Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My new Kindle series "Burntown", plus some writing/self-publishing advice =)



Since I vowed to start this up as soon as I could and keep with my plan of posting one part of the story per month (with a total of about 5 parts), I recently finished the first part the other day. The Chronicles of Burntown (Part 1) is now available on Amazon Kindle for your reading pleasure =) I should also note that I'm currently posting all my books and series up on WattPad.com for free as well.

First, some background into why I'm writing a monthly series and why I'm posting my work for free. I've found that writing a serial monthly series has multiple benefits for me as a writer, so here are the reasons I'm doing that:

1) It keeps me focused on writing. I have ADD and I'm a horrible procrastinator, and putting out one part of a series per month keeps me more or less on the edge of my seat and discourages much of the procrastination and writer's block that come with creating a full novel

2) I can edit quicker since I'm not writing much more than 30 pages at a time, though it should be emphasized that this is a catch-22. I'm very careful about my self-editing, being that I cannot afford to hire a professional editor right now. I'll admit that mistakes can and will slip through in my work sometimes, but the shorter length keeps that to a minimum as well.

3) It keeps readers interested. I think we've all dealt with the disappointment of finishing a novel and yearning for more, but sometimes you have to wait for the next book by your favorite author to come out, and that could be anywhere from months to a year. In writing a monthly serial, I can keep readers in a state of anticipation for the next part of the series. And the best part is, it's only a month away =)

4) The more books on my virtual shelf space (and the faster they come), the better chance readers have of finding me. Take Amanda Hocking for example. She cranked out books like a factory (or at least it seemed that way because of when she released them). A lot of self-published authors have muddled along and never focus more on writing because they're so desperate to sell their one or two books that they do more marketing than actual writing, and I've discovered that this is often a horrible tactic. Not only will you NOT sell the titles you have, but you ruin your chances of finding more readers, which you obviously need if you want to sell your books. Writing a monthly serial fills up more space =)

Now, the reason I'm making my hard work available for free. As I've learned from J.A. Konrath, the great grand master and guru of self-publishing, it doesn't matter whether or not your books are free because someone will always be willing to buy them depending on where they find you and if they really like your work. That's no better evident than on Amazon. Konrath often posts links to get his books for free in multiple formats on his own site, and he also sells them on Amazon. The free books don't hurt his sales any, and he doesn't care if people pirate his work. He still makes great money.

So since I'm sort of a fledgling author and a bit new at this game and my sales suck, I decided that I could find more readers if I made my work available free of charge. Here's something I think all budding writers should be aware of:

NOTHING--NOT EVEN MONEY--IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN READERS!!

Because if people like your writing, they'll keep reading. And the more they read, the more they'll tell their friends, and you'll get more attention. That attention comes from everywhere, be it people who find you and buy your work on Amazon or whether you start getting comments on a site where you've put out your stuff for free. Nothing is more important than readers, because at the end of the day would you rather lose a few sales and get more fans? Or would you rather protect your precious work forever and make less money than you could have? You've got to take risks, it's that simple.

Anyway, enough about that. Let me tell you a bit about my new Kindle series =)

First and foremost, Burntown is a tie-in story for another work in progress I have going called The Swarm. The events of each novella-length piece are directly related and coincide with one another.

Burntown takes place in the year 2022 in a fictional rural town called Kentsburg, Mississippi. Seven months prior in July of the previous year, all electricity and power sources in the town suddenly and inexplicably failed following a really bad storm. Those who were outside when it started noticed a strange display of flickering red lights and beeps emanating from devices they later called "drones" that had been buried out in the fields. No one knows who put them there.

Having watched most of their parents and grandparents die off in the past year, the remaining kids and teens who are left in the dwindling population of Kentsburg soon become evermore convinced that the world is about to end. They are too afraid to leave their land for fear of what lurks beyond the boundaries.

Luckily (or unluckily) for them, a young boy named Mark Huxley rises to appoint himself as the town's de facto leader. He and his friends freely trade and distribute drugs amongst themselves and the rest of the town. But "Hux" (as everyone calls him) is a bit of a pyromaniac with a burn fetish that is quickly turning unstable.

Playing off the fear of the town's inhabitants, he starts what are known as "burn parties" to kill the time until they die. His logic is that there are too many empty barns left in Kentsburg, being that most of their livestock was destroyed by killer bee attacks in the spring. His idea is to throw a party and set fire to the barn afterwards. For a time, it works great. A party is held every weekend and everyone is eventually able to forget their problems. Kentsburg is officially dubbed "Burntown".

But when a strange old man enters the town criticizing their ignorance and explaining that the poisoning of their ground water will be next, the kids soon realize that digging up the drones may be their only chance at survival. Unfortunately this is no easy task, and their extraction comes with its own set of problems.

Meanwhile, Hux finds his sanity slowly beginning to slip away the more he does drugs and obsesses about his love of fire. By the time he realizes his friends can no longer keep him in line, it might just be too late...

If you're interested in checking out Burntown, you can find it here on WattPad for free, or you can purchase the Kindle version here =)

Enjoy and have a great day everyone!!

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