Category Archives: Motivation

First Ever BookBub Deal (Results)

I recently ran my first ever BookBub Featured Deal, the gold standard of all book promotions, and I wanted to share the results for all my fellow writers and interested readers. If my experience can help you better organize your business or promotional goals, right on!

In case you didn’t know, I started a pen name for my horror works. Several months ago I set-up a Twitter account, Instagram, and even a Facebook Author page as well as a free Wix website for the name. I went this route out of respect for my family. Needless to say, the pen name doesn’t have much of a social media presence and nothing published under that name until now.

On July 20th, I released the first novel under that name and had a couple sales. Literally a couple. By the time my Featured Deal ran, it only had nine sales.

I tend to submit my novel The Selection to BookBub every thirty days, as is their policy, and have been rejected at least nine times. On July 25th, not even a week after I released my horror novel, I submitted The Selection and while there, I figured I’d give my new book a shot knowing I’d get rejected and would have to wait another thirty days.

Two days later, a full week after the book’s release, I got the email from BookBub accepting my submission and that it would run my .99 deal on August 5th if I wanted it. Umm…YES! I paid the bill, about $350, and geared up for the email blast.

My novel had a ton of things going against it for a successful BookBub promo. It was a new novel by a new author with very little social media presence. It was a stand alone book with no series to back it up. It was exclusive to Amazon. It only had (and as I write this still does) two reviews. I did nothing else to promote the book other than a couple low cost AMS ads and a low budget BookBub ad (which is waaaay different than their Featured Deal). I did add another book on pre-order so potential readers had more to try from me and to know I wasn’t a one trick pony.

The morning of the 5th came and the email blast went live. I was nervous and worried I wouldn’t get any downloads. I knew how many I needed to sell to cover the ad cost and waited anxiously for the numbers. I’d been watching other authors on kBoards share their BookBub success and hoped I’d follow suit.

One the first day, I sold a grand total of 286 copies, well short of my goal and a bit discouraging. It was the single biggest selling day ever for me, but I knew then I wasn’t going to cover the ad cost. That day, as the numbers rolled in, I went through a series of emotions, mostly rethinking my ability to write and if maybe I ought to toss it all and give up. So far, I’ve not made back the cost of producing a book, ads, or anything. At the end of that day, I was bummed but decided to carry on because I feel I can write compelling stories that others enjoy. My time will come.

youtuber-2838945_1280So day two came and went and I sold a total of 42 copies. So far today, day three, I’ve sold 3 copies. I’ve also started to see a rise in Kindle Unlimited page reads which will help. There have been 4 pre-orders of the other book I put up just before the promo.

So what’s my take away? After the initial shock of watching sales come in slowly and talking myself off the ledge, I’m viewing this as an extremely positive experience.

To land a BookBub Featured Deal on the first try with a new book and new pen name was amazing. What better way to introduce that name to readers than the best promo service around? I expect this will set up my name for quite a while and give it the foundation it needs for future success.

Promoting a horror novel on a Sunday might not have been the best day. Don’t get me wrong, when BookBub says we wanna share your book, you jump at the chance. I’ve tried other services and none have the return they have.

I knew going into it that a stand alone book stood less of a chance to recoup ad costs and in my case, that has proven correct. If it were the first in a series, the read through to the other books would’ve helped tremendously.

For those that wanted to know, there ya go.

Oh, on the bright side, my novel did rise to number one in two of its three categories, earning the coveted orange Best Seller stripe and in one category, I was beating out Stephen King!

Onward and upward friends!

 

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New Year, Better Plans

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you can take the best of 2017 and carry that over to this year. Let’s leave all that negativity and hate in the past and move forward with a purpose and a bright future ahead.

ipadrt_823x978 copy2017 saw the release of my first novel, The Selection. It has since been rebranded as The Selection: The Forgotten Chronicles Book 1. It’s now the first in what I’m planning as a trilogy, set on the planet Anastasia and following Eron as he moves beyond the Selection. As the series title suggests, the Forgotten play an immense role in all of this.

