Jan 04

The All Powerful is EXPANDING!

First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Tired of having to go to Amazon to see anything about The All Powerful? Simply refuse to have a Kindle or can’t afford one?

With its contract at Amazon over with, TAP is expanding to your favorite reading medium! It is now currently active on Apple and Barnes and Noble, and soon-to-be available on Kobo, Google, and last but not least, PAPERBACK!

Profile-Sized Image TAP

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-all-powerful/id1071023459?ls=1&mt=11

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-all-powerful-jk-brown-jk-brown/1123193443?ean=2940157678357

Kobo:

Google:

 

Dec 20

Creating a Hero: Q&A Interview with Taiza French, pt1

J.K. Brown: Today, I welcome a fan of mine. Her final exam is about how to create a hero, and I am honored that she came to me for answers. I hope this interview helps her score well in the class. Here is Taiza French!

Taiza French: Actually, thank you for having me!

Brown: So when it comes to the hero, where do you want to start?

French: Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin. I have a good grasp on what makes a hero from the assignments I’ve done so far, but creating one seems so much harder.

Brown: That’s common. Creating your first character is always difficult because you haven’t developed a writing style yet. You really have two easy routes to try first: start with your character’s traits, writing them down like a laundry list so you can picture your character easier, or you can create a scenario and just throw your character into it, molding them to meet the task at hand. Everyone has their own preference that suits them best.

French: How would you do it?

Brown: I like creating characters first. I’m a plot-oriented author, meaning the plot is where my focus goes. I start with characters, though, because I don’t like my characters to have an easy win. I want them to work for their happy ending, assuming they can get it. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail. It’s what keeps the story interesting for me, and it’s always wise for the writer to write what interests him.

French: I’m hoping to create a hero though, and I’d like her to succeed.

Brown: Not a problem! Start with your heroine’s traits then. Make her as heroic as you want. Unless you intend to publish this someday, don’t worry about most pitfalls that you may read about online… authors have to avoid them, not you. Next, once you have all the important details down, put her into a scenario. To make good conflict, you need to make sure it is difficult for her to succeed, even though you as the writer know she will in the end. That’s what makes it interesting for the reader. Imagine Superman and all his immense strength. Good conflict would involve a problem where no amount of strength helps. Maybe he is trying to win the love of Lois Lane, but the only way to impress her is playing the piano like Mozart.

French: Oh! So what you’re saying is, create a problem that’s opposite of my heroine’s strengths?

Brown: Pretty much! Maybe not completely the opposite like the example I gave above, but enough that she has to work for her happy ending. Give it a shot. Give me the first thing that comes to mind.

French: Okay, here it goes: my heroine is a single woman who is an only child that was bullied in her earlier years. She does not understand children at all, nor people in general.

Brown: Good! That’s a descent start. So what’s the conflict?

French: She finds a basket of kittens at her door and has to raise them.

Brown: Well, you CAN do that, but with the setup you gave me earlier, I feel you can do better. Create a plot that revolves around children, since you mentioned children more than anything else. Take your time, dig deep, and find something unique that would make your heroine stand out if she did it.

French: Okay. A friend begs her to be the new financial manager for America’s biggest orphan charity. With the economy on its back, the charity is barely able to hang on as donations are drying up. My heroine is in no position to understand what kids need and don’t need, but if she turns the charity away, they will go broke and many orphans will suffer on the streets.

Brown: Yes! Exactly! You did several things there: first, you forced her into a job she would not typically get, aka helping children. Next, you’re giving your heroine a chance to prove her heroism by taking on a hard task that many normal people wouldn’t be able to handle. Finally, accidentally or not, you just gave your heroine more description than she had before. She is smart, mathematically solid, and probably has a master’s degree or better in business, or else there’s no way she’d qualify for the job. If she really existed and pulled it off, I’m almost certain she’d get a lot of press for her effort.

French: Does that mean I’m ready to write?

