Friday, July 10, 2015

Apocalypse Idaho version 1.3.1 out now

Released on July 1st, but it takes a few days to propagate. This is what I should have released initially. It's been professionally copy-edited by some anonymous eagle-eye grammar person at createspace. It's intuitive to have your work edited, but in the process, you make a lot of changes. For example, after the first edit (before release) I removed two chapters, and added two more! Reading it the first time on the kindle, I noticed a bunch of errors, and decided to have this second (and final) professional edit.

I touched almost every paragraph of the book, mostly by adding a comma here, a hyphen there. I highlight the biggest changes in this post. I am sure the book still has errors and things I don't like, but I feel like it's in a pretty good state right now.

Also, if you've read/are reading version 1.0, it absolutely is not worth it to go back and get an updated copy. The story is the same.


I removed most of chapter 22, and trimmed some other places pretty heavily. All told, the book's size has been reduced around 3%.

v1.0 has 94,588 words
v1.3 has 91,774 words

The fatness of the physical book has been more seriously reduced. I bumped the font down to a non-grandma size (from helevetica 11 to helevetica 10). The book is now 323 pages total (from 416).

Below is version 1.0 on the left, 1.3 on the right. The current version is 1.3.1, which has minor formatting changes around margins, the spine text.

My Favorite Change

Special Agent Jack Bauer was mentioned only once in this book, but he's prominent in the unreleased second. He is one of my favorite characters, the butt of a lot of jokes, many around his name. Anyway, my editor told me I'm not allowed to just use names like this without permission from "24". I almost named him "Agent Not Jack Bauer"

But I thought of an idea I like much more than the original. "Agent Kiefer Sutherland". The end.

Better comma usage.

Almost every paragraphs had a comma added, or a comma deleted. That said, there are some I didn't take.

Editor's way:
On his way out he opens several closets, until he finds what he is looking for. 
But I like the way this reads without the pause, even if it may be technically incorrect, so I kept the comma out.

More active sentences.

Probably 20-50 of these.

Old: Light and air are pouring in from a shattered window
New: Light and air pour in from a shattered window

Old: Why should it be him who must leave?
New: Why should he be the one who must leave?

Old: Reflective light from the room is blocking the view.
New: Reflective light from the room blocks the view.


Hyphen Fixes

The editor hyphenated a bunch of words, and I didn't like the way many of them looked so I left it off (cell-phone? nope, I like cell phone).

Another example (did not take)

he makes his way to the common area restroom
to he makes his way to the common-area restroom

Still, I probably added/removed 20-50 hyphens

More consistent italics

Magazine titles, things they read, thoughts, and a few words that need emphasis are now in italics.


I think this was one of the big bonuses to having it edited again. "Derek Darius had said" was sometimes made more active and inserted into the story. About 10-20 changes like this

Clarifying who says what

In at least ten places. "Autumn said, Johnny said."

Fragment Sentences I didn't take... most of them. Fragments. I like them.

Random Changes

Instead of working on a ski boat, I thought it'd be better if Johnny was working on a mailbox. I like the analogies there better, and the ski boat stuff was wordy.

Straight up Errors

Prologue: peaks to peeks

Chapter 1: You're to your

Chapter 2: "The old zombie move" ---> "The old zombie move"

Chapter 5: "The trick is to just to keep being myself, but with money. --> too many tos

Chapter 7: "grout between the tiles is teaming with some unspeakable ecosystem." --> teeming

Chapter 11: That’s how long it took for him get there.   ---> missing "to get there"

Chapter 13: He will say that that he anticipated it --> too many thats

Chapter 15: Pedals --> petals

Chapter 16: Breaks ---> brakes

Chapter 20: About 60% removed

Chapter 21: Motomery --> Montgomery

Chapter 21: Tim doesn't seems to have noticed --> seems

Chapter 30: fires like its Grand Theft Auto III --> it's

Chapter 34:  They've smelt blood --> They've smelled blood.

Chapter 43: The software for watching the video feeds is --> feed

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Apocalypse Idaho Update 1.1 out - Sorry 'bout the typos ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I released an updated version of Apocalypse Idaho today! If you order a new kindle copy (or if you have one and update it) it should now have over 200 mostly cosmetic changes. The print changes may take about a week before I get them all in. Check out the copyright page to see which version you're reading (if it doesn't have version info, that means it's version 1.0).*

The bad part about self-publishing a book is that there aren't as many gates, so more errors get through on a first release. Sorry about that. But the good news is there aren't as many gates, so I can fix anything found relatively quickly. Anyway, I hear typoed first editions can be valuable... so... uh... you're welcome?

