Kindle Unlimited, LTUE, and Other Things

KINDLE UNLIMITED

So, I actually like seeing reads for my books on Kindle Unlimited. Especially for Colony. And not just because Colony is long enough that I pretty much make the same amount of money off of a KU read as I do a purchase. Nor because I like KU—which, for the record, I do; it’s as close as we’ve gotten to “Netflix for books” so KU readers, enjoy! But because it’s one of the closest available methods I have to tracking reader’s reactions to my work short of reviews, ratings, and sales.

See, KU gives me, the author, access to the daily page count totals for each of my books. Someone read 100 pages in a day? I can see that. Not who it was, nor when save a date, but I just get to see that someone’s reading my book.

The thing is, I can sort of track someone’s engagement with my books. And I can see how, over a few days, they get sucked further and further in, until reading Colony is all they’re doing. The first day, someone will read maybe 100 pages. The next day they’ll read 100 more. Then the day after that … they’re reading 150. Following that? 300. From there it turns into a sprint to the finish—we’re talking 500 or 600 words in a single day.

I love seeing these little patterns in my KU readers. It’s a good way to tell how readers are being engaged with my books—they’re getting caught up in the action as the book moves towards the end! Granted, I still get those who read through the entire 1100+ page work in a single day, which is also good and fun to see, but it’s pretty satisfying to “see” a reader go through this progression of “Okay, this is pretty good” followed by “Okay, this is really good” to “Drop everything I need to know how this ends now!

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2016 in Review—What’s My Progress So Far?

Sands and storms, it’s time for one of these already? Even more alarming, this nears marking the the third anniversary of Unusual Things?

Boy, the days really fly, don’t they?

Well, it is what it is. Time marches on. Which means that once again it’s time to take a look back at my goals, accomplishments, and the like during this year and see what I’ve gotten done. It’s time to put 2016 under the microscope and look at some hard data.

Honesty? I expect that I got less writing done this year … though I published more, and definitely worked just as hard. It’s just a byproduct of what I worked on. 2015 was lots and lots of writing, while 2016 ended up being the year I published a lot of that writing. Which meant that I spent a lot of time trapped in the editing process.

Plus, I started working a second job every week to make ends meet, which also cut into my writing time.

I mean, that’s not bad. But both definitely slowed my pace, and while my “total” word count for productivity stayed pretty good (remember, I count editing as a 20% wordcount for tracking reasons), my actual wordcount for words written probably dropped for the year.

Granted. Next year I think I may see a bit more equilibrium. Maybe. Right now I’ve only got one book in editing, and one that I’m working on. Then again, next year may be a repeat of this year: two releases, lots of editing.

I guess I’ll find out. For now though, let’s take a look at 2016.

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Happy Halloween!

THE DAY OF TERROR HAS ARRIVED!  IN JUST A FEW SCANT HOURS, HORRORS UNKNOWN SHALL DESCEND UPON US ALL!

CHILDREN ARE COMING!

But they’re really only the prelude. To be honest, the true horror doesn’t arrive for another week (this joke works on multiple levels, actually).

Anyway, today is Halloween, annual day of free candy and terror, and … I’m taking the day as a holiday break. So no Being a Better Writer post today. Why? Well, I’m tired. Colony is done and available for pre-order … and I just want to bask in that for a day or two before I dive back into work again. So I had Sunday, and I’ll have today. Then I’ll get back to work, and we’ll have another Being a Better Writer post Monday—okay, wait, I have a several-hour dental appointment to get a crown fixed next Monday. Maybe Tuesday. I’ll try and get one up Monday, but it’s going to be a long one. Plus, I hate going to the dentist.

That’s the “this joke works on multiple levels” bit.

Anyway, there’s not going to be a BaBW post today. It’s Halloween, I’ve got trick or treaters to prepare for … and like I said, I’m pretty tired in the wake of Colony‘s launch. I’m proud of what I accomplished … but also tired, lol. So today I’m kicking back and relaxing.

In the mean time, however, Colony is still available for Pre-Order! And if you’re a Patreon Supporter, there’s a special surprise waiting for you in this month’s supporter post: A full seven chapters from Colony in ebook format! So if you’re a supporter, you can get a headstart on Colony before it hits!

Anyway, I’m off to relax! Look for a news update Wednesday detailing what’s coming next now that Colony is done!

