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Black Friday Sale – 30% Off “Committed”

Black Friday Sale – 30% Off “Committed”

Amazon is running a special this weekend (shocker!) on orders placed between November 26, 2015 at 12:00am EST and November 30, 2015 at 02:59am EST. To use this promotion, you must enter “HOLIDAY30” at checkout under the “Gift cards & promotional codes” section to receive 30% off the paperback version of Committed. That means you can pick it up for $9.09 instead of the regular price of $12.99.

Well, You Asked! (How to Support My Book)

Well, You Asked! (How to Support My Book)

The release of Committed has gone better than expected! It’s had a nice level of sales and borrows (through Kindle Unlimited) and should accelerate once advertising and promotions kick in next month.

Friends, family, and fans of the book have asked, “What can I do do help?” Such offers are unexpected, yet touching. I’m grateful whenever someone decides to spend the time reading something I’ve written. Wanting to do more is above and beyond!

In no particular order, here are some of the ways to get involved with Peter and Christine and support Committed:

Read the book!

Read It

For friends and family, this is not code language for buy the book! I have a number of copies available in paperback and digital formats and would be happy to send one to you completely free!

For everyone else, it’s available exclusively on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle formats.

Tell Me What You Think:

Tell Me What You Think

Short of standing behind a two-way mirror with a clipboard and watching readers interviewed about my book, this is as close to a focus group as I’ll ever get. I’ve already made a few changes in the direction of book #2 based on comments from readers.

On a recent trip out of town, my wife read Committed while I drove. There were several spots where she literally laughed out loud (and she rarely laughs at my jokes!). Based on her feedback, there will be more scenes with Keller in the second book.

Send me an email. Call me. Let me buy you lunch (St. Louis folks). I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.

IMPORTANT! I’m not looking for pats on the back. The more feedback I get now—“this worked” or “this didn’t”—the better my next book will be and the faster I’ll become a better writer.

Tell Others What You Think (Amazon Reviews):

Amazon Reviews

Honest reviews from real readers are very helpful. Prospective readers look to the reviews from other readers to see if the book is a match for what they want. Some advertising services won’t accept a book without a predetermined number of reviews.

It’s easy to leave a review on Amazon. Find the book’s page on Amazon.com and click the “Write a customer review” button. If you like, you can just click on a star rating (scale of 1-5, 1 the worst, 5 the best). You can also leave a more in depth description as short as, “I liked it/I didn’t like it” all the way to a lengthy analysis.

IMPORTANT! Every writer secretly hopes you’ll say something like, “This book was so good, I’ve thrown all of my other books away and I plan to just read this one over and over!” While helpful in the short term (?), it won’t be helpful to other readers (matching the wrong readers to the wrong books?) and eventually be bad for the writer too! A real review would be best.

Remember, if you received and Advance Review Copy, be sure to mention I received a complimentary copy from the author in the review.

Connect!

The News

Sign up for my Reader’s Group Newsletter (email). You’ll receive updates about upcoming releases and special offers and promotions like short stories, sample chapters, deleted scenes and more fun stuff!

Go to my website at www.michaelwgriffith.com. There are lots of hidden goodies there and I’m adding more all the time.

Go to the “Connect” page and you can connect with me in the following ways:

  • Sign up to be notified of new Blog Posts. The sign-up section is at the bottom of every page on the website.
  • Follow me on Facebook! Hitting “Like” on my author page is helpful.
  • Or Twitter at @MWGriffith14.
  • Contact me via email.

coolstuff 1

All of these things are very helpful. I don’t like spam, and the last thing in the world I want to do is fill your email box with “buy my book” messages. While I’m just getting started, I’m planning on some fun events and giveaways in coming months, so it might be worth your while!

Advance Release Team

Team 1

 

I have a limited number of openings on the Advance Reader Team. Members will receive a complimentary copy of the next book in exchange for more detailed feedback in addition to extra bonuses before anyone else! If you’d like to be part of the Advance Reader Team, just let me know.

Just One More Thing

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Like I said at the beginning, I’m always grateful when anyone agrees to take the time to read my book. That alone would be more than enough and for offering to take a look, you have my gratitude.

