Monthly Archives: February 2014

Prequels and Perma-Free

Free is a gateway.

In the self-publishing world, giving away the first book in a series for free is one of the ways authors can get people to take a chance on their work.  The phrase is called “perma-free,” meaning permanently free and it allows readers to check out a new author or new series with no risk.  The read-through rate of people who get a free book and buy the next one is around 15-17%.

For new authors or writers kicking off a series, like we are with Gabby Wells, the free model is still the preferred method, but you don’t want to give away the first and only book you have available.  So, what should you do?

Write a prequel.

This is something I had thought about doing anyway, but now it’ll give me the impetus to make it a priority.  So, as we finish the polish of the first novel, Water & Blood, I am going to write a prequel novella called The Homecoming Incident.

All of the prequels will be around 25,000 words and fall under the Gabby Wells Chronicles, if, indeed, we write future stories that happen prior to the novel series.

The greatest enjoyment I’m having in writing The Homecoming Incident is it allows me to interact in the characters lives before the heavy drama in the novel series.  The weight of the events that unfold in the series are in the future, so their lives in the prequels are lighter, more fun and we can enjoy how their relationships started.

So, our current plan is to release The Homecoming Incident for free (eventually, I’ll explain that in a second) as a gateway, a funnel, to drive readers to take a chance on Water & Blood.

The problem with the Perma-Free model is that you can’t release a book free out of the block.  Why?  Because there’s no reason for Amazon to allow people to post books on their website for free, where they don’t get any cut of the sale price.  The only way to get a book as Perma-Free is to also post your book for sale on other sites for free and then ask Amazon to price match, which they will, when they get around to it.

Therefore, the prequel will have to be offered for .99 to start.

Now, the way things change, Amazon could decide to no longer offer free books at all, but since it is an effective way for readers to buy other books on their site, the pros out way the cons, for now.

My goal is to write 1500 words a day and hope to get the first draft of the novella done in a few weeks.  Eventually you’ll be able to get it for free.  I hope it spurs interest in people to take a chance on Water & Blood.

If not, I’ll enjoy the time I get to spend with the characters in their prior lives, solving mysteries, getting into trouble and having fun.

It’s a win-win situation.

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The Origins of Gabby Wells

Author Pete Bauer talks about the long and winding path that ended up turning the Gabby Wells character into a novel heroine.

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Comedies Need Anchors

In order for comedies to be successful there needs to be an anchor in reality. Without one, the show becomes untethered and floats away into frivolousness.

psychA current example of this is the show Psych. I’ve always been a fan of the show because of its overt silliness and funny writing. In the show, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and Burton Guster (Dule Hill) are childhood friends who create a fake psychic detective agency using Spencer’s unique gift of observation as the source of his psychic visions.

Spencer and Guster get into some insanely idiotic situations and it is their chemistry and comedic talents that make the show work. However, their success is predicated on the comedy existing in world that we consider “real enough.” Their assumptions and behavior are so absurd that it only works because everyone else is shocked at their schtick.

That’s what ties the show to reality and the core of that anchor was filled by two roles on the show, the police chief (Kirsten Nelson) and Spencer’s father (Corbin Bersen).

As the show winds down its run, both of those characters have been missing in action and the police chief was replaced by a nut job as equally inappropriate, yet more dangerous, as Spencer, played by Anthony Michael Hall.

With Hall as chief, the show lost its anchor. It went from a world that you could almost believe could actually exist, maybe, to a world that would never exist in the real world. No one like Hall’s character would ever move up the food chain of the police force to be chief. Ever. So everything he does, says, proposes and executes is looked at with disbelief and displeasure.

Too many comedic chefs in the kitchen.

The result of this is that the show loses its footing and becomes silliness for sillinesses sake. Instead of being interesting and funny, it’s now meaningless while trying to be funny.

It simply doesn’t work.

Humor, whether it is in television, film or novels, is funny if its anchored in reality. Otherwise, it’s just forgettable fluff.

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Writing Characters of Faith

Author Pete Bauer talks about he approaches writing characters of faith in fiction novels.

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Sonlight Press Announces the Gabby Wells Novel Series

Sonlight Press is happy to announce a new upcoming young adult novel series, Gabby WellsOur first novel, Water & Blood, is written by Pete Bauer and scheduled for release later this year.

Cabby-Poster-2.1-SLPSite Gabby, a junior in high school in the small town of Safety Harbor, was born with certain talents which, through experience and circumstance, have turned her into an effective investigator.  Whenever her classmates find themselves in trouble, her skills are in demand. She’s never their first choice and often their last, but sooner or later, they always call.

When one of her close friends is murdered, Gabby’s obsession with finding the killer will shake the town, threaten friendships, and test her faith. But how close is she willing to come to losing her soul in the process?

The first of a five novel series, Water & Blood focuses on Gabby Wells, a young woman trying to manage the high demands of her faith while grappling with the daily challenges of her teen years. Water & Blood is a fast-paced mystery that forces Gabby to put everything on the line in an attempt to bring her friend’s murderer to justice.

We’ll have much more information in the coming weeks about Water & Blood and the other books in the series, so keep checking back to the Sonlight Press website for more updates!

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Where Credit is Due

I once read that successful people surround themselves with people who are strong in areas they are not.  I continue to do this in the creation of the Gabby Wells novels.

Collaboration

As I’ve mentioned on this blog, my history is writing screenplays, but am migrating my way into novel writing.  This process hasn’t been easy and has required in inordinate amount of re-writes in order to start the process of re-wiring my brain so that I can approach a scene in my mind from the perspective of a novelist.

This long process has sucked.  But, in the end it will be worth it.

During this process I have had the critical assistance of two people.  One has shown me the independent author ropes and assisted in editing our book and another, a very gifted writer, has been kind enough to help craft each chapter to its maximum potential.

It’s time I give them their due credit, but stealthily so.  The person editing my book has been doing so as a favor (she refuses to let me pay her).  She was once an editor, but has since moved to other areas of interest in the literary landscape.  She no longer officially edits and would rather her public persona remain focused on her current interest, so I will keep her name to myself.  But, thank you, ______, you have been a tremendous avenue of support!

The second person is a writer, who has chosen the pen name C F Long as her moniker.  She is a private person, but has been there during the creation of the novel.  She’s helped me so much that I convinced her to include her name on the book cover.  After all, this book would never see the light of day without her.

So, instead of the Gabby Wells book being written by only me, it will include “with C F Long” on the cover.  She wants to retain her privacy and acknowledges that this novel, and it’s following series, is my creative baby, so she is not interested in participating in the publicity of the product.  However, I felt it would be dishonest of me to finish it and claim sole creative credit for a book in which her voice is intermingled with my own.

Thank you, my creative team, for helping me learn the business and hone my skills.  I still have a long way to go, but I couldn’t have gotten this far without you.

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