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My Freedom Flame

Motivating Writers Worldwide

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 10)

How Rookie Indie-Authors Achieve Success on a Limited Budget

Did you all miss me?

Yes, I took a one month hiatus in the middle of winter. Hibernation, so to speak. Er…not really. Spent a lot of time editing for the final book in the Original Lord of Columbia Trilogy entitled Missing in Columbia which will be out soon….very soon. Also, I was hard at work on my affiliate blog and of course, Lord of Columbia Series blog, but I didn’t forget about My Freedom Flame.

So, last month I spoke of how indie-authors can create a plan and today I hope to expand on the subject as to how rookie indie-authors can achieve success on a limited budget. I know a lot of us are doing the following:

1. Working a day job they’d rather be without.

2. Drowning in debt.

3. Refinancing or flat out defaulting on loans.

4. Have this urge to succeed in writing but we don’t know how we can build a business without capital.

Don’t worry, I’m here to give you some advice.

Want to know a secret?

Just a few months ago I was down to my last seven-hundred dollars, so I can relate to your pain.

I joined the Wealthy Affiliate Community and learned to blog. I learned how to at least get my site’s name into Google and Bing search engines. It was a cheap investment that started at a measly $19 a month; best nineteen dollars I’ve ever spent.

In fact, it taught me a lot of cool stuff and guess what?

You too can succeed on a limited budget.

As I’ve mentioned before, I also joined the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild in November 2017, which transformed my writing one-hundred-fold. His Guild isn’t open at the moment as it’s only open for a limited time throughout the year, but if you have a shot to join, I suggest you join.

Want to go inside the numbers?

Wealthy Affiliate costs me $585/year, and if I decide to go annual, $359/year.

Jerry’s Guild cost me $370 for the year.

So, we’re looking at a grand total $955 total throughout the year.

Throughout twenty-three months if I were to combine the two.

No, you don’t have to invest thousands in courses, so if you’re on a limited budget, follow me down the list here.

 

Invest in a Cost-Effective Book Cover

Did you know all three of my book covers for the Lord of Columbia Original Trilogy are pre-made?

The cover for Northern Knights cost $85. Ditto for Missing in Columbia. Swords of Destiny cost $95.
Grant total of $265.

What?

You don’t have that much, either?

No worries.

Back when I was vetting for a book cover, and you will vet, believe me, I came across a few that were as low as $30, so you can definitely find something to fit your budget here.

I would not hire someone from Fiverr for a book cover as I’ve seen them and you’d be better off making one for free, which you can do if you go to Canva. However, I recommend you not use Canva to create covers for books you plan to sell. Freebie e-books are fine, but not paid books.

 

Learn How to Self-Edit

While hiring a professional editor would be top-notch, they can charge as much as .02 cents a word. Had I hired someone to edit Northern Knights, it would’ve cost $1,600. Some of the better ones charge more, as much as a nickel per word. Yikes!

Most of us don’t have that kind of cash, but don’t worry, because self-editing really isn’t that hard once you learn tricks to the trade.

Which is why I recommend the Guild, something I tried myself and enjoyed learning. Okay, I enjoyed learning some new stuff after I found that the first drafts of Northern Knights sucked, but still.

Take your pick: $370/year, or $1,500+ per book edit.

Again, for those of us on a budget, we have to be smart with our money.

$1,500 is a little much.

At the very least, invest in a book that teaches self-editing.

Whatever you do, don’t use this blog or any other free source of information as your only information. We can teach you some, but the best thing to do is always, always, always find a mentor; even a virtual mentor.

Grammar Checkers Don’t Break the Bank

Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid are my two favorites. Grammarly is the one I have built into my laptop and it’s saved me countless times. I really never go a day without it.

On the other hand, Pro Writing Aid does have a freebie tool on its site and if you have any questions, Pro Writing Aid has the answers. It’ll tell you if your writing is fast or slow-paced, whether you used too many glue words, and much more. It gives you sentence length, word frequency, and if you’re running a chapter of fiction through it, how much unnecessary back story you’re using up.

Grammarly is my top choice due to the fact it’s readily available and will point out errors within seconds. It catches things other grammar checkers can’t and it’s free to install.

So, if you’re self-editing, take your grammar to the next level here with Grammarly or Pro Writing Aid, as in time, you will thank yourself. It’s one thing to self-edit to make the work interesting, but it’s a completely different ballgame when it comes to finding you forgot to put ‘the’ where it’s needed, ‘a,’ or any similar word.

 

Book Promotion is Fairly Priced

Books Butterfly has a Silver Eagle campaign running for $50. JustKindleBooks, one I used last December, has an $18 package. Book Runes costs a simple $25.