Brown: Not yet. You haven’t dug into your heroine’s personality. Just how reluctant is your heroine to take on this job? Does she just take it with open arms, or are there deeper problems that cause her to hesitate at first?

French: She hesitates, right? Hesitates big time. Maybe… just looking at children causes some kind of mental problem. She lives in the past and it’s hard for her to forget the past to save the kids.

Brown: She blames the orphans she’s supposed to help for what kids did to her in her childhood.

French: Wouldn’t that make her a big jerk and not a heroine?

Brown: No. Think about it: the reader will know she doesn’t REALLY blame the kids, it’s just some problem she has to get over. Your heroine doesn’t have to start perfect. Let her grow past her problems and create solutions instead. Once she sets her condition behind her, then she blossoms into a stronger human being that solves the problem once and for all.

French: I like it, but that’s a LOT to take in. I’m supposed to write this short story at around a thousand words. How do I fit it all in?

Brown: Start with all the important details and work your way from there. Don’t worry about telling us how the neighbor’s goat chews through your heroine’s garden every other morning. That has nothing to do with the kids, interesting as it may sound. Focus on what matters, and you should hit a thousand words. Depending on how much you like to write, you may finish with much fewer than 1000 words. Don’t forget to edit your story to help make it better, and you’ll be on your way!

French: You make it sound so easy!

Brown: If you choose to write more after this project, you may find it easy too one day. It just takes practice. If everyone were good at writing heroes, heroes wouldn’t seem too interesting. It’s your job to prove to us the readers that your heroine is the most amazing heroine on earth. Think you can handle it?

French: I believe I can, J.K. Brown. Thank you for your official help on my project and taking the time out of your schedule to create this reference for me!

Brown: My pleasure, Miss French. Good luck!

Depending on how well this student does, I may write a second part that focuses on her short story after she has written it. She’s supposedly waiting on me to publish the interview online to complete her references, so hopefully it won’t take too long for that follow-up.

A big thank you to my readers for trusting me with questions about how to write. I truly am honored and would happily do this again if time allows! Thank you for your time!

Dec 17

*NEW!* Transdimensional Maze FREE on Amazon.com!

Looking to treat yourself to a reality-bending short story for the holidays? Transdimensional Maze will be FREE on Amazon.com from 12/26/15-12/31/15!

 

Trans41015 copy

 

An endless maze, a lost brother, and no other guide than a great pink diamond.

Elena Dradeloss is an average, middle-aged mom. Her life is settled, her aspirations met, until news spreads that her brother is missing. No leads surface on Alex’s whereabouts, but there are forbidden ruins outside of town where people are known to disappear.

With no one else willing or able, Elena must step up from being plain and ordinary to an adventurer. Her task? Follow the pink diamonds and find Alex within a dimensional maze. Go beyond reality itself in this short story sci-fi thriller.

Click the cover art for a free preview before your download! Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Dec 10

I’m BACK!

I know, my hiatus was long for personal reasons that would bore you, but I have not completely dissapeared!

 

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It’s going to take a little time as I work to update this website with all the new content I’ve built up over time, but be patient as there is a LOT of great stuff coming! The short story has been published, my novella is scheduled to be ready within the next couple months (if funds allow), many new graphical changes to add and site changes to update! I even have an interview with a fan I will be posting here in the next couple days. It’s a research paper involving heroes, and who am I to deny them while I’m still a smaller name?

For those of you who have patiently waited,

Welcome back to AuthorJKBrown.com!

Nov 03

First-time Amazon Countdown Results

This post is meant for newer authors interested in doing their first Countdown deal. I provide this information for my fellow first-timers, both now and in the future, along with anyone else who will benefit from this information.

For reference, I began my first countdown deal on October 18, ran it for a week in the US, then began my 2nd in the UK on October 26. I got:

10 Sales in the US, 5 during the $.99 promotional (30 hours) then 5 during the 1.99 promotional (Next 4 days). The remaining 2 days at 2.99 got me nothing.

4 Sales in the UK, all of which was £.99.

No reviews in either section.

So, what’s my analysis?

