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ND   ND wrote
on 4/21/2013 2:05:58 PM
Writing is easy Do you know if you write a page a day that within one year you will have written a book? How many times have I heard that one? If that one book takes a year to write then the revision process would have to take many years, unless you’re a genius and don’t need to rewrite and edit. Truth is, writing a first draft is the easy part when writing a novel. I can usually belt one out in a few months. But the revision; forgetta’bout it. That’s the time consuming stuff, though I am getting better at it as I get older (and hopefully wiser). I’m also getting better as a writer. Ideas come more easily after so many years of living in my creative mind and the process of getting them on paper is less time-consuming. For my new novel, I’m finding the plot twists are coming naturally and I’ve had quite a few ‘aha!’ moments in the last few days. Here’s a little secret about starting a new novel. Don’t worry about the perfect first chapter or getting that perfect first line, it’s incredibly frustrating. Just start jotting down a story with the mind-set that you’re going to rewrite it later. Through most of my books, I’ve completed about half of the novel when I usually go back and write new intro’s that incorporate the original intro’s, if that makes any sense. For instance, I thought I had the perfect intro for my latest, a shocking, get-right-into-the-action first chapter, when a few hours ago I came up with a much better start. But I only could have progressed to that point if I’d already had something written down, something I could improve on. My old intro to my novel is now chapter two. But, that intro catapulted me into the story so I could build a base. As of this post, I’ve hit the 25,000 word mark and have a pile of notes about how the novel will progress. But since I don’t outline, I’m not sure what exactly will happen. The fun of this project is that anything can. My blog: http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com

ND   ND wrote
on 2/11/2012 12:57:29 PM
I discovered the secret I think I may have discovered why my sales increased so dramatically the other day. It has nothing to do with a marketing promo suddenly taking off or someone posting a rave review and recommendation. I believe my increase in sales was due to Kindle error. I posted a few notes on the KDP forum about my jump in sales and it seems that I’m not the only author that this happened to. It appears Kindle had made some mistakes in their counters and the recent jump in numbers was them finally correcting this problem. But here’s the good news… they were real sales! Though the 80 purchases in an hour and a half didn’t happen at that moment, the sales were still real and the ranking in the paid Kindle store was true. In a strange way, this gives me hope on the days that I rack few sales that perhaps there are sales taking place that will be recorded later. That said, the secret to making it as a successful indie writer is this: PATIENCE. We are experiencing first hand a new era in publishing where the writer can instantly connect with the publisher. It used to be that authors received a quarterly notice on sales and had no way of knowing how they were going until then. Now, sales recordings are almost instant. A writer can check hourly if he or she has sold a book. This can lead to a daunting feeling of “things aren’t happening fast enough”. Yesterday, I was a little depressed because I only logged 4 sales for the day. What I don’t take into account is the 125 sales I’ve shown so far this quarter. And this quarter isn’t over. And my sponsorships are just beginning. And with the electronic age my books have no shelf life so they will be available for purchase forever. It’s kind of mind boggling when you think about it. I have my entire life to market and promote my books. Wow! On a side note, I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what led to my jump in sales. Though, it had no direct impact that day, I believe posting on Kindle Boards is the best way to promote your books without over-promoting. Kindle Boards allows you to attach your book images and links to buy them with each post you make. So, even if your posting a question about something unrelated to your writing you’ll still have a hash tag of your books. I believe this has led to an increase in sales. http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com

ND   ND wrote
on 2/9/2012 1:57:53 PM
It worked! The free promotion of SILENT INVASION seems to have worked. I don’t know if someone put it as a recommendation on their website, or if someone posted a blog about it, or that people who have read my other books liked them and now want to read this one. But last night in a period of about two hours I sold nearly 80 copies in the U.S. and U.K. combined. At one point my Amazon ranking fell below the 5,000 mark. It’s now back up into the 20,000 range. It is quite a rush to see the sales numbers go up and I must have checked every ten minutes. So, what now? Well, the numbers have steadied and are subsiding. My next move is to retrace all my promo for the last few days and try to figure out what made SILENT INVASION click for so many readers. Once I pinpoint the marketing avenue, I’ll do the same promo for each of my other books and hopefully create even more of a viral effect. The promotions have also affected my other books and they seem to be selling a bit more, too, especially in the U.K. As a writer, don’t underestimate the buying power of our friends across the pond. I’ve locked more than three dozen overseas sales so far this month. I’m excited to see what happens with AFTER and the Kindle Nation Daily sponsorship scheduled for Feb. 16th. I’ll track the results and post. That’s about it for today. I did win about $500 down in Atlantic City and had a great time. Now, it’s time to get back to the biz. of writing. If sales continue the way they are going, it won’t be long until I finally break even in my marketing and book production costs and may even start making a profit. Please check out SILENT INVASION. This book seems to be the flavor of the moment. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ZQTWPW https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006ZQTWPW My blog: http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com

