A fellow writer shared a link on Twitter to a little analysis tool that allows you to paste in a chapter of your work or a blog post, etc., and then analyzes your writing to tell you who you write like. For kicks, I thought I would give it a try. I pasted a section of a chapter from Serpents Underfoot in the field, clicked analyze, and held my breath. A few second later, my results came back and I was informed I write like Anne Rice.
So, who is Anne Rice … in case you don’t know
Anne Rice was born on October 4, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her first novel, Interview With The Vampire, was published in 1976 and went on the become one of the best-selling novels of all time. Her many books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.
I admit I am not sure what to think about this. I was sure I would come back with Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, or Fredrick Forsyth … but Anne Rice? To be sure, I am not knocking Anne Rice. I have read several of the books in her Lestat series and enjoyed them immensely. I just didn’t imagine that military thriller writers would compare to a writer of metaphysical Gothic fiction, Christian literature and erotica!
If you would like to check out this little writing analysis tool, click here!
I wonder if a sample from my book, Adirondack Bear Tales, would also come back as similar to Anne’s in style? Interesting question. I may need to check that out.
By the way …
If you happen to check out one of my books, please leave a review to let me know what you think. I would certainly appreciate it! Click here to read more of my blog posts.
Self-publishing is a great opportunity for anyone who wishes to become a published author to get their work into the hands of readers. But, understand! Just because you publish a book does not mean it will fly off the shelf at Amazon.com! Self-publishing is not easy. It takes a great deal of work to do it right. Looking back, I made a great many mistakes publishing my first book. Many of them could probably have been avoided with a bit more patience, but hey … as long as you learn from your mistakes and do not keep repeating them, things can only get better.
This is the first in a series of blog posts in which I will share the lessons I learned from self-publishing my first novel. These lessons-learned will certainly be applied in publishing my sequel. If you find anything in this series of posts helpful to you, then I will be happy. And, if you do … I would love to hear from you.
Have the Patience to do it right!
Not only did I rush to finish my book, Serpents Underfoot, itself, but I had no platform in place to successfully market it. While Amazon does help authors promote books, your book won’t fly off the charts on its own. Their algorithm does not pick up your book until a certain level of sales is reached. Having the patience to take the time to have a marketing platform and plan in place before publishing your book will be a big help in reaching that level.
This does not mean I am not having success. My book is selling and has gotten some really great reviews along with a couple of not-so-good reviews. But hey, not everyone will like your work! That is life.
However, there is nothing wrong with learning from the mistakes of others if you can. Here is a list of things you might want to consider PRIOR to releasing your book:
An author’s website.
Author promotion and help sites such as BookBub, AuthorsDB, Author Connections, Alliance of Independent Authors, Authors Marketing Club, etc.
Building a customer list.
An email service such as Mail Chimp and a newsletter.
Social network marketing such as a Facebook Author’s Page, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter, and how too best utilize them.
Advance Release Copies for reviews.
Have a long term plan and stick to it.
Success will not just fall into your lap. These things take time and patience to understand, set up, put in place, and achieve results. There is no “one magic bullet!” Success is built around a lot of small steps and there is so much to learn. As you can probably see, it will take a good deal of work. Having some patience will be a real asset.
Mary Enck attended UCLA and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She enjoys reading Fantasy and Science Fiction and has a new love for Mystery/Thrillers. Latest character crush is Jack Reacher. A native of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and lives in Colorado Springs with her family, a Lab/Dane doggo who says her name is Gillie, and two cats, Lucky and Tuxedo.
Being a long-time fan of the Arthurian legend and having read several versions during my life, I certainly am going to have to read hers as well. In fact, I just started reading it. I am sure there will be a post about A King In Time on here in a little while.
However, the purpose of this post is to thank her for her fantastic and thoughtful review of Serpents Underfoot. Her review left me humbled and speechless.
Three Quotes from Mary’s Review of Serpents Underfoot
Author, D. C. Gilbert, takes the reader back to a time that has passed into history. While the era is overshadowed by so much that is happening today, at such a rapid pace, this story reflects how little we have advanced in all this time. We remain in conflict with humans, inflexible in their beliefs.
The characters are very strong in their individuality. Again, it is interesting to see the contrasts drawn between the West and influences from another time and another faraway place. I became related to the good guys in this book. I enjoyed their personalities and like them very much.
There is a lot of delving into the way of things such as martial arts, Navy Seals and their working dogs, which I especially liked. To me, if there is an animal in a novel significant to the story, it is a relief from the more severe issues that come up.
If interested, you can read the complete review here.
The novel, Serpents Underfoot, is available in Kindle format for only $3.99. I hope you will give it a read!
Did you know that you Goodreads reviews appear on much more than just Goodreads? Goodreads also exports reviews to Google Books, Powells.com, USAToday.com, as well as others. While book reviews on any site help, Goodreads reviews seem to go a bit above and beyond others!
It is for that reason that I appreciate so many folks taking the time to review Serpents Underfoot on Goodreads! So, thank you, Jeffery Gordon Pearce, for your 5 STAR review. And, thank you, John Karlson, for your 4 STAR review.