This promotional did not go quite as smooth as I hoped. I tried to time some promotional tweets for the $.99 but they came at 5-7am before anyone woke up. I uploaded a fresh copy to Amazon, but they took many hours longer than usual and my book didn’t go online until I sent them emails. Also, Amazon hit some kind of tracking glitch where sales were not immediately reflected on a book’s ranking. This caused me to lose a lot of potential outreach that I assumed the .99 promo would net me (It did eventually hit at midnight, but quite late). In the UK, I had family come in the same day my promo hit, so I didn’t focus much there at all, only tweeting it a couple times.

Any good news for this sale?

~TAP hit top 50 in the New Adult/College category, which Amazon had only placed TAP in the day before (the highest I saw it was #41).

~5 of the 14 sales were KU, which pays me the same no matter how cheap TAP was. Countdown deals are a great time to net KU sales, which otherwise don’t pay as much for a full-length novel.

~Because I was not actively promoting TAP in the UK, but it was getting hits anyway, I can safely say that Amazon WAS marketing my novel for me. It was not by much, but enough to grab attention.

~Even though I didn’t sell more than I hoped for, my social sites blossomed during this. I got a huge following on Twitter and Facebook got more hits than any other post (and all it got was just 1 share!)

~I made only slightly more than I did the previous week, but I got 5x as many readers.

What do I recommend to other newbies enrolling in KDP Select?

1. Don’t split your Countdown deals up, at least not on your first try, and not while you only have 1 book out.

You need maximum exposure, and it needs to hit all at once. I tried to maximize my exposure during the Halloween season. It didn’t sustain itself like I thought it would. I suspect I would’ve done far better if I had kept the same schedule, but ran the US and UK deals at the same time.

Remember, Kindle Select contracts renew every 90 days, and if you did a promo just after the month-long wait, your next chance is in 60 days. Get creative then. Promote your book now.

2. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly. Have a back-up plan. Be ready to market your book harder when your promo schedule falls apart. Don’t leave your fate to chance.

As I stated earlier, I hit several problems along the way, but I can attribute the sales I got to the hard marketing I did on twitter. Facebook and a couple other sites also picked up the slack. Had I done nothing and just gave up, I’d be lucky to have any sales. Some people get none.

3. The longer your sale is, the more marketing you should expect to do.

Don’t confuse this with “working harder”. You can hire other people to promote your book or get some family/friends to help spread the word. I chose to market most of this myself, but I did still coordinate tweets and some word-of-mouth with others. Neither way is wrong, just make sure you’re prepared.

This is also another reason to market your countdown deals at the same time. At the making of this post, Amazon only has deals for the US and the UK. They may have more when you’re ready to try.

4. Remember, your book is on sale. You likely won’t get as much as you normally do.

Unless your sales pour in by the hundreds (which you better not expect), this is going to hurt a newbie’s royalty check two months down the road. The whole point is not to make money, but to attract readers. Don’t lose sight of that. Don’t be discouraged.

5. Lastly, Double-check to make sure your work is in perfect shape!

It doesn’t matter how many times you looked and your work seemed perfect. Check it again. This is your first Kindle sale. Don’t play around with it. Take it by the horns!

Good luck. Feel free to leave me any questions or comments below.

Oct 17

The All Powerful, Amazon.com sale for $.99 Cents

From midnight Friday till early Saturday morning, The All Powerful will be on sale to all US Amazon customers for $.99!

TAP Cover Art

Take an adventure with Jason and his team in this story-packed series.

 

The pricing schedule is as follows:

Friday, Oct 17th 12am PST: $.99

Sat, Oct 18th 6am PST: $1.99

Wed, Oct 22nd: $2.99

Friday, Oct 24th: $3.99 (Regular Price)

To purchase, simply click the cover art or click this link.

To read more about The All Powerful before you buy, click this link.

Tell your friends about this deal, even the ones across the pond. On Sun, Oct 26, The All Powerful will be £1 for Amazon UK the entire week!