I’ll never tell you to invest in promotion I haven’t personally used. I’ve used all three and I plan on using more in time.
The above equals a grand total of $93. Three cheap promo packages sold me a grand total of nearly 600 copies of Northern Knights on its free days. It didn’t really come out of the wash, but for $93, I’ll take it.

As a rookie indie-author on a limited budget, I’ll really take it. Especially when my KENP has steadily increased, meaning in time, the promo may end up paying for itself.

Even if you don’t have the budget for $93, there are other options as well. I’ve come across bknights, which is a Fiverr-based promo site that charges $5-$10 for basic promotion. Per Reedsy, they’re a good deal. I’ve never tried them when it comes to freebies, but it shows what can be done even on a small budget.

 

My Investments

Okay, so I joined Wealthy Affiliate for site building, keyword research tools, site networking, and SEO practice for $558, bought my Lord of Columbia Series domain for $14, so we’re at $572.

I joined the Writers Guild the year before this, which cost $370, so we’re up to $942.

Add in the $265, and you get $1,207. Add $93, and we get a grand total of $1,300 that I spent from November 2017 and will spend to November 2019. Divide this by twenty-five months and you get a total of $52/month I’m investing in my indie-author business.

Do you have $52/month to spare?

And again, if not, there are cheaper ways, but for me to create the highest-quality product on my limited budget, I squeaked out $77/month and I mean I squeaked it out.

So, rookie indies, just because you have a small budget doesn’t mean there’s no hope out there. There is hope, and trust me, you will thank yourselves when you invest in something important to you. Invest in something beneficial to you.

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Thank You, Followers

New Milestones Conquered, Plenty for the Future

Today I want to take the time to thank all my fans, friends, and followers for my new milestones. In August, My Freedom Flame has set milestone after milestone. Plenty of new milestones conquered, plenty for the future.

 
In August alone, my viewership reached its four-figure goal.

 
In July, I added SEO to My Freedom Flame and man, does it make a difference. Heck yes, and I urge any blogger out there or author, as I am, to adopt SEO for their website or blog. We have a remarkable tool on our hands in the digital age and if you haven’t considered it, now’s a good time.

 
Also in August, my sessions, new users, users, and views all reached new heights.
This week alone, three days into the week, my viewership increased to the point it already passed last week’s and is in play to set a new weekly milestone. Thank you all for that.

 
Also, my bounce rate decreased, and time spent on each page increased three, almost four-fold, with one day last week hitting the fifteen-minute mark. Another milestone.

 
My Freedom Flame is still in its infancy at seven months old, as are my two works, Northern Knights, one month old, and its prequel novella spinoff, Fighting Tyranny, one week old! Yes, I plan on adding to both series and plan on releasing each within a week or so of one another.

 
Whereas Northern Knights and its Lord of Columbia Series consists of three-hundred-plus pages, sixty-five to eighty-thousand words per work, Fighting Tyranny and its Neo Skyehawk Series won’t pass twenty-thousand words, closer to ten to fifteen-thousand.
So far, I’ve enjoyed sharing with you all my motivational tips on pursuing your passion, be it writing, or whatever it is you love, my Libertarian perspective, and my favorite, Truth on Global Affairs. In all, My Freedom Flame is a philosophy blog where the founder happens to be an author.

 
I hope to continue to inspire others to reach their goals, get them out of their dreaded day job, fire their boss, adopt a philosophy of self-reliance, and getting to the point to where they’re waking up each Monday morning and will be able to treat it like a Saturday morning.

 
And as always, if any of you find my blogs interesting or helpful, please share them to your social media accounts; I recently added share buttons to LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr I think is down there, and an email tab.

 
If you have friends who’re stuck in dead-end jobs, are fed up with today’s Democratic-Republican-dominated Congress and Presidency, or want to learn some chilling truths on what’s really going on overseas, they may be interested in seeing what I have to say.

 
Also, I use videos like the Corbett Report, Ron Paul Liberty Report, Free Domain Radio, Tom Woods, and Blackstone Intelligence as sources for my Libertarian views and Global Affairs pieces. Reason.com and Mises.org are two of my favorite websites to draw information from, and the Ron Paul Institute is a close third.

 
I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support to My Freedom Flame and guys, if you’re looking to pursue what you love but are afraid to take the first step, look beyond the decision. Is your gut instinct telling you to throw caution to the wind, abandon all logic, and urging you to go for it?

 
Well, listen to it.

 
That’s all I have for today, just a small update article on recent happenings on My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.

