Pull up a log by the campfire and enjoy some original creations by Stuart J. Whitmore, including photos, fiction, software, technical solutions, video, and more.

Will They Make It A Wave or Just A Ripple?

Is it a major quake that will create a tsunami of change in the e-book market? Or is it a squib that is heard by the closest neighbors but which the rest of the world doesn't notice? Earlier this week, Barnes & Noble announced, as part of a corporate fiscal report, that the company's "Board of Directors authorized management to separate the Barnes & Noble Retail and NOOK Media businesses." In other words, the NOOK platform will become a separate business, spun off from the larger company. The change in the NOOK platform could be just what it needs to finally be a strong competitor to the Kindle platform. Or, it could be just a meaningless move in the platform's slow march toward following the Sony reader into the dim history of also-rans. It depends on how they manage the change. And when I say "manage the change" I mean break away from the plodding and ineffective "marketing" shown by Barnes & Noble today.

Do I Get Extra Credit For This?

If you're keeping track, you'll notice this blog post is a couple days late. Considering the lack of outcry, I don't think anybody is paying attention that closely. However, I intend to keep up my weekly blog posting, and I did not want to miss my Friday post deadline. It happened, however, because I've been busy. Oh, sure, everyone is busy these days. I'm usually always busy. But this time I was extra busy. With what, you might ask? Well, helping another author prepare her novel for publishing, for one thing. But since this is my "writing news" blog, I'm happy to announce some news! Another thing that has kept me busy is a new novel: Extra Credit: Loyalty! As you might guess or already know, it is the sequel to Lesson One: Revolution! Although the sequel is not yet ready to be published, I've reached some important milestones recently, but only by staying busy and, unfortunately, letting a few things slide.

How I Made a Profit With Less Revenue Than Cost

This week I decided to try a new approach to marketing Lesson One: Revolution!, for which I just reduced the price for the e-book edition. I've been intrigued by discussions on KBoards.com about using offers on Fiverr to promote books, so I decided to try my first paid advertising for book promotion. After I finally got funds into my Dwolla account, I ordered my first "Gig" (a unit of work on Fiverr). At the current book price and royalty rate, I only needed to sell a few copies to fully cover the Gig cost. The person offering the Gig indicated the promotion would be visible to 4000 people, so I had some vague hopes that I could get those few sales needed to break even. One nifty result was making my first sale of that novel on the NOOK platform, which has always performed vastly lower than the Kindle for my books overall. But did I break even and get a positive ROI? It's a bit of a trick question, as I'll explain below.

Where Am I Going, Anyway?

On account of dragons, yes dragons, I must say that it is almost unfortunate that the beastly creatures have to stay hidden in the mountains.” That sentence was how I began my very first novel, as a teenager, somewhere around the late 1970s or early 1980s. While the book itself is nowhere near worthy of being published, that first line serves as a suitable introduction to this blog post. Among writers, a common point of discussion is how different people approach structuring their novels. Often when November rolls around, those participating in NaNoWriMo will identify with one of two groups, the “planners” and the “pantsers.” (The latter term is in reference to writing “by the seat of their pants,” i.e., without advance planning.) In this blog post I’ll explain how I started, how my approach has evolved over time, and what my approach is these days.

One Tough Challenge... Are You Up For It?

When I went to Emerald Downs recently with my mother, I was once again amused and a bit amazed at some of the complex bets that are available, not to mention the amount of money you can win if you get the right combination. For a novice like myself, a $2 win bet is easy to understand, safe, and offers a fun reward if the horse wins. Place and show bets are pretty easy too, although they don’t pay as well. When you get to the exotic bets, though, things get complex! The “Pick 3” and “Trifecta” sound like they might be related, but they’re quite different as I'll explain below. But how does this relate to my writing? As I was driving the other day, I came up with a book promotion idea that would reward you for helping with book sales, and my brain connected that idea with the “Trifecta” bet. While I still like the idea, it turns out the “Pick 3” is a more appropriate name if I want to make that horse-racing connection. Read on to see how you can cash in your ticket on this promotion!

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