Mostly these are one word changes. "definitely" changed to "certainly". "Derek Darius" changed to "he".  Sometimes I tried to clarify confusing or run on sentences, like break them up into multiple phrases or delete adjectives. There were a few places I was missing words like "to". There were two rogue formatting tags that screwed how two paragraphs looked on the kindle (they were double spaced). Altogether, there were probably around twenty clearcut typos.

Here are the most important issues I caught that are easy to contextualize:

Problem Explanation Chapter
"His metal mechanical watch" PLOT HOLE: later the story references Johnny wears a digital watch. The whole world is ruined 3
"We should all should be taking it seriously"
“Johnny, are you fucking retarded? “ quote is the wrong way 14
the first thing he said to Johnny Sparks and Tim is should be past tense 23
“This is her office,” Johnny says, “If she... Should have a period after 'says'. There are a few instances like this throughout the book that were fixed.  23
She is unable see her son. 28
what kind of weather pattern deserves to be elevated to proper noun status.” question mark 29
I can’t seem to think of a name for it. 29
He’s draws his eyes up from the ground, woops 29
Tim has slumped over himself, as in prayer pesky missing words 30
make it up here for days”. period on outside 33
abstract oranges bleed into the earth. I did picture orange, but because oranges are also a fruit, I changed to "yellows" 36
They’re clawing their way
at the victim,
Derek Darius? A victim? pssssh 36
He sharpens until the knives are sharp. bad sentence, Rich 37
one non-human eyes glows 
Derek Darius opens another counter  cabinet 41
I call Derek Darius "the celebrity" too much I took out about 1/3 All
Grandpa was mis-capitalized a lot Various

If you happen to notice other things, I hope you take the time to send feedback my way and I'll get any changes into the next version!

* I am a computer geek enough to work with versions and use diffs, not enough to use git... yet. I don't have a good check-in story for all the different formats I need to keep track of (.docx for print, .doc for smashwords, epub for kindle). How cool would it be to have a build number on the copyright page though?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I think I'm gonna go Amazon Exclusive

Sorry, I am no longer offering my books in various e-book formats, including kobo, smashowords, barnes&noble, or iBooks. If you are thinking, hey, I would buy this book if it were available in of these places, but I'm not going to go get it on amazon, please let me know. If I get even just a few people contacting me, I will bring it back to these other stores (although it might take a couple months). I should also note that if any of my books make it halfway popular, I will very likely re-release to "any format I can".

To me, KDP seems sleazy. It gives you some cool marketing tools for Amazon, but the price is you have to only sell on Amazon.

Elysian brewery: recently bought by Anheiser Busch

I would love to have my books available in any format on any device, but I am just not that popular of a writer (yet?), so the marketing tools I get with KDP are pretty important to my book's chance of success. Also, the book looks best in kindle format, because it's where I spent the most time formatting. I can only do some types of promos if I only have it available on kindle. So yeah. Kindle only for now I guess.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

All Aboard the Book Launch Train!

My first book, Apocalypse Idaho, is now available for pre-order!

The publishers and agents were all lining up to get their hands on this one, but I was all like, please, I am on the self-publishing-book-launch-train, not the traditional-publishing-book-launch-train!

One of the biggest advantages in the world of self-publishing is that I can price my books significantly cheaper than the publisher would, and I still get a bigger percentage of books sold. Here is what I get in case you are curious.
  • Smashwords - 80%
  • Kindle - 70% but it can get complicated if bought from different countries
  • Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. - 60% (through smashwords)
  • Paperback - about $1 (of $11.99) but it's complicated

I am going to make some mad stacks!!!

Seriously though. I will probably actually lose money.

I assumed the process of making an ebook would be easy for someone technical, and from some aspects it is, but making formats so that they look correct sucks. It is what I imagine it would be to get websites looking right if your only tools were frontpage or dreamweaver. The problem is that you generally have to upload one format where it is transferred to other formats by magic, and then devices consume them with different clients. Smashwords, for example, requires you to upload a Word .doc in order to "meat grind" into something consumable. I know how messy .doc is. I work at Microsoft.

It would be better if you could modify things directly, maybe if all devices supported epub in a standard way. But they don't, and you can't.

Anyway, I am still figuring out what a writer's blog does. I guess this?