Stop right there! Don’t donate any more money!

earn money with affiliate marketing
earn money with affiliate marketing

 

You’re on twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google+, wherever; every time you turn around, someone’s got their greasy palm out, asking for handouts. “Donate, please; I’m on IndieGoGo, I’m on Patreon, I’m on Gofundme, come support me at Twitch TV, come support me here, there, everywhere.”

Aren’t you sick of it? Every time you turn around, someone wants you to give them money for doing what they enjoy doing, and then what, they give you a little trinket, maybe, maybe, if you donate enough.

Well, if you’re not sick of it, I am. People draw pictures—they’re at Patreon, wanting you to give them money, to support their lifestyle. Tell ‘em to go get a job and draw their little pictures on the side until they can support themselves.

People want to dress up as cartoon characters, and they stick their ugly mitts out, asking for you to give them money, so they can play dress up for a living. If they want to play dress up for a living, they need to work a real job and earn their own cash until they can support themselves from their side hustle.

You even have people who write books, writers like me, on Patreon, Gofundme, and IndieGoGo; they’re asking you for 5,000, 10,000, 30,000 dollars so they can write and publish a book! You want to give them your money?! Are you out of your mind?

Let them work a day job like Bon Jovi did before he made it big in the music industry. People can work, and they can write, or play video games, or dress up in their spare time until their passion pays off. Don’t go donate to their cause.

Did Macklemore or Kanye ask for handouts? Did Dan Brown? Did Harrison Ford?! Did David Schwimmer ask anyone for money when he was an unemployed, struggling actor? No! These people worked real jobs while they developed their passion into a paying profession.

Here’s what you need to do. You need to find someone who will pay you to help them get their service, art, product or whatever out to the public.

Peep this; I want you to make money off me, not the other way around. I’ve been writing since 2011, and I worked a day job when I first began. Then, as my books sold, as I wrote more and more books, and more books sold, and more people learned about me and enjoyed my work, I was able to cut back to working part time. Now, I’m successful, and all without sticking my grubby fists out, begging for someone to support me while I type a few thousand words at a computer for an hour or two a day.

Understand, my books sell, and since you already read, and you already discuss what you read, you sell books!

Yes! That’s how it works! If you have a book blog, a review site, anything where you discuss the books you’ve read and loved then you sell books. It’s your praise, your discussion, your sharing of thoughts and emotions that generates buzz, and that means that you are selling books for the authors, the editors, the publishers, but is anyone paying you?

No! They got their damned, slimy fingers out, asking for you to give your money, but you work, don’t you?! I’ll bet you do, but you still make the time to read, and write about what you read, and discuss with your fan base, who cherish your thoughts, and they go out, and they buy the books you praise, and you aren’t asking for anyone to support what you enjoy doing, right?

Not to mention that those crowdfunders—with their creepie-crawlie little fingers—then go out and sell a product or service to the consumers, thus they earn money twice; once from your donation, and they earn again when they sell their book, picture, music, whatever!

You sell books, so why aren’t you earning any money? Where’s your cut? Why are you giving your money away?

I got your cut! Your cut is here!

smashwords affiliate marketing aaron dennis
smashwords affiliate marketing aaron dennis

Smashwords has a referral link for anyone who wants to sell Smashwords books. You can make a free Smashwords account, supposing you don’t already have one, and you can link up your PayPal account. That way, when you add the referral URL to your site along with your review and dissemination of that title, and people buy the book through your site, you earn a cut of the sale.

You just paste the link to your site. It’s that freakin’ simple! People click on it, and when they buy the book, it counts as your sale! No third party software like most affiliate marketing schemes. No pay per click like most affiliate marketing schemes.

Now, here’s the thing; normally, Smashwords books give you an 11% cut of the profit, so you basically earn something like $0.08 out of each dollar because the writer gets their cut, Smashwords gets a cut, and then there are some billing fees, but here’s the thing; the real thing, the real deal; I am increasing the profit from the referral link to 25%.

This means that you can earn more by selling my books. What’s that? Yes, you earn. No, I don’t want you to support me. I want to support you. You can sell my books, or Hell, you can sell anyone’s books, but not everyone will give you 25% of the profit, and not everyone can write like I do.

If you’re one of my loyal fans, you know I’m better than the Bee’s Knees; I’m the Gazelle’s Bells. If you’re not one of my fans…yet, feel free to download any of my free titles. You can’t sell those, but after you give the free titles a read, you’ll see how good I am, and you’ll believe that my books sell themselves.

Just check out this cover, title, blurb, and review.

The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons By Aaron Dennis
The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons By Aaron Dennis

Gods, Dragons, a mercenary with a blade and no memory of his past…. The world of Tiamhaal is alight in war. Men ruled by kings slay their opposition in the name of their God, but there are others who claim the Gods are little more than scorned Dragons of ages past. Scar has come to find the truth, but is the truth an absolute certainty, or is it just the skewed memory of a forgotten kingdom?

Smashwords review-

Scar is a complete mystery to everyone, including himself. He has no past that he can recall. He only knows that he woke up being attacked by a roving band of Dracs, hopelessly outnumbered, yet somehow managed to hack through all of them. His fighting prowess is amazing, and he has the ability to heal in moments anything but mortal wounds.

He finds himself a mercenary in the employ of Zoltek, leader of the Usaj, who has promised to request his god Zmaj reveal Scar’s past, and restore his memory. Double-crossed by Zoltek and left for dead, Scar finds himself catapulted into an epic struggle for truth between Dragons posing as gods and the gods they are replacing.

Wielding his gargantuan two-handed sword with its odd diamond-shaped holes, he carves a path through everyone blocking him from uncovering the truth about his past, his future, and the gods and dragons the people serve.

Gods and Dragons is an obviously large epic fantasy series launch, on the scale of The Wheel of Time. The world building is amazing, and there are more people groups, religions, magical ‘blessings’ and countries than you could possibly remember. The action in places is gripping, and the characters, especially Scar and Labolas, are well-defined and real. Scar reminds me of Conan, but with more brain. His hack-and-slay mentality however, has him rushing into any confrontation, confident in his ability to mow down the opposition faster than Link can cut the grass.

End review-

This book sells for $4.99, so if you sell even one copy of this book, you’ll earn about $1.00. Is that a lot? No, but isn’t earning a dollar better than donating five dollars, so that someone can sit in front of their computer and type for an hour or two a day? Isn’t this better than most of the convoluted affiliate marketing schemes?

Plus, I have seven titles for sale at the moment with one more coming out by the end of 2017, and probably another two more titles before 2019.

If you sell just a few copies a day, everyday, by practically doing nothing, and whatever you are doing is what you already love doing—reading and reviewing—you can earn 5, 10, 20 dollars a day, easy—from just my books, and like I said, you can put anyone’s books up on your book blog or review site. This is passive income.

Think about it. You can keep donating to everyone who thinks they’re a writer, or musician, or cosplayer, or whatever, and you can go broke, while you work, and they play, or you can earn money by just putting up some links to some books on your book blog or review site. As I said, this is passive income.

Is it really that tough to figure out which benefits you? Passive income benefits you!

Listen, crowdfunding has a definite role in the indie entertainment industry. Film producers and game developers do need crowdfunding. When James Rolfe of AVGN crowdfunded his AVGN movie, he not only threw in all of his money, he crowdfunded in order to pay for permits, to hire actors, editors, and to rent equipment and shoot sites.

That’s when people need crowdfunding, to organize an entire production. Rolfe used the crowd funds to employ people. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong with lazy people asking for handouts in order to do something, which can easily be done in spare time after coming home from an honest day’s work.

Now, look at this book. This just came out in February of 2017.

