Tag: writing

Question: Why did you choose to write?

Is it for the money?

An important question. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with seeking to earn a few buck from your writing. I must confess that it was a pleasant surprise when people began to buy my books and actually enjoyed the stories I’d written.

I just like to tell stories. So, the question for me was, how do you know people are enjoying your books? It is one thing to tell the tale! It is quite another thing when people truly enjoy your tales. Probably for me, a reader’s enjoyment is the biggest motivation behind why I write.

Question #2: How do you know people enjoy your writing.

I think this question is answered in several ways. Talking to your readers and asking them for their thoughts on your book is one thing I have done.

There is a real difference between, “I thought it was good” …

and,

… “Dude! I loved it. That part where JD spent the night trapped under the NVA tank rocked” or “that barroom fight scene was totally awesome. I loved that line … ‘my mother taught me!’ “

Reviews can also answer this question …

When a reader takes the time to write a review for something you wrote, that really means something.

1) Either they hated it (I had one reader who hated the fact that I had some adult scenes in Serpents Underfoot so much that he never finished the book and gave me a 1 Star review just so he could vent his outrage.)

2) Or, they liked your story enough to take the time to say so.

The Few, the Proud, the Marines!

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I really loved this review of Serpents Underfoot because it is from a USMC veteran. Getting a 5 Star Review from a USMC veteran for a book that includes all branches of the U.S. military including the Coast Guard, really meant something special to me. Marines are not noted for lightly giving out praise which is why this review does mean so much!

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Thriller

Definitely a five-star adventure. I was hooked from the first page and read it in one sitting. The plot, which revolved around a conspiracy to detonate nuclear bombs in the U. S., includes many unexpected twists and turns. JD quickly becomes the dominant character with Ajax a close second. I’m looking forward to the next book. ~ usmc – mike



Warning: Bears ahead!

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This 5 Star Review of Adirondack Bear Tales made me chuckle. This reader obviously enjoyed the stories and even took the time to write a carefully crafted and entertaining review! Very cool! And, very much appreciated.

Reviews like this are one of the main reasons I enjoy writing. This reader clearly enjoyed this short collection of bear tales from the Adirondacks!

5.0 out of 5 stars Could not stop reading these tales


Adirondack Bear Tales is a first-class collection of gripping encounters with Ursus Americanus. Gilbert enjoins readers with the inviting and entrancing aspects of the Adirondacks, only to rapidly transform each tale into a suspenseful and terrifying experience! Suitable for all ages, I could not put this 42 page book down. Adirondack Bear Tales is a superlative blend of family, nature, humor, and fright. ~ Eric Ewald

Pursuing reviews for the sake of pursuing reviews is probably not the best use of your time as a writer. Above all, you need to be writing. However, it doesn’t take too many reviews such as these to give you a good feeling about what you are doing! In addition, reviews such as these can be very motivational!

To read other posts on DC Gilbert’s blog … click here!

What to do when your book cover sucks!

It is not just about the reviews!

Learning to market your book as a self-published author is an interesting and sometimes painful journey. There is so much to learn and so much to do. The book cover, the story itself, the categories and keywords, SEO, social media marketing, Twitter, Instagram. BookBub, etc. … and getting reviews. The list of things to do can quickly become rather extensive.

The reviews I get tell me my story is pretty darn good.

Of course, you always get a few bad reviews. Not everyone will like your book. That is just a fact of life.

However, most of your reviews have been 4 and 5 stars. Some of the reviews have been absolutely outstanding. So why is your book not selling a little better?

Yes. It does take time. When first starting out, you are not exactly Tom Clancy, Lee Child, or Vince Flynn! At least not yet!

You do have to keep plugging away at finding what marketing ideas work for you. There is no way you can do it all. You have to have a plan and then you have to work the plan.

Enter the experts

Through ALLi (Alliance of Independence Authors), I have been exploring and learning about marketing for self-published authors. I have been working with Beth Kallman Werner at Author Connections and now with Jim Kukral at Authors Marketing Club.

The book cover story

book cover

About a week ago, while on the phone with Jim Kukral, we went through my book’s categories and keywords and at Jim’s suggestion, made some smart changes there. I learned about KDP Rocket and if you are a self-published author, I think this tool is indispensable.

We also looked at the book cover. Jim’s comment was that the book cover looked like exactly what it is … a first cover attempt by a newbie self-published author.

I must admit it hurt just a bit. After all, I was kind of proud of the cover. I mean, I designed it myself. Jim then suggested I take a look at other book covers in the same genre; essentially military action thriller.

I did this and his point became painfully obvious. A lesson learned. Jim explained the concept of “cover to market.”  Essentially, this means your cover has to stand out in the market you are competing in. Kind of a “duh” moment actually.

