Posts Tagged fiction

2016 Retrospective

With 2017 fast approaching in this neck of the woods, it’s time for my annual year-in-review post.

I usually don’t have too many complaints in these posts, but I have to say 2016 really tested me. And it wasn’t just election-related!

It started with some health issues that began late last year, persisting into early summer. I had a bunch of doctor’s visits and several expensive tests, but there was no real insight into what was going on. Things improved in the second half of the year, thankfully. I still don’t have any idea what was going on, but I’m making an effort to get more rest these days. Work continues to be a major source of stress, unfortunately.

Once again we had several costly car repairs in the first half of the year. Both cars are over 10 years old, with mine almost 14. This ongoing hassle culminated in having to make a decision in May when my car broke down yet again. We had to consider either spending twice the value of the car on repairs, or junking it and getting a new one. We decided on the latter option after realizing we’d have to spend the equivalent of six months of car payments to fix it! As luck would have it, our mechanic was interested in the car (supercharger, anyone?) and ended up buying it. He got a great deal. As for us, we re-entered the world of car payments and bought a new 2016 Dodge Charger. Alas, a V8 Hellcat model was out of reach…

My writing goals for the year were pretty much a bust. I submitted way more stories this year, but didn’t write much new fiction. As with last year, the bulk of my spare time was occupied by working on apps. I released a new PC app, two new Mac apps, a new iOS app, and 33 app updates.

In February I self-published my short story, That Which Dwells Beneath, in eBook and paperback form. This story first appeared in Lovecraft eZine in 2014. That was a fun learning exercise, even though it didn’t sell much. My plan was to use the knowledge gained when launching my first novel. Incidentally, I didn’t work on the novel, other than to re-read parts of my 2011 NaNoWriMo effort.

I entered two flash fiction competitions during the year, this time for Escape Pod and Cast of Wonders. My Escape Pod entry made it past the first round, but not the second. It probably didn’t help that I wrote both at the last minute!

I read more writing books this year and took two classic Dean Wesley Smith writing workshops related to genre and writing in series. I also signed up for Mark Dawson’s Facebook Ads for Authors course when it was offered this past summer, as well as his new Self Publishing 101 course. All of the above were well worth it, though it’ll take awhile longer to get the full benefit from the FB Ads course.

This year I read a good amount, taking part again in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. My reading continued to be almost exclusively in eBook form. Here are my reads for 2016:

Zeroes by Chuck Wendig
Write to Market: Deliver a Book that Sells by Chris Fox
Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig
Zen of eBook Marketing by Guido Henkel
How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours by Andrew Mayne
Jumper: Karma Police Book One by Sean Platt & David Wright
Iterate and Optimize: Optimize Your Creative Business for Profit by Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant & David Wright
Dead Man: Black Magic Outlaw #1 by Domino Finn
Cursed: The Thrice Cursed Mage #1 by J. A. Cipriano
Launch to Market: Easy Marketing for Authors by Chris Fox
Wrong Side of Hell: The DeathSpeaker Codex #1 by Sonya Bateman
Writing about Magic by Rayne Hall
Justice Calling: The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #1 by Annie Bellet
Blue Collar to No Collar: From Trucker to Bestselling Novelist in Two Years by Wayne Stinnett
Storm Front: The Dresden Files #1 by Jim Butcher
The Shambling Guide to New York: The Shambling Guides #1 by Mur Lafferty
Lustlocked: Sin du Jour #2 by Matt Wallace
Six Figure Author: Using Data to Sell Books by Chris Fox
The Forever Endeavor by Chuck Wendig
Karma Police: Karma Police Book Two by Sean Platt & David Wright
The Collectors: Karma Police Book Three by Sean Platt & David Wright
Ameriguns: A Thriller by Scott King
The 5 Day Novel by Scott King
Book Cover Secrets and Shortcuts: Book Cover Design for Everyone by Ed Lewis
Tales from the Loop by Simon Stålenhag

I continued listening to some great short fiction podcasts on my daily commute, including Escape Pod, Pseudopod, PodCastle, and Cast of Wonders. I highly recommend them, even to people who might not be short fiction readers. The podcasts are free, but please donate or subscribe if you enjoy listening.