Writers, I’ll post my report once both sales are over. I’ve never seen anyone break an Amazon Countdown Deal in this fashion, so the data should be interesting. I have it timed to make the most of Halloween (in both countries), so we’ll see how it rolls.

Enjoy everyone, happy Halloween, and thank you for your time.

Oct 05

Should We Avoid Mary Sue?

Does a female character seem too-good-to-be-true? Having trouble relating to her when she’s so far above the clouds that you can barely pinpoint her?

 

Many readers dread books that use a “Mary Sue”, an elevated female stereotype character that has no flaws and the fictional world around her just loves her. According to Wikipedia, Mary Sues are sometimes noted as “wish-fulfillment” roles and more frequently implied to be “a poorly developed character, too perfect and lacking in realism to be interesting”. Do note that there are male versions of these characters as well, though not as prominently known/criticized in the reviewing community.

Because the idea of Mary Sue is more based on opinion the opinion of the reader, I find the concept impossible to avoid. Too perfect and a female character isn’t believable. If she’s hardly special, she can just as easily be seen as weak, and just as undesirable.

Then again, I find the concept of Mary Sue to be overrated altogether.

I was recently referred to read Marked, the first book in the House of Night series by a friend (No, this isn’t going to turn into a review about the book) and I found it interesting how the critics often brought up Zoey as one of these “Mary Sues”, gifted by Nyx for no seeable reason. Out of the blue, Zoey is to be one of the greatest “vampyres” ever.

One of the more scathing reviews came from this blog. Scroll down to a comments section, and in it is a rare gem calling out the posters (I’ll summarize what I feel are the best parts below, but the full context is in the link. I will not spell out because again, this post is not for reviews):

 

“…I don’t really like it when you start going into the Mary Sue part. Foremost because calling a character a ‘Mary Sue’ is used to dismiss and disregard them. Secondly, the word itself is gendered female. Why? Mostly because the characters that get cut down the most are female characters.

“So we have another gendered term being used against mostly female characters to dismiss them for, what? Being a female power fantasy?

“A good number of male characters fit into being ‘the Mary Sue’. They are perfect, everyone loves them, their power is always unexpected and grand and impresses all the friends and foes alike. And these characters are considered AWESOME and ‘I wanna be that character.’ Characters like Harry Potter, Iron Man, James Bond, etc. However, flip the genders and suddenly ‘Oh it’s just a Mary Sue character. DISMISSED!’ ”

 

One of the beautiful things I love about fantasy is the ability to create powerful characters that both other readers and myself will enjoy. There are several major characters in my book The All Powerful and I love each of them for the roles they fill, including the females. They are all strong in their own way, and they all have moments where they shine, even the weakest ones. A couple of my females are naturally stronger characters, but even they have weaknesses to counteract their strengths, which keeps them both vibrant and real.

In the gaming community, we call it “balancing”.

Writers should not fear creating strong female characters, but only worry about how those characters fit into stories that are strong in plot, dialogue, and syntax. If the story is solid, it will not matter how strong a female character is.

I don’t have a list yet on what makes a bad Mary Sue (there are numerous sources on the topic if you search for them) but I intend to compile one from research and experience and present it in a future post.

What is your take on Mary Sue?

Sep 23

Never be Discouraged

So I’ve been published for nearly a week, and came across the same thought from two people, one from my dad and another from an author on the Amazon forums.

 

“Why isn’t this book selling more than it is?”

 

This question is apparently asked a lot by debut authors and those behind their books. Granted, for a debut author with little name recognition yet, I’ve been thoroughly blessed by my family and friends. They make constant efforts to get the word out, and it’s so far been quite effective compared to many other authors I’ve read about. Still, my rankings on Amazon hover somewhere between 10000 and 70000 depending on the whim of the day, and I’ll admit I wish my sales are much higher.

So, debut authors, once their initial sales dip into the abyss, should just give up, or at least be discouraged?

No.

