Nanowrimo, Reviews, and More – A News Post

Hello once again, folks! I’m back with a news post, and most of you know the drill. So … what’s happening lately?

Well, let’s start with the writing news. Stranded is almost finished up (draft-wise) which … is good. Stranded is one of those experimental projects I do to try out new things, and this one ballooned on me. I’ll be glad to finish it. While I wouldn’t call it a dud, I think both its experimental nature and its lack of full pre-planning before I just dove in did hurt it somewhat.

Does that mean it’s worthless? Of course not! I am glad of the experiments I was able to delve into with it, all of which I’m going to be able to put forth in an upcoming writing project I’ve been excitedly planning for a few years now (and which I’ve only mentioned a few times). Said writing project is still a ways off (don’t worry, we’ve got another Jacob Rocke book and of course Axtara – Magic and Mayhem to be worked on and written before I start this one) but it is one I’ve had in mind for a few years now, much like the UNSEC Space trilogy and Shadow of an Empire.

And you know, like Shadow of an Empire had the Ripper short in Unusual Events, I’m thinking that when I tidy up Stranded, one of the last shorts I’ll do before I get down to business on the Starforge draft might be a short story set in this new setting I’ve been envisioning. Like Ripper as a test-bed for the setting and some of the worldbuilding, to see if I’ve worked out some elements to my satisfaction or not.

Unlike with Ripper, however, hopefully this short story won’t creep so many people out it’s a de-facto dead end for most people’s reading of whatever collection it was in (if you’re not familiar with Ripper, it was so dark owing to its PoV character that many readers of Unusual Events stopped partway through it and never finished the collection, a lesson in “location” I learned the hard way. It’s a fantastic story, but for many it was a little too good considering the darkness of its subject matter).

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been working on. Tied in with that, it’s worth noting that this month is November, AKA Nanowrimo month! Nanowrimo, for those of you not familiar with it, is a yearly writing challenge given to aspiring novelists to sit down and write a short novel in a month, a total of 50,000 words across November’s 30 days.

Nanowrimo has gotten quite popular over the years, even among some authors that struggle to output more than a few thousand words a month using it as a catalyst to finally finish a book project.

This year? Nanowrimo has kicked off again. Now, I don’t participate in Nanowrimo. I’m a successful author who churns out books, and have a daily wordcount of 3000-4000 words. It’d be both redundant and, I feel, a little pretentious (and perhaps demoralizing) to those entering Nanowrimo who do find it a struggle to hit the given quotas to see someone whose literal job it is to put words on a page shattering a goal they themselves may struggle with because they’re trying to interspace it between whatever jobs they’re bouncing between.

Maybe I’m wrong? I don’t know, but it feels a bit fair because at it’s core, Nanowrimo is for (at least according to what I can see online) young writers trying to finish their first book.

I’m not saying I don’t support it. I do—and in fact, I want to know how many of you, readers, are participating and how it’s going so far? Comment below!—but rather that I don’t enter under the exact same logic that Kramer uses in Seinfield to join a junior karate class. Just … you know … not the same aim?

Now, if you’ve never entered Nanowrimo before but have always wanted to push yourself to finish up, or even start, a novel, then maybe this should be the year? We’re only a few days into November, so there’s still time to catch up! 50,000 works written by November 30th! You can do it!

And if you’ve decided to give it a shot, let us all know in the comments below!

Now, onto other news! We’ve got the holidays coming up!

I know, we’re there already, right? As of today, we are literally three weeks from Thanksgiving. Christmas isn’t far away. The holidays are upon us.

Which leads me to two things. First? Holiday shopping is also upon us. And with the supply shortages going on, a lot of places are recommending ordering early this year.

But you know what isn’t hit by the shortage? My books, both digital and paperback! First, the digital ones can’t run out, and can be delivered on a schedule bright and early Christmas morning. Second, the paperback ones are made in the USA! Well, if you order from the US. That’s the benefit of on-demand printing (well another benefit). Wherever you are, there’s a printer nearby ready to get a copy of Axtara – Banking and Finance or Shadow of an Empire printed up and into your hands

And yes, those are linked for obvious reasons. Sands, here’s a link to the Books tab, just to make it more clear: My books make excellent Christmas gifts for the people in your life that read books, and you can get them now so that you’re prepared in advance! If you know a reader in your life who enjoys Sci-Fi or Fantasy, I’ve got both! Give them a Christmas read that will enthrall them for days! Starforge is coming next year, so why not deal them a double-whammy with Colony and Jungle Christmas morning? Get them all caught up?

Now, speaking of my works and the end of the year, maybe giving out books as Christmas gifts isn’t your style (though if not, I would question why you’re on an author’s site, and I think that’s a valid query). Maybe you loved Axtara or Colony, but you have no reading friends, and aren’t about to buy a book for a stranger. But wait, don’t click away! You can still be incredibly helpful and help new readers find the books you loved, both for this upcoming holiday season and in the years to come.

You can leave a review! Or even a rating!

Look, hear me out. Ratings and reviews are incredibly important to creators. Most people these days base their entire intial impression of a product, including their willingness to buy it, on the rating and the reviews. Not always logically, but there is, for creators, quite literally never a downside to getting more reviews and ratings on their work.

Well, almost never. There are folks that enjoy tearing people’s work apart for the thrill of tearing down what others build. Sands, Goodreads had for almost three months on their site a warning that they were working on taking down a literal blackmail ring that was using spam accounts to hold authors hostage for cash over their new books. If the author didn’t pay, their new book was launching with thousands of one-star reviews to tank it. Ouch. And I guess there’s also been that long-trend since the Hugo Kerfluffle a few years back where authors go around one-staring reviews from folks who believe in the “wrong” politics.

Okay, so there’s almost never a downside. Those are special occurrences though, and not really readers. By and large, authors love reviews and ratings. They help more people find our books!

So what am I getting at here?

Actually, some good news and a goal for the end of the year. As of last week, I passed my next milestone goal of 400 ratings and reviews! That’s right, I’m sitting at 403! And the average across all those reviews? 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Not bad at all. But, if you’ve not left a rating or a review, it doesn’t take very much of your time and it does help new readers find my work. You can head on over to the Goodreads page (EDIT: Fixed the link!) or the Amazon page and leave a quick rating or review and help me move toward the next milestone of 500 total reviews and ratings. If you could, I’d be most appreciative!

500 is so close! After that, the next milestone is a thousand. That, or over a hundred ratings/reviews on a single book. Probably Colony or Axtara, given how popular they both are.

Outside of that, I think the news source is dry. Have a great day, everyone, and I’ll catch you later!

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