Now for some stats:

2016 Stats:

New apps released: 4
App updates released: 33 (includes Lite and Paid versions)
2016 Word count: 1,513
Stories written: 2
Stories published: 1
Total submissions: 32
Total acceptances: 0
Total rejections: 32
Waiting for response: 0
Books read: 25
Comics read: 12

As previously mentioned, I did a tonne of work on my apps this year. I released 4 new apps and more updates than last year.

My iOS, Mac and PC apps continue to decline in sales, despite the release of new apps. Revenue is slightly lower than last year. My new apps tanked badly, but I’m hoping they’ll do better by next Spring, since gardening app sales are typically seasonal.

In mid-April I released a Mac version of my orchid collection tracking app, Orchid Album. Like the iOS and PC versions, this app is localized into 6 languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

October saw the release of both Mac and PC versions of my iOS cactus collection tracking app, Cactus Album. This year I’d localized the iOS app into an additional 6 languages (French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Thai), and likewise for the Mac and PC versions.

In December I beat the App Store shutdown deadline and released my first new iOS app in two years, Plant Album. This is a more general-purpose garden and plant tracking app for gardeners, localized into 6 languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Despite adding a few more Android test devices to my collection this year, I didn’t do much work on Bonsai Album for Android. I’m getting stuck into learning the platform from scratch (again!) and hope to complete the app in 2017.

I’ve abandoned the untitled shoot-em-up game I was working on late last year. It would’ve been too much effort and expense to bother with considering the totally flooded game market these days. It’s a pity, since I had a prototype working on iOS, Mac, and Apple TV with the same codebase, including game controller support on all three platforms.

My interest in bonsai this year was confined to keeping my trees alive. I didn’t attend any bonsai shows or botanic gardens this year. I also lost a handful more trees, due to the harsh winter and a squirrel (or was it a rabbit or raccoon?) chomping apart one of my tropical trees at the roots.

Travel-wise, this year we made a bunch of trips to Michigan as usual. We also visited Amish country in Indiana, and the Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio. No exotic Florida vacation this year!

I wasn’t terribly happy with my personal fitness in 2016. Between the aforementioned health issues and slacking off in the final few months of the year, I didn’t exercise anywhere near as much as I should have.

This year I voted as a U.S. citizen for the first time, voting in the Illinois primaries and the general election. I wasn’t happy with the result of either one, but at least I voted, unlike most of the population!

So that’s my 2016 in a nutshell. My 2016 goals were a total shambles, but that’s not going to stop me making plans for 2017! Here are my goals for 2017:

– Write more fiction and complete my first novel.

– Complete my first Android app (most likely Bonsai Album). I still need to finish off the iOS, Mac and PC updates for Bonsai Album I’ve been working on since Summer, but after that the decks should be clear to get cracking on Android.

– Get back into my usual exercise routine, at least 3 times per week.

– Spend more time in our garden. I worked on the veggie garden this year, but just about everything else was neglected. It has been depressing looking at some amazing photos of our garden from the past decade and realizing it hasn’t looked that great in many years.

I hope everyone had a decent year, and I wish you well as we head into 2017. Happy New Year!

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That Which Dwells Beneath – Now Available

“That

My third author-published short story, That Which Dwells Beneath, is now available on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook and via direct sale.

Here’s the description:

Detective Elliot Winter believes an innocent man may hang, framed for murders he didn’t commit. He’s convinced the condemned knows too much, and even if the man escapes the hangman’s noose, powerful people want him dead.

On the grounds of the abbey at the edge of town, the catacombs conceal terrible secrets. There are whispers of murder, ritual sacrifice, and worse. Winter cannot abide a world where such crimes are allowed to go unpunished.

