus a 15 cent "distribution" fee). For those not math inclined, I have to sell six copies of the $.99 Paradise Seekers to equate the profit of one $3 sale.
- The reason it's $0.99 is I don't care about money. If I sell ~100 copies I'll pay off the cover art (now you all know how much I paid for it) so I'll pull even on this experiment. I'm giving you a book that is worth more than 99 cents for cheap because I am all artsy and consider people actually reading it profit enough. Yes, I'm just that self-sacrificing. Also I'm very humble.
- However, if it starts selling a lot, then it might magically become about money. I like money. I also like being able to buy expensive toys (with the money). Which is when I'd bump up the price.
- I also am hoping it is a "gateway drug" for future books, which is why the first of Steelgods is tacked on the back. I'm only charging the $.99 because 1. It shows I still think the book is worth something; lots of free ebooks are just total crap because their authors know they are just experiments. 2. I need to pay off that cover art. :P

As you can see, I'm trying to be casual about this, but I'd still appreciate it if you bought and reviewed the book. And if you like it, promo it! Review it! I'd be extremely thankful, and if you link me the review I'll post it on here and be sure to review your stuff when it comes out (or if it is already out). Or I'll get my wife to review it, because she reads about 200x faster than I. Point being: You'll get a review.

That's enough from me, now you are all up in my head. Here's a bit from EC to prove I'm still writing it.

Drake stared for a long moment. It had been years since he’d killed a man, and as he had strangled the life from *SPOILER* his mind had been awash with thoughts. Now, as Drake saw the still form before him, Drake thought he could hear screams. Battle cries, the clash of steel on steel and blades slicing through flesh. The crush of bone, the wailings of the wounded, the barks of commanders and the heat of Touched fire.
“You need not know those things, dear husband,” Marline’s voice was soothing. The memories ceased abruptly, like a dam blocking a small stream. Drake put his hands to his temples, a headache surging and resolving within a minute.
“What…” He tried to think back on the memories of battle, of death and leadership. It was fuzzy and empty, like so many others.
“It is not important now, my love,” Marline whispered gently. “Quickly, you must free your bonds and arm yourself before the Zealots react.”

Paradise Seekers eBook - Up tonight!

on Monday, May 23, 2011
I have a cover image, I put together what will (probably) be the final cover last night, and so tonight I'm going to finish formatting it and submit it to Amazon and Barnes and Noble for ebook publication.
If you are reading this blog, you should totally buy it! It'll be freaking 99 cents for a full YA book, and you'll be supporting me and helping me to buy more videogames get food and money and get published "for realsies."
Also, again, if you could write a review that would be extremely helpful. Though if you read it and think it should get could talk to me before posting it (I'm not saying you shouldn't, I'm saying I'd like to know why straight from the source, heh).
Here's a teaser of the cover. You can click it to enlarge.

Expect a more exciting, link-filled update tonight!
Also I'm still writing Effulgent Corruption. Now that this whole Paradise Seekers fiasco is over I can return to doing it full force. So that's good. 

Finishing it up

on Saturday, May 21, 2011
Paradise Seekers is edited; just waiting on cover art now that is being worked on. I'll be sure and let you all know once it's good to go.
I also have been working on Effulgent Corruption, but I've been so busy this past week it's been a tad slow, to say the least. The good part is that Pat 4 will be substantially faster than the previous parts; I'm streamlining it so it'll be done quicker.
Aside from that not much is going down. It's the rapture in an hour, and I'll be at work. Oh well.
Oh, Paradise Seekers will be put on both the Kindle and Nook store, so if you are so inclined you can purchase it from either. Again, it'll be $0.99 on both.

Paradise Seekers - Edits complete, on to formatting and cover art

on Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I must admit, I'm a bit excited for this.

I've got the edits done. Now I'm just trying to reach my artist (who is a busy man, so it is understandable) and figure out conversion. I also wrote a small amount in Effulgent Corruption, more of a token effort really. I was actually doing well but I had to leave to go to a broomball thing, and then I was so exhausted after I didn't get more written.

At least the edits are done.

My current goal (which kind of depends on my artist) is to have this thing out by Saturday at the latest. I'm also considering printing out cards with whatever art I get to pass out at Conduit, but we'll see if that actually happens.

I'm also close to finally beating Persona 3 after sinking over 50 hours in that dumb game. Just in time for Persona 4, which I bought as a reward for finishing Part 3/Paradise Seeker's edit. Yes, I reward myself by getting things that suck away my free time. I'm not the brightest.

Anyway...again, those who had review copies earlier I would appreciate a review. I would also appreciate it if you would purchase it (and maybe even re-read it) before review; it has seen substantial changes from the original draft, changes for the better. Though this previous edit wasn't as...extensive as the submission edit was, I did catch a plethora of sentence structure errors that should increase the flow of the novel substantially. I also cut down on words during the slower parts to keep the pace a bit faster.

