Just in time for Christmas, I’m giving away an autographed copy of Derrick the Dog over on Goodreads. Click the link below to enter!
This is from the first illustration I did for the first Derrick and Max book. Derrick the Dog was released June, 2013.
This was the first original drawing I completed with my Wacom Bamboo tablet and ArtRage, done almost entirely in pencil. Just a little practice drawing, not related to any of the stories I'm working on.
I thought I’d share some news about Derrick and Max, in no particular order.
Repetition is available now in ebook. Launch price is 99 cents. As with Derrick the Dog, this will be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. Unlike Derrick the Dog, this will be ebook only. Paper lovers can expect it to show up in a collection in paper later on (sorry, at roughly 46 pages, it’s just too short to justify a stand-alone paper copy).
To sample, buy, or borrow (for Prime members) click the cover below.
I think I did a fairly good job of explaining why I started writing children's fiction in the other post. But I didn't go too much into why I write in the other genres or the themes I explore. So, let's get into that.
I write genre fiction under the pen name D Lee Warren. I write stores that include supernatural and horror elements. So, why do I write about that and not, say, science fiction or romance? I might write in some other genre(s) later on. But my project lineup is currently composed of horror and supernatural, so for the foreseeable future, that's what's I'll be producing. The reason I write those kinds of stories are because those are the kind of stories I like to read. Those are the stories I know. Those are the stories I've thought up. Pretty simple, yeah? However, some of the themes I like to explore perhaps deserve more explanation.
I like stories with a theme or a lesson so long as they're done well. I don't want to be hit over the head with it or preached at. I like the ones that sneak up on me and challenge the way I look at the world. Sometimes it's good to just read a story that's pure entertainment, but I think the more valuable stories entertain and enlighten or prompt introspection. So, that's what I try to do.
For my children's stories, I like to occasionally slip in a life lesson. I try to be subtle about it and not preachy, and I won't do it in every story. These are the kind of lessons and moral standpoints we try to teach in our household. They may not be good choices for yours. That's okay. There are plenty of options out there in children's literature that may be a better fit for your children and your family.
I have a number of themes running through my adult stories: right and wrong, life and death, evil and good (and all those shades of grey in between), theology and the afterlife. These are the things I think about. These are the themes I like to explore. Some may not enjoy my treatment of the concepts they hold as holy or profane. Some may not enjoy the questions I raise or the points of view I explore. I'm sure I will offend some people. I think that's okay. If it was so tame as to not offend anybody, it probably wouldn't be very entertaining. And, as with the children's literature, there are plenty of other choices out there that might be a better fit for you. I'm not trying to be controversial. I just want to write good stories and share the sorts of things I think about with my readers. Maybe even connect with like-minded people who are contemplating the same ideas.
So, that's why I write what I write. Someday, I may write about other things. Things usually change. Readers, why do you read what you read (of if that's too broad, why did you decide to read that last book you picked up)? Writers, why do you write what you write?
Who doesn’t like free stuff? I know I do. I also like to catch things on sale. For most people, money’s tight. So, I try to keep my prices reasonable, have sales, and give stuff away. If you want to find out where and how to get my stuff for free or cheap, then read on.
Kindle 2.0 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I typically enroll a book in KDP Select for 90 days after release.* While my books are enrolled in KDP Select, I can give them away in two ways:
I don’t blog about when I’m running the KDP Select giveaways because I think it would just clutter up the blog. I announce them on Facebook, Twitter, and the newsletter(s). So, if you want to know about these, follow me or signup.
Since non-Kindle users have to wait to get my books on their platform due to the KDP exclusivity, I plan to offer low intro pricing when they make it to the other ebook stores. Unless its normal price is $0.99. I don’t think anybody lets you price lower than that.
Besides KDP Select, I can also give away books for free in a couple of other places.
Goodreads allows authors to give away physical copies of books, autographed even, for up to 6 months after release. I haven’t kicked this off yet, but probably will give away one or three when it gets closer to the holidays. I’ll plan to announce that here on the blog in addition to Facebook, Twitter, and the newsletter(s).
Smashwords allows authors to mark their books as free as well as give out coupons. I may offer some perma-free ones and/or offer them for free as part of a sale. Newsletter subscribers will probably find some coupons showing up in their inboxes here and there.
Besides excerpts, you may find the occasional short story or flash fiction show up on one of my blogs.
