A little insight from yours truly…

I wouldn’t call this a blog post, exactly, but I am honored to have been interviewed by Self-Publisher’s Showcase. They do a great service for independent authors. If you’re interested, check out the complete interview for a little insight into my writing process.

Steve Dullum Interview

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Relentless? Not so much.

I just finished reading Relentless by Dean Koontz. I’m a big fan of Koontz (he’s my favorite author), but this one didn’t grab me. I like the premise (author and his family are terrorized by a truly psychotic book critic), but the characters were so unrealistic to me that I just didn’t care about them. Some of Dean’s later works also have had this problem, with characters that are just too perfect, have no flaws, behave in a manner that just defies logic, and thus the believability of the story suffers as a result. I hesitate to write a negative review of Koontz because I don’t want anyone to dismiss his other works. He truly is a great writer, and most of his books are worth reading, and many are truly great. Just skip this one.

Don’t shake hands with strangers…

Just finished reading The Dead Zone. If you think Stephen King only writes horror, then give The Dead Zone a read. This is a solid drama. Actually, it’s a very sad, emotionally moving story of a common man who loses everything in life, and it’s heartbreaking at times. What he gains, after a terrible accident that leaves him in a coma for four years, is the ability to see into the future. Yet this “gift” is an unwanted curse. What he sees when he shakes the hand of an up-and-coming politician leads him to make a decision that will cost him everything. If you’re not a horror fan and have passed on King because of that, then I highly recommend this book. It’s been a while since I’ve read one of his early novels, and The Dead Zone yet again proved to me that he rightly deserves to be one of the most popular and successful novelists of all time. Damn, the man can write. Highly recommend.

Going, going, gone.

Would just like to say thanks to everyone who entered my Goodreads giveaway to receive a free copy of my novel, The Spiral. I figured I’d be lucky to have a handful of people interested, but over 900 signed up, which I’m very humbled by. Could just be that they like free stuff, but I’m hoping maybe it’s because they liked the cover, and perhaps were intrigued by the synopsis. Either way, I’m pleased with the results. It’s my first ever giveaway, and even though I now have to get busy mailing, I’m just happy to have another opportunity to get my book in the hands of readers.  To the winners, congratulations, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/110956-the-spiral

SD

Who doesn’t like FREE stuff?

I’m giving away 10 FREE copies of my paperback novel, The Spiral. If you don’t already have a Goodreads account, just take a minute to sign up and then enter to win! Since I’m not yet a household name, let alone a global phenomenon, I’d say your chances of winning are staggeringly high! You have between 10/8 and 11/8 to enter, so there’s plenty of time…but I would recommend you drop what you’re doing this instant and sign up now. What if your computer blows up? What if you need to make an unplanned trip to the Australian outback and can’t find a computer once you’re there? Do you really want to take that chance? Check it out and good luck.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/110956

SD

You unlock this door with the key to imagination…

I’ve had numerous ideas for short stories pop into my head lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve been revisiting the original Twilight Zone (thank you Netflix!), which is like taking a class on how to create weird, suspenseful, and surreal stories that not only entertain, but make you think. Rod Serling was a genius. I don’t really consider myself a short story writer, but I did thoroughly enjoy the process of writing my first two. I’ll stockpile these new ideas and keep them at the ready, to use as motivation to keep writing when words aren’t coming on the novel.
I was at the regular job the other day, creating parking permit resources for Outlook calendar reservations (I know, gripping stuff!) when I thought, “What if you needed a permit to live?” Ah ha! Short story idea. You wouldn’t want to be detained by the authorities without your permit, now would you? I might pursue that one next. Could be my first attempt at something in the realm of science fiction.
Lately I’ve been busy kicking off what I like to call, “Brazen self-promotion, Part Two.” Amazon released the paperback edition of The Spiral a month and a half ago, so I figured it’s time to step up the marketing. I have no idea what I’m doing, so it’s a challenge, but I’m enjoying it. Most recently, I joined a talented group of indie authors at Self Publisher’s Showcase. For a very reasonable fee, they offer some simple ways of gaining exposure. Next week my two short stories will be available free for the Kindle, and they will help get the word out. In only a few days, I’ve gained many new followers on Twitter, which is cool. One of my blog entries is currently featured in their guest blog section. They will also be interviewing me in the next couple of months, which should be interesting. Later this fall they’ll be reviewing The Spiral, which I’m excited about. That will be the first official review of my novel. Oh yeah, and it’s a little scary. In the very near future, I’m also going to be giving away a number of free paperback copies of The Spiral on Goodreads.
So a lot is going on, and the learning curve never stops. Have to get back to the writing though. I think that’s the whole point.
Enjoy what is left of summer. It’s going fast!
SD

