Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blog Move

It is unfortunate to have to do this, but do to technical difficulties with Facebook recognizing my blog in links, I've had to move this blog.

Please visit http://www.kincadefiction.blogspot.com for further information about me or my upcoming novels and stories.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of the Altered Realities series, A Life of Death collection of novels, and Strange Circumstances

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Making New Writerly Friends

As people who know me and some clients can attest to, I can't help myself when encountering typos on websites - a habit of my profession as an editor for WAKE Editing. Whenever I came across a great new author site by J. C. Michael, I couldn't help myself again. There were a few typos here and there, nothing overwhelming though. However, the perfectionist in me had to reach out. James was very appreciative and after integrating the editing comments even asked to do a blog post on Salvation.

Thanks, James! And congratulations on getting published with Books of the Dead Press.

So check out his new site for his thrilling novel Discoredia. It's certainly on my list to be read.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of the Altered Realities series, A Life of Death collection of novels, and Strange Circumstances

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Update and Reveal of Salvation, Book Two in Altered Realities

I know many fans of Invisible Dawn, the first book in Altered Realities, have been patiently waiting. I want to apologize for the delay in the completion of Salvation, the sequel. It has taken much longer than I planned due to various projects and life's numerous hurdles. However, the time is growing near. In the coming weeks, I will be announcing a call for beta readers who wish to help with the final review and critique, getting a sneak peek at Salvation before its official release.

For now, I thought fans might be interested in a different sneak peek, the creation process and cover reveal of Salvation.

As to the cover's creation, I held a contest a little under a year ago for cover images to be used and received many wonderful submissions. The winner was a young woman with tons of skill. I've included the winning image she submitted here along with a bit of information about her:

Bio: Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a sixteen-year-old, internationally award winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National
Geographic,The World Photography Organization, Nature's Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland trust and Postal Heritage. Her photography has  been published in the Telegraph , The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United states and Canada. Her art is globally exhibited, having shown work in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland,Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia, and The Environmental Photographer of the year Exhibition (2011) amongst many other locations. She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus run See The Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year Of Biodiversity 2010.

To find out more or contact this admired artist, her email is listed below along with a site where you can view many of her other creations.

The second step in this process took me to one of multiple wonderful graphic artists I've worked with in the past, and another aspiring author, Simon Critchell at SandS Creative. If you need graphics work done, Simon is dead on. He lives in Queensland, Australia, with his family, and I had the wonderful opportunity to work with him on my last novel's cover, The Golden Bulls, book two in the A Life of Death collection. The first version of Salvation he sent me was stupendous and only required a couple minute changes. He had the cover pegged.

The result of both their hard work was this:

It requires one or two small changes, but it is mostly finished. You will notice that the text on the back flap is just a space holder at the moment, but that will be altered as we come closer to the time for beta reading and I get the summary finalized. I am glad to see Salvation coming to fruition and am very happy with the current version. I have no doubt readers will enjoy the next phase in the Altered Realities series.

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to let me know what you think. I'd love to hear it.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, A Life of Death, and Strange Circumstances

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Interview with Erin Britt

Erin Britt, author of Celia and a recent college graduate, interviewed me recently about both my writing and editing services. It was great fun. Stop by and check it out here.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, A Life of Death, and Strange Circumstances

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Invisisble Dawn Hits Second Place on Amazon.com!

I am happy to announce that Invisible Dawn is on the second day of a two-day, midweek giveaway and is currently in second place in free epic fantasy and fourth in free paranormal fantasy on amazon.com. Over eleven hundred people have downloaded it in the last day and a half, so get your copy today. Let’s get it into first place in both categories. I’m sure we could even get it in the top 100 downloaded free ebooks on all of amazon. So pass it along. Share it with your friends. Encourage them to get their copy for free today!

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, A Life of Death, and Strange Circumstances

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Strange Circumstances is Ranked Second in Fiction Anthologies!