In a race against time, Detective Winter risks his life and sanity to unravel a conspiracy concealing something far more sinister than even he can imagine.

That Which Dwells Beneath was first published in Lovecraft eZine, December 2014 (Issue #33).

I hope you enjoy the story, and look for more soon!

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2015 Retrospective

With the start of a new year, it’s a good time for one last look back at the previous year.

I don’t have too many complaints about 2015. The day job was a madhouse for much of the year, involving stacks of overtime and some overseas travel. Both of our old cars continue to test the pocketbook, and finances will prevent their replacement anytime soon. On the bright side, I finally paid off my large medical bill, so that’s one less thing to worry about.

Revisiting my 2015 goals, I wasn’t able to focus on writing so much. I didn’t go back to my novel at all, though I wrote a bunch of short stories instead. I mostly expended a huge amount of effort on my apps. In addition to 20+ iOS app updates, I released 3 new PC apps and an Apple TV app.

During 2015 I wrote a new Lovecraftian story and a whole bunch of flash fiction. From the latter I selected the two best stories to enter the Pseudopod flash fiction competition. One of the two stories made it past the first round, but was knocked out in the second. It was loads of fun to create some glimpses of new worlds and characters, so it’s something I’d like to do more of in the future.

Last year I read several writing books and watched some James Patterson Master Class writing lectures, as well as another lecture by Dean Wesley Smith and the folks at WMG Publishing. While there were no mind-blowing revelations, there were plenty of cool things to add to my writing toolbox.

My experiments in self-publishing fell flat, leaving me to conclude that short stories are a very tough sell at the present time. Then again, I can’t discount the possibility that my stories really sucked!

I had one story enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (KU) for 3 months, but had zero borrows over that time. If you’re a reader signed up for a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you would’ve been able to read it for free (i.e. borrow). The economics of the program changed during the year, which means it’s no longer possible to earn substantially more per short story download from a KU borrow vs a direct purchase at 99 cents. What was odd was making a handful of sales after pulling that particular story from KU.

While sales at Amazon were bad, everywhere else was completely dismal (zero!). As a result, I have since made both stories permanently free on all eBook platforms. I’m now getting a steady trickle of downloads, but still only on Amazon.

I did okay with keeping my stories out for submission at traditional markets, but like always, could’ve done better.

In 2015 I read twice as many books as the previous year. It probably helped there weren’t too many phonebook-sized tomes in the list. I took part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge which was a great motivator. Like last year, I read almost exclusively in eBook form. Here are my 2015 reads:

Threshold by Sean Platt and David Wright
The Martian by Andy Weir
Supercharge Your Kindle Sales: Simple Strategies to Boost Organic Traffic on Amazon, Sell More Books, and Blow Up Your Author Mailing List by Nick Stephenson
The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig
Invasion by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
Writing High-Performance .NET Code by Ben Watson
Alamo Rising by Josh Rountree and Lon Prater
Contact by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
Reader Magnets: Build Your Author Platform and Sell More Books on Kindle by Nick Stephenson
Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker
Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction by Douglas Smith
Indie Author Survival Guide by Susan Kaye Quinn
5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox
Colonization by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Lifelong Writing Habit: The Secret to Writing Every Day by Chris Fox
Build IOS Games with Sprite Kit: Unleash Your Imagination in Two Dimensions by Jonathan Penn and Josh Smith
Stories From July by Dean Wesley Smith
Fiction Unboxed by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt
Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

I continued to listen to short fiction podcasts on my daily commute via Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and PodCastle. I highly recommend them, even to people who might not be short fiction readers. The podcasts are free, but please send a few bucks their way if you enjoy listening.

