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  • The Daily Schedule of a Writer/Artist

    January 27 and 28 2020 day planner

    It’s been a long while since I wrote the daily schedule of a writer/artist (me, in this case). It might have been in one of the newsletters I sent out in the fall that I last talked about it. Might have been on the blog though I’m leaning toward the former. Anyway, regardless, a new layout of the schedule is probably due so here is what a typical day looks like for me at Axiom-man Central. Of course, like in any life, things happen that can throw a wrench into the following general workday. However, I stick to this schedule as the backbone of my whole operation and make time for it as able on days that get screwy. I’ve long advocated a schedule for creators as one of the important ingredients to making a successful career out of the arts.

    Monday to Friday:

    Wake up – Lately it’s been averaging between 8:30 and 9:30am. Next, roll around in bed for a short while to let the brain come online before checking the news.

    Coffee – Go down to the bunker and turn the computer on. Go back up to the main level and get coffee while the computer is loading (older machine so takes a bit to warm up).

    Patreon – On a day a Patreon post is scheduled, I do this first and get it done for my patrons. For example, today was the latest chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine so that was posted before writing this entry. Market Patreon entry.

    Blog – Skip previous step if a non-Patreon day. Write and/or edit blog entry. Take any required picture(s) and post. Market blog entry and set up in the broadcaster a couple of extra notices about the latest entry to air throughout the day on the social feeds.

    Break – Maybe around 15 or 20 minutes. Used to change mental gears. On the break I’ll either read something or play a game or fiddle with something around the house.

    Email – Check email and respond, if needed/able to.

    Work – Writing, drawing, editing, freelancing, book production, marketing, etc. Could be all of those or just one of them. Depends what’s on deadline and what isn’t. Work until 4 with a couple breaks thrown in there between tasks to rest the eyes and/or hands and get blood moving throughout the system. I’ve been trying to give careful attention to lunch because I get so wrapped up working I forget to eat then around 2 I start to feel real sick. A bad habit I’m working on. Back to the job: Pressing work is in my day planner so I consult it every morning so I know if I’ve set the day aside for something(s) specific. Whatever the day planner says I’m doing is priority one for the day. If the day planner shows the day as open, then I work on the next thing due. If things are due more or less around the same time, then I pick whatever I’m leaning toward at that moment.

    End of day – Around 4pm. Start shutting things down; possibly do a couple small tasks that had to wait until the end of the work day for whatever reason (i.e. a quick marketing thing or a phone call or whatever).

    Evening – Cooking is my thing so after the work day is done, I put on my chef’s hat and start thinking about what I want to make for dinner. This involves scoping out the deep freeze and scanning the pantry for ideas (though I usually start getting ideas mid-afternoonish). Then I cook dinner and let the day’s issues–if there are any–melt away. Once dinner is done, the evening is mine to do whatever with whomever (I usually hang out with author Melinda Marshall and this ranges from playing games to reading to TV to going for groceries, etc). On other nights, Melinda and I hang out with my boys.

    Bed – 10pm or thereabouts.

    Saturday:

    Wake up – Somewhere between 9:30 and close to 11am.

    Coffee – Enjoy a cup of coffee with Melinda.

    Newsletter – Head down to the bunker to send Saturday’s newsletter.

    The rest of Saturday and all of Sunday are days off, and it typically takes until late Saturday afternoon for me to put the week in my back pocket. Saturday evening and all of Sunday are used to do next to nothing and purposefully not think about work so my brain can heal from the week and be sharp for the week to come.

    And that’s what a typical week looks like here in the Great White North.

    To touch on what I said above about this schedule being the backbone on days things don’t go as planned, on such days I still let this overall schedule float in the background of my mind so that when a window of time opens up amidst that particularly goofy day, I can still do what needs doing or at least get a start on those things so the day isn’t a wash.

    Right now, this schedule works well and hasn’t changed much since I last talked about it. It will no doubt change somewhere down the line since life isn’t stagnant, but this method works for the time being.


  • New Artwork and Publishing Services Rates for 2020

    Keyboard and Pen and Markers
    I work with both traditional and digital tools.

    With 2020 around the corner, it’s time for me to visit my freelancing Artwork and Publishing Services Rates again and adjust things for the New Year.

    The following rates will be effective on January 1, 2020. If you book me before January 1, I will honor my old rates so this is a chance to book me now even if your project won’t be ready to go until early in the New Year.

    The formula for the list below is Old Rate > New Rate

    All rates are in US funds.

    Editing (which is a full edit that covers everything from copy editing to proofreading):

    Short stories (1,000 – 7,000 words): 1¢ per word > 1.5¢ per word

    Novelettes (7,001 – 15,000 words): $250 > $275

    Novellas (15,001 – 40,000 words): $325 > $350

    Short novels (40,001 – 60,000): $425 > $450

    Novels (60,001 – 80,000 words): $500 > $525

    Blockbusters (80,001 – 120,000): $625 > $650

    Doorstops (120,000+): inquire for quote

    Formatting:

    Paperback formatting – $200 > $225

    eBook formatting – $150 > $175

    Paperback and eBook formatting bundle – $325 > $375

    Book Cover Design (includes the paperback and eBook files):

    Using stock art/photos/art you acquired elsewhere: $275US or $350CAN > $300US or $400CAN

    A note on stock photos: I do my best to seek out stock photos that are free for commercial use, however, sometimes the perfect photo needs to be purchased. Responsibility of cost for the purchased photo is the client’s. All proposed purchases are cleared with the client first.

