I decided to remove my books from Amazon’s Kindle Select program today. I’m using Draft2Digital to upload my books to several online retailers including iBooks, B&N, and Kobo. Using Scrivener, the process of converting my books to .epub was relatively simple. The longest part of the process was just filling out the forms to add the books to the sites. I’m going to see how this impacts sales when deciding what platforms I want to sell Trailer Queens on.

In other news, Acorn 666 Episode 1: Fire Sky can be downloaded for FREE as a gift for signing up to my mailing list by clicking this link here. I’ve heard good things about list building using instaFreebie, so I’m going to give it a shot.

Here’s today’s mall walk. We only walked 1.5 miles today but promised to get back to walking 2 miles again tomorrow. We’re still recovering from a party weekend (and we didn’t even watch the Super Bowl).

That’s all for today! Fellow authors – feel free to leave comments in regards to leaving Select. I’m curious of as to what your experience may have been like.

 

 

 

Here’s today’s mall walk. I’ve been walking the mall about four times a week now. The mall website says walking the mall is about 1.5 miles, when it is actually closer to 1.3 miles. To make up for it, I walk around one of the floors of the mall one more time to ensure I hit 2 miles.

I haven’t hatched any new Pokemon this week, mainly because I don’t care for the Pokemon Go Apple Watch app. It tracks everything in kilometers, and doesn’t provide updates on the mile. This means I have to have my Apple Watch track my workout, and my iPhone on for Pokemon Go. Since I typically walk at the end of the day, my iPhone is close to dead by the time we go walking. I’m going to start charging my iPhone mid-day now to make up for it, as I’d like to get hatching more of these eggs I have.

Current Weight: 367.2, which is a weight loss of 2.2 pounds from last week.

I have a busy weekend ahead of me, so I doubt I’ll be posting anything until Sunday night/Monday morning.

Have a good weekend!

Well, I just had the bajeebus scared out of me. I use Dropbox and write on two devices. Everything syncs across both devices, I just gotta make sure I quit Scrivener completely on the device I’m NOT writing on when I’m done. Today was no different.

I open Scrivener, and get “Project File Not Found”. The drama that was happening on the episode of the Housewives I was watching had NOTHING on the drama this computer was about to face.
I check my Dropbox folder and the Acorn 666 Scrivener file is there. Opening the file didn’t seem to make anything happen. No spinning wheel, not acknowledgment from the computer it was loading anything.

Along with that file, though, are a bunch of “conflicted copy” files. If you followed me on my old site, you know I used to use Ubuntu Linux. For some reason, Linux, Dropbox, and Scrivener didn’t get along and created a whole bunch of these “conflicted copy” files. I left them there for a long time, but today, they started to cause this problem.

Erasing the “conflicted copy” files is the fix. Move ’em to your trash and try opening the project file again — you should be good to go! Feel free to share any other fixes, if there are any, in the comments below (and if you found this post via Google; go drink. You need to calm down too!).

Remaining creative is a challenge every writer faces. Sometimes your brain just runs out of creative juice, and then panic can set in. The threat of looming deadlines, for instance, can definitely cause your brain to shut off all creative energy and instead put that focus on the panic of the approaching deadline.
Fixing this problem isn’t as hard as you might think. It just takes one small thing: momentary creative distraction. When you’re faced with writer’s block, the best thing you can do is step away and do something else creative. Since we’re all involved in the arts, let’s start there. As an example, I also enjoy painting with oil pastels.I’m not an expert artist. Most of the time I’ll draw stick people to get my point across. However, I’ve found a technique that produces some fun pieces. After sketching out a bunch of shapes on a piece of paper, I pull out the oil pastels and paint them in. While doing this, I typically find that ideas come to me easily, because my brain is being forced to be creative. As an added bonus, I’ll put on some music I enjoy listening to that puts me in a good mood. Upbeat music tends to work better for me, but your tastes may vary.I understand that not everyone is interested in using painting as a creative recharge. For those not interested in painting, and want to know how to be creative in writing after the juices stop flowing, try these:
  • Music (Do you play an instrument? Do you sing? You can even relax and listen to some of your favorite music instead.)
  • Photoshop/GIMP (Just play around and see what you can come up with!  You might even start taking up cover design!)
  • Garden/Yard Work (Have a green thumb?)
  • Write something else (Using writing as an escape from writing?!  Yep, write about something completely and totally out of your usual genre and see where it leads you!  Some of your ideas might actually work in the novel you’re writing now.)

For some added inspiration, John Cleese did a great presentation on creativity, and I’d totally recommend that you take 30 minutes and check it out:


Share your momentary creative distractions in the comments below, and if you liked this post, subscribe!

