“I Don’t Grant Wishes” by Jeremiah Kleckner

“I Don’t Grant Wishes” is my 600-word flash fiction story published by New American Legends on March 31, 2020.

Synopsis – Tommy’s home remodel has been delayed for months. And when a magical creature emerges from within the wall he’s demolishing, Tommy struggles to understand the benefit of what is being offered to him.

Read “I Don’t Grant Wishes” for free here: https://newamericanlegends.com/2020/03/31/i-dont-grant-wishes-by-jeremiah-kleckner/

Outsourcing Jobs to Fiverr Leaves More Time for Writing

There comes a point when you have to admit that you cannot do it all.

Writing.  Editing.  Book Cover Design.  Book Interior.  Sales Copy.  Marketing.  Social Engagement.

The more time you spend on one task, the more you ignore the ones that are actually important.  As far as I’ve figured out at this point in my writing career, there are really only two ways out of this hole…

Get Published in the Traditional Way

One of the ways in which I avoid wasting my time is by submitting stories to magazines and contests.  If they accept your work, traditional publishers will create graphics for covers and do all of the formatting for you.  You’ll still have to market yourself and engage socially, but it beats the hell out of learning new programs.

Not only that, but the lag time that it takes for a publisher to review your work is a good window for you to get more writing done.  Even if they reject it, you’ll have more material as well as feedback on your old work.  There’s really no downside, especially considering that you can always self-publish if you get too frustrated.

Fiverr – A Self-Publisher’s Business Partner

Fiverr is an online marketplace for people to offer their services for as little as $5.  There are add-ons and extras that can bump up the price, but these are optional.  I’m not even going to bother mentioning the types of services, because they range from resume writing to graphics to advertising.  There’s even a whole subset of people who do amazing things with puppets.  (I’m not kidding.)

Recently, Jeremy Marshall and I talked about continuing to work on stories in the Captain James Hook series.  This required me to give our current books a facelift.  We needed covers and new sales copy, so I went to Fiverr.

I got two new covers and copy for both book descriptions for a total of $42.50 (that’s including $5 tips for each job).   I used Book Covers by PixelStudio & Sales Copy by Emmaki.  Samples of their work can be found on the updated CaptainHookNovel.com page.

Even if you have a budget of under $100, you can get some serious work done on this site.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.

The First Audition for the Audiobook of Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan

In the effort to expand the book’s reach, Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan will soon be available as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes.  In order for that to happen, we need to find a voice actor.

The Audiobook Creation Exchange allows authors to find voice actors and producers pretty easily.

  1. You post a sample of the book.
  2. Actors submit their auditions.
  3. You choose one and move on from there.

We are in the “choose one” phase of our search and I’m asking for your help.

This is the first audition tape.  There is a poll below the file for you to submit your responses.  Every vote helps us make our decision.

Are you a voice actor who wishes to audition?  If so, click here for your chance.  Auditions close at the end of July.

Thank you all again for participating.

Building an Audience Means Taking the Next Step

People won’t just come to you.

Now that there are so many entertainment options choose from, people (rightfully) feel that they should to be courted by creators who want them to read/watch/hear their work.

In truth, it may have always been this way.

Selling the First Wheel

So, if these systems have been in place for millennia, then what can I do to compete?

Building An Audience

Step One:  Blog Regularly

The weekly blogging schedule I’ve taken up has helped keep me sharp and focused.  It doesn’t hurt that I changed my branding a little bit to better fit my personality and interests.  The Writing Teacher was fun and I liked the dual usage of the word “Writing” in the title as both an adjective and a verb, but it didn’t allow me to comment on the topics that most engaged me.

Cynical Sci-Fi gives me some range and helps me be truer to who I am, which is important.  This authenticity has contributed to an increased follower-ship on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Step Two:  Broaden My Market Base

It is hard to find new ways to promote old work.  Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan has had thousands of readers and I am very proud of how it has influenced the Peter Pan mythos, but it is a three-year-old book among many, many, many newer similar titles.

Therefore, I am working with the Audiobook Creation Exchange to make both Captain James Hook titles available on Audible and iTunes.  As of this post, I have one audition already submitted and I am using my audience base to promote this opportunity to others.  (Expect to get updates on this process as it unfolds.)

Step Three:  Collaborate With Others

Working with others in a creative field can be a real pain.  Many will actively try to cut you down so that you do not get a leg up on them or will try to rip off your ideas while discouraging you from pursuing them.

