Progress Reports

This section of the blog was started to answer the question, "How's the book coming along?"

However, as of January, 2015, it's also going to be a day-by-day journal of what exactly I accomplished. Hopefully, having to publish a document with days of straight "Nothing got done" will help motivate me to work.

If you don't want to slog through the day-by-day account, simply read the highlights for the month. If you do want to see what exactly I get up to everyday, well, here it is...

May 2015

Highlights:

  • Finished draft 2 of The Sign of Fur
  • Received first draft of the cover for The Sign of Fur
  • Sent A Study In Cutlets to Kenyon for the Alumni Bulletin
  • Sold about 10 copies of A Study In Cutlets
  • Wrote two Essays

[Read more…]

April 2015

Highlights:

  • More like “Summary” this month because there were so many days were I didn’t update this post that day, and then completely forgot what I did.
  • Mostly took it easy, went on vacations, and reached out to local schools.

[Read more…]

March 2015

Highlights:

  • Edited almost the entire book Memoirs of a Deathwalker, then sent it to a thematic expert to be read.
  • Sporadically updated social media outlets
  • Was not very good about keeping this day-by-day list up to date – partially through neglect, but also because some several technical glitches.
  • However, I did write and publish one fairly long blog article.

[Read more…]

February 2015

Highlights:

  • Published A Study In Cutlets!
  • Sold about 30 copies of the above!
  • Had a great conversation with a writing professor that added focus to my efforts
  • Set aside work on The Exile for a time, which feels incredibly freeing

Day-by-Day: 

  1. Sunday, Nothing.
  2. Monday, officially published A Study In Cutlets, Ordered copies of same, published January progress report, created February report (including days of the week to look for trends in productivity, or lack thereof), edited to ebook formatted version of ASIC then sent it back to formatter, edited the first chapter of The Sign of Fur, submitted A Study In Cutlets kindle edition for review (should be available in 12-48 hours).
  3. Tuesday, emailed Createspace to fix the thumbnail for A Study In Cutlets print edition (and to merge the two versions), edited chapter 2 of The Sign of Fur, finally finished Facebook author page, heard back from Createspace and issues should be fixed in 3-5 business days.
  4. Wednesday, updated author Facebook page with publication dates and first official post, spent a few minutes on twitter replying, retweeting, and unfollowing (trying to get down to 400 followers I actually care about so I can stand to read my home feed), edited chapter 3 in The Sign of Fur, wrote 524 words in The Exile, emailed a Milwaukee bookstore about the possibility of setting up a reading.
  5. Thursday, updated Facebook page with a question to garner engagement (hopefully), spent some time on twitter, edited chapter 4 in The Sign of Fur (which was particularly long and needed a fair amount of work).
  6. Friday, corresponded with bookstore. No go on a reading there.
  7. Saturday, Nothing.
  8. Sunday, Nothing.
  9. Monday, posted to Facebook author page and spent a few minutes on Twitter promoting A Study In Cutlets, edited chapter 5 in The Sign of Fur.
  10. Tuesday, passed 78,000 words in The Exile, updated Facebook page, time spent on Twitter, replied to correspondence (including following up on an issue with Createspace), edited chapter 6 in The Sign of Fur,
  11. Wednesday, updated Facebook author page, spent a minute or two on Twitter, edited chapter 7 in The Sign of Fur,
  12. Thursday, Nothing.
  13. Friday, Nothing.
  14. Saturday, reached out to a writing instructor for advice and guidance.
  15. Sunday, edited chapter 8 in The Sign of Fur.
  16. Monday, edited chapters 9-11 in The Sign of Fur, sent it to beta readers, set aside The Exile for immediate future, started work revising Memoirs of a Deathwalker, had an illuminating conversation with Rebecca Morean.
  17. Tuesday, read over and made minor edits to chapters 3-6 in Memoirs of a Deathwalker, bought a book bag so I can always carry copies of my books with me, and started creating a detailed marketing plan for the next year.
  18. Wednesday, finished detailed marketing plan, printed it, started compiling a list of local elementary schools, and created a sign I can put up when working in public places.
  19. Thursday, Nothing.
  20. Friday, finally paid state taxes for Yellow Springs Street Fair – huge weight off my mind.
  21. Saturday, serendipitous sold 5 books to one of the yoga studios I work for, and was offered a place to have a book reading!
  22. Sunday, Nothing.
  23. Monday, sent a different format of The Sign of Fur to a beta reader, added a subscription button to blog (finally), published a “donations” page – though it could still use a little work, posted to Facebook and Twitter, tested out the “self-publishing author” sign…didn’t work today, more tests are needed, read over chapter 7-8 in Memoirs of a Deathwalker.
  24. Tuesday, updated Facebook and Twitter, read some good writing articles, compiled a list of possible blog articles, fixed a date for my YogaOne book reading: April 12th! Signed up for a free promotion being run by an author friend (“Let’s Make a Movie” blog post series on Write Like A Wizard).
  25. Wednesday, sent Meg my author photo, book cover photo, and author blurb for book reading flyer, read over chapters 9-11 in Memoirs of a Deathwalker.
  26. Thursday, applied for membership in the Indie Author Network, added A Study In Cutlets to Goodreads, sent out a review request for same on Goodreads, updated Twitter and Facebook, updated price on ASIC to $.99 on Kindle – figuring distribution is far more important than making money on this first book,
  27. Friday, It’s my birthday, so nothing!
  28. Saturday, Although Saturday is generally a day off, the my Indie Author Network Page went live, so I promoted it a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