I’ve had mostly positive responses to the book and it’s brought me more readers which I hope to continue into 2018.

To further that, the audiobook release of The Selection: The Forgotten Chronicles Book 1 is due within a week or so of this post. It’s narrated by Paul Jenkins and sounds AMAZING! I cannot wait for its release. I think you’ll love it!

ipadlt_823x978The second book in the trilogy, Rise of the Forgotten comes out on January 19th. You can pre-order the ebook now for only .99. ( A little under the radar pro-tip: if you really don’t wanna wait, the paperback is actually live and available to purchase now.)

I’m working on the third book of the trilogy, The War for Truth. I’m about 8,000 words into it and I’m planning a late Summer release, maybe July. If all goes well, you may also get the release of a series of novellas in the Fall that relates to 4-5 characters from the series.

Other than the scifi series, I’m planning on releasing two horror novels in 2018. One is titled Brown’s Sacrifice and the other is Soul Windows. Both are set in Brownsville, my pseudonym for Murphysboro, where I live. I’ve thought about branding those as Brownsville Oddities Novels and see how that goes. I have a possible third novel to include in that series, however I’m not certain about that yet.

OnTheHorizonNoWoodIn May, my book The Selection: The Forgotten Chronicles Book 1, will be re-released as part of the On the Horizon book bundle which includes 22 full-length scifi and fantasy novels with the theme “little to no tech.” My book fits perfectly with the theme and to make it enticing to those that have already read my book, I’m going to include an exclusive short story that’s only part of this bundle. The best part is you can pre-order it for only .99! I highly encourage you to check it out and pre-order your copy today. Even if you’ve read my book, that’s still 21 other full-length novels for less than a $1!

Finally, I’ll be working on a fantasy novel for a 2019 release as part of a larger shared world project. I think at last count we had something like 20-25 authors committed to the project. Our plan is to release a book a month, all tied into the same world. It’s a fascinating concept and will finally get me to write the fantasy novel I’ve been wanting to write since I started creating stories.

This is what you can look forward to from me in 2018. I’m grateful to those of you who’ve supported me by buying a book, sharing my posts, or offering words of encouragement. It’s lonely sometimes as a writer and you make it all worthwhile. Thanks again for everything! Let’s crush 2018 and make it the best yet!

 

 

Sacrifice for Greatness

Nothing worthwhile has ever occurred without tremendous effort and sacrifice. You must be able to set aside your “wants” and make it happen.

Anyone’s who has ever wanted to be a writer, a musician, or an athlete cannot attain greatness without some sort of sacrifice.

I’ve heard time and time again from would-be writers that they want to write. Ok, well do it! You cannot call yourself a writer if all you do is wish to be one. Add pen to paper, scribble a word, and add more. Sit at your computer and type those glorious words one after another. Those are what begin to make you a writer.

guitar-1837044_960_720Learning to play an instrument isn’t easy. Figuring out chords, notes, and timing takes…well, time. You have to practice a lot. There’s no other way around it. Wishing to be a musician doesn’t make it happen.

You must do something in order to achieve these goals. You must get up off your chair and lift weights if you intend on improving your physical strength. You must go out and run if you intend on improving your cardio health. Sitting down and wanting to do these things doesn’t make them happen. Actually doing them does.

runners-373099_960_720In order to achieve any of this, you must be willing to sacrifice something. All of these take time. So instead of playing video games, lift weights. Instead of sleeping in late, you have to get up early to write that story. Instead of watching television, you should practice your scales.

Time is both finite and infinite. We as humans only have so much of it, limiting what we can do with it. How you chose to spend your time will dictate how successful you are in your endeavors. You must be willing to give up whatever time you dedicated to doing nothing to activities that will get you closer to your goal.

Wanting to do something is one thing, but putting your actions into play–actually giving an effort into it–will get you closer to your dreams. Doing so means not doing something else. That’s the sacrifice required to achieve your goals.

