Thursday, December 29, 2011
As an artist, I tend to let things pile up instead of dealing with them in an orderly fashion. "Why?" is the question I've always asked myself. But I think I know the answer, at least part of the answer.
Whether you're a writer or an illustrator, you're an artist, and your art is very important to you. You nurture your art, mature it, then present it to the world. I am a homebody. I like to be left alone, for the most part, left to my writing. I bury myself in the story worlds I'm crafting.
In order to create, I bring together a lot of elements. Those elements are sometimes rough and unrefined. I sketch characters and creatures, and jot down character and plot ideas. Some ideas I toss aside for future reference or use, while others I expand upon. It takes a lot of material to create even one finished novel.
But the process to that finished product is . . . well . . . messy!
My mind is almost always working on story ideas. This post ties in, somewhat, to my previous post, because one of my solutions has ended up being the iPad. It serves as my alarm clock, sends me notifications of appointments, and allows me to add events to my calendars instantly. I highly recommend for those artists out there who struggle to keep organized, think creatively on how to take advantage of today's technology to better organize your writing life.
It has helped me.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I bought myself an iPad2 a few months ago. It was hard to fork over the $500 plus but now I can say, beyond a doubt, it was a worthwhile investment. It runs flawlessly, which has sold me on Apple products. It is so well built that when I accidentally dropped it on the floor, the screen didn't even flash. Oh, and I love the 10-hour batter life! Fantastic!
As time goes on, I'm sure I'll discover many other uses for this wonderful tool, but for now it has:
- Simplified the process of updating my social networking pages
- Enabled me to build story ideas on-the-go with apps like Writers App (pictured above)
- Placed a library at my fingertips with iBooks. I am now reading more than I have in years.
- Allows me to take video and photo wherever I am. This has been very useful for book signing events because I used to always forget to bring my camera.
- Allows me to display covers and art for my current and upcoming book releases at book stores and schools.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I don't think I have enough books for this trip... I'm going to have to have more shipped out here!
Monday, December 5, 2011
I sold 16 books today, spoke five times, and will be returning tomorrow, to Wawasee Middle School. The picture is of me with a student; a fan who said I am his favorite author. It is an amazing feeling whenever someone tells me that.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
First I had a couple of signings in New York. I sold 28 books at Bender's Parable Christian Store yesterday. I sold out the books they'd ordered, then had to bring in some from my car to keep the event rolling! This location was great, with an especially large selection of good books. After wrapping up my signing at Bender's, we drove to Indiana. Most of my signing events are booked in the northern part of this state. I have several public schools, as well as Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian locations.
The drive here was eight hours (a long trip after signing books for five hours). Along the way I stopped at a gas station to fill my tires, but instead of filling the tire with air, the thing took some out!
Tomorrow I'll be at a middle school.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
For a list of my events in Indiana (as well as a couple in New York) you can reference my Events on my facebook page. If you don't have facebook, I've listed the events on the right column of this blog.
For those who live in Connecticut, meet me at these Henny Penny gas stations in the week leading up to Christmas!
- Henny Penny in Madison CT, 12-6pm December 21st
- Henny Penny in Southington CT, 12-6pm December 22nd
- Henny Penny in Niantic CT, 12-6pm December 23rd
- Henny Penny in Uncasville CT, 12-3pm December 24th
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
As Christmas nears, I've noticed several of my fellow authors are offering special deals. These deals go something along the lines of this: Purchase title "X" for only $5... and have it signed by the author!
I'm not posting this to discourage my fellow authors, or to put them down for choosing to offer these deals, but I've often been asked to share my sales techniques. So here is my take on why doing those deals is a bad idea.
Retailers give my books shelf space and exposure to new readers every day. I can either reward them by encouraging people to purchase only through the retailers, or I can make a higher profit margin per book by selling directly to readers. 1) Sales made through the retailers show up on my royalty checks, which impresses the publisher, which in turn translates to future contracts. 2) Sales through retailers help keep the stores in business, which in turn means that we authors have more opportunities for the all important book signing events. 3) Beating the price of retailers who sell my books, puts me in competition with them, rather than a partnership.
An important part of wise salesmanship, is developing and then maintaining good relationships with your retailers. These points are invalid for an author who decides to go 100% e-books, or focuses on driving Amazon sales, but for a career author publishing through traditional houses, my advice is: Do not put yourself in competition with the retailers! They can be your best friends.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
In a recent post on Michael Hyatt's blog, he listed advice on what topics novelists should blog about. Quite honestly, I have not been as consistent with my blogging as I'd like to be. In fact, most of the time my posts seem rather random and all over the place.