In preparation for its mysterious millionaire and handsome tenant, the old house on the hill in the small town of Taft, Michigan has been carefully renovated. After the final coat of pink paint is applied, the town is abuzz when everyone in the local mobile home park receives an invite to an open house held by the new resident of Taft: Mr. Burke.

Tessa Florence and her friends: a gay man, a former homecoming queen, and a work-at-home psychic; all fall in love with Mr. Burke at first sight. With his classic tall, dark, and handsome ways, the millionaire holds an open house no one will forget… by ending it with a murder.

With a town in panic, the residents of the Tudor Village Mobile Home Park must solve the murder before becoming the next victim in the crazed serial killer’s plan. Will their fascination with the new millionaire hunk in town end in love? Or Murder?

Great news! For Love and Murder (Trailer Queens Book 1) is available for pre-order on Amazon. The tentative release date is May 1, 2017 – but I’m hoping to release it sooner than that. Pre-order it today by clicking here.

The power of Twitter for indie authors is typically underestimated. Social media marketing options are typically brought up in some of the forums I lurk around in, and I see many authors saying they feel Twitter is a waste of time and have dropped it altogether.

How could the potential eyes of 100 Million active daily users of Twitter be a waste of time? When Twitter and indie authors go hand-in-hand, it can be a powerful networking tool.

First Things First…

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I’m not claiming I’m some social media expert. I’ve done quite a bit of research, and have compiled it here for you to take what you want from it. I’m a “web nerd” that feels that social media is important for authors.

Twitter Is All About Building Relationships

Stats are not important. Repeat that to yourself.

Don’t think you suck at Twitter because someone has 11,000 more followers than you. Out of Mr. Popular’s Twitter followers, maybe only 50 of them are actively responding (RT’ing, Fav’ing, Replying) to his tweets.

Don’t think you suck at Twitter because you only got two clicks on the link to that blog article you posted today. The important thing is building relationships. Connect with that person that has been selling a bit better than you in your genre, or that person that has a decent following with an interest in your genre.

Twitter Applications

While many people use Twitter.com to do their sharing and tweeting, I prefer a separate application for it. The one I use is TweetDeck. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about TweetDeck in the comments, as that’s the one I use the most. You can also hit me up on Twitter (*wink*)!

You’re able to create columns, each broadcasting their own Twitter feed. You can set it up so you have a column for your timeline, one for those that mention you on Twitter, and one of a search for a specific keyword on Twitter. I currently have eight columns going. I like to keep an eye on whats going on in #AmWriting and #SelfPub to find other people with a similar interest as me, so I have columns for each of those.

Searching for keywords is especially helpful when you’re wanting to connect to people with similar interests as you. When I was a freelance web designer, 90% of my business came from having a column set up searching for keywords like “need a website”. TweetDeck would alert me someone said they need a website, and I’d tweet them with my portfolio link to begin building a genuine relationship.

Step 1: “Book Cover Quality” Profile/Bio

You’ll need to make sure that your Profile/Bio on Twitter is handled with the same seriousness as your book cover. When you reach out to someone on Twitter they only have your profile to go by. They don’t know that you have a book out, or a website, or a pet goat that eats your neighbors laundry — unless you TELL them.

If you take a look at my profile, you’ll see that I have a picture of myself as my profile picture, my background/cover picture is my upcoming novel’s cover, my website is listed, and I’ve written an interesting blurb. Try to spend a decent amount of time with this, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Be sure to include a link to your book on Amazon in your bio, and a put a link to your website in the appropriate profile field.

Step 2: Share Content That Is Not Your Own 80% Of The Time

If you’re constantly tweeting your Amazon book links, you’ll come across in two ways: you’re a robot, or you’re desperate and annoying. Again, Twitter is about building genuine relationships. Each tweet needs to be something that your followers will find interesting.

The best way I’ve found to do this is with Feedly. You sign up for an account, put in some topics you want to read feeds from, and then post those articles you find interesting to your followers on Twitter directly from the website. As you find articles that you are interested in reading and feel your followers would enjoy it as well (meaning, it fits the general interests of your followers), share them.

You may be thinking this means you have to spend your entire day posting articles on Twitter. This isn’t the case. With Buffer, you can schedule your article tweets for the day in less than 10 minutes. Use the rest of the time randomly throughout the day to meaningfully engage your followers and those you follow. Buffer also has apps for your mobile devices, making it easy to schedule your tweets on the go.

Be careful not to over-share. While you’ll make more tweets in a day than you do posts on Facebook, you don’t want to become an article-throwing robot of irritation. A good rule of thumb is to share articles you find interesting between four and six times a day.