    NEW – Using my original art created for the project’s cover (which includes the use of the art plus all the design that goes into a stock photo cover): $500US or $675CAN

    NEW – Artwork Commissions

    Penciled only: $150 (for up to two figures; additional figures $20 each)

    Inked: $200 (for up to two figures; additional figures $30 each)

    Colored (digital or traditional media, depending on the piece): $350 (for up to two figures; additional figures $40 each)

    Custom Artwork: If your project doesn’t fit the above commission guidelines, inquire anyway and we’ll figure out something that works for both of us.

    Thank you. I look forward to working with you.


  • Why You Should Stop Selling Your Book (and Do Something Better)

    Getting Down and Digital DrivethruThis article was originally published July 7, 2016 on the Operation Awesome Blog.

    Now, repeat after me: selling your book is bad.

    Very bad.

    “Wait . . . what?” you say. “If I don’t sell my book, who’s going to read it? Isn’t selling my book and making money what authors are supposed to do after publication?”

    I don’t know. Is it?

    If you want to ensure your book won’t sell, sell your book.

    Here’s what I mean:

    The on-line world is loaded with authors whining and begging people to, “Buy my book!” They form groups on Facebook, which amount to nothing more than broke writers marketing their books to other broke writers. They tweet purchase links all day and hit up social networks with ads . . . then cry at night because it did absolutely nothing for them.

    How do you get a following these days with everyone and their dog writing a book, publishing it and calling themselves an author?

    Or how does someone who starts from scratch come out of nowhere and move copies of their work without shoving it in people’s faces? (And we’ve all seen them: those authors whom we’ve never heard of move a gazillion copies.)

    To build a following, marketing your book will get you nowhere. Sure, you might catch a few sales and feel like a success story all your own—and rightly you should, to be honest—but to keep those sales going and to build a readership, you need to switch up your game plan.

    You need to start marketing yourself.

    Some people call this branding. What are we? Cattle? I don’t want a brand for my books. I don’t want my books to be what I’m known for. I want me to be what I’m known for. When I’m dead and gone, that’s the thing that matters, not how many books I sold.

    Stop chasing the almighty dollar and start chasing the reader.

    You don’t want to be known as that distant author behind a desk somewhere. You don’t want to be that high-and-lofty literary guest at some convention. You want to be that down-to-earth extra awesome person who’s a familiar face at shows and signings. You want to be that friendly and approachable on-line personality who’s a class act and is genuinely interested in interacting with their readers.

    “But all I want to do is write!”

    Then get out of the business, frankly. Or, if you must write, then don’t publish. As much as I’m an art-first-money-later guy, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want to make a few bucks off what I do. The motivation to make cash isn’t to be rich, though. I don’t care about that stuff. I just want to make enough to live on. But I can’t do that selling my book. I have to sell me.

    Let me break it down for you in really simple terms:

    When you first started writing, you went through a lot of trial and error and a lot of drafts. As you wrote a few books, you noticed your style started changing and at one point you reached that magical book where everything was different and you found your voice. Since then, your voice has been your style. Writing is easier, editing is easier, coming up with stories is easier, too.

    This applies to your marketing efforts. You need to find your voice. You can’t just be another author spamming the world. There are ads everywhere for everything. People ignore that stuff. But they don’t tune out unique voices . . . especially if that voice has something of value to say. This is how followings are made and grown. You become known as the author “who’s like that.” Not the author “who’s like so-and-so . . . and a million others.”

    I’ve been publishing since 2003, and indie publishing since 2004. I’ve seen it all. People have come and gone. There’s been successes and failures. Ups and downs. Yet there is one thing that has remained consistent throughout all of it: the authors who found their marketing voice are the ones who are still doing well today, who have a following, and have cultivated loyal readers based on who they are and not just their work.

    To be clear, I’m not diminishing the importance of putting out good books. Sometimes that can indeed be enough to build a readership (i.e. it initiates word-of-mouth, etc.). But if you’re an author lost to the din of the flooded publishing world, writing a damn good book is probably not going to cut it. You need to get yourself out there and expose yourself to readers by showing them who you are behind the page.

    Some writers niche themselves and become known for a certain thing or a certain personality. Others are more broad-brush. Whatever the case, simply blasting ads everywhere isn’t going to do anything for you. But if you meet people, whether on-line or off-, and not just use it as a means to pitch them your book, you’ll be surprised at how many copies you’ll move.

    Put the people first, your book/comic/whatever second. This is so important. This about reputation and, at least for me, I never, ever buy books from people who blatantly shove it in my face. I don’t care how good the cover is or what the synopsis is about. As a reader, I want to be cared for. I want to know this isn’t just a money game to the writer.

    Art first, book(s) second.

    And if you’ve somehow missed the point of everything above, all I’m saying is be yourself, share yourself, then share info about your book after that.

    Connect with readers first, then point them to the page.

    We good?


  • Writing Corner – My Current Office

    For years I used to sit down at the computer desk and write my books, and only once have I written an entire book longhand–never again, by the way–but there came a time where I would be sitting on the couch and be inspired and would want to write, but couldn’t immediately/conveniently do so because the computer was all the way upstairs, I’d have to wait for it to boot up, get myself settled, etc. So, a few years ago I bought a laptop and have since done all my writing on it. Now I can write anywhere in the house. For a while it was on the couch in our rec room, then I took a liking to sitting in bed and writing, but these days I’m on the big comfy chair in our front room. What you see above is my current office as I work on Secret Project No. 1. I’m getting a lot done in this space and, so far anyway, plan on using it for Secret Projects Nos. 2 and 3.

    Production work for these books will be done on the desktop in the studio, but the editing will be done anywhere, most likely in bed as I like to lay down and do my edits. Don’t ask me why. I might go the coffee shop route and do my edits there. Not sure. For each round of edits, I always type them up on the desktop computer as that’s where the printer is and that’s what I’m used to.

    Anyway . . .

    What about you? Where do you write?