Overall? I still hate editing, but having put this thing aside for a long period of time (It's been nearly a year since I wrote the first draft) has helped my editing a lot. After the submission draft I was convinced it was the worst thing anyone had ever written in the history of writing, and I couldn't understand why I was wasting my time submitting it when it was so awful. I'm a bit more optimistic about it now. I won't say its the best thing I've written, but it certainly is up there.

That's all from me. Expect some ebooking up here shortly! I'm also trying to figure out how to publish on B&N's Nook site, but they keep it so well hidden/buried I can't seem to find it. That or I'm blind, one or the other. I'll have to try a bit harder (and learn to convert things to ePub instead of Mobi...that will be a blast).

Paradise Seekers - That is one sexy table of contents

on Monday, May 16, 2011
Seriously, it's lookin good.

My edits are almost all done. Bec is doing a quick run-through for minor edits, then I'll go in and fix them. I still have to figure out how to make the damn paragraphs indent (cursing was necessary; this is driving me NUTS), but aside from that it's pretty much good.

Minus me getting my artist to draw the cover. I told him I had to think about it; it looks like I'm going to go for it. At worst I'll have a cool fanart picture, right?

Now that editing is (nearly) over, I'm heading back to Effulgent Corruption for a burning blitzkrieg of writing. Wee.

More later.

Blogger is back, and so am I

on Friday, May 13, 2011
3k-ish yesterday. Totally, 100% unplanned scene. I thought it went ok, don't know if it'll make it through a final edit. Moving this section/part pretty fast as I want this to get done.
I have a few key news items to address. Man, I sound like a boring person when I said that.


I now have dumb twitter. It isn't exciting, but it gives me something to do at work. I'm TheUselessGod (or Nathan Major) since for some reason I think Where Gods and Mortals Dance is still a good book despite re-reading it and only getting angry.
I will be talking about everything and nothing and crap and magic and all that goodness. So follow me and prepare to not care about anything I say.

Paradise Seekers vs Kindle

I'm going to (more than likely) throw Paradise Seekers up on the Kindle store after a final edit. I am not cashing all my chips in on this right now; I still fully intend to pursue traditional publishing with my adult fiction (and probably YA fiction).
However, I see this as an opportunity to test the waters, so to speak. I consider Paradise Seekers possibly my most "accessible" novel at this point, meaning it will find the broadest audience. It's also the most revised. If I were to put it up I'd do basic advertising here and among the other web circles I'm a part of.
Again, I'm not completely sold on the whole eBook frenzy a bunch of people (mostly indie authors) are getting themselves worked up about, but I do feel it is worth at least experimenting with. I might also put the Steelgods series up there should Paradise Seekers prove successful; considering I can write YA books in a month it would be easy to churn them out.
Also, if you have a Kindle, it would certainly be appreciated (once it comes out) if you, dear reader, would purchase a copy and review it on Amazon. Believe it or not, having a review (or more importantly, at least 10 for the double digit thing) is a huge deal on Amazon. It will be priced at a very reasonable $0.99 for a full length YA novel, so you are getting a good deal, ya? And if you have eBooks up I could return the favor. :)

Effulgent Corruption

Uh...not much to report. Still writing daily, no matter what. I even worked until 9 last night and still wrote (until 2 in the morning so now I'm dead tired, but it done). I still think this is the best book I've ever written (even though it isn't done) and fully intend to finish it by the end of June at the latest. I'm also considering a "cooldown" of editing Steelgods and also writing the second Steelgods in the two months following. I'll then decide where to go from there.

Well, that's it from me. Thanks for reading, follow me on twitter, support my eBook fiasco, and we'll get along just fine. If you have eBooks for sale and I somehow missed it on your blog, throw up a link in the comments and I'll be sure to go buy a couple. Just know $0.99 is my most tempting price point (and if you give me a free review copy I'll give you a guaranteed five stars! Just kidding. Maybe.).

Effulgent Corruption: Break over

on Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I took the previous two days semi-off in an attempt to recoop from the massive writing explosion over the weekend, but now I have no excuse and it's back to the grind.
I also joined Twitter. Add "TheUselessGod" to learn all about how boring I am.
As stated before, we are in Drake's part again, returning after a lofty ~120k of other people doing other things. Not surprising, I've totally forgotten how Drake functions. Really. I'm re-reading the first part to try and get back into it (but instead I'm finding stuff to critique which, while useful eventually, is just hindering me now) but I have a feeling it's going to be rough going for the first bit. I also forgot Zahed only speaks English/Finalian about 75% of the time, meaning I have to dig out that sheet of Diasarian words to put into his dialogue.
 I'm also mortified; I started this book in January, and it's freaking HALFWAY THROUGH MAY. That means I've spent four and a half months on this book so far and the end is still a ways off. This isn't how long it should take me to finish books; usually I'm done in three months, tops. I guess Where Gods and Mortals Dance took until...uh *checks blog* crap, May 4th of last year. So I've passed it. At least I've written more words in this time, if just barely. Point being: I'm wasting the year by taking so long. Time to pick up the pace and finish this, and move on to another month-book-a-thon.

