Book Review

In Your Head Instead of Your Wallet

CritiqueMost writers dream, at least in part, to sell enough work that they can trade in the day job for a full-time writing career. In that regard I’m no different, except that I kind of love my job. Financially speaking, writing is a semi-expensive hobby. I don’t fish, hunt, spend time at local bars, gamble, boat, or play golf, so I rationalize the spend by noting that the few thousand a year I spend on writing is still less than the other hobbies I could pursue. And I do spend money on my novels. You and Me against the World has a current price tag of about $2,500. $900 for professional editing, $300 book cover, $250 for the print format and setup, $25 for expanded distribution, about $250 in book give aways, $200 in contest entry fees and my latest (perhaps ill-advised) $400 spend on a Kirkus review. (More on that when I receive the review)

I didn’t publish my novels to get rich or even to change careers. I just love when someone reads my story and loves the story. I know what it feels like to fall into a book, to close that last page and say “wow.” I want to be the source of that “wow,” because it’s worth more than the 70 cents I make if you purchase my novel at Barnes & Noble. I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a million a year writing novels, but I wouldn’t trade a 100,000 readers that made me no money for ten readers that made me a few dollars or even a few thousand. I embrace being a “part-time” writer. There is no pressure in it, I’m not banking my house on it, and I can enjoy the process and the interactions without panicking over the financial aspects. For me, I’d much rather be in your head than in your wallet.

Which brings me to the second point of today’s post.

I have a story idea that I have been working on (11 chapters). Although I should be hard at work on book 3 of the Creepers Saga, this other story won’t leave me alone. It’s a horror story and without my beloved zombies. It’s also causing me a bit of stress. Why? Well I’ve received nothing but great reviews for my first two novels. Readers really like it, as do I. I’m comfortable and confident with the pace, the characters, and the plot of The Creepers Saga – in other words I know what works and I know when I’m writing something that isn’t going to work. This other novel, however, is unfamiliar ground, because it’s new to me. It feels right, it seems good, but I’ve also learned a few lessons from writing the first two books. One of those lessons is this – before you get so married and ingrained in the story that you can’t let things go – get some input. It’s easier to see the things that don’t work or could be improved when you’re not so far down the road. A writer is much more open to change and to objective reflection early in the process.

So here’s the part where I ask for your head.

If you are interested in reading about 8K words of my new novel, The Devil’s Hour then I am interested in hearing your thoughts on several areas. If you find that after the first 8k words you have not fallen into a coma of boredom, you are welcome to continue with me on the journey (I think it will be a long novella or a short 65k word novel). In addition, for your initial input you will receive a free book upon its publication (unless you respond that it is complete trash in which case I’ll assume you don’t want a copy) and those who stay on the journey will receive my thanks (by name) in the notes or dedication section of the book. Here are the questions for the critique:

1. Does the story “grab” you early on?

2. Is the main character believable/likable?

3. Is this something, based on the opening, that you’d continue to read?

4. Is it too descriptive/not descriptive enough?

5. Is the character development adequate?

6. Does it move at a good pace?

7. Does any section strike you as an info-dump?

In Your Head Part II

As I began, I’m not in the writing business to be in your wallet, but in your head. I don’t want the $2.99 cost of the eBook version to be an obstacle. So if you are interested in reading You and Me against the World then I am interested in giving you a free copy. In return, I require nothing. Not a review, not an email, not a thank you. Asking for those things in advance makes the book not really free. Who wants to commit to a review before they know if they’ll even enjoy the story or even have time to read the story? To get your free copy, just visit Smashwords, add the book to your cart, and at check out enter this code – JQ54R

In Your Head Part III

I have a kindle, a computer and an Ipad, but I still don’t enjoy reading fiction in its electronic form. I need the book – the feel and smell of those cream colored pages. 80% of the reading world feels the same, so I’m not alone. I like to give away books, I’d give them all away but there is a certain cost to it, so I do a little each month. This month I’d like to give away ten copies to my blog followers. Of course it’s not free to me, so there is a small cost for you. If you want a paperback copy I only ask that you write a short review in exchange. One sentence, two sentences, a paragraph –  the length is your call. To receive a free copy just email me at with your shipping address – or leave a comment and I’ll email you.


6 replies »

  1. I was a day too early…I just purchased You and Me Against the World for my Kindle yesterday—my first zombie book ever!—because I figured your blog posts are so interesting that your books have to be good. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes for me. Unless you scare the dickens out of me, in which case I’ll be too intimidated to do anything but huddle under my covers for a few days.

      • Super! Zombie stuff is breaking new ground for me. I used to read scary things all the time and have gotten away from it over the years. I got your book because I figured I’d rather give my money (a portion of it, anyway) to someone I already enjoy than to a complete stranger…”stranger” being a relative term, I suppose.

  2. Thank you Raymond for the coupon. I couldn’t resist and got it now even if it may take a couple of weeks before I get to it. I’m looking forward to read this one. I haven’t read many zombie book in my life. That will be my third one. Anyway, if that book is half as good as the little taste I had from your upcoming The Devil’s Hour story, I am sold already! I’ll let you know what I think of those little Creepers! 😛

    PS For those of you who hesitate to lend Raymond a hand on his newest adventure. Don’t! You won’t regret it. The only down to it is that it’s not finished yet so you’ll have to wait to know what happens. 😛

  3. I usually only spend $35 per book. Most of the services I use are free DIY services, and I have friends who are also authors help me with the editing process as favors. The only money I spend is for copyright fees. So far it’s worked for me.

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