Now for some stats:

2015 Stats:

New apps released: 4
App updates released: 21 (includes Lite and Paid versions)
2015 Word count: 13,958
Stories written: 14
Stories published: 0
Total submissions: 12
Total acceptances: 0
Total rejections: 12
Waiting for response: 0
Books read: 20
Comics read: 12

As mentioned above, I did a huge amount of work on my apps in 2015. I released 4 new apps and even more updates than last year.

My iOS and Mac apps continued their steady sales decline, with most almost reaching saturation point for their respective niches. Revenue for my iOS and Mac apps is roughly flat compared with the previous year. My PC apps didn’t do as well as expected, but they still helped minimize the impact of the lower sales of the rest.

Near the end of March I released Bonsai Album for PC. This is the PC version of my Mac bonsai tracking app, and it contains pretty much the same features. Like the Mac version, this app is localized into 7 languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese. There were some particular challenges on the PC platform with respect to obtaining a code-signing certificate and getting the licensing code working, but I was able to reuse this work in my other PC apps.

In mid-May I released the PC version of my submission tracking app for writers, Story Tracker.

In July I announced Bonsai Album for Android, taking my first tentative steps into Android app development.

September saw the release of the PC version of my iOS orchid collection tracking app, Orchid Album. Like the iOS version, this app is localized into 6 languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

In October I released an Apple TV version of my flying jackalope game, Flapalope. This was a fun exercise, since Apple TV apps are quite similar to iOS apps. I’m using the Cocos2D game development framework again. I also had fun creating a game trailer on YouTube. A single 99c purchase unlocks both the iOS and Apple TV versions. Unfortunately the Apple TV App Store launch was botched in the first few weeks, leading to most apps being difficult to find. The situation has only marginally improved since.

Despite having made a grand total of 63 cents from this new game, I was excited to work on another one. This time around it’s an untitled shoot-em-up, also done with Cocos2D. The prototype is already working on iOS, Mac, and Apple TV with the same codebase, and also has game controller support on all three platforms. I’m still trying to decide which direction I’ll take the game, but I’m hoping to release it sometime this year.

Another big milestone this year was finally obtaining my U.S. citizenship! I’ve been eligible to apply for years, but with the looming 10-year expiry and renewal of my greencard, it was time to do some serious thinking. I applied in January, studied furiously for the test, and the interview and subsequent ceremony was in May.

My interest in bonsai waned further in 2015. I lost a few more trees during the horrendous winter, which added to the tally from the previous winter. There were no new trees this year, either.

I attended one bonsai show at Morton Arboretum, but missed the big show at the Chicago Botanic Garden due to travel.

I didn’t take much time off in the first half of the year, but enjoyed having my parents visit during Summer. We spent some time with them in Milwaukee and upper Michigan before they headed to the next stop on their trip. Later, we went camping with the inlaws, and in December we headed to Florida for Christmas, visiting Daytona Beach, Saint Augustine, Epcot, Key West, and Legoland (including the new Legoland hotel).
I also had two week-long business trips in 2015, spending some time in Paris and Guadalajara. Alas, not as fun as they might sound.

I was fairly happy with my personal fitness in 2015. I made time for regular treadmill workouts, consistently exercising 3 times a week, except for travel weeks and when the treadmill died in February. Funnily enough, the treadmill died a week before its 10-year warranty expired, so we only had to pay for the labor cost of repairs.

That about sums it up for 2015. I like setting New Year’s goals, despite not always being able to meet them. Here’s what I’m planning for 2016:

– Number one goal this year is to complete my first novel. I’ve always wanted to have at least one under my belt before hitting 40, and time is fast running out!

– Further to the previous goal, I plan to focus on my writing this year, rather than sacrificing it for apps. This includes both writing more stories and substantially ramping up submissions.

– I plan to continue my usual exercise routine. It gets tougher with age, but the benefits are too great to pass up.

– I’d like to release my new shoot-em-up game on iOS, Mac, and Apple TV. I’ve spent a bunch of time on the prototype, and I’d hate for all that effort to go to waste.

