Category Archives: Self-Publishing

Comics in the Digital Age

Last week, I moderated a panel on this subject at Full Sail University as a part of their Hall of Fame week.

I’ve sat on panels before, but this was by far the most immediately practical and useful. If you are interested in making it in the comics biz, I think you will get a lot out of it.

Enjoy!

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I’m Speaking on a Panel – TONIGHT (3/19) 7pm EST!!!

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Hi All,

Sorry for the late notice!

I’m speaking on a panel at Full Sail University as a part of its Hall of Fame week. The panel is all about self-publishing: the ins and outs, the whys and wherefores, the do and the do nots.

The panel will be streaming live on YouTube and is instantly archived so if you can’t tune in tonight, I hope you will catch up with me soon after.

Beside kicking the science, I’ll be debuting a new sport coat, so please join tonight at 7pm EST right here:

 

Leather to the Corinthians: Now available in every e-book format!

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Hi All,

I’ve recently released my novel from the confines of the Kindle-verse. You can still purchase it on Amazon, but I’ve put out a Smashwords edition and it can now be read on the Nook, Kobo eReader, and iOS devices.

It’s also available through Oyster and Scribd, so those of you with subscriptions to those services can download it as well.

To celebrate, LTTC is only $2.99 for all versions except Kindle, which is holding steady at $3.99.

Leather to the Corinthians on:

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble Nook

Apple (iBooks)

Kobo

Oyster

Scribd

 

Coming Soon!

Overdrive version for libraries

Baker & Taylor Blio

 

Lightning Rides and Other Highs: My Poetry Collection

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I have a small collection of my early poetry that has been available online for almost two years, but I have never bothered to promote it.

Not sure why. Perhaps I wasn’t feeling confident or the fact that it’s only an ebook, or that the platform that sells it was new at the time and I didn’t know if they would make it.

Well, it’s time to let my neglected child see the light of day. So here it is.

It’s only $1.50 and features some of the poems on this site and other early works. As long as you have an e-reader that can handle an ePub file, you’ll be good to go.

Click here to grab a “copy.”

Happy Sunday.

Submitting Stories and all of the Other Stuff I am Doing.

Although I have managed to keep my blog current, I haven’t spoken much to the actual pursuit of the craft, something I did much more of as I ramped up to the release of my first novel as well as the months that followed.

That’s because I have been busy writing the second novel, along with several other ongoing projects. I have gotten to the point where I am writing every day, working on something. This level of productivity is beyond anything I have experienced in the past and although I do ride up near the edge of exhaustion more often than not, I know that when you’re hot, you have to shoot the puck as much as possible.

The second novel is going well. I am about to hit the 45k mark, so I am halfway through the first draft. It’s very different than my first book (which will be a series in time, but it will take some time). It’s a horror novel, first and foremost.

Here’s the premise for your consideration:

Jesse Cruce wants to escape his past. As a struggling drug addict, he thought rehab was hell, but it turns out renovating his dead father’s house in St. Augustine is worse. When he accidentally opens a portal to the afterlife, he unleashes a demonic force capable of dragging the city’s souls into the abyss. Jesse might be able to stop it — but only if he can defeat the self-perpetuating monster of his addiction first.

So there’s character development, a plot, internal and external conflict – all the makings of a fine story (or so I have been told). I’m having a great time writing it and I am enjoying horror much more that I even thought. The writing is slow but steady. I can manage about 500-1000 words a day. Some of “why” of this is time (gainful employment be DAMNED) but I’m exploring some dark places and to be honest (and at the risk of sounding pretentious), it’s emotionally draining. Most days I go for a jog right after to clear my mind.

I expect to have the manuscript wrapped up by late spring. Then revisions. Then a content editor. Then more revisions. Then beta readers. Then the queries. Unlike the insanity of Leather, it won’t nearly be as hard to pitch. Yay for simplicity!

So this is the slow moving titan that is pulling me through 2014. However, I have several other projects going that are supporting my need to be stupid busy. Also, versatility must be practiced.

As an aspiring storyteller, it’s one of my goals to always be submitting, to have my work in consideration somewhere. Last year, I had my darkly humorous take on Santa Claus accepted and published in F*cked Up Fairy Tales, did some guest blogging, secured a short story in a horror anthology coming out in 2015 and sold a vampire poem — of all things.