I am again happy to report that for the second day in a row, Strange Circumstances is ranked second in both its current categories on Amazon. This short story collection about fate is finally getting into the hands of readers, and I hope they enjoy it. If you got a copy and have a moment after reading it or The Golden Bulls, the other book available free right now, leaving a quick, honest review is a great way of saying thanks. Tell your friends. Let's get up to that #1 spot. The giveaway is still going through tomorrow, so everyone has a chance to get their copy of both books.

Let's break those category barriers. Strange Circumstances is even ranked #375 in all free books on Amazon. Let's break that top 100 barrier! The glass ceiling is showing cracks, so help us get the word out. We can't do it without you. It just needs another push, and you could make the difference. It's free, so enjoy two great reads for the price of none! Share the wealth!

Get it on Amazon.com in the US here. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/277-9029069-6960405?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Weston%20Kincade

Get it on Amazon.co.uk in the UK here. http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/277-9029069-6960405?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Weston%20Kincade

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, A Life of Death, and Strange Circumstances

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Review of Strange Circumstances

I am happy to announce a new review from blogger and avid reader, Chantale, at Geeky Girl Reviews. She got a chance to read Strange Circumstances, my co-written short story collection about fate, magic, and the supernatural. Stop by and see the great reviews and books she recommends if you are looking for a new book. You can pick up Strange Circumstances on Amazon.com.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, A Life of Death, and Strange Circumstances

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Geeky Girl Books Reviewed The Golden Bulls

Pick up your copy on Amazon.com
Things have been a bit busy around here, but not long ago Chantale at Geeky Girl Book Reviews read and reviewed my newest release The Golden Bulls, sequel to A Life of Death. I was happy to hear her thoughts on it and would love for others to see too. Just follow the link. Her site is great if your interested in finding a new book to read and would like a personal opinion from a fellow reader.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, the A Life of Death series, and Strange Circumstances

Monday, February 11, 2013

Release of New A Life of Death Audiobook

I am very happy to report that the final version of the serialized audiobook for A Life of Death is finally complete and uploaded. It's available for free, so give it a listen and let your friends know. Your support is much appreciated.

The site is taking some time to replace the summary content for each episode, so that isn't quite accurate at the moment but should update and fix itself in the coming week. The audio sounds great in my opinion. Ed Miller did a great job with the narration and sound work. And having the great Triscale song, Midnight Daydream makes it that much better. Thanks John.

You can find the new serialized audiobook for podcasts and iTunes here. Enjoy!

An entire compiled audiobook will be available soon for sale. I'll keep you posted.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, A Life of Death, and Strange Circumstances

Monday, February 4, 2013

To Self-publish or Not, and What You're Getting Yourself Into

Over time, I've been asked by some people about my experiences self-publishing compared to when I tried to go the traditional route, in addition to other questions. It has become apparent that there are a lot of lessons that me and other authors have learned, and so we can speak from experience to help others considering independent publishing as an option. However, what I haven't seen is someone going over the basics, what's involved with independent publishing, or at least what's required to do it right. Now, this post isn't about how to write or format your books or anthologies. It is a simple explanation of what's involved and why I went down that route in the first place. While simple, the process is quite lengthy, so bear with me.

First, as I mentioned in a previous post long ago, let me say that I have never been traditionally published. I am not opposed to it, but would need to have the right publisher and publishing contract. A small publisher was interested in publishing one of my novels some time back, but I politely turned her down simply due to the cost-benefit potential; what she had to offer me as a small publisher versus what percentages she would take as compensation. Since I'd already self-published and completed most of the work she was offering to do as part of her costs, and she had little to offer beyond marketing in local book stores and fairs, I couldn't justify it in my mind. She was pleasant and a great person to talk to, and for some would have worked wonders with their books, but I'd already done so much legwork and wanted my books available online for ereaders, so our interests didn't really connect. However, let me repeat that this offer came after I'd independently published A Life of Death, the book she was interested in. (Update: The A Life of Death collection was picked up by Books of the Dead Press in early 2013 and is no longer self-published.)

This brings me to the follow-up questions that are often asked: How do you go about publishing independently, and does that end your ability of going with a traditional publisher later?