January 2015

Highlights:

  • Made A Study In Cutlets fit for publication
  • Worked on The Exile and a little on The Sign of Fur
  • Got back in the habit of writing blog articles

Day-by-day:

1) Nothing.
2) Nothing.
3) Nothing.
4) Spent one hour editing The Sign of Fur
5) Edited sticky post, started progress report, wrote 213 words in The Exile
6) Created intro text for Progress Reports tab, created and published the “Books” tab, sent emails to cover artist and kindle formatter, wrote 714 words in The Exile
7) Took a new author photo for A Study In Cutlets, uploaded the interior file to createspace, sent an email to cover artist asking for very minor proportions fixes, sent file to ebook formatter, moved files from backup drive back onto my computer (having reformatted my hard drive in the recent past), rote 887 words in The Exile
8) Ordered physical proof of A Study In Cutlets, wrote 820 words in The Exile
9) Nothing.
10) Nothing.
[Read more…]

Nothing but NaNoWriMo Will Happen in November!

I meant to post this at the beginning of the month, but then didn’t.

If you’re wondering why no new essays have appeared, it’s because I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, which is eating up all my time and energy!

Therefore, our regularly scheduled essays will resume in December.

Have a great Thanksgiving everybody!

Zac

September 2014, Progress Report

Dear Readers,

Much of the work done in September had little to do with word count. I’ll have to get better about that.

Here’s what I’ve be working on:

1) I was put into contact with an old family friend, who just happens to be a professional cover designer. Since I wasn’t entirely happy with the revised cover of “A Study in Cutlets,” he agreed to redraw it for me. A preliminary drawing should be done by the end of October.

2) I also sent “A Study in Cutlets” to my old elementary school and they seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. This is very promising, as that’s exactly the age group for which I’m writing.

3) I finalized the cover for “The Grey Heir” (I know what you’re thinking, and yes, again), and then I ordered 100 copies to sell at the Yellow Springs Street Fair on October 11.

4) I made several long over-due changes to this blog. I rearranged the categories, added new, more specific (and thus more valuable) introductions, and added meta descriptions (which are important for SEO). It’s still not where I want it to be but it’s getting there.

5) I applied to a column contest, which, although I didn’t win, was so much fun I’m going to just write the column and put it up here. (It’s “The Hovering Fool”). This experience has peaked my interest in other contests. I’ll do some research and possibly apply to a few more free ones.

