Book Cover Judgment

Friends,

I am looking forward to the week ahead, and am grateful to have yet another opportunity to do my passion: writing. If you find yourself wanting to try something new or you haven’t made time to explore your passions, I encourage you to do so! I have a few developments I’d like to talk about today…

The Faces of the War Collection

I received the final draft of my book cover last week, and I am excited to show it to you when the time comes. It wasn’t exactly how I originally envisioned it, but it’s something different that I ended up liking a lot as the process went forward. I’ll reveal it to you down the road, when the manuscript is much closer to being the finished product.

Inkitt Short Story

There is still time to read and vote for my short story; of course, voting for it if you enjoyed reading it! You can find it on the Inkitt website under the historical fiction contest entitled “Reclaim Time” here. It was a fun story to write, and I hope it’s a great story to read!

Indie Writing Advice

In light of my book cover being completed, I’d like to touch on the misconception that you don’t need to have a professionally designed book cover. In my opinion (and this is a shared opinion by many big names in the industry, like David Gaughran), not giving your book cover the attention it deserves is tantamount to not seeing people buy your book. Even if it’s free, a badly designed cover will turn potential readers away. Think of it this way: your cover is the first view a potential reader gets of your book and the story within it. If the cover doesn’t at least keep their attention for ten seconds, then there’s very little hope.

I’ll compare this to something I experienced when I was studying abroad in Russia. When I was picked up by my host family and taken to their apartment building, I was caught off-guard by their building: it was somewhat run down, the landscaping wasn’t kept well, and the atmosphere just seemed a little “back alley.” However, when we got inside the building and into their flat, it was amazing! The style of their home was welcoming and eclectic, and it was quite a step up from my own home. My point is this: the outside of the building probably wouldn’t appeal to many, but once inside that perception would drastically change. The same can go for books with poorly made covers – the outside might not appeal, but the inside could be amazing.

That’s about it for this week. I thank you for your continued support, and if this is your first time reading my blog then I welcome you! Follow me for project updates and details regarding upcoming books. I look forward to interacting with you!

Until next time,

-Eli

Getting Closer to the End

Friends,

A new week has arrived on the calendar, which means that we have yet another opportunity to seek and achieve great things – be it goals, ambitions, passion…whatever you set your heart to! I am in the process of working toward achieving my own goals, and I’ll share some news about those goals with you now…

The Faces of the War Collection

I’ve sent my second round of changes for the book cover for Imminent and am currently awaiting the designer’s next draft as I write this. This is a very exciting part of the publishing process because it’s the first tangible sign that your project is coming to life!

Just last night, I eclipsed the 10K word mark for Part II, and finally completed the writing of that part, with the first draft word count coming to just over 11K. With about 15K more words to go, I am in the home stretch of writing the first draft…and that is very exciting too! Hopefully in just a few weeks, I’ll have the first draft completed and can then move on to the next step: editing.

YouTube

If you haven’t yet subscribed to my channel, I encourage you to do so! You’ll be able to stay up-to-date on my writing projects as well as get a glimpse into my life behind the writing. In my vlogs, I share my thoughts about writing, indie publishing, and other topics, as well as give advice to newer writers based on my experiences in the industry so far. I also have done a series on my writing process, so if you’re new to the game then I encourage you to check it out. Keep in mind that all writers are different, so everything I say or do might not fit into your style of writing and working. But that’s the beauty of it: we can learn from each other. It’s a journey that I want to take with others interested in what I do or who like my work, so please join me and let’s connect!

Short Story

As you may be aware, I submitted a short story to a historical fiction contest on the website Inkitt. The contest ends in late September, but the time to read it is now! Why? Because in order to win the contest, I need votes from you, my readers. But it’s more than winning a contest; it’s about sharing new content with the world and providing good stories for others to be entertained by. I’ve been told my story is a good one, so if you have 15-20 minutes that you’d like to put toward reading a short story, please give mine a look. Don’t forget to vote for it by clicking the heart icon at the bottom of the screen!

Indie Writing Advice

When you write your first draft, it’s easy to get wrapped up into trying to perfect it as the words first fall onto the page. Though it’s a good habit to make – editing and reworking the words as you go – it’s not something that should be a make-or-break sort of thing. You should ground this thought into your head as you write your first draft of any project: it’s not going to be perfect.

