Killing Off My Firstborn

That title sounds a bit biblical, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, I won’t be spouting fire and brimstone in this post. However, in an effort to hone my author brand and steer readers more toward my fiction, I will be going a bit Old Testament on my firstborn…book, that is.

A Look Back

In the beginning–oh, sorry, going biblical again, aren’t I, let me rephrase that…At the start of my road down the writing path I kind of sort of floundered about everywhere. I was writing short and long fiction, I was writing essays, I was writing articles, I was writing web content, I was a writing fool. Self-publishing was becoming a little more of a “thing” and I thought I’d expand one of my articles into a book just to try out the process.

And so, Easy Preserving was born. I really liked this little book at the time and was even able to cut and paste some of its content into a few more articles (which actually earned more than the book ever did). I even bothered to re-work it a few years ago with a new cover and some new content.

Your days are numbered!!

Taking Stock

Over the past couple years, and especially the last year, I’ve gotten a little embarrassed about Easy Preserving (and my second book Soup for You which I quietly killed off earlier this year). The writing in both books is a little silly (not that I’m not silly) and the recipes are nothing out of this world. Plus, sales of Easy Preserving have dwindled to nothing, proving that it was time to take a critical look at this book.

He’s coming for you, Easy Preserving!!

My fear is that people might pick up this book, think the writing is crap (which it kind of is), and never want to read another book from me again (not that the Easy Preserving demographic is the same as a fantasy fiction demographic, but you never know where interests might overlap).

And since, as I mentioned above, I really want to be known for my fiction, I don’t want to confuse people with a lackluster non-fiction backlist.

And so, it is with a big ol’ sacrificial blade that I’m killing off Easy Preserving.

Backlist culling…a bit like this.

Letting You Live….For Now

All that said, I do have a non-fiction title that sells well and that I’m not completely embarrassed by: Simply Soft Cheese (although I do admit some of the “bonus” recipes aren’t very creative). This was my third book (you can now see why it took me so long to get my first novel completed) and has always trickled in some steady sales.

Each year I go through my books and rework the keywords, fix the front and back matter (you know, that part where the Also By and Bio are), and do a little copyediting on the blurb. This year, I simply couldn’t stand the cover of SSC any longer. I mean, really, how did I ever think this was a good idea….

simply soft cheese, tammie painter, cheese making,

Playing around a bit, a new, classier cover was born…

Wait, What?

Okay, okay, I know I just went on about wanting to steer readers more toward my fiction and away from the non-fiction, but it’s hard to resist the royalties this book brings in. I will likely eventually say goodbye to SSC (and my gardening book Going Native) or re-release them with a pen name, but for now they’ve been given a reprieve…at least until the book publishing gods tell me to sacrifice them for the good of my fiction.

And as for that fiction, don’t forget that The Maze: Book Three of the Osteria Chronicles is still on sale for 99 cents through the end of the month (details below)!

I’ll be back next week, but I haven’t quite decided what to share with you, either a bit about the world of Osteria, some news of the future, or maybe just some random cat memes.  

What about you, any hard decisions this week? Any thoughts on authors who mix genres? Share your thoughts and comments!!!

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Get your copy of The Maze: Book Three of the Osteria Chronicles today….
For e-book fans and bargain hunters….

From now through the end of the month you can get The Trials of Hercules (Book One) and The Maze (Book Three) for only 99 cents each. Clicking on the books’ titles above will take you to a handy dandy site with direct links to all your favorite ebook retailers. 

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Prepping a Pre-Order Despite Finn’s Flamenco

Here’s the deal…I did have a terrific post planned all about Finn McSpool’s recent adventures in my kitchen (the room will never be the same, I swear). Unfortunately, the vagaries of Amazon.com shipping means the final tool needed for the project he began weeks ago STILL hasn’t arrived.

However, Finn wasn’t going to miss out on his spot of weekly fame. Seeing me at the computer yesterday and feeling like he’d been missing out on some mischief lately, he ran over to lend a paw with what I was doing…and insisted I take photos to show off how “helpful” he was being.

I can see my productivity declining already.