Well I think that was about it for last month.

Stay tuned friends, the adventure continues…

August 2014, Progress Report

Dear Readers,

August didn’t see much progress in terms of word count.

However, a few important steps were taken. Here’s what I’ve been working on:

1) Beta readers for “A Study in Cutlets” reported back to me and I incorporated their feedback into the manuscript. This was very exciting because everyone loved the base work and all gave different comments that made the story better. “A Study in Cutlets” is now being read at The Antioch School, my elementary alma mater. As soon as they give me comments back I will hand it over to a professional proofreader, then the formatter, and get ready for publication!

2) Cover Work – I’ve been working with a professional graphic designer on a cover for “A Study in Cutlets.” We had a cover I was happy with but it turns out the designer used an image to which he didn’t have the rights! He fixed it, but it’s not quite as good as it was, so the jury is still out on that one. I’ve also been making tweaks to “The Grey Heir” cover in consultation with a few friendly professionals. I’ll upload the new and improved cover soon.

3) I’ve been working on this Website! (As partially evidenced by this post). I’ve also revamped the Grey Heir page, and I have many more ideas about things to change, which will be implemented in the coming weeks.

Well, that’s about all for now.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend.

Zac

The April Report

For my curious friends, family, and readers, here’s a quick rundown on what’s happened this month in my writing world:

1. I wrote 10,000 words in my novella, A Study in Cutlets. While ideally I’d like to be writing a little more than that, averaged out over the course of a year that’s about 120,000 words, which translates to two short novels or one really long novel (in other words, not bad at all).

2. I sent The Grey Heir to be professionally edited, received those edits, and incorporated them.

3. I submitted The Grey Heir  to The Readers Favorite Book Contest. At minimum this will get me an in depth review from a credible source, at best I’ll become an award winning author.

4. I think I finally finished The Grey Heir’s print edition cover – for real this time. I hope to order a proof in the next day or so.

5. While I didn’t update this blog twice a week, I did write a couple real stories for it and started actively building my Twitter account again.

Overall it’s been a good month.

See you next time friends!

Zac

Progress Report, April 14

Good Morning Blog Friends,

I’m bored of constantly apologizing for not updating this blog enough every time I post, so this is going to be the last time I do so: I’m sorry and I’ll try to do better. Now, let’s move on.

The last couple weeks have been fairly eventful. I had a great conversation with publishing insider Will Shcwalbe that affected me more than the actual information exchange between us would warrant at first glance.

The topic that affected me the most was the two paths open to authors: traditional publishing and self-publishing.

Now, although I’d been ostensibly pursuing self-publishing for the last nine months or so, I’d also been feeling very discouraged about the number of copies my book had sold. Without giving it a fair shot I felt like I had already failed and that self-publishing wasn’t really a viable option. My conversation with Will not only convinced me that it is a viable option, but it gave me fresh incentive to pursue it: traditional publishers expect you to commit to a single genre to the exclusion of all others.

This makes sense. If they’re going to spend a lot of time and money building you as a brand in a genre, they don’t want to hear that you’ve suddenly decided to write something else. Again, perfectly valid, but the idea of writing in a single genre for the rest of my life makes me slightly ill when I think about it.

Right now, if I had to pick a genre, I would probably pick New Adult Urban Fiction, but that’s only because I am a new adult living just outside a city. A couple years ago I would have picked Young Adult Fantasy. As I grow and change, so to does my writing interests, and it’s important to me that I have the creative freedom to pursue those interests.

So, where does that leave me?

Figuring out ways to make self-publishing work, that’s where. It means redoubling my efforts at self-promotion, buckling down to finish the second edition of The Grey Heir, then getting The Exile and A Study in Cutlets out. It means biting the bullet and hiring professional editors and paying (at least a little) to market my work.

Take a deep breath because here we go, my friends.