A Little Marketing, A Lot of Humor

Hello you. All of you. I’m again here to write this blog thing.

I’d like to thank those of you who replied to my previous post. You tended to agree it’s hard to make a splash at all out there. There seems to be a general consensus that you already need to be well known before you can expect any type of advertising to work. That and marketing your book will be the hardest part, because even though you can purchase eyes, it doesn’t translate to sales. Simply because there is a well circulated ad or something, that doesn’t mean anyone will click on it. Your name or brand already needs to be in the public consciousness before it’ll make a difference.

I suppose one way to get known would be to attach yourself to someone already famous, or at least well regarded as a trend setter. For me, not likely. I’m not the social type, though I suppose if there was any interest I’d make the rounds. Rounds being podcasts or any type of interview if there was interest. I can’t think there would be, but if there was, just get in touch. I think here or my twitter would be the easiest. I guess I’m just saying I’m willing, but I’m not out to force myself on anyone. That and talking for too long wears me out. I guess I really am the introverted type.

But I haven’t let this discourage me at all. I’m still writing. I’ve moved over to my next book, and have already written several thousand words. This isn’t to say the previous book is finished. I’ve talked with the co-author, and they agree it’s time for us to review the book together. This means we’re going to set aside time a few days a week to read through it jointly. I’m excited, as this means we’re nearly finished with this multiple year writing process. I think this has led to a better novel than otherwise, and I’m happy I’ve had the chance to work with someone so closely in creating this story.

It has really opened my eyes working with them. I’ve lost a bit of that self-doubt that I’m sure plagues us all. I’ve found that my first instinct is generally the best, and just write whatever I feel like. If it turns out that it wasn’t great, I just delete it and move on. Before I’d agonize for hours sometimes before I’d write anything because I wanted it to be as close to perfect before I’d write another sentence. Now, I know it just doesn’t matter. If it’s good, cool, if it’s not, there are other days when I’d write better. But it’s better to just push forward with the story than linger on a scene. Another day will show you the way, and you can fix anything after the fact.

The book that we’re editing started as a bit of a joke. Or at least we were just going to write all the silly stuff that we thought was funny, and try to make a story out of it. So yes, there were some really weird things in the beginning, but as the book progressed we began to drop some of those strange yet funny scenes. They had no place in the story we were creating. I at first lamented their loss, but now reading back through multiple times, I realize they didn’t add anything, and they slowed the story down. Or at least were out of place. I think the book still has some humorous elements, but it has really been toned down versus that first draft.

This is what has helped clear up some of that doubt. I’ll just write whatever dumb thing I’m thinking of, and move on. Yes it may not fit, but it’ll still have elements you can work with either then or later when editing. I think that’s the best lesson I wish to impart. Don’t worry about if it makes perfect sense at the time, keep writing. You’ll clean it up later. And who knows, maybe those funny little sentences and paragraphs can hang around with the other more serious parts. Or maybe they are hidden gems that’ll help the story along. Just have fun, it’ll be better than slogging away at something you can’t really connect with. Use your own humor to work. If you laugh, that means you are enjoying those characters you are writing. Don’t be afraid to be a bit silly.

And with that, I’ll leave you for the week. May you find inspiration, and have a little less doubt in those things you create. TTFN

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Started writing a new book. Editing in jointly with the co-author begins

Steven Oaks

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Marketing Self-Doubt

Hello all. I’m back again.

So, I have a problem. I’ve no idea how to advertise/market my books. Well, perhaps I have some ideas, but I don’t like the feeling of intruding upon others, even though I think some people would enjoy finding out about what I’ve made. Nor do I have sufficient funds for such promotion.

I have in earlier instances posted links to my books in places where I thought they might garner some interest. Though I don’t think I did enough to really get the ball rolling. I truly hate the feeling of annoying others, as I hate it when people do it to me. That and I’m only aware of so many places that might be accepting to such self-promotion. Mostly I used my own social media, though the number of followers is larger than when I started it doesn’t seem like there are enough who are truly interested. Mostly the followers I have are other writers who wish to promote their own things as well. While we all are likely readers, it doesn’t seem like it’ll do much to help promote.

Reddit and the like have helped, but mostly when I allowed them to receive a book for free. I don’t have an issue doing so if it helps sell books(hey, I gotta eat too), but while many did get a book, I didn’t see a spike in the sales for other books.