Chasing reviews is a waste of valuable time that could be better spent otherwise promoting your work. However, there is no doubt that good reviews will help spark reader and buyer interest in your work. So, by all means, keep tabs on those reviews. Just, don’t let chasing those reviews become your primary goal. After all, you should have writing projects to work on as well!
If you order a personalized copy of Serpents Underfoot before August 31 and use the promo code, SEAL, on checkout, you will get 20% off the cost of the book and free shipping! Why the heck are you waiting? Just saying!
After reviewing my novel, Serpents Underfoot, John Purvis was gracious enough to interview me for a post on his blog, John’s Notes! I feel honored! My very first interview as an author! How absolutely cool is that? I will do my level best not to get the “big head.” I do still need to get through doors! I guess if I get too cocky … Sophie can knock me down a peg or two.
John had some really good questions!
John did ask some really great questions. I hope my answers inspire other aspiring authors. Or, at least give them a few practical tips they use to further their writing careers. I got some really great tips talking to other authors. Christopher Woods, the author of the SoulGuard series and other works took time at a book signing to offer me a few tips that were very helpful. This is actually one of the main reasons I do attend writer’s conferences … to talk top other writers. It can certainly make a difference.
A few segments from the interview
John: How did you pick the genres for your stories?
Me: There is an old saying, “write you know.” That may, in fact, be kind of limiting. I say, “write what you enjoy.” If you are not interested and enjoying what you write, how can you be good at it? I think I tell the story and then see what genre it fits in.
John: I think that is very good advice for the prospective author. Where do your story ideas come from?
Me: I start with a character or an idea. Then I let the story unfold on its own.
John I know that you say you prefer just to see where an idea takes you, but do you work to an outline at all?
Me: I do use a loose outline. That functionality (essentially drag and drop chapter and scenes) is built right into the tool I use for my first drafts. I think working from a plot is too confining or limiting.
If you are interested in reading the rest of the interview, here is the link!
A Great Review for Serpents Underfoot by blogger, John Purvis!
Check out the great review of Serpents Underfoot by John Purvis on his bog, John’s Notes! John had some great things to see about the background and character development, and her gave me a 4.5 out of 5! Awesome!
This novel starts with the deep background story of Cordell’s father when he was serving in Viet Nam. It carries forward to JD Cordell’s SEAL Team and other major characters in the plot. Far more background is developed in this novel than you would normally find. I also liked that the characters are down to earth with no “over the top” scenes of heroic combat.
While on his blog, please also take the time to check out the many other great posts! Especially if you are a Mac user.
JD, Jimmy Stiles, and two other new BUD/S graduates caught a cab to a local beer and snooker joint for some well-deserved R&R. After a few beers, the recounting of memorable moments in their training got a little loud. Their boisterous attitude rubbed a few local boys the wrong way. It did not help that the ladies present began showing more interest in the young SEALs than in them.
Wayne Morrison liked starting trouble so he could watch the fights that usually ensued. He reached over and poked Junior Willis in the ribs. “Hey Junior, you going to let those Navy boys steal our women?” he asked. Junior stood about 6′ 7” and weighed about 300 lb. He was usually easy-going, but tonight he’d consumed enough beer to override the good sense he prided himself on having.
“No fucking way,” he replied. Junior paused the snooker he was playing with his friend, Gordy. “Back in a minute, Gordy.” Junior headed toward the table where the group were still laughing and having a good time. Because of his Asian looks and slighter build, Junior homed in on JD.
“Hey, Shithead! What the fuck do you assholes think you’re doing here? You Navy boys piss me … trying to steal our women.”
“Hey man. We’re just having a good time and drinking a few beers. Why don’t you go back to your snooker game.” Jimmy and the other SEALs pushed their chairs back, turning to get a better look. This promised to be interesting.
“Fuck that!” Junior growled. “I’m going to kick your scrawny little chink ass!” JD stood.
“Don’t hurt him, JD” one of the SEALs advised with a grin.
JD moved away from the table, hands open to show he wanted no trouble.
“Listen, dude. My scrawny little chink ass is drinking a few more beers and then it is going back to the base. How about I buy you a beer and we call it even?”
Junior Willis seemed to weigh this idea for a few seconds. His response came in the form of a huge right fist swung at JD’s head. JD slipped the punch. His right foot kicked out, the toe catching Junior midway up his inner right thigh. The kick did not stop there. JD’s heel smashed into the same spot on the other thigh. Junior let out a surprised grunt. He teetered there for a long second, his two legs splayed out at awkward angles, off-balance and unable to move. JD reached up and shoved against Junior’s sternum, setting him back down on the floor.
Junior’s snooker partner had moved closer to get a better view of the fight. Seeing his friend taken down so easily angered him. Gordy yelled as he swung his pool stick down at JD’s head. JD stepped inside the swing. Both hands met the pool stick, trapping Gordy’s hands on the stick in vise-like grips. JD circled the stick around, giving it a sharp powerful twist. Gordy felt his wrists turned back against themselves. Stepping back, JD gave a sharp tug that left him in possession of the pool stick. Reversing the tug, JD gave Gordy a solid poke in the chest. It rocked Gordy back on his heels. JD shifted his grip on the pool stick, presenting it to its former owner.