So … back to the cover drawing board we went. And, about a week later, voilà!  I must admit, I love the knew cover. It fits the genre and stands out among the book covers of my competitors. It gives clues to the story line with out being a “spoiler.”

In addition, many people I have shown the book cover to really like it.  A few have not. But when I dug a little deeper, I realized this is not a genre they read very much of. That kind of clicked as well.

The unveiling!

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The new cover

I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this new book cover.

I think there are several good lessons in this post. Self-publishing is an interesting new venue for aspiring authors. It is very cost effective when you are just getting started. But being self-published does not mean that you have to remake the same mistakes as everyone else.

You most certainly can if you want to!

And, we will all make our share of mistakes. However, there are legitimate experts out there who really love helping authors succeed and it does not have to be prohibitively expensive. Talk to a few people who know. Check out the competition. Learn about concepts such as “cover to market.” Check out tools like KDP Rocket. And always remember, it is not a sprint to instant success  … it is a marathon where endurance and training count.

ON THE BATTLEFIELD: A Book Review

ON THE BATTLEFIELD: A Memoir of an Ethiopian Airborne Soldier

On the Battlefield: A Memoir of an Ethiopian Airborne Soldier tells the incredible story of one of Ethiopia’s most celebrated combat generals.  

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Brigadier General Tesfaye Habtemariam is one of Ethiopia’s greatest military leaders. General Habtemariam’s career spanned three decades and survived three different Ethiopian governments. From 1964 to 1991, he commanded troops on the battlefield in nearly every engagement in which the Ethiopian military saw action.

Drawing on his wartime journals, notes, letters and memories, Habtemariam discusses his childhood and military career. From working with Israeli commandos to form a new “Special Forces” unit to establishing the Anti-hijacking Office.  From training several Ethiopian Airborne Battalions to commanding several large units, Habtemariam served his country as only a true patriot would.

This fascinating memoir details military actions on the battlefield as well as covert operations behind enemy lines and includes detailed diagrams, battle plans, and photographs. General Habtemariam shares details of the heroic escape in which he and his few remaining men, half-starved and out of ammunition, prepared to fight to the death. Charging the enemy position with fixed bayonets, they discover it suddenly abandoned. The enemy just pulled out! Now, instead of dying in battle, they find themselves struggling to cross a dangerous desert wasteland to rejoin their forces … hopefully living to fight another day.

Tesfaye Habtemariam took part in eight major battles. He later commanded a battalion in the Special Forces, the 18th Mountaineer Division, and the Airborne Training School.  Finally, he became the Army Commander of the Tewodros Force. Brigadier General Tesfaye Habtemariam received the “Hero of Ethiopia” medal from a grateful nation after thirty years of selfless sacrifice and service to his country.

If you enjoy military history, this is one book you will definitely want in your collection.

A fascinating read!

battlefield

I received an advance release copy of this book and found it to be a fascinating read. It provided a window into a military history I previously knew so little about. This book is not just the memoir of an Ethiopian military general and hero. It is also  the story of Ethiopia’s attempts to rebuild itself. Ethiopia struggled to reshape and regain its independence from European administration after the Italian invasion and occupation during World War II.

In addition it is also a story about sacrifice, honor, victory and yes, even defeat. It is about bureaucratic incompetence, individual heroics, and a people willing to die to defend their brothers-in-arms and their country.

There is an interesting flair to the  narrative. This  makes it a different yet enjoyable read. Originally written by Tesfaye Habtemariam in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, it was later translated into English. Therefore, the prose has a unique character, but is very clear and easy to read.  I give this book 5 Stars and recommend it to anyone interested in military history.

Soon to be released

ON THE BATTLEFIELD is now out in Kindle and paperback. 

Check out other great posts and book reviews here!

Contest: Adirondack Bear Tale Book Cover

Here are the two covers in the contest!

Will you please help me with this cover contest by picking which cover you like best for my next book. It is a collection of family-friendly tales about true encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park! I have two cover designs and both of them are pretty good.

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contest


Below is the link to the poll. Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Click here to go to the contest page and make your choice. 

Again, thank you for your help with this. Also, if you like military action thrillers, check out my novel, Serpents Underfoot, available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover from Amazon.com!

Book Review: Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter

Welcome to Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter by Author Kent Wayne!

Author Kent Wayne does a good job with this first book in his Echo series titled  Echo 1: Approaching Shatter. His writing style is lively and at times humorous. The characters are well developed, and it is truly a compelling story.

Shatter

His book is an interesting look at a futuristic version of humanity. Global warming has made Earth uninhabitable, and now humans live on similar planet called Echo. Governments and corporations have merged and created the Department of Enforcement to crush the Dissident rebels who are fighting to make their lives better. Much of Echo is in a rapidly deteriorating state, but the elite live up in the sky where they can ignore the chaos below … that is threatening to destroy Echo.

