Monday, November 23, 2015

Possible Book Covers - The Case of the Jade Dragon

While I have been working on writing "The Case of the Jade Dragon", I have also been active in two other areas. The first has been developing a following and an interest in the Jonas Watcher Detective series. There have been a lot of false starts and some that show promise and I will share in future posts. The second area of activity has been in developing a professional looking book cover. I have four possible options and I am looking for feedback.  Readers and writers are the best people to provide the kind of help I am looking for, so please share you thoughts.

I am using the CreateSpace book cover creator and providing my own images.

The first cover has an image I manipulated after purchasing the rights to use it. The author description is light for the moment and I will add to it later. The image is an artist's view of a street scene of China town in San Francisco. When you click on the image it should enlarge to give you a better view. this is "Cover 1". The blurb on the back is open to criticism. Also whatever biographical  information you think might be of interest would also be of help.

This is "Cover 2" - which has a film noir black and white image That I did some adaption to. I added fog and colored in the light. When you use CreateSpace you are limited in options of font and style. I am showing a single style choice, although there are a considerable number of options available. Commenting on my choice of style is also open to discussion. If you have used CreateSpace, by all means share.

"Cover 3" is a collage of different posters, so while it may be familiar, I have made it my own. While I do have a couple of favorites, I do need to hear  your thoughts. I chose the color because of  the book title, but I am very open to thoughts about my choices.

In "Cover 4" I wish I could have moved the title down and I would have liked to have included the phrase on the back cover on the front somehow. Well here are the four covers and after I publish I will give four of you signed copies of the third book in the Jonas Watcher series, "The Case of the Jade Dragon". You can now see the first three chapters of the book on my Goodreads Blog. You might take a look to see if you have a better thought for the image I should use. I am open to other suggestions.

Here is another cover. I read some of the responses and I found another cover style that might fit better than these. Please comment.

Gene Poschman

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Case of the Jade Dragon - Chapter 2

The link below will take you to my Goodreads page with the second chapter of the third book of the Jonas Watcher series. "What's New in My Life" I use to share my non-writing activities geared towards getting my name and the name of my product out there as much as possible. But I also want people who have access to this blog to also have quick access to my Goodreads blog. I hope you enjoy reading the non-edited version a chapter at a time, and I would like to get any feedback you have. If you haven't read the first book, you can eMail me at and let me know what eBook format you would like PDF, Nook, or Kindle and I will email it to you so you have some indication about the series.

Gene Poschman

Goodreads blog      Jonas Watcher Chapter 2

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jonas Watcher: The Case of the Jade Dragon - Chapter 1

I have already posted this chapter in my GoodReads blog, and this is the link that will get you there. This is a Work In Progress, it has only had minimal grammar and spell checking  through Grammarly. Even so I am looking for feedback about the story. Every couple of days I will put up a new chapter until I am finished or unless my posting catches up with my writing. I do recommend that you read the first book at least, and the second book also. Of course, I do. If you haven't and would like to, you can get a free eBook of the first book, by liking my Jonas Watcher page and sending me an email telling if you want a PDF, Kindle, or nook formatted eBook.

The link to the First Chapter of The Case of the jade Dragon.

The link to Jonas Watcher FaceBook page.

My email address

Saturday, November 7, 2015

When Worlds Collide!

Space Debris from 3D Models at Renderosity 
No, it is not about science fiction, but about when you are relaxing and you come across something and your muse jumps out at you and hits you across the head with a two by four and yells, "Wake up and check this out!"

I am a customer of Renderosity and I get regular posts about what is available. Part of my relax and get started writing process is I will play a single round of a game and I will go through the Renderosity newsletter and see what is new. Then I will put on some music, mostly instrumental, sometimes from the Big Band Era, and sometimes more current like CCR. Then I settle in and I write.