Behind the Writing Part III: Character Models

I Based Several Characters Off Real-Life People

Okay, this one’s going to burn some bridges. And speaking of burning bridges, the demolition of the Ft. Steuben Bridge a few years back is always fun to watch via YouTube, but anyway, back to today’s topic of Behind the Writing, Part III: Lord of Columbia’s Character Models.

 
Yes, I based many characters off real-life people, both good and bad, which as I’ve already stated, will burn some bridges.

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

So, how did I decide who plays the good guys and who plays the bad guys?

 
With one, single exception, the people I liked played the good, and people I didn’t played the bad, and that’s not to say the good guys are winning anything fast, or even surviving this little debacle I’ve already put them through.

 
No, seriously, one of my best friends asked if I could base him off a bad guy, and I accepted. He’s also the one who planted the Sword idea in my mind, and yes, Sword’s capitalized, because it serves as a proper noun in Lord of Columbia.

 

Good Times With Element Control

My characters may or may not have the unique power of element control, similar to Avatar, The Last Airbender, but unlike Avatar, The Last Airbender (it’s so much easier to say Avatar but people tend to get the wrong idea), characters may control several elements at once. In other words, just because someone’s a natural fire-bender (which I just call fire control, or if they’ve reached a certain status, Fire Master), they have ability to control other elements, too.

 
Oh, and I added a few, too. Like, we have those who can control wood, blood, metal (latter two did appear in The Legend of Korra, if I’m not mistaken), and my favorite, Spirit, which plays a significant role in the whole Lord of Columbia series.

 

Backlash?

My parents asked me if there’d be any backlash if people found out who these characters were based off.

 
Honestly, I’d fear more backlash coming from the good characters than the bad, especially since I—well, I can’t justify spoiling it for you. Let’s just say characters on both sides of the equation may want to have a word with me once the entire trilogy is released, and I’ll be letting you all know when The Rebellion Continues…
Anyway, back to character-playing.

 

The How!

How did I get my characters?

 
Well, the good, the bad, and the ugly whether I liked or disliked them, they were the most interesting people I’d met while working my first gym job from 2012-2017, and I had a lot of people to choose from, let me tell you.

 
But, these cats were the most interesting. They had a specific trait I looked for.

 

Something eye-catching. If they were off to do something extraordinary, for instance, they were more likely to be included in the work.

 
A few characters were also combined as amalgams of people I’d met throughout my first gym job (Luv ya, Weirton!). Since this series is only in need of a few major and minor characters, many became fused into one.

 

Challenges?

Character creation was both the hardest and most amusing portion of my brainstorming phase. Again, like my previous article regarding Lord of Columbia’s setting, by basing my characters off others, I had a nice, little beginning from which to work. Again, as a minimalist, I wanted to focus on the main characters’ actions and keep character description rather vague.

 
A great way for me to do this was already have a picture of these characters in mind. For you, the reader, if you happen to pick up Lord of Columbia, you’ll find I use rather vague descriptions, so feel free and let your inner-theater come out. Picture these characters any way you want to.

 

I’d like to thank all my readers for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.

A Story of How Music Influences Me to Write

Music May Unlock Creative Juices

As I continue my research project regarding the Deep State, I want to write a few fun-oriented articles that are a little off-topic for variety. One topic I haven’t yet covered on my new site is my love of music and how certain bands and singers influence me and my writing.

 
We all love music and let’s be honest, it influences each of us in how we feel each day, and I’m not different. In fact, sometimes I’ll listen to my favorite artists before I sit down to write as it’ll get me into the mindset of my point-of-view character. As a writer of fiction, we must become that character if we’re writing from a limited point-of-view, meaning we practically become that character.

 
I also write song lyrics in a variety of genres, even those I don’t often listen to. I’d just finished penning a set of lyrics now, which inspired me to write this piece on music.
So, since Lord of Columbia is at its core a war novel, bands like DragonForce and Sabaton will spark creative juices, while in Comeback Kid, Nightwish is one that comes to mind, since while it’s inspirational, it also contains a dark side.

 
However, when penning Comeback Kid, I love listening to a wide selection of music and I’ll go more mainstream when writing it. Comeback Kid doesn’t have the fantasy genre attached, so my usual power-symphonic metal is phased out in favor of more mainstream hits.

 
Some of these hits are in the classic or alternative rock genre and they’re usually ones that remind me of the setting of my book.

 
However, I’m typically in my setting at least a few days a week, that being the small village-town of Wintersville, Ohio, among other places. A few songs that get me into the Wintersville feel, for one strange reason or another are as follows:

 
1) Hey Jealousy, Found out About You, Lost Horizons, Follow You down, all by Gin Blossoms.