ND   ND wrote
on 1/29/2012 11:58:17 AM
I’m not famous! Funny thing happened yesterday while I was working at my conventional job. A young, attractive girl happened to stumble upon my books on the internet and came up to talk to me about them. She said how much she respected someone who could do what writers are born to do and she wished she could author a book. (What I didn’t tell her about was the years of isolation and sacrifices made). Anyway, she then said something to me that struck as both humorous and poignant. She said, and I quote “Wow, you’ve written nine books! You’re going to be famous!” I replied with a little laugh “Maybe I’ll get rich, but writers don’t really get famous.” That thought stuck in my head for the rest of the night and obviously into today. Unlike musicians and actors, writers aren’t usually in the lime light. We don’t ache for public attention (at least I don’t), and generally prefer being alone. Even if I sell a million books I don’t expect to walk into a restaurant, be recognized, and be given a special table. Or go shopping and have a crowd of admirers follow me around the store snapping photos. Writers write because they have to. They tell stories because it’s an urge that must be fulfilled. Whether getting famous or not. Rich or not. Real writers must put pen to paper (or in my case, fingers to keyboard) every day or they feel somehow disconnected from the world. Some would call it lunacy. Others, mad genius. And still others would say I waste a huge amount of time tapping away. Whatever it is that drives writers cannot be understood by those who don’t. So if you see me out and about you don’t need to come running for an autograph or pull out your phone for a picture. You can just step up and say hi, because I’m nobody famous; just a writer. As promised, here is another example of a query that got a lot of publisher and agent requests. I’ve omitted the last paragraph of credentials since I’ve listed them in prior posts. DREAM TRAVELER In the far reaches of the galaxy, thoughts can become reality. DREAM TRAVELER is a 30,000-word young adult fantasy adventure in which a fifteen-year-old girl journeys to the future and risks her soul to understand the politics of an alien civil war and stop the destruction of the universe. After centuries of conflict, ageless spirits called Phelastians, who live on a magnificent floating city, are finally making peace with Dwellers, ape creatures who live on a decimated planet Earth. Ancient formalities require that a human be present as a witness to the treaty. A Phelastian travels through the interstellar continuum back in time and recruits Jamie Richards, a geeky, everyday teenager. Core, a Dweller overlord, is pro war and sabotages the link connecting Jamie to her world. Jamie vanishes from the signing, crumbling the negotiations, and sending her on a series of fantastic, alternate-reality adventures that shatter the boundaries of possibility. Stumbling into shifting prisms of both worlds, she visits war-ravaged landscapes, returns to an Earth ruled by mechanical aliens, and even meets herself as a frail, old woman. Through it all, Jamie pieces together the disjointed fragments of space and time and discovers a stable vortex. She returns to the moment of signing and stabilizes the link seconds before creation explodes with parallel dimensions. DREAM TRAVELER is the second in a completed three book sci-fi/fantasy series. Readers can expect a mind-bending adventure punctuated by bizarre plot twists. Jamie faces and overcomes unimaginable obstacles. She is a strong, smart, female hero. The story will delight children, teens, and adults alike. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006F2AGUQ https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006F2AGUQ ALWAYS WRITING http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com

