Category Archives: Uncategorized

June 2019

June Was Certainly a Month

Okay, here’s what I accomplished last month.

Creative Projects

  • Progress on Lighter than Aether. We’re on draft 2. Everything is still on track to have the paperback release in time for my Chicago Steampunk Expo guest appearance.
  • Commissioned Lighter than Aether cover art! Working with an amazing artist this time around. Will eventually post a cover reveal, but my Patreon supporters will get a first look before everyone else.
  • Some work on Wayfarer, but Lighter than Aether is still the focus as its deadline looms.
  • Signed up for the interactive fiction Intro Comp, but I don’t know that I’ll have time to enter anything by the end of July.
  • Really I was mostly working on finishing Lighter Than Aether.

Social Media & Marketing

  • Designing banners and other flair for my Chicago Steampunk Expo appearance.
  • Started posting Fictive Memes. Maybe these count as creative projects?
  • Did some blogging here. Trying to get back into the habit.
  • Vlogged a bit, too.

Hobbies/Free Time

  • Started an indie gaming channel on YouTube. This could probably count as marketing for my game dev stuff, but it’s mostly for funsies.
  • Started talking with some old friends about getting together to play an RPG campaign. In person. For realsies.

Looking into July

For the most part I’m going to try and get the second draft of Lighter than Aether completed and off to my beta readers, so I can spend August polishing it and get hardcopies ordered by the time the Expo rolls around. I’ll try to get some work on the IntroComp entry in there too, somehow. And I hope to get together with my friends to game once or twice.

Busy busy.

Just got the March of the Cogsmen proof

I get a kick out of it whenever I get a printer’s proof of a paperback in the main. Don’t get me wrong, ebooks are great, but they don’t feel as official as holding that slick cover and cream-colored paper in your hands. It’s more tangible. More real. Makes me feel like more of an author.

March of the Cogsmen is my longest title to date, clocking in at a hefty 190 pages. It feels good, holding it, feeling its weight. Its heft. Its gravitas.

For once there weren’t any huge errors in its layout. The pages are aligned correctly. I have blank pages where I need them to be. The scene-dividing flourishes are the right size. I must be getting better at this, or worse at noticing my mistakes.

Collette J Ellis’s cover is, of course, gorgeous., and it rendered to print perfectly. I like the wrap-around effect onto the back. It looks a lot more professional than my earlier efforts.

I’m also loving that the spine is thick enough for lettering. That was my only misgiving that the novelettes; at 50-80 pages, they didn’t really give me a lot of room to work there. I’d love to offer them as a boxed set, but alas, CreateSpace doesn’t provide the option.

At 190 pages, March of the Cogsmen is available through CreateSpace for $12.99, and will soon be available in paperback through Amazon.com.

So Amazon bought Goodreads. So what?

Behemoth retailer Amazon.com bought out the book review community site Goodreads. As a result, two-thirds of the reader/indie-author community is ready to flip their collective shit over all the drastic and terrible changes they’ve decided that Amazon is going to make in order to:

  • solidify their monopoly
  • crush self-published authors
  • replace all Goodreads links with Amazon links
  • curtail the freedom Goodreaders have to write reviews, or, alternatively
  • flood Amazon with ultra-harsh Goodreader reviews

My take on the acquisition

Take a deep breath.

Relax.

Wait and see. I really don’t think that Amazon is going to take steps that will harm self-publisher’s discoverability across multiple platforms. They already own 40% of library thing, and yet we haven’t seen any draconian restructuring, forcing everyone to limit their give-aways to .mobi format kindle ebooks. The sky isn’t falling.

Take a deep breath.

Relax.

Wait and see.

Looking ahead to 2013

My last two posts covered how I got to where I’m at. Now let’s take a look ahead into the new year.

January 2013

I’m currently writing the first novel-length Galvanic Century story, tentatively titled “March of the Cogsmen.” It centers on the long-anticipated wedding between Alton Bartleby and Aldora Fiske. Their courtship was years in the making, but matters will escalate quickly when uninvited guests crash their reception, seeking redress for the sins of the past.

We’ll also see the print release of The Collected Bartleby and James Adventures, with a cover by Pol Subanajouy, and interior art by Pol Subanajouy and Collette J Ellis.

February 2013

In February we’ll see the audiobook edition of Maiden Voyage of the Rio Grande. Warren Farrell, the narrator, has expressed interest in providing vocal work for On the Trail of the Scissorman and A Matter of Spirit as well.

I’ve got a new series in the works that we’ll see in February. Hero’s Journey is an urban fantasy martial arts thriller. There are four parts planned, and after it’s done I’ll get back to the Galvanic Century steampunk novels.

