Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

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Soon, #Smashwords Will Be an Even Nicer Place for #Publishing…

I’ve been publishing for nearly 13 years; however, almost 7 years ago, I got very serious about it—I used FastPencil to publish a novel that I now give away on Smashwords… Smashwords Publishing

The weird thing is that I’ve known Smashwords is a very cool place to publish for all those nearly 7 years; but then, I am getting fairly old, so nearly everything looks like too much work; still, Smashwords is the easiest publishing I’ve ever done…

So, why will Smashwords soon be even nicer?

A recent email from them had this:

Heads up. This Friday October 27 we’re kicking off the Smart Author Podcast!

It will be a FREE podcast and will feature the Founder of Smashwords, Mark Coker—a man who just might know more about e-publishing than anyone else on the planet…

Here are some scheduling notes from Mark:

These first four episodes launch this Friday [Oct. 27th]:

Seven Trends Shaping the Future of Authorship
Introduction to Ebook Publishing
Bestseller Secrets
How to Sell More Ebooks with Pre-orders

And then these episodes release each week through November:

11/3 – Working with Beta Readers
11/10 – Marketing to Libraries
11/17 – Smashwords Survey 2017
11/24 – The Art of Delusion (How to keep writing despite inevitable challenges)

More episodes are planned for December…

You can listen to an Introductory Trailer right HERE

And, that page also has the following offer [which will disappear Oct. 25th around Noon Pacific time, USA]:

Click Here to apply to join our launch team.  Launch team members gain early access to the first eight episodes along with other exclusive perks.

Finally, you can Subscribe at these locations:

Apple Podcasts

Google Play



Or, you can always Listen Online

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Why Is This Author So Anxious to Write About the #InternationalDayOfPeace?

Some of you have already experienced September 21st—some are just waking up to it… 

It’s the International Day of Peace

Does such a celebration seem useless to you?

Does it seem like, no matter what people do, war and violence will never go away?

Surprise!  It’s thoughts and feelings like that that help keep us from global peace…

Ever heard of non-violent protest?

What if a significant number of folks rose up, all over the world, non-violently, for a sustained vigil for World Peace?

I hear someone saying, “The only folks who could afford to do that are the poor and outcast; and, nobody will pay any attention to them.”

That’s another attitude that keeps us away from International Peace

What if it has to take a small group of devoted folks, let’s say a few million spread over the globe, maintaining efforts for Peace; passing on their fervor to their off-spring; continuing this process; until, every other kind of person has died off?

It appears that may just be how this ol’ world will attain that treasured state of tranquility

I’m going on so much about this potentially “meaningless” day of peace for the same reason I worked so hard to write my short novel, Notes from An Alien (get your free copy here…).

And, because of the rampant disbelief in the possibility of Peace, I created an alien world struggling with the same issues the Earth is suffering through—perhaps experiencing it in another context will create the clarity of vision that might help folks dedicate time to working for peace

Perhaps, meditating on the following quotes will help some of you find time to help our ailing world…

“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”  – John F. Kennedy

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” – Nelson Mandela

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”  – Albert Einstein

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa

“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one” – John Lennon 

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

Perhaps we need not a Day of Peace but some official Year of Peace, Decade of Peace, Century of Peace

To echo another rather weird fellow, You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one

I also have a special page here with Resources about Peace

Maybe reading this will help—World Female Leaders call for International Law, cessation of war to promote global peace.

And, the following story is more important to Peace than many folks would ever imagine—General Assembly Adopts Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, as United Nations, International Organization for Migration Sign Key Agreement.

The “theme” for this year’s International Day of Peace is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”—and, in case you still doubt there are any concrete ways to Build Peace, read about the Sustainable Development Goals

Also, to see exactly where our human family needs the most help, checkout the Global Peace Index

Finally, here’s a video of the late Dame Margaret Anstee, the first woman to serve as a United Nations Under-Secretary-General:

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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Two Women Writers Convince Me to Experiment on Wattpad . . .

I’ve known about Wattpad for quite awhile but let it linger in the hinterlands of my interest, with all the other wonderful, fabulous, must-engage-on spaces that writers are nearly shamed into using… Wattpad

However, Orna Ross, founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, and Elizabeth S. Craig, bestselling author of the Southern Quilting mysteries and Memphis Barbeque mysteries and link-curator for the Writer’s Knowledge Base, have convinced me to use Wattpad in a very specific way.

My experiment got its first nudge when I saw an article on the ALLi site about Wattpad Insights for Indie Authors.

There’s a video at the end of this post that was the clincher for my experimental use of Wattpad; but, first, here are some takeaways the ALLi article has from that video:

  1. Wattpad users are very mobile savvy and skew towards a younger demographic.
  2. Authors don’t have to write serially, they just need to publish serially.
  3. The Wattpad mobile app is free, and a Wattpad account is also free.
  4. Set a consistent publishing schedule for your chapter releases.
  5. If you already have a free book, it makes sense to leverage it on Wattpad. Use it as a funnel to your other books.
  6. At the end of each Wattpad chapter you can add an author call to action (e.g. sign up to the author’s mailing list, or letting your readers know where to buy the book if they can’t wait for the next installment).
  7. A demographics tab gives you insights into the age demographics of your readers and their geographic location.
  8. Authors can add images or a video to each chapter to increase engagement.
  9. It’ll take about 4-6 chapters to get some audience traction.
  10. Wattpad increases your opportunity of reaching your share of the 40 Million global readers.