So I am asking you to give me feedback. I want as many of my blog readers as possible to tell me what you like, what you don't, what draws you in, and what disinterests you. I have been seriously considering revamping my online marketing strategy to center around my blog. A blog can be a lot more versatile and reach many more people than I have, so I need to give it better focus.
This is your opportunity to weigh in. Do you want more advice/tips on writing? Interviews with publishing professionals? Insights into my writing days? More details on how I am marketing/selling my books?
What strategies have you found successful with your own blog?
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I am not much of a video gamer, but since I was a kid I've been a big fan of Star Wars. And I played both of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games on my PC. The character of Revan was ingenious, truly an original icon in the SW universe.
When I heard they were coming out with a Revan novel I was very excited. I pre-ordered it and received it two days ago. 3 o'clock this morning I finished it!
This is a well-crafted novel. The characters are believable and the concepts are fascinating. It felt a lot more epic than some of the recent SW novels I've read. Also the ending was completely unexpected; it leaves you wanting to know more. This book is really about Revan, a sith named Scourge, and another jedi (who SW gamers will know as the Exile). I highly recommend this book. I may even re-read it. The insights to the ancient emperor were startling. I have listened to a couple of the other SW Old Republic novels on audio book, and they were equally good. But this one is definitely my favorite!
Monday, November 14, 2011
What does the near-future of the book publishing industry look like? I think Amazon is overestimating its ability to monopolize the market. They have a lot of clout on the retailing market, but do they have the trust of the consumer? Traditional publishing houses have succeeded by creating brands that readers trust or follow. Yes, Amazon can sell a whole lot of product, but that is not the issue. Traditional houses create art, and art is what people want. Amazon wants to position itself as publisher, retailer, monopolizer. But if everything was grown on the same branch of monetary return, books could not be as diverse or unique.
The above mentioned article in the New York Times states rather accurately that Amazon is trying to position itself as a direct competitor to the major publishing houses. But I think they miss the point, or rather Amazon is overestimating their pull. Is it possible that the big publishers will start pulling away from Amazon, placing their high-demand products with other vendors? I'm not saying it will happen, but it only takes the right situation--just one step too far--If Amazon were cutting out, or perceived to be cutting out the major houses, that could force their hand. Anyway, I'm merely speculating...
Certainly the industry is changing, but not as much as we think. There are new faces in the market. New, smaller publishing houses meeting niche markets. The recent acquisition of Thomas Nelson sent waves through the Christian publishing industry. I myself am curious how all these changes will change the market and the industry, yet I'm eager to watch.
...Now I have to sit down and write. I have a novel to finish! (-:
Saturday, October 29, 2011
I met Brock Eastman at the International Christian Retail Show this year, and was aware that he had a few books coming out. He asked me to consider writing an endorsement and sent me his book HowlSage.
Being a particular reader, especially when it comes to fiction, I warned Brock that the content of the book didn't sound like something up my alley. The story follows a youth in his earthly battle against demons coming out of Hell... literally. It sounded too dark for me and, as I began to read it, the opening of the book was slow.
However, after the first few chapters the story began to roll. I began to enjoy the characters and the developing plot, which moves along at a nearly-perfect pace. Not so much action that I felt exhausted, but enough to pull me to the next page, and the next.
I heartily endorse HowlSage. It is original and, though the themes are very dark, the light of redemption in this story is just as bright!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Powerful story-telling requires identifiable characters. The reader needs to relate to the experiences and/or reactions of the protagonist(s), and they need to find themselves repelled by the antagonist(s). For an author this can be tricky, but I think one key to identifiable characters is focusing on the character's life experiences.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
The store manager was very friendly and we discussed a Christmas tour idea that I am very excited about. More to come on that later.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
- Swords of the Six is selling very well! So well, in fact, that it is right behind Bryan Davis's two new novels and ahead of all their other fiction. Praise God! ...I'll give more details later as I discover them.
- AMG Publishers wants to sign me on for the rest of The Sword of the Dragon series. They are very happy with how it has been received and I feel honored to write for them.
- Now the other bit of news isn't calamitous, but it does sock me a financial blow that is hard to swallow at this time. A few book buyers have complained that they find the cover for my second novel to be offensive. I don't see it, but in order to keep those buyers happy I am commissioning a different piece of art to be used on the cover. Hopefully it will turn out as good or better than the first one. But this sets back the release of the novel, so don't expect it before August.
