Tag Archives: work in progress

Publishing Paralysis

As you may or may not have noticed, I have not published anything...ANYTHING...in 2016.  It's not for a lack of things to publish.  I currently have four works ready to go.  They are, in no particular order, ODD MAN OUT, RECIPROCAL EVIL, THE NEVER ENDING NIGHT, and finally, DEAD OR ALIVE.  Most are novella-length; RECIPROCAL EVIL is a bit over 50,000 words, while ODD MAN OUT clocks in at about 33,000.  I think that both DEAD OR ALIVE and THE NEVER ENDING NIGHT are around the same length:  approximately 27,000 words. I have been writing.  I have a YA novel finished called THE SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD:  CIBOLA which is about 53,000 words.  I am about 68,000 words into an untitled end-of-the-world novel which was inspired by Hugh Howey's WOOL.  I'm working on a longer vampire novel which would follow DEAD OR ALIVE and a horror story set in a fictional town called Addison Falls.  I've also been tinkering with a series that I started with my son a couple years ago, called THE NINE KEYS.  The first of that series is basically finished, and it is something around 68,000 to 70,000 words in length.  The second is about 20,000 words at this point and has a long way to go.  I also started a space opera novel but that's stalled out at around 17,000 words at the moment. Covers are done for three of the four ready-to-go works, editing and formatting are done for all four.  So what's the holdup, you might ask (assuming that "you" are reading this and are interested in reading what I'm writing)? I haven't been selling much (okay, I really haven't been selling anything!) and I need to do something different.  One option is to give up.  Or keep doing what I've been doing, which involves tossing up my writing, offering it for sale, and having no one actually find any of it. The second option is to try to form a better foundation.  So far I have only published ebooks and only at Amazon.  So, my foundation is this blog/website, my Amazon author page, and my Facebook page.  I have, like, 64 followers on Facebook.  Not enough.  And depending on Facebook to get the word out is a crapshoot.  When I look at how many people view my posts on my Scott Dyson page there, often it's like 7, or 13, or at best low 20's.  So of those 64 people, only a small percentage even SEE my notifications when I publish.  Without paying FB to show the post to more people, I guess that's about the best one can do there. I am thinking of doing Instagram, just for my cover photos.  I have thought about taking down my collections and publishing the individual works for free on Wattpad, but after looking around there, I didn't have much luck finding a lot of stuff I wanted to read.  I went specifically looking for my friend Steve Moore's work there, and I didn't find it with their search functions.  So I wonder how effective that will be for what I write. I try to "network" with other writers as much as possible.  I will promote authors' works (assuming they are something I like and read) here on these pages, with FB posts, and in any other way that comes up, and I have a few author-friends who have helped me out as well.  But I don't think our audiences cross over very much, or at least what I write is not necessarily of interest to their audiences.  I read so broadly and across so many genres that I am happy to promote their stuff; even more, I WANT to suggest and recommend good reads to my friends.  I think that maybe if I could network with some horror authors, it would work better.  I have tried with a couple, but they don't seem interested in reciprocating. But the biggest thing I want to do is set up a mailing list.  And I don't really know how to go about it.  I mean, signing up is easy.  And it seems that putting the widget on the website is not a big challenge either.  But most authors I've spoken to who use mailing lists effectively offer a free work, and all I have are mobi's of my works.  I'd certainly be willing to offer one or both of my short story collections, or even one of my novellas, for free as an incentive to sign up for the list, but as I have not used any of the software (Vellum, Sigil, Calibre) that apparently can generate ebooks in various formats, I don't know how to get these files to give away. As a mailing list builds, eventually you have a ready-made list of people who are interested in receiving information about your releases, and maybe, just maybe, you can sell enough books upon release to push your work into some sort of visibility on Amazon.    I think that this sounds like the best way to increasing sales and visibility. I also plan on giving away both of my short story collections (as they're both in Amazon Kindle Select and in KU) and I want to try a FB experiment, ask some friends if they'd share the links to the free books, see if I can give away a bunch more than I usually do.  Watch this page for announcements about those giveaways, or if you're a Facebook friend, watch my feeds there. Anyway, I'm going to try to break the paralysis in the next month or two, and get this stuff out there for anyone and everyone to read.  If anyone is interested, that is... ***  