I’ve published two books and am working on my third, and even now I can think of ways that I could’ve made my stories better. And that’s after I read through the manuscripts each a handful of times, had them edited by others, and gave myself time in between self-editing so as to approach the drafts with a refreshed eye (all of those things, by the way, are practices I advocate in my writing process videos)! So it’s wise to live by the idea that you can always improve a story, so there’s no sense in bothering with trying to make it perfect on the first go.

Just focus on getting the story in your mind onto the page in it’s rawest form, then go from there with a fine-tooth comb to make it better down the road. And if you’re in the same boat with me, you’ll want to write for the sake of writing because you lack the freedom of time, and you know that editing will come later. Take a deep breath. Relax. And write on.

That’s all I have for you right now. Keep an open eye for news of my book cover, whether it be in social media or in next week’s blog post. Either way, it’s coming, and it’s going to be great!

Until next time,

-Eli

30K Words on Imminent!

Friends,

It’s a new week, which means it’s a new chance to achieve greatness! I have some things to talk about today, so let’s get started…

Thoughts on Blog Posts

So I’ve been thinking over the past few weeks and months about what I can do to improve my blog posts so that you, my readers, can get more out of the content I put out to you. One thought, at least to start, was to add a little spice to my posts, because a little change here and there can be refreshing! That being said, I’d like to start including a section where I can more formally give tips and advice on writing from my experience. As for this blog post, you’ll find it at the end.

The Faces of the War Collection

I’ll be getting the first mock-up covers from my cover designer sometime today. I work until 5pm today, so I’ll have all day to anticipate it! Like I’ve said in the past, it should be only a few weeks at most for me to get the final version of the cover worked out, if not sooner. And at that point, I’ll be sure to let you all know when to look for the official reveal. It’ll be closer to the book’s release. That leads me to my next point…

I just surpassed the 30K word count mark for Imminent yesterday afternoon! It’s a great feeling to be two-thirds of the way done with my manuscript, and that much closer to perfecting this story. In just one night in the past week, I knocked out about 2,500 words, and close to 3,000 on another night. If I can have about 6-7 days more of this kind of writing, I’ll have my manuscript complete in its rough form. That is also a great feeling to have!

I mentioned in my most recent YouTube vlog that the tentative release for this book would be Christmas, and in the vlog I said that I may have already said too much regarding that. I only said this because I wanted to be 100% sure (as sure as 100% can be for someone writing with a schedule like mine) before announcing the release date, but oh well! I am slating the release of Imminent to be in time for Christmas of this year! Stay tuned in on all that will be going on with this book, as well as with my other projects by following this blog, following my social media profiles, and subscribing to my newsletter! The next newsletter comes out on or around Wednesday, August 26, so subscribe now to receive it in your email (be sure to check folders other than your Inbox in case it finds its way somewhere else).

Inkitt Short Story

I recently submitted a short story to a site called Inkitt for a contest they’re holding until the end of September. The contest is titled “Reclaim Time” and is geared toward historical fiction stories. I refined a short story I had on my to-publish shelf and submitted it, soon being notified that it had been accepted. Since it is a contest, that means there is a winner. So what I’d like for you to do is this: go to this link and read my story (entitled “The Last Man”), and after you’re done simply nominate it by clicking the heart icon in the footer of the screen. I’d greatly appreciate it! Even if I don’t win the contest, it was great to get more content out to the public and to create something out of nothing one more time!

Indie Writing Advice

Something I have noticed through my writing experience thus far is this: there is a difference between planning a story and planning the publication of a story. It seems like such a “duh” concept, but it didn’t really hit me until this summer. Brainstorming, planning, and developing ideas for a story are thing you can do that don’t have a direct relationship to time in the real world. However, trying to plan how you’ll actually go about writing and publishing that story is something that should only be planned in small chunks and in the short term.

If you’re like me, you write semi-regularly with some days here and there seeing more productivity than usual. A “usual” writing day for me is anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending, and I can normally crank out anywhere from 500-1,000 words. On those days that my productivity soars, I can produce from 1,000-3,000 words (like the two days this past week). I hold the notion in mind that I’ll take what I can get, when I can get it, and for me that seems to help me justify my writing style well enough. But if I tried to convince myself that I want to have 4-5 days a week where I produce between 750-2,000 words consistently, I’m only cheating myself, my story, and my readers. Why? Because an indie who doesn’t write full time can never be sure when they’ll be able to sit down at their computer and write that consistently to produce what they consider to be on time.