I’m not a tireless marketer, one who constantly promotes what they are selling. I can’t do it. It exhausts me, and I find it rude. If you are following me here or elsewhere on the Internet I hope to give some sort of entertainment or insight, not to just be there to constantly barrage you with statements about how you should buy my book(though I would appreciate more sales).

In the past I paid for a small ad campaign on Facebook, but again didn’t see much traffic to justify the cost. Perhaps there is something wrong with some part of my book descriptions, that seems to be one of the big three things when you can actually get someone to your book’s page. I’m confident in the covers, and the first part of the books that you can sample on such pages. So maybe I should work on that, but again, I can’t tell if I’m even getting people to look at those pages.

Honestly I’m worried that this latest book wont reach as many eyes as I think it should. I think it’s the best thing I’ve written so far, and I’d hate to think that because I’m so terrible at marketing that so few will read it. The co-author and I have been working on this book for years, and it would be terrible to think that so few will have a chance to read it, since maybe they won’t even know it exists.

Aside from all that, I did (omit) a bit of editing since last week. Editing being me re-reading several chapters, and swapping out only a few words here and there. I think it’s mostly done from my perspective, but of course the co-author will need to finish their own re-reading/editing. It reads well, and I really like reading it. Somehow between us we wrote a story I enjoy diving into each time, even if I have read it multiple times. Heh, we even discovered we wrote a meaning we didn’t intend to when we set off writing this book. It makes sense too, so that was neat.

Anyway, I think I’ll leave here. I hope you all enjoy this book when it comes out, but until then I have several other books I’ve written over the years, so take a look at those. Until next time, have a great week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited, spending hours drawing.

Steven Oaks

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Books, Sleep, and Coffee

Hi. My name is Steven. I write books. At least that’s what I’ve done so far.

So this week I did a bit more work on the picture I’ve been putting together. Hair was giving me a bit of trouble, so I watched a few tutorials, and now I have something. It’s not great, but it’s fine as a place holder. I’ll have to work on it more to be satisfied.

As for writing I edited several chapters. Again just cleaning up language, as it’s decent at this point. It’s just waiting for a final review with the co-author when they finish up. I think the time we’ve spent polishing up this book will show.

Speaking of polish, I have to say there’s this book series I’ve read, and am reading, that while I like the story an awful lot, it has huge issues when it comes to writing. It’ll just force in a line that skips over events instead of letting the narrative flow naturally. Every time this happens it really takes me out of the book. I’m not sure if any of you have watched Harmon Quest, but it’s like when their DM says “You do that,” and then just moves on, instead of letting it play out. It’s weird. Perhaps other people don’t notice such things, but it’s so different from the way they write everything else I find it distracting. The strange thing is I’ve read other books they’ve written, and they aren’t like this at all. So I don’t know what happened. Perhaps a different group of people are editing their other series. Either way I’ll still read them, but I guess I’ll just expect less from them. 😦

Again to reading. I just finished a 16 book series. It’s titled “EarthCent Ambassador”, and it’s something special. There was only one book I wasn’t completely in love with, but even that one was good. It’s all about a species of alien AI that comes to Earth and forces humans into a galactic federation of different sentients. The aliens are distinct from humans, and have their own cultures. And how our diplomat interacts, and how the rest of humanity reacts to their forced inclusion is fascinating. While there are conflicts, they aren’t in the vein of militaristic. It was truly a wonderful read, and relaxing. I highly recommend reading it if you enjoyed the classic Star Trek feel. One in which it was about exploring alien cultures, and how humanity fits in with all our differences.

Besides from work, it’s been a relaxing week. On my days off I got lots of sleep, or at least gave myself time to sleep more so than usual. Any time I was tired, I went to bed. While I may have rolled around, which is normal and frequent for me, I at least got a little sleep each time. I may have talked about this before, but I have a hard time shutting off my mind, and I can’t get comfortable. So I wind up staring at the ceiling, or just tossing and turning until I eventually fall asleep. Even then I generally only sleep for a few hours at a time.

This of course is not conducive to being well rested, but I tend to offset this before I go to work with coffee. Unfortunately I wound up drinking too much one day last week, and while I was alert, very alert, I grew anxious. Extremely so. I made a post several years ago, back when I think I was writing my second book, that I was drinking tons of coffee, and I would grow incredibly anxious. So it appears that is still in play. Too bad I enjoy the taste and energy that comes from coffee so much. I wish I could feel that invigoration constantly, and perhaps that is why I tend to over do it when I’m a bit more tired than usual.