I have heard nothing but good things about authors that go independent while still trying to get traditionally published. The old belief that the submission must never have been published seems to no longer apply. Publishers even search out the independent authors now, offering the most successful ones publishing deals like Amanda Hocking, Scott Nicholson, and others you may have heard of. And they have to offer them a lot of money normally or high percentages, or both, since the sales from successful independent authors garner the author 75% of sales cost normally. Most independent authors are unwilling to take a drop to 6-25% of profits without large sums of money upfront. Those percentages of profits are the equivalent of 2-6% of the total sale per book, so you can see why they would be hesitant when the drop from 75% is so significant. However many independent authors continue to shop for traditional publication, and being able to show good reviews and a developing fan base should improve your likelihood of getting a publisher or agent, assuming you still want one by then.

To begin, you have to get a good cover made that will catch a reader's eye and have your book edited and formatted for ebook and print. I offer editing services through WAKE Editing, but also recommend Katy Sozaeva for thorough and affordable proofreads. However the marketing of your book also falls to you. You have to find the best way to market your book using the online media and social resources available. It can be done. Amanda Hocking, Scott Nicholson, Joe Konrath, Scott Rhine, and many other authors are finding their place in independent publishing and finding success. Even Rowling took her Harry Potter books and went independent once their contracts were up with the publishers. However, whether it is right for you is a different question. It takes work because you are acting as your own publisher, buying your own ISBNs, finalizing your work so it is the equivalent of traditionally published books including finding a professional editor and cover artist, and contacting book reviewers to get honest reviews and do interviews.

The alternative is waiting for years to get published, more than likely only to wind up exactly where you are now, but with lots of rejection emails and letters. Some authors get picked up and published traditionally, but you statistically have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting published by one of the big 6 publishers. That is why so many authors turn to independent publishing now and why publishers are now more inclined to look at independents than to sift through their slush piles. They know that at least the independents are willing to work in their novel's best interest and can see how the reading public is responding to the book. It helps them to decide if they'd like to approach the author or wait and see which authors with agents approach them, at least that's my understanding.

The Process:
The one thing I'd advise anyone considering branching into independent publishing of their own books is to make sure your book was copy edited based on the Chicago Manual of Style rules. That is the bible of fiction writers and the standard all fiction editors use. Then, you need a cover. I have used three cover artists in the past, all of which I would recommend as being affordable and creating very good covers. My first novel's cover, Invisible Dawn, was created by Bradley Wind. The cover for A Life of Death and Strange Circumstances was created by Renee at The Cover Counts, and for my most recent release, the cover to the sequel to A Life of Death entitled The Golden Bulls, was created by Simon Critchell at SandS Creative. I highly recommend any of these, but there are others that are also reasonably priced with good results.

The next step is deciding whether you want it in print or just ebook. Then having someone format it appropriately for those two things or just ebook etc. Most of the books I sell are ebooks. You can do the formatting yourself, but it does have a learning curve. Or you can pay a professional editor to format it for you. Then decide where you are going to publish it. I recommend CreateSpace for print on demand. They will also get your book out to Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com for people to buy in print. Lulu also does this, but their manufacturing costs for the book tend to be higher for the same product, meaning you have to put more money in upfront and sell the books for above-average costs.

For ebook, you can use Smashwords to take your formatted copy and convert it to all of the different formats. There's also Calibre if you'd prefer to do it yourself. However, either way, I'd recommend downloading Sigil, another free software, to go through and check for errors and fix the table of contents file and other things. Then you can re-upload the fixed file to Smashwords if you want to use their service to distribute to every ebook market like Apple, Sony, Kobo, and the rest. However, they do so for a small percentage of your sales. The one they can't send yours to is Amazon.com. They've tried, but Amazon has 90% of the ereader market and hasn't been willing to work out a deal. I guess Amazon would rather you use their conversion service at KDP and sell directly on Amazon. It is free, so easy to do with the same finalized file. That will then make your books available in every format through every major online ebook distributor.