ND   ND wrote
on 1/26/2012 12:13:22 PM
Marketing plus In my endless quest to market and promote myself so I can sell millions of books and spend my days fishing in the Florida Keys, I’ve discovered yet a few more sites and tips that are free and can do wonders for promotion. The latest cool marketing bit is on the Kindle Forums, ie. Kindle chat. This forum has thousand of members and there are hundreds of topics to comment on. But do not self-promote! So, why is this so cool? Because, Kindle forums allows you to place cover widgets of your books at the bottom of everything you comment on. So you can engage in lots of talk while also showing off your titles. You do this by going into your profile and at the bottom it has a button for the code to link your books. This is like showing off your covers to thousands without overtly self-promoting. Some other great sites for strictly posting your work are: writing.com, published.com, book daily.com, scribd.com, and Booksie.com. There are hundreds of others of course, but these are easy to sign up and easy to navigate. In other news, SILENT INVASION has sold a few copies and I’m gearing up for a big promo blitz. My other books are beginning to sell okay and between the five exclusively for sale on Kindle, I’m selling about three to five a day. The next month should be exciting because all my promotion gigs start, including my Kindle Nation spot. That one took three months to get and I got it before they raised their rates. I just checked, and most of their spots are filled three to four months out. If you have a book to advertise, I’d book space now. Also, something I’ve wanted to get off my chest. In the last year I’ve published five books on Kindle, set up accounts on more than 35 writers sites and have marketed and promoted my books for hours daily, yet I still feel it’s not happening fast enough. I feel like somehow if I don’t hit it big soon that technology will make authors obsolete. Or at least, the ability for authors to make a living at writing. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before books are pirated on the internet as easily as music. I feel like an aging dinosaur in an increasingly modern world. I only hope this way of life for all of us writers doesn’t disappear. Please check out SILENT INVASION and please hit the tags and like button. Thanks. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ZQTWPW https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006ZQTWPW blog: http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com

ND   ND wrote
on 1/23/2012 11:39:09 AM
Silent Invasion They are here! They are hidden among us! They will stop at nothing to destroy us! That’s right! After much anticipation, SILENT INVASION is live and available for sale! If you’ve read DREAM TRAVELER or INSECTLAND, this is the book that started the series. I had release the sequels first, but now the full storyline will all come together. SILENT INVASION took fifteen years to finish. Not write, but finish. Here’s the history. The first draft was completed in September 1997 as a single, stand-alone novel. In November 1997 I got my first agent, Ann Luster of Luster Lit. She spent six months “shopping” the manuscript with no result. A few months after that, her phone got disconnected and I never heard from her again. Turns out, she was part of a huge author scam in the mid-nineties; anyone remember Edit Ink, and the six million dollar lawsuit against them? The only good thing is I never sent her any money, which is why I guess I was never even given a chance. Anyway, I rewrote SILENT INVASION, thinking the manuscript had flaws and decide to turn it into a series. I envisioned three books, each singularly a story, yet all three would have a grander meaning. I wanted these books to be wholly different from anything out there; wild, mind-bending novels for middle school through adult readers. In spring of 1998, I had started work on INSECTLAND, when I got offered representation again. This was a shady agency that did have a few legit sales. I had to pre-pay $300 for printing of manuscripts and materials or I could do it myself. I opted to do it myself (which probably put them off to me right away). It cost about $150 to get everything done and shipped to them. Again, many months went by without a word. Finally, I got a small plain envelope with a photocopied list of all the publishers they’d claimed to have sent it to and then a kind “wish we could do more and good luck with your life” note. By that time, I’d finished INSECTLAND and had completed a first draft of DREAM TRAVELER. I continued my quest for agents, but also started querying publishers. I wrote more novels, switching genres to noir thrillers and then back to sci-fi, on a yearly basis. On average, once a month I’d get a request for a read from either agent or publisher. Most all wrote me back detailing reasons why they didn’t take the book on and suggestions for change. I incorporated those changes and in June of 2006, I got a phone call that would change my life. Gary Heidt of Signature Lit in NY wanted to represent me. I went through the roof. This was a top agent, with huge sales, in a top NY agency. The high of that call lasted days. And in the months that followed, we had moments of sheer excitement as editors and publishers decide if they wanted to take the book on. We tweaked my other novels as an agent-author team and got so close to getting large advances that it hurt. Then, all of a sudden the publishing environment changed and competition for shelf space at the bookstore became overwhelming. Requests for my novels became less and less and then finally in August of 2009 Gary conceded that he couldn’t do anything else for me and we amicably parted ways. January 2010, I discovered Kindle publishing and my whole life changed. Still believing SILENT INVASION had a shot at the corporate publishing world I held off publishing it until now. If you’re interested in reading something completely original, fun, and adventurous, then I think you’ll like SILENT INVASION. Happy reading. SILENT INVASION Thirteen-year-old Tim Madison’s life turns upside down when a strange visitor takes him aboard a magnificent spaceship to train for a future alien invasion. Returned home with new skills and this terrible knowledge, he confides in his two best friends about his experience. Now, they’re in a race against time to prevent an all-out attack on Earth. Can they stop the ruthless, spider-like creatures from constructing a massive extermination army deep inside our planet? Or will we all perish? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ZQTWPW https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006ZQTWPW Blog: http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com