Of course Finn’s version of assistance quickly degraded into him using my keyboard for a Beastie version of Dance Dance Revolution. Continue reading

osteria chronicles four

Book Four Has a Title…I Think

That’s right, I have a title for Book Four of the Osteria Chronicles. I know, this is shocking news because I normally have nothing more than a working title (something super clever like, say, “Book Four”) up until the very final drafts of a book. But this time around, I’m trying something a little different, so I needed a title ASAP.

And oddly enough, on the surface, this book was the most challenging to title.

The Tale of a Title

Because there are simply so many story lines happening in this book it wasn’t easy to pick one overriding myth such as the trials of Hercules in Book One, the voyage of the Argonauts in Book Two, or Theseus in the Minoan maze with the minotaur in Book Three. In Book Four many of the story lines from the first three books come into play as well as several new ones in order to bring about the events that lead up to Book Five (and eventually Book Six).

The old school cut and paste method of story creation

These new story lines include the myths of Perseus pursuing Medusa, Bellerophon’s battle against the Chimera, Helen and Paris’s and Menelaus’s love triangle, plus my own additions to add more layers and depth to the myths and overall series plot such as the titans joining together, the gods not playing nicely with each other (when do they ever), and the personal struggles of the heroes you’ve met in Books One through Three.

In other words, picking a title was no easy thing.

Thankfully, Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties (aka “Finn McSpool’s creator”), reminded me of some sage advice: Examine the themes of the book to develop your title.

Themes? What, is this high school English class? Ugh, I never did well on those theme-related essay tests.

But her advice did get me thinking about all the many things going on in the book. My initial idea was Rise of the Titans, but that really didn’t convey anything about the other story lines. The Fall of Heroes also came to mind, but there’s really no heroes crashing and burning in this book no matter how cruelly I treat my characters.

Something that did unite the many story lines, though, were bonds. The titans are bonding together. there are bonds of friendship and trust being broken, and bonds of marriage being entered into (unwisely in many cases) to name a few. And so, The Bonds of Osteria was born. Hopefully, that title doesn’t have too much of an S&M ring to it, but then again, I may lure in a new audience!

Fantasy/S&M mash-up, anyone?

Why the Rush?

Recently I’ve been studying A LOT of book marketing and how to move forward with my career in writing (more on where that’s headed in a few weeks), and one of the tips is to have a looooonnnnngggg pre-order time period.

The pre-orders generated during this time are supposed to boost your launch day rankings which makes the online retailers’ search algorithms go all atwitter for your book. I haven’t had much success with pre-orders in the past, but those pre-orders were typically only set up six weeks out from launch day. If I get myself in gear and get Bonds up within the next couple weeks, I’ll have a six MONTH pre-launch pre-oder period.

And while you can set up a pre-order without actually having a completed manuscript to upload (called an “assetless preorder”), you do need a title to generate the book’s retail page. At least now I’ve got the first step done.

There’s Even a Cover!

Or at least a temporary one. Although you can set up an assetless preorder without a cover, I think more people would be drawn to the book’s listing if there was at least a temporary cover.

Done quickly via KDP Cover Creator (which has a surprising number of options to play with) using a photo I had downloaded for The Maze’s promo stuff, here’s what I came up with…


osteria chronicles four

Despite only being a play-around/temporary cover, I do like the impression of walls at the edges (since many of the cities in Osteria are walled) and was really excited when I came across the font. This doesn’t match the covers of Books One through Three at all, but since I’m planning on making all new covers for the whole series within the next month or so, the difference in styles is fine for now.

Phew, for only wanting to announce a four-word title, this has turned into an incredibly long post! I’ll be back Saturday with whatever Finn has been up to this week, and next Wednesday I’ll have some (sort of) sad news to share. See you then!

What do you think of the title? Does it make you curious about the book? Or do you think I should go with one of the other two I came up with? 

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Get your copy of The Maze today….
For e-book fans and bargain hunters….

From now through the end of the month you can get The Trials of Hercules (Book One) and The Maze (Book Three) for only 99 cents each. Clicking on the books’ titles above will take you to a handy dandy site with direct links to all your favorite ebook retailers. 

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For those of you who love the feel of a real book, or who are perhaps looking for a great gift for a fan of epic fantasy or historical fantasy fiction….