Step 3: Find Other People With Similar Interests

A good place I’ve found to do this is Topsy. At this site, click “Influencers” above the search bar, then search for a keyword that fits your interests or genre. Click “follow” next to the people you find interesting, and off you go.

Twitter has pretty strict punishments for people that just follow other people like crazy all day, and your account will likely get banned if you do too many new follows in a day.

Step 4: Reach Out!

You’re following people that have the same interests as you! This means we have something to talk about. I know, I know, we’re introverted authors and want to stay in our own bubble. However, this is the age of SOCIAL media. Create genuine connections with those you follow, and those who follow you.

As long as you follow these core principles of using Twitter, you’ll be gaining steady followers that are interested in what you have to say. You’ll be interested in what they have to say too — which makes Twitter so engaging.

Feel free to leave your comments on what has worked on Twitter for you! If these posts seem to help, I’ll definitely create more, so let me know!

Acorn 666 Episode 1: Fire Sky is FREE until this weekend. Pick it up here.

The Human Apocalypse has Ended…

Within the destruction left from the fire that fell from the sky, only the animals remain. Prophesied by the Owl Queen and her loyal army for years, the Apocalypse has started a war of control between the various factions of animals left behind — revealing ancient magic passed down from generation to generation. From the noble woodland creatures led by a quiet and mysterious council, to the domesticated animals who were once companions for humankind everywhere.

The Animal Apocalypse Begins…

Outside of the warring factions of animals left behind, the owls who foretold of the Apocalypse have regrouped. With the return of magic, the war has grown into a struggle of power. Not only power over the arcane, but power over life… and death. The Owl Queen has foretold of a new prophecy. One where owls rule the land under her command. In order to grow her army, the Queen comes up with a painful curse. A curse that will transform anyone who ingests it into a bloodthirsty and frenetic owl, hellbent on destruction. A curse that will make this prophecy come true. The prophecy of Acorn 666.

Don’t eat the acorns.

 

 

On July 3rd, 2016 I went to the emergency room with chest pain. At 31 years old, I soon learned that I was close to having the “widow maker” heart attack. I had a stent put in, and now I take seven medications every day. At over 400 pounds with a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit, I knew I had to make some changes if I wanted to live.

I started walking outside, quit smoking cold turkey, and changed my eating habits.

As mentioned in my last post, I’m going to be using this blog not only for information on my books, but also for weight loss accountability. The truth is, if I’m not being held accountable for something, I probably won’t do it. Even something as serious as losing weight or dying before I hit 50 (as my heart doctor so eloquently put it).

The current weather in Michigan doesn’t allow me to walk outside comfortably, so I walk around the mall instead. I’m not ashamed to admit that I get lapped by folks that are “later in life”, but hey, at least I’m moving. Walking the mall equals about 1.5 miles. Sometimes I do more, and sometimes I’m sweating so much that I’m embarrassed and want to go home.

I have an Apple Watch that keeps track of my workouts, so this image is the result of my latest walk. I’m hoping to get my average mile closer to twenty minutes within the next few months. I also use MyFitnessPal to keep track of my calorie/carb/protein/fat intake every day. I highly recommend both.

Current Weight: 369.4 lbs (weigh-in days are Fridays, so expect a weight update on Friday). My goal weight is 250 lbs. My physical therapist calls this whole process “Road to 250”.

I’m also an avid Pokemon Go player, so I figure I’ll share pictures of the eggs I hatch as I walk at the end of every “Road to 250” post. Here’s what I got today:

 

Welcome to my new humble abode on the interwebs!

Let me introduce myself. I promise not to make this as awkward as those “get to know each other” activities when you start a new job or class. No one likes those things. No one.

My name is Josh St. John. I’m currently 31 years of age, and I reside in Grandville, Michigan. During the day I work as a Senior Technical Advisor for one of the largest companies in the world. When I’m not working I’m usually playing video games, watching reality TV, listening to NPR as I do the dishes, or (hopefully) writing. My favorite board game is Clue, and my favorite alcoholic beverage is a Long Island Iced Tea (though White Russians are a close second).

I currently have three books in my serial Acorn 666 published and available on Amazon, and I’m working on a new serial titled Trailer Queens which I’m hoping will be ready for release late Spring/early Summer.

I’m going to use this space on the information super highway to keep me accountable. First, I need to be accountable for my writing. Second, I need to be accountable for my weight loss. Third, I need to be held accountable for my mental health.

I’m hoping I provide some sort of entertainment, whether you buy my books or not.

Anywho, welcome to jstjWrites.com. Feel free to introduce yourself below.