This year, I have two stories that I am trying to find a home for. The first is a very straightforward werewolf tale (it may be too linear in structure, we’ll see) and I also have my attempt at metafiction/slipstream, a 2000 word shifting narrative that has gathered seven rejections to date. It might just be that the right editor hasn’t seen it yet or that it has a significant flaw or twelve that I have yet to identify. I also have three short stories in the planning stages: a sci-fi satire starring a gigantic gladiator by the name of Titanus, a dystopian tale of a world where having material possessions is punished, and a non-fiction piece about a terrible car accident I was in many years ago.

Although my novel would be finished much sooner without the side projects, I feel that it is critical for me to be putting smaller works out there and I think it’s something all aspiring authors NEED to do. For me, it’s about expanding my readership and exposure while challenging myself to work with stories and themes that are slightly out of my comfort zone. Seriously, I would never think to write a werewolf story, but I have one. For you, it may be a completely different reason but I can say that those small victories are what keep me motivated.

There is the rejection. Or should I say, there are the rejections. I have my fair share of them. The pursuit of writing demands it! I recently was asked how I deal with regular rejection and it’s not complicated. I give myself an hour to feel a bit bummed then I immediately target new places to submit. I’ll take another good look at the piece in question, perhaps revise a bit, and then it’s out the door to another editor. Unless you have been given specific feedback, you can never be sure why it was rejected, so there is no reason to get pissed off or depressed. If they gave you feedback, there’s even less of a reason for hard feelings. Hell, you just got feedback for free. Rejoice!

Fall off the horse seven times, get up eight.

I’m using a few different sites to find places to submit. I’ve been leaning on Ralan.com mostly as they list the kind of markets I am most interested in and they keep their info up to date. There’s Duotrope, of course. Writer’s Digest also has lots to offer if you are looking to submit, and I have had some luck with Writer’s Relief.

Between these four sources, I think I have it covered. I can’t write enough content fast enough to enter every competition or submit to every publication that interests me, but that’s why I keep everything I write. You never know when you’ll stumble upon the perfect place for that piece that has been sitting in the box – just waiting for its chance. Put me in coach, I know I can play.

I’m also collaborating with an old friend on a poetry collection. It’s a good time. It’s pushing me. I choose a topic and write a poem. I send it to her and she writes on the same topic, and also writes a second piece, with a new topic of her choosing. She sends both back to me and I duplicate the process. We’ve written 20 poems each over the past year and I am learning so much from it.

And if all of this wasn’t enough, I am doing quite a bit of copywriting as well as script writing (marketing and instructional videos) and contributing reviews to an Orlando-centric (what to do around town kind of thing) to a new website. You can check it out here.

To wrap it up with a pretty ribbon, since starting this blog I have only build momentum. The friends and readers I have gained from it – MIND BLOWN. Far beyond any expectations I had with that first post. I’d like to thank you all for putting the gas in my tank to pursue my goals and dreams. I am passing mile markets with increasing speed and I have a great feeling about 2014.

Lucas out.

How to Write a Novel

…and Not Lose Your Mind in the Process.

screamIf the title of this post caught your eye, my guess is that at some point you have said:

“I’m going to write a book someday.”

Or perhaps:

“I want to write a book.”

And even better yet?

“I’m working on a book.”

As an instructor in a creative writing BFA and first-time novelist, I salute your ambition. I also offer my condolences.

You’re in for a rough ride. Writing a novel (and I’m just going to talk about novels — not non-fiction, how-to, or self-help books) is an artistic Tough Mudder – only the strong of mind, body, and spirit will survive. It requires craft, determination, and a thick skin. You will also need endless passion for your story and a reliable coffee maker.

Once you commit to writing a book, it will create a huge empty space in your soul that will exist until you type that last word. Even then, there will still be a part of you missing. It will now live in that book. It’s a proverbial pound of flesh.

A fortune cookie once told me that the gift of a painful experience is that you get to pass on your wisdom to those who may face a similar experience. I recently published my first novel, and I would like to spare you the mistakes that I made as I stumbled through the process.

Here’s some advice for your consideration.

1) KEEP IT A SECRET: Tell no one you’re working on a book. NO ONE. Otherwise you will endure constant questions that seem to be encouraging. The moment you tell people about your plans, you will be haunted by well-meaning friends who when seeing you will ask, “So, how’s the book coming?” If you haven’t been working on it, you will suddenly get the sensation that approximately 2 tons of lead weight has been placed on your shoulders. It gets old very quickly.

But…if this is not your first book, tell everybody, especially agents and publishers. Always look busy.

2) SECURE A CORNER: You’re going to need alone time. Create a quiet, isolated place to work, free of distractions.