They Lurk Among Us, Lokians 2 By Aaron Dennis
They Lurk Among Us, Lokians 2
By Aaron Dennis

This is actually a re-release of a title that was originally published through a small press, but I didn’t like how much they were charging for it, and when it was first released, it had a terrible cover, and quite a few formatting errors, but now it’s updated, and all set to go.

Did I get on Patreon, GofundMe, or IndieGoGo and ask for people to give me money to buy the new cover art or hire an editor? No, I paid for it out of pocket because my profits come from selling a quality product to consumers.

I know you can easily sell this book for $4.99 and earn a dollar, I know because I sell books all the time. You can sell books, too, and all from doing what? Pasting a link to your book blog or reviewer site, and then just hanging back, and letting your fans come to your site, and buy the books straight from you. It’s what you’re already doing. If you aren’t already running your own book blog or review site, you can start now; you have the incentive.

It’s so easy; I should know; I sell a ton of books, my books, and you can sell them, too, and then when people stick their greasy mitts out, lookin’ for a handout, you tell ‘em if they want money for their side hustle, they can go sell Dennis’s books.

Thanks, everyone, you guys are the best. Don’t give your money to people who laze around their homes all day doing nothing. You don’t need to be supporting healthy, young, lazy people. You don’t even need to be buying my books. Just sell ‘em. Let the others work for a living until their product, service, or art can support itself, and you worry about your income.

I want everyone to succeed from doing what they love just as much as you do, but I want to pay you to succeed; I don’t want you to support me. There’s a right and a wrong way to crowdfund. There’s a right and a wrong way to get involved with affiliate marketing. I’m just trying to simplify the process, and make sure that everyone can earn some money rather than having everyone who works for money give me their share.

I know you can get on board with that. Right? Sure you can. Start earning something for your hard work and passion today, and stop supporting lay-abouts, who call themselves artists. This is the conservative movement; look out for your pockets, your income, and stop trying to get everyone to support everyone else. If you work hard, and take care of yourself, you don’t need a handout; no, you can earn money by doing what you love.

I’ve had about enough of this crowdfunding madness, and I know you have, too. If not, if you’re okay with giving your money away to someone who pockets your cash, 1,000’s of dollars, and then spends 15 bucks to produce a poorly written novel, a single shot of them dressed like Princess Zelda, a water color painting that took 7 minutes to paint then you go ahead, and you give your money away, but if you’re like me, and you’re pissed off that every time you hop on social media, you see numerous people asking for handouts just so they can sit on their butts, and play dress up, or write a book, or sing at their computer’s microphone, do something about it.

Stop the madness. Stop donating. Start earning!

Thanks again.

Look, this guy’s trying to do the right thing!

Publishers charge you but is anyone paying you?

earn money with affiliate marketing
earn money with affiliate marketing

Does Bantam pay you to sell books? No. Does Penguin Random House pay you to sell books? No. They certainly charge you to buy books, though.

Does George Martin pay you if you blog about A Song of Ice and Fire? No, but he sure benefits when you talk about A Song of Ice and Fire, and people buy the books because you praised A Song of Ice and Fire on your blog or website.

Does J.K. Rowling pay you if you blog about Harry Potter? No, but she sure benefits when you talk about Harry Potter, and people buy the books because you praised Harry Potter on your blog or website.

What about all the writers out there now who are crowdfunding in order to publish their books. Writers are crowdfunding, accepting money, for something that doesn’t cost much, and then they turn around and sell their product to consumers, so there you are, paying a writer to write, and then they turn around and sell the product, making money again.

What happens if they have money left over from the crowdfunding campaign? Where does it go? Do they pay you? No. Most often, they can’t even be bothered to hire competent editors. They just pocket your money and claim they need to eat, too.

Let me turn you on to a new wave of thinking, a new wave of earning money, a new wave of affiliate marketing.

I have big news for readers. I know you love to read, and I know you’d like to make some money, and indirectly, there is a way for readers to make money by reading. I’m going to introduce you to affiliate marketing, but not the way you’ve seen it before.
You do want to make money, right? You like to read good stories? You can make money selling stories you’ve read. Well, you can make money even without reading stories, but what I want is for my readers to sell my stories because I know you guys have not only read my stories, you’ve loved them and want to share them with everyone, and I want to pay you to do it. It’s easy.
You’ve heard of affiliate marketing, right? Well, here’s the deal; Smashwords allows their writers to set the amount of money affiliate marketers can earn.

Starting on 03/01/2017, I am offering everyone 25% of my sales. All you have to do is make a Smaswhords account, you should already have one anyway, and down at the bottom of my books’ pages is an affiliate link.
All you do is copy and paste that link on your site, or blog, or whatever, and whenever people buy my book through your site, with your link, you earn 25% of the sale. You’ll have to add your Paypal address to your Smashwords account to earn the money, but it’s super simple, and you earn money immediately.
Yeah, I’m taking a cut so that people the world over can earn money by selling my books, and it should be pretty easy because my books practically sell themselves.

Look at this title, cover, and blurb; wouldn’t you buy this book for $5.99?

The Dragon of Time Two, Dragon Slayer By Aaron Dennis
The Dragon of Time Two, Dragon Slayer
By Aaron Dennis

Scar, the Dragon Slayer, was fashioned to purge the Dragons from Tiamhaal, yet such a thing is not so simple. Kings and queens yet war amongst one another. They, too, lie, connive, and coerce, and so, Scar and his friends must find a way to persuade men to stand together against the machinations of evil forces. Join Scar on an adventure, which will test his mettle as man and warrior.
Well, here’s the deal. If you sell this book, you’ll get to keep over a dollar of the sale.

It’s easy, right?

You should start today. Just keep in mind that extra income won’t be available until March. You can still sell my books for 11% of the profit starting today, which isn’t bad, but from March 2017 and on, I’ll make sure all you guys can earn 25%. You won’t find a better deal anywhere else by any other author.

Here’s the link to each book that actually has a price.

Apollo

Apollo, a Lokians short story By Aaron Dennis
Apollo, a Lokians short story By Aaron Dennis

Cayneian

Cayneian: A Man From Blood By Aaron Dennis
Cayneian: A Man From Blood
By Aaron Dennis

Short Stories from the Mind of Aaron Dennis

Short Stories from the Mind of Aaron Dennis By Aaron Dennis
Short Stories from the Mind of Aaron Dennis
By Aaron Dennis

Gods and Dragons

The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons By Aaron Dennis
The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons By Aaron Dennis

Dragon Slayer

The Dragon of Time Two, Dragon Slayer By Aaron Dennis
The Dragon of Time Two, Dragon Slayer
By Aaron Dennis

Kink Erotica – if you’re feelin’ nasty

Kink Erotica, A Collection of Sexy Stories By Aaron Dennis
Kink Erotica, A Collection of Sexy Stories
By Aaron Dennis

Otherside

Otherside By Aaron Dennis
Otherside
By Aaron Dennis

The rest of my books are free, so there can’t be any profit earned.

If you have a Smashwords account then the bottom of each book’s page will present a special referral link that you use to generate sales and earn income directly from selling my books.

If this opportunity sounds too good to pass up then don’t pass it up. Start a Smashwords affiliate marketing site today, and reap the rewards of selling my books. Then, when your Smashwords affiliate marketing site is up and running, leave a comment with your name and a link to your site. I’ll add your site to my Backlinks tab and promote your site on Twitter.
I told you it was easy, didn’t I?
Think about it. You already read. You already know my stories rock. You already know people buy my stories. Why shouldn’t you get a cut? You already tell everybody, your friends, family, coworkers, and your blog or website fans which books you enjoy reading, and then your friends, family, coworkers, and blog and website fans go out and buy those books. Why shouldn’t you get a cut?

I’m telling you; Bantam, Penguin, the writers, the crowdfunding abusers, they’re all making money off of you! Why shouldn’t you start making money?!