This last picture is of me and the designer of my original novel cover, Kirk DouPonce. It was really one of those moments when I felt I had met a new friend. Some people in the industry are a great to know, others leave an impression... He is such a great guy!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Since I was young I've enjoyed episodes of the tv series Touched by an Angel, and my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Roma Downey!
Ah, yes, and here is proof that I finally met Wayne Thomas Batson! ....I'll have more news later. Right now I need to get upstairs and spend some time with our wonderful hosts here in Atlanta, GA.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Next month I will be at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT. They are expecting over 2,500 people for the boyscouts sleepover and I will be holding a book signing there. More on this later.
Also, I'm really enjoying the occasional review of my novel. Today AMG sent me this link to a review by a Christian teacher in Oregon. Enjoy!
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Recently something happened that spotlighted this issue for me:
I was driving back from a book signing in New York. I was tired and a bored, so I stopped at a Barnes & Noble in Albany. There I purchased a mocha and the Star Wars: Deceived audiobook. The first thing that stuck out as I listened to the phenomenal read-aloud was the numerous instances where the author used speech tags, and often combined them with his action beats. I thought at first "This is distracting" but the more I listened the more I realized how well this worked. The writing was strong even with the numerous speech tags, stronger perhaps than it would have been without them. When I arrived home and returned to writing my novel, I let my mind flow freely, as if I was verbally telling the story. This worked extremely well. At least, I am happy with the results.
Below are a couple instances from my 2012 novel The Key of Living Fire (AMG Publishers):
Action beat only:
Cromlin laughed and the sound of it chilled Specter’s bones. “The power of living fire resides here, doesn’t it?” The creature slowly turned its massive head and gazed at Specter. “Were you attempting to stop this man from escaping with the Key [spoiler removed]?”
Action beat with speech tag:
The dragon was silent for a long while, then he angled his boney head downward and said, " I believe our beloved Specter followed the traitorous Auron into... [spoiler removed]"
Q4U: What is your opinion on this? Do you prefer no speech tags, few, or do you like them? Do you enjoy the combination of speech tag and action beat?
Thursday, April 28, 2011
This novel will have been finished by the end of May and I have been seriously considering what project to accomplish next. So I have reached the conclusion that I will finish an offshoot novel to The Sword of the Dragon series. My plan is to publish The It'ren On Eiderveis River as a full-length novel this Fall. I will make it available in paperback and on Kindle.
Also, since I am planning to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September, I'm hoping to finish my science-fiction political thriller Starmist.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
I sold 40 books and met a lot of great people. The staff were particularly friendly. I've been to this store once before when I met Bryan Davis at a signing he held at this location. They have a great selection of books and gifts; a very diverse and thorough inventory.
The manager wants to arrange a follow-up event, probably end of Summer when my second novel has come out.
Now I need to simplify my schedule for the next few weeks. I need a breather and I need to finish my third novel. This has been a hectic time but a very rewarding one, too. ....So now I'm off to prioritize my to-do list.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Next I had a booth at APACHE Homeschoolers Convention. The event was not very busy but we still sold around 50 books. The best part of the trip was meeting Nichole and her family (who were extremely hospitable). We stayed with Nichole's cousin, Evie (who was very friendly but with whom we hardly had time to visit) and at some point soon I hope to return there and visit some middle schools.
These last two pictures were taken by Nichole during the Convention.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
The store manager, Joe, was very friendly (in fact the employees were really great). I will be returning to this store in the Fall to a do a follow-up event and introduce readers to my second novel.
They had 25-copies of my book in stock and Kelley and I sold 17... a figure I was thrilled with as the first part of the day was fairly quiet. Andrew (my son) contributed with smiles for every customer (-:
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
A recent encounter with an unusually critical book reviewer brought on the longest thread of discussion on my facebook fan page, to date. A few people commented that I, as the author, should walk away having learned from the reviewer’s criticism.
That is an interesting discussion and a question authors should ponder: Whose criticism should we listen to? And from whose criticism can we learn?
The answer to that is twofold (in my opinion) and here is why:
- · Listen to fans’ criticism
Some of you might disagree with me on this point because often readers disagree with the professional critics. However, I write for my readers and I am growing a following, so it is for this audience that I write. If you know your audience and, more importantly, are creating your own following, the stories you write are the kind of stories they will read. Ultimately it is your readers who decide if your book sells or fails.
- · Learn from Peers’ criticism
This includes editors, and published authors whose work has sold successfully. A good editor knows how to judge a manuscript because he/she has seen what works in writing, and what does not. Published authors have a working knowledge of writing. They’ve jumped through the proper hoops and been judged, and now their work is on the market.