So if you’re asking yourself, “What can I do to improve my productivity but also stay within the realm of a realistic writing schedule?” Here’s what I say to you: set small goals and work from there. Start with saying, “I’ll write for 15-30 minutes three days/nights a week. See what kind of productivity you make at that pace, then use it to gauge further work. If you can increase the time in those three days, or keep it at 15-30 minutes but for 5-6 days, that’s great! Do whatever works for you, because that’s what it boils down to. Don’t cheat yourself, your story, or your readers. If nothing else, remember that when and where you write.

That’s basically it for this week, but don’t worry – there will be more as the coming weeks approach, so don’t miss out on anything! I look forward to seeing you subscribe to my mailing list if you haven’t already done so, and I look forward to interacting with anyone, new or old, on social media!

Until next time,

-Eli

Past the Halfway Point!

Friends,

Welcome to a new week of opportunity and another chance to accomplish your goals! Let’s get down to business…

The Faces of the War Collection

I haven’t been able to write much more than a couple thousand words this week due to time constraints in my personal life. I tried a technique to help me get more words on the page and not encounter writer’s block, if you believe in such a thing. (*I have posted this article before regarding the “myth” of writer’s block and the opinions both for and against, so you should check it out!).

So back to my book’s progress…I am setting aside Wednesday of this week as a writing day, mostly because 1) it is my only day off and thus the best chance to write, and 2) allocating time to write outside of your bare minimum (i.e. 15 minutes per day) is one way to help maintain and improve your writing. If I can accomplish the items of my routine (this blog, this week’s newsletter, and this week’s YouTube vlog), then Wednesday should be wide open for getting some writing done.

The reason that Wednesday is my only day off is because I am starting my second job this week. I normally have 2-3 days off every week, or at least don’t have to go into work early, but this week will be a bit different. When I do write for my next WWII book, it will be in my spare time between both jobs and my day off.

So to conclude about this project, the current word count sits a little shy of 24K words – which is more than halfway to my word count goal! Of course, this is just the first draft, but it is still great news that I am where I am. Please stay tuned into my blog posts for details about my upcoming book, for I hope to make it all as entertaining for you as possible. If you’ve read my previous two books, then you know my stories. If you are new to my work, then I encourage you to remain with me as I aim to finish this project by the autumn and release yet another WWII historical fiction book – the tangible proof of my passion.

YouTube

I am enjoying getting to branch out in my thoughts via my vlogs, which are uploaded every Friday on my channel. Most of what I cover in these video logs deals with my writing life, but also touches on my personal life somewhat. So far, I’ve talked about my writing process, my vacation to Georgia, stories from my childhood, and books I’m currently reading. Some things I aim to talk about in future vlogs include upcoming projects, personal goals, and plans I have for my life. Most of the vlog conversations I have are spur-of-the-moment, but we’ll see what happens!

So please, subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already, because I want to take you along for the ride as I journey through life as a writer and as a person.

That’s all I have for now, though there are a few things going on behind the scenes. However, it’s still a bit early to be talking about that, so I’ll give you that information when the time is right.

Until next time,

-Eli

“This Is Sparta!”

Friends,

Welcome to yet another week – another opportunity – to achieve greatness. In the words of Leonidas, “Prepare for glory!” Let’s get into today’s content…

The Faces of the War Collection

Toward the end of last week, I came across some things I had jotted down while doing the skeleton planning for Book Three, and it got me thinking. After some careful consideration of historical facts and other things I had discovered in my research, I decided that it was best to revamp some of the planning I had done and change up the story outline just a bit. Now that that is done, I can move forward with more confidence that what I’ll be writing will be more realistic in appeal and closer along the lines of what actually could’ve happened.

That’s part of the trick with writing historical fiction: everything little event that occurred in the past doesn’t have a personal account to go with it. That’s just a fact historical writers must deal with. So when writing, the gaps in what could have happened are filled with the writer’s creativity fueled by contextual knowledge. In other words, the writer creates an event in the story that contains people, actions, and so on that could have existed at the time.

That’s what I do with my stories when there isn’t much substance to certain things I want to put into my story. With Resistant and Unguarded, my first two books, this method of writing was executed fairly well I think. In my third book, I am currently expanding and experimenting with this method in the second half of the manuscript, and I must say that it’s a fun thing to do. And I think that’s part of what writing should be about – experimenting and trying new things to see how far you can take yourself in your work. I should add that the developments in the story with which I’m experimenting are rather bold, mostly because the events that are taking place very well could have happened and it’s very hard to tell either way.