Today in a Renderosity Newsletter there was a reference to a 3d model "WaterFront 1930s". I had thought about using a waterfront picture for "Jonas Watcher: The Case of the Running Bag", after all that is where Jonas is almost murdered and the story starts. I never could find anything I liked.
Blue Tree Studio  "3D Waterfront"
at Renderosity

When you look at what Blue Tree Studio created, it is a 3D world on the waterfront. I have Daz Studio and Unity (There are free copies of both) and I can set up that world and move around until I find the shot I want. Then I create a JPEG and I have the image I was looking for. I know this is possible, and not all that difficult. Before I started on my Jonas Watcher series, I was foolish enough to think I could create a 3D adventure game on my own using Unity. I am not without skill. I am an excellent JavaScript programmer, an imaginative storyteller, adept as a digital artist manipulating images, and I have played enough adventure games to have a pretty good idea on how they work. I was even able to create a 3d world in Unity that a user could stroll through. It lacked a lot and there was a lot to game development that I was also lacking.

Booh and Babbot
So I fell back on my most prolific gift, storytelling. Jonas Watcher was born.

I still made purchases from Renderosity in hopes of being able to use artwork to illustrate my books, create a graphic novel, or if I became a significant enough writer I could interest a game developer to pick up my Booh and Babbot game series.

The key to this particular post is artwork. If you are not an artist, where can you get artwork, and if you are an artist, where can you sell artwork? Renderosity! You may want to check them out. Need a book cover, want to do a graphic novel, want to create a game, want to illustrate a book? You get the picture. There are a number of studios that have artwork at Renderosity, that I have made purchases at, but these in no way reflect the myriad of artists work that is available, but they are the ones I have been happiest with. There is R Publishing. fictional bookshelf, dexsoft-games, and now Blue Tree Studio.

The colliding worlds are that of the artist, of which I am not, and the writer, which I am. Renderosity makes artwork, much of which is in 3d and allows you to use it in a professional capacity based upon the EULA attached to the artwork. When in doubt contact the artist.

If you are a self-published writer, this is an incredible and affordable resource that can help you achieve great book covers, illustrations for stories, and to expand your work into the graphic novel arena if it is appropriate, and digital gaming?

It is not earth-shaking, just a little nudge to look outside the box when trying to solve a problem.

Gene Poschman

Author of Jonas Watcher Books

Friday, November 6, 2015

Should You Self-Publish?

I have recently come across a number of people talking about the failing of Self Publishing. What they are really complaining about is marketing and selling of books. While I am not an expert in the field of Self Publishing, it is what I do at the moment. Why do people self-publish? There are a variety of reasons, but I can really only judge as to why I Self-Publish. I don't have the time to find an agent, and I don't have time to wait for someone else to discover what I already know. I am a damn good writer.

Should you self-publish? Beats the hell out of me.
ComicBook Creator

I can tell you what I did. I wanted to publish a satirical comic book. I got online and found a marvelous software package called Comic Book Creator, which unfortunately no longer exists or
works. However, I was able to use this software to create “The Shrub Chronicles”. But creating a comic book does not publish it. I wasn't looking to mass produce the book, but I did want to get it out there just to say I did.

Then I found a series of comics, volume 1 through 4 on “How To Self-Publish Comics …Not Just Create Them” by Josh Blaylock from Devils Que Publishing. While my interest at the time was to just get my comic published, I was also hoping to get it into comic book stores. Guess what, comic bookstores really aren't interested in dealing with self-published authors directly. What I came away with was a pretty good knowledge about self-publishing. Shortly after my brief excursion into the world of publishing I went back into the world of computers, gaming and the internet.

Before you worry about publishing, write. What is great about self-publishing is that you can publish anything. For the moment, we will assume that you have something to publish. So here are some questions to answer to determine if you should self-publish.

Are you a teacher with a book on the subject you teach? There are a lot of other questions to consider if the answer to this is yes that have to do with certification, quality of work, and the grade level of your product. But if you meet the criteria of those and other considerations then The answer to self-publish may be a resounding yes, especially if you have a built in audience.

Are you writing about a subject upon which you are considered an expert publicly? Then find an agent and try the traditional houses of publishing. After if all fails, the self-publishing route is always available.

Are you James Patterson, John Grisham, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, or any other household name in the already published community? It's up to you, but use you known name, or you might discover what self-published authors already know, getting books sold can be tough.

Are you doing this for your family? Definitely, get it published and buy a bunch of copies and distribute it to your family and friends.

Are you out of college and just starting out? No! Write a book, take some more classes, find a mentor, get an agent, and learn how to write, because most likely you don't really know how yet. Yes, I know there are exceptions, but if you are young, find a hook and exploit it through the traditional publishing world. Get rejected, learn humility, and build up your ego.

