Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Importance Of Leaving Book Reviews...

About this time last year I wrote a post about book reviews, trying to explain why they are so important to authors.  I explained at length about how prospective readers take note of what others have said about a book when trying to decide whether or not to give it a try.  

But did you know that the number of reviews a book gets can affect how much promotion it can get on Amazon.com?  It's true.  Take a look:


So you see, your reviews have more power than you thought.  Even if all you feel comfortable writing is just a couple of sentences like "Kept me on the edge of my seat...", "Couldn't put it down...", "I want to see more from this author...", "I really enjoyed this, can't wait for more..." 

Those sentences plus a 1-5 star rating can help that author and their work get more exposure on Amazon.  This is something that is extremely helpful for Indie and brand new authors who are trying to get their name out there, but may not have hardly any budget to spend on getting their books listed on other sites. 

So please, take the time to leave a review, no matter how short or long.  You could be doing your favorite authors a HUGE favor, and believe me when I say, "We authors will appreciate it."

My book first book, "The Bridge" is sitting at 19 reviews so just a few more could really help it gain more exposure.  "The Ship", my second novel, is sitting at lonely 8 reviews, so if you've already read it, please leave a rating and a few kinds words so it can get more attention too. 

You can reach both books at my Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/allankrummenacker

But don't just do it for me, do it for other authors whose work you enjoy.  Help them become the next Stephen King, JK Rowling, or Suzanna Collins.  Remember, you the readers are what makes a book or an author a hit or a miss.  

Thank you all for your help and support, and remember keep writing because one day it might be your work the rest of us are trying to help promote.  

P. S.: "The Door"and "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" are both on track for a DOUBLE-RELEASE just in time for the holidays so stay tuned. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

How I Chose My Collaborators - Part 2

In the first half of this discussion I talked about collaborating with my wife Helen and how much of an impact she's had on my writing.  


Today I would like to introduce you all to my other cohort in crime, mischief, nonsense, lunacy, chaos, and other things too numerous to mention, as well as writing.  

Richard Caminiti and I go back as far as Levittown Memorial High School (Go Panthers).  Mind you shortly after we graduated the school was closed.  Coincidence?  You decide.

I cannot count he number of hours Rich and I spent together both in and out of school.  We shared a number of interests such as science fiction, the paranormal, and a number of great friends.  He was also involved in the Nassau County Auxillary Police and still has his badge from those days.

But when I left Levittown, Long Island (New York State), in 1985 I lost touch with him an so many others.  So I was not there to watch him rise up through the ranks from police officer to Sergeant.  Nor was I around when he served as part of the Volunteer Fire Department as an EMT/Firefighter. I was also not around for when he began one of the most intriguing jobs he's had, namely Paranormal Investigator (which he still does).   He's seen and debunked a lot of things and helped to put people's minds at rest, but he has also encountered phenomenon that is less easily explained and is a true believer in the paranormal.  

So you can easily see why I felt so lucky and thrilled that thanks to FB, after 20+ years of being out of touch, to be in contact with him again.  Especially when we started to Skype and it felt like very little time had actually passed since the last time we got to sit down together.  Much had happened for each of us in those years, but the camaraderie we shared had not diminished in the slightest.  So when he asked me to take a look at a writing project he'd been working on and off for the last two decades, I was only too glad to say yes.

What I found was very much a rough first draft of a science fiction/time travel story.  There was a lot of setting the scene in the future, and technobabble, which made it a bit dry reading but there wa sa real story here.  I was able to see the story he wanted to tell and where he intended to take it.  In short, it had potential.  With a bit of reworking his story had legs and wanted to run.  So during some Skype sessions I gave him a lot of the same advice I've shared on this blog in the past and acted as a sounding board as he came up with new ideas and helped guide him to rework what he had.  The newer versions I and others have seen are a great improvement and he is extremely fired up to keep it going. 

After seeing how far he was coming in such a short time, and because of our long friendship and shared interests, I was more than willing to agree to collaborate on a novel with him. I knew his strengths and insights, as well as how good we could work together.  And I enjoy our brainstorming sessions and how thoroughly he cares about accuracy when it comes to writing in a historical setting.  Which is what we're doing currently.  "The Pass" will be our first joint project and will involve some interesting supernatural entities that one might not think of blending together for a piece.  But I assure you all, we're being careful and making sure the beings we incorporate have reasons for being in this setting.  History and the supernatural will be meeting in this tale set during the waining years of the Civil War, but the battlefront will not be on fields of Gettysburg or Atlanta.  This story will be set on west coast and involve a famous pass who's name is associated with people who tried to travel through it during a terrible winter back in the 1840's.

We plan on keeping you all updated on our progress and I'll be helping my partner create a blog of his own so you can all get to know him better.  He's wealth of knowledge and is only too happy to share with others, which makes him an excellent storyteller, collaborator and very dear friend.


So there you have it folks.  Choosing to work with someone on a collaboration is not easy by any means.  But if you truly feel you can rely on the individual in question and that the two of you can really work as one, then give it a shot. 