The word count is approaching 25K in Book Three and I’m about to send the word to my cover designer to get things rolling. As of now, I’m resetting the tentative release date for mid- to late-September. I’ll be writing as much as I can throughout the rest of the summer, and hopefully I’ll be able to produce a quality book to add to the first two.

YouTube

If you haven’t seen my videos on my writing process, you can easily find them on my channel. Since finishing my writing process videos, I’ve switched gears and am now doing weekly vlogs by recording footage throughout the week and posting a video on Friday.

Please subscribe to my channel and join me on my journey through both my personal and writing lives. And if you have family or friends who might be interested in me and my work, please pass the word along. I enjoy getting to meet new people!

And if you want to go a step further and get more out of the content I produce, you can join my mailing list by clicking this link and filling in the information. I send out a newsletter vie email every couple of weeks, and it includes details about my projects, fun facts, Q&A posts, and much more. It’s easy to do and fun to be a part of!

Other News

I have hinted before that there are other projects on my plate behind the scenes, but I haven’t really elaborated on that point. I’m not going to right now, either (sorry), but I will tell you that a pretty cool thing is in the works and in the coming weeks I’ll share with you about it.

That’s just about all I have for right now in terms of news. Thank you for your interest in my work and for following my blog. I truly appreciate it!

Until next time,

-Eli

Onward and Upward

Friends,

I am excited to begin this new week with you, so let’s get started…

The Faces of the War Collection

Unguarded has been doing well since its release, with a handful of copies sold. I have already received a review (though it hasn’t yet been posted to Amazon) that there is a clear sign of improvement from my effort on Resistant. That sounds like good news to me!

I am hoping to tackle at least a few pages of writing this week, but as always I’ll have to see what happens. With the spark of creativity that I experienced last week regarding my short stories, I may devote a little more time to that. But I’ll talk about that in a bit.

Book Three in my WWII collection is looking to be a more serious book. I guess I mean that in the sense of what the main character experiences and thinks. As I go about my writing, I want to experiment with different writing techniques and devices, all the while trying not to stray from my original ideas and intents. I think that’s part of what writing is all about.

Looking ahead to the coming months, I can say with confidence that I believe this next book will be something of a turning point in my writing. I just have a good feeling about it. Currently, I am reading a couple of books – one a memoir, another a non-fiction account of the war’s events – that will provide me with some great inspiration and information to help build my story. And to me that’s one of the most exciting parts about writing: weaving your own story into the fabric of history. As these upcoming weeks arrive, I’ll keep you posted on how the writing goes.

The Short Story Collection

I recently had a spark of creativity with regards to my upcoming short story collection, Volume 2, which I aim to release sometime in March or April. The stories I had begun in the autumn sat dormant for a few months, with only one of them having been started. The other two were only in idea form.

However, I felt the flow of ideas increase, which told me to get writing. Not wanting to break off from working on my WWII project, I debated what to do. But my inner writer led the way. I am almost finished with the first story, with the word count sitting at around 1,200 words. My rule of thumb is to have a short story be at least 2,000 so it has some length to it. The word count ceiling is dependent on a story-by-story basis.

I think you will really like these stories. I definitely enjoy thinking up ideas and fleshing them out, and I hope to do it in a way that entertains my readers. As the upcoming weeks arrive, I’ll update you on how it’s all going.

New Project

I had mentioned before about a “new project” taking a spot on my work plate, and that I’d talk about it in an upcoming blog post. Well, today is the day for that discussion.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten into watching YouTube “vlogs” (or video logs) published by what one might call “everyday people.” Simply put, there are individuals out there that document their daily/weekly/monthly lives on camera, and upload those videos to YouTube where a loyal following exists. The followers of these people tune in every day/week/month to see what these everyday people are up to.

As I watched more and more, I became engrossed in the idea that this is an awesome thing. It’s awesome in a technological sense (because nothing like this could have been accomplished in the past), as well as in a social sense (because I’m a fan of collaboration and networking). With that in mind, I pondered the idea of joining the crowd of these everyday individuals, documenting my own experiences. Taking it a step further, I thought “Why not gear it toward my writing experiences and how I live as a writer?”

And so, beginning this Friday and continuing indefinitely over the coming months, I will release a video once a week documenting my writing life. Being the organized, OCD individual that I am, I wanted to plan out at least the first few vlogs I would publish.