You should! That’s why I’m giving you 25% of the sales from March of 2017 on out. You guys are great. Without my fans, I wouldn’t have anything, and I want you to have some extra cash in your pocket. You can certainly sell anyone’s books, but is anyone else giving you 25% from each sale? I don’t think so. The standard affiliate referral from Smashwords is only 11%, and other sites like Amazon make affiliate marketing a pain and a convoluted mess.

Save yourself the headache, and share with the world what you already love: my stories. Earn a cut of the pie while you’re at it.
Apart from the books listed above, three more books will be released this year, so now’s a great time to hop aboard this money train because with each new title I release, more and people are going to be buying my books, and you want to make sure to be among the first to earn a fat cut of my profits. Thank you for being loyal fans.

This guy’s already started selling my books and other books! Affiliate Market Smashwords Best Sellers

Affiliate Market Smashwords Books is creating a virtual bookstore

bookstore

Why wade through all kinds of books from numerous websites when you can visit one site to find all the e-books you want?

Pete from Affiliate Market Smashwords Books is creating a virtual bookstore. He finds the best e-books, adds them to his site, and then readers can search for new e-books with ease.

Affiliate Market Smashwords Books is still building, but there’s a section for non-fiction e-books, fantasy, horror, and science fiction. More is coming soon, so bookmark the site today.

It won’t be long before all of Smashwords’s best selling titles are available through Affiliate Market Smashwords Books.

Love to read? Make money reading!

aaron-dennis-wants

Hello to all my lovely and loyal readers. I have big news for readers. I know you love to read, and I know you’d like to make some money, and indirectly, there is a way for readers to make money by reading. I’m going to introduce you to affiliate marketing, but not the way you’ve seen it before.
You do want to make money, right? You like to read good stories? You can make money selling stories you’ve read. Well, you can make money even without reading stories, but what I want is for my readers to sell my stories because I know you guys have not only read my stories, you’ve loved them and want to share them with everyone, and I want to pay you to do it. It’s easy.
You’ve heard of affiliate marketing, right? Well, here’s the deal; Smashwords allows their writers to set the amount of money affiliate marketers can earn.

Starting on 03/01/2017, I am offering everyone 25% of my sales. All you have to do is make a Smaswhords account, you should already have one anyway, and down at the bottom of my books’ pages is an affiliate link.
All you do is copy and paste that link on your site, or blog, or whatever, and whenever people buy my book through your site, with your link, you earn 25% of the sale. You’ll have to add your Paypal address to your Smashwords account to earn the money, but it’s super simple, and you earn money immediately.
Yeah, I’m taking a cut so that people the world over can earn money by selling my books, and it should be pretty easy because my books practically sell themselves.

Look at this title, cover, and blurb; wouldn’t you buy this book for $5.99?

The Dragon of Time Two, Dragon Slayer By Aaron Dennis
The Dragon of Time Two, Dragon Slayer
By Aaron Dennis

Scar, the Dragon Slayer, was fashioned to purge the Dragons from Tiamhaal, yet such a thing is not so simple. Kings and queens yet war amongst one another. They, too, lie, connive, and coerce, and so, Scar and his friends must find a way to persuade men to stand together against the machinations of evil forces. Join Scar on an adventure, which will test his mettle as man and warrior.
Well, here’s the deal. If you sell this book, you’ll get to keep over a dollar of the sale.

It’s easy, right?

You should start today. Just keep in mind that extra income won’t be available until March. You can still sell my books for 11% of the profit starting today, which isn’t bad, but from March 2017 and on, I’ll make sure all you guys can earn 25%. You won’t find a better deal anywhere else by any other author.

Here’s the link to each book that actually has a price.

Apollo

Apollo, a Lokians short story By Aaron Dennis
Apollo, a Lokians short story By Aaron Dennis

Cayneian

Cayneian: A Man From Blood By Aaron Dennis
Cayneian: A Man From Blood
By Aaron Dennis

Short Stories from the Mind of Aaron Dennis

Short Stories from the Mind of Aaron Dennis By Aaron Dennis
Short Stories from the Mind of Aaron Dennis
By Aaron Dennis

Gods and Dragons

The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons By Aaron Dennis
The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons By Aaron Dennis

Dragon Slayer

The Dragon of Time Two, Dragon Slayer By Aaron Dennis
The Dragon of Time Two, Dragon Slayer
By Aaron Dennis

Kink Erotica – if you’re feelin’ nasty

Kink Erotica, A Collection of Sexy Stories By Aaron Dennis
Kink Erotica, A Collection of Sexy Stories
By Aaron Dennis

Otherside

Otherside By Aaron Dennis
Otherside
By Aaron Dennis

The rest of my books are free, so there can’t be any profit earned.

If you have a Smashwords account then the bottom of the each book’s page will present a special referral link that you use to generate sales and earn income directly from selling my book.

If this opportunity sounds too good to pass up then don’t pass it up. Start a Smashwords affiliate marketing site today, and reap the rewards of selling my books. Then, when your Smashwords affiliate marketing site is up and running, leave a comment with your name and a link to your site. I’ll add your site to my Backlinks tab and promote your site on Twitter.
I told you it was easy, didn’t I?
Think about it. You already read. You already know my stories rock. You already know people buy my stories. Why shouldn’t you get a cut? You already tell everybody, your friends, family, coworkers, and your blog or website fans which books you enjoy reading, and then your friends, family, coworkers, and blog and website fans go out and buy those books. Why shouldn’t you get a cut?

You should! That’s why I’m giving you 25% of the sales from March of 2017 on out. You guys are great. Without my fans, I wouldn’t have anything, and I want you to have some extra cash in your pocket. You can certainly sell anyone’s books, but is anyone else giving you 25% from each sale? I don’t think so. The standard affiliate referral from Smashwords is only 11%, and other sites like Amazon make affiliate marketing a pain and a convoluted mess.

Save yourself the headache, and share with the world what you already love: my stories. Earn a cut of the pie while you’re at it.
Apart from the books listed above, three more books will be released this year, so now’s a great time to hop aboard this money train because with each new title I release, more and people are going to be buying my books, and you want to make sure to be among the first to earn a fat cut of my profits. Thank you for being loyal fans.

They Lurk Among Us Chapter 3 Part 2

lokians they lurk among us

They Lurk Among Us is the sequel to Beyond the End of the World. Both titles, and a third, were at one point published by a small press. I’ve complained about that press to my satisfaction, and I’m now proud to say that with the return of rights, I will be re-releasing Lokians 2,They Lurk Among Us pretty soon.

The Lokians series is a sci fi series heavy with aliens, high tech, action, and a little espionage. I don’t know how soon They Lurk Among Us, Lokians 2, will be out, but here’s a chunk of the third chapter.

The traveler she had met a few months earlier taught her how to pilot ships using a mechanical helmet. The device integrated her awareness with the ship by synchronizing theta waves. There was no such device on the enemy shuttle, but the regulated breaths she took brought about a similar sensation; her brain felt like it was bubbling.

Slowly, her mind cleared. Her brainwaves altered, and much to her amazement, she felt the AMS’s programming like a dream. Without questioning the discrepancy, Day searched for the core system’s kernal, but something strange was taking place. It was as though the shuttle’s AMS wasn’t using a familiar language.

It was the OS; it was foreign, alien, like Navy code was its secondary language. It took her a long time, but her skills allowed her to locate the core system and ultimately override the password lockout. Then, she scheduled a landing at Alpha-2, clearance codes included. Luckily, Montrose’s shuttle also employed an F.T.L. drive, which was unheard of for a shuttle. Moreover, it wasn’t a Navy shuttle.