Still here…

I haven't disappeared.  I just haven't had anything much to post on the blog.  But I have been writing a bit, and reading quite a bit.  So I thought that I'd just sort of list some of the things I've been working on, and give a couple of shout-outs to books I've read as well. I finished up a 27K horror novella called NEVER ENDING NIGHT.  Actually, it's been finished for a while, but I finally went back and reread it and formatted it for uploading.  I played with some covers but I'm not sure I like them. I've been writing on a post-apocalyptic tale that started life as a piece being written in Hugh Howey's WOOL universe.  I finished the first part, about a group of college students who get wind of an upcoming "event" and try to build a shelter to wait it out.  Then, as I wrote that part, one of the college kids up and left without explanation, then so did her boyfriend, so I wrote their story as they are invited to a shelter in Texas.  Then I thought, nothing is 100% fatal except nerve gas, and so I made this one, like, 99.8% fatal, and another story I had started a while ago ended up being a story of some of the few survivors of this biological agent.  I've been writing on that one.  It's been fun to tell these stories. Also a while ago, I decided to expand ODD MAN OUT into a longer story, perhaps a novella or a short novel.  So I've been working on that one somewhat diligently.  I'm around 21,500 words now (the original story was something around 1800 words, I think). Then I started something set in the fictional upstate NY community of Addison Falls.  The shared world comes from back in the 1990's when a bunch of us on a Delphi forum called The Horror Discussion Group created a bunch of common characters along with our own original characters in order to write stories set in this world.  Well, the stories (for the most part) died when the forum became inactive after the host (Bookhound) passed away at a very young age.  I have a story in my DIE 6 collection that was written back around that time in Addison Falls (THE GHOST TRAIN), and I thought that it might be fun to write a novel set in that town.  I decided to once again do missing kids, but this time I am going to focus on a math teacher at the high school and his friend/something more(?) newspaper reporter.  I've written about 18K words in that story, and I've been adding to it a little at a time.  No end is in sight. Last, I started a story back in the late 1980's that was also postapocalyptic, set in a small Wisconsin town after a disease claims all the adults.  I decided to expand that one as well, including three more settings, and bouncing back and forth between the four places to tell the story of kids coming together and conflicting in each.  I now call it INHERIT THE EARTH, and I think it's pretty interesting.  (I tossed out all the boring parts and rewrote most of it.)  I think it stands at something around 20K or maybe a bit more.  No end in sight on this one, either. Reading:  I've knocked out some pretty good books.  I read all of Kate Wrath's E series, five books in all.  I finished Orson Scott Card's VISITORS and Paul Draker's NEW YEAR ISLAND (wish I would have tried that one sooner, because it was really good).  I read William Malmborg's Halloween homage, SANTA TOOK THEM, and J. Stirling Robertson's SEPSIS.  Then I finished two or three Robert Crais books, including the non-Pike, non-Cole book SUSPECT.  Lots of good reads in there.  Those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head and skimming the Kindle. I hope to be a bit more active here in the future.  And I hope to have a new book announcement soon. Take care. *****  

My reality…

As you might know if you read the "About Me" section or my bio on Amazon or in any of the ebooks that have it in them, I work full-time as a healthcare professional.  And I am "Dad" to two teenagers, with all the attendant responsibilities.  I also have an older parent who still lives by herself and still drives, but is starting to get a little forgetful. So I'm a little busy. Work is about how it always is.  A little slow in September, as usual, after the kiddies go back to school and the parents take a breather from appointments.  I can always use a few new patients (so if you're in the Crest Hill, IL area and you need a dentist...)  And my mom is about how she always is, also.    Both require a lot of time, but both always have and probably always will. Then there's the kids.  Both are involved, and both keep us plenty busy.  So where do I find the time to devote to my attempt to publish my stories? I have this book, THE INN, ready to go; I had the cover done and had finished a final editing pass of the file.  But when I showed the cover to my wife, she thought we could tweak it a bit.  So I looked for the picture on the site where I thought I got it, a site where you can grab photos for free, for any use you want.  (I think it was Pixabay.)  But it wasn't there.  So I searched the internet, and realized that I hadn't found it there at all, but had seen it on a website and had saved the image to my computer.  I didn't know about the rights to the image I had, and couldn't really find anything, so I thought, it would be easier to find another image and make a new cover. But I just have not had the time to do it.  This weekend is our first big marching band competition, and we'll be gone almost all day for that, so I don't know that I'll get to it anytime soon. Meanwhile, the book sits there, ready to publish. If I get to it over the weekend, I could possibly have it available for purchase next week.  It's a short novel or a novella, about 37,000 words (I think), and I think horror-thriller fans will like it. The next one that is written but needs some rewrites and then editing is something I'm currently calling RECIPROCAL EVIL, but I'm not sure I like that title. I finished Hugh Howey's THE HURRICANE and will try to copy my Amazon review to the blog sometime later. Till then, have a great weekend, readers!  (Am I being optimistic by making that a plural?) *****