On another vein, is there any criticism that we can not learn from, or that we should take with a grain of salt?
- · Unpublished writers
I was sitting in a class under Steven James and he advised aspiring authors not to join a critique group, unless that critique group was led by a published author. He also advised people to avoid taking college fiction writing courses, unless the course was taught by a published author. That was some of the best advice I ever heard given. How can you learn from someone who has not passed under the publishing industry’s scope? That would be like a guitarist learning from John Smith. “If you want to perform in Nashville you need to do this, this, and this…” when in fact John Smith has never made it to Nashville. If, on the other hand, you take advice from Johnny Cash (yes, I know he is dead, but I like his music so he’s my example) you will be on track to learn from his success.
- · Blog book reviewers
There are so many book reviewers out there today, most of them on blogs. Some are professional, some are amateurs. Don’t misunderstand me, I have found many good blog reviewers who have never been published. But these are not industry professionals and, as such, we should not take their harsh criticism to heart.
The most valued criticism comes from those who place great importance on reviewing in a charitable manner. If it is a Christian reviewer, I expect them to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. If they don’t like a book they should say so with honesty, but it should be in a spirit of encouragement and not a tearing down of that author’s style and craft.
I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks on my thoughts!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Anyway, check it out everyone: Novel Teen Swords of the Six review
Thanks to Jill for the review!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I'm looking into writers' conferences and am strongly leaning toward attending the ACFW conference in St. Louis this year. My objective would be to connect with other authors, primarily, and meet some of the editors that interest me.
I went door-to-door in a local neighborhood and handed out a letter to folks, informing them of my book and asking them to check it out on Amazon and at stores. Out of 30 homes, I sold one book immediately and several more said they will check it out online. I think the trip was worth it (about and hour-and-a-half). I'm planning to do it again but this time visit a couple hundred houses.
Good night everyone! Let the adventures begin!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
AMG Publishers sent Swords of the Six to press last week, and my editor tells me it will be in stock at their warehouse the first week of March. In preparation for the release, I'd like to share this review from a reader (who read the self-published edition):
"I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. Many people try to write a novel like Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and really they don't succeed. While I know that wasn't the inspiration from it there is the same feeling to this book. Appleton has a lot of talent. He writes so elegantly that it really surprised me how much I was into the story. While this is considered "religious fantasy" I really think with the exception of a few areas that it really doesn't have. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. Many people try to write a novel like Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and really they don't succeed. While I know that wasn't the inspiration from it there is the same feeling to this book. Appleton has a lot of talent. He writes so elegantly that it really surprised me how much I was into the story. While this is considered "religious fantasy" I really think with the exception of a few areas that it really doesn't have that feeling. It's not pushing the whole religion on you. As I said it reminds me of how some people assume the LLW is religious fantasy. There are some areas that seemed a little wordy and draggy but overall I enjoyed the characters; they weren't too developed but I think it was the whole developing a great story that made you feel good and think. It was a nice change of pace from the heavy fantasy that I read and there were a few surprises and good feelings. I'd read more of Appleton given the chance. Swords of Six is a great start to what might be a wonderful series." -Cindy
Monday, January 31, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
For every season of life there is an end; a time to take that next step in the direction God would have you go. I am soon coming to that point... again. The year before last I quit a full-time hourly job and hit the road, selling my novel. Some people thought, many believed, that I was either careless or crazy. But I knew that it was in my best interest, and in God's will, to move on... and that meant taking a risk.
Now I am stuck between two hourly jobs, both demanding time I would prefer to spend writing my next novel. I really enjoy one of them, because it involves writing, but with my brain scattering to the four winds I am a bit frazzled. Next month the fruit of the risk I took in going on that book tour, will be realized; my first novel will release from AMG Publishers on February 11th. Soon thereafter, within months of the first, the second novel will release. I am full of anticipation and, for a little while dread filled me, too. Questions of "What if it doesn't sell well?" "How am I going to devote the time needed to promoting it?" "How do I balance providing for my young family and traveling?" I have finally smacked myself across the side of the head. "Wake up! God is in control and this is what he has brought you to." In a very real sense it is time to smell the roses.
I don't believe in chance successes. I believe hard work bears fruit, and perseverance and patience wields a mighty sword of success. So, beginning today, I am going to start booking a tour of schools in New England. It has taken seven years to get to this point, from that omniscient POV manuscript I wrote. I want to write and promote full-time, again! Well, it won't happen by itself, so... time to get down to business!
WELCOME TO THE WRITING SITE OF SCOTT APPLETON
In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.
I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.