“Want to try again?” Gordy was thunderstruck.
“Hell no!” came the reply. The bar was silent. JD set the pool stick down and walked over to where Junior was still sitting on the floor. Reaching down, JD held out his hand.
“Buy you a beer now?” JD asked smiling.
Junior Willis looked up at JD in disbelief. Suddenly, he grinned. “Why the fuck not!” He took JD’s offered hand and was helped up off the floor. “That was some pretty slick shit you just pulled.”
JD laughed. “Yep. Pretty slick chink shit.”
“Where did you learn that stuff?” Junior asked.
“My mother taught me!” JD replied slapping Junior on the back as they headed toward the bar.
My Tenth 5 – Star Review … The Big Double Digit Has Been Hit!
Wowsers! I just received my tenth 5-star review for Serpents Underfoot on Amazon.com. Do book reviews on Amazon.com matter? I would say that depends on your goals. I have read that pursuing reviews for the sake of pursuing reviews is a waster of time. I am not sure of that. Perhaps, if you take it to an extreme …. I mean, after all, anything taken to the extreme can be bad for you. Even too much Rocky Road ice cream can have a negative effect. You can trust me on that one!
Your reputation and name recognition
As an author, your reputation is perhaps your most valuable asset. What people say about your books matters. It matters to other readers who may buy your book, tell their friends about it, or recommend it to other readers. And, just maybe give your book an online review themselves. Online shoppers often rely on reviews when deciding which products to buy. In fact, 93% of online shoppers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. So, if you are not already a Tom Clancy (which I certainly am not), and you are a new self-published author who is trying to stake you claim, I think good reviews are pretty darn necessary.
A Review Can Affect A Customer’s decision to purchase.
While I prefer brick and mortar stores, I do sometimes purchase online, often from Amazon.com. I do like to check products out before I buy. Therefore, I do rely on customer reviews to help in my decision-making. Why should book buying be any different. I certainly have my favorite authors such as Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Robert Ludlum, Alistair MaClean, Louis L’amour, and others. So, if someone recommends a book by a new author to me, I will often search on Amazon to see what other readers have to say about the book.
On another note …
In celebration of Memorial Day weekend this year and tin honor those who sacrificed so much for our country, the Kindle version of Serpents Underfoot will be available for download the entire weekend. If you are a Kindle user, I hope you will take advantage of this and that, if you do, you enjoy the book!
So, back to the original point of this rather rambling post, I want to thank you, Name_Not_Returned, whoever you are … for giving me my tenth 5-Star review!
That’s right, I wrote Skadoosh! I am celebrating another Five Star Review for Serpents Underfoot!
What is skadoosh, you may ask? It’s a secret technique from the movie, Kung Fu Panda. The “word” kind of stuck in my brain. I use it as an exclamation of thankful appreciation, kind of like ‘Bingo” or “Yippee.” My novel, Serpents Underfoot, has just scored another Five Star Review on Amazon.com! So yes, I could have written “yippee,” but “skadoosh” just sounds so much cooler!
Thank you, Kathleen Palazzolo, for your great review and kind words. This makes a total of nine … not that I am keeping count or anything! Reviews like this really make it all worthwhile and I really appreciate the feedback.
I am hard at work on the sequel, Montagnard. Of course, my goal is to make it even better than Serpents Underfoot. I did learn a good deal writing the first novel, so this should turn out to be the case. Soon, I will be posting some teasers and sample chapters on my website.
It is Friday, so I hope everyone has a bodacious weekend ahead of them!
P.S. Please remember to occasionally check back here for updates … and, I do have an email subscription form! I promise not to spam anyone, but I will announce things like Advance Review Copies if anyone is interested in getting one … of course, that will be a bit off yet!
Hello friends! I will be having my very first book signing on Tuesday, February 27th, from 12:00 to 3:00 pm at McKay’s Books in Knoxville, Tennessee. This is pretty exciting! It is a lot of work establishing yourself and getting your name out there. Every little bit certainly helps. If you are out and about during this time period, I hope you will stop by and say hello! And, maybe … even buy a book. I will have both paperbacks and hardcovers available. I will also have a sample chapter from my upcoming sequel. Please let your friends, family, and even acquaintances know …
Currently Available At …
Serpents Underfoot is currently available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle versions on Amazon.com. It is now also available online from Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million. I guess it takes a lot of work to actually get a book on the shelf in the brick and mortar stores, but I am working on it! I am also working to get it out on Audible, iTunes, and other media outlets.
Now I am busy working on the sequel to Serpents Underfoot. I don’t want to put any spoilers in here, but it will involve a return to Vietnam, more Navy SEAL action, and some interesting twists and turns. It will be an interesting story … a lot of history, excitement, and of course … new adventures for JD Cordell and his faithful K9 partner, Ajax! The research has been interesting. Because of their support of the American forces fighting in Vietnam, the Montagnard people were nearly wiped out by the communist government after the War. I have found that there is quite a large group of Montagnard folks that were resettled in the United States after the war and are now living near Cary here in North Carolina.