So, that’s it for another year. I hope 2015 treated you well, and best wishes for the New Year!

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Introducing Story Tracker for PC

Track your story submissions on your Windows PC – Now Available!

“Story

Today I’m pleased to announce the release of my new PC app, Story Tracker. If you’re a writer who regularly submits your work to publications, you’ll find this to be a helpful tool to keep track of all your submissions.

Way back in 2013 I announced my plans to bring my iOS and Mac app, Story Tracker, to the Windows platform. Despite expecting a steep learning curve, I hoped to release the app by the end of that year. What I didn’t count on was quite so many development hurdles when starting from scratch on a new platform and learning a new programming language at the same time! I also had to continue updating my iOS and Mac apps throughout the development cycle. After all that hard work, I’m pleased with how it turned out.

The PC version is similar to the Mac version, with printing. enhanced search capabilities, and data transfer to and from the iOS version over WiFi. I’ve also included a host of other tweaks and improvements including duplicating entries, right-click context menus, and user-interface improvements. Story Tracker for PC also has a built-in crash-reporting mechanism and software update notifications.

To run Story Tracker on your PC, you’ll need either Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. The app also requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 with the KB2468871 update patch. While I haven’t tested it with Windows 10 yet, I’ll be making any necessary updates for that once it’s released.

The download version initially runs in an unregistered trial mode, limited to 5 stories, 5 markets, and 5 submissions. It will also only allow a single database to be open at a time, and database import is disabled. The full feature-set can be unlocked via purchase, either within the app or via my Web Store.

You can learn more about all the features of Story Tracker here, check out the Frequently Asked Questions page, or like Story Tracker on Facebook.

I’d like to thank all the Beta testers for helping me polish the app, and my family for their patience while I worked on it all this time. I hope you find Story Tracker for PC as useful as I do for keeping track of story submissions. Enjoy!

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Story Tracker for PC – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Story Tracker

The following should address any questions or concerns you may have about Story Tracker for PC. I’ll be updating this post as new questions arise. Let me know if I’ve missed anything!

1. When will Story Tracker be available for PCs?

Story Tracker for PC is now available for download from my website here. You can learn more about Story Tracker for PC here.

2. What operating system do I need to be able to run Story Tracker for PC?

The app works on Windows XP SP3 / Vista / 7 / 8 / 8.1. It requires the .NET Framework 4, which will be installed automatically if your computer does not already have it. It also requires the .NET KB2468871 update patch.

3. I already have Story Tracker on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Do I have to buy it again for the PC?

Yes, if you would like to run Story Tracker on your PC, you’ll need to purchase it direct from my site. The PC version includes some additional features over and above the iOS version, including enhanced search and printing capabilities. I first began work on Story Tracker for PC in 2013. The app had to be substantially re-designed and completely re-written for the PC platform. Unfortunately porting the app to the PC wasn’t as simple as you might think!

4. I’m not sure if Story Tracker for PC will suit my needs. Is there a free trial version available?

Yes, it’s available for download from my website here. The app is initially in an unregistered trial mode, limited to 5 stories, 5 markets, and 5 submissions. It will also only allow a single database window, and database import is disabled. That should be enough to give you some idea of whether the app will work for you. Purchasing a license either within the app or via my website unlocks full functionality.

5. I have a Story Tracker database on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. How do I transfer it to Story Tracker for PC?

You’ll need all devices on the same local WiFi network as your PC. Then follow these steps:

(1) Tap the Backup Database button on the Tools screen within the app on your device.
(2) Create a new database within Story Tracker for PC and save it to your Documents folder.
(3) Click the Import Database button in the document window toolbar within Story Tracker for PC. This is the button next to the printer button. The button has an arrow pointing to the right, away from the device icon. You can also select the Import from -> Story Tracker Mobile App item in the File menu.
(4) The Import Database window will appear. You should see your device shown in the Devices section. If it isn’t there, double-check that you’ve selected Backup Database (or Export Database) on the Tools screen within Story Tracker on your device. Check the Messages box in Story Tracker for PC for helpful information.
(5) Select the device you want to import from, then select Restore Complete Database in the Import Options section. You may also choose to Import Stories and Markets, Import Stories, or Import Markets.
(6) Once you’re satisfied with the selected device and import options, click the Import button.
(7) An alert will appear indicating whether the import was successful. Click Ok.
(8) The database in Story Tracker for PC should now match the database on your device.

