Believe in the Pantser!

I’d like to introduce you to my friend, newly published author Branli Caidryn. He’s guest-blogging here today and publicly acknowledging how I, the wise pantser I am, know all!


Finally! Published!

At least that’s what a lot of my friends are saying. I admit, my response is a bit more reserved—okay, I’m lying. It’s a bit more like; OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I DID THIS!

For well over a year I planned and outlined my approach to going indie. It wasn’t an easy decision. In fact, for the longest time I was set on going traditional. No question. For years I was purchasing the Writer’s Market book and researching publishers and agents. The Query Shark site was practically the home page on my browser for all those years. Then, I changed my mind.

I can’t pinpoint what it was that made me go Indie. It was a combination of things—aside from the profit margins—what I really liked was the creative freedom. Granted, a few small presses now offer more creative freedom to an author than before, but it wasn’t enough. Once the decision was made, I started planning again. I changed course and before I knew it I was setting up a business and signing agreements with distributors and printers. It wasn’t easy. I learned a lot over the course of a year. But in all honesty, I wouldn’t have made it this far if I hadn’t researched and planned all this out. I just about planned out every month and set goals.

Oddly, for all the planning, outlining, and research… when the time finally came, it didn’t make hitting the ‘publish’ button any easier. I think Jeffe saw this. For as much as I teased her once on twitter for being a pantser versus a plotter, I couldn’t take the next bold step. The many passes, rewrites and edits couldn’t prepare me for the giant leap. I’d spend weeks going over every single marketing and publishing strategy, down to the day-to-day activity. In hindsight, my biggest error was that my plan had me trying a different marketing strategy every single day! What’s the problem with this? It doesn’t give time for any one method to work—much less see results. Plus, the contingencies weren’t in place to say what to do if one method didn’t work. I was simply busying myself with just about every known marketing approach!

In talking to Jeffe and trying to explain the reasons why I hadn’t set a release date, or why I wasn’t ready to publish—I mean really I was just floundering in the open trying to come up with a good excuse.

“Do it!” she said. “Hit the button.”

I have to say it was the perfect advice.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have all the basic outlines and marketing strategies. But now that my book is out there, I can think much easier on my feet and take it one day at a time. There’s an overall plan, but it’s mostly a see-and-wait approach; and I think for someone who is just starting off, that’s okay. I’ve read many books on the proper book release strategies and each one was slightly different, though in some cases they contradicted one another.

Don’t pay for blog tours. Not worth it.

Be ready to pay for most blog tours.

Never do paid advertisement.

Never price at $0.99. You devalue your work and everybody else’s.

Price $0.99, but only for your first book, or a promo.

Never pay for book reviews.

Be ready to pay for most book reviews.

The list honestly keeps going. Like I said, I tried wrapping my mind around all this, planning things out for a few months. I’m sure I’d still be busy doing all this had Jeffe not come to my rescue. It comes down to diving right in, sink or swim, and see what works for you. I keep what I’ve learned in the back of my head as a general guide, but not as set rules that can’t be altered on a whim. Dare, I say, I believe in the pantser.

Phoenix Splinter (Book 1 in the Project Horizon trilogy)

Keith Groenewald is an escaped experiment from the top secret military known as Area Fifty-One. Veluz, a powerful secret society, helps keep Keith hidden from the government hands that demand his return. But everything has a price and his purpose goes far beyond what he knew. His creation and his role are other-worldly.

Currently available in ebook, with print becoming available by August 13th. 


Barnes & Noble:


UK Site:

US Site:


Debut promo price for ebook:

US $0.99

UK £0.77

Promo price ends August 12th


Whales, Dolphins and Why I Love My Twitter Friends

I arrived at the RWA conference early Tuesday morning, expressly to spend the day with my Twitter friend, Branli Caidryn.

Not that Twitter is good for anything but talking about what we had for breakfast. (Blueberry pancakes, thank you – with pineapple on the side.)

At any rate, Branli, whose sci fi book, Project Horizon, will be coming out ANY MINUTE NOW, picked me up at the hotel for a day of yakking about writing and to see whales. Now, I’ve been on a few whale-watching tours in my day. (You can imagine me saying this in a wheezy voice while you pretend you didn’t see me pour whiskey into my coffee mug.) I’ve been on tours out of San Francisco, Oregon and Alaska. I’ve glimpsed some whales. I’ve seen dolphins, too.

Nothing like this.

The morning fog burned off leaving us out on the water on a gloriously sunny day. And we saw blue whales feeding. Now, it’s kind of hard to see whales because, you know, they’re under water, duh. But you get pieces of them. That I tried to capture on my iPhone 4s, without dropping it in the water. Quite the feat, I’ll have you know. 

The video doesn’t capture how fabulous this was. We watched the whales feed for what felt like hours, their backs and flukes churning into sight.

On the way back to port, dolphins escorted the boat in.


Afterwards, we enjoyed a fabulous lunch overlooking the ocean. Just the kind of thing I love.

Thank you, Branli, for a perfect day!