Teen Monster Hunters - out now! Plus free goody!

This is it: Teen Monster Hunters is finally out and available at all major e-tailers (Print version to follow in a few days). Follow Sally Storm and her formidable friends, genius Ryan Montgomery and single-word slow guy Moe Doe, at their high school adventure to discover there is more to their school than obnoxious football jocks and boring classes.

But wait, there is more: I created a small sequel to Teen Monster Hunters called "The Test". And guess what, it's free!!! All you have to do is follow it on Wattpad, the serialized chapters will come out every two days. Hope this gives you a taste of the new series, and makes you addicted (and makes you buy Teen Monster Hunters!)

Monster Banner Maybe we run into each other one of these days.jpg



What's going on? That's going on! In Full Edit Mode

Want to give you an update of what is going on in my writing life. Due to my travellings I also fell short on some of the other stuff I am writing on. My current "Troubleshooter Installment 3" was stopped almost completely, I am far away from my goal to reach a first version by end of May. Plus I am hitting a small block with some aspects of the resolution in Acts 4 and 5. Oh well, no one said it is easy.

Mostly due to the fact that I need to finish the edit for "Five for forever". The word remarks of my editor I managed to almost work through completely. I am running the edit in three stages:

First the small stuff - typos and grammar and simple logical corrections. I took it easy there and simply pressed "Accept" for 99.9 % of the recommendations. First, I am not a native English speaker/writer, so who am I to know it better than my editor. Second, it was a really good edit!

Second comes the comments - my editor left me with about 100 comments in the word document. From the mundane remark that she changed something and I should check whether she did in my interest; mostly yes, by the way. A first pass of comments got rid of all the easy stuff, regarding naming conventions, easy timeline fixes, clarifications, etc. But there are some issues with the timeline that need a solid re-read back and forth to make it right. And in two places I am really hesitant to move things around. To give you one example: I structured the book in seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter,... that coincides with the basic timeline. However I also structured the relationship of the protagonists around the seasons: falling in love in spring, enjoying each other during summer, conflicts appear in fall, break-up suffering period in winter, you get the point. But the calendar timeline where fall starts Sept. 21 and the relationship strains do not 100 % match. The relationship goes downhill slightly earlier in late August. So, what do I base my part-structure on. The calendar or the drama. Will the reader understand this?

Third, not started yet, is the editors letter to me where she gives some structural and content recommendations. I already had cut a lot of stuff, but there are still recommendations where the story is not brought forward enough by some of the chapters. Oh, well, it will be bloodshed weekend, just like on the first episode of Game of Thrones Season 6.

Publishing via Pronoun vs. Smashwords

My latest book Pieces of Trouble was the first one I had published through the relatively new Pronoun service. Here is a little comparison of my experience so far.

Pieces of Trouble, my latest Troubleshooter universe story collection, is my eighth book and the first one that I published through Pronoun. I had followed the various news around it as it promised a different kind of service from the likes of Amazon and Smashword. And I can confirm, it is a different experience. However, is it a better one?

Smashwords - HTLM at its best, functional but working. You won't find any interface sexyness here!

Smashwords - HTLM at its best, functional but working. You won't find any interface sexyness here!

Let's have a punch by punch comparison of the contender vs. the reigning champion of indie eBook publishing. Pronoun vs. Smashwords

The Service

Smashwords and Pronoun are meta publishers for eBooks. You upload your books data, cover and story file and both services do the same: publish the book on various eTailers, collecting your revenues and cutting you a single check of payment. Both services do this as advertised. Pronoun vs. Smashwords: a draw.

Preparing your Book

Both services expect your book preformatted to specifications. In both cases we are talking Word document or ePub. The services then convert the input file into the various output formats, add table of contents, integrate the cover, etc. To guide you through the process, Smashwords has a long manual that elaborately explains each step how the Word Document has to be prepared. As I did this several times in the past, I can say that there is trial and error needed to get it right. Especially when you generate the Word Doc from Scrivener and like to minimize manual formatting. Pronoun has a step by step tutorial online of about 10 steps, where most steps are not needed if you have straightforward text only prose to offer. I thought it was much faster and convenient.  Pronoun 1 : Smashwords 0

The Book Submission

Clear winner without much fanfare: Pronoun. Why? The interface and experience is much cleaner and easy to use. You have everything graphically arranged on one page and then go into each component (Upload Cover, Select Keywords, Select Genre...). The nicest part: you don't need to save anything. It simply sticks. Smashword is good old HTML form stuff, ten years ago fine. Admittedly it does the job, but Pronoun does do it with ease. Pronoun 2 : Smashwords 0

Sales Channels

Not the most unimportant topic. Interface and ease of use is one thing, but the main reason why you do it is to get published on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and likes. And you do with both services. However, Pronoun is limited to a handful of outlets whereas Smashword offers a lot more. Although in all fairness, Pronoun covers the most important ones with Amazon, Google, Kobo, iTunes and B&N. Pronoun isslightly faster in the channel publishing, Kobo was there within a day and the rest of the pack followed a day (Pronoun estimates 3-5 days, so they overdelivered). Smashwords first needs to go into a premium status in order to qualify for publishing outside of the Smashword store. Despite this, due to sheer quantity of channels, Smashword is the clear winner here. Pronoun 2 : Smashwords 1


Pronoun goes graphic and modern with a one-page design - scrolling down shows your catalogue.

Pronoun goes graphic and modern with a one-page design - scrolling down shows your catalogue.

On the Money

Well, it's out there and it sells. What is my cut? I might take an unconventional approach here when I say: it does not matter. If you areJohn Grisham going Indie to sell your latest The Firm sequel a million times, yes, then it means the difference of a house in Missouri or an estate on Long Island. But as an Indie author with few hundred or thousand copies sold, reach is more important than the money. Pronoun is overall a few percentage points better than Smashwords, but that does not really matter in the long run. Payout is working via Paypal.com (Pronoun) or direct deposit (Smashwords), both easy ways to receive it. Draw again. Pronoun 3 : Smashwords 2.

The Goodies

Smashwords has a nice author portrait page where you can present your catalogue, your photo, and create a tailored author interview. Nice, but the sale happens elsewhere. Pronoun's major goodie beside the aforementioned interface is definitely the formating options for the eBook where you can choose from currently four options that play with fonts and heading format for your otherwise usually blandly formatted eBook. That is a great feature. Well deserved point for Pronoun. Pronoun 4 : Smashwords 2

Promotion of your Book

Both services are pretty weak on this. Smashword has no tools around promotion at all, so an easy point for Pronoun which offers some sort of ranking within the Amazon catalogue, which I did not really understand. Bascially it analyses your search terms and your category and tells you how relevant the category is and where your book would be positioned. Sounds interesting, but I am not sure that it really has the effect of selling more books. Pronoun gives some tips how to get reviews and generate buzz, but it is not really helping. I am still waiting for a publishing promotion service that really works and really generates buzz and revenue for new authors. Another draw. Pronoun 5 : Smashwords 2

So, what's the result? Clear winner is Pronoun. Would I consider using Pronoun again? Yes.