 
2) Story of My Life and Ball in Chain, by Social Distortion.

 
3) Sky Full of Stars, by Coldplay.

 
4) Slide, Name, Black Balloon, Broadway, Let Love In, by Goo Goo Dolls

 
5) Time, by Hootie and the Blowfish

 
6) The Freshmen, by the Verve Pipe

 
So, all but a few songs are hits of the 1990’s, and there are many others I relate to, like There She Goes, She’s So High, You’re A God, Good, and Roll to Me, among others. Part of this is I grew up in the 1990’s, and I lived in Wintersville at the time.

 
As for Lord of Columbia, its setting is based off Wintersville but due to its fantastical elements, I tend to listen to bands other than simply select songs, as listed above. So, for Lord of Columbia, some of my favorites to get the creative juices to flow are as follows:

 
1) DragonForce

 
2) Sabaton

 
3) Nightwish

 
4) Two Steps from Hell

 
5) Ensiferum

 
6) Visions of Atlantis

 
These bands all spark the juices too, among others. Some, like Faun, Grimner, and indies like Antti Martikainen, also work wonders, giving me a fantasy-based feel for what I’m about to write. However, I will occasionally listen to the 90’s playlist listed above, as I do need to get into the Wintersville-feel, as the town of Richfield, North Columbia, is in essence, an exaggerated form of Wintersville.

Influences Behind Lord of Columbia: As Stated by Orwell

One of the Many Distractions Used to Keep the Proles in Order

We love sports. I like sports. I’m a little irked by J.R. Smith’s blunder that cost the Cavs Game One of the NBA Finals against the Golden Statist Warriors.

 
I watch sports, especially football, but that now may be in question this season due to the Dept. of Defense’s subsidized NFL forcing nationalism unto its players on public property, but sports is, well, a distraction, as George Orwell stated in his novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

 
The main job for the Proles were two functions: Work and breed. However, the Proles were always sedated by sex, cigarettes, alcohol, football, and other simple pleasures while the Inner Party turned to the Outer Party to rewrite the history books, justify war, lies, and prosperity.

 
It’s something that happens today, but it’s also something that happens in my work, Lord of Columbia. As the elevator pitch implies, Lord of Columbia is about an arrogant college athlete who inadvertently leads a colonial uprising. However, my protagonist, Cain, is still that, a college athlete determined to play his senior year of collegiate sports while working to repel a potential invasion on the only free region in this colony.

 
So, Cain is still distracted, and if Cain’s distracted, my hope is to distract my audience as I just spoon-feed information to my readers. But, right when things look like they’re headed toward something big, it’s time for a game of shotball!

 
Okay, so I’m pulling off my best impression of J.K. Rowling when I speak of a school complete with an invented intergender sport, and yes, it was an influence, but to be honest, shotball is nothing more than rugby, with a few tweaks to the rules, which I’ll explain in a later post in case my followers want to get a game going with one another in the future. Excuse the run-on sentence.

 
Anyway, I try to distract the reader from what the opposition is doing, as Cain and his merry men and women try to compete for a sports championship, the threat of war in the region grows.

 
But, isn’t it the same in real life?

 
We’re always distracted by sports. In fact, in my own office ESPN plays daily, as does Fox News, CNN, the works. But, what do these telescreens, as Orwell calls them, really do?

 
They’re primary focuses feed the viewer distraction, or if they do want to “know” what’s going on in the world, propaganda. Remember, Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News, is part of Genie Oil’s Board of Advisors. Genie Oil has permission to dig in Syria’s Golan Heights, a region occupied by Israel, and in Northern Syria, a region occupied by the United States.

 
If you ever hear the above on any news station, it’s probably Russia Today in America, the only honest news source left these days.

 
I also point such things out in Lord of Columbia, where the occupied media continually promotes imperial propaganda, labeling Cain and the rebels as “terrorist organizations that must be taken out immediately,” when in fact, who are the real terrorists in Lord of Columbia?

 
Are real terrorists a band of people intent on expelling foreign invaders from their homeland?

 
Or are the real terrorists those who do the invading and claim its for national security and defense?

 
Am I stating the US military falls in with my definition of terrorism?

 
Of course not. Many join the US military with good intentions, but there’s a reason Ron Paul was the most popular candidate among veterans back in 2012. It implies many join the military believing they’re in it to do something good, but come to find there’s nothing good about invading another land for the sake of the military-industrial complex and big business.

 
I’d like to thank all my readers for coming across this article. Please come back soon for more articles on the principles of liberty, my two trilogies Lord of Columbia and Comeback Kid, and ways for you to pursue your own passion in an honest, self-reliant way.

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