Friday, January 31, 2014

Kick starter

Trying something new to gain exposure. I've started a Kick starter project and have sent this post to my numerous writer's sites to see if I can gain some support. I'll keep posting updates on how it's going. Here is the post:

Hello. My name is Neil Ostroff and I have started a project on Kickstarter that I am hoping will get fully funded. I am an author of twelve books (nine published) with a tenth coming out this spring. You’re welcome to learn all about me and my books by clicking the links on Kick starter.

I am hoping to raise funds for a huge marketing and promotion campaign for my latest sci-fi series, THE END TIME. If you help fund this campaign I will publish your full name in the book either under the acknowledgements section or, depending on the size of the donation, to actually have a main character named after you. I have a large fan base and my books have hit the Amazon best seller list. Here is a chance to have your name immortalized forever in a published book!

Please check out my kick starter project and the benefits of contributing. Thank you very much for your time.


Support to complete new sci-fi series

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A thousand thank you’s

Wow! Another great review for DROP OUT.   I never expected the book to have such an impact. Thanks to all who have written to tell me how much the book has affected them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Drop Out has drama filled action in spades, January 26, 2014
By Roland Cheek "Roland Cheek" (Montana) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Drop Out (Kindle Edition)

I was once told a story needed three things: action, suspense, and resolution. I found all three in Drop Out. The first 35% of the book moves from one panic situation to the next so fast I felt exhausted and needed the calm break that came in the middle. The break didn't last long before Ostroff took off on another drama filled action. This action, filled with teaching. Valuable lessons on the importance of life and how to deal with the cards we are dealt are learned. I highly recommend this book.
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My KDP story

Exactly three years ago today, I first discovered Kindle Direct Publishing while desperately searching for a new agent to represent my books. A few weeks prior, I parted ways with my then agent, a powerful New Yorker with dozens of big sales under his belt. Leaving the agency was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and the lowest point in my twenty years of continuous writing, but I immediately saw potential in KDP as a way to get my books out into the world. With renewed fanaticism about the future of publishing, I hired an editor and a cover designer and a few weeks later I published my first book, a science fiction novel.

A week went by with absolutely no sales, and then another. My initial dreams of indie publishing as a writer’s savior was diminishing quickly and I was petrified that I might never achieve any level of success. And then one day something magical occurred at I checked my dashboard and lo and behold someone had purchased my book. It wasn’t a friend or relative, but a total stranger. A total stranger had purchased my book! I can’t describe in words how exhilarating it felt. Like a light bulb had ignited in my head. I realized right then I no longer needed an agent or publisher to unleash my creative children into the world. All I needed was an outlet, and KDP provided one.

With the fury of a newly published author, I spent weeks researching how to market and promote online. Being an introvert I knew I didn’t want to do grassroots sales, i.e. book signings and such so I joined dozens of online writers groups and participated in forums and discussions. I downloaded samples of my book to every major writer’s site. I spent money on advertising promotions (though I wouldn’t recommend that anymore since the market is oversaturated). I joined Facebook, and Twitter, and Linkedin, and Google+, and many more social media sites… and slowly my book started to sell.

With my platform in place, I began publishing my other completed novels, one every three months. I started to see sales of my books increase and with that came more exposure. I was asked to do blog interviews and was a featured author on numerous established websites. I started to receive awards and accolades from strangers. Reviews of my books came in the four and five star range. Sales skyrocketed and a few of my books briefly hit the Amazon bestseller list. Though I wasn’t getting rich from my sales the pride of knowing that strangers loved my stories was reward enough.

Now three years later, sales have quieted a bit as I get ready to release my tenth book. I still have a large platform and a huge base of core readers which I hope will enjoy my latest as much as my previously published books. I have outlines for many more to come. Thanks KDP, it’s been an amazing journey.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Will people still read?

I watched a television special the other morning highlighting the electronics show in Las Vegas and what new products are being launched this year. Some of them were absolutely amazing, like glasses that project images right onto your eyeballs and gaming devices that the user controls with their own muscle movements instead of using their hands. These new devices led me to think about the future of my craft; writing.

With all of these fascinating new products coming out will there still be people who rely on words and their own imaginations to transport them to new and exciting worlds inside their minds? Can sitting alone in a silent room reading a story really make up for immersion into a 3-D world filled with noises, colors, and great heroes?

  I’m always intrigued when I’m out somewhere and someone has a book in their hands or holding an ereader instead of playing a video game or trolling on the internet. As a writer, I hope the art form doesn’t disappear and go the way of the public orator. Personally, I can’t find one other means of entertainment more stimulating than reading a good story.

As I see the future of gaming entertainment unfold before my eyes, I wonder what the future of books and writers will be. Will the written word win over the simulated society we are evolving into? Or will all stories be mere baselines for a more advanced video game. One will have to see.

Unexpected find

 Google Alert alerted me to this nice review. Needs a grammar check, though. Haha!

Read the review!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Write and get rich!

Yesterday, I watched a morning news segment highlighting a couple who were about to lose their house due to foreclosure and how publishing and selling their books on Amazon had saved them. The authors went on to explain that they write romance novels together and once they realized the popularity of the genre due to the success of Fifty Shades of Gray, wrote feverishly producing more than twenty novels in six months. Quite a feat, I might add.

Consumed with a mix of curiosity, admiration, and jealousy I delved further into this story and researched the books this couple had published. What I discovered may have just changed how I perceive the future of books and writing and how to make a living at the craft.

Turns out that most of these romance “novels” are merely glorified short stories. Several averaged around forty or fifty pages in length with the shortest at seventeen pages and the longest running about 150 pages. I clicked on each one and saw its rank. Most were in the low thousands which I’ll admit is pretty darn good if you’ve got income coming from twenty books. All their books had dozens of reviews and many were favorable, although several did state that there were grammatical and spelling errors throughout the pages.

The last thing I did was read samples of each book even though I don’t normally read romance. And you know what? They were quite good. The books had quick hooks and engaged me right away. The end of the samples left me wanting to know more. So, what am I to make of these mini “novels” by so-called “authors”?

I believe they may be the wave of the future.

The indie revolution in publishing has opened a floodgate for writers and readers allowing experimental stories and characters to be published in forms that were never available before. There is no longer a minimum requirement for anything when it comes to publishing. These short romance novellas that these two authors are getting rich writing would never have been tolerated by an agency or publisher just five years ago. No longer does an author need to work for years to meet the 80,000 word minimum requirement to classify a book as a novel. A talented writer can pump out a 15,000 word masterpiece and have it available for sale in a few weeks (and make a fortune) as long as the plot is engaging.

So, what does this mean to the future of bookselling? Are these “pop” novels that take just a few weeks to write and a few hours to read really going to take over the literary marketplace and drive away the 300,000 word behemoths? I don’t think so. But I also believe that writing short, interesting, exciting books, and selling them for cheap can build a pretty strong following pretty fast. And writing these books in series could be very profitable.

If the general public can lose the stigma that a good book has to be such and such length and contain so many twists and turns and that incredible stories come in all lengths and with all kinds of characters, they will discover a whole new enjoyable reading experience with these “pop” novels.