How willing are you to let go of what’s holding you back? You’ll be amazed at the results when you are willing to give up your fleeting entertainment in order to focus on your dreams.

Rough Writing

This post is one I originally posted on Facebook at the end of July and was one of my most viewed posts ever! It’s a deeply personal account of a tough moment in my writing “career.” I’ve posted about it before but this seemed to resonate with many writers and readers. Here ya go!


Last year, I learned a valuable lesson in regards to my writing.

I wanted to turn one of my four NaNoWriMo novels into a publishable book. I choose what I thought was the best one and revised it then hired an editor to look it over.

When I got the edits back, I was also given a brutally honest assessment of the work. It wasn’t something I wanted to hear, but man it was so helpful and so spot on. I cannot thank that editor enough for opening my eyes to the problems it had and how far from being ready it was.

Then, a few days later, I attended a writing conference where they were doing a blind reading of submitted stories with a panel of agents and small publishers. Anyone that wanted to could submit a three page sample of their story and they’d read it out loud for the entire conference to hear. Once it got to the point in the story where that agent or editor would’ve rejected the submission, they were to raise their hand. Once a majority of the panel rejected it, they’d stop and offer a critique of why they rejected it (or if it went the entire length, why they would’ve asked for more).

I submitted my three pages. So did about a hundred other writers. They only read five submissions but guess whose got read? Yeah, this guy right here! It was the same story I had my editor work on. Already feeling bummed about the comments received so far, when they started reading mine I was in shock but also curious.

boy-859364_960_720When they got to the second page, hands started flying up. I sipped my Diet Coke like nothing was going on but inside I was crushed. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Their feedback was brutal. Much like the editor I worked with, they didn’t hold back, however this was in front of a room of over a hundred writers! Fortunately the only person that knew who’s story they were critiquing was myself.

Those combined experiences with that draft made me question everything I was doing. Was I good enough? Do I have a clue about what I’m doing? Was I mistakenly claiming the title of “writer?” Should I give up?

My drive home from that conference was a dark, lonely drive. However, when I finally pulled in the driveway, I determined to use this for good.

I vowed to get better, to try harder, to continue progressing in my craft because I love it. I enjoy writing and it’s a part of me now. I chose to take their criticisms not as a personal attack, but as my alarm to improve my writing. I had skill, but it needed work.

It was a tough lesson to learn, but in the end the most valuable thing to happen to me.

Franken-script

Franken-script was a poorly written manuscript forced on readers who in return gave kind advice and suggestions. This flawed yet loved manuscript was lightly revised to eliminate the ultra-yucky parts and considered to be a prize winning student.

It found an editor to love it and whip it into shape. And that’s where the fun begins!

The brutal editor claimed a skeleton lay underneath the ragged body of a manuscript but would take a whole lot of work to add muscle and skin. Deep sorrow followed. It wasn’t the prize winning student after all. It was in fact a poor-mans representation of what a manuscript should be. A body created with inferior parts.

Two days later while playing at a writers conference, the grotesque manuscript found its way onstage in front of an auditorium filled with other writers in a slush-pile exercise. Out of almost a hundred manuscripts submitted, it was chosen at random to be one of just 6–6!!! manuscripts read out loud for all to hear. A panel of New York agents, editors, and small publishers judged when they’d reject it and move on. Followed by commentary. A slaughter ensued.

Fortunately it was anonymous and no one is the wiser. To protect the innocent I will not reveal the name of the bloody manuscript.

On the hour drive home from the conference with the tattered remains of the manuscript oozing in my car, I had a revelation. Or something.

Patchwork repair was no good. Severe trauma isn’t fixed with duct tape. This required reconstructive surgery.

Not long after arriving home, the new plan was set in place. I could rebuild it. Make it stronger. I had the tools. It would take time but in the end the skeleton will hold up to the new body created for it.

