Marketing Self-Doubt

Date posted: March 18, 2019

Hello all. I’m back again.

So, I have a problem. I’ve no idea how to advertise/market my books. Well, perhaps I have some ideas, but I don’t like the feeling of intruding upon others, even though I think some people would enjoy finding out about what I’ve made. Nor do I have sufficient funds for such promotion.

I have in earlier instances posted links to my books in places where I thought they might garner some interest. Though I don’t think I did enough to really get the ball rolling. I truly hate the feeling of annoying others, as I hate it when people do it to me. That and I’m only aware of so many places that might be accepting to such self-promotion. Mostly I used my own social media, though the number of followers is larger than when I started it doesn’t seem like there are enough who are truly interested. Mostly the followers I have are other writers who wish to promote their own things as well. While we all are likely readers, it doesn’t seem like it’ll do much to help promote.

Reddit and the like have helped, but mostly when I allowed them to receive a book for free. I don’t have an issue doing so if it helps sell books(hey, I gotta eat too), but while many did get a book, I didn’t see a spike in the sales for other books.

I’m not a tireless marketer, one who constantly promotes what they are selling. I can’t do it. It exhausts me, and I find it rude. If you are following me here or elsewhere on the Internet I hope to give some sort of entertainment or insight, not to just be there to constantly barrage you with statements about how you should buy my book(though I would appreciate more sales).

In the past I paid for a small ad campaign on Facebook, but again didn’t see much traffic to justify the cost. Perhaps there is something wrong with some part of my book descriptions, that seems to be one of the big three things when you can actually get someone to your book’s page. I’m confident in the covers, and the first part of the books that you can sample on such pages. So maybe I should work on that, but again, I can’t tell if I’m even getting people to look at those pages.

Honestly I’m worried that this latest book wont reach as many eyes as I think it should. I think it’s the best thing I’ve written so far, and I’d hate to think that because I’m so terrible at marketing that so few will read it. The co-author and I have been working on this book for years, and it would be terrible to think that so few will have a chance to read it, since maybe they won’t even know it exists.

Aside from all that, I did (omit) a bit of editing since last week. Editing being me re-reading several chapters, and swapping out only a few words here and there. I think it’s mostly done from my perspective, but of course the co-author will need to finish their own re-reading/editing. It reads well, and I really like reading it. Somehow between us we wrote a story I enjoy diving into each time, even if I have read it multiple times. Heh, we even discovered we wrote a meaning we didn’t intend to when we set off writing this book. It makes sense too, so that was neat.

Anyway, I think I’ll leave here. I hope you all enjoy this book when it comes out, but until then I have several other books I’ve written over the years, so take a look at those. Until next time, have a great week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited, spending hours drawing.

Steven Oaks

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Books, Sleep, and Coffee

Date posted: March 11, 2019

Hi. My name is Steven. I write books. At least that’s what I’ve done so far.

So this week I did a bit more work on the picture I’ve been putting together. Hair was giving me a bit of trouble, so I watched a few tutorials, and now I have something. It’s not great, but it’s fine as a place holder. I’ll have to work on it more to be satisfied.

As for writing I edited several chapters. Again just cleaning up language, as it’s decent at this point. It’s just waiting for a final review with the co-author when they finish up. I think the time we’ve spent polishing up this book will show.

Speaking of polish, I have to say there’s this book series I’ve read, and am reading, that while I like the story an awful lot, it has huge issues when it comes to writing. It’ll just force in a line that skips over events instead of letting the narrative flow naturally. Every time this happens it really takes me out of the book. I’m not sure if any of you have watched Harmon Quest, but it’s like when their DM says “You do that,” and then just moves on, instead of letting it play out. It’s weird. Perhaps other people don’t notice such things, but it’s so different from the way they write everything else I find it distracting. The strange thing is I’ve read other books they’ve written, and they aren’t like this at all. So I don’t know what happened. Perhaps a different group of people are editing their other series. Either way I’ll still read them, but I guess I’ll just expect less from them. 🙁

Again to reading. I just finished a 16 book series. It’s titled “EarthCent Ambassador”, and it’s something special. There was only one book I wasn’t completely in love with, but even that one was good. It’s all about a species of alien AI that comes to Earth and forces humans into a galactic federation of different sentients. The aliens are distinct from humans, and have their own cultures. And how our diplomat interacts, and how the rest of humanity reacts to their forced inclusion is fascinating. While there are conflicts, they aren’t in the vein of militaristic. It was truly a wonderful read, and relaxing. I highly recommend reading it if you enjoyed the classic Star Trek feel. One in which it was about exploring alien cultures, and how humanity fits in with all our differences.