I plan to run sales when the mood strikes me. These could include freebies and/or price-reduced books. If it’s big enough, I’ll announce it on the blog. Otherwise look for it on Facebook, Twitter, and the newsletter(s).
Yep, beta readers and reviewers can get free copies. All the details are on the Misc page.
Sorry Google+ peeps, but until Google opens up the api so I can schedule posts through RSS, Buffer, or HootSuite, you’re probably not going to get much love. You should sign up for the newsletter(s) or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
Why am I giving away so much stuff? There are a few reasons.
Just because I’m giving it away, doesn’t mean I don’t want something in return. I would just ask that people:
Thank you for reading and for caring.
*Yeah, I know it’s kind of a bummer if you don’t have a Kindle because KDP Select demands exclusivity. I have to balance the inconvenience for the non-Kindle owners against the benefit to the Kindle owners, which is why I only do the first 90 days. If Amazon ever gives up on the exclusivity, I will leave it in KDP Select all the time AND release it everywhere up front.
I recently informed my parents that my first book had been published and that the second one was being wrapped up. That prompted two questions:
books (Photo credit: brody4)
I've covered that first topic fairly well on the parents page. The second's a lengthier topic and lead to this post.
My first published book was not my first book written. But it's the first one out, so let's discuss why I wrote that book: Derrick the Dog, a children's book. Afterwards, we can discuss why I decided to write a book in the first place. I noticed a disturbing trend in the books my children were asking me to read to them. I'll not name names, so don't ask. The books varied rather significantly from the books of my own childhood, which is to be expected. Time marches ever forward, after all. However, some of the changes I didn't care for.
So, I saw these shortcomings and wanted to create a book of a higher quality, one that I would enjoy reading with my children and sharing that precious time with them. I don't think I hit the bulls-eye, but I think I at least hit the target, and I think I avoided those trends mentioned above. I think the next one is even better, and the one after that will be better still. I sincerely hope that others who read my children’s books with their own kids enjoy the experience and time spent together.
Now, why did I decide to write a book in the first place? I started writing my first book before there was the Kindle and the current self-publishing movement. I wrote it because I had a story that I loved and that I wanted to see on paper. I didn't know if it would ever be published, but I'd seen some books that had been that I thought were rather poor. I felt confident that I could write something at least that bad. So I started writing it. However, life happened, and it got shelved. Then, the Kindle and independent publishing took off, and I thought I should really finish that story. Now, I didn't have all those potential roadblocks in my way. I could write my story and let people read it and decide for themselves if it was worthy of their time. Knowing that you can do your best and there's nothing standing between you and potential readers is a powerful motivator to get off your duff and finish. And having somebody dig your art is pretty dang cool.
Besides the art, there's also the financial aspect. I don't expect to get rich, move into a mansion, and quit my day job to spend all day making art. It's sort of like when I play the lottery. I don't expect to win, but it's fun to dream, and it's cheap entertainment. Writing entertains me, and I enjoy it. If it didn't, I wouldn't do it. And it's fairly cheap entertainment, too. About the only expenses I have are editing and cover design and a little for my website. What's interesting to me, from a financial aspect though, is the possibility of passive income. In my day job, I work for an hour, and I get paid for that hour. I'll never get paid again for that hour's worth of work, and if I want to keep getting paid, I have to work more hours. This is how most jobs work: we trade hours for dollars. But this is an entirely different kind of business. I can write a book once and be paid for it forever. Every time somebody decides to purchase that book, I get paid for that time I spent writing it again. That seems very cool to me that you can put in that hour's worth of work and be paid on it over and over again. Of course, it's possible that I won't find readers and I'll wind up not making any income. But that's ok to me. As long as I'm only putting out my best work and I'm happy with it, then that's enough for me. My day job treats me well, and it pays all my needs and some of my wants. Anything I make off my art is just icing on the cake.
So in a nutshell, that's why I decided to write a book: to make art, to share it with others, and maybe to make some extra income. What do think of my motivation? If you're a fellow writer, why did you decide to write a book?
My youngest son asked me to draw a haunted mansion for him the other night. So, while the would-be chefs on TV tried to live up to Chef Ramsay’s expectations, I made him a quick sketch (in pen, no less). Then, he took it and ran with it, adding his own details. I think there’s some potential there. I may have to hire him to start doing the illustration work for my children’s books. What do you think? Can you pick out his additions?