Newsletter March 2008
I'll begin with a quick update on A Clockwork Murder's progress since the start of the year. Since January 1st, the main page on my site has gotten 157 unique page views (that means that clicking on it multiple times only counts as a single unique hit). The A Clockwork Murder page has gotten 68 unique page views, and the novel has 21 unique downloads.
What does that mean? Well, for starters, it means that at least 21 new people are enjoying (or not) the world of Zook Terpin! I know at least one person is distributing copies of the file, so I don't know the actual numbers. It also means that my little bits of marketing are working. I'm getting a lot of people to go look at the site. The problem is that they are going to the home page and then less than half go to the book page. Then a third of them actually download the book.
Clearly I need to work on the main page and the book page so that I can convert more passers by into downloaders. If you have any suggestions on how I might do that, please let me know. Overall, I'm happy with what has been happening.
And speaking of the website, if you have visited lately, I have an awesome banner ad for A Clockwork Murder. A talented friend of mine made it for me, so many thanks to Zeli! If you are so inclined, feel free to copy the image and use it to help me promote the book.
A friend of mine sent me an interesting article about how many diehard fans you need to make a living. It is very interesting reading for an aspiring artist like me: http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php
It is aimed at musicians, but it is generally applicable. The punchline is that you don't need a mega-hit to make a decent living, you just need 1000 true fans. There are also ideas for "micropatronage" where you ask for donations in order to work on a project. People pledge money through a service, and if you reach your goal, everyone gets charged their pledge and you get the money. If you don't reach your goal, no one gets charged. Then you complete the work and everyone wins. Very thought provoking. (You can't see it, but right now I'm stroking my chin and raising one eyebrow.)
February brought with it some new writing. I cranked out a few fan fiction short stories. They were "just for fun" and to help me get back up to speed with my writing. I posted the Warhammer stories on a few fan sites, e.g. http://www.only-war.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=20121
The other short is another sniper story set in the Warmachine universe. I posted it and the other one (which is on my site under Writing Samples) at in the Warmachine forums and got rave reviews. I suspect that a lot of the new site traffic came from there. The new sniper story is gave me chills while writing it, so I'll post it in the Writing Samples.
But the real reason you are here is my new SF novel. I have most of the characters worked out, and the plot is pretty well set. I've started writing, and I'm very much enjoying this new world (or galaxy I suppose). I can already tell that the story will flow more naturally than the two modern-day stories I wrote previously. I'm getting that same flow and urge to write that I got with A Clockwork Murder and its sequel.
I will leave you with two things: 1) baby-related gear is much larger in real life than on the registry websites, and 2) my wife and I are expecting a baby girl in May! Wish the three of us luck!
PS Oh what the heck, here is a raw, first draft excerpt from the upcoming novel:
''If you believe the rumors, they say that the first FTL ship could instantly translocate from its starting point to its destination. That engine design has long since faded from memory and is mostly a myth. Modern starships have to transition through rifts into the Void where distance has a very different meaning. Then they have to travel at sub-light speeds until they reach their destination rift, where they transition back into real space.
After spending three days drifting off course in the Void trying to jury-rig a fix to get our engines running again, I was ready to believe the myth. I was ready to believe in anything, curse anything, and swear allegiance or undying devotion to anything if only the damn engines would power on.
"How's it going down there, Graham?" Adelle Braintree's voice resonated through the intercom like a diva in concert. The captain-for-hire of my ship was also tired of drifting. She no doubt smuggled some contraband on board and was late for her delivery. I didn't really care what she did with her free time, as long as she got me to and from my jobs. While I worked my engineering magic, she rented the Event Horizon from me to run her mostly-legitimate transport business.''