The next series of questions are designed for a novelist, because that is what I am, but if you write non-fiction most of these questions are also relevant.

Can you really write? I don't mean your friends think you are cool, or your family thinks what you write is great. I am not talking about a writing teacher who likes your style. I mean can you come up with an idea and talk about it to another person? Can you create a tagline? Can you outline a novel? Can you develop backgrounds for characters that will never show up on a published page? Can you subplot? Can you come up with a twist? Can you write fifty thousand words or more and put it away before you start your rewrite? When you rewrite, is that when the real creative process begins? Can you hand your baby to another person for criticism? Do you know grammar well enough to break the rules? Do you feel guilty when you are not writing, or do you wish you were writing? Are there days when you just don't want to write?

I know they are a lot of questions, but you have to be able to answer most of them honestly with yes. What does this have to do with self-publishing? Not a damn thing. Before you can decide to self-publish, you pretty damn well better be a writer first.

I found Smashwords, and Createspace and I self-publish with both. Before you decide, look into what they will do for you. I am on a very strict budget, so if it isn't free I do not do it. I have successfully published two paperback books and eBooks. I have revised both a couple of times. I created my own book covers, and I have marketed them and sold them. I have not yet sold enough to claim I am a successful writer financially, but people who have paid money for my books are waiting for the third book and tell me I need to write more than one book a year. I am working on it.

Want to know about self-publishing, go to the sites I listed below and read J. A. Konrath's blog.
J. A. Konrath

He is definitely a financially successful self-published writer.

Here are the two publishing sites:

And I wish you good luck.

My Book Series' page

Like my page and get a free eBook out of it.

You can email me at and tell me if you want a Kindle, Nook orPDF and you will get a copy of “Jonas Watcher: The Case of the Running Bag

Good writing, good luck.

Gene Poschman

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Self Publish Marketing According to Gene

James Patterson Master Class Gets Thumbs Up
James Patterson
Master Class in Writing

When I enrolled in the James Patterson Master Class for writing fiction, I also started this blog. Initially part of the reason was because I wanted to share what I was doing in the class and offer up whether or not I thought it was worth the price of admission. I wasn't sure what to expect, I had taken a number of classes in writing fiction and I always did well in the classes. This was an opportunity to get information from a very successful writer, even if it wasn't really first hand, though there was the possibility of him reading something I did and commenting.

I have completed the course, and I continue to review lessons and I still participate in the Facebook group. What I like is that I can review the videos as often as I wish. There are only a couple of hours, but it is after all James (Bloody) Patterson and he is an extremely successful writer. It was $90 to take the class and it is money well spent. I continue to learn and as I mine nuggets of information I will share my perspective on the class.

First It Was All About Writing

This blog is more about my journey as a writer than a review of James Patterson's class. It is about writing, but it is more about being a writer. The easy part is being a really good story teller. I know I am that because I have gotten good reviews from people who do not even know me. I am a virtual unknown successful writer. The next step is to become a known successful writer. I would love to fund my retirement by writing. So here I am sharing some of my journey with you.

Gene Poschman
At Work
Briefly I have been writing a long time, but I only started getting serious when I retired. The problem was that I was too successful as a Programmer Analyst, and it funded my family and me for a lot of years. In a way, it had become a trap. I escaped the trap by getting old. I was too expensive and although I was one of the best. Unfortunately, companies were willing to settle for mediocrity then have the best. First I became unemployed, than unemployable. I retired and turned to my real love, writing. 

I have been an avid Science Fiction fan and had always thought I would be a science fiction writer. My second reading choice was mysteries. It was while I was reading the short story collection “Continental Op” by Dashiell Hammett that I got an idea for a story. That idea translated into the character Jonas Watcher and became the inspiration for at least six novels and perhaps more.
The Case of the Running Bag
Film Noir?
My first novel, ”Jonas Watcher: The Case of the Running Bag” was born sometime in early 2013, but I didn't start putting “Pen to Paper” until November of that year. As I started writing, I started looking into how to get it published. 

Then It Was About Getting Published

About twenty years ago, I had tried to get a political thriller published and I spent a bit of money to accomplish it. In truth, the book wasn't ready. Instead of getting advice on what to do, I got silence or people looking for how they could milk me for money. Perhaps that why I took so long to start writing again. 