#2 & #5 were the prime reasons I got interested in using Wattpad.

And, in case you’re new around here or you just never noticed, I give away my novel (even though it’s also for sale) over in the left side-bar; so, I decided I’d add a new chapter to Wattpad every Wednesday for the next 20 weeks and append a comment there to draw folks back here…

So, if you’d rather read just a bit of my book each week (instead of downloading it for free and reading the whole thing in about two days {it’s rather short but quite deep…}) Take This Link (you’ll have to register with Wattpad if you aren’t already a member)

I’ll be periodically reporting results

And, now, here’s the video with Orna and Elizabeth that convinced me to do the WattpadExperiment:

Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

A Topic Guide to My Very Strange Book…

Since I’m only committing to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday blog posts, I’m allowed to post more often if I just can’t help myself :-) Notes from An Alien

About 20 minutes ago, I was sitting here watching the news and something made me think about my book—the one I decided I won’t write

And, in case you missed it, my prime reason for not writing a book I’d done massive research on was that my last novel essentially said it all

All what?

Well, first, imagine three planets in a different Star-system—one completely corporate, one completely religious, and one inhabited by a True Alien

You can grab a free copy of the novel; or, if you really have to, you can buy a copy :-)

So, since I just reassured myself that a book I’d already written has everything I need to say about certain topics (at least in fictional form…), I thought I’d share what those topics are

The numbers in the following list are the chapters where the topic is predominant:

Notes from An Alien

Corporate Greed – 1, 2

Corporate Control of Populace – 1, 2, 4

Religious Wars – 1, 2, 3

Prophetic Predictions – 1, 3, 5

War-Just/Unjust – 1, 10

Constant Expansion As A Solution – 1, 2, 11

Non-Religious Religions – 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 13

Military Control of Populations – 2

Rational Religion – 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11

Corporate Ecological Damage – 2, 4, 5

Material Realm/Spiritual Realm – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 19

Science and Faith – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15

Spiritual Practice – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11

Costs of War – 3, 4, 5, 10, 11

Governance – 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14

Oneness of All People – 6, 7, 8, 14, 16, 19

Economic Issues – 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13

Altruism and Sacrifice – 7, 9, 11, 17

True Peace – 11, 12, 17, 18, 19

If you’ve already read the book, perhaps you’d like to put a very short “review” in the Comments?
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

How & Why I Decided to Not Write My Next Book . . .

Well, I’m back to regular blogging here… Notes from An Alien

I made an unexpected but firm and rational decision to stop writing my next book.

There may be other books down the road; but, I need to explain myself; and, not just for regular readers of this blog…

My last book, Notes from An Alien, has been haunting me—partly because the book I won’t be writing was a “supplement” to Notes and partly because books can definitely haunt their authors…

Even though writing a book can figuratively feel like being pregnant, I’m happy to say that my decision to not write the planned book certainly does Not feel like I’ve aborted a fetus—it’s more like breaking up with a woman, on mutual terms, because the relationship was never a good fit…

Back to the haunting feelings from Notes from An Alien:

I remember the long period of research, nearly 23 years, and the 11 years during which I began to write from the thrust of the Theme while not having found the right plot—three miscarriages…

I remember, especially, the process of preparing to write Notes—a steady and empowering activity that continually provided confirmations that my Trek was bearing true…

So, the major haunting from Notes was the growing feeling (mostly unconscious) that I was on the wrong road—even, perhaps, going down a street that would end in a cul-de-sac…

When I had the full conscious awareness that I needed to stop working on the next book, I immediately probed my sense of intuition and engaged in a process that I use to check my intuitions—yep, stop writing…

The final proof that I’d made a valid decision was the clean and fresh feeling that wafted through my mind and heart—not some half-guilty reprieve from the hard work of writing—I love to write and challenges during the process merely add heat to the fire…

Another realization, after I made the decision and tested it, was that the next book was intended, specifically, to be more “popular” than Notes and lead folks to read Notes

Well, Notes from An Alien doesn’t need another book to entice people to read it—it may not be mainstream, it may not be what most folks feel they need to read; but, it is, in itself the Message I needed to deliver—another book would have sullied the Stream, confused the impact, and begged the question…

Also, there’s already supplementary material available—“…glimpses into the depths of the book—character disclosures, about people already in the novel and those yet to be mentioned—revelations of events that happened in the Worlds of Angi but weren’t rendered in the published edition…”—on the Behind The Scenes page of this blog.

For those of you who are slaving away at writing a book, I hope I’ve given you a few ways to check yourself when you feel the task is “too much”, or the phantom of “writers’ block” assails you, or you’re down in the dumps because fleeting feelings are whispering “you have no idea what good writing is…”.

Please be kind to yourself, push through or, if necessary, set the manuscript aside for a time—or, search out some good advice—like in one particular book I mentioned in the past post, So You Think You’re A Writer…

Without an immediate book on the horizon, I can now get back to the job of blogging about Reading, Writing, and Publishing on a regular schedule—at least Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; but, very conceivably, more often :-)
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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