A new manuscript began. A new direction was created. New life emerged from the once monstrous manuscript. No longer would it be known by it’s former shell. It lives! It lives!

So let the lesson be learned. Out of hubris do not force an ugly, rotten, disgusting manuscript on the masses. Rebuild it. Gut it. Strip it to the gleaming white bones and layer strand after strand of new vibrant muscle until it beats again with life.

And when you’re forced to see the awful truth under the bright light of scrutiny, don’t run and hide. Use your tools and make it beautiful.

Doubt doesn’t belong in the lab.

 

*Note: The brutal editor is in fact an excellent editor and held nothing back for which I am grateful. 

Summer of Writing

OK, I’m gonna throw this challenge out there. Starting July 4th and ending on Labor Day (Monday Sept. 5th) let’s have a Summer of Writing!

The goal is to push yourself to write – Every. Single. Day.

There won’t be a word count required per day. Write as much as you can. That might be 100 words, it might be 5,000. No matter what – WRITE!

You can work on a project you’ve already started or you can start something new. It can be a bunch of different projects as well. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you write.

Think of it as a sort of NaNoWriMo without a word count goal. If you want to include a goal, by all means share it with everyone else so we can support you. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook  and together we’ll share our experience and push each other further.

Share the challenge with other writers. We can use the hashtag #sow16 to find one another.

You can do it! We can do it!

Let the Summer of Writing begin!

The Art of Change

Change is inevitable. It can be intentional. More often it’s forced on us from external sources. How we cope with that change can help determine the outcome of the situation.

Changes in our lives happen daily. Life is nothing but a series of events that change us and those around us. All news stories we listen to or watch on tv or read about deal with change. It could be a crime or event or action taken by someone but it’s about change. Sometimes we’re caught in a routine where change feels difficult or impossible but change is unavoidable. It will occur.

Intentionally changing your circumstances is a difficult move to make. We get comfortable where we’re at. Complacency sets in and to move from the known which is convenient to an unknown full of endless possibilities requires energy and determination. That’s not easy. Dreamers like musicians, writers, and other artists have a challenging time with this. I know, I’m in that group.

OldwayI enjoy writing and when I get the opportunity to put words together for a story or essay and it comes out right – pure bliss! But taking that to the next level where I share it with others through my blog or book is not easy. And once I do, then what? How do I pursue this dream to its fullest? I want to make a change in how I pursue this goal of writing and sharing my work, of creating novels and story collections. I dream about being able to share my work with people I don’t know yet. How do I intentionally make that change from sales rep. with a dream to writer with a career? That’s the change I consider daily. There are so many steps I could take to get from point A to point B. I want to take those steps. It’s not like the path has never been taken. I have to force myself to accept and take that willful direction.

Change is often forced on us. Decisions out of our control dictate our response or at the very least force us to adapt to them. Policy makers, life situations (loss of job, death in the family, etc) and other events out of our control bring unwanted change in our lives.

When I was a junior in high school, my parents made the bold decision to move our family from Cleveland, OH to rural Southern Illinois. It was a situation out of my control. I went from the city I loved to farmlands I hated. I was a punk rock/heavy metal listening skateboarder that found myself living not in a concrete jungle but in the midst of cornfields and soybean fields. That was a change I didn’t handle well at first. It was forced on me and instead of seeing the opportunity for growth all I could do was focus on the negative and fell into a depression.

I’ve lived well over half my life in Illinois moving from the farmlands to a small town and I enjoy life here very much. I have a family and friends I would never have known if it weren’t for this change in my life. I understand now why the change had to occur but at the time like most people forced to deal with such an upheaval, I responded with negativity and anger.

Looking back at it, if I were to deal with the situation in a more positive way I could’ve enjoyed my time and the transition so much more. I could have grown instead of turning inward in a childish attempt to ignore the situation.