“Huh,” she looked around. She felt odd, detatched, and fluffed her hair. “Need to commandeer the Convoy-7 now.” In order to keep her team out of Montrose’s fire, she crafted a plan. The most reasonable thing to do was to get Johnson and Torres out of the ship. If I explain that two, dead men are aboard a shuttle, I might get them to check things out. Then, I’ll make my move.

F.T.L. speeds brought her to the colony in less than an hour. Upon reaching optimal proximity, she took the cockpit controls and slowed her vessel to standard speed. In no time, the large asteroid was in full view through the shuttle’s visual screen. Like all the Alpha colonies, Alpha-2 was basically large, steel structures built into the asteroid, and minutes later, she touched down on one of the landing platforms. She slowly pulled the shuttle to the airlock and waited.

“We’re here, Ma’am. What now?” Johnson’s voice erupted through the comms. just seconds later.

“There’s two, dead men aboard this shuttle! I need you and Torres to help me, please,” she exclaimed.

“Roger that, Ma’am. Are you hurt?” Johnson was shocked.

“Just come here,” she yelled back.

Day walked through the airlock in a frazzled state. She stepped into the security, laminate hallway leading into the customs office. Beyond the resistant glass, an infinite, twinkling void remained portentous, looming inhospitably. Johnson and Torres entered from the opposing end. They spotted each other, and as they jogged towards her, she just pointed behind herself.

“They’re in there,” she screamed.

As soon as the two men vanished, she bolted down the corridor, burst through the door into the customs office, ran to the other end on her right, and took a second door that led through a second, laminate hallway, and beyond that was the Convoy-7. The inventory manager behind the counter didn’t even have time to react; Day was a flash of blonde hair.

She entered, proceeding up the steps, to the ship’s bridge. After scrambling through a few corridors, she hopped into her suede chair in front of the control console. Upon commandeering her own vessel, she rocketed away from Alpha-2.

Day brushed hair out of her face, her eyes darting about the bridge. There was no one else on board as they had just finished up her last run before the mess with Shaw. Immediately, she shut off all communications and plotted coordinates to the Hellsview’s supply entrance.

She knew by running supply missions for the last few months that every drop was scheduled and inventoried. With no schedule or clearance, she struggled to hatch a plan. Suddenly, it dawned on her. Might be able to access old supply runs within the data archives. She scrambled at the keys, running through lists of completed runs. Her shaky hands didn’t help the situation. After popping her neck she relaxed and tried again.

Before Day’s reassignment, the ship had sat unused for weeks. Predating its hiatus was a logged run to the military, prison colony. The drop had been just over a year ago. Codes and clearance were available. With any luck the guards at Hellsview will grant access.

She kept the ship at F.T.L. for the greater portion of the distance. Her mind ran rampant. She wasn’t sure if she had actually covered her tracks. She was also concerned over the fact that she had killed two men. They’re not soldiers, but they were people, and probably with families. My God, I think I’m gonna’ be sick. The robotic voice suddenly came on.

“Entering Hellsview perimeter. Please, power down F.T.L. drive.”

Day knew that a supply ship traveling at F.T.L. aroused suspicions, so she slowed down, allowing for a nerve wracking two hour delay. Using the time, she attempted to guess how she was going to get DeReaux and Swain out of prison. Running fingers through her hair, she bit her lip and thought. Hopefully, they’re not locked away in individual cells. That would make things more difficult. While I’m there, I should be able to ask to see them, though. If that’s a go, then we have to create a distraction to get aboard the ship, her thoughts dwindled; there were too many open ends.

Ultimately, no matter what she decided, she had to be careful, and she had to move fast. If word got around that I killed the President’s officers, my punishment might be death. I probably won’t even get a trial. The navigation system dinged. It had been a fast two hours.

“Arriving at Hellsview military prison facility,” the AMS said.

“Oh, my God…here we go.”

She turned communications back on and set them to Hellsview’s frequency. Looking at the speaker, she took a deep breath. Before she said anything, a voice came on.

Convoy-7, this is Ensign Dekker, please provide military identification.”

“This is Lieutenant Sara Day of the Convoy-7. I.D. number 553A. I have a shipment of paper goods here,” Day replied, wide eyed.

“We’re not expecting delivery of any paper goods, Miss Day.”

“Umm, according to my files you are. Yep. Says right here, pick up paper goods from Alpha-2 and transport to Hellsview. Ordered by CWO Nguyen, clearance number 2237A9,” Day responded.

The voice at the other end sighed then paused for a moment. “Okay. Okay. Something somewhere got screwed up, but your codes check out. Go ahead and dock, and we’ll see what we’ve got.”

“Roger that,” Day yelled.

She let out a breath of disbelief, stamping her foot, and placing her hands on her hips. The momentary relief was a weight off her tiny shoulders. A second later, she was a little calmer, and ready for the next step. She docked then walked to the airlock where she waited for the inventory auditor to arrive.

As the ship’s door was already open when the young man showed up, he walked right in with scanner in hand. “Miss Day,” the man asked as he looked around the airlock.

“That’s me.”

He was a young man in battle dress as most of the prison guards were; B.D.U.’s on Hellsview were black and red, digital camouflage, not that there was any place wherein they might go undetected. The armor plating on his suit was rather light, much lighter than battle dress normally worn by the spec ops team; of course, Hellsview armor was for security purposes rather than alien claws.

“Inventory is down here,” Day informed the youngster as she walked him to the vessel’s storage level.

They checked the inventory together. Then, the young man turned to Day.

“Ma’am…the codes on the inventory show they belong to Alpha-2,” the youngster wore a frown.

“Well, that can’t be right. That’s where I picked ‘em up. Ronni over there must’ve forgotten to rescan them when I saw her. You know how she is, always talking, never paying attention. I don’t know–”

“Ma’am, I can’t take these. I’m sorry I don’t know what to tell you,” the youngster interrupted.

Day furrowed her brow and adopted a no-nonsense stance by slightly turning and spreading her feet. She tugged her gray skirt lower then dusted her black blazer’s sleeves. It was an effort to display both her authority and her numerous ribbons and medals. With a feirce gaze, she looked him up and down. He looked like a teenager, and likely, he was still learning.

“What’s your name?” she barked.

“Um Laughlin. P-Peter Laughlin, Ma’am.” he replied, a little shaken.

“Laughlin, how long you been here?”

“Well…about three months. I just got transferred,” he whispered while looking away.

“Well, Laughlin. I want you to go find your supervisor, Mister Dekker, and get this cleared up,” she ordered.

Laughlin nodded and saluted. Day returned the salute, and waited a few seconds. Anxiety brewed within her. She exited the ship, walked through the steel corridor, and into the inventory office where she saw Laughlin talking to a hulking, red-haired man with a thin beard. The large man then approached her; his towering stature was a bit disconcerting, but he was smiling.

“We got a little mix-up here, huh,” Dekker asked and rubbed the back of his head.

“Yes we do, Ensign,” Day replied, pulling rank with a smile.

“Yeah…okay, I really shouldn’t take this stuff until it’s been properly scanned in….”

“Listen, Dekker, it’s paper goods, you know? T.P. and napkins? It’s senseless to turn it down. You do what you gotta’ do. I’m not due anywhere for a little while, and I think I might know a few people here. Mind if I go mosey around?” Day bore her most disarming candor.

Dekker nodded and saluted. Day returned the salute, and hurriedly walked off. She knew she had very little time, and none of it for crap. There were just too many inconsistencies. Dekker was certainly going to realize the ship had no crew. Once she made it to the sign in center, she found a large, black woman behind the counter.

Day observed her through the security mesh, a chain link partition spanning from the counter to the ceiling. The officer behind the mesh wore a dress uniform, and although she was indoors, prison C.O.’s wore their hats while on duty.

“Kin’ I help you?” the officer had attitude.

“I’m Lieutenant Day. I need to see some prisoners.”