3) SECURE THE TIME: For me, writing is work not play. I see many writers in my Facebook feed proclaim that they love writing. Personally, I like it a lot more when it’s completed. The actual process is work. When you are busy all day with a job and schoolwork, it can be hard to get motivated to sit down and work some more. Schedule time every day.

Put it on your calendar just as you would a work or school schedule. Commit to it. Time will slip through your fingers, and the world is filled with entertaining distractions such as family, friends, and gainful employment. You will have to lock the time in and defend it with all your might.

4) ORGANIZE: The romantic notion of sitting down to the blank page and showering your brilliance upon it isn’t realistic. That’s not what’s going to happen. Writer’s block is what’s going to happen. Before writing that novel, organize your thoughts. Think out the story. Make lists. Create character sketches. Get it all in a notebook, Evernote binder, or index cards. Take this step as far as you can, it will make the other steps easier, and crush writer’s block where it stands.

5) RESEARCH: Unless you are an expert on all aspects of your story, you will have questions to answer before you begin to write. Setting your story in Tokyo but you’ve never been there? Hit the books. Period piece? Hit the books? Science fiction? HIT THE BOOKS.

Armed with knowledge, you will be free to write without stopping to fact check constantly. You’ll feel confident and that will translate into productivity. You have to know your “stuff” because savvy readers will find your mistakes and you’ll end up as a subthread on Reddit.

6) OUTLINE: You’ve organized your thoughts and story. You’ve done a nice chunk of research. You should have a solid idea of the story you want to tell. Now it is time to look at its structure. Outline the story and take it from beginning to end. You don’t need to know everything, but you need a solid foundation. There will be much more that will come from the process of writing, but the more you know now, the better.

7) WRITE IT: Say bye-bye to free time. The only way your book will be written is if you get your butt in the seat and write. A typical novel has roughly 90k words. You need to know this because you are about to go on a WORD DIET. What this means is that you are going to write 500-1000 words a day (you set this goal) and do nothing else until you reach your word count for the day. If you shoot for 1000 words a day, you’ll have your first draft in three months. Not bad.

8) TAKE A BREAK: Once your manuscript is complete, take a week off. Call your mother — she missed hearing your voice. Do your laundry and get some groceries in the kitchen cabinet. All that fast food is unhealthy.

9) REVISE IT: I have some bad news: the writing was the easy part. You need to go line for line and revise. Tear it apart. Cut unnecessary words. Nothing should be so precious it can’t be deleted. Fix every mistake you find, as for each mistake you fix, there are two that you didn’t see.

10) SEEK CRITIQUE: Now it’s time to tell people you have been working on a book. Rejoice! Find a writing group. Find friends who can provide the tough love. Have them read it. Ask them for feedback. This is a miserable process. You’ll probably feel nauseous most of the time. Hang in there.

11) REVISE AGAIN: Take what you learn from the critique process and apply what is appropriate. Remember, some people don’t like pizza. Opinions are opinions, not law. Stick to your vision, but take what they have to say seriously. Rework that manuscript.

12) HIRE AN EDITOR/PROOFREADER: Seek professional intervention. Hire the best editor and proofreader you can afford. They will tear through your manuscript yet again, but this time it will be with a cold, mercenary eye. It is critical to get professionals involved at this point. You need the best product you can possibly have.

13) BETA READERS: You should have a sparkling draft as this point. Something that has become quite popular is finding beta readers to read the book. They will point out any consistencies or questions that remain. Again, you are soliciting opinion, and not all of them will be appropriate. This process is similar to the focus groups used by Hollywood for years, and they have destroyed some amazing films. Tread lightly.

14) REVISE AGAIN: Sigh, I know.

15) GET PUBLISHED: This article is about writing a novel. Getting published is a conversation for another day. Spoiler: it is just as fun as writing it.

See you on the other side.

Photo Credit: Darwin Bell via Compfight cc

Upcoming Events for June

Two exciting, upcoming events:

Book Signing:

Tomorrow, I’ll be in the Boca Raton area selling and signing books at Docking Bay 94 Comics. The event is from 3-6, but with the many old friends that I am expecting to see, I imagine I’ll be there at little longer. Hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, don’t worry — I’ll be taking lots of pictures.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/165348286962829/

 

Goodreads Giveaway:

I’m currently giving away 10 signed copies of my novel, Leather to the Corinthians. There’s just under two weeks left! Sign up the Giveaway here, and please tell your friends, loved ones, and cherished enemies.

Flashback Fridays continue in a few weeks. I have a massive box of old writing to share, so look out.

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