In 2004, I had successfully created a political satire comic book, paying homage to “Mad Magazine”, and I
self-published it. While it didn't sell a lot of copies, I had discovered that “Publishing is actually easy. Marketing and selling are hard.”

By April of 2014, I had found Smashwords and Createspace and I released my first Novel to the fanfare of my blowing my own trumpet in an empty wilderness. The only thing that kept me going was that people who had read my book and were not friends told me they enjoyed it and asked when was the second book coming out. So I persevered and started working on my second novel, “Jonas Watcher: The Case of the Bourbon Street Hustler”.

Then It Was About The Internet

At this time, everyone is telling me the internet is the place to get recognized. Great! Now I need to digress a bit here to share some irony with you. The last ten years of my career I was an Internet Consultant. My primary area of expertise was in delivering education over the internet. I took legacy content and translated it into course material and made it engaging for students while designing quizzes and exams to not only test a student's grasp of the content but test the course material itself to make sure it was delivering the content in such a way that students could and would learn the concepts that the content was suppose to be teaching. Additionally I was a Web Master for a company and took the eCommerce site that had been grossing about $8000 a month to grossing more than $35,000 a month in four years, by redesigning the website for ease of use, implementing Search Engine Optimization, and an email marketing campaign. “Toot, Toot”.

How do I do the same for me?

The company I worked for already had a clientele, they were already a part of the industry they were in, I was able to use existing marketing strategies already in place for the industry, and there were set keywords that provided a limited return on search information. In the simplest of terms, I was able to move them to the first page of every search option that related to their product. They became visible on the internet to their customer base. The key word here is visible.

Now It Is About Becoming Visible

If you type “Mystery” in the search box of your favorite search engine, you will not get a single writer, book, or series. You will not see James Peterson, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, or Rex Stout. You don't see “Murder She Wrote”, “Sherlock Holmes” or “Castle”. You do see Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble.  Every other author and I are in the same catch 22, and if you are a self-published author you are in even a deeper hole unless you have a hook. That hook could be in the guise of a person or organization that is willing to give you a leg up. It could be a large legitimate following that will help you get you and your book out there. If you have no hook and you are not James Patterson, (sorry for picking on you, James, but you are a household name that people will type into a search engine to see what your latest book is. And if I type mysteries novels in "",  you get...  John Grisham. Sorry about that James, I thought you would show up first.) The point is that both John and James have a hook, that is a publisher willing to publicize their books. We, self-published novelists, have ourselves and a decidedly smaller marketing budget.

Here Is My Game Plan:

Keep writing. The more books you have the greater your credibility, especially if people like what you write.

Get yourself out there as a writer. Join a local writer's group and participate. Join online writer's groups and participate as a writer. Avoid firestorms of personal opinions, ask questions about writing, getting published and marketing.

Have a website and a blog. Work at becoming a household name in your genre. Don't have the money or the time for a website, then have a Facebook page. If you have a Facebook page, then create an author or book page. I chose to create a book series page for Jonas Watcher. If I am doing something that deals with Jonas Watcher, it goes on my Jonas Watcher Page and I announce it everywhere I can. A year ago if you searched on “Jonas Watcher” in a browser, you mostly got stuff about the Jonas Brothers. Take a look today, the first page of links is about my books. If you search on my name, you will see a lot about me and my books. By the way, I am Gene R Poschman, not Gene S Poschman and I do not live in Berkeley. Who knew there were two Gene Poschmans.

There are a number of sites for free blogs, join one and write. Write about your books, writing, publishing, or whatever your books are about. Just write.

Jonas Watcher:
The Case of the Jade Dragon
Coming Soon
Find a couple of free press release distribution sites, and write a press release each time you release a book. Contact you local paper and let them know when you are releasing a book. Let them know you are a local writer. If you have something unique about your book, let them know. Get your name out there.

Have a local bookstore then visit them and let them know you exist. They might carry a copy of your book. See if you can do a book signing.

Contact your local libraries, give them copies of your book. Know a librarian somewhere contact them. Is there a library event taking place, join in.

If I failed to mention it, start writing on your next book.

More to come. We are not always defined by how we succeed, but also by how we fail.

Gene Poschman