“Mmhm. Well, I’m Commander Temple, short stuff, an’ I need to know what you’re doin’ here,” the C.O. stuck a hand on her large hip.

“Riiight. Okay, listen, I’ve been delayed, some scanning problems with my inventory. I have some friends here. We were spec ops together. We served under Captain O’Hara. I just want to say hi.”

Commander Temple winced then straightened up. She looked down her nose to Day.

“Alright, honey. I know that name. Between you an’ me? I heard somethin’ about that mission. Captain gone AWOL…. Why they got you on supply runs?”

“It’s a long story. They’re trying to sweep us under the rug. I just want to say hi to Lamont DeReaux and Albert Swain.”

Commander Temple’s face brightened up. “Ohhh, Mista’ Swain. Mmhm. Okay, honey, I’ll let you say hi. Go on in. I’ll send for him.”

Day grinned and nodded. A buzzer rang then a door comprised of steel bars popped open. Day walked into the waiting room where prisoners were allowed visitation. After picking a table, she sat down with folded hands on the plastic tabletop.

Thank you for reading another installment of the Lokians sci fi series. I hope you enjoyed it. Not too many aliens in this particular chapter, but lot’s of intrigue. They Lurk Among Us will be out soon. In the meantime, you can grab Beyond the End of the World, Lokians 1 for free. Plenty of action and aliens in Lokians 1!

So you want to be a writer part 7

 

writer editor

It’s important to consider the types of publishing platforms before releasing your novel. Rather than diving right into the different kinds, I’m going to tell you a story; the story of my writing career, or rather how it began.

I initially tried my hand at writing a novel many years ago. I was about 18, in college, and still playing Dungeons and Dragons on the weekends with a great group of guys. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to write a story based on some of our adventures.

I set about the task, and three pages in, I hit a wall. I wanted my story to be true to the game, and I didn’t have all the manuals, and I certainly didn’t own all the novels, and since I was 18, that meant that the year was 2001, which is before the internet really blew up; I mean, there were certainly millions of people on the internet even back then, but I don’t think Wikipedia (shouldn’t it be Wikipaedia?) existed at the time, and I have no clue if WoC or TSR or whoever ran DnD at the time had a website, but it didn’t matter; I didn’t even have a dial-up connection; there wasn’t a need for it (this was the golden age of e-mail subscriber lists, though).

I talked to my buddies about the idea, but the more we talked, the more it seemed it was a useless endeavor. I didn’t really care too much about it either; I just thought it was going to be cool to write a book, but the fact of the matter was that my passion didn’t outweigh the obstacles, so I just let it go.

Ten years later, I had such an idea for a story I decided I was just going to go ahead and write it, or try to. I sat down and simply described the series of events, which became my very first short story: Eudora.

At that time, I had no idea how to use punctuation. I knew grammar well enough, and I’ve always maintained an abundant repertoire of words, and have always been a decent raconteur, so in the end, all I tried to do was chronicle the events of the story, and it worked. I had no plans, though, but Hell, I knew that since I completed one story, I was certainly capable of completing another; publishing stories, however, was the farthest thing from my mind.

I wrote four stories over the course of two or three months just for fun, and then I showed some friends and family, but I claimed that I had found the stories online and just thought they were neat. No one really seemed to care, until I wrote one more story. I called it: Shadowman.

There was an older gentleman I knew by the name of Jarrett Slavin (sorry if I misspelled it, Coach), who upon learning of my newfound passion, he asked to read the stories, and he really enjoyed Eudora and Shadowman, and he suggested I find a way to get published. Had it not been for him, all of my other titles would not even exist…what might have been….

Nevertheless, I was then left the daunting task of achieving publication, so I got on the internets, Googled “publishing”, found the addresses of a few publishers, and sent out my stories, of course they were all short stories, and no publisher wants those, but I found other methods of publication. I found Xlibris, a print on demand (POD) company, and of course, no sooner had I e-mailed them that I received a call, and man, oh, man was I pumped. I really thought I had just made it big league. (Big league, not bigly.)

All POD companies want is your money. They’ll take anything, and you’re responsible for your content, for your quality, but they’ll certainly charge you for reviews, trailers, covers, promotional packages, you name it; they’ll charge you, and honestly, if you have the world’s greatest book, they may actually be helpful because they can certainly help you get your book in the right hands, but my book, my four, short stories called Shadowman, were far from good, far from quality writing.

Regardless, as I spent more and more money, and then ran out of money, I kept writing, and when I finished my first, full length novel, Lokians, I started my search for publication all over again, but I knew POD was not for me. I needed someone else to do all the legwork for me, but I didn’t think it was fair that I had to pay for the legwork. I just wanted to write, so I set about the task of mailing and e-mailing traditional publishers, and even smaller presses like Edge, and no one was interested, so I did more research on what was required to achieve publication, and learned about literary agents, but when I contacted them, they never replied.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your outlook on life, I found a press, which labeled itself an independent press, Eternal Press. For all intents and purposes, everything looked good. Their books were available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, so I figured that it was a good start. By then, I knew that mainstream publishers were purposefully keeping writers out until those writers made a name for themselves, so I knew I just needed to work hard and make a name for myself through a small, independent press.

Well, initially, I submitted my manuscript, and the acquisitions editor was kind enough to tell me that while my story seemed interesting, there was a great deal of information dumped onto the reader right at the very beginning, so I went through a round of what I thought was editing, and figured out that rather than telling the reader everything I thought they should know before the story started, it might be better to allow the world to unfold throughout the story. Then, I resubmitted, and they accepted it, and man, oh, man did I think I had hit it big. An actual publisher with editors, and marketers, and everything was going to polish my book and sell it, and all I had to do was sit back and write.

Well, when the contracts came, everything seemed legit. All they had asked was that I also made an effort to market and sell the book, and I thought that was only fair; it was my book after all, and I certainly wanted to talk about it, so I made social media accounts and started telling no one (because I had not built a fan base) that my book was coming out.

Next, I had to write a blurb, and I didn’t know what that was, nor had I comprehended its importance, so I just wrote about what the story was. No one made an effort to correct me, so I thought I had nailed it. Then, I had to come up with a cover, and I am not really an artist; I’m not even a visual person, so I came up with some weird concept with a bunch of aliens and space ships, and they told me to try again because it was too flashy, too busy. Later, I realized the truth was that they didn’t actually employ artists, and I’ll get back to that later.

We settled on a cover, which I didn’t really like, but I was just so excited and so ready to start selling, I accepted. Then, we moved on to editing. The “editor” made very few comments, adjustments, and suggestions, and so again, I thought I had nailed it. I mean, if an editor doesn’t have much to say or change then the story must be near perfect, right? Well…not so much.

Finally, the release date came, and the book was finalized. I was invited to join some Yahoo groups and even participate in a live chat where I was to discuss my book with potential readers. It turned out that there were no readers, only other authors writing for the same press. That was a little disappointing, but I didn’t think anything of it because I knew the publisher was certainly going to sell my book. Selling books is their job, and if they don’t sell, they can’t stay in business, right?

Wrong again; they made their money by enticing their writers to purchase copies of their own books, just like a POD company, and then it became my job to go out and find places to set up and sell to people, but no one let me do such a thing. Barnes and Noble didn’t allow it. Books-a-Million didn’t allow it. There are no local bookstores where I live, so my best bet was a friend’s comic book store, which felt really awkward because his customers where there to buy comic books, and out of the hundred copies of my terribly written book, I sold three on my first attempt, and none on my second attempt.

