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Author: uberoldnoob

Writer’s Nook

Writer’s Nook

I’ve been thinking more and more about this writer thing and how to be more productive. Disclosure – the above picture is not my writing space, more of what I envision. My current “nook” is way too crowded and disorganized. It also has multiple uses, the most prominent being where I conduct all of my business for a small company my wife and I run, but that is for another post.

Paul and I seem to do some of our best writing out and about, usually at a coffee shop or restaurant. Currently that is a small locally owned shop near by called The Daily Grind. The owner, Tyler, is very forgiving of our long hours and makes an excellent, well, anything you could want from a coffee house. But I digress. Back to my current office. Every time I look up or over, I see work for the business that is not getting done. Several people have already “complained” that our second book is not further along and I couldn’t agree more. We are 53000 words into the first draft on a 120000 word novel. Not even half way. It seems like we have been stuck at this number for awhile now. One of the reasons is that after writing a chapter or section, you go back and delete your notes. It seems like taking two steps forward and then one step back. My solution is to move all of the business materials into a corner of my wife’s office and do any work associated with the business in there. Before getting your skivvies in a wad, this was at her suggestion. She wants to read book two as much everybody. For those who don’t know, I married up.

My “nook” will certainly not look like the one above – for now at least, but I will hopefully be able to get the feng shui right for optimal wordsmithing. “Shaking the tree boss.” Back to work.

RavenCon 13

RavenCon 13

Paul and I attended RavenCon13 or RavenCon 2018 depending on who you ask. It was the 13th Con held in 2018 if you are wondering. Had a great time and learned a lot from the gathering of misfits and geeks that are the SciFi writers and readers of the world – Rock On! or should that be Geek On? Either way we had a great time. I will follow Paul’s lead and bullet point my takeaways from the convention; with the exception of the first bullet point, they will be in no particular order.

  • I got to meet Chuck Wendig this weekend. If you don’t know his work you should get to know it and buy his books. I’m telling you, he has something for everyone. He is a voracious writer with over 20 novels to choose from. As Chuck says, “Trust me, you really need some Miriam Black in your life.” He is also just a great guy, down to earth, funny, and good to be around. He made himself available to con goers all weekend – either sitting on panels or while walking the halls, he had time for fans and authors alike. We even talked him in to taking a bite out of our novel.

Like I said, get to know him, you will not be disappointed.

  • All of the panels I attended were excellent. All but one I should say – some people take themselves way too seriously and just like to hear themselves talk, but all of the others were well thought out and the panelists were knowledgeable of the information being presented. I will submit to you that if Chuck Wendig, John Hartness and Michael A. Ventrella hosted a panel on the air velocity of a coconut laden swallow, it would be worth attending.

I will take a moment to mention a few of the panels that I thought were excellent. This is not to say that others weren’t, but these stood out in my mind.

  1. Packaging your book to sell – this panel covered everything from software for publishing to Fonts.
  2. Promoting yourself as a writer – covered social media, trends, meta data, all the way to person to person marketing. But first and foremost – WRITE BOOKS! Don’t worry about promoting what you don’t have.
  3. Editing – Yes, you need an editor! At the end of the day, it is your name on the book. Covered story editing, copy editing and line editing.
  • Paul is getting too old to drink a lot at Con’s. 😉
  • This is a small Con so there is a lot of opportunity to engage in a meaningful way with other authors, publishers and fans.
  • The hotel – The Double Tree by Hilton – is an excellent venue; close to several restaurants within walking distance and several more just a short drive away. The hotel food was average and somewhat pricey, but the staff, to a person, was excellent, friendly and helpful at every turn.

Here we are at our book signing.

 

Hopefully next year we will have two more books to sell on the table. Paul’s next book in his Necromancer series will be out and hopefully the next book in The Knights series will also be out by then. Three books look a little thin on the table.

Our next convention will be LibertyCon in Chattanooga, Tn. on the weekend of June 29th. When we receive our itinerary, the panels we will be on and the times of our book signings, we will let you know.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

I stole this from Peter Grant over at his blog. I really need to learn how to link other blogs. He does a great job of explaining how book reviews drive sales and why new and independent authors shamelessly ask readers for them.

“No reviews, no revenue”

I know some readers find it frustrating when independent authors, such as myself, ask readers of their books to leave reviews on Amazon.com.  They don’t like to be bombarded with such pleas.  I try very hard not to issue such appeals too often:  but reviews are important, as the New York Post explains.

No reviews, no revenue.

That’s the key takeaway from a new study published in Psychological Science, which finds that if two similar products have the same rating, online shoppers will buy the one with more reviews.

. . .

The study concluded that consumers see products with more reviews as being more popular, and they’re more comfortable having what everyone else is having, regardless of quality.

“[When] faced with a choice between two low-scoring products, one with many reviews and one with few, the statistics say we should actually go for the product with few reviews, since there’s more of a chance it’s not really so bad,” wrote researcher Derek Powell of Stanford University, lead author of the report. In other words, when there’s only a handful of reviews, a few bad ones break the curve and bring down the overall rating.

“But participants in our studies did just the opposite: They went for the more popular product, despite the fact that they should’ve been even more certain it was of low quality,” he wrote.

Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews, previously conducted a study with Northwestern University that drew from an even larger data pool of 400 million consumers, which also found that the more reviews there are of a product, the more likely it is that a customer will purchase that product. “Around 20 [and running up to 50] is the optimal number of reviews for a product to have to give consumers the confidence that this product has been tried enough by enough people,” he told Moneyish.