From now through the end of the year you can get all three books in the series for only $30 (plus shipping*). That’s over $13 off the retail price!! To get this deal, just email me, let me know you’re interested, and we can proceed from there (I promise, it’s very easy and relatively painless).

Want to Help a Writer? Leave a Review!!

Now that The Maze: Book Three of the Osteria Chronicles has been unleashed on the world. It’s time for me to remind all you lovely book readers out there just how important book reviews are and how helpful they can be to give a writer a boost.

And I’m not talking about an ego boost (okay, maybe a little ego boost). Here’s just a handful of ways taking a couple minutes to leave a review can help an author…

  • It can encourage a writer. Sure as a writer you have to be self-motivated or you’re never going to get a book published. Still, if my stepsister hadn’t told me how much she enjoyed Books One and Two of The Osteria Chronicles and how much she was looking forward to Book Three, that Book Three may not have existed. I was so disheartened with writing at that point and so frustrated with the manuscript for what would eventually become The Maze that I was about ready to give up on the series. Even though it was only one person’s words, they were enough to drive me back to that pesky manuscript.

  • It provides another tool for authors to promote their work. It’s a bit tacky to post “Buy My Book!!” ten thousand times a day on social media, but it’s perfectly acceptable to post a snippet of a reader’s raving review….especially if you doll it up using a fancy-schmancy quote creator like I did with this one…

  • It helps other readers. If you were sifting through the “shelves” on Amazon and saw two books for the same price and one had fifty reviews while the other had no reviews, which one are you likely going to click on first to learn more? In most cases, you’ll check out the one with more reviews. It’s not to say the book with no reviews is worse than the one with fifty reviews (in fact, it may be better), but with our limited time and limited budgets we’re more inclined to go with books that have proven themselves to be worth reading.

Continue reading

Celebrate The Maze’s Release Day!!

Well, it’s finally (FINALLLLY) here. After many battles with plots, story lines, and self-doubt, The Maze: Book Three of the Osteria Chronicles is now officially scattered across the online shelves of various book retailers. Yay!!!

And better yet, Book Four is already chugging along nicely. Although still in the revising stage and not scheduled for release until next May, I’m taking a cue from some book marketing gurus and putting it up for pre-order within the next few weeks…once I figure out how exactly you put a non-existent book up for pre-order (more on that later).

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Thank you!!!

Speaking of pre-orders, I want to give a HUGE thank you to all of you who pre-ordered your copies of The Maze. Your interest in the series and willingness to order before Release Day served as a big morale boost and I really appreciate your support. So, let me raise a virtual toast to you with my imaginary glass of champagne. Cheers!!!

Finn started celebrating early…

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Haven’t Stepped Into the World of Osteria Yet?

For those of you who have been biding your time to jump on the Osteria bandwagon, I’m offering a number of specials to encourage (“bribe”) you to dip a toe into this epic fantasy series in which ancient myths come to life….

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For e-book fans and bargain hunters….

From now through the end of the month you can get The Trials of Hercules (Book One) and The Maze (Book Three) for only 99 cents each. Clicking on the books’ titles above will take you to a handy dandy site with direct links to all your favorite ebook retailers. 

***

For those of you who love the feel of a real book, or who are perhaps looking for a great gift for a fan of epic fantasy or historical fantasy fiction….

From now through the end of the year you can get all three books in the series for only $30 (plus shipping*). That’s over $13 off the retail price!! To get this deal, just email me, let me know you’re interested, and we can proceed from there (I promise, it’s very easy and relatively painless).

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As far as what the future holds, I’m feeling very edge-of-my-seat excited to move forward with my writing, not only with my projects and efforts to keep in touch, but also with changes to my motivation, my mindset, and my goals. And I’m honored that you’ve chosen to join me on this journey. Thank you so much!!!!
Happy Release Day and Happy Reading!

*shipping is based on your location. Approximate shipping to the continental US is about $5, to Europe $9.50, to Canada $11, and to Australia $14. 

If you are planning to order the bundle for holiday giving, please keep in mind shipping to addresses within the US and Canada takes about 10-14 days, while shipping to addresses beyond North America takes up to 30 days.