I have heard others say that coffee is a terrible thing to rely on, and perhaps that’s another reason I have trouble sleeping. Though, I calculate the time before I plan to sleep. Meaning, I have heard that imbibing caffeine less than 12 hours before sleep will cause issues. So I tend to make sure that at least 12 hours pass before I attempt to sleep after drinking any amount of caffeine, either coffee or tea which is my usual concoction. Though on my days off I tend not to drink any, unless I have a big day planned, and I want to get some work done before I finally lie down for the day.

This hasn’t seemed to cause any issues, but I will note on the days that I don’t have any caffeine I will be a bit more groggy. Since I usually don’t have anything planned for those days it hasn’t been an issue. I get at least one nap in, usually for at least a couple of hours when off, and after such I do a bit of work either on editing, or now drawing. So it all seems to work out.

And now that I’ve bored you all with my random nonsense, I’ll let you go. I hope you all have an enjoyable week, and get some sleep.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited, spending hours drawing.

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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Learning to Draw

Hello all. Steve is back, and he’s ready to attack.

What am I attacking? Um… uh… my free time? I dunno, I just wanted to rhyme something.

So this last week I not only did my usual editing, which is going very well, I continued practicing drawing. Mostly in GIMP still, but I played around with Krita as well. Mostly I’m working on the human form. This means I went about trying to break down the human structure into basic shapes.

Those of you who have been drawing for years know this is just about the first step. This is something I had always neglected, so it’s good practice for me. The co-author offered up several books and resources for me to look to for examples, and it helped immensely. I can’t say I’m good at drawing people… yet, but I’m getting better. I’d post examples, but I’ve not finalized anything. What I’ve made is mostly for myself. Though this last one I’ve been working on has some striking eyes, and the mouth looks real… though it also looks like I cut something out poorly and pasted it on a blank face. I need to work on shading I think, or at least rounding out the sharp lines I use to draw things currently.

The thing that has helped me in drawing people is thinking about bones. Besides the example shapes people have used to illustrate drawing bodies in tutorials, thinking about the skull really helps shape a head. A round top of the skull, and then the jaw bone underneath. Otherwise you might wind up with something too round. As for arms and legs, yes bones, but the muscle on top really brings out their form. Chests and hips are interesting, and having shoulders protrude is something I hadn’t thought of, and the ligaments that angle up to the neck from the shoulder is something to think of, otherwise you’d have a flat line running underneath the head. Bones are good, but hands are hard. Just saying.

I think I’ll try to do some backgrounds soon. I’ve always love landscapes, but I’ve never been able to do anything. While I’ve drawn people before, none of it good, I’ve not done any natural scenes before. So this’ll be a new thing for me. I’ll probably use Krita, though I’m more familiar with GIMP, simply because there are a ton more brushes and styles to utilize that come standard with that program. You can get as many as you want for GIMP, but I don’t feel like searching for them, though I did find a “hair brush” that I think is decent.

I’ve also found that trying to trace things doesn’t help as much as you’d think. At least for me. I’m only using a mouse. Perhaps if I were to use a tablet and pen for such things they’d look better, but really if I personally want to draw something now it tends to look better if I draw it while looking at a picture as opposed to trying to trace it. I don’t know, maybe my hand isn’t steady enough, but things tend to look better if I draw it freehand. That and it’s better practice as I am better able to identify the best shapes to form different parts of a person. The eyes for example looked really bad when traced, so I deleted that and started over. Now I have a pair that look close to real, for me at least.

In the end, I’m enjoying trying to learn this new skill. I also have hopes that this will help me better describe things when I write. Before I usually would focus on dialogue, and let the descriptions of surroundings and people kind of vague, though I tried. But working with the co-author, and seeing how they depict things using words, has spurred me into more action when it comes to that. Now with both them as an example, and this new found hobby, I hope to become even better in the future.

That’s all for now. I hope you have a great week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited, spending hours drawing.

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

ce70Twitter-icon Connect-with-SDK-Welding-on-Google+ Tumblr-Iconurl goodreads_icon_256 YouTube-App-Icon