Until next time, take care and keep writing.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I Wish To Interrupt This Blog With An Important Question...

I've been having a tough time getting a completed 1st draft of "The Door" finished by the end of this summer as I originally planned.  The story is coming along very nicely, however I had planned on releasing it in late September/early October, which is becoming less and less likely.



Furthermore, I had already planned on releasing "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" in December to catch the holiday crowds.  



So I would like to know how you would feel about a "Double-Release" in December?

I have been hearing from a number of people who have been clamoring for one or both books, and I'm perfectly at ease with the idea of releasing both at or around the same time.  

Furthermore, I want to let you all know that I've already got at least one other book lined up for the middle of next year, so you won't have to wait long for another installment.  

Please leave your thoughts on this idea in the comment section below.  Your opinions are important to me, so please take advantage of this opportunity to express your feelings and wishes.

Thank you.

PS: The next entry will go back to telling you all about my collaborators and how I chose them.  Until then, keep writing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How I Chose My Collaborators - Part 1


After my first book "The Bridge" came out and the 4 and 5 star reviews started coming in, I got a lot of congratulations and support.  I also started seeing something else coming in... requests to work on collaborations.  This was both flattering and disconcerting to me.   I was still very new at this whole publishing business and wasn't all that confident in my skills at that point.  I knew I needed more experience and didn't want to wind up dragging someone else's work down if I'd simply gotten lucky my first time out.  Especially since I was hearing some concerns about the editing in the first version and wound up redoing the book with extra help getting it in better shape.   


Still the requests for collaborating kept appearing every so often.  When "The Ship" (my 2nd novel) came out the requests started in again.  By this time I was more confident in my skills, I'd learned a lot after "The Bridge" and had gone out of my way to make sure "The Ship" was in even better shape.
Still I wasn't feeling comfortable with the idea of collaborating with anyone... except possibly my wife Helen, who had been my science expert and sounding board for both books.  Furthermore, back when I was still working on "The Bridge" she had a dream and was seeing through the eyes of one of my characters Police Sergeant Veronica Ross.  In the dream Helen/Veronica had come across a murder scene and found a strange older man examining the corpse.  She got a good look at the fellow and was able to give me a good description of him; fifties, curly hair slightly graying, glasses, shortish, and just a little heavyset.  However, she knew he wasn't a police officer but an intruder, so she drew her weapon and told him to 'freeze'.  Instead he looked up at her and put his finger to his lips, and then did a flip out the window.  Rushing to the window Helen/Veronica saw they were on the second floor of a house and the man landed nimbly on the ground and took off with a speed and agility that belied his appearance.

Another thing she told me was the fact that she just knew this guy was not a villain, but someone who knew about the 'Para-Earths' and that he would be a valuable character to introduce down the road.  I readily agreed, but felt awkward about using this fellow she nicknamed 'The Professor'.  Eventually he was given a real name of Otto Hoffstadter and I had hopes of bringing him in '"The Door".  However, when I started working on "The Door" the story wasn't coming along very well and I started working on another story with a whole new set of characters which became "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" (which will be out this December).  As that story came developed, Helen asked me if it were possible that my vampyre Nathaniel might have met Otto.  I nearly jumped for joy at that point.  The personality she'd developed for Otto was the perfect match up for Nathaniel, so I established a history between the two and incorporated Otto into that book instead of "The Door".


Even as I wrote "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" and used Otto, I kept checking with her about how my interpretation of Otto, was I using him right and getting the personality down right?  She gave me honest feedback and I made changes, but as I did so it occurred to me that I might need her even more in the sequel story.  I also decided I wanted to use Otto in another book that continues the story of two secondary characters from "The Ship" (Johnny Cloudfoot and his girlfriend Michelle).  By this time, I knew I wanted to work WITH Helen on both of those stories.  Besides, being my sounding board for ideas, she'd also been acting as my science consultant.  Her knowledge of scientific facts has been a huge asset to my writing.

But most important of all, I knew we could work together quite easily.  We've worked in companies together in the past and always made a great team.  I know some people were like "How could you work in the same place with your spouse?  I'd go crazy.  Going to work gives me a break from mine and I need it..."  However, Helen and I actually love spending as much time together, even if it's at a job.  So working on a collaboration actually feels like the most natural thing for us.  I still plan to work on some books and stories on my own, but I'll also be helping her with some original tales of her own that are set in my Para-Earth Series.  She knows these realities as well as I do and has some great ideas that I want to see become a reality.  I'll be introducing some of her work here and over on "The Vampyre Blogs - Private Edition" blog soon.

However, she is not the only person I'm working with.  The other, was a very dear friend from high school who approached me to look over a story he'd been working on for the last twenty years.  Naturally I was flattered by his request, but I was still a little unsure about my own level of skills. Doing a blog about writing was one thing and working with Helen was another.  But this was a whole new kettle of fish and I really needed to think about it...


TO BE CONTINUED IN MY NEXT ENTRY....