Besides from work, it’s been a relaxing week. On my days off I got lots of sleep, or at least gave myself time to sleep more so than usual. Any time I was tired, I went to bed. While I may have rolled around, which is normal and frequent for me, I at least got a little sleep each time. I may have talked about this before, but I have a hard time shutting off my mind, and I can’t get comfortable. So I wind up staring at the ceiling, or just tossing and turning until I eventually fall asleep. Even then I generally only sleep for a few hours at a time.

This of course is not conducive to being well rested, but I tend to offset this before I go to work with coffee. Unfortunately I wound up drinking too much one day last week, and while I was alert, very alert, I grew anxious. Extremely so. I made a post several years ago, back when I think I was writing my second book, that I was drinking tons of coffee, and I would grow incredibly anxious. So it appears that is still in play. Too bad I enjoy the taste and energy that comes from coffee so much. I wish I could feel that invigoration constantly, and perhaps that is why I tend to over do it when I’m a bit more tired than usual.

I have heard others say that coffee is a terrible thing to rely on, and perhaps that’s another reason I have trouble sleeping. Though, I calculate the time before I plan to sleep. Meaning, I have heard that imbibing caffeine less than 12 hours before sleep will cause issues. So I tend to make sure that at least 12 hours pass before I attempt to sleep after drinking any amount of caffeine, either coffee or tea which is my usual concoction. Though on my days off I tend not to drink any, unless I have a big day planned, and I want to get some work done before I finally lie down for the day.

This hasn’t seemed to cause any issues, but I will note on the days that I don’t have any caffeine I will be a bit more groggy. Since I usually don’t have anything planned for those days it hasn’t been an issue. I get at least one nap in, usually for at least a couple of hours when off, and after such I do a bit of work either on editing, or now drawing. So it all seems to work out.

And now that I’ve bored you all with my random nonsense, I’ll let you go. I hope you all have an enjoyable week, and get some sleep.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited, spending hours drawing.

Steven Oaks

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Learning to Draw

Date posted: March 4, 2019

Hello all. Steve is back, and he’s ready to attack.

What am I attacking? Um… uh… my free time? I dunno, I just wanted to rhyme something.

So this last week I not only did my usual editing, which is going very well, I continued practicing drawing. Mostly in GIMP still, but I played around with Krita as well. Mostly I’m working on the human form. This means I went about trying to break down the human structure into basic shapes.

Those of you who have been drawing for years know this is just about the first step. This is something I had always neglected, so it’s good practice for me. The co-author offered up several books and resources for me to look to for examples, and it helped immensely. I can’t say I’m good at drawing people… yet, but I’m getting better. I’d post examples, but I’ve not finalized anything. What I’ve made is mostly for myself. Though this last one I’ve been working on has some striking eyes, and the mouth looks real… though it also looks like I cut something out poorly and pasted it on a blank face. I need to work on shading I think, or at least rounding out the sharp lines I use to draw things currently.

The thing that has helped me in drawing people is thinking about bones. Besides the example shapes people have used to illustrate drawing bodies in tutorials, thinking about the skull really helps shape a head. A round top of the skull, and then the jaw bone underneath. Otherwise you might wind up with something too round. As for arms and legs, yes bones, but the muscle on top really brings out their form. Chests and hips are interesting, and having shoulders protrude is something I hadn’t thought of, and the ligaments that angle up to the neck from the shoulder is something to think of, otherwise you’d have a flat line running underneath the head. Bones are good, but hands are hard. Just saying.