In the meantime, my e-books were priced at nearly seven dollars. Who is going to spend seven dollars on an unheard of book by an unknown author when they can spend nine or ten dollars on Harry Potter? The answer? No one. In the three years that I was published through Eternal Press, and with the four books that I released through them, I may have earned as much as forty dollars. That meant that Eternal Press also earned about forty dollars off my sales, and about five hundred dollars off my purchasing my own, print copies. That meant that if every writer, and there were hundreds of us, each bought five hundred dollars worth of books each year, Eternal Press made some decent money, but the writers only ever spent money.

Consider that if I had sold all of my print copies at twenty dollars that’s only $2,000, and that sounds great, but then you have to subtract the $500 spent on purchasing the copies, and I think it was more than that, but we’ll keep the numbers round. That leaves a $1,500 profit, which is still nice, but then you have to factor in time, travel, gas, food, the posters I had made up, the business cards, and in the end, had I sold all of my copies, all one hundred in one day, I may have cleared $800. That’s still not terrible, but without the fan base to be able to move all hundred copies over the course of a day, a week, or even a month, that $800 not only dwindles from continuously traveling and setting up, but it starts looking worse and worse. Had I sold all hundred copies over the course of a year, which I didn’t, that’s still $800, and probably less, over the course of a year, hardly a success story, and as I stated, I didn’t sell more than three copies.

I kicked, I cried, I screamed, I complained, I begged; I wanted my prices lowered, so that the e-books would sell. I wanted to submit updated versions of my books, too, versions that didn’t have common errors and formatting errors; yeah, formatting errors. How retarded was Eternal Press? They weren’t even capable enough to format their books properly, and in the end, there was nothing to be done. The product was what the product was, and I had the option of peddling my crap and disappointing readers, or sitting idly by until the contracts expired; I mean, Eternal Press wasn’t selling anything.

During that time, I wrote a great deal more for two reasons. For one, I just really enjoyed it, and two, I felt a need to vindicate myself, or perhaps apologize to readers for having released dreck. Then, of course, I had to figure out what kind of publication I was going to try next; I certainly wasn’t going to go through Eternal Press again.

I spoke to a few, other, smaller presses, but I didn’t like what they had to say; they wanted money up front, they didn’t want to make the books available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, or anywhere apart from their site, or they wanted to keep too much off the top, so I went back through my old, short stories, cleaned ‘em up, and published free to Smashwords, entered those stories into their premium catalog, and bang! Those stories made it onto Barnes and Noble…and iBooks…and Kobo…and Nook, and you name it.

I also wrote fanfiction and published it to FanFiction.net, and with my newly released short stories, which were free, I started to build a fan base, but my titles with Eternal Press just rotted away, and I could not, in good faith, promote those titles because they were not the best of me. Finally, I hired a few editors for my new, full-length titles.

One editor, after paying for services, told me to re-write my book, and then resubmit, for another fee, of course. I did not hire them again. The second editor just re-wrote my whole book from start to finish in their own voice with their own views. I mean, it was a totally different book with different characters and different interactions at that point. I did not keep any of those changes. Then, I hired a real editor, Chuck Sambuchino, and he taught me how to edit my story for readers.

That book was released under the title The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons, and it has gone on to do quite well. Through CreateSpace, I made print copies available, and they are much cheaper to sell, and purchase for my own uses, than the print copies released by Eternal Press or Xlibris. I also e-published, for free, to Amazon, which I then pulled for reasons that are not yet pertinent, and since I had hired my own cover artist for five dollars through Fiverr.com, I had a banging cover, a cover that blew the covers made by Eternal Press to dust.

I also uploaded the book to Smashwords, which meant it made it to all, online retailers, and get this, I got to keep almost all of the money earned from sales, and other people can also sell my book via an affiliate link, so we all make money. I must admit, though, that I did try to use Gods and Dragons to land an agent and achieve major publication, and while numerous agents replied, and with admiration, no one felt it was “marketable”, but that isn’t accurate; the truth is that they didn’t think I had enough fans, which meant the mainstream publishers wouldn’t touch it because, remember, they want your fans, not the other way around.

This is precisely why I want you to build a fan base before writing your debut novel. Then, you can prove to the agent that you’re the real deal!

At any rate, Eternal Press wound up being purchased by another company and became Caliburn Press. No one told me for the longest time, but then an old friend from Eternal Press happened to ask me how I liked the new owners, so I went and found out that my books weren’t even available on Caliburn’s website, but they were still available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, so I got in touch with Caliburn over the discrepancy to learn that my contracts had been “lost in transition”. After some arguing, I simply stated that if that was the case, and there were no copies of my contracts, then the rights were mine, and I demanded all my titles pulled.

At this stage, while writing this very post, I have gone back and recreated all four of those books. Three are part of the Lokians series, and the fourth book was Shadowman, which has been totally overhauled, and is now titled: Otherside. I mention this to show that it has been nothing short of a long and arduous journey, and I am discussing it because I am trying to show you all the possible pitfalls of publishing. The short of this: go big or go home.

What I mean is; either do not stop trying to achieve major publication, or just go the self published route. You might get lucky with an actual, independent press like Edge Publishing, Rocking Horse Publishing, or Baen, but you had better be careful. Do your research. Look at their books on their site, on Amazon, on Barnes and Noble, on iBooks. Look at their prices, if there’s an option, look inside and read some of the titles. Don’t be shy; go and track down the authors, too, and ask them how they like being published through that press.

Now, the nitty-gritty:

If you have a fan base, if you have a bangin’ title, cover, and blurb, and if your book is expertly polished, self publishing is a fantastic way to go. Not only do you have complete control—Hell, even King self publishes some titles—but you get to keep almost all of your money, except the money Amazon will steal from you. I’m not even kidding, they will steal from you ten and twelve cents at a time, and they will often not pay you for Kindle pages read through KOLL, or KULL, or KENP, or whatever the Hell it is now. That’s why I pulled my e-titles from Amazon, but Smashwords has been a paragon of self publishing.

If your book isn’t up to snuff, though, self publishing can kill your career before it begins. Basically, the thing to note is that your book must be near perfect to land a literary agent or be taken seriously by a real, indie press, and if your book is that good and well written, you can use it to just make a name for yourself by self publishing, but self publishing requires so much friggin’ work because all of the responsibility falls on you, but then if you’ve built your fan base by following the advice from these posts, and your book is stellar, and you do self publish, and you do sell, you will be approached by agents or even publishers. Of course, if you’re already successful, for what do you need them?

That’s up to you. You may need them to help you get movie options, or you may just want them to sell for you. It’s your call, but you need to consider everything before writing your novel.

Stay away from POD companies like Friesen Press or Xlibris; everything they do, you can do, or you can hire someone to do it for you, and for a much lower price than they charge. Yes, you will have to spend some money and do some serious legwork, but even if you decide to self publish you can hire someone to turn your book into a movie, you can hire artists to turn your book into a graphic novel, you might even find some indie, game developers and sweet talk them into turning your book into a game; the possibilities are there.

Avoid hybrid presses. Some of them are obvious; they charge you upfront, or they’re really just a crowdfunding platform that charges you to use their services in the hopes that enough people will pay to publish your book; utter nonsense. While I’m against crowdfunding to publish a book, you can do it on your own without using a hybrid press. There’s also a ton of information out there on how to crowdfund successfully.

It’s just my personal opinion that charging people to publish your book is wrong since you can publish for free. You’ll only need money for a cover ($6 now on Fiverr, so it should be Sixerr) and to hire an editor, but if you shop for editors, you can probably get away with spending less than $1,000, so…crowdfund if you want to; no one is putting a gun to peoples’ head and forcing them to donate, so if you’re comfortable crowdfunding, asking people to give you money so you can produce content for which you charge…go for it.

Then, there are other, hybrid presses, like Eternal Press, Caliburn, or whatever they call themselves now. They are a bit more surreptitious in their behavior. They act like a small, independent press, but their staff is crap; their artists can’t make decent covers short of Photoshopping, they know nothing of blurbs, marketing, or selling books, they won’t help you get reviews, they want you to buy your books, so they can profit, and they won’t even edit your book properly.