ND   ND wrote
on 1/21/2012 11:48:45 AM
Free adventure! Since my last giveaway was so successful I’ve decided to do it again with a different book. From now until Monday DREAM TRAVELER is absolutely free on Kindle!! DREAM TRAVELER Every time Jamie Richards falls asleep, she’s bounced through time and injected into possible futures. And all of these diverse futures lead to one horrifying conclusion; the end of everything. Can Jamie save trillions of lives, prevent a war that has already occurred, and stop herself from meeting her self, all while attempting to stabilize creation and find her way home? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006F2AGUQ https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006F2AGUQ Check it out if you’re in the mood for a wild, mind-bending adventure. And while you’re at it, check out my other sci-fi fantasy books. As I’ve said before, I believe these free promotions are the best way to build new readership.

ND   ND wrote
on 1/18/2012 12:20:46 PM
Query that worked Continuing to showcase queries that got agents and publishers interested in my work over the years, when there was a publishing industry willing to take on new writers (ha ha), here is the query that got the head of Random House Children’s Division (Jim Thomas) interested in AFTER. It was submitted by my agent at the time and was given a read in less than forty-eight hours. This is his exact reply. “Thanks for the look at AFTER. There’s a lot I like about it. It’s quite inventive, with ideas I haven’t seen before. I was compelled to read through the entire manuscript. But I fear it may be too…gruesome? If not for the YA market then for my sensibilities. Still, I was glad to read it.” That was October 9th 2008; a lifetime ago in the way books are sold today and what the industry has become. I don’t know if Mr. Thomas is still head of Random House but I do thank him for that feedback all those years ago and the encouragement (hey, I’ll take it in any form). I went on to rewrite the novel a little less “gruesome” than it was before. My former agent, Gary Heidt has gone on to open his own agency, Signature Lit. and is doing very well. We don’t keep in touch but we left on mutually good terms. He tried to sell my books for three and a half years (I have copies of the rejection slips to prove it), and I don’t blame him for moving on. Publishing and selling my work on my own is much more exciting and rewarding anyway, than sitting around waiting for numbers, and contracts, and dealing with executives. Here’s the query. Feel free to plagiarize any part. I won’t be using it. Dear ? On the day we’re born we’re all destined to die. But what lies after? For fifteen–year-old Nick Murray, death is only the beginning. His entire human life has been an illusion in preparation for the epic role his soul will play in the destiny of the universe. Nick always believed he was an ordinary kid until an unusual cardiac arrest strikes him down. Leaving behind his mother and girlfriend, his soul enters the hereafter and finds it is nothing like the fire and brimstone he’d always imagined. Incoming entities are distributed to levels according to the good vs. evil they had done in their lives. There’s only one problem, Nick never had any real human experiences. Fostered to be a celestial super hero, he must prevent the devil from damning for eternity all who ever lived. Because of your amazing track record at ? for selling books like ? which is similar to my style, I’m writing to query you about my completed 35,000 word middle grade paranormal novel, AFTER. High-stakes action, outlandish settings, and featuring a cast of fearsome and angelic characters, mixed with a subtle love story, makes AFTER a novel that will appeal to tweens, teens and adults alike. Nick is a smart, captivating protagonist who must overcome insurmountable obstacles to succeed in the quest he’s been given. A quest that includes traveling through various realms of the ethereal, outwitting the sinister demons and gods who reside there, and becoming human again to end a war on Earth fought with futuristic weaponry. My publishing history spans twenty years with credits in online and printed publications. Thanks for your time. I have enclosed a short sample of AFTER. I’d be delighted to send the entire manuscript. http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com

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