. . .

Most online shoppers (97 percent to be exact) say reviews influence their buying decisions, according to Fan & Fuel Digital Marketing Group, which also found that 92 percent of consumers will hesitate to buy something if it has no customer reviews at all.

And 73 percent of shoppers say written reviews make more of an impression on them than the star or number ratings, according to Deloitte.

There’s more at the link.

I guess that shows why writers beg, plead and grovel for reviews!  I always tell people to leave an honest review, too.  If you didn’t like my book(s), feel free to say so, and why;  but if you did like them, please say that, too (and why).  It not only helps me write better in future (and I do take such feedback seriously), but it also helps potential readers assess my books and decide for themselves whether or not they’d like to ‘take a chance’ on a new-to-them author.

Interestingly, even negative reviews can help sell products to people who know what they’re looking for.  For example, one of my wife’s favorite cookbooks was bought because of a one-star review.  The reviewer complained that it was nothing but a selection of the best recipes from four previous cookbooks by the same author.  She felt cheated, because she owned the other books, and would not have bought this one if she’d known that.  My wife, on the other hand, read the review, and realized that by buying one book, she’d get the best parts of four others.  Sold!  Another example;  several readers, of varying political persuasions, have told me that they’ve sometimes bought a book in that field because of negative comments from reviewers of an opposing point of view.  If a left-wing reviewer attacks a right-wing book, a right-wing reader might buy it because of that, and vice versa.  I’ve never done that myself, but it makes sense to me.

So, dear readers;  if you’ve read my book(s), and haven’t yet left a review of it/them on Amazon.com, please do so.  Thanks!

Peter

Working on Book 2

Working on Book 2

32,000 words and counting on book 2. Needed a little bump so I walked over to the Starbucks that also just so happens to be in Barnes and Noble. The Barnes and Noble people would say that I walked over to the bookstore that happened to have a Starbucks inside. Either way, I Win. I got the mango black iced tea sweetened with lemonade. A most excellent choice for a hot summer day.

Thanks to all who bought the book so far, especially to Gary and Eric who also left a review. If you read it and like it, please leave a review, it helps drive positioning on Amazon.

For those of you with good monitors, you can see that Ashron and Laura are in book two and at least survive to page 85. Dr. Griid may or may not be wearing a red shirt. I haven’t decided yet. That may or may not have been a Star Trek reference. If you don’t know who Ashron or Laura are… Buy the first book. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll have to buy book to to see who Dr. Griid and Sam are.

Back at it Gary… Shaking the tree boss.

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde

After driving back roads from Arches to Colorado, I came to a small town called Marcos. I saw what looked like a cool little restaurant with outdoor seating. After leaving 100+ temperatures, the 83 degrees in Colorado was a welcome change. The restaurant was Millwood Junction and I had their Ruben with macaroni salad.

Yes it was as good as it looked. I also drank about 800 gallons of tea. I suppose maybe I was a little dehydrated. So I asked the waitress what I should see while I was here. Without hesitation she said that Mesa Verde was a must see. And it was only 8 miles up the road. Awesome. Finished lunch and headed that way. I had no idea what Mesa Verde was. Dumb tourist.

By the way, the park pass I bought for $80 more than paid for itself on this trip.

The only campground in the park is Morefield Campground. It had plenty of availability so I took site 56 in the Zuni loop at $31.44 a night. The sites are average and not very well maintained. The staff up at Knife Edge were very nice. Knife Edge is the camp store etc. they have a nice store, gasoline pumps, showers, laundry facilities and a little grill with wifi. I asked one of the staff there what she felt was the must see part of the park. She recommended the Balcony House tour, but said I would need to get a ticket as it is a Ranger guided tour. I’m not much on tours but she said that was the only way to see this particular place. Tickets were only $5 so I picked one up for the earliest tour the next day. I was not disappointed.

I got there early and waited for the tour. I knew we would get to see the ruins but I still didn’t know we were going to be able to walk and climb through them. By the way, if you have a fear of heights or cramped places don’t take this tour. There are several others that have much easier access.

This is the view from above Balcony House.

The ladder up from below.

Same ladder from above.

This is the first room. Taking the first tour of the day assures that you are the only group there and provides a much better experience.

This is one of the “balcony’s” that the house is named for. Still the original materials.

Selfie.

View of the next room through a window.

The next room we entered.

The floor was amazingly smooth and flat.

This is one of the reasons they built here. This is a cistern where water would collect because of the differences in rock structure.

Fire pit and vent. They would cover this area with a roof of poles and brush to provide shelter in the winter. This is called a Kiva.

Our ranger. Notice that there are no guard rails. Darwin approves.

Another Kiva.

Ladders up and back to the top. That’s Bill and his family from Pennsylvania. He is a General Contractor on vacation. They were just an awesome family.

Ladder from the midway point. To get to that landing you had to crawl through an 18 inch opening for about 10 feet. Bill had to crawl through at an angle. I took a picture but it was so dark that it didn’t turn out. Again, heights and small spaces. Take another tour if you don’t like them.

Second ladder up.

Back up top. If you are in to history and ancient civilizations, I highly recommend Mesa Verde. And take the tour, you will not be disappointed.

Some more pictures of the area.