In Approaching Shatter, the main character, Atriya, is one of the Department of Enforcement’s highly-trained Enforcers. As a good soldier, he follows orders. However lately, he has been having second thoughts and strange ideas. He wonders about things that he shouldn’t and wants to do something, but is unsure of what path to take. This is the source of the story’s conflict and the narrative unfolds from there.

I do not usually read a lot of science fiction, but I do like military fiction, so I took a chance on it. This book was pretty darn good because it is not just about the action. It also explores the ideas of humanity, courage, strength, bureaucracy run amuck, war, and even religion.

I have one minor comment/complaint. I’ve always loved westerns, especially Louis L’Amour. But I could never get into Zane Gray. That was because Zane Gray included way to much detail. I have an imagination. Let me use it. Echo 1 is kind of that way. Maybe not as bad as Zane Gray!

But I must admit, whether or not there is too much detail, often depends on the reader. Many readers loved Zane Gray westerns. In my novel, Serpents Underfoot, a couple reviews complained I gave too much detail on things like military weapons or tactics. Then again, some readers eat that stuff up.  I guess the point is that a lot of this is subjective and depends on the readers personal preferences.

I haggled over 4 or 5 stars for this book for a few days, and settled in on 4.5 … which rounds off to 5 anyway. Military science fiction readers will love it!

Don’t forget to check out my novel as well!

A Writing Tip: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Writing is not a get rich scheme!

So you want to write? That is great! Here is a great tip. Don’t quit your day job. Success can come, but it is a marathon, not a sprint!

Writing is certainly very cool!

don't quit

I love to write! And, the fact that I have a published novel, a counter-terrorism action/thriller, selling on Amazon.com amazes me to this day.  It is pretty damn cool!  Serpents Underfoot has been on the market for a little over a year now. It has gotten a lot of great reviews. I believe it currently sits at about 17 reviews. And they are mostly five star.

There have been a few 3 and 4 star reviews as well. And, one 1 star review. (This reader objected strongly to the fact that there were a couple of adult scenes in the book. But hey, sex is a part of life as well. However, most people I have talked to thought these scenes were tastefully done.)

Success takes time and hard work.

So far, I have managed to sell about 100 books through Amazon.com. This does not count books I have sold myself at book signings, or have given away for promotions. I work hard at marketing. I am working with a marketing consultant, spending time using Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blog posts, and other media formats trying to promote my book. The point here is that it is a lot of hard work. It takes patience and dedication. I put in some long nights, because in addition to all this, I also have a day job. Why am I doing this? Because, I am going to succeed!

Don’t quit your day job.

So, to repeat, I have sold 100 books through Amazon.com over the last year. Given that the average number of sales for a self-published book is 20 copies, I think I am doing pretty well.  The point to all this is that, if you are looking for a get rich quick scheme, this is not it. The chances of writing that instantly successful novel that sells millions of copies in the first six months is about a good as hitting the powerball in a state lottery without first buying a lottery ticket.

The people who self-publish full time will tell you that they spent years getting to where they are today. So, it’s better that you don’t quit your day job! Just keep plugging! Write, learn from your mistakes, and don’t quit!

Mary Enck: A Review of Serpents Underfoot

Thank you, Mary Enck, for your fantastic review!

Mary Enck is the author of, A King in Time II.

Mary Enck attended UCLA and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She enjoys reading Fantasy and Science Fiction and has a new love for Mystery/Thrillers. Latest character crush is Jack Reacher. A native of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and lives in Colorado Springs with her family, a Lab/Dane doggo who says her name is Gillie, and two cats, Lucky and Tuxedo.

Being a long-time fan of the Arthurian legend and having read several versions during my life, I certainly am going to have to read hers as well. In fact, I just started reading it. I am sure there will be a post about A King In Time on here in a little while.

However, the purpose of this post is to thank her for her fantastic and thoughtful review of Serpents Underfoot. Her review left me humbled and speechless.

 

Three Quotes from Mary’s Review of Serpents Underfoot

Author, D. C. Gilbert, takes the reader back to a time that has passed into history. While the era is overshadowed by so much that is happening today, at such a rapid pace, this story reflects how little we have advanced in all this time. We remain in conflict with humans, inflexible in their beliefs.

 

The characters are very strong in their individuality. Again, it is interesting to see the contrasts drawn between the West and influences from another time and another faraway place. I became related to the good guys in this book. I enjoyed their personalities and like them very much.

 

There is a lot of delving into the way of things such as martial arts, Navy Seals and their working dogs, which I especially liked. To me, if there is an animal in a novel significant to the story, it is a relief from the more severe issues that come up.

 

If interested, you can read the complete review here.

 

The novel, Serpents Underfoot, is available in Kindle format for only $3.99.  I hope you will give it a read!