It is true that others have asked for other ways they might help support the launch of Committed. If you want to be involved and do more, I can only say…

Thanks

Buy the Paperback, Get the eBook Free!

I_LOVE_FREE_STUFF

In a testament to my superb sense of timing, the paperback version of Committed is now available on Amazon! The eBook will be available tomorrow, November 6, 2015. Anyone who buys the paperback will also be allowed to download the eBook for free!

Sometimes when I buy a book, I’ll buy the eBook so I can have it with me on one of my devices wherever I go. It works the same going in the other direction as well. If I like an eBook, I may eventually buy a physical copy for my shelves. The question is always, how much money do I want to spend on one book?

I’ve never understood why publishers didn’t include a free copy of the eBook along with the purchase of the physical book. Okay, it’s not a mystery, but sometimes it’s appropriate to set aside profit goals and just do the right thing.

Accordingly, anyone who purchases a physical copy of Committed will be able to download a free copy of the eBook through Amazon.

 

Countdown to November 6 Release!

Countdown

The eBook version of Committed is on Amazon.com and available for pre-order right now with a release date of November 6, 2015. I receive the proof copy on Tuesday, October 27. Once I approve it, it too will be available for pre-order, with a November 6 release.

If you are interested in receiving an A.R.C. (Advance Review Copy) prior to the official release date, contact me here through the website. Again, the eBook is available now and the paperback will be available sometime late next week. Two conditions: If you read an ARC, I’d love to hear what you thought of it (the good, bad, and ugly). Feedback from others in enormously helpful. Second, if you decide to leave a review on Amazon (writers love honest reviews!), you need to include, “I received a free Advance Review Copy from the author.”

My Book is Done! Available For Preorder Later This Week!

Commited_eBook_Cover-Small

October 19, 2015: the date I finished my first book. I wrote it, it’s been professionally edited (unlike most of my blog posts!), and a professional designer has finished the covers for both the eBook and the paperback. The files are locked securely away and all that is left is to schedule the release date. I’m considering options, but will likely set it up on Amazon sometime this week for preorder, with a release date in early November.

So what took me so long? I made up my mind a long time ago that I wouldn’t release Committed until it met my personal standards. Having to blend fiction with non-fiction made the task even more difficult. That said, I’m happy with how it turned out, and can’t wait for more people to read it!

Very few people have read Committed yet, but the feedback has been very positive. Here is a cross-section of the comments–mostly from professionals–I’ve received:

“Your character development is great.”

Your love story played out just like a Nicholas Sparks book, which seems to be your goal.”

The bullpen sessions were a creative way to introduce so much information about self-publishing.”

“There is nothing I would change about the pace of your novel.”

“There are plenty of people who need to read (this) book.”

“You have a great writing style.”

“You completely rock it with character development.”

When I read customer reviews for other books on Amazon one of the most frequent complaints is that characters were flat and there was no character development. To hear that–at least in the opinion of two readers–I “rock it” with character development made me smile for a week. To hear–unsolicited and unprompted–that the love story played out like a Nicholas Sparks book was more than I could have hoped for.

My hope is there will be writers who will stumble upon Committed and learn a few things that will make their lives easier, the writing better, and careers more successful. My own book would suggest that I should have gone with a straight genre piece (the Nicholas Sparks love story without the writing and self-publishing stuff) from the start. Maybe so. But if my book makes it easier for the next in line, I’ll be happy.

 

Better Next Time: Lessons From The First Book

Lessons

I wrote the first three chapters of the manuscript that would become, Committed: A Novel About Dreams, Writing, and Self-Publishing, on July 11, 2014. A short 439 days later, I finished the manuscript and shipped it off to my editor. That’s a lot of time to write a three hundred page book. What took me so long?

Background

  • When I’m in pure writing mode, I write typically write about 3,000 words per day. That works out to about 12 pages.
  • I usually write Monday through Friday, from about nine to five, with a break for lunch. Life sometimes interferes, but my routine is pretty consistent. There are times where I’ll write on Saturday and Sunday too.
  • At this pace, I could have finished the first draft in 25 writing days.

Problems

So, given all this, what took me so long to finish? And how can I do better on Book 2? I already have an idea for Book 2 and Book 3. What have I learned that will help me finish them more quickly?