In other news, going back and re-reading my old blog posts from the first two years of Brandon's class are both insightful and interesting. I'd like to think I've improved substantially as a writer since then, but seeing as I'm my own worst slash lenient critic, it would be hard to fully determine.

At any rate, back to the grind.

Effulgent Corruption: PART 3 IS DONE!

on Monday, May 9, 2011
195k later, Part 3 of Effulgent Corruption finally comes to a close. Now Part 4: The Damned Slayer can finally begin.
I'm also officially putting this down as "2/3rds." I'm also going to do my hardest to keep the remainder of the book less wordy and get to plot points faster. I kind of am just letting myself write whatever at this point, knowing I can go back and cut a good deal later, but if I do that I won't be done with this dumb book until like July, which is too far away.
It is also worth noting I actually finished Part 3 Sunday night, I just hadn't managed to blog about it.
I'm also now back to Drake's arch, and it has been so long I totally forgot how he works. Uh oh. I'm sure I'll get back in the groove shortly, I just need to brainstorm a little to get this ready to go. I have the key points of this section already thought out, I just need to organize them into chapters/scenes.
This is, however, still a momentous event. This means that all three viewpoint characters have been introduced and given arcs, and all of these arcs are about to collide in the worst way. It's hard for me to say I'm in "Act 2" or "Act 3" based on the structure of this story, but I'd say we are well into Act 2, and probably now inching our way towards Act 3.
I'm also averaging about 5-6k a day, which is great, except today where I both felt sick and decided I deserved a short breather after finishing Part 3. I still got about 1k out as setup for the next scene, but I feel I'm going to need a walk around the neighborhood talking with my wife before I start binge writing.
Also, against all tradition, I've made a Wordle of this early and will post it now. I'm surprised to see Grax is so much smaller on there, and that Thomas and Ciara almost share the same size (Ciara is the viewpoint character, and Thomas is her ever-present fiance). Also, I think Rook has beaten Drake as the most stated name, which surprises me but I suppose it makes sense.
Now I just need people to read it and motivate me to keep chugging through this monstrosity. You know you want to.

And lastly, a taste of the start of Part 4. Hooray!

            It was at the start Drake’s twelfth year when the first desert rainstorm struck the Yawning Maw. It came seemingly out of the blue; one moment the blistering heat was enveloping the Maw, the next the sky was shrouded and a torrential storm bore down on the massive pit. Thunder cracked across the sky, reverberating down the Gangrene-coated hole, the rain warm and the day still hot despite the downpour.

-Effulgent Corruption, "Rain" 

Effulgent Corruption: Part 3 is really almost done, for reals this time, I'm not lying. Seriously.

on Friday, May 6, 2011
I wrote over 6k yesterday in some vain attempt to finish Part 3. It didn't work.
Part 3 has 3 scenes left (COINCIDENCE?!), and an estimated 3-4 chapters (about a chapter for each scene, though the next one might take two chapters). I'd give it a rough 15k left until completion, maybe a little less.
This will also mark the first time in the book that two viewpoint characters' paths cross. So that's exciting. But don't worry, everything is going to mash together in a huge Effulgent Corruption pie in but a few moments.
In other news, I entered The Might of the Steelgods in a pitching contest (not like baseball), which got me thinking about actually editing it for reals this time. If it gets a mention in this contest I'll drop Part 4 temporarily and go wild editing it. If not, it'll have to wait its turn. I'm scared to stop Effulgent Corruption to edit Steelgods because last time I stopped EC it was almost impossible to come back to it.
At any rate, I can officially say the book is at least half over, at the bare minimum. I'm shooting for 2/3rds, but this dumb thing just keeps getting longer. IT IS BEYOND OUR CONTROL NOW, THIS IS WHAT WE GET FOR PLAYING GOD!

Anyway, toodles. Oh, and here's another Walrus.

Still goin, fools

on Wednesday, May 4, 2011
This is just an update that I'm still writing daily, and Part 3 is not done yet.
So is life.
I'm going to finish it by this weekend or it'll kill me.
That is all. Here's a picture of a walrus. My favorite picture of a walrus.

And as a bonus, a quote. 

            “You mortals and your noise,” Grax grumbled, thumbing his drink with dissatisfaction. It had appeared shortly after Rook arrived; no barmaid had delivered it. “None of your gods ever cared for such a racket as this.”
            “I heard Lantuna was quite fond of barroom jigs,” Rook said, taking a long drink. The ale was exceptional and cold, an oddity considering the inn lay on the border of a desert. “And Zander took to poetry in the last several decades of his life.”
            “Pah, all religious nonsense written up after we were all gone,” Grax waved his hand before returning to his melancholic drink poking. “It’s nothing but a mess of sound, and there’s enough of that in the world as is. If they wanted to hear people scream, why not go to the Maw, or stick each other with swords? That would be much more entertaining, not to mention real. Silly tunes just don’t compare to a good guttural choak, raw and unbridled. One’s a noise mortals are supposed to make, after all.”
- Effulgent Corruption, Minerva