Change in our lives is inescapable. We like to think we’re cozy where we’re at. But how likely are you going to stay comfy in your current situation? Taking steps to confront and accept that possibility I think are key to creating a positive outcome. Planning for change rather than reacting to change is a much stronger stance. Working towards a goal and calculating the way towards it is a worthwhile pursuit.


Saturday May 7th I’ll be at the Indie Book Fair in St. Louis selling my book and doing a reading from it. Come on out and meet me and close to 40 other local and regional authors. Should be a great time!

No More Ragrets

What if the world ended today? What is the news was flooded with reports of impending global destruction or some other cataclysmic event? Would you run around screaming and crying? Would you get violent and act on all your base instincts? Would you seek out your loved ones and hold them close? As you sat waiting for the inevitable end and the time ticked away, what would your mind focus on?

My mind wanders to thoughts like these a lot. Call it “mid-life” or “scared-of-what-these-presidential-candidates-have-in-store-for-us” syndrome, but either way, I find myself questioning my life choices and direction.

meteorite-1060886_960_720I’ve found balance, to a degree, by focusing more on writing. It’s an avenue where I can express my thoughts (like on this blog) or create new worlds full of danger and heroes through my fiction. Expressing myself through words and sharing that with others has given me a greater sense of “being” in a way unlike anything else I’ve been doing. I’ve met so many new and wonderful people through the power of words. I feel confident in what I’ve done so far. Maybe my words might live on in some form that a future generation, if anything survives a possible global annihilation, can discover it and be entertained by it. If nothing else maybe they’ll get a good laugh.

That’s one of my constant fears: leaving nothing of consequence behind.

I look at my son as my parting shot to the world. When he’s an adult and out on his own, my hope is that my wife and I raised him to be a productive member of society and he brings something positive to the world. We’re doing our best and maybe one day he’ll cure a disease or create a new product that truly benefits humanity. Or maybe he’ll be the next great artist or novelist. He could possibly be a great family man that in turn raises a child (or children) to become something special to the world. (Though I can wait to be a grandpa. I’m not in any hurry for that!) It took me awhile to realize it, but he is “something of consequence” I’m leaving behind. My legacy, fair or not, lives on in him. What my wife and I do in raising him and the values we instill in him will affect future generations and by doing so, I am leaving something after I’m gone.

I’ve worried a lot in the past year or so (is it a coincidence it happened when I turned 40?) that I’m toiling in this world with nothing to show for it. I don’t want to be a cog in the machine. I don’t want to be one of millions that trudges on through life and before I know it, I’ve wasted it on fruitless pursuits. I don’t want to get to the end and look back on a series of regrets for not doing this or not helping with that. I’m trying to avoid that kind of end to my life. I’m trying to leave something lasting after I’m gone.

When those meteors rain down on us or flames sweep the globe, I want to know I’ve done something special. What about you?


 

Before you go, I want to update you on a few things. I’ve got a brand new author website up and running. Go check it out at jasonjnugent.com. While there, sign up for my monthly newsletter and receive a code for a FREE copy of my debut fiction collection to download from Smashwords.

I’ve got my first book signing event coming on April 9th at the Book House in St. Louis. I will be with fellow S.U.M. writer Lakesha Mathis. If you’re in the area, please stop by. I love to meet new people and share my work with them.

On May 7th I will be at the St. Louis Indie Book Fair at the St. Louis Library. I’ll have books to sell and will have a chance to do a reading. Come on out and meet me and over 50 other writers at what should be a great event.

And finally, if you’ve not picked up a copy of my debut collection (Almost) Average Anthology, it’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks for only .99! You can click on the large book cover on this page to buy it from Amazon. Please consider getting a copy of my original fiction and when you do, an honest review is very much appreciated.

Thanks!

Ready for Rejection?

Rejection sucks! Whether it’s from another person, your boss, or anyone else – rejection sucks! This past year has been a boon for me in terms of rejection.