The very first vlog will be just an introductory one. The first vlog of real content, though, will cover brainstorming. I talk about brainstorming in general and what I do specifically in that part of my writing process.

I intend to keep the vlogs between ten and fifteen minutes long so they’re short enough to be watched over lunch or in the morning when you wake up. These videos are in no way exhaustive or definitive; they’re simply ways to express my view on the topics at hand. At this point, I have fifteen videos planned (consequently, fifteen weeks’ worth) on writing process from start to finish, which will take us into the beginning of summer. From there, I will come up with more topics to discuss.

Another driving reason that made me want to go on the YouTube adventure is because I want to expand my author platform and increase my reach to the world of readers. And so I figured YouTube could be a great way to do that. I talk about this in the first video, so I don’t want to step on my own toes here.

That being said, I would really appreciate it if you tuned in to my YouTube channel and subscribed! Gaining subscribers who talk about and share my videos will greatly increase my presence in the reading and writing community, and I would be grateful for any help my current readers can give me in that respect.

I will send out another blog post later this week when the videos go live, with the appropriate links and details included.

As always, thank you so much for your continued encouragement and support. I can’t do what I do without it!

Until next time,

-Eli

Keep Chuggin’ Along

Friends,

Welcome to a new work week, a fresh start to continue working toward achieving our goals and realizing our aspirations. Let’s get right into today’s post…

The Faces of the War Collection

In planning the marketing for my recently released book Unguarded, I decided to try something different. Because my birthday is this week, I am discounting the ebook to only $0.99 from February 15-20. If you didn’t get around to picking up a copy upon the book’s release, I strongly encourage you to get it now at this even lower price. I don’t know when it will be this affordable again!

As for other news in my WWII historical fiction collection, work has begun on the third book. The skeleton planning took place back in September 2014, and the plot was more finely fleshed out in December. Writing began in earnest on February 5, and is continuing at a good pace. If you are unsure of what I mean when I say “skeleton planning,” you can check out my post on Writing Process.

I am looking forward to exploring the plot lines in this next book, especially because of the themes in the story. That leads me to ask you this: if you have read one or both of my books, what is something you liked with regard to the story? Were there interactions between characters that stuck out to you? Was the action and tension in the plot believable and gripping? I ask these questions because I want to ensure that I not only improve my writing craft (as every writer should aspire to do) but that I also deliver good quality stories to you, my readers. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so feel free to email me or submit a contact form found here.

The Short Story Collection

There is no real news to report on this front, only that I am slowly getting around to writing more in the stories of the upcoming “Volume 2.” I really want to deliver some entertaining yet different short stories to you, but the ideas aren’t flowing as much for that project as they are for my WWII book. If you haven’t checked out my first ebook entitled “Volume 1,” you can find it here.

I would like to take a moment to thank my family, friends, and my readers for supporting me in what I do. Writing has truly become a passion and something I want to pursue seriously. If you are reading this as a novice writer, please listen to this piece of advice – don’t let obstacles slow you down! Don’t let the words of naysayers distract or dishearten you. Keep chuggin’ along and do what makes you happy. It may seem difficult, but it is and will be so rewarding in the long run.

Until next time,

-Eli

Writing Thoughts

Friends,

We meet again at the dawn of a new work week. It is my hope that you are well and that you are on your way to achieving your personal and/or professional goals this week!

I wanted to take some time in this post to share some thoughts with you. There isn’t much new to report in terms of writing: after beginning on Book Three in my WWII collection last week, the manuscript is still getting off the ground. Also, I am getting forty hours at my part-time job this week, so writing will be minimal for the next handful of days. With that being said, I thought I’d talk about a few things writing-related and throw in a few pictures from my trip to break up the text. So here we go…

IMG_1396

Buildings on the Marktplatz in Rothenburg, Germany

The first thing I’d like to talk about today revolves around writing habits. I am currently reading a book called Write. Publish. Repeat. by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. In it, they talk about a great many things they do as writers, and how those things are grounded as solid writing practices. One thing that stood out to me while reading just last night was their urging to “write fast” in the early phases of manuscript drafting. By this, they mean that it is better to get your thoughts onto the page (and edit later) rather than get caught in the mire of self-doubt and self-editing along the way, thus setting yourself up to become frustrated (and possibly not write much more, if at all).