However, you then have another decision to make. Amazon offers the Prime option. For authors, this is called the KDP Select enrollment option and places your book into their lending library. You are paid a percentage of the funds allocated for that month, normally around $600,000.00, based on how many times your book was downloaded in the lending library compared to all the downloads from that month. This tends to be about the same price you'd get in sales off a $2.99 book for each download. In addition, Prime gives you the ability to do five days worth of giveaways in every ninety-day period, which is how long the contract you agree to lasts. If you don't opt out, you will start the next ninety days under contract, with an additional five days of giveaways for each book you have in KDP Select. While KDP Select is free and gives you a great way to get your book into the hands of 90% of the ereading public to help boost sales, but there is a catch. Being in KDP Select requires that Amazon is the sole distributor of your ebook - not print, just ebook. That means that you cannot distribute your book through Smashwords or any other ebook retailer so long as you are under a KDP Select contract for that particular book. Since all of those other retailers only amount to about 10% of the ereading populace, this is a bit of a quandary - cater to all, but reduce your ability to get the word out to 90% of readers as a new and upcoming author, or accept KDP Select's proprietary distribution limitations through Amazon and gain that giveaway and lending library ability. The decision is yours. (On a side note, these percentages are based on the last time I checked, which was close to a year ago. They may have changed somewhat, but can't have adjusted drastically. From what I understand, with the growing sales of iPads being used as ereaders, Amazon may hold less than 90% by this point, but they still hold a very large majority.)

Once you've uploaded it, download a copy for yourself from the KDP preview and/or Smashwords. You can read these through Adobe Digital Editions for epub and the Kindle previewer for computers. Skim through the file to ensure that there aren't any problems with how it's being viewed on the ereaders. If there are problems, you can upload a new file once you've addressed the issue and saved it. Then preview it again to be sure everything looks good.

Once it is finished, it will take Smashwords some time to get your book to all the distributors, two to three weeks normally once you've met their catalog requirements and have no errors in the file. Amazon will get your ebook up and available on their site fairly quickly, normally within 24-48 hours. However, I highly recommend that once it's up you double check everything, making sure your Summary appears correctly and without typos or errors, that it is priced accurately, etc.

While your book is then up and ready to be sold, that's when the real work begins. You have to research book reviewers like Coral at Alchemy of Scrawl, David at An Eclectic Bookshelf, and Christi at Alaskan Book Cafe. There are so many great book bloggers out there that I can't name them all here, but they are great people. Get to know them. Also get in touch with actual readers and do interviews and giveaways. You need to get your book into people's hands so that they can judge for themselves and give it honest reviews. This can be done using the Kindleboards, which is just a great place where kindle readers often go looking for giveaways and good books to read. There are also other book sites and book bloggers that have followings. The people that follow them rely on them like professional movie critics. Book Reviewers and Bloggers are the literary critics of today, and I have never found one to be anything but pleasant and agreeable. Often, their success is dependent on getting wonderful upcoming authors to do interviews in addition to giving reliable reviews for their followers. Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, and other sites allow readers and bloggers to say what they thought of a book. It's great, so get your books into their systems as quickly as possible. They all have slightly different processes for adding books, so familiarize yourself with them. Used to, you would buy a book you saw someone else reading or that a friend recommended. Now, reviews act as an extension of that word-of-mouth recommendation. Reviews can make or break you, which is why you need to have the best product out that you can create and let it speak for itself. When contacting Book Bloggers or corresponding with readers, never ask for a review only if they like it. That's unethical and just bad practice. Have confidence in your book, the thing you put so much time and effort into creating and refining. Let it speak for itself once it's in the reader's hands. If you've done your job, that's all you can ask for. The rest is up to the reader.