I’ve got a file I keep of all submitted stories and queries. I’ve got over 40 rejections with only 1 acceptance! I’m not the greatest with math, but the percentage of my work accepted is pretty dang low. I thought about it and there are a few reasons why I’ve experienced so many “no” emails and only one “yes” email.

My first and most important thought is my writing needs to be better. I don’t blame others for my failings. I own my shortcomings and learn from them. I do think my writing needs improvement. I work on it almost daily. I’ve gone to a writer’s conference earlier this year and I work on the craft much more now than I ever have. I can see improvement in how I write from a year ago. I’m positive if I continue to hone my craft, I’ll get better as I practice. It’s kinda like running. I can’t go out and run a marathon if I don’t start training. I have to build up my body in order to run the race. Writing is the same way. If I work at it and learn my failings, I can grow and be a better writer.

I’ve mentioned this before, but in one of the rejections I received for a manuscript, the publisher was kind enough to offer a few critiques. The one that’s stuck out with me was “you can write, but you can do better.” It was validation that I’ve got some talent but could still learn a lot more. I was grateful to get such a response.

Second, maybe I’ve been sending it to the wrong places. I’ve targeted the major markets (Daily Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Nightmare Magazine, etc) hoping to break through and grace their publications. Nope, not this year. And that’s fine. It’s a learning experience. Fortunately I don’t need to sell stories in order to support my family. Looking at magazines and journals that don’t pay pro rates might be where I need to focus. It would help build an audience and get my name exposed to more and more readers.

Lastly, and this ties in with the second, is that I’m incorrectly identifying my stories and sending them to the wrong places. It’s possible my work doesn’t fit their magazines at all and I need to look for other sources to get my name out there. I need to reevaluate my stories and where I send them in order to find better matches.

I believe in my work. I trust I have some amount of skill. More importantly I enjoy writing stories. When I get so involved in writing that I can see the characters as vivid as if they were standing in front of me and hear them speaking to each other, that’s when it’s the absolute best. There is nothing like it.

I’ll continue to submit stories. I’ll keep sending queries. Maybe this time next year, I’ll have another list of rejection but a few more acceptances. I won’t know unless I try.

Claimed

I’m a writer. There, I said it. Take me to task. “What have you written?” you may ask. “Are you published?” you might follow up with. OK, slow down.

Just know, I am a writer.

Do you know how long it’s taken me to claim that title? It’s not like I woke up one day and thought, hmm…today I think I’m a writer. If only it were so easy.

Others have a preset idea of what “I’m a writer” means. I was one of those people. Now, not so much.

I no longer think a “writer” has to have published a NYT bestseller. A writer need not have actually published at all. Some have written far longer and more prolific than I have, yet they don’t have a single published credit to their name. Are they writers? Of course they are! And probably better than I am.

I’m fortunate to have at least one published credit to my name (*cough, cough: http://www.everydayfiction.com/cat-got-your-tongue-by-jason-j-nugent/) I also have this blog which has gained readers every month. Add my work on a video game and the three unpublished novels I’ve written, and I’ve got a decent start to what I’d like to call my “writing career.”

Not that any of that makes me more of a writer than others. I’ve been fortunate because I’ve put myself out there for others to read and I’ve had mostly positive feedback. It’s not always been a pleasant process, but I believe in what I do and I’m not afraid of rejection. Well, not that afraid.

At a recent writing conference I attended, the question was posed, “Who has had a story rejected before?” About two-thirds of the class raised their hand, including me. The instructor applauded us because you can’t get published unless you try. Part of the process is rejection.

I’ve been writing seriously for maybe seven to eight years. I’ve enjoyed creating stories since high school, but I never devoted time and resources to it like I do now.

I was scared at first to call myself a writer. What did that mean? How would others think of me? Do I have a right to claim that title? Do I have enough “cred” to call myself a writer?

Yes. Yes I do.

I might be a sales rep. at a screen-printing company. I might be a husband and a father. I might be a part-time runner and wicked bocce ball player.

But I’m also a writer. You’ve got it in black and white.