I wholeheartedly agree with this notion. Despite being somewhat guilty of editing-as-I-go myself, I try to avoid that and get my ideas fleshed out first before worrying a lot about what the final draft will look like. I know going into a project that the first draft will never be the final draft, so I don’t set out to do that; any solid, successful writer will tell you that’s a fool’s errand. If you are a new writer and are thinking, “Psh. That doesn’t apply to me because I understand grammar and how to compose words into paragraphs and chapters and such, AND I got an A+ in English!” then please reevaluate yourself. Even though I have not been writing for very long (almost a year), I can tell you that I have read enough advice from others who have, and they are good at what they do. That’s one bit of advice I have for aspiring authors: don’t be cocky about your writing.

IMG_1404

Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany

The next talking point on my list revolves around layering your story. Quite a while ago, I had jotted down some thoughts in my Notes phone app on this subject, and I figured now would be a perfect time to relay those thoughts to you. In my opinion (and experience), it is good to layer a story because it gives it depth. Readers like depth. I’m not saying depth in the sense like you’re going to “Inception” your reader out of their mind (because that’s getting into a specific genre, not a type of writing practice). What I’m saying is that by using certain literary devices, you can make parts of your story stand out.

For example, adding flashbacks and revealing dialogue can give your plot more pizzazz without actually having to use precious page space to go into great detail of a past event. Also, emotion and tension are two very key tools when it comes to moving your plot along. So if you carefully put all of that together, you have the opportunity to produce a fantastic story line that makes the reader want to turn more pages. It definitely takes practice to get the hang of it (and I am in no way saying that I have mastered it), but that’s just a part of writing.

To make your reader say “Wow!” even more, you can add a plot shock to your story. Think of it this way: when a person is in need of a defibrillator, they are either showing very weak signs of a heartbeat, or no heartbeat at all. Let’s just assume the latter case and say they’re temporarily dead. To revive that person and change their heart rate to what is desired (an ideally healthy 100 BPM), a defibrillator is used.

In that analogy, the heart rate is your story and the defibrillator is the plot shock. If the story is slowing down or already close to dying, shock it with a twist in the plot. A well placed plot twist can work wonders in the mind of a reader.

IMG_1692

View of Heidelberg from the castle in Heidelberg, Germany

The final item on my list today revolves around self-evaluation. From time to time, I find myself thinking about what I’m writing and what it all will mean years down the road. Will my books be read? What will people think of my books? Will I be able to eventually write for a living, doing something I love? I would like to think the answers to those questions will be good answers, but there’s no way of telling right now. And so I turn the spotlight over to you – what do you think of your writing in terms of your endgame objective? Do you ask yourself questions like these? What kinds of thoughts enter your consciousness? I believe it is a good thing to question ourselves and evaluate what we do, because it helps give us direction in our writing. That’s just some food for thought.

IMG_1507

Outer wall of the Dachau concentration camp proper near Munich, Germany

I have mentioned in the recent past that some things are going on behind the scenes on my end, and that I would talk about them more in the coming weeks. I will say now that I have begun putting into motion a few ideas, one of which will manifest itself soon. I will release more details when that time gets closer. Just know that I am excited about what I am doing and where it might take me.

Until next time,

-Eli

Unguarded: Reflection

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well and on the way to achieving your weekly goals! I wanted to reflect on the experience from beginning to end, as well as inform you of some things, so let’s get down to business.

This past weekend, Unguarded released in print and on the Kindle. It has been a wonderful seven months since beginning the writing process in June. Throughout the early summer, I planned the book in skeleton form, getting the main plot ideas down before moving forward. From June to September, I spent quite a bit of time writing, applying tips and tricks I’d learned along the way. One thing I also tried to incorporate this time around is extending the length of manuscript. This was a common suggestion in the reviews from Resistant, so I wanted to listen to that and act on it.

After completing the first draft, I gave the manuscript to two of my friends. They acted as my beta readers and editors, one of them actually being my editor on the first book. While I awaited their feedback, I contacted my cover designer and got that process moving. Knowing what I wanted this time around, I received the final cover less than a week from when I placed the order for it. If you are interested, check out BookFuel for their author services. Soon after that, my editors/readers each gave me some great feedback, helping me shape my story into the second draft. It was in that draft that much of the story kept its form, remaining that way all the way until publication.

