It’s March Already?

Hi folks! I’ve been driving some of you crazy (along with myself and my wife) waiting for Decay. There are a number of reasons I’m still working on it, but the goal is to make it as good as I possibly can. As you can probably tell from the mistakes, Renewal was a test for me. I literally spent my adult life trying to convince myself to write. I mean, I wrote, but I never let anyone read the vast majority of it. I always ran up against the voice in my head who said, “Why would anyone care what you have to say?” There it is. That’s the argument that kept me locked down for 44 years.

I made a loophole for myself by calling Renewal an experiment in ebook publishing. “Hey,” the other voice said, “If it’s just an experiment, then you can totally screw it up and still learn something.” Under this loophole, I created the mental space to travel down the roads of Coffee County. I don’t need the loophole anymore. Thanks to all of you, I can sit down to write, knowing that I have a right to be there.

The catch (there’s always a catch) is that I now regard it as a professional activity, and I go after it with professional diligence. Without boring you with the details, Decay has six times the hours and effort involved, compared to the Renewal series. It doesn’t help that all three novels are being balanced against each other, and I’m here to tell you, 800,000 words do not balance themselves.

I’d love to tell you that Decay is coming right now, but all I can honestly say is that it won’t be long now. I’m two list items away from having my final revisions complete, and there will be a couple of rounds of proofing after that. There’s no guarantee that all this work will produce a better story, but it’s my hope that you will think it’s worth the effort.

Decay – Free Preview

Decay is nearing completion. To celebrate that long awaited goal, and hopefully to stir your excitement, I’m releasing a free preview of the novel. Please feel free to distribute it as you see fit.

You can read it right here on the site. Or, you can grab it as a pdf. (right-click and save to grab a copy) If you are comfortable with sideloading content onto your Kindle, it’s also available in Kindle format.

Feedback is always welcome. Enjoy!

The Biz

First, an update… I’m probably spreading myself a little thin. I’m literally working on all three novels in the Renewal series right now. There’s novel 2, Decay, which is my main priority until it is released. There’s novel 3, Promise, which is most likely the final chapter of the Breakdown story, and there is the novelization of the Renewal series.

I’m open to feedback on what is important to you, but I’m working on the assumption that continuing the story is more important than repacking and extending the series that you have all paid good money to read. Tell me what you think.

The second big question is what to charge for a novel length work. I’ve solicited some opinions already, but I’m looking for a consensus on what you, my core readers, believe is a fair price for a full novel-length version of a Renewal story. Just for reference, Decay is running about 60,000 words longer than the entire Renewal series. Please let me know.

Next up is my sincere thanks for everyone who takes the time to review on Amazon. Based on the numbers alone, reviews are the lifeblood of success on Amazon ebooks. I saw a new review this morning, from Dan, who wrote the first Amazon review for Renewal. I can’t really express my gratitude for that initial review, but I can tell you that one review made the difference between 24 sales in two months and 30 sales in a single day. Every review makes a difference on Amazon, and I just want to say that I notice and appreciate every one of them. I pay attention to all the feedback. As I’ve mentioned, I treat this whole process as a learning experience, and everything you say feeds into making me into a better writer. That is priceless to me.

Now, for the downside… There is another entire platform out there, known as Barnes & Noble. My wife and I are Nook readers. My basic take is that the Nook hardware is better, but the Kindle system is much better as a whole. That appears to be changing with the release of the Kindle Fire, which among other attributes, excites the possibility for illustrated work. (My “official” career, such as it is, has been in digital art for the last 25 years, which naturally lends itself to concepts for children’s books).

At any rate, if you do a search for Renewal on B&N, you might find me at the end of a very long list of books. I’ve been told that reviews contribute to search ranking, but not as much as sales. Compared to Amazon, there are no sales to boost my ranking on the B&N, so I live at the end of a long search result, and the outcome is predictable. I can’t ask you to buy a B&N copy of my books, obviously, but I would ask that you help me out on the B&N side of the aisle. If you have the ability to do so, please post a review on B&N to help kickstart the sales on the Nook system. If not, please search out your Nook friends, weird as they may be, and point them in my direction. A search for “JF Perkins” – Totally unknown author, will work just fine.

I’m not particularly motivated by money, but I am motivated by the freedom to spend my time writing, and every sale makes it easier to do exactly that. I do love it, and I would be very happy to spend the rest of my working life telling stories with the written word. Any help is vastly appreciated.

Thanks again to all of you, and please let me know your thoughts.

Decay – Good News, Bad News

I’m almost done with the first draft of Decay. Writing a novel that is quite a bit longer than the Renewal series in a month is pretty cool. I didn’t know I could do that. Even better, I like it. It feels like I learned a great deal from Renewal. That’s the good news.

The bad news is – it’s bound to be a mess, which means the release is still going to take some time. My friend, Hans, is taking me on a little scouting trip to clean up some of the details of the early settings. There are mistakes to be corrected, along with the usual pile of editing to be done. I’m hoping to do a better job with the editing from now on. It’s great to read all the glowing reviews, but not so fun to see those glowing reviews framed by editing mistakes.

The whole Renewal series was a learning experience, an experiment. If I hadn’t framed it that way in my mind, I probably never would have started. As an experiment, it’s been far more successful than I ever expected, which means that the story is no longer an experiment. More professional results are required. I hope you’ll bear with me as I try to reach the next level.

As happened with the series, the story unfolds itself as I write. I’m not one of those writers who has it all figured out before I start writing. I’m not sure what that says about me, but it makes the writing as much fun as reading. The point here is that there is a third book unfolding as I write the second one. I have copious notes. I even have a title, but I’ll save that until after Decay is released. First things first.

Thanks for reading.

Update for the 13th

Howdy, folks. I just want to give you a little information about the state of the work.

Sharon (awesome wife/editor) is on a business trip this week. She may have time to work on Part 10 while she’s away, or not. I can tell you that 6 hours after she gives it back to me, it will be uploaded. I’ll keep you posted, of course.

The sequel to Renewal has a title. I’m calling it Decay. As I’ve mentioned, it will be a full-length novel following the continuing story of the modern characters, along with the flashback story of two new characters who survive the Breakdown in the Pacific Northwest. They go on to wander America in search of a new safe home that may not exist. Bill’s back story will continue as well.

I’m about a quarter of the way through the sequel now. Because of the nature of the new characters, the retelling of the Breakdown is much more varied and detailed. It’s fun to write. Here’s hoping it will be fun to read when I’m done.

I’m also planning to do some work to pull the Renewal series together into a single volume, but I’m not sure of the timing yet. Ideally, I would release both Renewal and Decay at the same time, but being a raw recruit to novels, I can’t say for sure.

As always, thank you all for reading and sharing your thoughts.