Later 2013

It’s a funding issue more than anything else, but I’d like to put the Chronicles of a Gentlewoman stories out in print and audio as well. When exactly this might be I can’t quite say, as I’d like to pay for art and another round of editing.

The easiest way to keep an eye on what I’ve got coming out next is by joining my mailing list. Once a month you’ll get an update email from me going over what was released in the prior month, and what you can look forward to in the next. I’ll also throw in discounts and giveaways from time to time.

2012 Retrospective part 2

Back to Part 1

Of the three titles I published in December, only And They Called Her Spider sold more than a few copies. I focused on it, turning it into a series with the release of Maiden Voyage of the Rio Grande, On the Trail of the Scissorman,¬†and A Matter of Spirit, learning how to make covers that weren’t utterly terrible in the process. I also unpublished Apocalypse Party and Oh Human Child — neither fit the brand I was building.

Branding Myself

What is the Michael Coorlim brand? It’s not steampunk. Well, I’ve published a lot of steampunk, but that isn’t how I’m defining my work. I went back and forth a lot on this, but essentially my strengths lie in fast-paced character-driven fiction about authentic people in fantastic situations, so that’s my “genre”. It’s a light fantastic with a twist, so Apocalypse Party‘s brutal psychological grimness doesn’t really fit, and neither did Oh Human Child’s Young Adult focus.

Eventually I’ll rewrite and re-release both stories under different pen names, but for now I’m focusing on the one brand.

A Dry Spell

The Bartleby and James books were written and published between December of 2012 and April of 2012, culminating in The Collected Bartleby and James Adventures collection. After that…

Nothing.

My cat almost died, my landlord sold the building and decided not to renew our lease and we had to move with a month’s notice, and I just didn’t have time to get anything written. Whatever the reasons, my production came to a standstill.

It was August before I managed to publish again, Sky Pirates Over London, the first in the Chronicles of a Gentlewoman cycle. By then I’d tightened up my covers and redesigned all the previous. Still, the months without publishing held me back.

Expanding Beyond eBooks

As 2012 comes to a close I’ve published an audiobook, print editions of my first four steampunk novelettes, and am wrapping up the print version of the Bartleby and James collection. Conventional wisdom is that the holiday season is a boom for ebooks, with hungry readers looking to fill up new nooks and kindles. Depending on how much I make, I can afford to commission new covers and fresh editing for the rest of the Galvanic Century novelettes in anticipation of more print editions.

We’ll see.

2012 Retrospective part 1

At the end of 2011 I was in pretty bad shape. I hadn’t found any temp or freelance work in months, didn’t have any prospects on the horizon, and was rapidly burning through my savings just with basic living expenses. I had no money, but I had copious free-time. For awhile I lost myself in the escapism television and the internet provided, but eventually turned my hand to writing.

I’ve always written — short fiction here and there, the first chapters of novels I never bothered to finish. I just never bothered submitting anything for publication. I don’t know why. I did the research. Made lists of markets using tools like the Writer’s Market books and duotrope. Maybe it was fear of rejection. Maybe it was laziness. Whatever the reason, desperation lead me to submitting my first story, Last Hurrah, to an internet magazine

It was rejected, but with a personal note. “An almost — Brutal in a Lord of the Flies way.”

I wasn’t disappointed. Being compared to Lord of the Flies? Holy crap. Guess I was good.

I was going to send it off to some other publications — and maybe I should have — but then I read a reddit thread by an author who was making a thousand bucks a day. A thousand! Holy shit, right?

Well, turns out it’s not that easy, and by December of 2011 the great e-publishing gold rush had ended. That first month I published Apocalypse Party, Oh Human Child, and And They Called Her Spider without really knowing what I was doing or why.

Early Missteps

A psychological horror story, a young-adult contemporary fantasy, and a steampunk mystery. Obviously I didn’t know the first thing about branding. I didn’t really have a plan beyond “write some suff, get paid,” and I did make $10 my first month, so that’s nice.

And They Called Her Spider, though — that was something special. The story’s genesis was an artist friend’s piece that eventually turned into the cover, and unlike the other two titles, it actually sold. This was probably due to the cover.

Compare:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So yeah, the covers I made on my own sucked. And my pricing. Conventional wisdom at the time was that new writers should price their work at 99 cents, and I did… but 99 cents had already become the pricing ghetto. Reams of poorly produced ebooks had trained readers to look down upon books priced so cheaply, and Amazon’s royalty structure was such that I’d have to sell six times the price at 99 cents as I did at $2.99 to make the same amount.

I was off to less than a stellar start.

On to part 2