There are also other marketing avenues you can take, such as pay-per-click through Facebook and other major advertising methods, but due to their cost, I have had limited experience with them. I am sure they can help you build your Facebook site or website, but beyond that, I don't know how much they actually affect your sales or if the cost would be worth it. The results will probably differ for each person. That goes for just about every kind of marketing though. A pretty recent article I read regarding marketing can be found here by Jonathan Gunson. It might be beneficial. There are plenty of others out there though. Marketing is an artform in itself. I've tried different things over time. Some that I currently find helpful are Facebook, Twitter, Hootsuite, Book-Buzzr, Google Plus, and others. These sites help you connect with readers for free. I've also used Authonomy to connect with other authors and even Wattpad. They tend to serve different audiences and purposes, but are helpful to new authors if you use them to connect with other authors and get honest peer review. The big step after that is simple, yet very hard - honestly consider the advice. If a few people are saying the same or similar things, you really should take it to heart so that you can improve your writing. Never consider your growth as a writer to be complete. You always have more to learn. Some of these marketing and social media sites have worked better than others, but that doesn't mean they won't work better for you. The best kind of marketing though, is simply writing and publishing more books. Having more books out there for people to read increases their chances of coming across one of your books. Then, if they liked the first, they'll pick up another.

While I am an author, I am also a lover of books and a reader. Like most readers, if I find an author whose books and style of writing I enjoy, I'll pick up every book they've put out, finding time to read them all. So authors and readers, rejoice in the understanding that we are one big family of literary lovers. So, help entertain each other. Put out your books for readers to enjoy. Readers, don't be afraid to try something new. You never know what you'll find.

My thanks go out to Marie, Jason, and the others who have asked similar questions. These are good questions, and I just hope I can help some authors who are considering going this route to avoid time-consuming pitfalls and know what they're getting themselves into. Self-publishing is fun, but everything rests on your shoulders. It can be difficult at times, even frustrating, but for those interested in putting in the work, I would recommend it. If you are one of these authors and found this post informative, please share it and tell a friend. If you have questions I haven't addressed, feel free to post them below and I will respond. Thanks for reading.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, A Life of Death, and Strange Circumstances

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Review of The Golden Bulls

Another great review appeared by David King, a UK book blogger for An Eclectic Bookshelf. He's reviewed my work before, and I always love hearing his honest thoughts. Take a look for yourself, but be warned that if you haven't read A Life of Death, you'll probably be better served reading his review of it first. It can be found here.

Since David read A Life of Death, it's gotten a face lift and a price drop with the release of the sequel. Now you can get the ebook for under a dollar on Amazon.com.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, the A Life of Death Collection, and Strange Circumstances

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I am happy to report that A Life of Death: The Golden Bulls, my most recent release, is now available in print on Amazon.com. My thanks go out to Simon at SandS Creative for his great work with the cover and my proofreaders and beta readers. Thank you all so much for your help.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, A Life of Death, and Strange Circumstances

Friday, January 18, 2013

The First Reviews for A Life of Death's Sequel, The Golden Bulls

There have been a couple reviews of The Golden Bulls in the first month after its release, and I wanted to let everyone know about them. They are quite diverse in their approaches, but I was very happy to get them and would like to say thanks to each reader/reviewer for letting everyone know what they thought.

The first was a five star review by a reader with the Amazon username of Dr. R. You can read about it here. It was pretty good.

The second was very short, but sweet on Goodreads.com saying, "I enjoyed this book," and rating it at four stars.

The third was a very in-depth review by Bryce Campbell on his blog. This is a very long and constructive review, highlighting various things he liked and didn't. (I will say that if you haven't read the book, reading this review does have some spoilers, so you've been warned.) The formatting he mentioned is evidently only with the epub version, not the mobi, and I will be taking a look at it immediately to fix said issues. I'm not sure what caused them, but this kind of feedback always helps so other readers don't encounter the same problems. Thankfully, it is only a result of the software I used to render the epub.

There have also been other ratings at four and five stars, all of which are very helpful and I appreciate. Other book bloggers have agreed to read and post honest reviews, so I hope to hear from them soon. Take a look for yourself at all of the reviews and decide whether you'd like to grab your own copy of the book.

Thanks again to my readers, reviewers, and everyone keeping tabs on my upcoming releases. I have some things coming up I think you will enjoy and will let you know about those surprises soon.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of Invisible Dawn, A Life of Death, and Strange Circumstances