At Last

I know you’ve been anxiously waiting for the paperback edition of The Spiral, (go ahead, admit it!) and I also know it’s been causing you to have fitful sleep. But I’m pleased to announce that the wait is over. The Spiral is now what I like to call, “Officially a real book.” It’s a dream come true for me. I always wanted to have a physical copy to hold in my hands, and now that I do, I can finally say that I’m finished with it, and that’s a great feeling. The eBook version is swell and all, but there’s just something about holding a hard copy in my hands and feeling the weight, and putting it on the shelf next to my favorite books. Seems so much more tangible and legitimate. Even if it doesn’t sell, I’m still glad I did it.
If you’re at all curious (maybe you have a book of your own that you’d like to publish), I used CreateSpace, which is Amazon’s book publishing division. There are so many paths one can take, but for me this seemed the best option. For the most part, the process was fairly straightforward. It started with choosing an interior design from several different choices. Then I had a phone consultation and discussed the overall layout, cover options, billing, etc. I paid them to do the cover, but I did the design myself. I wasn’t comfortable with someone not familiar with the book guessing what I might like for a cover. I’m rather particular that way. Plus it’s way more satisfying to do it yourself.
I used several royalty-free image websites, and in total I must have browsed at least 20,000 images over the course of a week. My eyes are still red and swollen. I found numerous images that I thought would work, but none really grabbed me. On the final night, I decided to try a different search string, and a particular image I hadn’t seen before immediately jumped out at me. It fit perfectly with the story, and I knew instantly that it was the one. I then designed the title and text layout of the cover and the back cover in PowerPoint and uploaded my concept example to the CreateSpace design team. They matched it exactly. Yay!
About a month ago I received my “proof” copy in the mail. I’ll admit to being a little afraid to open it, thinking, “What if this really sucks?” It didn’t, and in fact, it surpassed my expectations. It’s a solid book with a tight spine that doesn’t crack. Most of that evening I sat and stared at it, grinning, pinching myself. Then I found out just how anal I can be. Even though it was for the most part exactly how I wanted it, and I could have approved it for publication right then and there, I sat on it for two weeks. Finally I said “Dude, get it done, it’s ready!”
Now I just had to decide on the price. I was hoping to sell it for less than ten bucks, but CreateSpace determines the minimum list price. They won’t sell a book for less than it costs them to produce it, and for them to take their cut. I was disappointed, but some things you just can’t control.
Sales of the eBook started out strong, but quickly petered out, and that’s probably my fault, as I haven’t done much, if anything, to promote it. Amazon is a vast ocean, and my little book is a tiny piece of driftwood, nearly impossible to spot from the air. My goal now is to jump head first into the marketing aspect. I have a few more options now with a physical book available, so we’ll see how it goes. It’s always a tough sell, and that’s part of the fun. There is little, if any, money to be made at this stage, and that’s not the point. Getting people to read my book is. As a first time author, the best marketing strategy is to write another book, so that’s next on the agenda. Even though I’ve done it once before, is seems so daunting, and when I rifle through the pages of my new paperback, I wonder, “How did I write that all that?” I keep telling myself, “One page at a time, Steve. One page at a time.”
SD