Note that the above steps will completely replace the contents of the Story Tracker database within Story Tracker for PC, unless you’ve chosen not to restore the complete database. In that case, you may see duplicate entries in your database after the import is complete.

6. I have a Story Tracker database in Story Tracker for PC I’d like to transfer to Story Tracker on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. How do I accomplish this?

The steps are similar to question 5 above, except you must select either Restore Database or Import Database on your device, and click the Export Database button in the document window toolbar within Story Tracker for PC. This is the toolbar button with the arrow pointing toward the device icon. When the export is complete, you should consult the pop-up alert on your device for further instructions.

7. I have an iPad, an iPhone, and a PC. How do I keep the databases in sync between all of these devices?

Story Tracker currently doesn’t have a simple means of keeping databases synchronized on separate devices. However, it is still possible to transfer the database between devices manually. You first need to backup the database from the device with the most current copy to your computer (or from your computer to the device). The steps for achieving this are shown above in questions 5 and 6. A good workflow is to use your PC as a hub for the database, updating that after you’ve made changes on your device.

8. I have the Story Tracker trial version and just bought the full version. How do I transfer my data from the trial version?

When you purchase the full version you’ll be provided with license details to unlock the app. The trial version and the full version are the same app – there is nothing further to download. All of your data will be accessible the next time you run the app.

9. I have a whole spreadsheet of submission data I’d like to import into the app. How can I do that?

Provided your spreadsheet program can export to CSV format and allows you to specify comma separators and dates in a particular format, you should be able to import it into the app. Story Tracker expects to receive CSV data according to the CSV template file, available in the Downloads section of the site. This template file can also be found via the File -> Import from -> CSV menu sequence within the app.

10. Can you incorporate some new fields into the app? Can I change the names of any of the data fields?

Incorporating new fields may be possible, but keep in mind that any changes will also need to be made to the iOS app version, where screen real estate is very limited. I’ve tried to select fields that would be useful for most writers using the app, and have tried to minimize clutter as much as possible. The Notes field may be used to log information that isn’t captured by any other field. Sorry, the names of the data fields cannot be changed.

11. What is the X icon in the toolbar used for?

The ‘X’ icon (next to the ‘+’ icon in the toolbar) is used to delete a particular story, market, or submission. It has no effect until you select an item from the list. Clicking on one of the rows in the table will select that row and highlight it. To delete the highlighted story, market, or submission, click the X icon in the toolbar. Alternatively you may select Remove Item from the Edit menu. Note that if a particular story or market is associated with any submissions, an alert will appear asking if you still wish to delete the story or market. If there are no associated submissions, the highlighted item will be deleted immediately.

12. What does trunked mean?

The Trunked? field appears on the Story Info screen, with options of Yes or No. It essentially means you’ve put the story away in the trunk (or drawer, filing-cabinet, or hard-drive) and don’t plan to submit it anywhere again. You’d typically do this when you’ve exhausted the list of markets you planned to send the story to, or if you don’t think it’s good enough to send anywhere. In practical terms, when Trunked? is set to Yes the story will no longer appear in the drop-down list when you create or modify a submission. You can decide to un-trunk the story at any time by setting the state back to No.

13. I have questions, feature requests, or concerns that aren’t listed above. How can I contact you?

You can reach me via email (StoryTracker@andrewnicolle.com), on the Story Tracker Facebook page, or on Twitter (I’m @andrewnicolle). I can usually respond to queries within 24 hours. If you like Story Tracker for PC, please spread the word. Thanks!