  • The Outline – Before I started, I made a lengthy outline. Or at least, the kind of outline I’d made for papers or speeches  in school. It was reasonably detailed about the kind of information I wanted to include in the book, and the general story line.
  • No Structure – At the time, I didn’t understand story structure. Like many beginners, I though it was enough to say, “This happened, then the next thing, and then the next after that.” I discovered I get several chapters into the story, and it wasn’t working the way I wanted, so I’d have to go back and rewrite, hoping the next version would be better.
  • Conflict – This morning, I went back and read the very first chapter I wrote. It was nice, well-worded, and almost completely lacking in any kind of real conflict.
  • Voice and Style: In the early writing, I can still “hear” my voice, loud and clear. But it was clear I wasn’t sure what to include, and what to leave out. The style seemed to wander.
  • You mean, people are going to really read this stuff?: So far, I’ve had two people (editors) review my manuscript. I’ve also posted a draft of the blurb on KBoards, and sent it to a small circle of family and friends for review. It’s a nervous, uncomfortable feeling putting so much of yourself out there for a small audience. I can’t imagine what it will feel like to release it to the world.

Solutions

  • Everything changed for me when I read John Truby’s, The Anatomy of Story. I ended up with a Scene Weave of all the important things that would happen in my story, that (hopefully) hit all the right emotional notes. Good stories have highs and lows and typically contain many similar technical elements. Once I had them in place, writing the story was easy.
  • I won’t start the next book until I have a crystal clear idea of the story structure, and a scene weave and outline that will lead me through the writing. The proper structure doesn’t preclude “pantsers” from making changes on the fly, but it does make ensure the writer won’t leave out anything important.
  • Every story and every chapter need to have conflict. Somebody wants something and someone or something stands in the way. That’s conflict. Can you point to it on the page? This is what our hero wants. Here is who is standing in his way.
  • The only way to improve voice and style is to read a lot and write a lot. I understand the advice to read widely, but the light went off for me when I read Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. Beyond just the story, I liked his writing style and learned a lot by learning the way he did things. Voice gets better by writing all the time. By improving my voice and developing my own style, I’ll write better and faster the first time through.
  • There is no way, obviously, to please everyone. Although it doesn’t keep me from instinctively wanting to, logically it will never work. The only way to get around this problem it to write to satisfy the only reader who I can: me. As long as I like what I’ve done, I can live with that. There’s always hope that my book will be a runaway bestseller. I’ll have to release the bird into the world and see where its journey takes it. But if I like it, that’s enough.

The Next Book

I haven’t completely decided what my next project will be. Part of me wants to explore the next steps for Peter. As a follow-up to Committed, I think there is a lot of ground left to cover. From the writing process itself, story structure, website and blog creation, marketing, programs, and so much more, I think Peter has a lot left to learn. On the other hand, my long term direction is to write pure fiction. Inspired by Sparks’ The Guardian, it blends a relationship story with aspects of a thriller. It’s the kind of book I like to read, and the kind I want to write.

Whichever direction I choose, I will take two weeks to flesh out the story, complete with a full scene weave, and publish within three months from that date. I’ll report back on how that goes…

Girl On Chair

girl-on-chair

Back in November, I entered an online writing contest. The challenge was to write “the opening line of a novel, based on the picture shown.” The sponsor specifically noted they were looking for openers for a novel (Call me Ishmael.) rather than captions (Hey Steve, that guy in the apartment upstairs overflowed his bathtub again!) Further, the opening line had to be twenty five words or less.  Here was my entry:

“She appeared again in my dream, standing trapped on a chair in water, but I knew it wasn’t real, because Christina was already dead.”

Sadly, my sentence wasn’t selected as one of the ten finalists. Admittedly, it probably should be two sentences instead of one. That said, and at the risk of coming off as Kim Jong-un, I’m going to run a second contest, with my sentence as the only entry (if my entry had been as witty as this sentence, it would have won…):

Finally, if you have a minute, and are so inclined, take a shot at writing your own sentence. Leave your attempt in the Comments section.  Just remember, it’s an opening sentence to a novel, you only get one sentence, and twenty-five words or less. Can’t wait to see what you come up with! And wear your hardhat.  The writing biz is just brutal! (OP 12/17/2013)