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Life’s Plot Twist

I was a sarcastic and pessimistic punk as a teenager. Nothing was ever good enough and the world owed me. I can admit it and in a few years I expect the majority of today’s teenagers will admit the same thing (not about me, about themselves). I’d wager it’s gotten a little worse these days than it used to be – so does that mean I was ahead of the curve?

It took me some terrible events and rough times to pull my head out of my ass, but these days I’ve actually adopted some outlooks on life that would make the teenage me would cringe in horror. I don’t claim a monopoly on stupid mistakes though – I think we all have our unique levels of stupidity that we have to go through to get where we need to go. As a parent it makes it that much harder to know our children will one day be foundering until they figure themselves out and there’s precious little we can do, other than trying to prepare them as best we can for what will come.

But I’m not here to wax away on the past or on how child-rearing. Far from it, I’m hear to say that hard work and perseverance can pay off. It’s not paying as well as I’d like it to, but I see improvements all the time and I can attribute those improvements to the actions I take to try and influence them. For example, just yesterday I set a personal best on book sales, and it blew my socks off. I sold over 100 books on Amazon in the United States in a 24 hour period. My average isn’t anywhere near that, but it’s been steadily increasing. Seeing that number caused a double fist pump and I was even tempted to go for an air guitar solo. Somehow I refrained.

My fellow writers want to know what I’m doing to generate these kinds of sales. Or at least the ones who aren’t selling as many want to. I can’t blame any one thing specifically, but that’s because I’m doing so many things. Writing is the biggest one, I’d wager. I’m trying very hard to not let a month pass without a book being published by me this year. I’m not sure that’s going to be possible much beyond April, but so far / so good.

I’m also doing everything I can to make it as easy as possible for my readers to find my other books. From links on blogs and my website to links in my ebooks to sequels and other books. I’m still surprised to get emails from people asking if I’ve written a sequel to such-and-such when I’ve included a link to it or a snippet about it in the book they just read. I’ll be damned if I’m going to blame my readers though, itjust tells me I’m not doing a good enough job of letting people know. First thing I do when I get those emails is take the time to correspond with that person and share with them as much as I can. My readers are important to me, I want them to know how much I appreciate them and if that takes 10 minutes of my time then so be it, it’s 10 minutes well spent.

In other realms I blog and I tweet in hopes of sharing news about myself and my writing. The evidence indicates that it seems to help. Although I spent about two months with some broken Twitter apps that were not tweeting for me and I still saw sales steadily improve. I love Twitter and the people on it, but I don’t think it’s the end all to advertising and promotion that some would suggest.

I’m excited these days for another reason too – I just finished the rough draft for Devil’s Icebox, the much awaited sequel to Dark Earth. I loved writing it and I’m looking forward to writing the next one as well. But first I have to work on another project, part 5 of my Vitalis series (Squatter’s Rights). I was worried when I started it, fearing I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. I’ve got plenty of ideas but getting them on paper was the tricky part. It turned out I was unnecessarily concerned, once I started in on it the words just started flowing. At the pace I’ve set I hope to finish it by early April, if not sooner. Yeah, it’s going that good!

After that I’ve got my work cut out for me. Book 3 in my Wanted series is scheduled and I know people are expecting a lot from this book and I intend to deliver. I have to struggle on a daily basis to not think about it – my brain wants to start working on it but I’m not ready for it. If I lose control then I’ll get my projects screwed up and no good will come of it. That, in my opinion, is one of the big secrets to writing success – self discipline. Writing is a job. It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job and failing to treat it responsibly will lead to being out of work.

So stay tuned my friends, I promise some great stuff is happening and, if I have my way with it, it’ll be happening on a frequent basis!

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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