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Night Lights wide release

Night Lights - A Short Story

Now that the Amazon.com exclusivity period has expired, my second author-published short story is also available on iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and via direct sale. You can also find it still on Amazon.com.

Here’s the description:

Amelia and Robert Burke are traveling along a lonely stretch of highway in the Australian Outback, in search of the mysterious Min Min lights.

Their progress is halted by a blinding dust storm. Then Robert goes missing.

Trapped in their car and with little hope of survival, Amelia begins documenting their investigation and the horrors that lurk beyond the windscreen.

Night Lights joins my other recently author-published story, Back Again, which I talk more about in my earlier post.

You might be wondering how the Amazon exclusivity worked out? Not so great, actually. It was enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (KU), where readers who signed up for a KU subscription could read it for free. The theory was that for short stories, the current economics of the program mean it’s possible to earn substantially more per download from a KU borrow ($1 or more) vs direct purchase at 99 cents (35 cents or so), provided the reader gets through more than 10% of the eBook.

Well, there were zero borrows throughout the 3 month exclusivity period! The five free days had okay results, but those aren’t much of a drawcard since you can set the price to free on other eBook sites.

I’m not precisely sure why readers were happy to download it for free on the free days, yet not borrow when it was in KU. I suspect it’s a combination of it being a short story (gotta get your money’s worth with novel borrows!), visibility issues, and perhaps KU readers being a small percentage of the total pool of readers.

I’m curious if anyone else has had better results with short horror enrolled in KU? I certainly won’t be trying the experiment again.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the story, and look for more soon!

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Night Lights – A Short Story

Night Lights - A Short Story

My second author-published short story is now available exclusively on Amazon.com.

Here’s the description:

Amelia and Robert Burke are traveling along a lonely stretch of highway in the Australian Outback, in search of the mysterious Min Min lights.

Their progress is halted by a blinding dust storm. Then Robert goes missing.

Trapped in their car and with little hope of survival, Amelia begins documenting their investigation and the horrors that lurk beyond the windscreen.

Night Lights joins my other recently author-published story, Back Again, which I talk more about in my earlier post.

Why the Amazon exclusivity, you may be asking? This is all part of the experiment. By making the story Amazon-exclusive, it’s not only available for sale, but also means it’s automatically enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (KU) . Readers who sign up for a KU subscription (currently $9.99 / month) get to read it for free.

For short stories, the current economics of the program mean it’s possible to earn substantially more per download from a KU borrow ($1 or more) vs direct purchase at 99 cents (35 cents or so), provided the reader reads more than 10% of the eBook. It remains to be seen how long this will be true, but I’ll be watching how things go with interest.

I’d also like to point out my initial cover design was greatly improved with the help from a reader on the kboards forums. Thanks, cagnes!

I hope you enjoy the story, and look for more soon!

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Back Again – A Short Story

Back Again - A Short Story

My first author-published short story is now available on Amazon.com and for sale direct from my website.

Here’s the description:

Tom Granger, a prisoner trapped in Kingsworth penitentiary, finds himself defending the prison against an alien invasion.

He soon discovers the situation is even worse than he’d realized when he encounters the enemy’s most terrifying weapon yet…

I’ve been planning this publishing experiment for quite awhile now, but put things on the back burner to focus on apps this year. When I finally finished a flurry of app updates, I decided it was time to work on this project.

To prepare, I watched some cover design video lectures from WMG Publishing and read the fantastic Zen of eBook Formatting by Guido Henkel.

I also found a great stock illustration on Dreamtime to use as the basis for the cover. I used the Mac image-editing software Acorn to complete the cover design.

This is all very much an experiment, but I’m planning to publish more of my stories in future. Meanwhile, I’m continuing to submit my work to publishers, as I have for much of the past decade. Look for another new short story soon in the next issue of Lovecraft eZine.

Enjoy!

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