I think I’ll try to do some backgrounds soon. I’ve always love landscapes, but I’ve never been able to do anything. While I’ve drawn people before, none of it good, I’ve not done any natural scenes before. So this’ll be a new thing for me. I’ll probably use Krita, though I’m more familiar with GIMP, simply because there are a ton more brushes and styles to utilize that come standard with that program. You can get as many as you want for GIMP, but I don’t feel like searching for them, though I did find a “hair brush” that I think is decent.

I’ve also found that trying to trace things doesn’t help as much as you’d think. At least for me. I’m only using a mouse. Perhaps if I were to use a tablet and pen for such things they’d look better, but really if I personally want to draw something now it tends to look better if I draw it while looking at a picture as opposed to trying to trace it. I don’t know, maybe my hand isn’t steady enough, but things tend to look better if I draw it freehand. That and it’s better practice as I am better able to identify the best shapes to form different parts of a person. The eyes for example looked really bad when traced, so I deleted that and started over. Now I have a pair that look close to real, for me at least.

In the end, I’m enjoying trying to learn this new skill. I also have hopes that this will help me better describe things when I write. Before I usually would focus on dialogue, and let the descriptions of surroundings and people kind of vague, though I tried. But working with the co-author, and seeing how they depict things using words, has spurred me into more action when it comes to that. Now with both them as an example, and this new found hobby, I hope to become even better in the future.

That’s all for now. I hope you have a great week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited, spending hours drawing.

Steven Oaks

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Do What You Love

Date posted: February 25, 2019

Hello again. I’m back for another weekly update.

Last week’s post had me complaining about my own incompetence. But since then I was able to edit. The co-author got me a copy of their changes that night, and the following day I was able to catch up. This weekend they edited some more, and I was able to work on it today. All in all, things are going well on that front, even with me not getting to it one day.

Other than that, I’ve been playing around with GIMP again. Oh dear, I’m not good, but oh dear is it fun. I’m doing silly things I’ve never done before. And not to toot my own horn, but I made a couple of things that I think are at least interesting.

Again, I’m no artist, but being able to put together a few things, even if they are simple, is tons of fun. Now back in the day I used to draw now and again. Heck, there was one summer I really went hard. I was drawing everything, anime, friends, vistas. But I never considered it good. Though I think my Berserker skateboard looks neat, even if I used too much paint. But I dropped out of the habit for years at a time.

Those of you who have followed this blog, or those that go back and look at older posts, will see that I’ve played around with GIMP before. My owl phase I call it, though I did work on several other animals. Not that they are great or anything, but I’m proud I was able to do anything close to recognizable.

At one point in time I was really into drawing. I’m talking elementary and middle school, but for whatever reason I didn’t feel like I had the chance to grow this skill. I never had the time, or didn’t feel I did, so I just stopped drawing. Perhaps that’s why I tend to surround myself with artists.

I spent about five hours doodling and playing around this weekend. Listening to random music, I lost track of time completely. By the time I realized how late/early it was I had created a silly book cover. It doesn’t look great, but I did learn (omit) a lot just by playing around. It took me several hours to get to sleep after, as I kept thinking about what other things I could do to improve it. I spent another few hours the next day doing that, but I’m still not happy with it. I guess I’ll have to keep going.

Along with drawing, I like music. The art of creating, and singing. But again, I never had the opportunity, save rare occasions. I recall one time, in Spanish class of all places, a girl from the school’s top choir group started singing one of my favorite songs. I joined in, and as ridiculous as it sounds, received praise from everyone in the class, and was asked why I wasn’t in choir. I suppose singing along in the car maintained that skill, but else-wise I don’t really practice.

I guess what I’m trying to say with these stories is that we should do what we love. Even if others say it’s a waste of time. Even if you have to make the time for them. Even if we aren’t great, or even good at it. I’ll likely never be great at art or music, but it makes me happy. Since I have a bit of time now that I’m in between books, until editing is completed, I’ll play around with my artistic desires. Maybe I’ll even influence the final book cover. Unfortunately the trees I’m making look like nuclear explosions, so maybe I won’t, heh.

Until next time. Do what you love. Life is short, but the years are long. Don’t let the everyday hum-drum keep you from enjoying the little things that make life worth living. Skill comes with practice, but even though none of us will likely become as amazing as whatever idol we strive to be like, we can say we had fun trying. And you never know, maybe you will be amazing in your own right. Have a great week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited, things are going well.