Still Pluggin’…

I haven't posted lately, things have been busy in my life. I had a procedure/surgery on my right ankle to correct a stress fracture/non-union.  Off my feet for a while, getting around with crutches and a "knee-walker" at the office.  I've done some reading, but not much writing.  It's hard to get momentum when you're never alone!  At home, I don't have a good writing computer right now, and have done most of my writing at the office. Here's another issue with my writing.  I have done a lot of it using the old WordPerfect program.  Word (on two of our computers at home) will open the files, but one of them is smack dab in the middle of everything, and the other is in my son's room.  The other computer that had WP installed on it died (think the video card went night night) and so I was using a netbook to write on, but while it has a student version of Word on it that wasn't activated, I'm not crazy about using it, and paying for Word on it.  And our main computer, the one my older son writes on, is an Apple, with Pages.  I know there are ways to work around it, but it's not a great situation.  My son uses the Apple for a LOT of school work, and I can't really use the one in the younger son's room because of, well, it's in his ROOM!  I need a new computer, I think, and have been debating what to get - a MacBook (and use Pages, which actually is pretty fun to write on, or a Mac version of Scrivener, which I've never used), or a Windows-based computer and buy Scrivener. Anyway, the long and short of it is that most of my writing is done at work.  Like now.  But there are these things called "patients" and "appointments" that I have to work around, which makes it difficult to get that writing momentum going here as well. So what am I up to, writing-wise?  Well, a few posts back, I listed four finished first drafts.  There are actually five.  One is my dental mystery, DEATH BY APPOINTMENT.  A second is a novella-length (23k words) story called THE CAVE.  The third is a horror novel with the working title of COLLEGE EVIL, which is about 45k words.  The fourth is another horror novella, tentatively called NEVER ENDING NIGHT, a Richard Laymon inspired, 27k story.  And the fifth is called THE INN, and is also horror, inspired by the stories of William Malmborg (if you like serial killer/psycho horror, Malmborg is really good at writing it).  I think it's around 28K. And as for what else I'm working on, my son and I have about 60K words done on a cool YA story called THE NINE KEYS.  We keep working on it, and he envisions, like, at least five books, but I'd be thrilled with getting to the end of this story.  We've got a ways to go.  I could see it coming in around 75K, possibly, or a little longer.  I also have two YA/young reader stories, which I won't mention titles, except to say that one of them involves Arthurian mythology.  Then I've been working a bit on a post-apocalyptic thing with no name, just more or less a situation that I'm trying to find the story for.  One of those "everyone's dead" things.  I have another post-apocalyptic story that I used to call my Pond Lake novel, as it begins in a fictional Wisconsin town with that name.  In this one, I killed off all the adults.  I started this one over twenty years ago, and wrote a bunch of it, but I scrapped most of that and just kept the characters I like best.  (Turns out I like the bad kids' characters best - they're the ones whose stories seem to be flowing off my fingers.)  I also have a bunch of chapters of this crazy Vegas story that, if I ever release it, will not be under this pen name.  And last, I have a thing that I call my "Rewot" story.  A weird dimension-hopping story that is influenced in part by Heinlein's NUMBER OF THE BEAST and King's DARK TOWER books. I'm a hopper, when it comes to writing.  I tend to jump to whatever catches my fancy at the moment.  So I might be writing in Pond Lake (and other locales) and then suddenly I'll decide to go back to the other post-apocalyptic story, or one of the YA projects, or...  Is this a good way to write?  Probably not.  Actually, it's probably about the worst possible way to write.  How I managed to finish five stories of those lengths is something I wonder about a bunch, but I have done so.  I should probably focus on cleaning them up as much as possible before sending one or two of them to an editor. But you know what?  I'm going to do whatever I pretty much feel like.  Some day maybe I'll be a professional, full-time writer.  But right now, I'm a professional full-time (if a bit disabled) dentist.  Dentistry pays the bills and puts money away for college for our family.  Plus, I'm darned good at it.  So I'll keep up the hobbyist approach for now and who knows?  By the time I'm ready to retire, perhaps I'll be earning a bit of income from these creative works. ****

Works in Progress

And then there were four. Most of what I've published so far is short fiction.  The longest is a three story series, coming in at about 24K words.  The stories are roughly 7K, 8K and 9K, and they're all about the same story but told from different points.  The longest short story I've put out there so far is THE GHOST TRAIN, part of the DIE 6 collection.  It comes in at something over 10K words. But I've been working on longer stories.  And I finished my fourth over the weekend.  This is not to say it's ready to publish.  It isn't.  None of the four are.  But the story is complete. Here are the four:
  • THE CAVE - a horror story about five eighth graders who find a cave in a forest preserve and the cave is something more than just a hole in the ground...  (around 23K words)
  • THE NEVER ENDING NIGHT - when the sun fails to come up for several days in a row, a girl's familiar street becomes a frightening place to be.  (Around 27K words)
  • DEATH BY APPOINTMENT - a who-dun-it featuring a young dentist as the sleuth.  (around 45K words)
  • COLLEGE EVIL - a college kid researches the nature of good and evil, and starts seeing assaults which are happening on his campus in a very graphic way.  How is that possible?  And they are getting more and more personal... (about 45K words)
Those are all just working titles, obviously.  I'm not great with my titles.  But 45K is short-novel length, right?  I'm thinking of combining THE CAVE and THE NEVER ENDING NIGHT into one novella-collection, then putting the other two out individually. Look for them sometime after I get them edited... *****

Some wordage done today!

Hey, I actually feel like I got somewhere with my WIP, a horror novel or novella about an inn in the south.  I stood at something like 20,800 words before today.  Right this minute I am at about 24,150 words.  That's 3,350 words today! The story was flying off my fingers as I got past a part that was giving me trouble.  But I think I'm coming up to another part that is going to give me some trouble.  I know where "we" are in the story, and I know who's going to win, but I have to figure out how it's gonna happen.  And some of what I wrote will need some extensive editing and rewriting.  But some is pretty good. Look for an excerpt here, once I finish up. Take care! *****