It is important to find a partner (or group) that will encourage you while being constructively critical.  I am fortunate that my writing partner is as talented as he is insightful.  Hundreds of thousands of words have passed between us:  read, commented, and revised.

This isn’t for work that we share credit for either.  These are solo titles, made better through joint effort.

The followup step is to get myself into book talks, social groups, and conferences.

Step Four:  Create New Work

This is often the hardest part.  You tweet.  You post.  Distractions pull you this way and that until hours have passed and you find that your daily word count is under 1000.  It doesn’t have to be this way, though.

  1. Develop new ideas
  2. Set a schedule
  3. Stick to it

This simple process has given me two new series of short fiction, the first titles of which are already done and ready to go.  More are on the way as July and August are typically big drafting months for me (teacher’s schedule).

Step Five:  Experiment

I’m taking a different route with the new titles.  Their lengths allow them to be submitted to genre magazines and I feel that they have a good shot, so I’m trying that first before diving into a self-publishing model.

As with the audiobook creation process, expect that future posts will include updates on which magazines each title will be submitted to and what the responses are.

New is only new for so long, then you have to learn what comes next.  These are both new journeys for me and I’m excited to take them on as a lifelong learner.

 

Grow (yourself) Locally

Everything is harder when you are doing it on your own.  That’s the first idea people need to understand before they decide to self-publish instead of seeking an agent or a traditional publisher. While working on your next project (book, painting, t-shirt design, etc.), you have to make it easier for people to find your work.  Authors who do not have a global reach need to start small in their home towns and build from that base.

THE PLATFORM FOR A GLOBAL PRESENCE

This is the easy part.  Anyone can set up a free website, run a Twitter/Facebook page, and purchase a cheap domain to bring it all together.  Those who are more advanced use email lists to focus the attention on their audience.  All of this costs less than you might think.  The greatest expense is time, which is always in short supply.

Amazon has been a great advantage for Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan.  As of this post, it has reached over 15,000 readers and is rated more highly than Capt. Hook: the Adventures of a Notorious Youth, Peter Pan in Scarlet, and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.  (Your days are numbered Starcatchers!)

Not one part of this is local, but it helps you to be seen as more credible when talking to local businesses.

LOCAL CAUSES

The first thing I did was hitch up to a worthy cause close to where I live.  The Metropolitan Community Church of New York specializes in caring for the needs of LGBT homeless youth.  Often, these kids are on the street because they were born into intolerant or abusive homes. You can read more about them here.  A major chunk of the money the book will make this year will go to them because they are truly great people and they can do more good with $1000 than I can.

LOCAL LIBRARIES

Jeremy Marshall and I are showing off our display at the "Tales of Our Cities" event in September 2013.

Jeremy Marshall and I are showing off our display at the “Tales of Our Cities” event in September 2013.

In the spring of this year, I contacted the Jersey City Free Public Library regarding their fall event.  The “Tales of Our Cities” event in September was a great way to gain exposure for the book.

We signed a few copies and I did a reading for the crowd.  In addition, the library bought ten copies for their use.  The platform was important, but the push behind our involvement came from my status as a local.

I read for the crowd at the "Tales of Our Cities" event in Jersey City.

I read for the crowd at the “Tales of Our Cities” event in Jersey City.

LOCAL BUSINESSES

Business owners are shrewd, and for good reason.  They need to be certain that what they are doing is good for them and for their customers.  Two places in particular have opened up to me and to the book.  Yes, the global platform gives me credibility in an anonymous and ambiguous way, but living in Jersey City is a key factor in our agreements.

Jersey City Free Books is located on Griffith Street in Jersey City Heights, blocks from my door.  Books are collected for trade in a manner that fits everybody’s ideal of a socialist utopia.  The concept is simple: take a book, leave a book.  There is no money exchanged and the books are generally not tracked or catalogued.  I dropped off a few copies for them to give away and, in return, the owner posted on his Facebook page.

The stand at JC Made where you can find our book for sale.

The stand at JC Made where you can find our book for sale.

JC Made is a store that sells work exclusively from artists who live in Jersey City.  When you walk in, you will see a collection of vases, t-shirts, lamps, cards, and now… books.  On Friday, I signed a contract to sell my book there, making it the first place where you can walk in, see a copy of Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan, and pay for it at a register.  Again, the Amazon sales and ranking gave me a platform, but my local status made this possible.

Building a writing career, while climbing in your main career, is hard when you are doing it on your own.  However, if you look closely enough, local opportunities are all around.