Saturday, August 8, 2015

***NUMBER 1 ON AMAZON'S BESTSELLERS LIST****



"The Ship" hit #1 on Amazon's Bestseller list.  

and...


it hit #1 on Amazon UK's Bestseller list

And there's still time to get a copy for yourself or a friend.  Click on the link below and then share this entry with everyone you know so they can take advantage too.

NOTE: This free giveaway ends at midnight Sunday August 9th so act quickly and thank you for all your support.

****FREE THIS WEEKEND ONLY****

"THE SHIP" 



Book 2 in my Para-Earth Series is free for all Kindle Users from now until midnight tomorrow, so grab a copy and spread the word to everyone you know.  


This 5-star paranormal/mystery continues the story of Cassandra Elliot and Julie Cloudfoot, who fought alongside Alex and Veronica in my first novel “The Bridge”

As a result of their previous adventure, these two young ladies have fallen in love and have come to Santa Cruz to see if their new relationship can work, as well as bury Julie’s uncle who had been guarding the bridge as part of his duties as the family shaman.

But there are new problems. Julie is finding out that the shaman mantle has been passed to her, but she things there is nothing to guard against as the being that had lain hidden inside the bridge is no more. However, another evil from another para-earth has arisen and has marked Cassandra is its target.

Now the two will have to fight against a new threat that threatens to tear apart them apart before they fully begin.

Once again ghosts, psychics, and shamans await you in this new story, along with a terrifying ghost ship and a familiar white-haired villain from “The Bridge”




Thursday, August 6, 2015

*END OF SUMMER WEEKEND SPECIAL -- COMING UP*



Summer is slowly drawing to a close, especially for me. University will be starting up on the 24th, and I had 2 FREE days left to use over on Amazon Select, so YOU get a treat.

Book 2 in my Para-Earth Series will be available for ALL Kindle users this weekend (Aug. 8-9).

Book Synopsis:

This 5-star paranormal/mystery continues the story of Cassandra Elliot and Julie Cloudfoot, the two young women who fought alongside Alex and Veronica in my first novel “The Bridge”

These two young ladies have fallen in love and have come to Santa Cruz to see if their new relationship can work, as well as bury Julie’s uncle who had been guarding the bridge as part of his duties as the family shaman.

But there are new problems. Julie is finding out that the shaman mantle has been passed to her, but she things there is nothing to guard against as the being that had lain hidden inside the bridge is no more. However, another evil from another para-earth has arisen and has marked Cassandra is its target.

Now the two will have to fight against a new threat that threatens to tear apart them apart before they fully begin.

Once again ghosts, psychics, and shamans await you in this new story, along with a terrifying ghost ship and a familiar white-haired villain from “The Bridge”

Remember, Book 3 "The Door" is coming soon and the events in this story will have a direct effect on what comes. So don't miss out. So spread the word and be ready to take advantage of this giveaway.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

My Thoughts On Collaboration...

This is a post I've been thinking about sharing for some time, but hadn't because I was actually a little afraid to talk about it.  When it comes to writing, the idea of collaborating with someone else filled me with both excitement and dread.  Especially dread because I am not always that confident in my skills and abilities.


Yet, I seem to be doing something right.  A number of people find this blog quite helpful and offer their own experiences which reflect many of my own.  Furthermore, until now writing has been a solitary activity.  I enjoy being the one to make decisions and not have to worry whether or not I offend someone else or hurt feelings.  Oh, I've bounced ideas off certain people I trust, like my wife Helen.  In her case, I do this quite often because I consider her much better read and more knowledgeable about science and logic than me.  But in the end, the final decisions have been all me.  So to surrender some of that control is a big step not only for me, but for any writer.

Yet, I've recently started working with not just one, but two different people on collaborations.  I've known and trust these two individuals implicitly, (especially since one of them is my wife Helen).  And already I've been learning a lot about collaborating and I've been finding the experience quite rewarding.


Working with another to create something new offers untold possibilities.  With the right person, the two of you can generate entirely new ideas that you might never have thought of on own.   Everyone walks their own path and has their own experiences and knowledge to draw upon.


In a good collaboration, it's not just sharing the work.  The two of you actually feed each others imagination.  You work (figuratively or literally) side by side, building and creating something new and exciting.  Everyone has walked their own path and has gained knowledge and life experience that they can share, adding a new melody to the piece in question.


And if you start feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project, there's someone there to help pull out.     


A good collaboration, like the two I've been working on, has opened my eyes to untold possibilities.  I can see so many stories looming in the distance and am looking forward to working on them down the road.  But finding the right person to collaborate with... that's another thing entirely.  And I'll be dealing with that in my next post.  

So start giving the idea of collaboration some thought.  It does hold wonderful possibilities, but it can also bring about new headaches.  So beware!

Until next time, take care and keep writing.

*NOTE: I am not looking to collaborate with anyone else for the time being, so please don't ask.  I've been approached a number of times already and have politely refused.  If you're wondering why I've taken this attitude, wait for my next post and you'll learn more about me than you probably ever wanted to.*