Steven Oaks

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Arg, I’m a Fool

Date posted: February 18, 2019

Howdy Folks. Here’s a little story. A precautionary tale.

I went to edit the book today. I thought, huh, wouldn’t it be cool to try out a different program to take a look at what we’ve written? Maybe there’ll be features I’ve not utilized out there, or perhaps it’ll give me a different view on things.

So I loaded up a program called Manuskript. Since I’m in Linux, and because I wasn’t looking too closely at how to install, it took me a minute. My fault entirely, but once I figured out my mistake it was easy enough.

It’s an interesting looking program, one I’m not sold on yet, but it opened. I took a couple of minutes to look around, then decided I’d try to import my Libre Office document. Well, it didn’t work. I thought, huh, oh well. And played around with some things, but didn’t save.

I figured I’d work out how to use it later, and opened Libre Office again to get back to editing. Uh-oh, the book isn’t opening. What do I do? Will other documents open? Yes. So it isn’t Office, it’s the book’s file. Darn it, I guess trying out new things messed it up.

Now I’m stuck, and can’t work on the book until the co-author is able to give me their back up copy. They worked on it this weekend, so any changes they made I can’t see until I get that version. Perhaps it’s time for a different method of exchanging the file, but then again any way would be just as susceptible with my current work-flow. I suppose I’ll have to reevaluate the way I do things.

Making a local copy instead of trying to edit the version sent to me directly would be one way I could have avoided this. If I hadn’t tried to open the only file I had on hand, that would have been the smart thing. However, I’m apparently in too much of a hurry, and don’t save locally until I’m finishing editing. Yes, I save as I go along, but it’s only to that original copy.

Frustrated that I couldn’t work on the book, I played around with Manuskript a bit more. Starting a new book, or at least working with the little I had for a book, I input some information. I can’t say it works with how I write. I can’t even see how I can write with such small input area’s. Sure it’s fine enough for making an outline, which I’m interested in doing, but making the transition from it to a finished book doesn’t look appealing. Discouraged with writing, I decided to do something else.

Now I’m no artist. I can doodle a bit, but I’ve not done it in years, and what little I’ve done hasn’t been exactly what I wanted. But I figured, what the heck, I can at least sketch out a template for a cover and have the co-author take a look at it. They’re the real artist here, and we’ve discussed how we want the book’s cover to look. So using the little skill I have in Gimp I began.

I was going to just do a collage, and maybe a little background coloring. I started out fine enough, but cutting out things wasn’t going well. Then I discovered an auto cut feature I hadn’t used before. Basically you outline what you want cut out, and it’ll make a path. You can add more points to help clarify lines, and after failing a few times, I got what I wanted. I pasted it into my new image, and began cleaning it up. That was a mistake.

I’m a perfectionist. There were still bits that the cut tool hadn’t gotten rid of, so I started painting them out. Zooming in so close that I could see every pixel, I took my time. Too much time, and in the end I wasn’t happy. Dang it Steve, this was just supposed to be a rough collage of images to represent the vision I had. Instead I wasted way too much time on it, and in the end I just deleted everything.

Basically my productivity for the day is shot. I did this to myself. I hope I learn from this and just work with the tools I have on hand, and don’t try to do things I know I can’t really do. Sure I could take the time and become better at things, but these sessions I have are supposed to be for writing or editing. Instead I annoyed myself to such extremes I lost my ability to focus on anything.

Hopefully I’ll be in contact with the co-author tonight, and can get a copy of what they worked on. If so I’ll be able to work tomorrow, and that is what I need.

Let this be a lesson. Work with what functions. If you are starting something new there is no problem with finding different tools, but don’t think some new tool is going to just work out for you. Or conversely, make a back up on-site. That way at least you won’t ruin the only version you have. Also don’t bite off more than you can chew. I guess I’ll draw some stick figures now. I can do that at least.

That’s all for now. I hope your week is filled with less frustration.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited a bit, exercised a bit, watched some movies.

Steven Oaks

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