Never give up, not unless you want to, not unless you’re looking for things in life that are easy. An author I follow, Joe Konrath, posted this page among others on quitting. He basically says that “if you can quit [writing], you should”. His views are condescending to the faint-hearted, demeaning to those on the fence, and probably depressing to think about.

They’re also great, accurate, and worth a look.

I’m a Black Belt in Taekwondo, trained by a prominent Korean school that branches out into America. While most of my belt testings were challenging, my Black Belt testing was ridiculous. 500 dollars (After many saved paychecks as a grocery store clerk) to not fail, at anything. A Warm-up that rivaled my exercise nights. Techniques and forms executed numerous times, often singling out whoever is weakest. A 1000 kick challenge. My sister (two degrees higher than me) worked so hard that she threw up, a lot. I collapsed on the floor numerous times from asthma just to get a painful breath. Nobody I saw from any testing went through that 2-3 hour experience without great pain.

Yet plastered on the back wall, clear as day, is an enduring message: “BLACK BELT FOR PEOPLE WHO NEVER GIVE UP.”

None of us did. My sister, after in the bathroom for 20 minutes, came back out and finished in style for her 2nd degree. Every time I collapsed on the floor, family and friends asked if I needed an inhaler. I’d slam my fist on the mat, leap back to my feet, and kick some more.

Talk about discouraged? A friend failed just two breaking boards away from her black belt, and she had to start the process all over again in a special session. Despite all the yelling and unbelievable frustration, did she do it? Yes, she got ahold of herself and realized that failing wasn’t the end. She succeeded the second time.

 

Publishing is not going to be easy. Sales will start hard. Promotions may not work, or worse, you may have paid for them to not work. Not all of your reviews are going to be rosy 5-stars. If you want to succeed, whatever that means to you, you have to keep writing, promoting, and be ready to correct problems in your pieces. Do all of these things, and you’ll succeed.

At the end of his article, Konrath states the following:

 

I used to say that there’s a word for a writer who never gives up… published.

These days, anyone can publish. It doesn’t require hard work, talent, or luck.

But there is still a word for a writer who never gives up… successful.

I’m an overnight success. It just took twenty years for that night to finally come.”

 

Never give up, never be discouraged. If you truly want to be a bigger name author than you are now, you have to press on.

Sep 17

The All Powerful, $3.99 At Amazon

After a long combination of patience and diligence, The All Powerful is now on sale at Amazon.com for $3.99!

 

TAP: The All Powerful (Book 1 in the TAP Series)

TAP Cover Art

 

 

Jason Wyton is a young, high-class soldier, fighting for Alya in the Great War of Valanor. With enough combat experience to retire after his next deployment, his superiors, a 3-star Commander and a mysterious mercenary, plot to get around Alya’s laws and keep Jason fighting, permanently. 

After the strange disappearance of the prototype Horizon Rifle, Jason finds himself and a couple colleagues framed for treason. He flees, suspecting his two former leaders are behind it all. The Divisionists, Alya’s prime enemy for decades, fight using supernatural powers rather than technology, and don’t trust Jason thanks to his relationship with the mercenary.


Jason’s mentor, Brace, gives him a choice: to hide and retire until the war ends, or to learn the Divisionist skills and fight against those who have wronged him.

 

Get your copy today or at the price equivalent at any Kindle website!

Sep 02

TAP is Coming! (Link to an excerpt in this post)

With my book submitted to the formatting company, the estimated publishing date of The All Powerful is Sept 17th.

To celebrate, my third snippet of the book has been released!

Chapter 15 Excerpt

The character displayed here, Vend, is not one of my primary main characters (My beta readers affectionately call them the Big Three) But she is a major protagonist and her introduction stands on its own, meaning there are no spoilers.

The primary goal of releasing this excerpt is to give a taste of the book’s action. Don’t be fooled: the fantasy element in this excerpt is unique to the rest of the book. The remaining part of chapter 15 uses the main fantasy concept, but it also contains spoilers, so it will not be available here.

Like before, you cannot comment on pages, so leave your comments about this excerpt below.

Enjoy!

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