The third and final draft (in terms of major changes to the manuscript) was finished around Thanksgiving. I rested my writing mind during the holidays, which is a good piece of advice for aspiring writers. Taking breaks is not a bad thing! I then read through the third draft two more times before the middle of December arrived, tweaking and amending parts of the story that needed it. The biggest aspect I tried to pay attention to was the dialogue. This has been an ever-changing aspect of writing for me in the sense that I have been putting much effort into trying to make it the best it can be.

I then gave the manuscript to my editor for three weeks (December into January). He sent me really helpful feedback and answered a few questions after I went through his changes. With the manuscript very close to being complete, I did one final read-through. Again, I focused on dialogue, as well as keeping an eye out for grammar and spelling one last time. I finished this item on the checklist the day before I needed to submit the manuscript to Amazon (for the pre-order).

After submitting the formatted ebook manuscript to KDP (.mobi files for Kindle, by the way), I formatted the print document. Createspace provides templates that make formatting easier on the indie publisher. You can check them out here. I wanted to streamline the look of my books, especially those in the Faces of the War collection, so I simply made the formatting for one book and saved the same document as different files for each of the books. This may take you some time, but it will help improve the image of your books, which improves the quality of your brand.

When the time came to submit the print version to Createspace, I did that with much excitement. The next morning, I received an email from Createspace stating they found no formatting errors and that the book’s publication awaited my “O.K.” I gave the final submission through my profile on Createspace on Friday evening of last week. Even though the prompt then said it would take 3-5 business days to process, the book still went live Monday morning. Sometimes is just works out for the better in that way.

Overall, I was very happy with my writing, editing, and publishing experience this time around. Writing has given me such joy, and I hope that the content I distribute does the same for my readers. I am very excited for the possibilities in store for me in 2015, and I can’t wait to get moving on the next project.

One final thing is this: if you are a new or somewhat new writer, and find yourself discouraged or unmotivated, please do not lose heart. All it takes it just to work a little here and a little there to get into a rhythm. And if you’re not feeling the writing vibe at the moment, then do some reading. Anything you can do to stimulate your creative mind will help you out. Don’t ever tell yourself you can’t do something just because it’s 45,000 words away. You can do it!

I hope you will check out my books, especially Unguarded, and tell me what you think in a review!

Until next time,

-Eli

Countdown to Unguarded

Friends,

As I began today working out (as part of a modest goal I set for myself), I thought of what you all might be doing to help improve your lives in the new year, if that is something you’re aiming to do. For some time I have wanted to get back into the shape I was in during my early college years, so that is what I am focusing on for the next handful of months. I wish you luck and would like to encourage you to persevere through whatever it is that you want to accomplish! Now, on to the blog post…

The Faces of the War Collection

This week marks the time of “zero hour” for the Kindle version of Unguarded. By this, I mean that I have to submit the final version of the manuscript to Amazon by Wednesday so that the book will be ready to launch when the pre-order finishes on January 24th (the release date). I will spend today and tomorrow doing one final read-through of the MS, in which I’ll simply look for grammatical errors and other minor things like that. Nothing in the story can change at this point.

My aim for funneling readers (current and potential) to my books is to do it through my website so they can see my other content, but this link will send you directly to the Amazon page. I am getting very excited to launch this book, the second in my WWII collection. If you haven’t yet read my first book, Resistant, I encourage you to check it out. Remember that you don’t have to read the first book in order to understand the second one, as they are separate stories.

Cover_front      Cover - Round 2

Covers for Resistant and Unguarded

I wrote a post in December about my writing process, and in that post I mentioned that I want to write a post on my self-publishing experiences so far. I am thinking, at least at this point, that that post will be written sometime in the weeks immediately following Unguarded‘s launch. I want to devote time to finishing that project, and then I can spend time pouring out some information about my experience. Another reason I’d like to wait until then is because part of that post will include more details on the editing/refining part of the publishing process, and I’d like to include some things about Unguarded‘s editing/refining process in there. You can probably expect that post to come sometime in February.

Again, the release date for Unguarded is Saturday, January 24, so be sure to pre-order the Kindle version in order to save a buck. The print version’s release should coincide with that of the Kindle. I’ll post another big reminder in next week’s blog post.

Thank you for all your encouragement and support as I trek through the journey of writing and self-publishing. I truly enjoy it, and I want to help others who have a passion for it to enjoy it as well in their own way. If you are a fellow author, feel free to contact me whenever you please – I always enjoy networking with other authors!

Until next time,

-Eli