Colony Update: Status, Pricing, Stats

All right guys, here’s the status report so far. First of all: The Current Status of the Manuscript.

Colony is going into Copy-Edit phase today. This is the point where I sit down and covert the word document I had been working with into an ebook compatible format for the first time! Woo! The purpose of this phase is to go over it again looking for both formatting mistakes and any lingering errors that made it through the Beta stage … though my checks thus far show that to be a very small number.

Oh, and because I can, here are some fun stats that accrued during the beta:

Colony contained 10,003 apostrophes. Each one of these had to be individually checked. 4 were accidental uses in place of a quote. Colony now contains 9,999 apostrophes (yup, exactly that number).

Colony also had 754 uses of an ellipsis (the “…” you see in places), as well as six cases of that ellipsis not being such but instead being three period. Those have all been fixed. There were also two cases of there being four periods, and a small scattering of doubled punctuation (comma-period, period-comma, etc). There were six instances of two spaces back to back. One case of an improperly placed quotation sign.

If any of that sounds incredibly tedious to find and fix: It was. That’s the editing process for you.

Here are some other Colony statistics for the curious:
333,349 words, or 1.836 million characters including spaces. 1.5 million without spaces.
8,069 paragraphs.
42 chapters in total.

Anyway, onto other news, such as The Status of the Cover!

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The May Patreon Reward is Up!

Heads up! For those awesome individuals out there who are supporting me via my Patreon page, the May Supporter Reward is now live! As a thank you for your support this month, you’re getting another preview look at the upcoming Sci-Fi Space Opera Epic Colony—in particular a tense scene wherein Anna must … well, that’d be spoiling the surprise.

If you’re a Patreon supporter head on over to my Patreon page and check it out! And if you’re not a supporter but would like to be, now is always a good time to start!

Thanks for reading!

 

April Patreon Supporter Reward Now Live!

Patreon supporters take note: April’s supporter reward is now live. If you’ve donated the minimum amount of a dollar during the month of April, you can now take a look at this month’s nifty, behind the scenes look at one of the creatures from the in progress Shadow of an Empire: the pack hunter creatures known as chort.

Here’s an excerpt from the reward:

This one does tie into last month’s. Last month, you guys got a look at a chase from one of my current projects, a Fantasy-Western named Shadow of an Empire. Basically, a quick recap for those who didn’t get to look at it, it was a sequence in which the two primary characters of the novel, Sali and Meelo, ran afoul of a dangerous pack of predators in the deserts of the outlands known as chort.

While the scene was a pretty fun one, for some it probably did run into the issue that chort had already been discussed and explained in the story, so the sequence most of you looked at, while cool, didn’t tell much about what they were—aside from angry, smart, and really dangerous predators.

So this  month, I’m going to give you guys a rundown on one of the most common predators across the empire of Indrim: the chort.

Chort

Chort is the name given to a pack predator/scavenger creature found all across Indrim. Like wolves or similar predators we find today, chort fill a similar ecological role in their environment, hunting prey from rabbits to bovals—or even people—and working as a pack to bring them down.

Each chort is fairly large. Though size varies based upon subspecies and location, even the smallest of chort (the desert variety) usually averages 4-5 feet in length and weighs in excess of 125 pounds. A large part of this weight comes from their muscle and bone density—though chort may appear fairly limber and lithe, they’re quite strong and built to take an surprising amount of punishment, likely owing to both the dangers of their ideal prey (bovals) and their tendency to infight.

You can read the rest of it by visiting my Patreon page.

Patreon Supporter Update

All right guys, just a quick update on the Patreon Side of things.

First of all, February’s Patreon Supporter Award is now up. I’m still not quite 100% sure how Patreon’s reward system works, but if it works the way I think it works, then those of you who have pledged your support this month can take a look at the reward, which is … an early look at some of my work on Shadow of an Empire! So if you’ve supported me this month, head on over to Patreon and take a look!

Now, second of all, if you are one of those Patreon supporters, I’m looking for a little feedback. Not on Shadow, no, but on how the Patreon experience has been treating you. I’ve not heard much about it since I’ve launched it, and all I’ve really done with it is make sure I’ve got the monthly rewards up. So for those who have been feeding me a few dollars here and there (which I am grateful for), how’s the experience? Should the rewards be going up at a certain time? Is the current system working? Are the rewards capturing your attention?

Let me know in the comments!