I even had an argument with the previous owner about how to sell books, and she told me she had a business management degree and didn’t need my opinion. Well, I’m not stupid or uneducated. I know what a business management degree is, and it has nothing to do with economics, marketing, branding, or selling, and is obviously why she ended up selling the failing business.

So, if you stay away from hybrid presses and PODs, that only leaves major publication, really. It’s just as hard to get picked up by the real, independent presses as the major houses, so you’re better off trying to land an agent, which means learning how to query, how to write a synopsis, and knowing that you need to already be successful in order to be taken seriously by an agent…so, again, you might as well go self published for your debut novel, but don’t feel pressured to, either.

It’s up to you; go big or go home. Mainstream presses will certainly do their utmost to sell your book. There is no doubt about that, but that doesn’t mean that your book will sell. It doesn’t mean that your book will be expertly polished, either; I have written extensively about how terrible mainstream editors are nowadays, but hey, even crap sells, am I right? Not to mention that you can still hire a freelance editor —and will probably have to in order to be taken seriously by an agent.

The thing to consider when going mainstream is their modus operandi. Yes, if you get picked up, they may give you a small advance; debut advances are generally $2,000, but you will not earn a dime in royalties until said press earns back their $2,000, and you generally have only six months to achieve this, and if you don’t, they’ll release your contract, and not only are you back at step one, but you’ll need a new cover, a new editor (the press will still own the cover and their rewritten version of your book), and you’ll never get another shot at mainstream publication.

On the other hand, you may sell quite well, and then they will tell you to go ahead and buy 5,000 copies of your own book in order to fake your way onto the New York Time’s Best Seller list. Yup, not even kidding, so forget that $2,000 you earned; you’re about spend ten-plus grand, and then, they’ll want you to go out gallivanting from store to store across the country, and sell your books on your dime, and you may sell…you may not sell, so it really boils down to what kind of life you want.

Perhaps, you have always dreamed of traveling the country, visiting book stores, selling and signing copies, performing readings in front of adoring fans. There’s nothing wrong with that. If that’s your dream, follow it, do absolutely everything required to achieve mainstream publication. Avoid absolutely everything that doesn’t lead you to mainstream publication. Do understand that it may take years, and years, and years after completing your novel for you to find an agent and actually get published, so again, there’s no reason not to self publish your first title, prove you can sell, and then reach for mainstream publication with your second title.

Here’s why. Assume you finish your novel today, and it’s perfect, and edited, and whatever else. You contact an agent, and since you are not supposed to contact multiple agents at once, you wait, and you wait, and you wait, but you never get a reply, so after three months, you figure you can query another agent…but they don’t reply, so you wait another three month, query another agent, and a month later, they are kind enough to tell they are not interested. It’s a hassle, so you figure you’ll send your manuscript to Baen Books, but you are not supposed to query more than one publisher at a time, so you wait, and you wait, and you wait, and a whole year goes by, and they don’t reply, so you figure it’s safe to query Rocking Horse, and after eight months, they are kind enough to let you know that they are not interested…. It’s a lot of wasted time, right? You can certainly keep writing in the meantime, and should keep writing, but if you released your debut novel on your own, during your two or three year wait period, you could be making some sales, enjoying your life as a writer, and making a name for yourself. Of course this means self publishing the first book, and writing the second book with the goal of achieving mainstream publication.

Now, do you remember the first few posts where it was stated that success means something different to different people? Do you remember where it was stated that being a successful writer is a lifestyle? Some people don’t want to parade across the country, selling books; some people just want to sit at home and write, and self publishing is great for that, but really, there is no reason to avoid trying one or the other.

If you can achieve major publication, that’s a surefire way to build a fan base, and then you can release whatever you want on your own, and keep all the money, but beware, there are some instances in some contracts where this is not allowed, so it may better to start off self publishing, and then trying the mainstream route.

Whatever you do; learn to write, build a fan base, hire an editor, and then do your research. For more information visit my Quora blogs, or check out my Editing Services Tab. You can also flip through numerous posts right here, which will help you outline a strategy for achieving long term success through the consistent release of quality content. Thanks, I’ve been great.

More Quora Q and A’s

writer editor

Since Quora likes to collapse my answers in an effort to keep me quiet, I’m copying and pasting some of the Quora Q and A’s in which I’ve participated. Here’s a question from Quora.

Question: What is the passive voice of this sentence?

Addendum: Nobody writes a letter.

Answer: A letter is written by nobody.

What is passive voice, though? Many people have no clue. They’ve certainly heard the term, but fail to recognize what it is and why it can damage a story. A new writer may want to hire a competent editor in order to check for passive writing.

You can read through this page of about.com in order to learn the complexities of passive writing, but here’s the simple answer.

In traditional grammar, the term passive voice refers to a type of sentence or clause in which the subject receives the action of the verb. For example: A good time was had by all.

Contrast with active voice;  an example is: Everyone had a good time.

In the above example, the subject actively participates in the verb.

Here’s another example: The milk was spilled by the dog.

That’s passive because the dog is the one spilling the milk, but the focus has been placed on the result rather than the action.

The active version is: The dog spilled the milk.

Style guides discourage use of passive writing because when prose is consistently written passively, the audience feels kept away from the characters, the actors, the world, and the story.

Think of it this way:

A new movie has come out. You’re dying to see it, but your kid has soccer practice. When you come home, you get a phone call. Your friend tells you they saw the movie, and you’re so envious, you demand your friend tells you the whole movie from start to finish.

Even if your friend breaks down every detail, you won’t see the lights or shadows, you won’t hear the music, or the sounds, or the tones of voice. No matter how great a raconteur your friend is, they can’t possibly provide you the same experience because they won’t tell you how Tom Cruise scrunched his face, or bit his lip, or looked off into the distance to provide the emotion, the turmoil, the joy, etc.

You are kept at arm’s length, and that’s certainly fine if you’re chatting with friends, but if you bought a book, don’t you want to be immersed in the story? If you’re a writer, and you’ve written and published a book, and are charging for its purchase, don’t you think the readers–who have spent their money on your book and paid you–want to be immersed in your story? Don’t keep them at arm’s length with weak writing.

Hire an editor.

You can learn more about proper writing by visiting this Quora blog.

You can also visit my Editing Services tab for more information.

They Lurk Among Us chapter 3 part 1

lokians they lurk among us

They Lurk Among Us is the sequel to Beyond the End of the World. Both titles, and a third, were at one point published by a small press. I’ve complained about that press to my satisfaction, and I’m now proud to say that with the return of rights, I will be re-releasing Lokians 2,They Lurk Among Us pretty soon.

The Lokians series is a sci fi series heavy with aliens, high tech, action, and a little espionage. I don’t know how soon They Lurk Among Us, Lokians 2, will be out, but here’s a chunk of the third chapter.

Admiral Shaw reclined in his seat, causing the chair to squeak under his weight. The level of stress in the air was tangible. He closed his eyes and rubbed them with the heels of his hands when his wrist comm. went off. He slowly brought his hands down and looked the unit over.

“Shaw,” he answered.

“Well, well, Admiral, how far along are we?”

He let out a reluctant sigh. “Mister President, the men are unwilling to cooperate. I had Swain and DeReaux sent to Hellsview.”

There was silence for a moment. Then, Montrose’s voice returned. He was filled with venom.

“You listen to me, you incompetent piece of garbage. I brought you up to your position, and you can join O’Hara’s men in prison if you don’t get me results!”

“Understood, Sir. I’m doing what I can. Miss Day is due to come in any moment. Other than her, Fitzpatrick is the only one left, and she’s leading a team on Mars for some covert operation.”

“Fine. What of the Juniper incident,” Montrose asked in a more relaxed manner.

“You won’t like this…. Our investigation finds no trace of the Juniper. No debris, no energy residue in space; it’s like the whole ship vanished.”

The silence was deafening.

 

****

 

Montrose was stewing. As he sat in his private quarters aboard the Bohemian, conversing with Shaw, he glanced at the time. He was about to leave Alpha-3 and wanted some good news before he set his mind to his next task. The President turned in his chair then looked up at the ceiling.

“So, Lay has disappeared. I’ll deal with that. I have methods and contacts more suited to this type of scenario. Contact me when you finish up with Day. Shaw…don’t make me replace you.” With that, Montrose disconnected.

 

****

 

The admiral reclined in his chair again. Suddenly, he found himself second guessing his trust in the President. Someone knocked on the door then. He pushed the opening mechanism and the tiny, blonde helmsman walked in.

“Greetings, Admiral. Miss Day reporting,” she said in a bouncy voice.

“Miss Day….” Shaw began as he rifled through his notes.

He gave up immediately, and dropped the pad on his cluttered desk. It slid off to the floor with a small clamor. Day saw the bags beneath the aging admiral’s eyes and empathized with a frown.

“I know you need to investigate what happened, Sir. I hope you understand we were on an important mission. The galaxy’s safety was at stake.”

The admiral looked at her, a wince plastered over his wrinkles. He remembered Sara Day as a green-eyed, little girl when she first learned to fly the personal crafts on Alpha-6. Way back then, Shaw was a Lieutenant, carving out his own niche in the Earth Navy.

“Listen to me, Day. I’ve already had two of your crewmembers imprisoned. Your captain is AWOL, former admiral Lay is AWOL and presumed dead; I have my home world’s interests at heart. Help me to help you,” Shaw implored.

Day was taken aback. Her frown persisted as she looked to the floor.

“You’re putting me at a disadvantage, Sir. If I help you how, will you help me?”

Slowly, he came to his feet. His wiry physique belied a great deal of grievance. He walked up to the young woman then placed a heavy hand on her shoulder, feigning a smile.

“I feel like my own team has turned on me. It was not too long ago that I was your captain….”

“I know, Sir. You taught us all quite a bit,” she whispered.

Shaw sighed and looked away before walking back to his desk. Abruptly, he turned to look at her askew. Her eyes were jittery.

“Tell me one thing; can you justify O’Hara’s actions?” When he spoke, she detected a hint of betrayal; not his betrayal of her, but someone else’s of him.

“I believe so,” she answered after a moment.

Shaw returned to his seat where he folded his arms across his chest. Day fidgeted in her stance then bit her lower lip before bringing her eyes to Shaw’s. He was beyond his wit’s end, practically broken. Day pitied him. She was unsure of the details behind the events taking place shortly after their encounter with the Lokians. What she did know was that the man before her used to be a respected and proud leader, a teacher, a mentor.

“We made first contact with a galactic race who needed help. O’Hara’s actions helped to build relations. Had we not joined the Thewls, they would have gone to Earth. What do you think would’ve happened then,” she asked.

Shaw sighed. “Day, I’m reassigning you. I’m ashamed to have had the others detained. All I can say is get as far away as you can. There is something going on here that I’m afraid will not go over well. I’m in too deep. No matter my position, you’re still my crew, so…I’m going to fake your detainment. I’m still sending you to Hellsview, not as a prisoner, but….

“Two men are going to enter. They’re Montrose’s men posing as soldiers. Let them detain you,” Shaw said as he rose.

Day took a step back. She watched him open a drawer at his desk. He pulled something out and handed it to her.

“You’ll need this to escape. Once you do, you’ll be a fugitive, there’s nothing I can do about that. Find O’Hara or Lay. Only they can help you now,” he said, returning to his desk.

She looked at the item he handed her. Her mouth was agape. She then saw him shake his head as he spoke into his comm. unit.

“Come in, and take her away,” he groaned.

Two men in black suits entered and cuffed her. They escorted her out of Shaw’s office, and walked her towards a small warehouse. Along the way, she looked at the purple expanse overhead. Winds blew a warm caress over her face.

The dying light of twin suns glistened off the hangar’s green, steel plating. One of the men swiped a card to open the door. They filed into the hangar where Day saw a shuttle, a small, white, triangular craft. One of the men pressed a button to open the bay door. The creaking of gears echoed ominously, and they boarded for Hellsview.

Forced onto a steel bench at the rear of the craft, Day scrutinized her captors. One of the men, a short, stocky fellow, sat next to her and undid her cuffs. The other man punched coordinates into the Automated Monitoring System. Once the AMS was set, the shuttle began takeoff procedures.

After a moment, she resigned to placing her head into her hands. She shook her head a little, faking desperation. It caused her long hair to cascade over her arms and chest, effectively concealing her maneuver.

She took the stun device Admiral Shaw gave her, an item no bigger than a pen cap, and stuck the pointed end into the man to her left. A debilitating, electric shock rendered his nervous system incapacitated, if for only a moment. She stood quickly, and dashed yards down the steel corridor. Reaching over the pilot’s chair, she jammed the device into the base of the skull of the second man. When he flailed out of his seat, she stomped him, snagged his sidearm, and then grit her teeth as she braced herself.

First, she fired a round into his head. Then, she plodded back the way she came to find the other man coming to his hands and knees. She popped him, too.

Clicking her tongue in disgust—she had never killed a Human—she tried to console herself. They weren’t Navy men…. There was little time for self-reflection anyway; she darted over to the AMS and checked the landing location. While she was unfamiliar with Hellsview’s layout, she was certain there had to be more than one docking station.

Rifling through a three-dimensional schematic, she found a landing zone on the east side of the military facility where prisoners were shuttled in. “That’s no good,” she mumbled. Scanning again by twirling her fingers through the colorful lights, she uncovered a second entrance on the north side where supplies came in. The only problem was the fact that her shuttle wasn’t a supply ship. “Balls, c’mon, Sara, think.”

Wonder if my supply crew knows I’m arrested, she thought. Shaw said I was reassigned. I might be able to rendezvous and fake a supply run to Hellsview. She located the communications hub and opened a channel to the Convoy-7.

“Johnson, here. Come in.”

“Johnson, this is Day, copy?” she struggled to keep her shaky voice in check.

“Yes, Ma’am. What can I do for you?”

“Listen, I’m on a shuttle bound for Alpha-2. Meet me at the docking station, ASAP.”

“Everything alright, Ma’am?”

“It’s fine. Use F.T.L., and get there now,” she barked.

“Ma’am, we’re not authorized to use F.T.L. inside the system,” Johnson sounded confused.

“I need you to do this. There’s a situation, okay?” she blurted out. “I’ll take the heat. Got it?”

“Yes, Ma’am. Meet you there soon. Out.”

Gritting her teeth, she wondered about the repercussions of Johnson using F.T.L. speeds. It was new technology with many regulations in place. Thanks only to Swain and the Thewls, Humans recently managed to contain neutrino clouds. Ships were basically just testing the neutrino cloud containment fields within the confines of the Gemini system.

The scent of gunpowder was still heavy on the air, and she stepped around the body before taking a seat. Staring at the console for a moment, she tried to relax. Next, she made an attempt at overriding the shuttle’s coordinates. Unfortunately, the AMS was on lockout, thus requiring a password. She kicked herself for not having guessed that was the case, but then calmed down and took deep breaths.

Thank you for reading another installment of the Lokians sci fi series. I hope you enjoyed it. Not too many aliens in this particular chapter, but lot’s of intrigue. They Lurk Among Us will be out soon. In the meantime, you can grab Beyond the End of the World, Lokians 1 for free. Plenty of action and aliens in Lokians 1!